Posts Tagged With: Horses

Day trip to Parkersburg, WV and Blennerhassett Island State Park

West Virginia is bound by the Ohio River along its western border. Rising from the deep green water of the river is a 500 tree covered acre island. Blennerhassett Island is now a historical West Virginia State Park that is accessible only by ferry or personal boat. The island is home to a 200-year-old mansion, 17 horses,several old buildings,a refreshment stand and a gift shop. It is one of the most beautiful of West Virginia’s State Parks and we took a weekend trip to see its homes and woods.

We started our day trip in Buckhannon and  drove north and arrived at the city of Parkersburg, West Virginia early in the morning near the Blennerhassett  museum and the river side park. A  wonderful four story building with displays from early stone tools and arrowheads found in the area to Victorian home furnishings and early cars. Tickets for the ferry ride to the island are purchased on the bottom floor of the re-purposed building.

Blennerhassett Museum front Wikimedia

Blennerhassett Museum from Wikimedia

My favorite portion of the museum was the collection of nautical items on the 4th floor. The miniature hand-made river boats and this ship steering wheel made me smile when Christopher had to stand on tippy toes just to see over its frame.

Tom and Christopher with antique ship steering wheel Blennerhassett Island Museum. Parkersburg, West Virginia

Tom and Christopher with antique ship steering wheel Blennerhassett Island Museum. Parkersburg, West Virginia.

After about an hour in the museum it was time to head to the dock to board our paddle driven ferry. This day the boat was full but under normal trips there are open seats either in the cabin below and on the deck above. We rode over to the island on the top deck, enjoying the view, sun, and spray off the paddle wheel.

Island Bell ferry to Blennerhassett Island

Island Bell ferry to Blennerhassett Island

Once on the island visitors are welcome to take the tour of the Blennerhassett mansion, rent bicycles to ride around the island, take a  horse-drawn wagon ride and do some shopping at a gift shop.

Blennerhassett Island Mansion Father's Day 2016

Blennerhassett Island Mansion Father’s Day 2016

My family really enjoyed the covered wagon ride. Christopher liked the horses and the wind in his hair when the driver let the horses pick up speed along the 2 mile path around the black walnut grove. The island is known for its trees and they cover over 2/3 of the island’s land that is actually owned by the DuPont Company. The only open spaces visible are the yards at the mansion and two pastures that are kept cleared for the horses that live on the island all summer. The  hundreds of trees shade keeps visitors cool even on a hot 86 degree day like ours.

Horse drawn wagon ride Blennerhassett Island

Horse Drawn wagon ride Blennerhassett Island

The tour of the Blennerhassett house is a delight and costumed members of the staff show off the lavish life the family lived. The family lived only 6 years in the finished house. Construction of the house began in the late 1790 and was complete in 1800 with the family fleeing the island 1806 leaving almost everything they owned behind. Harmon and Margaret’s family history is filled with scandal and strange political dealings that made their lives turbulent. Harmon and his young wife ran away from their native Ireland due to his Irish political dealings and his scandalous marriage, to his niece who was decades younger than him. Harmon Blennerhassett later again becomes involved in secret political dealings here in the United States. Being connected with Aaron Burr (Vise President under Thomas Jefferson) and his military plans eventually caused Harmon to be charged with treason by the President. As troops invade the island,the family flees trying to keep Harmon from being captured. Harmon is later found and arrested spends time in prison before the government drops their charges and he is released. The family suffers more tragedy with the death of children, loss of their inherited wealth and the return to Ireland. Yet, their love survives all of this and house remained abandoned on the island until 1811 when it burned to the ground in an accidental fire.

During the tour you  are only allowed to take photos without a flash so I chose to take very few of the inside of the main house and study which was very dark. But the kitchen wing of the house(which is the wing on the left in the photo) is bright and filled with windows without coverings I took a few of the large fireplace that was said to never grow cold. The island had a large amount of workers, slaves, family and guests to feed. Margaret is said to have fed everyone on the island from this single hearth.The fire was kept up around the clock to serve the 3 meals a day to the workers and sometimes seven coarse dinners to the family and guests.

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Fireplace hearth of the Blennerhassett mansion

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Tour guide Blennerhassett Island State Park

The rest of our afternoon was spent eating at the island snack bar that serves hamburgers, hot dog and a variety of other easy to prepare foods. But one of the highlights of our day was getting a slice of birthday cake and a scoop of ice cream to celebrate the 153rd birthday of the creation of the state of West Virginia. It was a wonderful way to remind us of the power of the people of this state.They choose to become a state that was different and separate from the state of Virginia during some of the most turbulent times in our countries history.

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West Virginia birthday cake 2016

The return trip back to the shore in Parkersburg was a great time to reflect on some of the famous people who also loved and visited this very unique island. I find it interesting that the list includes, people like Davy Crockett, Walt Whitman, Johnny Appleseed, Vise President Aaron Burr and even King Charles the X of France.The beauty of the Blennerhassett home and island was known throughout the large cities of the east coast.

As our ferry paddled its way back to the dock and I watched the barges move freight up and down The Ohio River, I finally understood Margret’s love for the island. It only took a few hours of our time to forget everything the did not happen on the island. We were lost in the beauty of her home and forest for hours. All three of us enjoyed a day along the Ohio River and would have enjoyed a much longer stay.

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Tug boat with barge on the Ohio River at Parkersburg WV 2016

Categories: Birthday, Blennerhassett Island, boats, family fun, Horses, State Park activities, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Snowy Farm Mornings With The Mares

The one thing that I still miss about the farm is the silent snowy mornings. Moving to town has its advantages in snowy weather… streets get cleared a lot faster and the grocery is a lot closer but something is just not the same, let me explain.

My horses on in the top pasture on a snowy morning.

My horses in the top pasture on a snowy morning.

When you own livestock you never get a snow day. So the mornings for me always started early even in the cold. I would get up early, like all farm families do, so I could get the feeding done before work and school would take the day.

Dressed in my coveralls, hat, and gloves, I head out of the back door of the farm-house. I cross the back porch and hear the first crunch of the snow on a step. Walking my way to the barn across the yard I look for them but can not see them in the top pasture. Even though the barn doors are always open the herd of four quarter horse were never in the barn until feeding time.

Even if they heard me tracking slowly through the snow they never moved. They stand at the farthest point away from the barn on the top of the hill. I holler at the top of my lungs”Here Girls!” and get no response. Just the quite… no cars or trucks, no snow plows (sometimes for days), no other person for miles was outside on a 12 degree morning. I reluctantly fill the feed buckets with two heaping scoops of sweet-smelling grain. I Complain to myself about walking up the bank into the pasture to looking for them.

You do it to make sure that everything is alright if they do not come in. Horses trapped in fences, cases of colic and babies born in the open all happen when humans are not looking. Today was not going to be one of those days. I open the gate with the frozen chain and hear it bang as I swing it through the snow and across the frozen ground and into the pasture. The hill blocks my view. No knickers or neigh for me to hear from the group, just my snow boots crunching up the slope to the orchard trees.

Annabell in snow at the farm in Jane Lew

Annabell in snow at the farm in Jane Lew,West Virginia.

Past the orchard trees, I finally see the huddled mares in the upper corner of the field. Snow only ankle-deep and they still do not want to move. “Come on Girls!” I yell again, this is ridiculous I think as the wind blows the quiet snow in my eyes.  I give in and walk to top of the hill and discover I am out of breath and breathing hard. The steam I blow matches the clouds that surrounds them. They breath in and out almost in time and the moisture from the four 800 pound bodies rises into the air. They see me and two heads turn as I finally come close enough to actually touch the snow-covered beasts.

Their winter coats are such good insulation against the cold that snow flakes dance on top of the longest hairs of each animal. Icicles form on the whiskers of each damp muzzle and each wet eye lash. The mares do seem to mind the cold and seem more at home in the winter snow.

Daisy with skippy in snow

Daisy with Skippy in the snow on the Jane Lew farm.

For the small herd, standing and sleeping is more comfortable than slipping down the hill to the barn. I can’t blame them, they have stood together most of the night and have melted some of the snow on the ground . I sneak up close to the oldest mare and slide my gloved hand across her back and talk softly and she murmurs back to me. I get close and feel the warmth of her 100 degree body against me. Warmth and friendship, could life get better for her?

The others push closer to me, nose to nose, they breathe me in and I, them. The smell of the mare’s breath and coats is warm, round and deep. It is the smell of the summer dirt, fresh-cut hay and dark warm stalls.They smell of old barns and fresh shavings,of carrots and cookies, of sunshine and creek water. I kiss each nostril in turn.

Hidden in my coat pocket is a lead rope that I slide around the old mare’s neck. I clip it under her chin… more imagination than rope. I lead her and she willingly follows me down. The younger horses gallop back and forth across the field, bounding, bouncing, jumping and twisting.

Horses Playing in the snow

Horses Playing in the snow

Play time for the young and feed time for the old. I walk her through the gate to the barn, each following her lead without a fight. Her head lowers into the bucket and she blows out the air in her lungs as if to sigh. The rattle of those buckets is the only sound for miles. The sun rises to the shifting sounds in my barn. I toss hay into each stall as the last of the gain gets lipped out of old buckets.

My chore is almost done. The water is thawed and waiting when they finish their meal. The gate is locked up tight. I am alone again in my walk back across the large yard. My cheeks are cold and frosty but my heart is warm. I think to myself…. “Love You Girls” as I hear the squeaky snow under my boot.

 

Categories: Country life, Farm work, Friendship, Horses, Jane Lew, Memories, snow, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Shoeing a Horse with the BarnWood Builders T.V. Show and Spiker farm.

As part of every episode of Barnwood builders Mark Bowe  always likes to show off other skilled craftsman or tradesman who do things the old-fashioned way. So when producers from the show discovered that Tom was a farrier,they were thrilled to add his skills to their show. To film his farrier skills we needed a willing client and a farm to work at. We were able to contact Sue Ann Spiker, also from Jane Lew, and include her and her farm in the last portion of the filming of this episode.

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

Barnwood Builders promotional photo. right to left is Tim, Sherman, Bryan, Mark,Johnny, Graham

If you have been following along with my last couple of posts about our house remodel these are the guys who invited us to join in the fun of their T.V. show and help us get barn wood for our family room. I have already shared the barn at Home remodel #1  and showed off the set and my house in Home remodel #2. But the last part of our day of filming really was about my husband Tom and his client Sue Ann Spiker and her farm.

Tom has worked for Sue Ann for years and when Tom was in middle school she was his Art teacher. When setting up this portion of the show Tom and I needed to find a horse and farm family willing to have a film crew on the farm.  Tom thought of Sue Ann’s horse and farm right away. Sue Ann and her husband John, have historical buildings on their farm. This also excited the show producers and we ended up not only shooting Tom with Sue Ann holding her horse but getting a guided tour of their Guest House, Barn and 1700’s cabin. A real treat for everyone that was on set that day.

Actor Mark Bowe talking with the Director of Barnwood builders

Actor Mark Bowe talking with the Director of Barnwood builders

Sue Ann has spent about 5 years or more restoring and decorating the buildings on her farm. The Guest House is a lovely two-story house built-in 1862. The family rents out house, cabin and barn for family gatherings and weddings. More information is on the families website at Sunny Pointe Guest House. com. The main excitement for the show is the little one room cabin or as The Spiker family informed us is the “Loom House” where linens were woven for the farm family 1700’s. The cabin is now set up as a bedroom with a lovely fire-place to keep couples warm at night.

Sunny Pointe Guest House side yard view

Sunny Pointe Guest House side yard view old cabin in shadows

 

Cellar steps into the basement to Sunny Pointe Guest House

Cellar steps into the basement to Sunny Pointe Guest House

back of cabin at Spiker Farm

back of 1700’s at Spiker Farm

Sue Ann Spiker and her 1700's cabin

Sue Ann Spiker at the front of her 1700’s cabin

bed inside cabin at Spiker Farm

bed inside cabin at Spiker Farm

Christopher walking in front of fire place  in cabin at Spiker farm

Christopher walking in front of fire-place in cabin at Spiker farm

Front door of cabin with photo of Gen. Thomas "Stone Wall" Jackson

Front door of cabin with photo of Gen. Thomas “Stone Wall” Jackson

 

One of the secrets of the cabin revels it’s self around this door… the builder and his family will be forever remembered.

door jam of old cabin with fathers initials and 8 of the twelve children that lived and used the cabin

door jamb of old cabin with fathers initials and 8 of the twelve children that lived and used the cabin

Cabin door jam with more initials carved into the frame

Cabin door jamb with more initials carved into the frame

After the tour it was time to get Tom working on Sue Ann’s horse and here he is getting his microphone.

Tom getting ready to shoe. sound engineer hooks up his micriphone

Tom getting ready to shoe. sound engineer hooks up his microphone

Sue Ann also getting ready to talk about the farm and her horse.

Sue Ann Spiker with sound engineer getting her microphone

Sue Ann Spiker with sound engineer getting her microphone

I can only tell you that the portion where Tom puts a shoe on the front of Sue Ann’s horse went fine. I was with them, holding on to the horse’s tail so that the camera man would not get kicked in the face. He was so low and close to the horse that we all just were a little worried about his safety. So, sadly I was not able to get photos of that portion of the filming. In the end, I was glad I was at the rear of the horse. She was a little wiggly and it took a while for her to get comfortable with all the attention. So the photos I have are of Katie the producer getting some time with “Miss Lee” the Tennessee Walking Horse before everyone got busy working with her feet.

Katie Rolnick the producer with Miss Lee the Walking horse

Katie Rolnick the producer with Miss Lee the Walking horse, Bruno the donkey is in the back ground

The shooting ended with Tom letting Mark Bowe try his hand at nailing on a shoe and talking to everyone at the end of a very long day.  The sun was setting, Tom, Christopher and I climbed into the truck to head home. The day was perfect and we learned more than we ever expected to from this experience and we still had one more day of filming to go.   The view of the rolling hills and green grass of the Spiker farm were hard to leave behind but after 9 hours of filming and a couple of hours of driving and unloading lumber. I was ready for my home and bed.

Rolling pasture of Spiker Farm

Rolling pasture of Spiker Farm

The following day was time to film my house and to take the film crew around our local area to find beautiful scenic and rural images for cut-ins during the show. This ended up being my favorite part of the filming. I was not on camera but got to spend the day with this wonderful people and get my only photo taken.  I got this photo of me in a e-mail a few days after the team left never even knowing Katie had taken it of me while in my kitchen.

Jolynn Powers holding  television camera from the Barnwood builders crew

Jolynn Powers holding television camera from the Barnwood builders crew

The remaining portion of the story is more about demolishing my house and the actual rebuilding process and that will take a while to do and write about. In the future I will share more photos and stories about the mess we make.  In the mean time,I though you might like to see the lumber from the barn. It is beautiful and we have plenty to do our walls and some other projects.

10 pounds of nails came from the lumber

10 pounds of nails came from the lumber

 

Categories: Barns, Barnwood Builders, blacksmith work, family fun, family memories, Farrier work., history, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, Horses, Jane Lew, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Home Remodel # 2 Filming Barn Demolition with the Barnwood Builders at Jane Lew West Virginia.

If you are just dropping in, I am working on a home remodel with a company from Lewisburg WV. They happen to have a television show titled the Barnwood Builders.  They invited me and the blog to take part in not only a large amount of barn lumber but also in the filming of the episode at a barn in Jane Lew, W.V. The process began with Tom and I scouting out the barn and getting to know the producers. You can see more of that post at                            Home Remodel #1 .

Lets just say the I was thankful when Katie one of the producers, canceled Tom, Christopher and I from coming out to the site on Saturday. The rain was bad and the temperatures cold. Generally a typical dreary spring day in West Virginia. This also meant that the filming of my portion of the show was already a day late. Sunday morning Tom, Christopher and I packed into the truck and headed out  for a long day at two different locations. When we arrived the shed and outside wall of the feeding area of the barn are gone and they are working on getting some of the interior wood ready for Tom and I to take home.

Barn with crew, shed and outside wall removed

Barn with crew, shed and outside wall removed

We greet the producers and some of the staff as we walked up to the old house that is on the property. The sitting room is full computers and cases, it is now “Head Quarters” for the crew. With in minutes I received  a microphone and transmitter. On a morning that started out about 38 degrees this was the worst of the entire experience. The cord, microphone and box were freezing cold. It took my breath away to have an ice-cold cord dropped down the front of my sweater and run around my waist to my back where the sound engineer clipped it in place. BURRRRR!!!

I then headed over to met the director and star of the show. I walked across the yard to the fence in this photo and waited. Tom and Christopher waited on the porch and watched in the distance. I had no idea of any of the plans for story or lines. I was flying blind, alone and cold. I had not really realized how cold it was and had only worn a sweater and a wind breaker… no hat, no gloves, just rubber muck boots that would later fail me.

Eventually from the field that you see in the photo two men walked up to me at the fence and introduced themselves. Mark Bowe is the star and owner of Barnwood builders and Steve is our Director. They proceed to explain what we were going to do and what was going to happen first. Mark Bowe would pretend to see me standing at this very fence and walk across the field to see what I wanted and the story would run from there. The story for this episode is that a local woman writer is curious about the strangers taking down a loved local barn and wants to learn more. Pretty close to the truth and totally possible where I live. They begin filming with in minutes of our conversation. I stumbled through a few opening sequences, but get my stride and we film at the barn for the next 3 hours straight. All the while the rest of the crew continues to work at removing boards that I will eventually take home.

Johny Jett and Tim loading wood on to fork lift . the wood will  is for my house

Johnny Jett and Tim loading wood on to fork lift . the wood will is for my house

As you can see in the photos the ground is wet rutted mud. Making it a tricky place to walk,talk, think and “Act” in. It was all I could do not to fall. Then as Mark and I walk away from the barn, I do it, I find a rut with the tip of my rubber boot and trip. Still filming, I reach out and just grab his arm and we laugh. I say “It’s OK you work out” as he laughs and has some charming reply(that I have no memory of now) and keeps me from falling face first into the mud. We walk another 20 feet almost to the fence and the unthinkable happens. My boot gets sucked into the wet mud and I totally lose it. I just holler ” Shit!”…. “My boot is stuck in the mud!” as I pitch forward about falling on my face again. Twice in less than ten minutes, I have made it in to the blooper reel. Mark and I finally make it up into the yard laughing when the director and camera man reach us at the gate. Steve the director at this point complements me on my abilities ( of what I am not sure) and says I am actually good at this ( I am a basket case) and wants to give me a hug. “Wow, third hug in just three hours must be doing something right” I think to myself. I am free to return to seeing my family and friends at the  house as the crew finishes moving piles of lumber.

The time off camera is good, we all eat lunch from my friends Josh and Andrea Evans’ restaurant. They own The Second and Center Cafe’ in Weston, West Virginia.  Sitting around the yard and porch of the house,I finally get to take some random photos and spend time with Christopher and Tom. We are all getting excited to load lumber into our truck and watch the barn go down.

Grahm from the Barnwood builders gives Christopher his personal hat

Grahm from the Barnwood Builders gives Christopher his personal hat

Josh Evans owner of Second and Center Cafe with Bryan from the Barnwood builders

Josh Evans owner of Second and Center Cafe with Bryan from the Barnwood Builders

 

 

Lunch break Mark Bowe and Andrea Evans

Lunch break Mark Bowe and Andrea Evans

Loading up only one truck load of lumber for the shoot is great, it gives everyone the opportunity to get filmed even my little Christopher. Mark Bowe, Johnny Jett, Tim and Sherman, help Tom and Christopher load up the truck. Christopher is loving all the attention and steals the show when he dances with Mark in the muddy road.

Christopher with Star of Branwood builders Mark Bowe  loading lumber int o our truck

Christopher with Star of Barnwood builders Mark Bowe loading lumber into our truck

With the lumber loaded we drive away from the location only to return on foot. Tom parks the truck out of sight and  we all walk back to see the final moments of the barn going down. It is a happy and sad feeling watching part of my community being torn down. I have included a short clip of the last few seconds of the barn going down with sound. The cheering and talking is a little loud so please excuse it. I have no skills at editing video.

We  finished our trip home to unload this pile of lumber and head back to Jane Lew where we met the film crew at another location.The production company also wants to film at my  friend Sue Ann Spikers’ farm. She owns a beautiful property with several old buildings, a house and an old cabin. The Barnwood builders want to see the cabin and talk about its history and visit Sunny Pointe Guest House. Sue Ann is always ready for guests at her restored 1860’s Guest House and 1700’s cabin.

Sue Ann Spiker and her 1700's cabin

Sue Ann Spiker and her 1700’s cabin

This is where I will leave this Blog post. I will continue the story of Tom shoeing a horse for Sue Ann’s and share photos of the farm, guest house,and my pile of lumber. I want to explain more about what we are going to do with all this wood and the treasures we found inside the old barn.

I still can not believe that I was part of this experience and that the Barnwood builders will be back at my house this summer again to shoot footage of the after part of my living room.Hope you are enjoying a behind the  camera look at a TV show and who would believe that this all happened because I write a blog.

 

Categories: Barns, Barnwood Builders, blacksmith work, blogging, family fun, Farrier work., friends, heirlooms, history, Home Decor, home improvement, home remodeling, Jane Lew, nostalgic, recycling, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Collections, Memories, My favorite things.

Now that the move is over and the boxes put away it is time to try to make a house a home. I have been feeling better and slowly trying to figure out where everything goes. Some things are finally taking shape and others are still in a stage of ” When we get time”. One of my favorite projects every time we move is how and where to display some of the wonderful things that we have collected over the 27 years that Tom and I have known each other.

Over the first 18 years of my marriage, Tom and I raised horses on his parents farm. We breed, trained, showed  American Quarter horses. We raised our older son on farm work and feeding animals. It was a good life, but by the second baby ( 17 years later) it was just more work them I could handle alone. I was the main care taker of the farm and our 9 horses 12 chickens 3 dogs  2 geese and one cat. I just did not enjoy the work any more and Tom just could not be home to help due to his long hours at work and weekend business. So as time passed we sold off all of the horses gave the chickens away and said good-bye to the farm. So as a tribute to my husbands love of horses and his farrier (blacksmith) business I took what most people hide away in tact boxes and Rubber Maid Totes and made him a hall of good memories. The hall grew out of things that we had collected over the 18 years we had the farm and horses. He loves it and so does Cody. Cody has many great memories on the farm and was happy to see that we had not gotten rid of everything when we moved.

Horse decor with trophies and photos

Horse decor with trophies and photos

I was lucky that I had saved my son Cody’s pony blanket, it worked out as a nice backdrop for our trophies.  I also added the spurs that my father made back in the Seventy’s. He was a welder and loved the old west and loved to make things. So the result is a pair of wire edged dragon spurs. I don’t think anyone ever used them on a horse but they sure look nice. The photos are of some of our wonderful babies. Tom and I always loved to work with the young ones and we won a few shows with them.

Horse decor photos of Tom

Horse decor photos of Tom

I also wanted to show off some of his horse shoes and a bandanna that I made him for when he worked in bad weather. I added an old feed sack and a wonderful photo of Tom working on an anvil and farrier school. The bits are ones we have used over the years and make us think of the mares we rode with them.  All these things remind me of some of the best times in our married life and I am glad I could make it for him.

Then I moved into the kitchen and tried to find a reasonable way to display my collection. I guess we all have funny things we collect and mine is dishes and /or plates. I started my collection in the 80’s while traveling and it just continues to grow every year. I have plates from all the places I have visited in Europe and the US. Some are fine china and others are pewter or stone ware but all of them have some kind of connection to a time or place that Tom and I have shared over the years. I am sure many of you have collections of souvenirs, my father had stones from many of the places he went and when he passed he had a large “rock collection”. A friend collects shot glasses from her travels and some collect spoons, or decks of cards. Some times the items in our collections help us remember a place better and sometimes a great story to go along with the item.

 

kitchen wall full of plates

kitchen wall full of plates

jubilee chine from England

Jubilee china from England

 

Delft transfer ware wooden shoe maker

Delft transfer ware wooden shoe maker Holland

Tier Germany Volks Marching plates

Trier, Germany Volks Marching china plate

West Virginia State Park stoneware plate, Holly River State Park image

West Virginia State Park stoneware plate, Holly River State Park image

What do you collect? What kind of memories do they hold for you or are they just for the fun of collecting. How did your collection start. As I said above mine started as a way to remember some of the places I have traveled and grew from that. Let me know that I am not alone in having way to much stuff and not enough room to share it all!

I also want to thank Holly over at Redterrain for the idea of talking about objects we love and why we love them. She has a wonderful Photography blog of her home in Australia and she wanted to know if her readers had some object that we have a deep connection to… and as you can see I just wanted to show her my Plate collection. I love them and they are one of the few things in the this world I would miss if I had to give them up.

Categories: About me, collections, Collector Plates, Dishes, family memories, heirlooms, Home Decor, Horses, Memories, nostalgic, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Making a gift from the heart

My sweet little grand-daughter turned 4 this month.If any of you have small children in your family you understand the problem with giving them gifts. It seems that small children attract people who love to buy gifts. As they grow older the pile of gifts slowly shrinks until at 19 or 20 you are lucky if your own parents remember your birthday. So as this young lady is so loved I had to really think over what we wanted to give her. I didn’t want to add to the pile of toys that she already had and some how I wanted to give her something that would last past her fickle little girl loves of Minnie Mouse and the movie Frozen. So after talking with her mother and my husband we came up with the idea of making her a toy box.

We wanted to make one that hopefully would stay with her until she at least reached her preteen years. So while I was out-of-town Tom was able to get the supplies and assemble the box portion of the gift. Then when I returned home I painted the box with several coats of white enamel paint.

white toy box freshly painted

white toy box freshly painted

I talked with my son and his wife about what they wanted on the toy box. I could get stencils and put images of Disney Characters or even just put a decal on the box but I quickly realized that they thought that a painting of a horse would be something she would grown into and that it would be so nice for her room. Well that opened up a whole new idea for me.

I do like to paint and have a back ground in art, but the one thing I have never painted or even tried to paint was horses. It is hard to believe but they are my greatest fear in all the subjects I could attempt. I spent years raising, grooming, feeding and caring for loads of horses. I have spent hours photographing them but never ever drawing or painting them. I have no idea why.. I just never thought I could do them justice. They are so amazing and powerful just thinking about it I get over whelmed. So how do you over come a fear that has lasted over 20 years? You have a 4-year-old tell you ” I want ponies MaMa” and you just jump in and hope to not drowned.

So after a few days I found what I thought would look good. No ” My Little Pony” stuff on this box.I got approval from mom and dad and started the hours of covering the front of this toy box into a horse-box.

blocked in colors of horse toy box

blocked in colors of horse toy box

The process took about 10 hours from sketching to final clear coat. Several times I thought I had a total mess on my hands as I progressed through the layers of paint. I would paint a while and let it dry and walk away for a few days and try another coat and another fix. Each time as I sat at my kitchen table with the huge box on top of it I would think. Horses? Why Horses? I have no experience at this and I am sure it will look like I have no idea what am doing.

final coat of paint close up or horse toy box

final coat of paint close up or horse toy box

So the finale painting will pass as for a 4 years old toy box. I can still see my mistakes but, I am so glad that some how a 4-year-old was able to make me stretch my skills. She was able to make me face a fear I have had for years. I am so glad that we made this gift for her and that maybe she will keep it and some day share it with her little girl. It is truly a gift from my heart and made me so happy to see her love it !

Paige A Powers 4th birthday

Paige A Powers 4th birthday

 Happy Birthday Paige you Ma Ma thinks the world of you!

Categories: Art, Birthday, Family, gifts, heirlooms, Horses, Paige | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Five Facts Friday, Random Things About Me

Five random facts friday,  is a creation of  a friend and fellow blogger Nancy Claeys who tries to get us  to post fun things about ourselves that others may not know.It helps all of us rural folks get to know each other better and share things we have in common when we are sometimes the only ones around for miles!

http://aruraljournal.blogspot.com/p/random-5-friday.html 

nancy claeys link photo

nancy claeys link photo

 

Markers Mark tasting room. Near Loretto, Ky

Markers Mark tasting room. Near Loretto, Ky

1.  Kentucky is one of my favorite places to travel to…. if I had to move, I would move to Kentucky…. They love the same things that I love so it feels like home any time we visit. They love Horses…. Southern Food… and Burbon… What’s not to like?

2. I have accomplished one of my New Years  resolutions from 2012… I wanted to recycle more.. and with the end of the year I did… lots and lots more. I wanted to do more than just my milk jugs so I really started digging into every plastic container we ever used and I had at least  4 , 13 gallon trash bags full of plastic every month… I never though we were so wasteful but the truth is out now!  

3.  I  love canning and making jelly and jams and butters. So this year I made well over 100 1/2 pints of the stuff and gave most of it away as gifts… thankfully my husband does not mind.

aplle cider jelly my best jelly so far

apple cider jelly my best jelly so far

4.  I am getting interested in making fermented foods from our garden so the next year will be full of wine, extracts, pickles, kraut and home-made vinegar. If you think about it I have to of the major bases covered… sweet, with jams and jellies and now tart with pickles and wine.

5. I have almost finish my first year of blogging and it has been the most fun hobby that I have added in years. So glad I tried to join into this vast pool of knowledge and friendship… Thanks Nancy it has been wonderful to share with you and your followers.

Thanks again for stopping by and if you can stop by the blog hop linked above.

Categories: blogging, recycling | Tags: , , , , , | 24 Comments

Summer and the Importance of Regular Hoof Care.

horse hoof in need of repair and trimming

horse hoof in need of repair and trimming

I understand that we all get very busy with summer but please let me remind everyone that we should have regular hoof care for our 4 legged friends. Sadly this summer some of our friends have forgotten or be lax about keeping their horses trimmed or shod and this is the result. Lighting is a 5-year-old Painted Quarter horse that is more of a pet then an actual ridding horse. Lighting is out on a large pasture and received no foot care or contact this summer. I just happened to call his owner and say “It has been about 6 months since we were out your way how is Lighting’s hooves doing”?  Well the owner responded “well he could use a trim”. We made the appointment and headed out the next evening.  

As you can see from the photo of his hooves they are over grown by inches, split and chipped. In this case the owner was lucky the horse was not lame and limping. All four feet were in this type of condition and this horse was not suffering from the condition if “Founder” this is simple neglect.

Tom has removed the excess length of hoof and shapes what is left

Tom has removed the excess length of hoof and shapes what is left

 As you can see from this photo the extra length is removed and the hoof is being shaped. This foot will still have a large chip in the toe that will have to grow back out to make the foot look normal, also their maybe an issue with the bottom of this foot, it appears a crack forming on the bottom left, between the hoof wall and soul. After Tom finished the trim  Tom warned the Customer of the soul issue. These cracks often lead to abscess forming inside the hoof wall as sand and small stones get worked into the crack.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

  This is what Lightings’ feet looked like after a normal trim. Hoof care is normally done every 7 to 8 weeks or every other month.  In our state ( West Virginia) it is illegal to keep a equine animal with feet in poor repair. My husband has been on many animal cruelty calls from local sheriff’s departments where it was just a case of poor hoof care that caused a complaint. Having a good farrier is part of equine management and the cost for farrier care is part of the over all cost of owning any animal. The average horse needs  trimmed more often in the summer and spring as they eat more fresh grass. The extra nutrition in the fresh grass encourages hoof growth and longer feet.

We did encourage Lighting’s owner to call us sooner and more often but seeing that the owner is 79 years old the whole future for Lighting is up in the air. I think that he loves his horse but is also getting to a place where he is not able successfully take care of him and over the next two years he will be in a new home.

GE DIGITAL CAMERA

In most cases it is possible to find a farrier through other horse owners, feed stores, and veterinarians who all see and deal with horses on a regular basis. Their goal is to keep you friend and companion healthy and happy so please remember to make your appointments regularly before you equines feet looking healthy.

Categories: blacksmith work, equine health, Farrier work., hoof care, horse health | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Horse Farm Labor is Our Second Job, Finding the help you Need.

     Tom and I  travel to so many farms during the year that we hear some of the same complaints at every stop. Frist there are not enough well-trained Farriers and second that finding farm workers, caretakers and horse handlers is almost impossible. Thiers reasons for both of these problems and some of it has to do with economics. Frist, Low pay for the hard work  sends many into town and second, farmers are not  good at  letting people know that they need or want help. 

Tom leading horse to pasture

Tom leading horse to pasture

Tom putting shoes on Oat

Tom putting shoes on Oat

 If you have a problem on a horse farm the best two things you can do is let your farm community know what kind of  help you are looking for. Farm stores have bulletin boards, clubs have news letters, and friends have kids these are all great ways to get the word out the you need a helping hand around the farm.  Pay well and often, everyone loves payday and even the kid who cleans out the barn needs paid before he leaves for the day.  

 Over the years of showing, raising and training horse I have worked for several farms in my area. Yes, I shoveled horse poop for a living. Not glamorous work but it beat the rat race any day. I received fair pay, always about double what minimum wage was at the time.  Farm work is hard, dirty and at times stressful. To modern kids Micky D’s is a lot easier and pays better than most farm jobs. Keep this in mind when you are looking to put up hay in 90 degree weather with a 5 am in starting time and that kid at Micky D’s is making 9 dollars and hour.If you want them you will have to pay them.

      This also is true for your Farrier, if you own a horse part of owning that animal is occasional foot care. Most farriers charge a standard rate for trims/ shoe/or resets. Pay your bill promptly and you will have a good relationship with him, wait to long or try to haggle the price and you will be looking for a new one very quickly. If you are not able to afford to pay everyone cash remember that some people are open to barter for services. I have  mucked stalls for riding lessons and Tom has trimmed horses  for hay. Just be clear about what you need and what you have to offer. We have always been happen when we worked out a deal.

 I also do sitting for several horse farms. We all need a vacation now and then. Sometimes families  just go to the fair and other times families need to head out for an emergency, it is this short periods of time that I help out on the farm.

Squaw and dancer

Squaw and dancer

I find that there is a real need for farm families to leave  a few head of horses, a couple of dogs and cat alone for a few days. The horses really need people who understand them if you are going watch them and the time to care for them is pretty labor intensive. I find the best way to find some one who can help, is asking your other horse friends, farriers and farm stores. I get asked all the time because my husbands farrier business. We both are willing  and able to help with animal care. The rate that we get  to come to your farm and care for your horses is not  much less then you would pay to a stable them while you are away. So with each additional horse we charge an additional fee. I find this the fairest way to charge for my time and gas. This way I can keep my rate the same from farm to farm. This makes everyone pay the same and no one gets up set over changes in pricing. The biggest difference is that the horses are at home in their own stalls with their feed and water and no hauling needed. It’s to the advantage of my clients that they do not have to stress the animal while they are away. 

  No matter what type of labor you need for  your farm, remember to just get the word out that you need a farrier, a farm sitter, a person to help string fence. They are their and if you pay them fairly they will be willing to come back and work for you over and over. It is worth building these kinds of relationships because over time you never know who it will be to help out. I never thought that Tom being a farrier would over flow to farm sitting and that I would be working with some many wonderful families and their animals.

Farm that I sit for while the owners are out of town and one of their walking horses

Farm that I sit for while the owners are out-of-town and one of their walking horses

 I hope that my friends Ron and Marylyn have had a great trip and that they feel confident that their horses were in good care while they were away. It is always fun to spend time on their farm and we love doing it.

Categories: Farm work, Farming, Farrier work., Friendship, horse health, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farm Familes Pull Together in Hard Times

  One reason I find rural life so wonderful is how  farm families support each other. You hear about it everyday in my community. It is not a passing trend or a story of past generations. It is  here and now,  alive and thriving in West Virginia.

Ed WaltZ riding Jasper down main street

Ed Waltz riding Jasper down main street

   Currently a family friend is in the hospital and sadly not recovering from surgery the way we all hoped. Ed is a fighter,strong and stubborn, so as I write this I am sure that he is fighting to recover totally from this long process.Yet,  his wife travels back and forth from Ruby Memorial hospital in Morgantown to their home in Weston daily. The drive is around a 2 hour round trip and is long and expensive to do every day. She is also now the sole worker on their small farm. But, they have a hidden support system,  those in the back ground who keep the farm running. 

   Today, Ed and Dottie’s farm animals need fed and watered, horses need put out to pasture, grass needs mowing. The farm has over a dozen animals that need daily care and someone has to do it while Ed is unable to. This is a night mare that every animal owner fears…If some thing happens to me ,who will care for my horse, dog, cattle or goats?  Most of us have at least have some family that can help out, but what happens when they can’t or don’t really understand the care of large animals like horses? This is when what I call “Farm Family” comes in.

    “Farm Family” are the neighbors, the trail ridding friends, the Vet. techs, the Farrier and the boys from the next farm that step in. They all have been their, they understand that a farm is not just a pasture full of cows grazing in a field.  At times it is an over whelming burden, because the animals need tended, huge gardens need worked, hay need mowing, tractors need fixed, fence needs mended, and at times children who need supervision.

   As a member of this “Farm Family” group I have both the given and received from this unsaid promise. The promise that” I was not alone, no matter what!” Their was always someone who answered the phone at 1 am and would listen to my story of a sick or dying animal. That other “Farm Family” member was their to give advice, share medication, tools or just give me a shoulder to cry on, when I could not call my mother. It is an understanding that I have never found anywhere else.

    So when I found out that my friend was sick and the extreme nature of the situation Tom and I asked if their was anything that we could do? What did hey need? The answer was not money, food or laundry it was a simple request… “Could you all come and put  a round bail out for the horses? The breaks are bad on the tractor and I don’t  use it. The boy next door is feeding the dogs,ducks and horses every morning, but he is not able to get hay out into the pasture”..Our responce was a united “Oh course”. This gesture may mean nothing to someone on the outside of farming. But, for anyone who has had 6 head of horses and no way to get hay to them, they will understand that we just gave Dottie a huge gift.

Ed and Dottie

Ed and Dottie

Tom and Ed have been friends for almost 8 years now and Tom has been Ed’s Farrier for about as long. We have helped them get horses and trailers, we have followed their grandchildren through school and shared a nip of moonshine with on the front porch. We are more to them then some hired contractor who shows up to work and the horses and they are more than a costumer base to us… they are ‘Farm Family’.

I  am  richer, because “when the  Cow Pie hits the fan” I know that I can count on having another “Farm Family” member there to help clean up the mess. Here in my town we still care about our neighbors. We try hard to share what we have, and do what we can to relive the suffering of people and animals all around us.We all realise that one day it will be our turn  having trouble getting things done on the farm. But, we will be able count on others to help us get through the hard times. No money is ever exchanged, nothing but a heart-felt “thank you” is ever given. There is no price on kindness, friendship, or understanding. You reap what you sow …. and “Farm Families” know that if you sow the very best of yourself then when it is your darkest hour, you will reap more kindness then you can ever image. 

With this post I add my best wishes to Ed Waltz’s recovery and support to Dottie Waltz… We are here for you any time  and we will see you when you are feeling better, Gods speed.

               Yours always, Jolynn

Categories: Friendship, health, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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