Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hey! You're not Santa!!

Izzy was posing for me, dressed up in her Santa outfit, when Rusty jumped into the chair with her. Fortunately, my trigger finger is quick!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

It's Izzy!

I have always wanted a Westie. Not quite sure why, the breed just appeals to me. Saturday evening we drove 3 hours North, in a snowstorm, to pick out a puppy. We chose an 11 month-old female that they were going to keep as a breeder, but decided not to because her ears are too big. I think she looks adorable, like Gizmo! (Who remembers Gizmo?) Since she is older, we don't have to deal with the typical puppy issues, like potty-training, which is nice considering our lack of spare time. She has immediately blended right in here, although Aly hates her, not that I'm terribly surprised. She is smaller than the cats and looks teeny tiny beside Daisy, whom she keeps 'right in line'. The boys are completely besotted and were even picking out little pink sweaters for her at the pet store on Sunday! She is so cute and cuddly, that we are finding ourselves breaking all of our personal pet behavior rules, like dogs on furniture. She manages to find her way into someone's lap, as soon as they sit down on the couch. And yes, she won the 'Battle for the Bed'...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

First Day of School

I can't believe that summer is over and another season has started! Fourth and fifth grade...it seems like just yesterday they were babies...

Thursday, August 20, 2009


This dynamic duo is getting famous! I featured them twice this summer, and this morning they made it into the Kennebec Journal Morning Sentinel. Wow!!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Dixie Dancing

Dixie was one of the horses decked out in pink this weekend. All the way down to her toes! What a fancy pedicure - it sure looked pretty when she was running after the cows.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

HOT pink!

As my friend said, "It's a good thing that he's a stallion, or else he might not have enough testosterone to handle all that pink!" As it is, I would say that Zip Me Anytime is definitely 'tough enough to wear pink' and make it look good...

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Another Pink Day

Well, I hope you still love the color pink, 'cause I can tell you right now that you're gonna see a whole lot more of it! Yesterday our club held a ranch sorting event at the Bangor State Fair. Again, the riders were all encouraged to wear pink in honor of breast cancer awareness. Anyone who was sporting the color had their name put into a drawing for this pretty pink saddle pad. The rider that has been organizing these fundraising events presented a check for $1600 to a representative of the Susan G. Komen Foundation. We were so proud!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Haley's gone....

Today was particularly retched. Yesterday evening I opened the chicken coop door to find dead bodies all over the place. I was pretty sure I knew who the culprit was....this morning she killed one of our free-range chickens, the ones that she hasn't bothered in the 4 years that we have had her here on the farm, right in front of me. Killers have no place on the farm or in the family. I loved that dog. I'm dreading telling the boys when they return home this evening. I have spent most of today crying....

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Bring on the WATER!!

After a hot day of competition, this boy was ready for a shower! We got such a kick out of watching him play!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Flag Ceremony

The 2 cowboys that presented the flags decided that they were 'tough enough to wear pink'. It was great too see most of our riders showing their support by wearing pink! I know that most men generally refuse to wear the color, so we appreciated their efforts.

Did you recognize Patch? He's always so proud to carry the flag! This year we dedicated our Program Book to this dynamic duo because of all that they have done for the sport of team penning in Maine. Here is a passage from the book:

He has always penned on Patches Moon. In 1992 he bought Patches, a 10-year-old former school horse, for his wife. Patches had been ridden English, Western, done dressage and been used as a jumper. They had also bought another Appaloosa gelding named Big Rig. Both horses were well-trained, but well-behaved was another matter. Big Rig was calm and sedate, while Patches had a hard time keeping his front hooves on the ground. A perfect match was found, but not between he and Big Rig, but between he and Patches. They have been together as a team ever since! “Team Penning is not just you and 2 other riders working as a team, but also you and your horse working as a team. The better you are as a horse and rider team, the better your results will be as a team penning team.”

In 1997, they started team penning - full speed ahead. They have excelled in team penning competition. But their attitude now is slightly different than it was 12 years ago. Their advice to new team penners is, "If your attitude is to win at all costs, you will always be disappointed in some rides. If your attitude is to have fun, you will never be disappointed". Patches Moon is now 27 years ‘young’ and still going strong. We have all witnessed Patches take off when the flag goes down, whether Bruce is ready or not! All Patches needs to learn is what number is called to give Bruce the ride of his life.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Big Belt Buckles

Here are the winners of the buckle run! This team is an example of a professional teaming up with a novice and making it work! The guy wearing the ball cap is a horse-trainer and the other cowboy has only been penning/sorting for a couple of years. The woman on the right, is a breast cancer survivor. She & her husband, the cowboy on the left, donated the buckles.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Ranch Sorting Buckle Run

This was the biggest part of our fund-raising weekend. 30 riders each paid $30 for 3 chances to win a fancy belt buckle. Our cattle provider donated the use of the cattle for this class, so all of the proceeds went to the charity! I've posted a couple of photos of 2-man ranch sorting before, but I wanted you to be able to see the whole scene. So, I took a deep breath, climbed up to the judge's stand and stood on the very edge, with only a 2X4 keeping me from falling a long way down. (The things I'll do for a photo!)

Anyway, here you can see the 'figure-8' that we set up with metal fence panels. The gate at the bottom is where the riders go in; the cattle come in from the other side. They are bunched into the further pen and the riders have to sort them out numerically into the closest pen, without letting out the 2 blank cows. They take turns riding into the herd and guarding the gate. The judges are on either side of the gate, clicking a stop watch as each cow runs out. The team that won sorted out all 10 cows in 66.66 seconds!! It was amazing to watch and I'll upload the video as soon as I can.

Normally, riders sign up for their rides with friends. To add to the drama, we made this class a draw class, meaning their names were all put into a bucket and drawn randomly to make up the teams. (That was my job yesterday!) Some people ended up riding with a stranger, some with a person they didn't really like, and some beginners got paired up with professionals. It made for some very interesting teamwork, because believe me, they ALL wanted those buckles. The really fun part is seeing riders pushing their limits, forgetting their nerves and riding harder and faster than they knew that they could, trying to WIN!

Tomorrow you'll meet the winners, and our very own survivor.....

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Pink Ribbon

This weekend CMTPA is holding a fundraising event for the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer awareness. Even the cowboys and horses are wearing pink!! Today's buckle run raised over $1400! (More on that later!) Keep checking back for more pics....right now I'm going to sleep....it was a long, hot day.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Cat in a box?

Apparently, Aly thought this Tupperware container looked like a good place to take a nap!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Norway Moose

My husband & the boys saw these moose just outside downtown Norway, Maine.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Geese & Goslings

Can you tell which ones are the young ones? They are almost as big as their parents! Did you know that geese graze on grass, just like horses? They keep our lawn mowed, although this isn't the lawn, this is the horse pasture. The horses ignore them, for the most part. Occasionally they will get too close and receive bites from the angry adult geese. Why they don't kick them is beyond me, but they never do. Attitude is everything in the animal world and other animals will give you space, regardless of how much smaller you are, if you are meaner than they are themselves. It's very interesting!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Red Squirrel

I had just chased him off my bird-feeder. He thought he was hiding. Can you see him?

Sunday, July 12, 2009


My old pony saddle decorates our living room and adds to the Western ambiance. Rusty was pretending to take a ride, so I just had to have a shot! ;-)

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Good Morning, Tillie!

Remember last winter when I showed you how the horses' pasture is right under our kitchen window? This morning Tillie was standing right under the window and looked up at me when I spoke to her. She looks so goofy from this angle!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Unfortunately, it's time to head back to school...but I wanted you to have one last look at the gardens. See that lilac leaning over the path on the left? The perfume was enough to take your breath away. In a very good way! I could have stayed there and smelled that bush all day long.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Another peony...

Very different than the one in my mother's garden, but just as beautiful...

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Taste is important in the garden as well. And, not just for veggies. The discerning gardener knows that some flowers can be yummy too. I couldn't believe it when my 'peanut butter & jelly sandwiches only' son stepped right up and volunteered to eat a violet! He was so brave!! (Now Dad wants to sign him up for Survivor!) I wasn't terribly surprised when he told me that it didn't taste good, but at least he tried it...

Monday, June 22, 2009


This boy wanted to see the flowers up close! Reminds me of this photo...

Sunday, June 21, 2009


Of course, flowers are well known for their wonderful perfumes! We just had to stop and smell them all!!

Saturday, June 20, 2009


When you're in the garden, you can use all of your senses...here you can see a girl touching a rhododendron and learning that the leaves are actually furry!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Welcome to McLaughlin Gardens

This week I chaperoned during a field trip with the 2nd & 3rd grade classes . Over the next few days I'll show you some of the things that we saw!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

A plea from Inky...

Now that I'm working full-time, our family is experiencing a time shortage. Particularly when it comes to our hobbies and many pets. Dad thought the answer was to perhaps find new homes for some of the critters. The boys and I worked together and figured out a better solution for Inky Mo, so Dad said that she could stay with us. Our youngest took this photo of Inky on a sign that he made...yes, Dad, this post is supposed to make you feel guilty. ;-) I thought it was very creative of our 8-year-old son. He did this all by himself!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Look at what hatched!

Springtime is such an amazing time on the farm. We love to see all the babies. The geese are proving to be wonderful parents. They hatched out 8 goslings!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

So sweet...

..and yet when he's not sleepy like this - what a little devil!! Our furniture will never be the same and he's pulled the curtains down a time or two. Rusty is a perfect example of a healthy, happy kitten - they play hard! And then crash, and sleep for hours....

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Old Man

I would like you to meet Patches, an Appaloosa gelding. At 27 years young, he is the oldest team penning horse in our club. In his younger days he was a champion showhorse. Regardless of what event he has competed in, he has earned many trophies and ribbons. He and his owner now spend their days teaching rookies how to team pen and they are getting a lot of new riders really excited about the sport. It is great to see such an old horse still going strong!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Home Away From Home

I took over metal fence panels last week to make a semi-permanent stall for Kitch. He's happy because I connected them to the panels of a couple of my girlfriends', so he has other horses for company. That's Handy behind him, Opal diagonal to him, and Smoke beside him. My father made him that wonderful nameplate! Isn't it great? Although, I am concerned that people will start showing up with plates...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Who's next?

This cow is waiting patiently for the team to cut out the next cow to join him down at this end of the arena. The cowgirl on the left is riding into the herd after the correct cow, while the cowboys fan out the rest of the herd by walking their horses sideways across the arena. Once the majority of the cattle have been moved away, she will be able to safely (without any extra cows) cut out another #6 for them to pen, hopefully before they run out of time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Here comes Charlotte!

We experienced some torrential rain storms during both days of the penning event this weekend. My husband was up in the judges' booth that overlooks the arena, when he saw Charlotte climbing the ramp. He snapped this quick photo, which I just LOVE! She is such a smart little doggie. She was headed for the shelter of the room behind the judges. She knew the rain was coming and if we humans weren't smart enough to take cover, well, she was. She headed for that room about 15 minutes before each storm hit us. It was amazing! When I posted this photo last year, I didn't know what kind of dog she was. I recently asked her 'mother' and found out that she is a Lancashire Heeler. Actually a cast-off, because her ears don't stand up straight. She's just about the best dog I've ever met, whether or not she meets the breed standard!

Monday, June 1, 2009

There goes his hat!

CMTPA held its first team penning/ranch sorting event of the season this weekend. What a great time! I got some awesome pictures, which was exciting. Kitch & I competed and came in 3rd in the Novice Penning class. As I was sorting through all the photos, I was trying to pick the best for the blog. I came to this one, and while it's not the best, it made me laugh, so I decided to use it. I hope it makes you chuckle this Monday morning too....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Red-Spotted Newt (Eft Stage)

Red-spotted Newt (Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens) This amphibian is greenish yellow in its larval stage. It has two grayish lines, located just off center on either side of the back. The lines run the length of the body. At hatching, the larva has gills and just a hint of forelegs. Two to three months into the larval stage, the forelegs and hindlegs have been developed, the gills are lost and the skin becomes granular and textured to the touch. At this point, metamorphosis takes place. The land-dwelling red eft stage is entered and the body becomes a brilliant red to orange-red. A row of black-bordered, round red spots appears on either side of the back; the belly is yellow during this sub-adult stage.
At the end of the eft stage and within a week of entering the water to live out its life as an adult, the skin becomes smooth, and the tail fin develops, becoming compressed vertically to look rudderlike. Its color now is drab-olive to yellowish brown or dark brown. The belly remains yellow and is sprinkled with many small black spots. A row of red spots, bordered with black, also covers the newt’s back on each side. In neither the eft nor newt stages are the costal grooves distinguishable.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Curiosity did what?

Rusty was trying to catch that bright light that kept flashing at him. He just couldn't figure out what it was. It was too funny!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Nature Girl

This driver could be me - I'm happiest outdoors. Anyone else read Carl Hiaasen's book by this name? He is always so entertaining!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Squirrel Huntin'

That squirrel was teasing Aly...
...she didn't have a chance and he knew it!

It doesn't look like my sleeping bag is getting the airing out that I had intended when I left it draped over the deck railing. And to add insult to injury, look at the seeds the squirrel dropped onto it!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Boys will be boys...

Our youngest was bored the other day...so, he dug a hole!
If only he would apply as much enthusiasm to his chores...