After 27 years of living in the USA (1 year as an au pair, 2 years in college, 24 years married), Anna became a citizen today. She actually retains her Swedish citizenship too, so basically, she can now vote and get a US Passport. And never have to deal with Immigration and Naturalization Services again. Quinn, Amanda, and I joined Anna at the ceremony (Alex was at work) in Hartford.
For the first weekend in July, Rob and the kids went to Maine for an endurance ride weekend. Since we only have 2 horses competing this summer, Anna stayed home to care for the baby goats born in late June and everything else on the farm. Quinn and Alex both assisted with driving to Waterford, Maine for the Horses Across Maine Firecracker Endurance ride.
We headed up on Friday morning and set up camp. This was our third trip to this ride, so we knew what to expect. On Saturday morning, we got up at 0400 and everyone was ready for the 0600 start. Amanda rode Mojo (with our friend Mary sponsoring her) and Quinn rode Amira for a 30 mile LD. Rob and Alex were the crew. It was warm (about 70F) and very humid. Both horses were doing fine at the hold after the first 13 miles and headed out for the second loop. Quinn opted to ride separate from Mary and Amanda on the second loop and it was reported that Mojo had lots of go.
At the finish, Amira took an exceptionally long time to make her pulse of 60 required for completion. Her pulse was hanging around 72 no matter what we did, even though her body wasn’t particularly warm. Art King, one of the ride vets we see quite often suggested using some no-salt, which is Potassium Chloride. We gave Amira a hefty tablespoon of KCl in a syringe and her heart rate was under 60 in less than 1 minute! We had the same issue at New York Adventure and have finally figured out how to beat it. Mojo and Amira passed the final vet check without any other issues.
After Saturday’s ride, we took a nap and hung out around ride camp. 4 people for only 2 horses makes easy work of the chores. The horses got poultice on their legs and wraps overnight because they both had another 30 miles to do on Sunday.
Sunday morning was another 0400 wakeup and this time it was Alex on Mojo and Quinn again on Amira for 30 miles. It started raining before they even came in to the hold and basically didn’t stop until after the ride was over. Based on the lesson about KCl, as soon as we saw Amira’s pulse in the 70s, we dosed her. This resulted in much faster pulse times. This is a tool to keep in mind for any of the high-humidity rides. In the end, both Mojo and Amira did fine at the ride and looked great after back-to-back 30s. I didn’t get many pictures due to the rain.
Back at Father’s Day, we went to a local ropes course for a couple of hours of climbing fun. This was a Christmas gift from Rob’s parents. Anna isn’t a fan of heights and opted to be the event photographer. Rob and the kids had fun climbing through the courses and riding the ziplines.
Last weekend, Quinn, Amanda, and Rob went to Deerfield, NH for a 6-ring dairy goat show. Anna drove up to drop off a trailer on Friday and returned on Sunday for pickup. The weather was raw with highs around 50F each day and on-off rain throughout the weekend. We didn’t expect to have any major wins, but it was a great chance to see how our young herd was stacking up against others in the region. Our juniors are showing some promise, so that means the breeding is headed in the right direction. Quinn and Amanda helped some friends out with showing Nubians too.
Quinn got to drive the 2500HD and travel trailer home (2.5hrs). This was the first time driving the setup and everything went fine.
As the end of the school year approached, Marine Science Magnet High School held an awards night. Quinn received the Senior Mathematics Excellence Award and a $1000 PTO scholarship.
Thursday was graduation and Rob’s parents flew in from Alabama. Quinn graduated Suma Cum Lauda and will be attending Eastern Connecticut State University in the Fall to major in Computer Science. That’s two in college now (I think we are getting old).
Today, Rob and Quinn took 2 horses to Vermont to ride with our friend Geneva. Geneva recently moved to VT and we saw her a couple of weeks ago at NY Adventure. Rob rode Mojo, Geneva rode Amira, and Quinn rode Geneva’s mare Hopper. It was a 3 hour drive to get there and Quinn drove the whole way pulling the horse trailer. Quinn is now certified to drive either truck pulling any of the trailers.
We are a little behind, so this post covers 2 recent adventures!
On may 13th, Anna and Rob took Amira and Mojo to Cornish, NH for the VERDA Bare Bones 30 mile endurance ride. The kids all stayed home to take care of the goats and horses that didn’t attend. It was 2015 when just the two of us attended a ride without kids. This ride is mostly dirt roads with a very pretty covered bridge. The drive is only about 2.5 hours which makes it the closest ride to us at this point.
We arrived in camp on Saturday afternoon and set up the horse pens and our tent. The horses vetted in fine and we visited with some of our ride-camp friends. By dark, everyone is in their sleeping bags and out for the night. It got cold overnight (temps around 39F). It’s been a long time since we tent-camped at a ride and I now remember how much less fun it is. But we survived and headed out. The ride was uneventful and both horses did great throughout the day. Mojo even finished the ride with a CRI of 36/36. We let the horses recover and headed home. The kids had done fine without us.
Amanda turned 13 on 5/18 and we went out to Koto for a hibachi dinner.
This weekend we went to New York Adventure in New Berlin, NY. It was a 5.5 hour drive and we still only took Mojo and Amira. However, there were 6 humans so the travel trailer went too. Our friend Lucy is excited about getting her new Arabian into endurance and has signed up to crew and volunteer at some rides with us this summer to learn the ropes.
We arrived in ride camp around 1 and had some lunch before setting everything up. With so many extra sets of hands, setting up the pens (for only 2 horses) went quickly and we had plenty of time to walk around talking about how others set up their pens and sleeping arrangements. For this ride, Alex was riding Mojo in the 30 miler and sponsoring Amanda on Amira. This was the first time the kids went out on trail (at a competition) without a parent and the first time Amanda rode Amira at a competition.
The dogs were happy to sleep on the couch with Amanda.
The ride on Sunday morning started at 0730. The 75 miles had started at 0530 and the 50s started at 0630. There were 42 riders in the 30 miler, so it was a larger group than at many of the rides we attend. The temperatures were in the upper 40’s when we go up and the kids had some layers on while warming up the horses, but with highs in the 80s for the day, they shed the extra jackets before the start. They had an 18 mile loop first followed by the hold and then another 12 miles.
While we waited at base camp (some more nervous than others), our 4 extra bodies provided crewing assistance to riders coming in to the vet check. The staggered start times meant a steady flow of riders through the hold without getting too crowded at any point.
Amira and Mojo both cleared the mid-ride vet check just fine and went back out as temperatures continued to climb. We started to see some horses struggling to cool down in the hold. Alex and Amanda came walking back from the last loop (to help the horses start cooling) and everyone was in good spirits. Mojo made pulse almost immediately, but Amira struggled. We used 10 gallons of ice water plus all our other tricks (CMPK, electrolytes, and no-salt) and it still took her 28 min to make pulse which is very long even for her. But, ultimately she did make pulse and cleared the final vet check giving both Alex and Amanda completions. Alex was 28th and Amanda was 30th with 36 of the 42 riders getting completions.
We let everyone recover and packed up for the 5.5 hour drive home. Quinn got some trailer driving practice pulling the 30′ travel trailer with my 2500HD. We didn’t die.
The kids are anxious to ride some 50s this season, but the horses need some more conditioning and to work out a few tack tweaks. We have some more rides penciled in on the schedule, but will decide for sure over the next few weeks. Today it’s unpack and re-pack for next weekend’s adventure. Stay tuned…
Last night, Quinn attended Senior Prom in a self-made dress. Graduation is coming soon.
Amanda was inducted into National Junior Honor Society.
Amanda got to hunt turkey with me for youth hunting in April. We got to see some birds but she wasn’t successful at taking one. Turkey season is always when things get really byst riding horses. Maybe next year.
We added 2 duroc pigs to the farm to grow out for the summer. They will get the extra goat milk and take a trip to freezer camp in the fall.
Alex is in his last week of classes for his Nuclear Engineering Associate’s degree and plans to attend URI in the fall to pursue his Bachelor’s in Nuclear Engineering. He has another internship at Millstone (local nuclear plant) this summer.
Quinn has about a month until high school graduation. They will attend Eastern Connecticut State University in the Fall and plan to major in Computer Science.
Anna and Amanda took Amira and Mojo out for an 11 mile ride today. Now we are wrapping up the weekend by the fire.
This past week was Spring Break for Quinn and Amanda. Quinn had their wisdom teeth out of 4/7, so Spring Break was mostly spent at home eating soft foods. I had to travel to DC for work, so Amanda went along. My 3 day trip was turned into a 5 day trip so we could do some sightseeing together.
Monday morning, Amanda and I hit the road to drive down. She was asleep within 30 minutes of leaving the house.
We made it to Baltimore in the early afternoon and went to the National Aquarium. Amanda enjoyed the Amazon exhibit and seeing the all the fish. But she was especially happy for ice cream afterwards. In fact, she ended up eating ice cream all 5 days.
Tuesday morning, we headed to Annapolis to visit the Naval Academy. It’s amazing how much prettier the campus is as a visitor instead of as a midshipman. Amanda enjoyed the tour, including me showing her where Anna and I met in April of 1996 at the International Ball.
We went for a walk in DTA (downtown Annapolis) and had an early lunch at Chick & Ruth’s deli. Chick & Ruth’s is known for the all-day breakfast/lunch/dinner menu and milkshakes, but it’s also where I took Anna for a milkshake the night we met. Amanda had a milkshake and was still talking about how big it was tonight at dinner.
I had a meeting after lunch, but then we headed to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Amanda particularly enjoyed the gemstone exhibit (she likes shiny things).
I had told Amanda we were having dinner with a friend from the Navy, but I didn’t exactly tell her the truth about who it was. About 18 months ago, Mark and Tricia Gordon left Griswold for Mark’s orders to the Pentagon. Amanda and Olivia were best friends, so I had arranged with Tricia for us to surprise the girls for a get together. We couldn’t have done it any better – Olivia opened the door to find Amanda on the porch and both were completely in shock. They had a blast playing and painting fingernails throughout the evening.
Wednesday I had to work, but we got finished early enough to head to the National Zoo in the afternoon (with temps in the low 90s!).
After the zoo, we met the Gordons for an evening at the Museum of Illusions.
Thursday morning we headed out on the metro early to get tickets for the Washington Monument. While waiting in line, there was an announcement up front that we couldn’t hear. Amanda went up and found a couple to ask what the park ranger had said. Long story short, Amanda’s cute looks were rewarded with the couple getting 2 extra tickets for us to ensure we go to go up into the Washington Monument.
After overlooking DC from the top, we rented some scooters and rode them to Arlington Cemetery. We did the tour and got to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier.
Next, we headed back downtown and went to the Smithsonian Museum of American Art. Amanda spent almost 2 hours looking at all the paintings and portriats.
Since temps were again in the 90s, we called it done around mid-afternoon and headed back to our hotel. We both enjoyed the air-conditioning and crashed for a nap before dinner.
The drive home on Friday was uneventful. We did have a nice shopping excursion at Bass Pro shops. Once we got home Anna’s birthday was celebrated with sushi for dinner.
On Saturday morning, Alex and I ran the Traprock 17k trail race. Last year, he stayed with me throughout the race and we finished together. This year, he was a little less prepared and finished about 16 minutes behind me. He has decided more training is needed for our Ride and Tie plans this year.
Saturday afternoon, Quinn and Amanda helped me mark the courses for the CT Valley Driving Club. Saturday evening was spent at the West Greenwich Horsemen’s Association steak fry. Sunday morning, we loaded up Mojo, Amira, and Missy to attend the RI Federation of Horse Clubs Blessing of the Horses and trail ride. Originally, I was planning to drive Huey, but last weekend’s crash prevented that.
This afternoon, Anna and I went back to Arcadia to take down markers from the driving course we marked while Quinn and Amanda went to a 4-H meeting. When they got home, Rainbow was kidding. The kids handled it without us and Rainbow delivered a 10.4lb buckling and 10.0lb doeling. That brings our count to 5 does freshened with 6 does and 5 bucks; the next kiddings are in June.
That’s all for now!
Time flies when you are are having fun. Or when you are crazy busy (which is always the case here) and realize it’s been almost a month since we gave a big update.
Anna and I attended the Eastern Competitive Trail Riding (ECTRA) Winter getaway in New Jersey. The weekend included a full day of AERC vet Susan Garlinghouse talking about distance riding nutrition, metabolic issues, supplements, hydration, and more. Saturday evening was a banquet with the other attendees. The only down side of the weekend was we had to drive to New Jersey. It took 2.5 hours to get home on Sunday but over 4 hours to get there on Friday afternoon.
While we were gone, the kids picked up Anna’s parent’s from the train station as they flew in for the first time in 3.5 years. They stayed for a week and a half. While they were here, we did manage to hitch Huey for some driving. We didn’t get a photo with all the kids, but we did catch Alex with Roland and Sylvia before they left.
On March 16th, Phaylene kidded with triplets – 2 does and a buck. The have our two classic colors of either black with white splashes and brown trim or just the black and red. At 8 years old, we aren’t sure if we will breed Phaylene again, so we are thrilled to get 2 does kids out of this breeding to E.B. Farms LL Regal. That brings Regals count to 5 does and 4 bucks out of 4 kiddings. Not bad for his first season.
Anna and I get fancied up for Sonalysts’ annual gala at the Mystic Marriot. This is an event that had been cancelled in 2020 and 2021, so it was a ton of fun to enjoy dinner, drinks, and dancing with others from work.
The February doelings are growing great and enjoying their time outside on a daily basis.
We now have 4 does in milk. 3 of them are first fresheners and 1 is an 8 year old. We have some really impressive udders in the barn right now, which is great to see, and we are getting almost 5 gallons of milk a day off the four goats.
Quinn is taking a Horticulture and Design class at school that’s actually a UCONN. This results in fresh floral arrangements regularly. Here is the one that came home most recently.
Anna has been working with Fiona almost every day. Her teddy bear dummy is the token rider for now, but that will be changing through April.
Temperatures hit 60F this afternoon, so we took the three big horses over to Arcadia for 11 miles of trail work. Anna rode Amira, Amanda rode Missy, and I rode Mojo.
We have 6 weeks until our first competition of the season and 1 goat left to kid. Hopefully it won’t be the end of April before we post next.
Life has been crazy. We will probably get to a big blog post this week to catch up on baby goats and life happenings, but after putting some hay in the barn this afternoon, I decided an evening by an outside fire with a cigar and beer was warranted. After all, it’s 51F in March and the peepers are singing. Rusty will keep me company. Maybe I’ll find some amazing insight. Maybe I’ll just relax.
Overnight Monday night into Tuesday we got about 7-8 inches of snow. School had already been cancelled for all the kids, Rob’s work event was cancelled and I was the only one who had somewhere to be (the dentist), so not a big deal. Turns out the dentist was still open and in business, definitely not calling in a snow day. So I got up early to take care of some chores and feed baby goats before I had to leave.
Early Tuesday morning our baby goat count was four. Sawfish Jasmine kidded last Friday and added two bucklings to Sawfish Camellia’s two doelings from the previous Saturday. Jasmine’s boys were named Chevy and Ford by the kids! Chevy is the solid black and red with a star like mama’s. He was 9.3 pounds at birth. The black with red and white markings is Ford, and he was a little smaller at 7.8 pounds. Jasmine needed my help with the first boy, but after that the second one came out without assistance. Jasmine is a smaller, slower maturing doe and a first freshener, so I am not surprised she had a little trouble with a 9 plus pound kid. They both presented normal (two feet, nose), which I am grateful for, being alone on the farm with Rob away on business travel.
Camellia’s doe babies Mercedes and Porsche continue to be doing well and Mercedes (the splashy colored one) in particular is a heap of trouble, hopping around the kitchen and causing mayhem. Porsche is a little quieter, but also a bit more solid in structure IMO. They started going out into the garage pens with heat lamps and will transition to living out there and not in the house. Eventually as weather and temperatures allow, they will move into our outside baby pen.
Well, enough of the update, back to the snow day. In the barn, I went to check on Sawfish Freesia, who had a March 2 due date, and she was showing some signs that maybe today was the day to kid. She was breathing heavier than normal, her belly had dropped low compared to yesterday and her ligaments were loose. Her udder was also full, but no discharge. I went to have my cup of tea and coffee, and when I came back to the barn, she had delivered two babies! She might be a keeper. Her mom LongvuTabula Rasa also had easy deliveries. One 7.8 pound doeling and 8.6 pound buckling. Black with tan doeling and black with red buckling with white splashes. We brought them inside to warm up. The kids named them Audi and Harley (I know, not a car, but he has the tough look, apparently). They are both long legged, and will likely take after their mom who is a longer and taller statured goat.
All the goat babies so far are very similar in color. Freesia, Jasmine and Camellia all have the same dad, Idikka Yoshi (out of Barnowl Quartermaster), and were bred to the same buck, so the kids are very similar in look. Black and tan or red, with some sort of white marking. More splashy white on some, only a star or white tail tip on others. Several look a lot like their dad, E.B Farms LL Regal, especially Chevy.
With babies settled, I went off to the dentist, Rob was working from home, and Quinn and Amanda tended to the babies and took care of Freesia. All is well.
Later in the afternoon, Amanda decided she wanted to try skijouring behind Mojo, so we cleaned the stalls and then got Mojo out. He was game, and besides it is good pre cart training, right? We are working on harness training Mojo to drive. Amanda got tired quickly and decided a sled might be a better idea. We also added a lunging aid breeching to help keep Mojo from stepping on the traces from his breast collar.
Check out some short clips from this adventure below:
Stay tuned as we are expecting babies from wonder goat Phaylene next in about two weeks. Think pink!