Category Archives: Musings

Part of (flooded) ranch life is having WONDERFUL (and savvy) NEIGHBORS!






You have probably heard about the epic storms in California.

Now, we Californians aren’t really complaining since we are all living in a drought stricken state… however… spacing the storms out a bit would really help my situation, at least.

You see, the previous owners built our wonderful wood barn at the bottom of a hill in the spot where all the natural waterflow – flows.  So, if there is a huge storm, the barn floods.

Finally, the sun came out after 40 days and 40 nights of rain. Well, not really... but it felt like that around here.

Finally, the sun came out after 40 days and 40 nights of rain. Well, not really… but it felt like that around here.

I put on my 'dirty project' clothes... Bagheera came over to greet me. She was so happy that the rain had stopped!

I put on my ‘dirty project’ clothes… Bagheera came over to greet me. She was so happy that the rain had stopped!

ALL THE USUAL SUSPECTS

Over the years, we’ve put in a french drain, a gravel drain, a mesh drain… for some reason, all of those methods have failed.

The only system that seems to work was digging a hole, letting the water fill the hole and then pumping it out.  Ugh.  It looks awful, but it works.

Well, at least it did work, until it stopped.  Yup, it stopped pumping on the very first day of our torrential rains (Oy)  and Hubby wouldn’t be back to the house for another 2 weeks.

My wonderful barn, which I love, was built on the lowest area of a huge hill. All the natural water flow, flows right into the barn.

My wonderful barn, which I love, was built on the lowest area of a huge hill. All the natural water flow, flows right into the barn.

EPIC WET

This morning, I woke up to a thin layer of water covering the barn aisle.

The front of the barn was a pooled mess.

I knew the flooding would soon seep into the hay compartment.  NOOOOOO!  When bales of hay are $25, the LAST THING they should be used for is sopping up water!

So, I went to the nearest Harbor Freight, I bought a new pump… and then I called my neighbor.

This is the general gathering area for all the water from the entire ranch that sits above the barn. You can imagine the flooding that occurs during epic rain and pump failure.

This is the general gathering area for all the water from the entire ranch that sits above the barn. You can imagine the flooding that occurs during epic rain and pump failure.

Scouty, of course, had to sniff everything Jay touched.

Scouty, of course, had to sniff everything Jay touched.

JAY

Jay is the kind of neighbor who comes over when you call and does the best possible job.  He never complains, he always wants to do the best work and he never wants payment – except maybe cookies.  I try not to abuse his good graces.

Now, he sounds like an old guy, but he isn’t.  He is a very young man with a large ranch at the end of our street.  Jay has a nice place and spends his time playing with all types of cars – mostly old trucks.  Once he has a few restored, he sells them to buyers in Asia.  Smart kid.  And very handy.

Anyway, along with his love of old cars, he also has some very new and large equipment… every kind of tractor/John Deere/lift truck/tree dragging/dirt moving/hole digging device known to man.  And, he loves excuses to use them!  He actually kind of salivates when you tell him you have dirt to be moved or a hole to be dug or a tree to drag away.  Jay loves that stuff!  (I imagine him with a bunch of Tonka trucks as a kid telling himself that he was going to get the big ones when he grew up…).

So, I called Jay and told him about my situation.

Jay:  Describe the coupling.

Me:  Uh, it has threads?

Jay:  Metal or PVC?

Me:  Both.  Metal pump, PVC pipe.

Jay:  OK, I’ll be right down.

I knew he meant it so I pulled on my ‘dirty project’ clothes and ran to open the gate.

These were the tools we used... plus the hose to flush out the debris in the pipe. Easy peasy.

These were the tools we used… plus the hose to flush out the debris in the pipe. Easy peasy.  Hacksaw, zipties, and a thing to push out the clogs.  Oh and we got rid of an unnecessary elbow.

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 6.33.56 PM

Here is the new pump, which we didn’t need, and the flymask that we later strapped onto the pump to filter the debris until I can get a basket for the pump housing.

THE TASK

Jay arrived, looked at the situation and in about 10 minutes, had the line cleared the PVC rearranged and the pump running – the old one.  It wasn’t burned out at all.  The line was clogged.

He told me to get a ‘basket’ to put the pump in so that it doesn’t suck up the leaves that then clog the PVC drain pipe.  He told me where to get the basket and how to ask for it at the plumbing supply place.

In the meantime, we strapped an old fly mask onto the intake hole to use as a screen.

He was in and out in 15 minutes.

Everyone needs a Jay.

Thank you, Horsegods, for putting him at the end of my street.

And this ugly thing was Jay's last stroke of genius. He grabbed it out of the dusty hay room and put it at the end of the draining pipe. He said, "Have the water flow into here first so it doesn't dig out a big hole of erosion in the driveway." Genius. Ugly but genius. I'll think of something more sightly tomorrow.

And this ugly thing was Jay’s last stroke of genius. He grabbed it out of the dusty hay room and put it at the end of the draining pipe. He said, “Have the water flow into here first so it doesn’t dig out a big hole of erosion in the driveway.” Genius. Ugly but genius. I’ll think of something more sightly tomorrow.

JANUARY BUCKET FUND!!  MEET ARACELY, a Peruvian Paso mare with a horrible infection!  She needs meds and constant packing for the next 60 days.  Can we help her?!  Click here to read her story!

Click to read her story!

Click to read her story!


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NEW YEAR’S DAY… What is the nugget of truth behind the resolution?






If you are like me, you’ve planned a few ‘do-overs’ for yourself this time of year…

–Did you know that more exercise machines are sold in the week before the new year than at any other time?

Anyway, what I mean is… I’m sure you’ve thought of a few goals for yourself for this brand new baby year.

Sometimes we reach those goals, and sometimes we don’t.

But why don’t we always reach our goals?

LOOKING DEEP WITHIN

I think we don’t always reach our goals because it isn’t the ‘goal’ that we need to reach.

For example, our animals don’t ever set goals like we do.  They either decide to do something or they decide not to do something – (or they are forced).  But, they never say, “Thursday is my birthday and from then onward I’m going to exercise every day.”

You never hear your dog say, “This New Year’s I’m really going to try to take to heart your request to not bark at the doorbell and stop doing it.”

Your horse doesn’t decide that on January 1st, he is no longer afraid of baggies.

The animals come to their realizations, make a decision and stick with it until it no longer works for them.  They learn from what doesn’t serve them.

For some reason, we humans do it differently.  Maybe life has become too easy and we’ve become slackers or something… but for Humans, when we come to understand our realities/situations and decide to be different, we get loosey-goosey about it.  Instead of changing the thing that is no longer working for us, ee set ‘goals’ or ‘resolutions’ that may or many not be reached.

Why is that?

GOALS

For me, I think the difference is the term “goal” instead of “my life would be so much better if I quit doing this thing that inevitably makes me unhappy.”

It seems that an animal doesn’t have a ‘goal’ to quit biting his big brother… but when he gets snapped at, the dog then realizes that this behavior doesn’t help him in the long run, so he quits.  Done.  Fini.

For us, there is too much slack in there.  We try to change behaviors that are no longer working for us but then the excuses arise (me, included)… work, tired, kids, money, life gets in the way.

So we set variable ‘goals’ or “New Year’s Resolutions” that no one really expects to survive throughout the new year.  “Well, I might get there – since it is my goal after all… – and then again, I’ve used the disclaimer of ‘goal’ so if I miss it, that’s OK…”

It isn’t like that for the animals.  They are either in or they are out.  They commit.  Beecause if they don’t commit, they lose their place in the herd/pack – or they die.

IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDED UPON IT

Whenever I have to do something that I find very difficult, it helps me if I say to myself, “Dawn, if your life depended upon climbing this wall or surviving this very cold chair lift, you’d do it.  So, butch up and get the job done.”

That sentence always works for me (if I use it properly).  I tend to not use it when it counts…

My exception on using that phrase would be when it probably matters most – on the occasions when I am proclaiming a need to change something about myself to make my self happier.

… like on New Year’s or after my birthday.  Instead of saying to myself that my happiness/life depended upon me changing a behavior,  I’d call it a mutable/changeable ‘resolution’ or ‘goal’ instead.

That’s the problem.

The happiness of my life does often depend upon revamping or redesigning a truth about my behavior.

Hmmmm.  If my life depended upon it, would I change this thing about myself.

Sure!

Then why don’t I?

Because we don’t perceive our lives as that important in the HERE AND NOW, like animals do.  We don’t live in this very moment.  This tiny little moment doesn’t count in the long run…

..or does it?

Happiness = Life

So this year for me, the motivation to get into my pool and swim 4 times a week may not be a life or death thing in this moment… but… the self destructive tape that plays in my head about being ‘too sick’ or ‘too old to ever get into shape again’ or ‘ the water is dirty and too cold so I’ll do it tomorrow’ ARE detrimental to my happiness.

Because those old tapes and internal dialogues are what stop us all.  Those old tapes stop us from honoring the moment.  This gift of life.

It isn’t the pie or the sneaked treats or the exercycle that will make the difference… it is the knowledge that whatever behaviors you wish to adjust – in the long run – ARE actually the blocks on which your happiness, your life force, depend upon for nourishment.  This moment.  This life.

Do you really want to be different?

If so, play the game of life as if the quality of your life depended upon it.

Because it does.

me

I’m no sage, but I’m going to learn about life it if kills me!


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