Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fight Fire with Actions

Here in the West it is Fire Season. Not nearly as much fun as Holiday Season, I'm sure you will agree. But since we have a few more months of serious drought and severe fire danger, I thought maybe you all would like to know how you can begin to prepare your barn and livestock for a disaster. Remember, the time to formulate a disaster plan isn't the first hour of the event.

1. Make a plan.  Now I mean REALLY think about it. Think about how many animals you have to account for. How many can you move right away? How long will it take you to hook up your trailer? How much food can you throw on the truck? Do you have cages,crates,boxes for your dogs cats,chickens and rabbits? Who is available to help you? Important to remember- the Fire Crews  care about your safe removal from an evacuated area, they can't worry about loss of animals as well. IF YOU THINK YOU MIGHT BE EVACUATED START RIGHT AWAY. Better to be loaded and gone, able to return, than not loaded and gone and burned up in the process.

HINT: Put small bags of pet food and a bottle of water (and any meds your pet might need) in each crate or cage you will be using. Store them in an area where you can get to them right away.( NOT behind the shed, under the old fencing materials etc.) Add those noose type leashes to the crates as well in case you need to lead them somewhere in a hurry.

2. Talk to your friends and have a place to go OUTSIDE your general neighborhood. You may not have to stay long,but it is a good to have a safe haven for everyone. Hotels might take a dog, but not usually chickens, goats etc.

HINT: Talk to your County Animal Control or Sheriff - find out if they have Sheltering sites listed. If they have a disaster plan, they will be able to get you in touch with volunteers during an event. Contact them now to see how they are able to help, or you are able to help them.

3. Try to make your home or ranch a defensible position. ( It is not always possible) That means that should a fire or flood sweep the area and you couldn't get out, you could defend your home with limited resources. It is a good idea to have graveled driveways, cut the brush away from fences, mow or plow burn strips between roads and houses. Remove trash, old wood, dead trees etc.  Have hoses at the spigots. Have good rakes and shovels close at hand.

HINT: Try to get your neighbors to work in tandem with you in this, a bigger swatch of defensible ground is always better.

4. Clean up your barn on a regular basis. No one likes sweeping the spider webs from the rafters, or walls of the stables, but spider webs trap grass, hay and flammable materials. Once lit, they can set a barn ablaze in no time. Make that unpleasant job a top priority. Have working fire extinguishers at the barn door and mark the area so anyone could find and use them. It seems silly to even mention this - but don't store flammables in your stable area. Motors with diesel fuel,gas cans, paint cans, paint thinner, and anything that is a fire hazard should be stored in a separate area.

5. Mark your dogs collars, your horses halters and your crates and cages with your name, and a phone number. If you are feeling froggy- take a picture of your animal and tape it to the side, the bars, inside your trailer doors or anywhere you think you could access it easily. It might be the way someone IDs your pet or livestock if you aren't home during the event. Disasters don't always happen on the weekends when we are home!

HINT: Dog tags can be engraved with a phone number and attached to a horses halter or crate wire too.

So there are FIVE do-able things to help you prepare for a disaster. It will only take you a little time out of your day to do any of these things, and it might save the life of  your animals.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Winter Day ~ California Cowgirl Style

Remember back in September when I went to the Draft Horse Classic? There was  30% chance of rain. I said, " Oh, 30% means we will be fine!" I ended up buying a coat, freezing my hiney off and going home early because the 30% chance turned into a downpour of epic proportions. 

A few years ago, in March, I went to the Gold N Grand Show at Rancho Murietta? My friends said," Oh, don't go! It's going to rain!" I said, " I'm not made of sugar. I'm going and it will be fun. A little bit of rain won't stop me." It ended up being one of the worst weekends of my life! The rain poured down like God had forgotten to turn off the tap. Along with driving wind and a spooky horse, my RV almost flooded. 

It is January now. There is nary a drop of rain to be seen. The hills are barren and parched. So I've made a list of a few fun things to do on a California Winters Day.

Krisy and Diva

1. Practice your Showmanship. One good thing about having no rain is there is also no mud to dirty up a perfectly white mare.

2. Spend the day in your jammies watching old movies. So what that it isn't raining! Take some time just for YOU!

3. Curl up on the couch with something you love. A new toy, a big dog...whatever makes you happy.

 4.Go to the Coast (we don't call it the Beach this far North.) 

5. Take this opportunity to have a water fight. since we've officially been declared a 'disaster', water is soon to be rationed. Anyone remember the 70's and the rationing we endured then? Seven long years of  watering your plants with grey water, dirty trucks and, " If it's yellow, let it mellow". 

6.Play Dress-Up! You are NEVER too old to play Dress-up!


7.Go out and chase a few cows. Somehow that makes me feel a little better.


8.Enjoy a refreshing drink with a friend. I like Vodka and water and then I leave out the water.


9. Practice your Play Day moves. You never know when you'll need to keep an egg on a spoon.

10. Take a long slow trip. Why not? It's not like it's going to rain and spoil your day.

There are no rain clouds on the horizon, just big empty skies.

But I have a sure fire solution of how to make it rain in my neck of the woods....

 I just have to go to a horse show. That always seems to work!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Me and Mick Jagger

It was a brilliant sun shiny day today, so I went out to ride Rem. As I slung the saddle up onto his back, I winced in pain. My left shoulder gets a cramp sometimes, but I pushed through it and cinched up.
" Uh!" I thought, " Someday I won't be able to get this  saddle up on his back! Then what on Earth am I gonna do?" I remembered a woman here in the Bay Area rode until she was nearly 100, and I wondered how she managed to saddle her own horse. I live by the adage, " Saddle your own horse," so it's something I decided I might need to find out.
I put it out of my mind, hoping that it would be a long way off.
As I stepped into the stirrup, I had to take an extra 'bounce' before getting the momentum to lift myself aboard. I took some small amount of satisfaction in the knowledge that quite a few of my compatriots use a step, knowing that too soon I may be among their number.

When I got home, I made a sandwich and turned on Palladium channel. They were playing 'Shine a Light', and there he was, singing and dancing like a 30 year old. Mick F'ing Jagger.

He's not a big guy, but boy he rules the stage. He wears tight pants. He shows his midriff. He sings and runs up and down. He exudes sex, and the women, most appearing to be in their 20's, were screaming and dancing and trying to get him to notice them.

I watch and think, " SIR Mick is 70.Sir Mick has a 16 year old daughter. Sir Mick is a Great Grandfather. "

In the immortal words of the insurance commercial, " Amazeballs!"

Sir Mick has twenty years on me!
Does he get up in the morning and say," Oh, my legs hurt!"
Does he say, " Oh, I just don't feel like dancing in front of thirty thousand people today."
Has he remained the biggest Rock Star in the Universe by sitting still and growing old?


My admiration knows no bounds.

 Sir Mick, if you can get up in the morning and go to work, so can I.
Thank You Sir!

Saturday, January 4, 2014