Monday, June 29, 2009

Another productive weekend

While many others were out and about, enjoying our great weather over the weekend, we stayed home to work on projects.

Friday evening I ended up canning smoked salmon for my inlaws. It was a late night, showing them how everything is done safely....the handling of the fish (thawing, cutting, brining, drying, smoking) the prepping the jars, right on to the ins and outs of pressure canning for the required 105 minutes. They learned why it is a three day process, but are sure pleased with the tasty results! I am sure I will be helping them can up other items over the next year or so, until they feel confident that they can tackle it on their own. In the meantime, I think I need to get them the bible of food preservation: Putting Food By.

Saturday was my birthday. Not one person remembered, I was quietly snickering to myself. Not even after I made myself a box cake, complete with frosting, haha!! I gently reminded my wonderful husband about it, well after 7 pm. He was suitably contrite. Even my sister forgot!

Work progresses on the woodshed/hay storage structure. The beams for the roof were put up and secured and yesterday the BCIs were manhandled up top too. Today, with our BILs help, my hub will get them set and blocked and then we are ready for roofing material. Which will happen as soon as the budget allows. This means we can go ahead and start stacking the firewood-manual labor at its worst, ugh.

In between my cousin from Oregon showed up a couple of times. He comes up almost every year to fish, and this time his trip to the Russian River really paid off-he took home nearly 80 pounds of salmon. He's a big fish eater so this was a real treat for him. He'll skip next year and then come back the following.....he's probably one of the most avid fisherman I know, actually.

I managed to get the veggie garden weeded, again. It's a weekly thing, gets way out of hand if I don't. My son and I went through a bunch of pots, flats, and miscellaneous garden stuff on Saturday, which needed sorting very badly. At least I have it pretty much categorized into sizes and shapes, all neat under the benches of the greenhouse out of the way.

Yesterday we ended up helping the inlaws again, when they latched onto a whole bunch of salmon, fresh. The BIL has never really done any filleting, so my hub patiently showed him how its done, and why we do it the way we do. We don't cut the fillets whole, which is time consuming. Instead, the fish is cut into jar lengths and then the spine and bones are trimmed away. Some people have a real knack for the whole fillet thing, I don't, I just make a mess of it. In any case, I spent five or six hours in the kitchen, rinsing off slime, letting fish drain, then patting it dry enough to vaccum seal. I'll just skip over the two very frustrating hours trying to find vaccum seal bags, haha! Anyhow, there will more fish to process this fall, yippee!

Yes, a lot done over the weekend, thunderstorms and all :)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

If you look carefully

you can see the cracks starting to form in the local horse market. Fugly talks about the results of back yard breeders, foreclosures, job losses, and so forth in the Lower 48. But of course, like many things, it does not translate equally here in Alaska.

We have always had a rather artificially high median price. For many years, a decently trained (not push button, mind you) gelding between about 5 and 15 had a base price around $2500. Lesser asking prices reflected handling issues, or perhaps being "greenbroke". Basically, any horse that wouldn't buck you off, trample you, spook at normal things, stopped without a hassle, and was sound, qualified for the asking price. Registration, any show record, finish training added value quite substantially. Mares have always run slightly less than geldings, but they too, had steep asking prices based upon training and acheivements. Grade horses ran around five hundred less....and sometimes more, depending on individual talents.

I have wondered here before, just when (or even if) the Alaska horse market was going to correct and reflect the downturn in the economy. We have always been fortunate here, to be somewhat insulated from recessions in the Lower 48 states....we do generally have a downturn, but it arrives around a year and a half, to two years later. I am sure there is some good explanation for this, it might have to do with federal and state budget cycles-both of which help fuel our economy here. But whatever the cause, it does eventually come to rest here in Alaska.

It hasn't made the news much, but work on the North Slope (Prudhoe, Kuparuk, Alpine, etc) has been contracting for months now. A few laid off there, a couple dozen there, projects cancelled or delayed. Exploratory drilling put off, mid level management trimmed and even necessary maintenance is being tightly managed. Of course I could go into just why this is happening, but I am mentioning this as a symptom of what is come here only.

Local prices on horses are starting to reflect this, as I check online classifieds. Well broke horses will always carry a premium-a fact that I wish more horse owners would take to heart. The better the training and manners, the better the future is for your horse. If your horse is green or just started, invest in the horses' future with professional help if you can-or a knowledgeable friend if necessary. Superior ground manners, a solid whoa, and the basics of cues almost gaurantee a great future. Make sure they stand well for the farrier, can be tied, will load in a horse trailer too.

Over the past week, I have had four phone calls from acquaintances or people who were referred to me by others. In each case, either they owned, or knew someone who was looking to give away a horse. They all wanted "retirement" their minds, retirement is living with some kind, well to do person, who wants nothing more than just looking at a horse on their 10 or 20 acre place. For some, it was a heartbreaking choice that had to be made due to money. For others, it was more of a "I can't deal with an aging horses' special demands" issue. Each of the horses had a handicap of some sort-hard keeper, lame, two with serious under saddle issues.

I could not give any of them any hope. There are no retirement facilities in Alaska. None.

Shipping a horse to a facility in the Lower 48 costs a lot of money and some would not be able to handle the trip very well, if at all. Most legitimate, well run retirement ranches in the Lower 48 are full beyond capacity already, and many rescues are overwhelmed as the economy implodes. Shipping them south is an uncertain option unless you have a family member who is willing to take on the burden for you.

I pointed out several times, that simply giving a horse away (especially a horse with any issues at all!) was a very dangerous thing for the horse itself. Trust me, those freebies get passed along from one person to another, until eventually they end up dead. I have seen this many times here myself...who has not heard of an elderly horse who went through at least four or five homes before landing at the last one? Every person thought they were doing a good thing, and could do it better than the person giving it away.

Inevitably, the horse will gain a "was a 4-H horse" history, likely untrue, and the quality of care provided will slide down the economic ladder until they are dead. Starvation, lack of veterinary care, in a dog lot, whatever. It does happen, I have seen the results often enough to know this is a reality here in Alaska.

People think that they have found a "great approved home" for their horse, and walk away. They may ask for a phone call if the new owners need to place the horse again or something happens, but it seldom occurs. You can try a humane care contract.....but it is only as good as your commitment to check up on the horse, and the intentions and capabilities of the new owner.

The other option is more painful, but perhaps much more humane. And that is to put the horse down, before the slide into suffering. The harsh reality is that putting a horse down is usually the better choice all around. No, it isn't cheap either, but then there is no question about future homes, quality of care, or anything else. Some will give the horse away rather than face it, and I understand that. I may not agree with handing over the horse for someone else to deal with, but my compassion won't condemn them for doing so if they must.

There are those of us in the community who can help with this, if asked-I am one of them.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Great Jam and Jelly Jam of 2009

Ay yi yi!

So, I have had this chore in the back of my mind for a while now:

You need to do something with the berries in the freezer.

You know how it is, that "one day I will get around to it" things. Of course, the one day did not come for a very long time and now fishing season is upon us.

What does salmon fishing have to do with berries?

Everything! It all boils down to freezer space.

In the small freezer I keep berries and fish, plus the requisite packages of frozen egg skeins needed for bait later on in the year. Over a dozen gallon zip lock bags of berries in there, which take up quite a bit of space since they aren't nice flat packages like vaccum sealed fish. I have mentioned the jam and jelly making to my niece several times, but she is too busy. The very thought of tackling that chore by myself was a little too intimidating-so, I asked a good friend to come help on Sunday.

I removed 8 bags to thaw on Saturday morning: blackberries, blueberries, raspberries. That left a few smaller bags of blueberries, one bag of raspberries, and all the high bush cranberries. These are berries I have either picked or was lucky enough to scavange from family members over the past year. I also have some rhubarb awaiting attention-just remembered that too, lol

So Sunday morning we got started.....and I worked at it until about 8 pm that night when I ran out of pectin. Yesterday I picked up more pectin and did another case of blueberry last night. The final tally is:

55 jars of jam or jelly.

Seriously! 21 of those were the quilted jelly jars, the rest are pints. I used one entire 25 pound bag of sugar, plus maybe a third of another. I ended up having about three cups of rather sludgy blueberry juice left....and I tossed it out. I had used all the pectin I had picked up yesterday and I was just flat done.

Of course you readers are probably thinking:

What in heck does she need all the jam and jelly for??

Um, kids. Boys, to be exact. Ever calculate just how many PBJs they can eat in a week? My son spent the night over at a friends, and we sent along 5 pints-they have four kids and the mother does not have time (or inclination) to make their own. Later I will be dropping off at least a case at the sitters, since she too, has a ton of very active kids through her house regularly. We go through at least one pint every two weeks as it is.

Now, if I can just get the jars back..........

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

No, there is no main stream media bias!

OK this was headlined at the Drudge Report ( and I about fell out of my chair!!


Tue Jun 16 2009 08:45:10 ET

On the night of June 24, the media and government become one, when ABC turns its programming over to President Obama and White House officials to push government run health care -- a move that has ignited an ethical firestorm! Highlights on the agenda: ABCNEWS anchor Charlie Gibson will deliver WORLD NEWS from the Blue Room of the White House. The network plans a primetime special -- 'Prescription for America' -- originating from the East Room, exclude opposing voices on the debate.

MORE Late Monday night, Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Ken McKay fired off a complaint to the head of ABCNEWS:

Dear Mr. Westin: As the national debate on health care reform intensifies, I am deeply concerned and disappointed with ABC's astonishing decision to exclude opposing voices on this critical issue on June 24, 2009.

Next Wednesday, ABC News will air a primetime health care reform “town hall” at the White House with President Barack Obama. In addition, according to an ABC News report, GOOD MORNING AMERICA, WORLD NEWS, NIGHTLINE and ABC’s web news “will all feature special programming on the president’s health care agenda.” This does not include the promotion, over the next 9 days, the president’s health care agenda will receive on ABC News programming.

Today, the Republican National Committee requested an opportunity to add our Party's views to those of the President's to ensure that all sides of the health care reform debate are presented. Our request was rejected. I believe that the President should have the ability to speak directly to the America people. However, I find it outrageous that ABC would prohibit our Party's opposing thoughts and ideas from this national debate, which affects millions of ABC viewers.

In the absence of opposition, I am concerned this event will become a glorified infomercial to promote the Democrat agenda. If that is the case, this primetime infomercial should be paid for out of the DNC coffers. President Obama does not hold a monopoly on health care reform ideas or on free airtime. The President has stated time and time again that he wants a bipartisan debate. Therefore, the Republican Party should be included in this primetime event, or the DNC should pay for your airtime.


Ken McKay
Republican National Committee
Chief of Staff

Blogger back in-No I am not making this up! Here is the link to the above:

As citizens of the United States, we should be outraged at this development. I am so stunned over this I cannot even gather a coherent list of why this is wrong, this is bad bad bad, this is outrageous, etc.

More later, when I have assembled some thought. Oh, and when you click on the link, back up to the Drudge Report main page. There you will find another very disturbing headline: Obama seeks to "give the government new powers to seize key companies". Read it, and be very afraid when taken against the backdrop of the actions the President and Congress have taken in the last five months. This proposal, if adopted, could easily be used as a blueprint for other industries. Remember when the bailout money and seizures were just for banks and financial institutions? Now the US Government has a real stake in real estate mortgages and auto manufacturers.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Early summer updates

Let's start with the positive.

First, the greenhouse is marvelous. Had one day where outdoor temps were in the lower 80s, which made for too too hot inside-about 94 degrees. Oh my gosh, I thought *I* was going to croak in there, lol, but I added another fan and hosed down the floor and voila! The temperature dropped about 8 degrees inside of ten minutes. That works!

Tomatoes are producing buds galore and I have already applied the blossom set. No fruits on them yet that I can see, but probably by the end of this week. Peppers are coming right along and I even have an almost two inch long green pepper on one plant. Lots of buds and open blossoms so I think I will have plenty of peppers this year. The smaller pepper starts, the hot varieties, are really taking off and I expect to see blossoms on those inside of ten days. Considering how small they were to start, I am thrilled!

The corn is going crazy! The Yukon Chief is already shooting out silk heads, I am astounded. The other varieties are very vigorous and growing like crazy. Nice thick stalks and shooting out new leaves a couple times a week....I am so hopeful I will have fresh corn on the cob this year, yum! The corn is in four or five gallon pots, and they stand well over two foot tall out of the pot-except the Yukon which is shorter.

Cukes are setting babies, on the ones I started. The other variety is just a tad bit behind but should have blooms by the end of the week. Below them, the long planter box with the lettuce in it, is going great guns. I probably goofed up by stuffing a zucchini in each end, but they are taking off as well, with buds on them. The other two squashes are seriously going to town, and they too, have buds.

Outside, the pumpkins are growing (yay!!) in my little contraption, some are even showing buds. They are obviously really happy right there, I expect that in a month or so, they are going to fill that hoop. The left over pumpkins and veggies we put in the bank, are surviving on their own, I am impressed. Like the other times I have grown them, they take about two and a half weeks to settle in and then they take off.

In the veggie garden proper, the broccoli has seriously taken off. In fact, in the last week, things have really increased in size. I have some bush beans up, hooray! And its time to thin the carrots too. Onions are up, same with peas, and I have blooms on the squashes too.

This week I need to get another sprinkler, as the oscillating one I have is busted. I had been using the rain bird, but we need it to keep the arena watered-which is turning into a bit of problem.....I also need more hoses, lol I don't have any way to set the barn water onto a timer, so it has to wait until I get home, or weekends. The two horses in training here are doing very very well...both are attentive, smart and willing.

This weekend, with some help, we moved things around in preparation for the arrival of two more horses on Tuesday. Reba is still very sore on the one front, but I can see some flakiness around the toe and that leads me to hope that she is going to drop that false sole here pretty soon. No way to safely remove it with live sole underneath. Poor girl, I feel for her.....but the up side is that she is now balanced enough that she is getting a lot of good, healthy growth. It's just the build up on the toe that's causing the discomfort. I credit the addition of a small amount of good quality alfalfa hay to her rations for the growth.

Sully's shoulder continues to improve with my one week on, one week off, DMSO applications. He's been very good with the horses coming and going, and yesterday we turned him into the arena while we set up the panels. With the sprinkler running. Oh my gosh, what a hoot! He would let it sprinkle on him, then spin and take off, playing. Since the arena is wider than my rain bird can cover, he did manage a good roll, which he enjoys. Silly old man, he is so funny.

Now the not so positive.

Last week I learned that a very good friend of mine lost her wonderful trail horse to colic. I was pretty upset, because I know the two of them were quite the team on competitive trail rides. The horse was originally part of the largest horse rescue in Alaska-the Nabesna case. Her dam survived the ordeal, and she came as a bit of a surprise. My friend had the little mare for well over a decade, and they could be seen often on neighborhood trails. No rhyme or reason for the colic because I know the owners' horsekeeping is excellent. We speculate that perhaps her cancers internalized, which eventually lead to the colic.

R.I.P. Chancy.

On Saturday, I hauled Chubs to be put down. Not my favorite task, but absolutely the right thing to do. He was losing weight rapidly, his feet could no longer be trimmed due to the horrific condition of his knees, and it was pretty obvious his quality of life was going downhill. With eyesight and hearing going too, plus the hard realities of the economics, I had to make the call. I take some satisfaction in that we gave him two summers of grass and companionship, where he was not ignored or forgotten, where people cared and he got treats and attention. Much better than being alone, unattended, for weeks at a time by an uncaring owner.

My friend cut a bit of tail for me to keep and the sight of wisp at the barn this morning brought me to tears.

R.I.P. Chubs.

Call me cruel if you must. It's all about quality of life for me. If the horse is in pain, has a chronic condition where they cannot be made comfortable, then it's time to put them down. For this reason, I don't have much problem with people who are forced into making the hard, last choice.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Could it be?

Could it be that at long last, something is going to happen?

This made the news on Wednesday:

Part of the reason this is so important can be found in this extremely well written article:

The development of Alaska's resources are critical to our future here. The Governor, never mind the political warts, understands that we each own a part of it, and that it is her duty to see that development goes forward to sustain the state.

I was just about sickened when Murkowski's agreement with the oil companies was tossed out, even though the means by which he got that agreement really bothered me. And never mind that I felt the tax structure was a big bad deal. Tying our hands for 45 years was just flat over the top.

Then along came ACES, where the legislature upped Alaska's taxes to the highest in the world. I though that the ELF and existing taxes were more than adequate and likely too high as it was. ACES does nothing to encourage exploration and development. I thought it was nothing but a punitive act since the oil companies were making record profits.

And that leads us to AGIA. In case anyone is wondering, there was no "license" given to TransCanada to build the line. Really. It was a simple agreement between the pipeline company and the State, and we sweeetened the deal by promising them half a billion dollars for their efforts. Which they get to keep if the pipeline does not get built.

So in between all this, oil futures surged to record highs, then receded, and have started creeping up again. Heck, the other day I read a report that predicted oil at $250 a barrel. Positively blows the mind, doesn't it? But high energy prices really put a crimp on the economy last summer, and then of course we have had the housing collapse, the banking failures, TARP, and all the rest since then.

But I have to say that I did not expect ExxonMobile and TransCanada to agree to anything. This is an exciting development for the state, but time will tell whether or not this turns out to be boon or a boondoggle for us all. I am just hopeful that it means my son might have a job about the time he graduates from high school, and that the activity on the Slope gives Alaska and Alaskans, some cushion from the economic melt down in the Lower 48.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Local talk radio and blogging

Local talk radio here has been bringing up bloggers and blogging, since the (now infamous) statement by Gov. Sarah Palin where she asserted that we're all "pajama clad bloggers". I am pretty sure this insult was directed towards Celtic Diva (local liberal blogger), who has filed ethics complaints against the Governor-but I admit to being unsure about just who the Gov was upset with since the statement was made months back.

Dan Fagan and Eddie Burke and Mark Colavecchio (sp?) all have devoted listeners on AM 750KFQD and I admit I have the radio here at work tuned to this station too. Mostly because I cannot stand the junk on the music stations these days.

I don't think a one of these gentleman has any idea what bloggers are, really.

A blog is simply a medium to share opinions.


An electronic means to vent, coerce, charm, enrage, delight, amuse and/or infuriate, etc, anyone who happens to stumble across them and read. For myself, I consider it a cross between an old fashioned public podium, and diary. Each blogger brings their own interpretation to the task, but hardly a one goes so far as to pass themselves off as a legitimate news website.

Yes, there are blogs (or rather, their authors) that go to great pains to relay only facts, backed up by sources. Many of these gems are way more solid than the Huffington Post, for example.

In that regard, those particular bloggers are no different than news reporters, and better than radio talk show hosts, for that matter. The difference is the amount of spin ;) In print, the tone and inflection of intended delivery can only be surmised. Whereas with radio or television, the intentions are pretty clear.

For example, for nearly every vehicle wreck that makes Ch 2 News (KTUU, the local NBC affiliate) they mention whether or not "alcohol is suspected to have been a factor". How relevant is that tidbit, except to push the stations owners' opinion? The choice of "suspected" is carefully made, since often at the scene of an accident, it cannot be determined whether or not alcohol was a contributing factor until tests are completed, lol The condemning tone of delivery of that line leads people to conclude "well, of course, it was a drunk!" They could just as easily not say anything, but this is mentioned nearly 100% of the time. But again, that's just my opinion ;)

I think at the bottom that what rankles these hosts (and the Governor too) is the fact that a blogger can remain anonymous if they chose. This is both the allure and the danger of blogging about senstive subjects. Or rather, what other readers/subjects perceive as sensitive.

However, a blogger is not likely to remain anonymous forever, not with the amount of data available on the web these days. Thus, the Mudflats author, and Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis have both been "outed" in recent months. Andrew Halcro wrote an entertaining and factually correct political blog for a good long while, until just recently bidding it adieu. I happen to know the identities of a number of blog authors whose opinions I read too-and I know for a fact that a number of people who read here know exactly who I am in "real life".

This has, of course, caused all number of people to become twitterpated when I relay some of the more notable events within the local horse community.......but I did not post about Flo Pitcher being arrested in the middle of the night at her farm, for assault and reckless endangerment or some such. And yep, the information is available online at the Alaska Trial Courts Public Access System for anyone to read. She went to some effort over the weekend to tell the world (via the pitiful venue of Craigslist) that the case was thrown out. Well good for her, but considering my encounter with Flo at the Knik Bar & Grill last fall-I am not too surprised.

And Flo is sure to blow a gasket as soon as she learns I mentioned her name too. Sigh.

She, like the Governor, and local talk radio hosts, just cannot seem to understand that a blog, especially this blog, is nothing more than written opinion.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Busy weekend ahead

And it is months away from harvest time too, lol!

I have another hay van in. My gosh, next year I have to figure out how to have an extra two or three vans of hay on hand for late May and June. It's crazy, the number of phone calls I have had, people needing hay. Of course, the limiting factor will be money. It always comes down to the money involved. I just don't have an 30 thousand extra laying around to tie up in hay for 45 days and that's that.

Seriously, I could have moved at least 55 ton in the past week alone, based on the calls I got. Kind of scary, actually, but some people just don't seem to really "get it" that the hay is by pre order. And then I get this (which happens a LOT) Gal calls me up twice over the past year. I explain how I bring in the hay and call her both times when a van arrives so she could come look at it. I am confident that the hay sells itself, but want people to come see for themselves what they are buying, right?

So anyhow, this gal calls twice, and each time I tell her when the van is scheduled, and take the time to call her and let her know its in. She lives about 6 miles away so you'd think that it wouldn't be much of a problem for her to zip over and take a look for herself, right? Um, nope, never happened. As it happens, a friend/coworker/employee of the woman (not sure of relationship) gets hay from me, and arranges for pick up today. The customer calls me on the slim chance that I have "several tons" not "spoken for".

Not. Every ounce of every van is already purchased (with deposit in hand) before I order it. Once in a while, someone can't take all their hay due to circumstances. In which case I post on a couple local groups about the excess and it's generally gone in a few hours. In fact, I regularly have people pleading for hay, each and every van. Those are the people who don't plan ahead, aren't regular customers, and are in a bind for forage for their animals. And then there are the folks that stop by as I am unloading on the weekends......and I cannot help them.

I feel bad that I don't have the hay that people need, but on the other hand.....I am not a feed store. I must have hay for the horses I am responsible for feeding too. I have given in to my compassion way too many times in the past few years when it comes to supplying people with hay. Inevitably, none of those people ever order hay through me again.

If you can't plan ahead and make a deposit for hay, how do you plan to feed your animals throughout an entire year? Run to the feed store every couple of weeks and pay a couple hundred more a ton?

At this point I don't have much sympathy for the people involved-the horses, of course, have my heart :(

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Horse Haiku

Lifted from another forum, originally on one of my favorites: Chronicle of the Horse

Your wallet is fat,
My training is going well,
It’s injury time!

Inspired today:
Trot, buck, trot, buck, trot, buck, trot
Canter, cow hop, halt.

Horse Trailer Ready.
Lions and Tigers and Bears.
You in a hurry?

Big puddle ahead,
Except when late for lesson,
I must go around.

Dogs flee before me
Carnivorous, but so small
Help! Here comes one now!

You cringe in horror,
“Gesundheit” appropriate.
White shirt looks good now.

Cosmos in my hoof
Cemented dirt, small logs and
Ground in smelly poop.

One hour ‘til sunset
You come to catch me to ride.
I give you the hoof.

Memo to myself:
Next ride develop new fears
Like dogs, cars and trees.

You brush out my tail
I have a present to give,
A fart, just for you

Do you really think
That I can’t see the halter?
Ohhh, look! Apples!!!

Evening barn routine,
Nice, clean stall with deep bedding.
Too bad. Watch me run!

You think me locked in?
The grass is always greener,
My lips are so cool.

Feed bucket empty.
Universe must hate horses.
My poop fills the void.

Gore-Tex, thinsulate,
A warm, waterproof blanket
For me to stomp on.

“Mystery lameness”
Words I like to make you say
Before the big show.

My head rests on yours,
My eyes close with contentment,
Why you on the floor?

My pasture mate shows.
Before the big championships,
I must eat his tail.

Coming towards my mouth
Is an Ivermectrum Tube
Spew, spew, spew, spew, spew!

Fire and spirit
One half ton of strength, force, might.
Plastic Bag! Hold Me!

Too much time in stall
,Free now, I run with tail flagged,
Jet propelled by gas.

I love you so much.
I am here to make you glad.
Where are the carrots?

On uneven ground,
I gaze at the horizon.
Oh, is that your foot?

Enjoy and share!

Alaska Energy

Here is a well written article concerning the supply of natural gas in Southcentral Alaska. Yes, I know it's long, but it explains completely the situation we are facing today.

Declining reserves, the complicated and tangled process to explore, process and deliver natural gas to our homes and businesses.....the regulatory hurdles, pricing, infrastructure, markets, all of it presented in knowledgeable yet concise fashion.

It's worth the read, because 2011 is not far off. I feel like the powers that be, are doing nothing but wasting time and effort because the crisis is coming sooner, rather than later. I am sure you will agree after reading the article.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Sunny skies again

After about three and a half days' worth of rainy, cloudy weather, this morning is absolutely beautiful. Temperature at home was 49 degrees in the new greenhouse. Everything in there looks pretty happy, including the huge houseplant I moved down there over the weekend.

Things are busy at the barn too. Last week we got sand delivered, and with the rental of a Bobcat, its spread. It needs a bit more dragging but it is just lovely! The horses are enjoying their time out, because they can really cut up, play, and roll and roll and roll :) The sand arrived just in time for two other horses to start being worked regularly too, yay! One is a lovely young grey? grulla? mare who is beyond cute, and the other is a gorgeous young pinto gelding (who is spending a month or two) and both are smart youngsters, they will progress quickly I am sure. The trainer is the dressage rider for old Sully, and she has two horses arriving from the Lower 48 in about two weeks-and they too, will make their home with me, at least for a little while.

It will be nice to see more new faces at the barn :) It will mean some shuffling around when the other two arrive, but it can be managed easily enough. Sure am glad I reserved hay on the next van though! lol, boy wouldn't that be ironic-hay importer having to buy from another hay importer due to unexpected boarders, haha! It's been a while since I had a full house, but I am looking forward to having them. I don't know that I have room for another, without booting one of them to a temporary panel set up, without true shelter though. If I had to, I would.

The garden is finally planted as of last Friday night. Naturally, on Saturday we had a very nasty storm move through, with winds and hard cold rain. I lost about half of the zucchini sqaush and was forced to run to the greenhouse to pick up replacements.

Speaking of the greenhouse, I was totaling up what I had in there yesterday-pretty amazing, actually:

About two dozen tomatoes. 18 pepper plants. Half a dozen pots of cucumbers. Two pots of dill, two pots of fennel (which someone gave me and I don't really know anything about), two pots with a yellow squash each in them-another gift, they are very tiny and would likely never fruit if they weren't inside. Three roses. Nine pots with a bunch of corn in each-red kernel, Yukon Cheif, and two varities of sweet corn. Four small containers which I haven't managed to get hardened off yet-they will go on the deck of the greenhouse eventually-my leftover annuals which are pretty small at this point. My monster houseplant which is down there to be broken apart and repotted-it's easily four foot across. The topsy turvey tomato, and two small fuschia baskets with blossoms on them, just for pretties. And of course the leftover veggies and my pumpkins which I hope to get planted tonight.

All of that, and you know what? It isn't even crowded!

Last night the greenhouse builder showed up, and the fans are framed in and up, as well as the two shutter vents. My wonderful husband rigged up a direct power source for the largest fan late last night, and this morning I turned it on before I left. Obviously we have some electrical work to get done there, but apparantly I can purchase something called an "in line thermostat" which I would put between the fan itself and an extension cord, and it will turn on at whatever temp I set. So I will pick up one of those today, if I can find one. It will do until we get it wired completely.

Since we were renting the Bobcat for the sand, my husband also rented an auger for it. With a whole lot of cussing, sweating, and a great deal of hand work, we now have posts set for the woodshed. Oh my gosh we have a feild of boulders under there!! One post had to be moved over nearly a foot due to a huge rock that 25 minutes of working with the Bobcat could not dislodge. We might even have a line on some trusses, which would be much better than the shed roof we had planned on doing. The structure is going to be about 20x24, and much taller than I had expected. I am not complaining, one thing we have learned living here, is that you can never, ever have too much dry storage, lol! Poor guy, I had honestly thought that the barn would be half his.....but nope, it's completely horses.

So, I have an absolutely beautiful greenhouse. A sizeable vegetable garden, an arena with sand, space for four or five horses, a lovely home, along with a marvelous husband and a great kid too.

Life is good!