Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday, April 29, 2011

Quick Update

I just hung up with the Medicaid Waiver exceptions person for my mom. Her application was reviewed and she has been approved! The hang up was conflicting information from several different sources in their office. Momma has a trust that all the funds over their "allowable" limit goes into. One person told me I could deposit that amount any time. Because it was such a small amount and I don't go to town every day and the accounts are in two different banks, I usually transferred the money every other month. Now this new guy tells me that was not right. But he can't tell me how much I am supposed to deposit! Her balance after her bills are paid is $138 but the Waiver guy says I have to deposit a minimum of $150 each month BUT......I can take it right back out. Huh? That funds the trust how?

Oh well......hope this guy gets back to me with how I'm supposed to keep $100 in my mom's account and put $150 in the trust with $138. Oh wait......he's a government employee!!!**

**no disrespect to ANYONE who is a government employee who does their job. I know they are out there, just few and far between.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Frazzled Wednesday

I absolutely hate this time of year. It's not really any one thing, just the combination of everything that really gets to me. this is a period of transition from winter to summer, from no work to overwhelming amounts of work, from mud to grass. This is the time of year all my licenses and insurances come due. And with little work over the winter things are really really tight.

Add to this that my mother's medicaid waiver has been denied due to bureaucratic paperwork. Someone dropped the ball somewhere and I have been wallowing in red tape for the past two months. I'm glad the State of Alaska has a program that will pay for my mother's care over and above the social security and pension funds that she contributes. Financially she makes $150 over what the State allows for the Waiver program. That money goes into a trust that the State will get when she dies. A financial review is done every year. Nothing has changed for the last two years. Yet this year her application was denied. So the house is not being paid. Her supplies and medications have been stopped. Private care for this house is $4,800 per month. My mom's income is a quarter of that.

There's no way that I could give her the quality of care that she receives at the assisted living home. We have "issues" and as much as I love my mom I just can't deal with her. I heard Dr. Laura say once that as caregivers for our parents we don't have to physically do the work ourselves but we must be sure they are being cared for properly. Then we can visit and enjoy the time spent with an elderly parent and not resent the fact that they are taking so much from us. That made sense to me and I found the most wonderful home for my mother. Briar and I visit frequently during the winter and not so frequently during the summer. My mom is on hospice care and has been for over six months. I expect at any moment to get "the call" from the staff. However, my mom continues to defy all the odds. She is now completely bedridden. Both arms and hands are completely contracted due to the many strokes she has had. Her dementia comes and goes. Her ejection fraction is 10% or less and she can't sit up for any length of time. We decided quality over quantity though and pulled all her diabetes meds, don't test her blood and let her eat cake every single day. It makes her happy.

I know that there are lots of people out there with problems worse than mine. (Thinking about and praying for Mrs. Mom and Johnny Reb.) And I'm really glad that I have a place here to vent. Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

49 days and 55 pounds

GOTCHA! You thought it was a weight loss thing, right?! Ha! This is Harold, Briar's market lamb. The top picture was taken at 14 days and the bottom at 49 days. His birth weight was 10 pounds so he has gained45 pounds in 49 days for a rate of gain of just under a pound a day. She hasn't worked with him much since it's been so muddy so he doesn't stack out as nice as the first picture. He is a nice lamb though. Nice topline, excellent bone, good spring of rib. I expect he will make a nice market lamb.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

First Trail Ride of The Year

The snow is still here although it is rapidly melting and running down the driveway. Briar said Mare was depressed so we went for a ride. Instead of hauling to the arena to ride on Sundays we will be headed out on the trails.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Running of the Reindeer

Just like the running of the bulls in Barcelona, Anchorage has it's version. People pay good money for the opportunity to sprint down 4th Avenue with several reindeer. It's all part of Fur Rondy - a winter carnival, party, and sled dog racing - held for a week before the ceremonial start of the Iditarod.

Check out this link for more pictures of this event.

***** The reindeer handler on the far left wearing UGG boots is one of my 4-H kids. Her showmanship project for the State Fair this year is a reindeer.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


The creeping crud that is going around has landed here. We have all been sick and not been doing much except the bare necessities for keeping this place going.

The ewes were due around February 8th and Butterscotch, Loretta, and Greta have been in the lambing jugs since then. I didn't expect any lambs until at least the 10th so we were on Defcon 1 lamb watch (every couple of hours in the daytime). I have been fortunate that my ewes lamb during the day. I read somewhere that if they are fed their grain in the morning they will lamb in the daytime. Works here! Saturday afternoon I could tell Scotch was in labor so I bumped her up to Defcon 2 for the afternoon. Then she quit! We had concert tickets in ANC for Saturday night so I crossed my fingers and told her to wait until Sunday and we went to town. No lambs when we returned.

Sunday morning was beautiful and cold. The warmer (25-30*) temps disappeared and we were back to single digits. Scotch was on Defcon 2 watch (on the hour, every hour) and showing definite signs of labor. We got caught up in some movie and I missed the hour check. I pushed it to the half hour and when I went out to the barn there were two babies, wet but cleaned off and nursing! Briar and I took them in the house for inspection. A boy and a girl, 10 pounds and 11 pounds. I love this momma. She is the oldest and most experienced of my ewes and is a wonderful momma.

Briar and I keep all our ewe lambs as breeding stock since we have a verified scrapie free flock. Our girls are all named according to a theme. The first year we had two ewes. Briar named them for Heart - Ann and Nancy. Next year it was Beatles girls - Lucy, Penny, Rita, and Rigby. This year it will be the Doctor's companions - Pond, Martha, Donna, and Rose (if we have that many). So this one is Pond.

Not much going on with the horses. We have been riding in the arena on Sunday mornings. It has been great to work on stuff that we think about in the summer but don't take the time to do.

We still have 4-6" of snow on the trails and where we haven't plowed. The trails are in really good shape and I know what the footing is like under all that snow. If it would get to above freezing we could go for a trail ride.

I lurk around on lots of blogs and it's good to see that you guys are still hanging in there. Spring will be here soon!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

I apologise.....

for sending all the snow to America. These trees no longer have any snow on them. The snow is melting off the barn roof and has filled two 75 gallon stock tanks. The temperature at 11 pm is 38*. Yesterday Briar wanted to wear shorts and a t-shirt to the store. The horses and dogs are beginning to shed.

We talked about how cool it would be to ship the sleds down and ride in the wonderful snow that everyone else is dealing with. I'd LOVE to get 2 feet of snow in one day.

The marmot didn't see his shadow so I hope we have an early spring. Early for us though will be May. Long after America has flowers blooming in the garden, our ground will still be frozen. Outside plants don't get put out until Memorial Day.

So when you look at the snow you have down there be thankful that it will be gone in a week and remember those of us who live in Tundra Country and will not see green grass for at least 4 more months!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sometimes I like winter.....

but not this year. We have plowed twice. Thank goodness for plow contracts that pay monthly. I received an awesome pair of snowshoes for Christmas and have used them twice. The ground is frozen solid and the ice makes it very slippery for the critters. Our water pipes froze - again - this morning and we still don't have water.

On the other hand - the lambs are due starting the beginning of February. The jugs are ready for them and the mommas have all their vaccinations. I need to deworm them this week. My knee is getting better but only about 75%. I'm off most of the pain meds except ibuprophen at night. The wind has stopped blowing but the high temps are below zero and the forecast is for cold temps until the weekend.

Other than that, not much is going on here. January is a slow, quiet month usually. February brings a rush with lambing. State Livestock competition is in March, State Horse is in April, and we hit the ground running in May. There are monthly Poker Rides planned for the summer as well as participation in the Colony Days Parade, Rally Days and Livestock Judging competition. Briar will have her lamb and a goat for market this year as well as working in the Events office at the Alaska State Fair. She has also been invited to travel with my riding buddies to the Fairbanks Alaska CTR - Challenge of the North - in July. The Kenai Peninsula Fair is in August, our fair starts the end of August through Labor Day and then we begin a two month crash course for competition at the Livestock Skill-A-Thon at the North American International Livestock Expo in Louisville the first two weeks of November. Whew! Makes me tired just thinking about all that! I haven't even added in all the work I have to do for my business!

So I am grateful that January is a slow, quiet month. I have a quilt to finish as well as one to start, several books to finish so I can send them to OS, and a couple of other projects to work on. Off now to unload hay and 1800 pounds of barley!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Still here.......

While all of you in the South are enjoying our "typical" Alaska weather, we are suffering thorough no snow and very cold temps. Last night at feeding time, it was 0.0*F. The digital thermometer can't decide if that is above or below zero and shows it both ways. Anchorage has had ice fog. It leaves beautiful hoarfrost on the trees but it's nasty on the roads. There have been several fatality car accidents due to the horrible driving conditions.

With that, Briar and I loaded the horses and trailered to the indoor on Sunday. We had an okay ride. My knee is still bothering me and I felt very unbalanced. There were 8 horses in this indoor and Voosh took exception to the way Ned (the horse) was loping circles. She got very "excited", crowhopping and snorting. My first instinct is to whoa her down and make her stand still. My riding buddies yelled at me to keep her moving forward and I did! She settled okay and we worked on the leg yielding assignment that we were given a couple of weeks ago. The assignment is to work a 20 meter circle at a trot with her nose tipped in and yielding off my inside leg. Then we are to spiral in and out using leg only. Mostly we can do that but our circles are not round.

Our group has exclusive use of the arena from 10:30 am until noon. I have left as late as 2 pm and no one else has been in the arena. Yesterday though at 12:02, in came a Friesian stallion, 2 mares with their handlers and a foal. The foal was haltered but had no person on the end of his leadrope. It came in and ran around helter skelter. One mare kicked at the stallion and the whole crew, people included, were just not very well mannered. We left at 12:05.

My knee is not as swollen. I can move easily but it sets up overnight and if I sit too long. I am planning on snowshoeing with Wild Horse Annie and her crew on Saturday. The sheep need to be dewormed and vaccinated with CD & T tomorrow. I also need to get hay and a ton of barley. There's lots of other stuff to be done before next month when the ewes start lambing.

Thanks for all the good thoughts.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

2011 WAS off to a good start.......

until the aliens that attacked OS came to Alaska and got me!

The temps here have been unseasonably warm: 40*F. That means that what snow we had melted, then froze as slick, nasty, treacherous ice. I haven't cleaned the horse pen because poop creates traction. I threw sand all over the pathways from the barns to the pens. I missed one spot behind the barn and that's where those aliens pulled my feet out from under me and I smacked the ice really hard with my right knee and shoulder. I laid there for 5 minutes trying not to pass out or throw up. It's been 10 years since I fell on the ice and 4 since I've come off my horse. I have been very lucky.

Once I got to my feet, I hobbled into the house and Briar brought ice for my knee. Soon it was so swollen that I couldn't bend it. Straighten yes, bear weight yes but bend? No way. Ibuprofen and ice helped.

This morning it is still extremely swollen but I am able to gimp around. It is exactly 5 weeks before my ewes start lambing so I have 10 ewes to inject with BoSe. Briar will help hold but I have to do the injections.

I was supposed to ride today, snowshoe on Saturday and ride again on Sunday. Guess I better just cowgirl up.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

3rdAnnual First Saturday Event

The 3rd Annual First Saturday was held on Saturday, January 1, 2011. Wild Horse Annie invited me to attend again this year. This year we had twice as many participants as 2010 and just as much fun. This event involves the mountain and

this bunch of women. I knew half of them and the other half worked with Annie at her telephone company job. Most of us had snowshoed, hiked, climbed, or skiied before. Annie and I are the only horse riders in this group though. I'm on the far left and Annie is the second from the right. She was our leader and trail breaker and I rode drag.

Part way up the mountain she turned to look back at us and burst out laughing. She says we reminded her of the pictures of the train of people going up the Chilkoot Pass during gold rush days.

Once again we timed it just right. As we reached the highest elevation (about 1100') the sun broke through the clouds and gave us what one girl said was "God clouds". I am so blessed to live in this area and have such awesome friends to share this with.

We walked about 2 miles in 4 hours and climbed about 800' in elevation. I received an awesome pair of snowshoes for Christmas. They are MSRs and really aggressive with serrated edges and sharp crampons. Our highest point was at a place we call Aspen. It's one of the P&R stops for the Bald Mountain Butt Buster.

PS - I stole all the pictures from Annie's FaceBook page.