Friday, January 30, 2009

Horse case makes the Trooper log

Once in a while, I check the Alaska State Trooper log. The log is not complete by a long shot, and many items disappear after being uploaded, but can stumble across some interesting items there.

Like this one-

Location: Anchor Point> Case number: 09-6133> Type: Cruelty to Animals> Text: On 1/22/09 at approximately 1621 hours, AST received a report that four horses were being neglected by their owners at a residence located off of Resch Road, near Anchor Point. Based on the investigation, it was determined that two of the horses were in a state of starvation, and the other two horses were in poor condition. All four horses were seized and placed in protective care. The horse owners, Katy Campbell, age 25 of Happy Valley, and Wesley Campbell, age 30 of Happy Valley, were both issued summons to appear in court on charges of two counts of Cruelty to Animals.> Author: MRH1> Received Friday, January 30, 2009 8:30 AM and posted Friday, January 30, 2009 9:08 AM

Now people that read this from the L48 are probably thinking-what's the big deal here? Well, it is a big deal here in Alaska. If you read our statutes you would find them laughable compared to many other states. Minimum standards of care? Shelter-which can be interpreted as a single scraggly spruce, or clump of alders, or nothing at all.....if there is a water container (not necessarily running water on the property, mind you) and a spot that used to have hay, that's good enough to satisfy the law. Fencing is equally interpretive, and restraint can be chained or roped to a tree. Conditions? Well, I can't even fully describe this one-anything goes.

People only call the Troopers as a last resort when Animal Control cannot or will not respond. Troopers generally are the only people who can legally seize a horse, as we have very strong private property laws here. Just how bad were they, to be taken into custody?

I can easily imagine the condition of the horses. My heart breaks for their suffering. The most punishment these people will get, many months down the road, is a small fine.

That just angers and saddens me, it truly does. They stand a good chance of getting the horses back also, and probably won't have to repay the thousands that will be spent to recover them to health. And there is not much to be done about it, really. I have no idea who has the horses in care now, but I wish them well. It can be very challenging to recover horses in a moderate climate, and much more difficult over our long winter months.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mt Redoubt update

So I have had a fairly productive day today, and a quiet evening enjoying a couple of my favorite shows on television. I decided to stay up and catch the late news for a change, but was really drowsing a bit. I heard something about Mt Redoubt and came awake long enough to learn that something or other had gone on, or was going on, tonight.

Naturally, like any connected individual, I got on the computer right away. First, I checked the NWS, for the Kenai radar. At first, I wasn't sure that the volcano would show on it, but of course it does-Mt Redoubt is darned near due east of the city of Kenai :) I couldn't find anything that seemed to correspond with the volcano....snow showers, yes.

The next stop was back to the Alaska Volcano Observatory website to see what had been going on while I sat entranced in front of the idiot box (as my father called TVs). The summary just said there had been increased activity between about 5:30 and 8, and that it had subsided. Naturally I checked the one webicorder that typically shows the most action-that is the one labeled "RSO" for anyone who trots off to look.

Now, it's nearly 11. When I scroll down to look at the most recent input, it sure doesn't look like it has subsided to me!

(The link to the Alaska Volcano Observatory is in the post below-just click to visit)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Mt Redoubt

Mt Redoubt is a volcano located nearly 100 miles southwest of Anchorage. It's just one of a number of volcanoes located along Cook Inlet, and it's one of the more active. We last had a serious series of eruptions from Mt Redoubt back in 1989, when there was widespread ashfall as a result.

Here is the web address of the Alaska Volcano Observatory-

Here, you can follow the links to each volcano monitored, find webcams, and real time graphs of seismic activity. Also on the page, are links to information about how to cope with ash fall. They also provide critical information to the NWS and for all flight services on projected ash fall, which is crucial to aviation. Just click on the "Mt Redoubt" link to get started-fascinating reading there, if you are even slightly geeky (or worried about a possible eruption)

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information as what prepaarations you should take as a horse owner. Having experienced the 1989 eruption with ten horses in my care, here are some pointers:

1. Plan now for ash in your exposed stock tanks. We may be fortunate and ash will be heavy enough to sink rapidly but that is not always the case. Procure a transfer pump and keep your hoses in a warm location so they are ready to use when needed. You will likely need to pump out your stock tanks, rinse well, and then refill several times. Plan where you can safely pump that water, considering the below freezing temperatures. If you use water buckets inside a barn or stall, find extra buckets as you will be emptying these frequently to remove the sediment that settles to the bottom-transferred into the bucket by your horse. Yes, it gets very sludgy, buy a long handled toilet brush or similar for this.

2. Cover your exposed hay. Hay that is stacked well under eaves or stored enclosed, will probably be okay....but any hay, including round bales left outside, should be covered with something. That something can be anything-tarps, visqueen, old sheets, blankets, whatever you have. Ingesting a lot of ash can be harmful to your horse.

3. You may need to rig up a mask for your horses' nostrils. I can tell you that the only practical thing that is inexpensive and readily available is kitchen towels. Worn out cotton towels, or even cut up old T shirts will work. Take the towel and tie the short sides to the side rings with a loose knot. Leave it fall over the nose-you can cut them in half if it seems too long. You can also fold a wrap or two around the nose band to help it stay in place, but I can tell you that most horses are going to have a snit with this to start with. Be persistent and be prepared to retie them a lot the first couple of days. They will also end up a sodden mess, wet from drinking and heavy with ash. Have a bucket or muck tub at hand so these can be rinsed and put back on pretty frequently. Each horse is different so how often will be a judgement call. Keep a few clean rags handy because you will find that you need to wipe out nostrils (gently!!!) too.

4. Keep them quiet. If you can close them into a stall during the heaviest ashfall, that's great. I know this isn't possible for everyone, but do what you can. More hay, perhaps?

4a. Horses (and people!) with respiratory problems could have some serious trouble with ash. If your horse is having a hard time, or just breathing harder than normal at rest, call your vet! The ash is typically very abrasive (sharp) and you may need your vet to help manage any complications. Don't be surprised if your horse coughs...they all coughed at my place in 1989. This did not truly go away until we had several really good rains.

Now to the rest of the property. As soon as pratical, you will need to wash your vehicle and trailers, to keep the corrosive action at a minimum. Change the air filter in your vehicle, and if you drive a diesel, I would think twice about taking it anywhere-check with your dealer on that. Ash is going to get tracked in everywhere, and it's a real pain in the house-and the barn. At the barn, you can spritz water on aisleways, then sweep. If you can hose it down, great, but if not a spray bottle with water will work, just do little areas at a time and scoop up the damp ash and dispose of it in a trash bag. It goes without saying you should cover your good tack, and make sure that all feed products are protected also. For the house, I started a "all shoes off" policy and that helped a lot.....the pets were a different matter. A really hairy dog is going to transfer in a lot of ash, so give some thought to this. You will be dusting non stop too, as it works its way inside your house.

As far as electronics and whatnot goes-turn them off and cover them. I have some contractor trash bags that will work perfectly for me.....computors, printers, televisions, electronics of any sort are at risk. Can't tell you about cell phones though!

So there you go, a short primer on how to cope with ash fall from a volcanic eruption. I would certainly love to hear from others who have gone through this-because there is sure to be something I have forgotten or never thought about!

Friday, January 23, 2009


First, we weathered our strange January thaw just fine. The horses' pens have relatively good footing-er, traction, because we purposely left some manure down. Not something I like doing, but I can't have them standing on a water covered skating rink either. Of course, any place that has been plowed over the winter, is another matter altogether, lol We went through a huge load of gravel, spreading it by hand over the driveway, barn and house areas. No one had a bad spill so that works! We now have a resident pair of quick and easy to put on traction devices at the barn, in case anyone needs them :)

The Princess and her Hony. The hony is comfortably stalled over at Bluegrass, one of the best horse facilities in the area. He has started back into work, and hopefully will slim down a bit as he left here in fine shape-round! I found out last night that the Princess is returning to Fairbanks, to become a pampered, retired, center of attention for some young girls. They are thrilled to have her come back, but I am going to be very sorry to see her leave. Not to mention my son is going to be heartbroken as he had hoped to ride this coming summer. It's okay I told him, I do have two other horses, lol I will surely miss her quiet morning nickers though :( When she leaves, it will be just my two at the barn-a first in a long time.

Chubs is chugging right along. Despite his handicap of severe arthritis and blown, calcified knees, he has about vaulted himself into the herd master position now. He's doing great, and the folks that care for him are wonderful, caring people. He is keeping company with Wingnut, by the way. Wingnut looks marvelous! It's obvious that the herd environment and large area are just perfect for her. Like I told the lady that inquired about boarding this week....youngsters and some individual horses just flat need more room than I can provide. I recommended another local place where I know the owner experience with babies-I hope they work something out. Babies need room to romp and play and run!

On the home front, we are doing well. I have made up my list of seeds I need to get started on the "great vegetable grow". This weekend I will get them ordered and next week I need to get things organized at home, and here at the shop. It seems I can't grow enough veggies to satisfy the demand-which is not a bad thing. I also need to get set up to start some peppers next week. Yes, the smaller and hotter the pepper, the longer to maturity-so, I have some habenero seeds to get going, pronto! The big plant happens in mid March. Last year I did around 70 flats altogether. This year, I hope to triple that.

I am also thinking of building a small raised bed here at work, and stuffing some cabbages or something in it-just because. I have a spot along the fenceline out front that will work, and it's not too far to reach with a hose, so why not? It will get a lot of sun exposure, so I will need to think through how to keep it moist enough if I go with cabbages-they are big water hogs. Besides, nothing impresses people more than seeing those huge cabbages! Now, should I start some OS cross next month? Or wait it out and end up with smaller ones? I can't decide yet. Starting things too early can become a real headache if you don't have access to a greenhouse when you need it!

The hay vans continue to arrive, completely sold out in advance. I don't know whether this is a good thing or not, but I really don't like telling folks I have none to spare :( And I don't. It was even a stretch to donate a bundle from this current van, cutting into my own supply to do so. But when it comes to Alaska Equine Rescue and old, skinny horses-just gotta do it. I loff old horses and I won't see them wanting if I can help it.

Work is in it's normal, semi dormant state for January. I have no idea how the coming season is going to go, but there are still some new houses being built-which tells me not all credit is frozen and that the inventory on the market is tightening up. Any builder who has figured out how to do the less expensive, starter type houses, is still building. I am rather expecting a rough two or three years for everyone here. The Governor just announced a hiring freeze, and is planning a 7% reduction in the operating budget. Too little, too late, I fear. Alaska usually ducks the worst of the economic woes of the L48, but our unemployment rate is already 7.3%. Another group announced an expected job loss of 3400 for the state. I already know of over a dozen people laid off on the Slope (That would be, loosely, the Prudhoe bay area) and more is sure to come. I am crossing my fingers my own hub won't be a victim of this too. Part is the tax structure, part is the overall economy, and part is due to the DNRs refusal to allow drilling at Pt Tomson-as far as work on the Slope goes.

Other than that, life goes on.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Change and hope

Today is an historic day for the world, not just Americans. Imagine, a black man (and yes I know this is not entirely a PC term) is sworn in as President of the United States! I do not envy him, the task ahead. I sincerely hope he is up to the challenge and can lead us into the future safely.

My purpose here on the blog is not normally political, but oftentimes, polictics overlaps the horse world and the two become snarled together. With that in mind, I am going to offer up two subjects which have far reaching implications, and most Americans know nothing about either.

The first is UN Agenda 21.

I am sure you are thinking, what? What does that have to do with horses, or horse ownership? the UN has nothing to do with us! Um, wrong. The concepts have everything to do with your ability to own and enjoy your animals. Here is an excerpt from a Wisconsin radio program, which describes fairly clearly, how UN Agenda 21 came about:

There is a great deal of information available to you on the web-I strongly suggest you take a half hour some day very soon, and do some reading. Decide for yourself if this is good for the US, and yourself? Just think through the implications and you will see this is happening already, all over the US, and yes, here in Alaska too. And yes, this will touch upon the habitat preserves, North American Union, NAFTA, the Trilateral Commission, the Super Highways, CODEX and all the rest.

Okay, on to the second subject-NAIS. It stands for National Animal Identification System. This boondoggle has been sold to the USDA by large agribiz and others who stand to benefit, and it is being implemented across the US. Some states have decided against it, and some are caving right in because it means money for the states. One of the best (and I will warn you, this is a *huge* site!) places about information on NAIS is:

If nothing else, read the sections that describe how this will effect you, and every activity you enjoy with your horses. Once you have done that, read through and understand the implications of the program, as they apply to your Constitutional rights as a citizen. As a person who has been a realtor in the past, I can assure you that the Premises ID *is* going to become a huge problem down the road as properties change hands. The ID stays with the property forever.

I am firmly, steadfastly against both of these programs.

Discussion, anyone?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Bush Emergency

And nope, I don't mean our President, soon to vacate office.

I mean Bush Alaska. I feel a little guilty about not thinking about what is happening in our Bush communities, aside from the knowledge that their heating oil costs are astronomical.

Yesterday, the Alaska blogs were aflame with the topic, in particular, the plight of the village of Emmonak.

This morning, I did some reading, catching up on some favorite blogs. I am left a changed person. I am furious, saddened, and enraged, all at the same time. It boggles my mind how our Governor can hire staff for PR for her Anchorage office, while our people are chosing between heat and food! We are the wealthiest state in our nation, and we cannot feed our residents?

Governor Palin responded to some recent criticism by starting a new subcabinet which would address rural issues. This was back in October. No one from the Bush is on board and no one seems to know when one will be found, and when or if, any meetings will take place. Instead, she is busy fending off numerous requests for interviews. Bah!

To learn what has me so upset I can barely type, feel free to visit these websites: One of the best blogs on the net. The subject is on the main page, with plenty of links to other news sources. Mudflatters raised five thousand dollars in a few hours, to send a reporter from another blog (The Alaska Standard) to Emmonak to get pictures and first hand accounts of what is happening there. All of the main stream media has already been contacted, but they likely will not pick up the story until they have better evidence at hand. It is on the Huffington Post and DailyKos, and others so far.

Feel free to become outraged, contact people in state government and let your opinions be heard.

I am beyond livid that our Governor is not recognizing this emergency, never mind responding to it. Maybe too busy getting her latte, perhaps?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Careful what you wish for!

Ah yes, the cold which has strangled us for nearly three weeks has moved along. My apologies to folks living anywhere south east of Alaska-sorry about that!

So it was really nice to take the blankets off, and find everyone in tip top shape. In fact, Reba has regained some of what I very carefully took off-so she gets put back on a diet. I had no idea I would end up owning an air fern, seriously!

The barn got tidied up, and straightened up. The chickens are very happy to be back out where they have a little room to be.....well, chickens. The mood of the horses has improved, which is nice to see. I managed to get a little more hay home, and that's always good too.

I was thrilled to see a forecast that showed temps into the 20s for the coming week, since that means it will be much more comfortable getting the rest of the hay off the van. This morning it was 14 degrees above zero when I fed, and it darn near felt like Tshirt weather, lol!

So it's been windy, fairly strong, for most of the day here on the PeeDub. Temps have been somewhere in the mid 20s. I hadn't given it much thought until my hub called, and said "it's snowing real hard at home". Snow? Hunh? Nothing 4 pm rolls around and I check the National Weather Service forecast.

Calling for RAIN the next four days!!

Aiyiyiyi! Enough already!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Day 17

Today is the seventeenth day it has been below zero at my place. I am quite sure a lot of other Alaskan's have had plenty more than that, but I am just flat out tired of cold.

I am tired of struggling into my cold weather gear to do chores. Tired of driving to the barn because I usually have my young son along and although he has good gear, I don't want him outside longer than absolutely necessary at -20+. I am tired of having five annoyed chickens in my garage, and cleaning up after them. (Although just reaching in and snatching eggs is okay) I am tired of wrestling hoses that will freeze in minutes if you aren't quick. I am tired of just raking frozen manure to the side, instead of hauling it out. I am tired of checking under blankets, pulling gloves off to feel underneath them, and while I am at it, checking to verify the stock tank heater is working properly. I am tired of dry skin, dripping noses, and the very thought of bringing more firewood to the house makes me wince.

My poor dog can hardly stay out long enough to do his business, and many times I have had to stop my feeding routine and scoop him up and into the car-to keep his feet from freezing. He's getting real good about being quick, I will give him that.

My kid is going crazy being cooped up in the house. The Wii and movies and toys are starting to wear thin and he needs to blow off some excess energy aside from helping Mom feed once a day. Everyone else I know with kids, says the same thing-but it's too cold to be outdoors safely. However, he now knows that the phrase "Gear up!" means snow pants, heaviest coat, best gloves, a head sock and a hat.

The horses are starting to show some crankiness too. Just generally slightly akilter, not really upset or bothered, just ever so slightly unsettled and just a little more active than the good groceries would warrant. They too, need to blow off steam and get active. I just get to see them when it's dark for the most part, since it's been too cold to work them or even turn them out into the arena. I can't risk any of them working up a sweat at these temperatures either.

In short, I am danged sick of it all, and can't wait for the weather to turn.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A naked truth

Like many of the thoughts I share here, this one has been percolating around in my mind for quite some time. In fact, I have touched on this previously here but feel a deep need to revisit this topic again.

I find myself in an emotional crises of sorts. I had a hunch this situation would arise, but I honestly did not expect to be so invested in the situation.....which is what happens when horses come to stay with me-I get attached to them quite firmly. I have agonized over Zippy, Pepper, Chubs, and Wingnut, and others that have graced my property over the years. Striving to do what is right for them-special diets, special attention, finding the right placement for them that affords them good quality of life, you know? It has caused me all sorts of headaches and heartaches over the years-balancing my great drive to nuture against the practical realities of horse care here.

But if I didn't have that emotional connection, I suppose I would be an unfeeling person who gave no thought towards their future. And despite the distress, I am comfortable being who I am.....even if it is sometimes very painful.

Which brings me to today. Even though I knew it was coming, the pony Princess has numbered days. Maybe just a couple of weeks at the outside. It's a situation where the owner cannot possibly manage the expense, and the chances of placement are about zip. She's an old pony. No one knows for sure, but she did originally come from Anchorage and has served many years as a lesson pony for a great number of children. She could be 25, or 35. At her age, she has earned the retirement she deserves....not to be handed off to yet another work situation. She needs a child of her own for walk trot toddles, to be brushed and petted and loved upon. She needs giggling little girls to tie ribbons in her mane and tail, to hop on bareback and play around the grassy, sunny yard, being loved and treasured.

She does have the majority of her molars, but needs soft leafy hay and tiny bit of senior mash daily. On the scale of horse feeding costs, it's almost nothing, really.

But it seems to be too much for almost everyone.....and this is the plight of a great number of our senior horses here. There is no where for them to go. No retirement farms with ample pastures here. No farms with caretakers on site, no ranches with empty box stalls needing residents, no organization functioning to manage such a place. No sanctuary, no program to subsidize their care in their last months and years. And seemingly, no one who cares. People who can no longer take care of them, have all sorts of entirely plausible and valid reasons for not doing so. And in this economy it's only going to get worse. I won't even touch upon those who are dumping horses in their mid 20s because it's too much work to take care of an aged horse who needs a nightly mash-those people are beyond redemption in my mind. They'd rather dump their "problem" on anyone else and duck the responsibility of being humane on someone else.

And most of us who are willing to take on the special needs of senior horses, are already tapped out. No space, no extra room in the budget, no time to spare. Three of the horses I have turned down this winter, were very aged seniors needing a fairly intense level of care if not outright recovery measures. Two were put down and I don't know what happened to the other. Maybe it fed a dog team. It may make you feel a bit nauseated to read it, but honestly, I would prefer a horse be put down humanely by gunshot and the remains utilized, than to stand out back, slowly dying due to neglect and apathy on the part of the owners. And too, a person needs to consider quality of life for these horses.

Chronic conditions with significant pain? This is not quality of life.
Disease processes which have been left untreated? No pain free life there either.

Each person who owns a senior will have to face the inevitable eventually, and realize that all life comes to an end. The trick is being humane enough to recognize that the time has come for the horse, not the owner.

Which leads me back, after a fashion, to the Princess. It's not her time. Is she 100% sound at all time? Nope, she does have some very mild arthritis. Is she suffering in any way? Nope, she is chipper and bright and outgoing. Can she be ridden? Yes-lightly, she couldn't handle being in yet another lesson program while someone squeezed a few more bucks out of her efforts. Does she have many years left? I cannot say, but with her "ponytude" and competent care, there is no reason she couldn't introduce yet another generation of young children to the joys of horses. I am torn in two over the Princess myself. Yes, I have a young son who would adore to have a horse of his own.....but my son is already nearly too big to ride a pony that size. I already have another senior horse which I am paying to board some place else. I have two other horses, and Princess would make four.......

At the end, in my heart, I find only pain and anguish and sadness, that Princess may no longer greet someone with a quiet nicker and a head bob, that she may not be found nuzzling little hands for treats, that she may not be bluffing the big horses into compliance with her wishes. That she may not grace the coming spring at all.

And that is the naked truth here. There is no where for them. No where at all, even if they reside in your heart :(

Saturday, January 3, 2009

It's just too cold!

Right now, it's -24 degrees this morning.

We've been spoiled by a number of relatively mild winters, so this big high pressure system that seems stuck over Alaska is really tough to deal with. Last winter, we had one month of high winds-which means big wind chill, but only for a few days at a time was the ambient temperature below zero.

As soon as the snow stopped falling at Christmas, the high pressure starting sliding in. For four or five days, we had some big winds here in the Valley and then it began to taper off a bit. I was fortunate, as my location is not directly in the main wind patterns but just along the edges. Now the high is stationary, with a low in the Gulf of Alaska that seems stalled as well. Most of the entire state is experiencing extremely cold, if not downright hazardous severe cold. Up at Prudhoe Bay last night, it was -38 degrees at 8 pm. And yes, people do continue to work outside in it.

In the Interior, along the Yukon and between the ranges, it's even worse-temps down below minus 50 degrees. I remember being in Fairbanks one winter, and living outside of town. It was -57 degrees and didn't budge for nine days. I was pretty much stuck at home, between keeping my car from freezing up, keeping heat in the well house, and under the house so the plumbling ddn't freeze. Every two or three hours around the clock, I would bundle up and tend to one, then come back in, catch a cat nap, and go back out to tend the next thing. It's incredibly brutal, this kind of burns, it gets hard to breathe properly and doing even simple chores become monumental efforts. You must carefully think through what you plan to do, before you do it.

For the horses, they must sinply endure. Only a tiny percentage have heated barns, most are like mine......out with only blankets for additional protection. Some horses fair very well with their own heavy winter coats and nonstop hay and water available. Others burn all their reserves attempting to stay alive as their owners are unaware of the demands of these temperatures. Even with the cold, a savvy horse owner will spend that extra couple of minutes checking each horse over every day. This is the one time you want to be exceptionally diligent and put every bit of observational power you have to work.....even the slightest change in behavior can mean a quick slide into a colic, or worse.

Hay and water are crucial to survival during periods like this. I refilled my own tanks last night, and all horses have more hay than they can possibly eat available to them 24/7. Today I plan on making up a horsey tea, which is basically just a bucket of hot water with pellets in it. I will let that steep for ten minutes, then go offer it up to each in turn. The warm mashes nightly will continue until this system breaks loose....which could be another week or ten days.

Keep a close eye on your horses, everyone!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Dear Mark

Yes, I come out into the new year, swinging. Or tilting at windmills, take your pick ;)

Dear Mark F-

You are making a fool of yourself within the community. Really, seriously. Who wants to support these activities:

Trash talking any other hay seller
Bad mouthing anyone who you consider to be "competition"
Flagging off any ad on CL you deem to be from an "enemy"
Threatening phone calls and emails

Readers, keep this background in mind-Mark is the guy who has swept a local woman off her feet....away from her husband, shortly after they restarted a local feed store.

Mark is the guy who professed to own a boarding place (but didn't) and found it so lucrative that he didn't bother to manage the horses there very well (which is how I ended up with a couple, and another great boarding place ended up with some too-all in very poor condition) Eventually his operation was shut down when the property owners insisted. He still owes people refunds which will never be recovered-most were just happy to get their horses back, alive.

Mark must stay busy, flagging off ads placed on the local CL. Hardly an ad for horse blankets, boarding, or hay for sale can stay up for more than a day. And yes I have this on pretty solid information that he does, indeed, flag anyone he sees as competition. Because, you see, he thinks this is how he increases cash flow, and gets revenge at the same time.

Mark is the guy who is so convinced everyone is out to get him, that he stopped advertising in our only state wide horse publication in protest. Why? Because the publisher brought up one (Just one!!!) van load of hay, and sold the excess. I think this is about the time they moved from one really bad location to another......a new place that the woman's ex bought for her.

Now, you have moved from one crappy location where you didn't pay the rent, to another place seemingly purchased by your girlfriends' ex husband. (or at least that's the rumor going around) You don't advertise any of this, either. Your sales are down because no one can find you. Your sales are down because people will make moral judgements about your actions. Your sales are down because people don't like you, however much they like your way better half. Dude, what are you thinking here? Of course, you aren't thinking, that much is obvious. Sigh.

I just have to wonder, as a man, how do you justify this in your mind?

Oh right, you don't.

Instead you live in a bubble of paranoia, threatening anyone and everyone.

I would still be spending money with you, if I knew where you were, what your hours were, and most importantly-when you wouldn't be there. Have I mentioned you generally put people on edge? I've heard that from a number of others, and I presume they too, feel the same unease. It's a shame, because moving the store and dropping all advertising, has done nothing but boost sales at the big store. I am sure they appreciate the bump on their bottom line.

And threatening boarders, customers, the competition? That isn't going to help you in the long run.

And for the rest of you who have read so far and are shaking your head, thinking "tsk, tsk, that was not nice at all!" might I remind you that I too, get asked for hay. And grain. And tack. And other supplies-sometimes from people in distress. I cannot refer them to Bullseye Feed if I don't know where they are! "Palmer somewhere" just won't work....and with no advertisement in the Alaska Horse Journal, I can only suggest AFW.

Really, it's his own fault.