Thursday, August 30, 2012

No power. No problem......

I got home tonight and went to close the chicken coop up, hit the garage door and there was no power.  I went around to the front of the house and there was a disconnection notice on the front door from the electric company.  I am unsure why I have been disconnected as I paid my bill on Aug. 3rd and the next bill is not due until Sept. 10th.  I called the police station to ask about the disconnection issue and was told that they could reconnect it for an additional $130.00 but they had no way of looking up my records this late at night.  So, here we sit in the dark.  I was pretty angry at first, but actually as I type this blog post and look around life is pretty peaceful by candle light.  This is a minor inconvenience in the big scheme of life, and we will survive just like others have before us.  I am going to make like a pioneer and go to bed now, because what else do you do when it is pitch black in your house?!  

I did it with confidence!

Tonight after work I went out to visit our horse Mia.  We got Mia 2 years ago.  She is a 20 year old Quarter Horse that has been shown extensively.  She has lived most of her life as a show horse, never really seeing the outside of her stall except to go to horse shows.  This seems like a horrible life for a horse if you ask me!  I want a horse that can be a horse.  I want her to be able to go outside and feel the sunshine on her back and  for her to run and roll like horses do.

Since I didn't know any better when we bought Mia, I listened to every bit of advice I was given on this horse.  I played by all of the rules, and trust me there were a lot of rules! 
     * Don't let the horse eat grass.  She will colic and die.
     * Don't put the horse outside in the pasture.  She will run through the fence, and she will die.
     *  Don't worm the horse.  She will colic and die.
     *  Don't ride the horse outside.  She will run away with you and you will die.  
You get the point, there were millions of rules!  Well, that all changed several months ago.

We had purchased a second horse, which turned out to be the worst choice of horse for us but truthfully the best thing that could have ever happened.   You see, we got Tammy out of the deal and little did I know how that would change my life!

Tammy runs a gorgeous horse facility out of Xenia, Ohio, and she is just as special as the horses that she owns!  From the first moment that I arrived at her farm I could tell that this was a woman who was good at what she did.  The connection that she has with these giant animals is nothing short of miraculous.  And the most amazing thing about her entire operation?!  There is no fear.  Her horses run in huge fields and graze for hours on lush grass.  There is no fear.  She is firm but fair with them, and to watch the respect these animals have for her leaves me in awe every time I watch her ride or interact with a horse.  Her horses are happy and it shows.  They live the lives of real horses and it is refreshing!

Tammy challenges you to dig deeper into yourself and I completely trust her.  I know she would never set me up to get hurt, and therefore I am not afraid.  In the last 6 months that we have been visiting her farm she has let me ride several different horses and I have never felt unsafe or too nervous to get on.  Tammy takes the fear out of horse for me.

So tonight, on my way home from work I decided I wanted to take Mia on a trail ride at the stable where I board her and I wasn't sure if that was a good idea or not.  I called Tammy and asked her opinion.  Tammy reminded me that Mia was not a proven trail horse and to lounge her before I took her out on the trail.  She reminded me that this was a 1000 pound animal I was riding, and lastly she reminded me to have fun with my horse.  

Well, fun was an understatement!  It was amazing!  I was very nervous but I could hear Tammy in my ear saying, "Sit back, and breathe."  I did exactly that and it was wonderful.  Mia was alert and aware but at my command she walked by an RV trailer, up and down hills, and took me all over those trails.  She sped up on her way back to the barn and broke into a fairly fast trot, but I immediately slowed her down and she calmly continued her walk.  Overall, the ride was a huge success and I am excited to try it again in the near future.  This accomplishment was not something I would have even thought about doing several months ago. I would have been too afraid and it probably would have resulted in a disaster.  I am so proud of myself for not being afraid tonight, and for getting in that saddle and taking charge.  It felt good and you couldn't wipe the smile off my face!  Thanks Tammy for helping me to be more confident around these animals by just being who you are naturally, and thank you Dianna who walked the trail just to make sure I was going to stay safe.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Spicy Garlic Pasta Sauce

We have been so blessed with the amount of tomatoes that our plants have produced this year.  We have made salsa, eaten them straight off the vine, fed the chickens, given them away to anyone who stands still long enough at our house, and tonight we made spicy garlic pasta sauce!  I can't wait to put this over some whole grain pasta.  Yum!  

This is a very simple recipe, so even if you are not experienced at canning this should not be a problem. (You will need basic canning supplies such as pint jars and a water bath canner.) 

Spicy Garlic Pasta Sauce

12 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled
1/3 cup very finely minced fresh garlic
2-6 fresh cayenne or chili peppers, minced
3 T. sugar
3 T. kosher salt
2 cups lightly packed fresh basil, snipped
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh Italian parsley
6 T. lemon juice

Coarsely chop the peeled tomatoes and put them in a large stainless-steel pot.  Stir in garlic, chili peppers, sugar and salt.  Bring this to a boil stirring frequently.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and simmer uncovered for 90 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and stir in parsley and basil.

Spoon 1 T. of the lemon juice into each hot canning jar and then ladle in the hot sauce.  Leave 1/2-inch head space.  Wipe the rim of the jar, place lids and place the jars into the hot water canner.  After the water in the canner starts to boil, set your timer and process jars for 35 minutes.  Remove jars and allow them to cool for 24-48 hours.  Remember to check the seal on your jars before storing them!

This recipe should yield you 7-8 pints of sauce.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dances like J-Lo

We have an 8 year old chihuahua named Isabella, who is the love of our life.  Isa came to us 7 years ago as a rescue dog.  She was owned by someone who wanted to breed her with a Boxer, and as their Boxer was chasing her around their backyard, he broke her leg.  I loved her from the moment I met her, and knowing she would need extensive work done to repair her leg, I adopted her.  She has etched a spot in all of our hearts and even people who are not huge fans of the Chihuahua breed love Isabella.  We joke that she cost us $1000.00 per pound, but we have no regrets!  She was worth every penny we spent and then some.

The bad thing about having a dog that is her size, is she is so cute and tiny, we never really make her do anything she doesn't want to do.  Unfortunately we have created a beast!  Isabella knows how to sit and behave, but she chooses not to.  We are the worst owners because we let her get away with this behavior.  (No, this would not fly with any other dog I own....)  The only thing that Isa does on the regular is dance like J-Lo.  In this video Isa is going to show you her mad dance skills!  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

a future chicken farmer?!

That's my Mom!  She is so cute and I just love her!

Tonight I was standing in the kitchen doing dishes when my iPhone beeped.  I looked down and all I could see was my Mom's eyes in this picture.  It cracked me up!  My Mom is not a country girl at all, and would rather buy all of her produce and meat at the grocery store, never giving a second thought to how it got there or any of the things that I think about.  She doesn't like to think that I butcher my chickens or bunnies (She will eat them though!), and in her world there is no such thing as factory farming or steroid infused meat.  My Mom lives in a happy place, and one that she rarely steps out of if uncomfortable.  Perhaps that is why this picture amuses me.  

Mom left tonight to drive several hours to visit her brother and his wife, Uncle Craig and Aunt Sandie.  I spent all of my summer vacations at their house tearing up and down the hills of southern Ohio on an ATV, chasing goats, feeding chickens, and making mud pies.  They are the reason I love chickens, goats, rabbits, and all things country.  They are the reason that I never eat margarine, only real butter.  They are the reason I never eat pepper that has not been ground in my pepper grinder, and why I never use a dishwasher to wash my dishes.  Uncle Craig and Aunt Sandie are the reason why the Urban Farm Girl is in existence, and I thank them for giving me the sort of summer vacations most city kids could only dream of.  

When I got my first batch of egg laying chickens a couple years ago, who did I call?!  Yep, my Uncle Craig! Uncle Craig is a man who can save the free world with a pocket knife and a hammer, and is definitely the man to call when you need a chicken coop!  We had been talking back and forth about him getting chickens too, and several weeks after he built my coop he started one for himself and got 25 bantams for his homestead.  He has had several hens hatch chicks, and the chicken in the picture is a rooster that hatched at his house.  The look on my Mom's face in this photograph is priceless, and it just makes my heart happy.  I am so proud of her for stepping out of her comfort zone and holding that chicken.  Who knows?!  Maybe my Mom will be next to jump on the chicken bandwagon!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

And the winners are....

The winners of the cupcake lip gloss giveaway are:

1)  Christie Remy
2) Steve Ritzi
3) Andrea Pindell

Congratulation to you all, and email me with your address so I can mail you your surprise!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Posting by braille...

For several months now Katzya has been struggling on her horseback riding.  She had been riding Western Pleasure for the last 2 years however recently she started riding hunt seat.  Here is where the problem lies.... While riding in this discipline you must learn how to post and it is very important that your horse is on the correct diagonal when you are posting.  Let me explain....

The trot is a two beat gait.  When the horse trots it extends forward it's left rear foreleg, and right hind leg.  Then it reaches forward with it's right foreleg and left hind leg.  Hence the diagonal legs are synchronized.  With a trot there are always two hooves on the ground and two in suspension.  When riding a horse at a trot it is the rider that needs to be aware of what diagonal pair to rise or sit on to help the horse balance and flex.

Katzya was so frustrated and just could not get the concept of when to post.  Not only was she frustrated, but it was frustrating for us and her trainer as well.  Finally, after we were all at our wit's end with the situation I asked Tammy if she could try blindfolding Katzya to see if she could feel the diagonal.  (I had read on the Internet that this sometimes works...)  Tammy really put her through the paces, figuring out that Katzya felt things backwards.  When she should be raising, she was sitting.  Somehow Tammy got through to Katzya what was supposed to happen by having her take her feet out of the stirrups and feel Opie's shoulders when he was moving.  And from there on out I am not exactly sure what or how it happened, but it did!  (I was trying not to watch...)  Seeing your child want something so badly, and not being able to have it, is the equivalent of watching a border collie try to get a tennis ball that is stuck underneath your couch.  It is just plain pathetic!  Well, she practiced with Tammy and she was nailing her diagonals on Opie.  We went home and she practiced on her other horse, and again she had it!  She was so excited, that I am fairly sure her feet did not touch the ground until the next day.  She was absolutely floating!

She showed Sunday and even in her classes she never missed her diagonals.  I am so excited for her, and proud that she was finally able to get this.  This is probably the first thing that I have ever seen her want so badly and to see her finish her goal of achieving it is beyond amazing.  I must say, I am proud to call that young lady my daughter!  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Adopt a unicorn!

I feel as an adult I am not allowed to dream anymore.  I must grow up, conform, and act appropriate for my age.  Well, I can tell you there is no fun in that!  I was reminded this this morning by a friend at work.  

I work with a woman who sent me this photo tonight and it made me giggle.  She is a rare breed of person,  this woman, because she actually believes that unicorns exist.  I sort of laughed at her last week when she told me her theory on unicorns but the more I thought about it, perhaps she is right.  Perhaps the creature that I have always thought was just a mythical beast is indeed a real life being.  I don't know.   I have never seen a unicorn, however that doesn't mean he is mythical!  In the same manor that I have never seen a platypus, I know it exists.  This is the conviction that she stands by in her belief of unicorns.  I must say I hope she is right.  I hope one day she is able to see her unicorn with her very own eyes.  I hope that she never gives up believing and dreaming.  You see, this woman is a breath of fresh air in a place where you must conform to what is normal  in order to be taken seriously.  

So tonight I encourage you to folks to dream!  I want you to dig down deep and find that thought you have been suppressing because you were made to feel inadequate, stupid, or childish.  I want you to dust off that thought, and breathe life into it.  I want to know: what do you dream of?    What is the truth that you hold onto?  

Now you are asking yourself, what do I get out of this?!  You get the ability to believe again and when you leave a comment you will be entered for a chance to win your very own cupcake lip gloss.  Give this lip gloss to your friend, your daughter or your own inner child.  She will be happy you took a minute to hang out with her again!  

Note: I will leave this giveaway open until Monday morning and I will notify the winner by email or on my blog.  Remember to check back to see if you are a winner!  All winners will be chosen at random, and there will be 3 winners for this contest.  Good luck!

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Beatboxing Boys!

Enjoy this video of a cowboy and his horse "friend" rapping us a new tune today!  The part of the cowboy will be played by Steve Rizti and the part of the horse with be played by Dancer.  Great teamwork boys!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bought a tractor today....

I decided I needed to expand the urban farm today, so I bought a tractor.  I got it for $0.33 at a garage sale and I am delighted with my purchase!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

I'm Sorry.....

Several months ago I was having a bad day and while I was having a "moment" I said something mean about a friend.  It was a very selfish and terrible thing to do, but  I did it.  It was not to her face, and as soon as it was out of my mouth I regretted saying it.  In fact as it was pouring out of my mouth I remember my brain asking my mouth: "What in the hell are you doing?!"  Not only did I say this terrible thing about this friend, but I said it with a captive audience.  And as we all know, once something is said you can't retract it.  It was out there and the damage had already been done.  Well, I knew that what I had said had gotten back to her and it just made me sick.  First off, I had made it a conscious effort to not say anything negative for an entire year about anyone, and I had been successful.  Second, what I said was really not how I felt at all.  In fact it was quite the opposite!  Third, this person is so nice, that saying something mean about her was almost like being mean to Mother Teresa. 

The good news for me is that God allows for second chances, and we finally caught up with each other this weekend.  I was able to apologize for being a jerk and able to own up to what I had said.  I explained to her how terrible I felt and that there was no excuse for my behavior.  Graciously, she forgave me.  I will say that this lifted a huge burden off of my shoulders, and I am sure it felt good on her part as well.  I just want to encourage you all to make amends with people if you can.  Remember, we are not promised tomorrow!  If you were a jerk, own up to it and apologize.  If you were the victim of a jerk, forgive them if possible.  It will free you.  I know this because it freed me....

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Adventures of Ziggy: Charleston Falls

Hi it's Ziggy here!  I went hiking with my mommy this week.   We hiked 5 miles and it was so hot out, but I had a great time.  We do this thing called letterboxing and we were on a mission to plant 8 boxes.  (If you have any human puppies and you like to hike you should give this hobby a try.)

Along the way I met several other doggie friends and we went off trail a bit and startled a doe and her fawn.  It took me a minute to realize what those big brown things were, and then it was on!  Oh, and they left behind these little round, heavenly smelling things that were about the size of jellybeans.  I loved the way they smelled so much I rolled all over them and then I smelled heavenly as well!  My mommy said something about me smelling terrible, but you know parents.... they know NOTHING!

At the end of the hike my mommy tried to get me to wade through the creek.  Ummm, there was no chance I was getting in that water!  It was too much like a bath and I did not want to clean off my Perfume O' Deer Poo.  My mommy took a video.  I think you will find it most impressive how well I have her trained!  She realized I meant it when I told her "no getting wet!", and she came back across and carried me to dry land.  Good human!  Well, you all behave until my next adventure.  I will try to behave as well, but I am making no promises!

Woof an Kisses,