Thursday, December 4, 2008


We've had several visitors (and would love more!) since we moved:

Summer '07 - Monica Davis came out for a few days while we were doing inpsections (before we even bought the house :)

Fall '07 - Dee Keyes was visiting family in Maryland, and its so close she drove up for the day....Lots of good dog-advice and catching up!

Spring '08- Paul and Dianne Toma (Mike's folks) took a long vacation and drove their motorhome across the US, visiting may friends along the way and staying with up for a couple of weeks. Mike and Paul had a great time (!) doing repairs to the dam in our stream.

Summer '08 - Martha Vaughan had a class reunion on Long Island and stayed with us for a day and overnight....I got her up on Kate (who needs breeches?).

Such a good girl, could care less about the construction, she just thinks she sees grass!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Plants and Animals

Spring brought so many visitors - I didn't take many pictures (we were pretty busy!), but here are a few things that caught my attention:

Snakes outside and in the basement (of COURSE Mike was out of town that week and I had to relocate the little critter myself...)

More Spring stuff.....

We were so looking forward to opening up the pool this spring.....yuck! Since it freezes out here in NJ, in the fall the pool guy "closes" the pool (empty the lines, add winterizer, put on the cover, etc). In the spring, it should look pretty normal.

We have no idea what went wrong, but we had to drain the pool and start over...

Spring '08

Spring finally arrived - what a relief to slowly thaw out. We didn't get much rain (for NJ, anyway) - in 2008 we "only" got 50" of rain!

Down by the pond is pretty marshy, and after a HUGE thunderstorm we woke up to a downed tree - the entire rootball just tipped up out of the soil.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mike's Piano Room

another before and after....we still need to hang the frames over the mantel :)

Monday, November 24, 2008


Well, we didn't have much furniture at our house in Somis, and this old house echoed until spring when I had a chance to make a dent in furniture shopping. There is a family owned department store in a nearby town. I can buy hot-chilly's thermals, furniture, appliances and rugs. What a great place :) We did upgrade the circa-1955 stovetop in the kitchen with a glass cooktop and a vent hood so strong we can't run ith when we're using the fireplace! The light hasn't been very good, but the pic on the left is our stuff and on the right is from the previous owners....

Home Improvement

Our painter, John Barry was here from January through Easter (!). Mike and I removed a lot of the wallpaper, it wasn't so bad in the older part of the house on plaster walls, but I couldn't make a dent in the paper on the addition's drywall. Think confetti. John has better technique/more patience than me, and got it all off. He painted almost the entire house, including the hall bath THREE times before we settled on off-white. Whatever.

We did a little wallpaper in the dining room and the upstairs hallway and a couple of other small areas. A nice antique hunt-scene toile, very pretty. And I packed all the radiator covers up to the attic and John painted all the radiators barn-red (to match one in the kitchen). The pic on the left is from the previous owners and the one on the right is new.

Fast Forwarding....

We did make it through last winter without any major cold-related mishaps. No frozen pipes, no icy-road accidents (I love our new Subaru!). I did fall-down-go-boom on the hill just outside our front door (just in front of the stone house in the picture....). Yes, a hill, leading right to the pond. It was an ice sheet and and I was wearing YakTrax (yes, their real name...) ice cleats but one slipped off and DOWN I went. there were 2 guys here at the time and we all had a jolly time getting back up the hill :)

Maybe he thinks its a cape???

OK, who's dog IS this? Silly puppy doesn't quite get the concept of "cat door", I guess....In his defense, it was definitely warmer on the other side! Its been pretty cold here for a couple weeks and warmed up today. I am NOT happy about chipping frozen dead rodents out of pasture troughs in the AM....ewwwwwww.....

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The end of an era....

Today was the Smucker boys last day here - the barn is DONE! Well, their part is finished anyway :) I'll miss them showing up at 7:15am every morning - Riley will be so confused not to have their truck to bark at.....We're still waiting for power and to finish the fencing and waterers, and footing.....but were CLOSE! so I thought I'd jump forward a year in time to share.....

the boys are dying to move in,
but they love their pasture as well....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Fall on the new farm....

We had some excitement after our initial settling in...Riley and one of the tuxudo kitties got into a big fight, and the dog (obvi) won...Poor stinky was at the vet for a few days, lost a couple of claws and had a lot of stitches, but recovered fine. I decided we (I...) needed a dog trainer and hooked up with a great one out here. Its now been a year since she first started with us, and he's a much more settled dog. Although he still prefers chasing squirrels to listening to me! Anyway, we have 3 crates and as many dog beds around the house, as Riley has had to learn that "inside" is "quiet time" not "woo-hoo let's hunt the cats!" time. He sleeps on my lap or at my feet in the evening while we watch TV, and the kitties can lay a couple of feet from him and all is peaceful :)

We also discovered the boiler (yes, we have an actual boiler, since we have radiator heat....) in the basement was leaking carbon monoxide into the house. what was our first clue? migraines, confusion, oversleeping, we ignored them all, then the carbon monoxide detectors started going off....duh! Big repair to replace the duct that runs 4 stories (!) up an unused chimney and we're feeling a LOT better these days....duh....

The big boys loved their "winter home" at pleasant meadow.....After a couple of months of them being all PTSD and herd-bound to each other, we settled into a normal routine. Its wonderful to have an indoor to ride in out here - even when its not raining or snowing, the wind can blow and the ground is frozen solid a couple of inches below the sand.

Mike and I had fun too - there are a couple of horses and ponies that drive - I want to teach Kate!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

So why did we move anyway?

Mike got an offer for a great promotion, but he'd have to move to ADP corporate in NJ. He first heard in December 2006, spent a couple of months interviewing and got the job in April 2007. We put the house on the Market in May and had an offer in a couple of weeks.

We found our new house in Alexandria Township, NJ in June and moved in September. We flew Lyric and Dundee (!) as well as 6 kitties and Riley (Cricket rode in first class with me :) ) We got unpacked and moved in uneventfully.

The boys went to Pleasant Meadow Farm for the winter, a fantastic farm with in and outs (unheard of out here) and malibu-type stalls with metal bars for the top half. The new house has a 2-stall barn, an arena and awesome grass pastures. We're building a 6-stall barn with a small indoor (the ground freezes out here in the winter!). More about that later, but we're almost done and its fantastic.

The couple who bought our house put it back on the market in less than 6 months - I don't think farm life agreed with them!

Monday, November 3, 2008

where to start???

with the horses, of course! Lyric is 22 and Dundee 25 (!) this year. They are both wonderful, just your usual-garden-variety monthly emergency vet visits....

November 07 - lyrics leg swells up BIG, not lame and goes away....

Feb 08 - Dundee manages to cut his face open right up to his eye - 8 stitches

March - Dundee can't breathe from the pine tree pollen, start him on SMZ and ventipulmin, he gets an alergic reaction to the SMZ and goes on benadryl...we avoid a trip to New Bolton...

April - Lyric gets an abscess, 3-legged lame and VERY pitiful. Almost as pitiful as me having to soak him every day! never breaks, but finally goes away..

June - Lyric makes a 30mph sliding stop on wet grass in the pasture, falls HARD and tears his hamstring and hurts his stifle on the L side...BAD PONY! several months of light work and very off behind...

July - Dundee colicked, first time ever....Poo-ed all nite but NO gut sounds and in a lot of pain til AM. so scary.

Sept -Garden variety dentistry

October -Lyric's "scratch" winds up being a 1/2" puncture; 3 weeks of SMZ and pink vetrap and cotton....both ponies get their Left stifle injected; Lyric's is prob sore from the fall in June and who knows with Dundee, but they play ALL day again, so I'm happy...

Nov - NOTHING - NOT ALLOWED - PIPE DOWN AND GRAZE! Both ponies are back in normal work and very happy :)

I'm having fun giving them racing stripes (my version of ever-expanding trace clips) as the temps drop. Kate, the newest (and cutest) member of the brood is wonderful. I trailered her out for a trail ride with friends last month and she was wonderful. Cows, running horses in pastures, deer, knee deep through a pond, she was great. her only gripe is when she gets tired! And I got a secret source for beautiful alfalfa for the boys. Alf is VERY hard to come by out here, and can be upwards of $40/bale. Yikes.

OK, more non-horsey-stuff next post, I promise!

the basics.....

All of the kids are great, Dundee has a new girlfriend, Kate (the pic is from January, right after I got her. She's a Haflinger cross and we all love first mare! Mike is doing very well at work - long hours but very successful and happy.

We had a great summer, and last winter was very mild, we're hoping for the same this year.
Although we did have a snowstorm in October!

Monday, October 13, 2008

More than a YEAR?????????

Damn, everyone, I have NO EXCUSES......I miss you all so much, and it seems like such a small thing to reach out, and somehow I've just not been able to....Til NOW :) I will try to catch up over the next several posts instead of re-writing war and peace in one nite.....But here's the Cliff Notes for my ADD friends (most of you....)

*Sept 07 - moved to NJ

*Oct 08 - finally posted a blog and joined the 21st century....

In between? oh, I don't know, but it involves a new horse (mare!), an indoor arena, redecorating a house, a dog (Riley loves NJ...), carbon monoxide poisoning, squirrels, becoming a subaru-girl, fireflies, fantastic summer evenings..........Many pix and details to follow!