Thursday, November 29, 2012

Trees and Cats

Horses Are Fine

But it's been kind of cold and damp around here, so I have not been riding. Not that I expect to ride a lot as winter creeps in. No excuses here, but my older bones are creakier than I'd like to admit and motivation is still an issue. But, we'll see.

As far as the woods goes, I am a little reluctant to go out there too much when the wind is blowing--which it has for the last few days. Some of the overhanging trees look pretty rickety and until I better scope out where it looks safe, I don't want to take any chances.

Speaking of, my State Park is an "undeveloped" parkland and isn't even on the list of NJ State Parks open to the public. It is open to passive recreation, but there is no attempt at all to maintain it other than as nature intends. The roadways through there were used by my family and the farmers in the area years and years ago and probably date back to colonial times when they were used to cross from one homestead to another.

Today, we might think of them as fire roads, but I haven't seen many efforts in the past to clear trees that have fallen across them in the past. Recently,  I did see some sign of clearing, but I'm not sure if it was the ATV/motorbike riders or Park people. There is a fire station in the area and it could be those guys, but I've never really seen anything going on.

With no reason to clear the trees, I'm pretty sure they are going to stay just where they are. *sigh*

On the kitty front, Cali and Cinders are now spayed and have their basic vaccinations. The only problem is that despite my orders to the contrary, Cali was "ear tipped."  This means that her left ear was trimmed to indicate that she had been neutered--a marking technique used for the "Trap, Neuter, Release" program for feral cats. The clinic was very apologetic and told me the technician who had done it was "severely disciplined" for making the mistake as my orders were pretty darn clear. I had paid extra NOT to have eartipping done and they did refund my money, but it does take something away from Cali's appearance--not dreadful, but still--making her not as easily adoptable.

Frustrating, but there's nothing I can do about it. If Cali does not find a home somewhere else, I will keep her here, so she will not be homeless. I just feel bad that it happened.

Coco and Joey, the two kittens have been allowed to venture into the rest of the house, meeting my "Big Boy" cats. Bless everyone's heart, there were no attacks, just some hissing and some "puffed up" kittens.

However, I left the inside basement door open and sure enough, the little Cali clan all went back down into the dim light of the cellar to spend the day. I would have thought upstairs would be more fun, but apparently the basement is safe and "home" to them. I'm keeping an eye on the newly spayed ladies to make sure they are OK and they are nestled down in comfy spots down there. The kittens are racing around in circles playing hide and seek.

As long as they are happy, I'm content too.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Through the Woods

A Sunny, Beautiful Day on Horseback

I rode today.

Tucker was first, in in the arena. We did just some basic walk, trot, canter, not asking for too much. Aside from a few laid back ears and a few minor protests, he was a good boy. Canter departs were prompt and after a stretch of canter, his trot became nice and forward.

Since Thoroughbreds were bred to gallop, sometimes canter is the best way to warm them up for more intensive work. I have always found that cantering improves Tucker's trot and willingness to work for me.

Then, just for fun, we jumped the little jump I had set up for the lungeing sessions. It's only about 18"-20" or so, enough to ask for a little jump over and no drama.  Once again, Tucker was great about it. He never rushed and was quite willing to take my hand an let me rate him and place him for takeoff. No big challenge, but it's been years since I've done any serious jumping, so I am pretty pleased it went that well--in a dressage saddle no less.

After I finished with Tucker, I saddled Chance up for a trail ride.

Out we went, into the woods.

Oh, my goodness!! Devastation everywhere! Huge trees are down everywhere. We are talking trees with three foot diameter trunks. And worse, a good number of them are not blocking my lovely woodland roads. There was, of course, a way around most of them, but it was tricky going. In several places, if I still were riding my Russell--the super eventer--I would have some perfectly lovely obstacles to jump. The trunks were across the road with good footing on both sides. BUT, I am no longer up to such excitement and don't have a horse trained for it, so I will just have to keep on going around. There certainly is no way to clear trees that size out of the way. *sigh*

Fortunately, Chance has a level head and, although he too was pretty wary of many of the fallen trees, he cooperated really nicely about the go arounds and really proved himself as a trail master.

On the way back home, I managed to get us lost. Well, not really lost as I could always see the way out of the woods in front and on the side, but lost from the proper trail.. Once I did find it--nearly at the end, I realized I had gone far west of its proper location. The funny thing is, Chance knew where it was and kept trying to get me to steer him to the east. I was no disoriented by the fallen timber that I just didn't listen to him. Next time out, I'll take that trail into the woods so I'll see where it actually is and what it looks like now. That way, the next time I ride the trail in the other direction, I might actually not wander about in silly confusion.

Maybe I should have just dropped the rein and let Chance take us home. Clearly he had more brains about it than I  did.

Guess it's going to take a lot more rides through the woods before I figure out how to enjoy the trails again. Right now, it's rather a tricky adventure.

It looks like a hurricane came through or something............

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

I Am Grateful

I'm grateful my house and property are pretty OK after the hurricane.

I'm grateful to have three sweet horses to feed carrots to, even when I don't ride them much.

I'm grateful I can take in kitties who need care and a safe place to stay. And I am grateful for the kitties who have decided to "own" me along the way.

I'm grateful I have many friends to talk to and share things with when I need to.

I'm grateful my hay guy came and made a delivery so I didn't have to go on a hay hunt.

I'm grateful for hundreds of things too numerable to mention. God has blessed me over and over in my life and I am always aware that, despite setbacks and disappointments, I have a good life and I try to live it well.

I promise to take the time to say, "Thank you," whenever someone does something kind or generous for me, and I will always try to remember to take the time to thank God for his gifts to me.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Blogger "buddies."  May you too find much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Drying Out

And One Down

My arena was finally not a soggy mess from the melted snow. I decided to lunge Tucker and Chance.

Not much to be said as both of them were quite good Boys. Both are very obedient to my voice commands, so that is a big plus. Both are also a bit on the lazy side which has its pluses and minuses. Tucker, while lazy can explode into bucks and gallops I cannot always hold on to, but today his enthusiasm was tempered with good behavior, so all was well.

Again, I set up a mini-jump at perhaps 18-24 inches. That's enough to make them jump a little without causing any kind of problems.  Tucker did get a little too forward as the jumping progressed, but he stayed on course and accepted my control with not problem. He was simply having some fun pretending he was in a  Grand Prix competition.

Chance, on the other hand, seemed to think trotting was just fine. I managed to get him into a nice canter going into the fence but he landed in a trot about half the time until I REALLY encouraged him to keep the canter. Then, he jumped quite nicely, very quietly and cantered on in a very relaxed mode. Once again, he made it look as if he'd be fun to work over some jumps under saddle. We'll see. Not only do I not have a jumping saddle any more, but I am terribly out of practice.

Still, it's a fun past time when the jumps are small and the horse willing.

One down?

My Aunt's caretaker next door is taking one of the kittens. Panda/Bandit--to be names Malachi, apparently--will be going to his new home tonight. Pat seems to be a very knowledgeable, caring cat owner, and my little furry buddy will have a good home with her.

Still working on getting Cinders placed, but I am not too optimistic about it. We'll see.

Scott, my farrier, called again today about the kittens, but now I only have one female--Coco.  I'm pretty sure the woman he knows wants kittens, and not cats. If I could find out what kind of home she offers, it would be nice for Cinders or Callie to pair up as the second female, but neither one of them is a kitten. I suspect Cinders is young, but there's no way to tell for sure.

If I end up with four new cats it's not exactly the best option, but unless I can find good homes for them, they will stay here with me.

Time will tell.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Naming of Cats

Not An Easy Job

OK, so the cellar kitties are all doing well and the good news is that I found a relatively low cost spay/neuter clinic not too far away. $75 for both males an females and that includes the exam, rabies and distemper shots. Not a bad deal. It's only $55 for feral/stray cats, but they they "ear tip" them, by cutting off a tip of the cat's ear to identify them as neutered for any future captures.

I had Mommycat eartipped and it took forever for her ear to heal. I would rather spend the extra money and treat my strays as pets to save them from that. I still feel bad about Mommy.

I MAY have a home for the young cat, but I need to work on it. I have decided that Cinders is a good name for the gray kitty, shown above. Trying to get good pictures of constantly moving targets was not easy. Everyone was rather playful this morning.

This is Panda, the black and white kitten--or maybe Bandit. We'll see.

Then we have Coco, the little calico. Mommy is Callie and her little girl is Coco.

And finally we have Joey. I names him after the orange cat we had years ago--Big Joe.

All the white fur on the kitties is getting a little sooty as my basement is not finished and the concrete floor holds both the dirt from the furnace and years of "just being there."  As you can see, though, I did put down some rugs and the kitties seem to like them. But that doesn't stop them from frolicking in the less clean places.

Wish I had a better place to keep them, but the sunroom is not big enough for five and my house kitties would be rather put out with that kind of invasion.

I'm pretty sure Joey and Panda are boys. Callie, is, of course a female, and both Cinders and Coco are girls too.

Scott, my farrier called. The women who wanted kittens wants two females. She seems to feel the males tend to wander too much. I'm not sure about that. I have Peppercorn and he seems to stick around as did most of my other neutered males. I'm of the opinion that if they are neutered young, they tend to stay at home. Then again, I have had spayed females who tour the neighborhood too, so it could well be cat personality rather than sex determining wanderlust.

Now that everyone has a name, I am optimistic this catastrophe will work out just fine for all concerned.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


All Is Well Except For....

The CAT-astrophe.  I currently have five stray cats living in my basement. Someone must have dropped off the family pets some time after the hurricane. My cousin next door called me to ask if I had any outdoor cats.

Well, I do. Misty and Peppercorn.

But I definitely do not have a calico mommy cat, three kittens and one juvenile gray and white beauty. That's what we eventually found last night cavorting in my Aunt's driveway.  I'd put food out for what I thought was just the Mommy and one adorable orange and white kitten--5-6 weeks old. So the gang was not starving any more when we finally saw the whole pride.

I figured the Mommy and juvenile would be OK outside with food, but I was really worried about the little ones. So I decided to shelter them in my basement, along with Mommy. Eventually I got the juvenile as well and now all are safe and sound for the time being.

Not that I need five cats!! If I can find homes for the kittens, that would be perfect, although that orange and white one is just TOOOOO cute. If Misty and Peppercorn would be accepting, I could keep Mommy as a barn kitty or a cellar/outdoor kitty. The teenager is just gorgeous, and deserves a home somewhere but some people don't want cats as opposed to kittens.

Scott, my farrier, was here today and he may know someone who wants kittens. He'd love to have one himself but apparently his wife is not "in the market for a cat."  We'll see, though. Maybe he can work something out.

Not the best pictures, but everyone was napping. The gray juvenile kitty is in the bottoms pic. Mommy is the calico on the white sheet. You can just see fur color of the orange baby and the black and white one. The third kitten is a calico like Mom.

I'll figure something out, but for now they are safe from hunters, foxes, raccoons, and all the traffic on our road.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Insult to Injury

Just Holding My Breath

The Follywoods weather report includes Mother Nature's next insult to New Jersey--a snowstorm.  My poor maple tree, still full of leaves lost another couple big branches, but so far, my power is still on.

Some of my fellow residents are not so lucky. The next road over did not have power yet as of last night, and according to Facebook posts, a number of other New Jerseyans lost power again from this can probably hear the screams of frustration all the way to the Pacific.

My biggest issue now is lack of Internet, TV, and phone. Big deal, huh? NOT!!

Verizon is giving NJ residents free air time if they exceed their minutes. ATT, my portable Internet hotspot, does not seem to be offering any relief. I called to check. But it's a $10 overage fee for each gigabyte, so I will just pay that for the one month. I don't use the wifi that much most of the time--wish that they'd roll over the unused data, but no go on that either. All the more reason to go with Verizon when I get the IPhone from my friend.

Anyhow, some gratuitous photos of the snow. More tomorrow, if I post. These may be the last from my Panasonic camera which seems to be malfunctioning.

Behold the snow:

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


Just In Time for The New Storm

Well, I have a day to prepare for the nor'easter. In the morning I will go out and fill all my water tubs for the horses.

I have already run a load of wash and a load of dishes.

My desktop computer is fried or something. Not sure what's going on. If the weather does not get too bad, I will take it to Staples tomorrow. They need to save my data. I have not backed it up recently. Bummer.

I did buy some food for the fridge which is now happily running cold. I swear it's smiling.

My neighbor is coming over tomorrow to check out my new snowblower to make sure it works. I also need to put air in the tractor tire and check to make sure the tractor starts OK as I've not used it in several weeks.

After I go to Staples, I'll head over to Lowes to see if they have any heavy duty extension cords as I think the refrigerator might run better directly off the generator.

By the way, I highly recommend an LED headlamp for emergencies. I have two--one is an Energizer. It works a treat, can be angled to many levels and gives a lot of light. I used it to read and navigate both inside and outside the house.

I guess my immediate life is now dedicated to disaster preparedness. At this rate, I could teach a class.

I am quite pleased with how well I managed. Hopefully, the new generator hook up--whenever it comes--will run my water pump, and then I will feel much better. But at least I found a way to cope with limited supplies.

I have two five gallon jugs I keep filled on the back (enclosed) porch and there is another big jug for extra. That's there all the time for emergencies.

And, blessings upon my propane gas ventless fireplace, one of the best investments I've ever made. Worth it if you can get something similar.

On a sad note, my cousin's house at Long Beach Island was flooded with over 5 feet of water. He is actually hoping the house will be condemned so he can build anew. My other friend has three houses down there--two he uses for rental income. He has not been allowed on the island to see how they fared, but it sounds bad.

But the good news is that FEMA is really on top of things. My cousin already had money put in his bank account to pay for his expenses--they stayed in a hotel for a week or so. He's lucky to have a room in my Aunt's house next door until things are settled again at the shore. My other friend does not live on the
Island full time, so he's OK that way. I just wish there were something could do to make things better for them all.

Enough for now. I need to enjoy my power trip!!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

And Tucker's Lost a Shoe

Well It's Been Just About Six Weeks

The Boys are due for trims/shoeing, so I can't complain too much about a missing shoe. 

However, I still do not have power. It may come on tonight or tomorrow--just in time for the next storm to hit and knock it out again. *SIGH*  

I will soon lose my mind. I went shopping and did buy some perishables. The refrigerator is totally empty and clean and I am hoping it will get cold with the generator, but the heat keeps coming on and it's either one or the other. I'm not too keen about shutting off the furnace, so heat has priority. The fridge keeps coming on, but if it's working it's not doing much yet. 

Then again, if it snows, I can just put the cold food outside. Right now it's on the porch and it's plenty cold out there. 

I called Scott, my shoer, but he needs electricity for his tools to do a proper shoeing job on Tucker. I spent about a half hour looking for the lost shoe with no luck. If power does not come on tomorrow, I will spend some more time searching. If we have power, my priority is to spend at least some time filling water containers and tubs so that if the new storm kicks out power off again, I will have emergency water again. 

This is really getting old. I am tired and as close to being depressed as I ever have been--and it takes a lot to get me depressed. 

I did go pick up 16 more bales of hay, so the stock is good for the time being. I also filled the gas cans I've emptied with the generator. 

Once again, I am about as set as I can be. 

All I can do now is watch to see if the street lamp comes on in front of the house..


Oh, wait....story goes that despite the fact that our road is very clearly marked "CLOSED" a tractor trailer headed down, got the intersection where all the damage was being repaired and took out a bunch of overhead wires.

This story came to me from a neighbor down the road who said a policeman told him.

If so, it might explain why it's taking so long to fix things.

Hope that driver got a serious ticket!  Serious!!

Monday, November 05, 2012

Not A Pretty Picture

Drove Down The Road

I went out to assess the power situation this morning. It is pretty ugly. The downed tree is gone, so the middle of my road is open, but the intersection?


Cars have made a path through a corner of the woods to get around, so that explains the minimal traffic coming from the west. But the road itself?.....

The last two pictures are the middle portion of the road. One destroyed street lamp and a broken utility pole. That's where the tree was across the road. You can see the cut logs below the pole.

 Do you think people might think the road is really closed?

Nope. They just keep coming. But I do admit the traffic flow is very light.

And, I think the trucks have finally given up.

Needless to say the lack of any kind of utility workers in our area is not exactly comforting. We are low priority because there are only about 10 houses on my road. But I may also say that it is quite possible that damage further along the grid needs to be repaired before they can do anything for us.

Not knowing what's actually going on is a bit frustrating.

But I shall soldier on. And as long as the fire department is my friend, the Boys and I will make do.

WaWa is open at the other end of the road and I can get there so we are not trapped.

This too shall pass......

UPDATE:  Trucks from Ameren a Missouri power company have been working on the road for a good part of the day. The guy I talked to and thanked said the mess at the end of the road wasn't as bad as it looked. He wasn't sure power would be on by tonight, but he was upbeat about our getting back online soon.

Turning generator on in about a half hour.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Under Control

Generator Limited But Working

After a very long saga which I shall not relate now, the generator is working. I have heat in the house and probably water, but not both at the same time. The wiring is not yet set up to use my generator to full capacity.

Horse water? For now, just fine. The local fire department filled all my tubs and emergency supplies. I'm pretty sure I can run a hose from the hose too, if need be. I still haven't heard the house pump go on yet, but if nothing else big is running, it should work. If not, I have plenty of water for me and the fire truck for the horses.

Last estimate for power restoration is Friday, November 9. I think they cleared the tree off the road and the wires today. It was probably an out of state company. New Jersey is blessed with utility workers from all over the US. Love'em all!!

I lucked out at the gas stations and the truck tank is full, the car tank is full and I have gas cans full for the generator. Many stations were pumped dry and are waiting for shipments, but I managed to fill up without sitting in line. (Some people have waited for hours.)

My propane delivery guy came too, so I have gas for the gas fireplace which kept me warm for at least two days. I won't run my generator all night, so I may put the fireplace on again if the house gets chilly.

I managed a warm shower too, but I've turned off the water heater as it will be used "as needed" in rotation with other high electric demand stuff. I pulled the plug on the refrigerator. No sense in running it. All my food is spoiled and it's cold enough on the back porch to keep milk and other perishables. I don't need many things refrigerated anyhow, so until the power comes back on, I don't need it. This will be a total emptying and cleaning, so better that it's not cold inside so I can do a good job. I really need a new fridge, but with all the money I spent on the generator, I'm not sure I can afford one now, but it would be the perfect time.

Made an order with Omaha Steaks for replacement meat and they will wait to ship it until the power is back on.

So after much frustration, I am ten times better off than I was five days ago. It's not back to normal yet, but at last it looks as if we will get there.

The shore areas and some other places where there was flooding are not so lucky. My cousins may not be able to move back to their shore house for as many as six months. They are staying at my aunt's house next door. Can't really help them out with some kind of heat as I'd hoped. The circuitry is just too complicated.

Finally able to charge my netbook and wfi hot spot which is why I can post. Off to check the news and weather.

I am finally wearing a little smile again.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Pioneer Days

Back To The Past

Still no power.

Generator is off for warranty repair, but no date on its return.

Staying sort of warm, but using fireplace sparingly.

Need to find hay for the horses. Not out yet, but down to a few bales. My supplier is probably stuck someplace at his house and not likely to come to work across the street.  But I will drop by to check.

Also need to get water for the horses somehow. If I run out--maybe a day or so--I will call police to see if I can get some delivered.  Fire truck?????? I'm fine with water. I've always conserved and know how to get by with very little. I have gallon jugs and five gallon containers. That might last me the whole outage.

PSE&G now does not promise electricity until Friday, November 9.  Yuck. Keep hoping it may be sooner, but you never know. I'm in for the long haul.

Food in fridge, including a whole bunch of Omaha steaks has to go. Can't risk it as it's been too many days.

Food market is open, I think. Guess I will drop in to check on their wares. Maybe some non perishable cheese. I actually have enough food here but some little comfort food would be nice.

Besides chocolate--neighbor brought me 1 pound of Russell Stover assorted.

The pioneers had it better. At least they knew how to cope from the get go. *lol*