Author Archives: dawndi

About dawndi

I've been a very happy film producer (commercial and long format) for over 20 years. But, the horses have always been foremost in my heart... Currently I live on a small ranch in California with my wonderful husband, 13 horses, 4 dogs, 3 cats and various woodland creatures. Life is good!

I never thought I’d ever say, “My Garden!”






I have never grown anything from seed.

Oh sure, maybe in 2nd grade we suspended an avocado pit with toothpicks in a water glass… but that’s it.

I’ve never grown a vegetable from seed or a watermelon or a flower… until now.

This is my garden!  I mean, I know it is meager to all the gardeners out there…  We had a neighbor in Paso who grew so many flowers every year, she had a lovely cart outside her gate and anyone could come and gather a bouquet.

But me and my purple thumb, I’ve never grown anything from seed.

I’m so happy!   I can see the garden from my office!

The fact that anything grew is amazing to me!

I have about 15 sunflowers in all different colors!

Zinnias? I don’t even know, but I love them.

They just make me happy.

I like the backsides, too!

So bright!

This group changes every day! I see dragonflies every morning and bees every afternoon.

Lovely.

This is a bit blurry, but there are 2 bees on it.

HONORABLE MENTIONS.

I have a few pomegranates. This was planted as a plant, not a seed.

We aren’t sure what this is… Hubby thinks it is a mandarin. Again, not from a seed.




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The new truck/old gooseneck trailer dilemma.






Have you run into this issue?

My truck is a 1995 Dodge Ram 3500.  My trailer is a 1997 4 Star 2-horse gooseneck.  They fit together perfectly.

What I’ve learned is that if I want to upgrade either piece, I have a dilemma.

My truck and trailer have been together for 27 years.

The New Truck, Old Trailer dilemma.

You see, the newer big huge high profile trucks are not made for the older, low-profile trailers.  Those low profile trailers were made for the lower profile trucks of that time period – like my old truck.  Hence, if I want to get a newer truck, I have to modify the axel of my trailer to be higher and level with the truck (much higher step for the horses).  I really don’t want to do this because I just had the entire trailer overhauled and the brakes fixed…

Or I have to get a flatbed (lower profile)  installed in a newer truck.  (Aha!  This is why I’m seeing so many flatbed trucks now, hauling horse trailers!

Basically, my old trailer gooseneck on a new truck, would make the trailer sit uphill at the gooseneck.  The horses would slide backwards.  Most people in this dilemma either ditch their old trailers when they get a new truck, or they modify the trailer axel so it sits higher, or they put a flatbed attachment onto a newer truck.

If I got a new trailer (which I’m not), sometimes a gooseneck extender would help fit the higher beds of certain older year, newer trucks.

I didn’t even know that this was a thing until I started looking for a new (to me) truck.

This is my 1997 4-Star trailer with a low axle. As you can see, the step in for horses is nice and low. New trailers have their axels raised (higher step for horses) so the trailer will fit on the new trucks which have raised beds.

MY TRUCK WORKS FINE.

My truck is great!  Yes it is 29 years old but it should run forever because it is a manual transmission, diesel engine and only has 158,000 miles.

The interior is cracking and worn.  Things fall and are taped or glued back.  I have a carpet on the dash (I admit it).  The electric seat was stuck in one position for a while, but we got a new seat out of another truck.

My truck is my old friend.  He works great!

But, I found myself not willing to drive the horses very far with it.  And I found myself not wanting anyone to drive it or put any more miles on it.  I got a bit grumpy when others used it… I was fearful that it would finally break down and I wouldn’t have it for the horses.

Oh, I’m fine to use it to move me or my stuff… I’m happy to pull the trailer all over if it is filled with inanimate items… but I am not as willing to take the horses on long hauls.

And, that was beginning to cramp my goals.  I do want to take the horses wherever I can…

So what was the solution if I didn’t want to buy a big, huge, newish truck?

WHAT IS THE SOLUTION?

I have been looking at trucks for about a year.  I flatly refuse to pay for a new one.  Don’t get me started on truck prices…

Anyway, I’ve been looking for a year.  I almost found one off of CarMax that was up in Oregon.  In fact, I flew up there to go see it.  But, I ended up not bringing it home.  It just didn’t feel right.

Besides, any new truck would have to be modified with a flat bed (which is lower) in order to adapt to my trailer.  Or, do I not spend the money on a flatbed adaptation and instead just get a new trailer?  But then I’d be buying a truck and a trailer which seemed like too much to me.  Especially since I just had my trailer overhauled and new brakes installed.

I also have FEAR OF DEALERS.  Do you?  I also have FEAR OF PRIVATE PARTIES.  Do you?  With such an expensive decision, I was very wary of buying off of Craigslist or a used car dealer (say no more, right?!).

For a year, I’ve been contemplating this.  I knew I wanted a used truck… but … Flatbed?  No flatbed?  New truck?  New trailer?   So many options…

THE DECISION (No affiliation)

Do you remember when I wrote about the V6 Ranch a few times (one story linked here)?  They are a family owned, large cattle and guest ranch in Parkfield CA, down by our house in Paso Robles.  They are wonderful people.

Their son, Brinan, built our new gate (story linked here).

I know the family, I know the ranch and I know they take care of their equipment.

And then I saw this on Friday (except it said “For Sale”, not SOLD):

Lauren Varian is the eldest daughter in the John Varian family.  I figured this was not her truck, but that she was posting it for someone in the family.

Immediately, I messaged her and her brother, Brinan.

Within an hour, I had promised to purchase this truck.  Wha????!!  I did this because I knew that the Varians know everyone and have a million friends who read FB Marketplace Ads – this truck would not be around tomorrow.  He who hesitates is lost.

OMGOSH!!

OH MY GOSH!  GULP!  I went to the bank…

I went to the bank, got the cashier’s check and asked the teller how to redeposit the money if it didn’t work out.  She told me.

Then, I asked Hubby to go down to Parkfield with me on Sunday (yesterday as I write this).  It would be a 12 hour roundtrip.   He agreed to use his entire day off to do this, probably because he liked the idea of this amazing truck in our driveway…

So yesterday, we got up early, did the chores and left the house by 7am.  No traffic.  We were at the Parkfield Cafe by 11:45.  We met Brinan there.  He showed us the truck and it was perfect for me.  It isn’t fancy, but it has what I need (although I miss my seat heaters).  Plus, we learned that Brinan built and installed the flatbed HIMSELF.  That kid can build anything.  The turbo has already been replaced.  He just put on 6 new tires… I was excited.

I asked Brinan how many people were in line behind me, and he just blushed and said, “A few…”.

I handed over the cashier’s check and Brinan bought us ‘lunch on the house’ at the Parkfield Cafe.

Hubby and I left at 1pm.  We got home at 6:45.  Traffic was not as forgiving on the way home.

Hubby driving the new truck out of the V6 Ranch in Parkfield.

DILEMMA SOLVED.

Newer truck.  Affordable.  Flatbed already installed with bells and whistles.  New tires, turbo replaced.  And, the most important, I knew and trusted the seller.

It only took a year, some lucky timing and a hunch.

She’s home.




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