This and That

I thought you’d like to know what’s going on here – so this post will be on a number of topics, which relate to each other only in that I’m trying to stay on top of all of them!

We are waiting on rain. Unlike California, we know it’s coming, and unlike in Texas, it won’t be a flood. But we need it. The goat pasture is bare, and so I’m keeping the goats in their paddock, and taking them out to graze.

goats on leashes


This is the area that has been my pumpkin patch for years. I’m letting it rest this season. The goat boys’ job is to eat the weeds. They don’t often stay on task.

goats pull


The hens have been helping to control the infestation of winter moth caterpillars that are denuding trees of leaves, and then dropping down on silk threads to find more plants to weaken. Some nasty bugs, like tent caterpillars, are off even the hens’ menu, but these little green things they love. Go to work, Girls!

hens under tree


Lily is supposed to be on bed rest. That torn cruciate ligament has her hobbling around on 3 legs. It must be painful. She’s only allowed out on her leash. But, Lily still managed, while crossing the lawn, to snatch up a garter snake. She sees the veterinarian on Thursday. I’ll let you know the prognosis. (For those wondering – I’m still waiting on the DNA test results.)

lily on porch


I’ve been busy doing school and library visits, with a hen, of course. I’ve also been called on for advice on chicken health matters. One client had a hen pass away, and she wanted to know why. I did a necropsy. The hen was producing yolks, but no shells. The yolks, unable to move easily through the reproductive tract, had become infected. The client was relieved to know that what her hen died from was not due to the care she gives her flock.



I’ve started to take on horse training clients. I recently spent several hours observing this lovely horse.



He’s just moved to a new barn, and is about to embark on a change to positive reinforcement training. I took copious notes on his body language as he went through this new routine. Horses often communicate what they’re feeling in subtle ways, such as a flick of an ear, a flared nostril, a cocked hoof. I paid attention to all of that, and now his owner has a baseline for us to work from. I’ll continue to monitor his progress, take videos of training sessions, and provide this friendly horse with attention when his owner travels on business.

In the meanwhile, I spend several hours daily with Tonka. Two weeks ago, we entered our first dressage show.



We’re doing something right – we had the second-highest score of the day. We’ll be showing again on Sunday. This time, the test will include the canter. We still have a lot of work to do! Lucky for me, all of this work is exactly what I want to do.

Tonka canter


There are a few other things going on that have been slowing my blog writing – ITGuy has been updating and upgrading. I’ve got a new photo program to figure out (AGGHHH!) School for my sons is almost out. One is moving (too far) away. And I haven’t even mentioned the vegetable garden…


  1. Loved your post today, goat wrangling through Tonka training and everything in between!

  2. The saddle you’re using on Tonka looks fab. May I ask what brand and model it is?

    • It’s an Amerigo, which is a dressage saddle made in Italy. The leather is supple and gorgeous, the balance point is to the front – which is good for Tonka’s conformation (he’s a tad long and weak over the loins.) It has a short flap, which I need, but the tree width isn’t perfect for Tonka, and the seat is a bit big for me. I’m getting a saddle that will fit us both better. It will arrive the end of June, and then I’ll sell this one. Know anyone who needs a lovely dressage saddle???

  3. Thanks for this blog…..I have been patiently waiting for news of the horse show. Congratulations to you and Tonka. Great work team!

  4. Nice trot — stepping well under, soft frame. Canter looks nice too — except judging from how Tonka is leaning, it looks like he’s on the wrong lead…


    • That photo caught him at the moment before all four legs come off of the ground during the canter. His right fore is about to lift and strike out on the correct, right lead :) He’s actually nicely balanced in this photo – which is something we’ve been working on. He’s still “green” and so he doesn’t move as condensed and upright as he will as the training progresses.

  5. C’mon, Terry. Did you (of all people) expect Pip and Caper to stay on task? Great post. I know next to nothing about horses, but Tonka is a beautiful animal and I enjoy learning about him from you.

  6. Great post today. Reading all the things that you do on your post makes me tired already. I’m retired, taking care of 5 hens in the flock, doing a little gardening, a little yard work are all I could handle. But I enjoy your post immensely. Lovely horse you got there.

  7. Great pics! Can you tell us what Tonka is wearing on his head, and what it’s purpose is? Horses look so smart wearing them, and Tonka looks elegant in his! Thank you for all you do to teach us new things.

    • I’m pretty sure it is a screen to keep out biting flies out of his ears.

  8. Nice to see you getting some warmer weather. It is still in the low 60s here in the San Fran area. I love that my girls do such a good job keeping the earwig population down. Hopefully yours will keep next year’s tent caterpillars from developing. Isn’t it interesting that people used to think that horses always had a foot in contact with the ground when cantering? And that moving pictures developed because of the desire to prove this? Congrats on your dressage score! Tonka is a beauty.

  9. What a beautiful picture of you and Tonka! Congrats on your dressage score and best wishes for the upcoming show.

  10. Wonderful post! Whenever you post pictures of Tonka I can’t get over what a beautiful horse he is. Love all the news – keep it coming!

  11. Well winter is certainly over and life is in full swing. Thank you for your posts. They are so enjoyable to read and I have been learning so much about things in which I know so little.

  12. I know where that show is! I wish I would have known – I would have come to watch. I’d love to meet Tonka in person (and you too!).

  13. Wait, they can’t eat tent caterpillars?!

    Sorry, just I wish they would because they’ve exploded across my yard.

  14. Wow you have been busy. I recently had a 4 ft black snake wandering across my yard. One of my girls went running straight to it, not knowing if it would injure her I grabbed her up. And helped the snake towards the stand of conifers. I nudged him with a stick to steer him in the right direction. I am worried he may come back. But I feel like my run and coop are secure. I hope! Have you ever had a post about deterring snakes? Methods? Wondering if any herbs I could put around the run?

    • We just spied a 3 foot long milk snake in my veg garden. Like the black, it eats eggs. The milk is nocturnal, so closing up the coop at night will help with that. I don’t know about herbs.