Archive for November, 2007

Winter Around Here

Monday, November 26th, 2007

It’s only November and we’ve had a fair amount of snow and freezing temperatures.  These photos were taken on Saturday with the exception of Mission Range which was taken on Friday.

On Friday we went to Ronan. It’s about an hour North of Missoula on Highway 93. The snow, mountains, and mountain valleys are gorgeous along the way.

Mission Range

Saturday I went down to the barn to ride Blondie. When I left Missoula the truck said it was 5 degrees, by the time I got to Lolo it said 0 degrees. The sign in Lolo confirmed this temperature range; it registered 3 degrees.

Blondie in the Snow

I was beginning to wonder if I was nuts to spend any time outside, but I was already at the barn. The ground is frozen and the snow is piled up where the horses don’t walk on it. Blondie has a pile about a foot high that she steps over where the snow has fallen off the roof (makes you think a bit about barn design in a snowy climate – many of the other shelters are shed rows with the snow falling off the back, outside of the paddock).

Around the neighborhood it looks like this:

Barn Snow

It’s very pretty. The snow is extremely crunchy in the cold. Inside the barn, only 2 of the 4 furnaces were running so there was just enough heat to take the edge off.

I understand that Missoula is relatively protected from cold and snow compared to other areas of Montana, but I also hear that it’s already snowed more than last winter. The forecast for the next few days is calling for more snow. The upside is that it’s already 15 degrees today and the high will be upper 20’s.

Regardless of temperature, I feel better knowing I have a reliable 4-wheel drive vehicle to drive back and forth to the barn.

New Dodge

Now you know why we went to Ronan. Our old truck hadn’t ever failed us, but Richard was concerned it could breakdown going over the pass(es) this Winter or that it wouldn’t be reliable when I start using it to tow a horse trailer next year. It took us a couple months and several dealerships before we found the right truck and the best price at Ronan Dodge.

In November, it doesn’t seem so bad – I’m more concerned about February.

Horse Update: One Month After the Move

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

Pepsi and Blondie have been in Montana for just over a month now. They’ve been through a heck of a transition to their new environment. First I sent them off to this new place on their own, then they get separated from each other, Pepsi had to start growing up, and there’s all these new things to get used to.

Here’s Pepsi in his paddock. He’s went through quite the transition from being a dominant brat, to being to scared to drink when he was in this paddock, to a much better adjusted horse who’s getting comfortable in his new environment. 

Pepsi's Paddock

He still has a ways to go, but he’s starting to figure it out. I watched Ardyce ride him today and it was quite an experience. He was trying to spook at everything at first, then once he was settled you could see what a baby he is – he kicked at the whip, kept asking for more rein – just baby stuff! Can I do this, oh no? Well I’ll try this instead. I’m so glad Ardyce is having fun with him because I’m not sure I have the confidence yet to push him through his issues. Plus I can focus on Blondie…

Blondie's Paddock

She’s had a difficult time with separation anxiety. When I first got to Montana I couldn’t even put her in the cross ties. She was rearing, striking out, running through me. It was horrible. Needless to say I couldn’t ride her because I couldn’t even tie her up to saddle her. The next day I saddled her in her paddock and rode her outside. After that we began working on standing in the cross ties or in a stall in the barn. She’s still anxious about this, but she is improving each day.

Blondie in the Barn

Doesn’t she look cute standing in the stall? It’s deceptive, look at how big her eyes are:

Big Eyes

The barn and arena are fully enclosed. If no one else is riding at the same time there’s a good chance your horse will be the only one inside with no other horses visible. Each day is an improvement, but I’ve had to really get after her for swinging around into me and trying to pull me around.

Under saddle she’s finally settling down too. The first couple of weeks she was sweating up at a walk! She wanted to tear around frantically, but I was not allowing that. Not that she didn’t try though. Finally today I was able to ride a few trot circles where we were just working forward and I wasn’t pulling her back. As long as she keeps improving every day I’m happy.

Thanksgiving in Missoula

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

We’re having a quiet, restful Thanksgiving here in Missoula. This is what Missoula looks like today:

Missoula Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Snow

It was 22 degrees when I went to see the horses at 10am and by afternoon it was 27 degrees. Most of this snow is from Sunday night. When we went to the grocery store I wore my Sea Glass Scarf.

Sea Glass Scarf

And that’s my pictorial story of our day.  I should have taken Richard’s picture while he was cooking. That would have been the best time to sneak it in. We had a nice simple dinner and a relaxing day.

Snow

Monday, November 19th, 2007

It’s been snowing off and on since yesterday afternoon. It looks like we have 3 or 4 inches here, but the news reports 5-8 inches in the Missoula valley. The temperature is relatively warm – hovering around freezing. Later this week it’s supposed to be colder with highs just above freezing and lows in the single digits or low teens.

Snow

This is the view from our living room (and my office) window.

Things here in Montana…

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

are a little bit different than western Washington. Some good, some not so much.

  1. Even though it’s colder here, it’s not damp so it doesn’t feel as cold. It’s currently 20 degrees at 7:30 this morning and will be mid-40’s later today.
  2. Sunlight!
  3. Fully enclosed arenas. Last night as the wind was whistling around the arena I was very glad it’s fully enclosed. As it gets colder they’ll turn the furnace on and keep it heated to 40 degrees too.
  4. Evening television shows are on an hour earlier. I might actually get to watch some shows I like that were on too late for me to stay awake. 

Scenery

On the flip side:

  1. The speed limits are high and require you to turn into and merge with traffic moving at 70 mph with no turn or merge lanes. There’s even a stop light on the highway where the posted speed limit is 70 mph. At night the speed limit goes down 5 mph.
  2. Wind!
  3. Living in an apartment is not easy.
  4. I don’t know where anything is in town. I am getting a pretty good handle on neighborhoods though.

What is this?

If you know what this is leave me a comment. We saw a handful of them in the fields on the way to Helena and we can’t figure out what they are.

New Finished Objects

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

The two most important things I brought with me to Montana were the horses and their things, and some knitting to keep me busy.  So what did I bring? A whole tub of yarn and needles!

Tub of Knitting

Call me crazy, I didn’t want to run out of projects and have to buy more yarn when I already have yarn at home. I brought 3 projects from my unfinished objects list: the socks, Lady Eleanor, and Sunrise Circle.  The socks were easy to finish on the drive over. They are knit with Regia Fake-Isle, officially called Brasil.  The pattern is based on Gentleman’s Socks by Nancy Bush.

Blue-Green Socks

Then I got a little sidetracked and knit this scarf. The idea was lifted directly from Yarnstorm’s Sea Glass Scarf. Even though this was not really an unfinished object, it feels very good to finally use up this yarn.  It’s Colinette Point 5 in the colorway Morocco.

Sea Glass Scarf

The only problem with the yarn is that I’ve had it a while and I decided not to use it for it’s original purpose.  After that, I couldn’t figure out what to do with it!

Over the weekend I started fringing Lady Eleanor. I really don’t know why I put this off for so long. It wasn’t difficult and now I can finally wear it. The only thing left to do is steam or wet block the fringe so I can trim the ends a bit.

Lady Eleanor

Lady Eleanor Worn

With that done I had to decide whether to cast on for something new or start finishing the Sunrise Circle jacket. My desire to finish the jacket won out and I’ve started the seaming process. I’d like to have it ready to wash and block by this weekend.

Horse News – Pepsi Gets a Job

Monday, November 5th, 2007

I bet you’ve all been wondering what happened with the horses since I shipped them to Montana a week before I could leave.

Pepsi cantering

Friday, Oct. 19: The horses left for Montana. They arrived at 1am the next morning and were put in quarantine at the new barn.

Saturday, Oct. 27: When I got to the barn on Saturday Blondie was so funny, it was like she didn’t believe it was really me. Then Pepsi saw me and started whinnying.For the first half an hour it didn’t matter which horse I was with, the other one was nickering to me. The walls between the stalls are solid so they can’t see through. They both look good and seemed calm except for the part where they didn’t want me out of their sight. Then I realized Pepsi had sweaty saddle marks, girth marks, and browband marks. I was shocked and surprised, but at the same time if he had been ridden and he behaved (no one got hurt), it might be a good thing.I went down to the barn Sunday and found Blondie in the cross ties. I said hi to her and noticed Pepsi wasn’t in his stall so I watched the horses in the arena. From the cross ties you can see across the aisle through this one entrance to the arena. There’s Pepsi UNDER SADDLE, TROTTING OUT NICELY WITH 3 OTHER HORSES IN A LESSON!!! Dressage saddle, snaffle bit, full mouth contact. He was doing really well. So I watched for a bit and then went to the other end. I talked to the barn owner and got this story…By Tuesday, he was an obnoxious turd in his stall and also when the girls took him out to walk him. So they decided to put him to work. The owner rode him and came to the conclusion that a couple of the girls who take lessons could handle him.

Monday, Oct 29: Today they are officially out of quarantine and will move out to their paddocks. Pepsi will continue to be ridden in lessons.

Sunday, Nov 4: Pepsi was ridden in a lesson in the outdoor arena. His rider sounds like she’s having fun. She tells me that he presents a different challenge in each lesson. I’m thrilled that he’s getting ridden as this will make it much easier for me when I start riding him.

Pepsi

Oh no, not again.

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

(I guess that blog title was telling because I wrote this post and then lost it once already.)

Yesterday we went out to look at more houses. No, we didn’t find anything. Prices are high here and it’s difficult to find a nice piece of property with a nice house (nice house? sure, nice land? sure, just not in the same place).  We even looked at two houses above $750K and I can’t say I liked either one of them that much either.  Then there were the two that weren’t on our list that I did like:

Absolutely gorgeous homes in a new development. I should have taken more exterior photos. One house is Craftsman and the other Prairie Style. No detail was left undone. The problem? Both lots are too small for our needs. There are a few larger lots for sale here and horses are allowed.

Which brings us to our next thought which is if we can’t find anything we like maybe we have to build again. Building would be easier since we’ve recently gone through the entire decision making process, but at the same time we’d be 9 months from having a house.

We’re still considering homes under $400K, but then you’re looking at replacing the kitchen, bathrooms, flooring, and re-painting. You’d probably improve or build the barn from scratch at that price, replace the lighting fixtures and doors…ugh…the list goes on. Sure you could live with it the way it is and do the improvements over time and in the end you’ve spent so much you *almost* could have built what you want from scratch.

It’s all very frustrating. Oh, I should also say half of the homes we’ve looked at have been on the market for more than 6 months.  A handful have been on the market for a year so I’m not the only one who thinks they’re overpriced.