Sun Pony Ranch

Diary of novice (clueless) ranch owners

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It was the Worse of times

As we were sitting at dinner Sunday night, me rushing because I had to leave for the airport in 30 minutes, Mike commented "Bet you wish you didn't have to rush right off now." And Phyl countered with "I think there are a number of things today Monica wishes went differently."

Boy, howdy. Did I ever. It's a long story that actually began Saturday. Or weeks ago if you want to get honest about my procrastination with sewing our costumes --- but we wont get THAT petty. Not Quite.

Saturday a bunch of folks arrived to bring the equipment for Sunday's event, to stake out the archery range, to set up the main tent, etc. We'd mentioned several times that we are prone to wind out at our place, and because of that they decided to not set up the archery targets, but they were confident that their tent had survived quite a few years now and would be fine. They all left late morning. Phyllis and girls were heading off to go to Water World, so we were grabbing some lunch when we noticed a whole bunch of dust being kicked around at the neighbor's place across the road... And then watched as that dust came towards us, kicking up more dust from our pasture and arena. By the time it got to the house, we couldn't see 20 feet out the window. The trees were bent way over. One of our students was out riding Romeo, and I saw them come running around the end of the barn to dash inside just before the worst of it hit. And then it was gone.

The tent was too, by this point. Not gone, but a goner for sure. And then 5 minutes later, another wave came through just like the first. Ginger's double doors blew in. Our bathroom door was open as it typically is - and everything exposed to that wind was just instantly covered in dirt.

Thank goodness the kennel dogs were all inside.

A few minutes later, it was deathly still out there. We went out to look around. Picked things up from here and there. I'd gotten distracted earlier and had left my tack out on the hitching post. Somehow my saddle stayed put, but the grooming box, my helmet, my half chaps were scattered around. And the next day I found the saddle cover up behind the kennel. Collecting everything we could and putting it away, I then stacked some of the gear on top of the tent to make sure it wouldn't actually leave if it blew up again. Heading back to the house I stopped to throw away some trash -- to find that the right hand dumpster enclosure door - the one that is wider than the left and thus cannot swing IN -- was IN. Inside the other door. That latch overlaps by a good 1.5 inches - those doors must have flexed that much to let it swing inside the other. The boards that the hinges were screwed to were split in half. The door that has an anchor bolt that drops into the ground was split at that anchor point. In short, they're toast.

It was by then officially down to the last minute so I spent the afternoon and evening sewing -- tunics for Dave and I. I'd made one beige one that turned out pretty cute, but just a tad too snug for me. I'd intended it to be an under-tunic anyways, so that's fine. Set about churning out one for Dave -- but I screwed up in the process - it didn't fit him at all! I tried it on and it didn't fit me either. We re-verified Dave's measurements, and suddenly I realized I'd used some of his measurements and some of mine in the making of that tunic! LOL. Think that one is going straight into the waste bin. So I switched to the red fabric and made Dave a passable one. And made a final one for me: I think some people think I was just being clever making mine half red and half beige -- truth is I'd run out of red fabric! Heh.

Lookee - a family portrait.

Meanwhile the kennel was rather full for the weekend - 29 dogs over night! We'd switched our Saturday staffer to work on Sunday during the event, so Saturday we were all on dog duty, including my neices Sara and Kelsey.

Sunday morning started off ok. Lots of high clouds that managed to keep the temperatures down pretty well. Had a number of logistical kinks to work out - like mucking out the pasture around the archery shooting lines. Oh, also when the owner of the tent showed up they pretty much just shrugged - they said it had lasted them 7 years so they had gotten good use out of it. But she did say something worrysome -- "There was a cardboard box here yesterday..." Oh crap. It was the box holding the 'head stands' that hold up the heads on posts. I knew they were quite heavy, so I couldn't imagine the heads were far away. The box, now, I had little hope of finding. In fact, we did find one box, empty, and searched around a bit looking for scattered head stands (metal disks 5" in diameter) No luck. But after while she realized the box we found wasn't the right one. So we kept looking. Over in the water ditch we found it, and amazingly, though it was upside down and all 4 flaps were splayed out, all 4 head stands were still inside nicely snug down in their foam holders. Amazing.

Things started downhill rapidly when I was on my way back to the house to get into my garb, but instead I was summonds into the kennel because one of our employees had been bitten. She had quite a few punctures which seemed pretty shallow on her leg - no rips. We scrubbed them down and put ice on it and Ginger toted her off to the ER. This really was not the day any of us wanted to face "that day". We all knew it was inevitable we'd get an injury. All three of us have gotten scrapes and bruises from dogs, but this was the first employee, and the first real bite. Needless to say that dog will not be welcomed back.

Not long after that we were trying to figure out where the wasps that were showing up down near the archery range were coming from, and I got stung. Haven't been stung in 25 years, but when I was a kid I used to swell up quite a bit. Course, I got stung on the finger that already has the ring on it I haven't been able to get off for awhile. Soaking my hand in ice and oil non withstanding, I certainly wasn't getting that ring off the normal way after being stung. I was concerned enough that I'd swell and get in trouble with the ring that I had Dave cut it off. The ring, that is, not my finger. ;-D It was a bummmer because it is one of my favorites. We'll have to see if we can get it repaired. (Note, it's Wednesday now, and the hand is doing OK. It swelled up more or less to Micky Mouse proportions Monday and Tuesday, but is receeding now. It was certainly a conversation piece out in Seattle while I was helping them conduct the pilot for the software!)

Before long we had one of our students who were out just to do a little riding get tossed off and her horse come back to the barn alone. Really? I just didn't need that. Fortunately the rider was walking not far behind and was only scraped a bit.

Though I wasn't in the mood for it, I went ahead and saddled up Jordan to take him out for a warm up in the arena. It was a good thing, too, because despite being home-ground for us, all the new horses and people and equipment had him very much on edge. It was a little embarrasing that of all the horses in the barn -- HE was the only one screaming his head off. *sigh*

But he calmed down quickly once we'd gotten a look around the arena, and we had a nice warm up ride. It really helped to settle both of us down. And I'm very happy to say that from then on out the day went very well!

Read on, in the next post - due up very soon.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm exhausted just reading this! Yikes! I don't know how you managed to keep it all together. ~Lydia

8/6/08, 7:17 PM  
Blogger Uli said...

Hi Monica!

God what a hell of a day! I am glad that in the end all went well! Well, after all that it couldn't have gotten any worse, could it?

And I am glad Dave only had to cut off the ring - and not your finger... LOL, before reading that part till the end I was like "HUH????" I hope you can get the ring fixed!
I am just wondering, how the hell do you cut a ring off a swollen finger - isn't that dangerous as well?

It was a good thing you ran out of red fabric, cause I think it looked great that way - Dave in red and you in white-red!

8/10/08, 3:59 AM  

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