Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Monday, June 30, 2008

Home Coming

You may have picked up on a distinct decline in my postings about life on the ranch. Frankly that's because not a lot of interest happens any more. There was a time when we said - I don't mind the obstacles that get thrown in our path, but please can the day come when we start seeing obstacles that we've seen before and know how to handle? Well, I guess we can say that day really has come. Life on the ranch has settled into routine. It's still a lot of work but just work isn't entertaining. It's the unexpected element that has subsided. I think Murphy thought we were getting complacent.

Dave and I got home Friday evening from our UK trip. Wanting to stay up until a decent hour (according to the local time zone) to go to bed, Kelsey, Sara, Ginger and we went out for pizza. We had a pleasant evening, exchanging stories of our trip and what happened back on the ranch. The Chamber of Commerce summer party was being held in our barn on Saturday, in the form of a hoe-down. So we talked about what we still needed to do the next day to prepare for that. We headed home about 9 and Dave and I were looking forward to climbing into bed. We dropped Ginger off at the horses because they still needed to be brought in from pasture, while Kelsey and Sara went to put the kennel dogs to bed. We were still fiddling with installing our window-mounted AC unit (because the weather got HOT while we were gone!!) and Ginger came up and annouced that the barn was flooded.

Welcome Home!

Seems the hose with a nozzle on it was left on, and it split some time that afternoon after the campers and staff cleared out. Did it spray conveniently into the wash stall where there is a drain? Oh no, it sprayed directly into the aisle in front of and into the tack room.

Fighting the urge to leave it until morning, we went down to survey the damage. Wow, it was impressive. About 30 feet of the main aisle was flooded with 1" and more of water, and the tackroom had the same. A third of the dirt floor in our indoor 'arena' space was standing puddles -- including the corner where the stage and dance floor were to go the next day. UG.

A big reason the water wasn't draining was becase the stall mats in the wash room raise that floor nearly an inch, so we yanked one of those aside and got the water flowing. But it wasn't enough. So we started squeegeeing water around.

Fortunately, and I can't quite believe I'm about to say this, but fortunately we've had a history of trouble with water in the tack room because the exterior wall isn't water tight. Every time it rains while it's blowing from the north, the floor gets wet. Of course all the tack is hanging, but the shelving units are set up on 2x4s, the feed is all in plastic bins and a lot of odds and ends were piled into buckets. We did have half a dozen or so cardboard boxes of little-used equipment, but if anything was runined it's doubtful it was anything of value. The 'camp fire circle' of hay bales in the aisle, where campers gather for group meetings, all got soaked of course, so once most of the standing water was dissipated we turned those on their sides. There just wasn't anything we could do about the dirt floor right then, so we left it to soak in over night.

The next day all the standing water had gone -- but thankfully we had done what we did the night before because there was no way it would have evaporated on its own. The tack room was still a bit swampy, yuck. So we set about pulling everything out of the door-end of the room, sweeping and cleaning up. Swapped out the pallet in there for a dry one. Removed the soaked hay bales into the sun to dry out, and generally did a very thorough job of scrubbing the barn! I guess our lemonaid is that the barn hasn't been this clean since we moved in.

(you can still see some soaked concrete here.)

Parker dragged the arena floor with the tractor - both to try and flatten it out some, and to mix up the wet and dry areas. It was still pretty soggy in places, but at least the stage legs didn't sink into the quagmire.

By the time folks showed up to set up for the party, there were few traces of the flood left and they were all amazed to hear our tale. We set up the stage and dining tables.

Then Nancy arrived with a bunch of sheets of masonite that the school uses (she sits on the school board and the chamber as well) to protect their school floors. After researching the cost of renting dance floors and discovering they only had a budget to cover about a 9' x 9' floor - the planning group agreed to go with the masonite! Laid that out, taped it together, and it worked just fine. Best part is that she said she wasn't interested in having to pick it up, so we're going to keep it and have our own dance floor for future use.

The party was a lot of fun. Phyllis was coming up to pick up Kelsey and Sara, so they all stayed for dinner and dancing.

Actually the girls were still on the clock as they had to go let the dogs out after dinner. One of our other employees also stayed - because we had an astonishing 34 dogs boarded with us over the weekend! It turned out to be a popular diversion for our guests to go over and watch the group at play (thank goodness it really was a very well behaved group of dogs), but best of all is that we finally got to give our primary dog-vet a tour of the kennel. We'd invited him out several times, but you know how that goes. He was very complimentary of our set up, and it felt really good to let him see how we operate since until now all he really gets to see of us is when we have an injured dog.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was our first 24 hours at home. ;-)


Monday, June 23, 2008

Before we go...

Monday morning:

It's our final morning in Oxford, and with the Brokies. I suppose I should start packing up my room, but I'm compelled to write a bit about our stay. Really haven't had much time for reflection so far. Funny, for a weekend that was loosely structured to begin with we managed to keep it jammed packed with activities regardless.

It has been a fantastic time again, as I expected. The Hostel has been an ideal gathering point for those staying here. The breakfasts served being large and plentiful... As long as you show up before 9:30 when it ends, for they end abruptly and without question! (Yes, we have had first hand experience with this a few times during our stay!)

The lack of cheap internet probably has been my only complaint here - but c'est la vie. As we head off today to the wilds of Wales we may not find any internet at all, so I wanted to get at least this one blog post up. There is so much to say and pictures to share -- I won't be able to do justice to any of it so I will not try until when we return.

We've lucked out with 3 days of spectacular weather and only 1 of drizzle and cold. Even that was manageable so it's been great. Friday a group of us went out to see Blenheim Palace, and in fact we saw only some of the grounds but they were impressive enough. Friday night was the first main gathering event - we reserved the second floor room at a pub downtown for us to just sit and chatter. Ted arranged for a ghost tour for our group at 9, just as it was getting dark. That was fun as the guide was quite a character.

Saturday was the rainy day. We did quite a bit more walking this day, which unfortunately has been quite hard on David this trip. He's been having hip pain the past month or so, and worked with several physical therapists and doctors to get it resolved before coming, but hasn't found the cure just yet. So we've been trying to take advantage of the busses and taxis as much as possible. Saturday night we were back at the Mitre pub.

Yesterday not much was planned. As a group left the Hostel to just wander around, I suggested we pop down the river path just a bit. We ended up walking a mile or so along the canal which was beautiful. In meandering back through town we passed through neighborhoods, caught a glimpse of a cricket game as we walked through the University Parks, and then found lunch in the gardens of St. Mary's cathedral. At 1:30 a bunch of brokies gathered at the Magdalen Bridge boat house to go punting. Only to discover that most of them were there to spectate only! We ended up having 1 paddle group, one row boat group, and 2 punts go out. Ted and I being the only ones interested in trying out the actual punting. It was fabulous fun! Sunday evening was the movie and then a long winding down period at a large pub down the street.

So here it is Monday morning, and we really should be packing up to get a move on. Our roommies have been wonderful companions this weekend, as has everyone really. As I mentioned, Dave and I will be off in a rental car later today to finish out our trip driving down little hedge-lined lanes.

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Thursday, June 19, 2008

Made it!

So I wrote the entry below, and then realized that it might be due some sort of intro, because you may not know that Dave and I are heading to England for 10 days! We have always loved travelling in the UK, so last year when a brokie event in Oxford started to be batted around, I was quick to jump on board. We're here for the weekend to meet up with 65 or so brokies, then wil toodle around another 4 days on our own after that.

We've made it here - all travels so far have been uncomplicated. Did have a flurry of frustration at the gate in Denver as I rushed to post my final Week in the Life blog entry; the free wireless just wasn't cooperating. I managed to get it posted to this blog here, but live journal, where I've been cross posting, wasn't so easily conquered. Not for lack of effort I tell you - Dave ended up holding the laptop as I typed as we stood in line to board... Alas, I tossed in the towel. Those folks will just have to wait til I find wifi in Oxford to get their update.

In Denver we met up with Deb who was on our flight, but then were surprised to see Frank was on it too! Frank is from Germany and had come to Colorado for the other BBM gathering at the beginning of June, travelled to the Grand Canyon and area in the interim, and now is headed to Oxford with us.

At Heathrow I retrieved a voicemail saying John was delayed several hours and we should go on without him. But we then found Ted waiting to greet us coming out of customs. We chatted a bit, then sent him off to rent his car while we went on to the bus station and collected Bob. Whew! I'm loving this not even getting there yet but having rubbed elbows with quite a few acquaintences already!

I heard some coach services offer wifi on their route, but apparently not this one, so will have to post this later.

~Ciao for now!~

Huh! Everyone else seems to have dozed off on me.
(snapped a pic, but as i'm posting this with my phone - not doing that.)

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Week in the Life - Wednesday

Last day for my Week In the Life Postings! -- Hope you've enjoyed them. :-)

Essentials - 11:44 am

Killing Time - 2:46 pm

Smoothie Man - 2:58 pm

Head Start - 6:24 pm

Surreal Train - 6:24 pm

Surprise Greeting - 7:04 pm

On Our WAY!!! - 7:17 pm


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Week in the Life - Tuesday

Nearing the end of this little experiment - and, wow, it seemed so easy to begin with! LOL.

Dewey - 5:49 am

Lets Talk - 7:22 am

Mowing Crew! - 2:22 pm

On the Barbie - 7:18 pm

Sunset - 8:26 pm

Work Day #2 - 8:43 pm


Week in the Life - Monday

Cuteness - 11:26 am

WHY HAVE I NOT SEEN THIS UNTIL NOW??!! *swoons* - 12:38 pm

ME, ME, ME! Take a Picture of ME!! - 2:34 pm

Newcomers - 2:36 pm

Now Hear This - 2:37 pm

Workin it - 4:23 pm

Pretty.Odd. - 4:23 pm

Packing - 11:59 pm


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Week in the Life - Sunday

Sunday, for reals this time! ;-) However, not a terribly picture-worthy day.

Up - 3:56 pm

Apprentices - 3:58 pm

Dinner - 4:03 pm

Chasing 4 escaped horses up and down the road

Oh, right. I didn't exactly stop to take pictures of that adventure. :-\

YUM! - 7:49 pm

Sigh of Relief - 9:59 pm


Week In the Life - Saturday

Huurm. It is in fact Sunday. What can I say? We had a full day yesterday. :-) Because I cannot NOT comment on it, we went to the Estes Park Wool Show yesterday. Aparently one of the largest in the nation for showing different types of fleeces and the animals that produce them. And then what you DO with it -- that was pretty impressive, actually!

Jasper 9:18 am

Monster Machine : 9:48 am

Another odd sheering pattern : 1:58 pm

Sheering : 1:08 pm

Herding Demo : 2:14 pm

More fiber products than ever seen before! : 3:00 pm

Poor Babies : 3:37 pm

Who, me?? : 3:56 pm


Friday, June 13, 2008

A Week in the Life - Friday

Groomed : 6:36 am

Waiting : 6:39 am

Imp : 7:27 am

First Stop : 8:00 am

Viva Imagination! : 8:56 am

Pit Stop : 9:32 am

Practicing : 7:36 pm


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A Week in the Life - Thursday

Ohh, new game going around that sounds like fun:

Week in the Life Game: For one week, you are to post photographs taken during the day.

1. You must take between 6 and 8 new photographs per day.
2. Your WITL must be consecutive. No skipping days.
3. You must post your photographs at the end of that day, sometime after the last picture is taken.
4. Each photograph must have the time taken beneath and a title, with no other explanation. (But feel free to ask me any questions about them you want in the comments!)

A Home Away 6:17 am

Get Ready, Get Set... 6:54 am

Twin Two 7:36 am

Skyline 1:28 pm

Sympathy 2:17 pm

Hilari-Tea 2:48 pm

All Blue 3:41 pm

*Sigh* 7:54 pm