Archives for November 2022

Wednesday, November 30, 2022 – More Conditioning and Prep for Cattle Drive

Hey Babe!
Another busy day here in camp! Got a few things organized in the morning, then saddled up Flash and went for a great conditioning ride. He was full of energy, and wanted to canter almost as soon as we got out of camp! We stayed on the road all the way down to the Fishing Pier, which is almost seven miles, and did a lot of it at pretty high speed, which didn’t seem to bother him in the least. Just as we got there, James called, so it was the perfect time to debrief about the weekend, while Lola and Flash rested for a bit. Then we headed back on the teal trail along the power line on the west side of the property, and went pretty quick along there as well. We covered almost thirteen miles, so it was a good workout for him. Rinsed him off and put him in the electric corral that I set up yesterday just to get him used to it again, gave him some hay, and fed him grain when dinner time rolled around, since he worked so hard today. Apollo whinnied for us a couple of times, but then seemed to settled down just fine. Did a lot more packing, including the newly waterproofed tent, a lot of clothes, and started fulfilling a long list of things I keep waking up in the night remembering, and adding to a list on my phone. Also checking it against the cattle drive website to make sure I haven’t forgotten anything. Not sure how we carried all this stuff last time, we must have had a big duffel bag or something, but I evidently don’t have it anymore, and I’m trying to stuff too much into too small a space. I may have to see what else I can find, though at the moment, I’m still trying to squeeze everything in! Finally settled down after 6:00, did some laundry of the clothes I want to take, planning on getting my shower and to bed early, tomorrow’s going to be another busy day!Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022 – Start of Cattle Drive Prep

Hiya Sweetie!
SO GLAD I took the day off yesterday, I, indeed, was ready to go this morning. Got started right after chores, with the first job of putting up the electric fence I’ll be taking, making sure it works and that I have all the bits I need, then setting up my old tent, plus a tent someone left behind to see if I liked it better. I didn’t. It had a few things I liked, but most importantly, it was half the size, and with all the stuff I have to bring along, including all my tack, I figured I needed the room. So once it was up, I cleaned it all up, then pulled out a can of Camp Dry spray (leftover from the LAST time we went on the cattle drive in 2016) and completely sprayed it, and even got a second spray on about half of it later in the day. Once that was done, I headed to town, got fuel (I prepaid $150 figuring I’d get money back, but instead, it didn’t even click off before it hit it! Grrrr!), picked up a package that had the final missing zero for the new number system, which I put on as soon as I got to back to camp, went to Glenn’s and happily found that all was well with the pool, just added a little acid, then stopped at Tractor Supply to pick up hay and feed. The hay was really nice coastal, but the only type of feed they had was Senior, they had no Perform and no Balance, so I guess I’ll have to take a ride up to Ranch Feed before I leave. I need to get more hay for Apollo while he’s at Jeff’s anyway. Going to be a busy day Friday! Once I got back, I put away the hay in the trailer, moving the last old bale to the barn to finish off this week, then took the tent I didn’t want down to store it, washed the two sleeping bags, though I’m only taking one and a blanket, cleaned the duffel bag I’m going to take, and pretty much kept busy the rest of the afternoon doing small prep work. I’m trying to pace it out so I don’t exhaust myself before I leave, so I quit around 3:00 and relaxed the rest of the day. Got lots more to do tomorrow, including actually taking Flash out for a conditioning ride! On track, though, which is all I can expect at this point. Heading for shower and bed early again, so we can get it all started tomorrow! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Monday, November 28, 2022 – Recovery Day

Hi Darlin’,
Had a pretty good night sleep, woke up tired from all the activity of the last week, so I laid in bed and read for several hours just to rest. Essentially did almost nothing today, I felt that was the fastest way to recharge my batteries so that I will be raring to go tomorrow and the rest of the week. Considering I have to get ready for the Cattle Drive, to which I’m planning to drive on Saturday, and don’t have a lot to time, I still felt it worthwhile to rest today, though I did spend some time researching for my health insurance for next year, and determined that another union contract was in order to achieve the best deal, so I put that together. So that’s essentially what I did! Had a nice turkey leftover dinner, watched a good movie, and now I’m heading to shower and bed, nice and early so I can be ready to go tomorrow! Good night, babe! Love you!

Sunday, November 27, 2022 – The Exodus

Hey Babe,
What a day! Though I did wake up once and hear a generator running, I was in no mood to get up and track it down, simply reminding myself that if it’s one of the horse folks, they’ll all be gone by the end of the day, and if it’s not, then not my job, so just chill. Did have a good night sleep otherwise. Started out running around on the tractor reminding people that both stalls and paddocks needed to be cleaned, and I am delighted to report that with only a few exceptions, ALL of the paddocks were clean (which historically is what hasn’t been cleaned before!), and most of the stalls were, too, though there were a few notable exceptions, mostly the folks that were booted out of here last night. Not surprising, they were the type of folks who don’t think the rules apply to them, and this was just another bit of evidence to that attitude, not taking responsibility for the messes they or their horses make. Carol made our group a lovely blueberry pancake breakfast, and after that, I mostly just kept an eye on things as folks left. Suddenly and blessedly very quiet out here now! Yay! Considering so much of my effort this summer was leading up to this weekend, the unofficial start of the riding season here in Florida, then I’d have to say it went magnificently well. Lots of compliments on the trail signage, even from folks that know the trails really well, which was very nice. Also managed to get a load of laundry in, so fresh sheets tonight. I’m ready to crash! Definitely going to lay in for a bit tomorrow, and try to keep my activity level down, though I had hoped to ride, but I may need to recover first. We’ll see in the morning. Chuckwagon Dennis let me have some leftovers so I don’t have to worry about cooking for a while, thank goodness! The last group left just after 4:30, so feeding was easy, and I was able to open up the back paddocks for my guys again, I’m sure they’ll be happy about that! I gave them hay anyway, since most of the grass will have been chewed down, but everything should be back to normal tomorrow. Settled down for the evening, in our usual routine, yay! Just need my shower and bed, hoping for a good night sleep, and back to normal tomorrow. Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Saturday, November 26, 2022 – Slightly Quieter, But Exhausted Due To Little Sleep

Hi Sweetie,
Awakened three times during the night listening to some kind of thrumming noise, until I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I had to find out what it was. At first, I thought it was a quiet generator behind me, but after throwing on my robe and rain boots and walking through camp at 4:30 in the morning, I discovered it was actually a generator AND a big diesel truck that was left running, obviously to power something. It was seriously loud, considering it was all the way on the other side of camp from me! I can’t tell you how much that pissed me off. I told every camper in here, many more than once, when quiet hours were. The FWC law enforcement guy said he did the same thing when he came through around 7:00, and the Sheriff’s department made a few swings by as well, so for these people to so flagrantly violate the most essential rule here, quiet hours from 11-7, infuriates me. I turned off their generator, and would have turned off their truck except I was afraid the horn alarm would go off and wake up anybody who wasn’t already awake. Plus I’m sure I would have gotten in trouble doing so. I texted the FWC guy and didn’t hear back from him for about two hours, then all he told me was to call dispatch, which I did. Two hours later, I still hadn’t seen anyone, so I called again, and was told the officer was doing something “off-duty” and would come once he was finished. I asked if that was likely to be closer to 30 minutes or four hours, and he said thirty minutes. Four and a half hours later, I called again, got a new dispatcher, had to re-exlain the whole thing again (don’t these people take notes?), and was told the exact same thing about having to wait until the off-duty job was done before being available! I’m sure glad I wasn’t in serious physical trouble, I’d be dead before I ever get help from these guys! All this one promised was “by end of day.” This is not a problem I want to handle in the dark, but that’s exactly what ended up happening. I spent the rest of the day running around, checking in on people, a lot of day riders coming and going, slightly less chaotic than yesterday, but not by much. When the FWC LE guy finally showed up just before 6:00, it was already dark, of course, but he managed to make a lot of progress with the troublemakers. The permit they were using had expired yesterday, the guy whose name was on the permit had been cited for trespass two years ago and was apparently still under court order not to be on the property, and since there were six people under his permit, they’re all being told they have to leave. Lots of yelling going on for awhile, but fortunately, I was with my friends and not at all involved, since some of them were looking for me because they thought I could help them, though, of course, I couldn’t. LE guy said he’d come back through around 10:30 to make sure they had left, so hopefully it will be a quieter night, and I’ll be able to make up for lack of sleep last night. Seems three groups of non-equestrians left today because of the noise factor last night as well. No doubt there will be complaints, but they’re the ones who started it by violating so many rules, as far as I’m concerned. The best part of the day was when a bunch of us all put our dogs in a paddock as a temporary dog park, and the all raced around having a blast together! Everybody got along just fine! Wish people had that ability! Spent the evening chatting with friends until we were all too tired to do anything but go to bed, so off to the shower I got! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Friday, November 25, 2022 – Nonstop Busy Day

Hi Darlin’!
What a day! From the moment I left my trailer this morning, I was on the go, jumping from one challenge to the next! Lots of people came in throughout the day, so I was constantly checking folks in, had a brief respite when we turned one of the paddocks into a dog park and had a play date with a bunch of the camp dogs, solved problem after problem today. I had just managed to feed Lola but decided to do one small job before breakfast, and one thing led to another to another to another, and breakfast finally happened at about 11:45. This kept going all afternoon! Finally, I was able to settle down for dinner, but that ended up being delayed for almost two hours, and then just as Dennis was serving up, Jim Walter was having problems with his generator, so I went over to give him a hand and managed to help him get it going, then headed back to the dinner table only to learn that the electric from the old well house had quit, so no electric and no water to the only shower house left with hot water, and no water for any of the spigots around camp, including the barns and paddocks, so I went on a hunt for that. The usual suspects of breakers were fine, but then I thought maybe the new wellhouse might have some kind of transfer, then Jim remembered that in the old, defunct wellhouse there used to be some power, so we pried the door open there, only to find nothing. Then as we were closing it back up again, Jim practically tripped over the guy wire of a pole, and we discovered another transformer and breaker box there, but it had a lock on it. I was thinking bolt cutters, but then we saw the hinge only had three little screws, so we managed to take out the screws and get the cover off, and sure enough, a circuit in there was broken, we flipped it, and viola! Power came back on! Thank goodness Jim was here, I never would have thought to look that far down the line. We had unfortunately already called James, who had called an emergency electrician, but I’m sure he didn’t get too far because we solve the problem pretty quick. So happy we could work that out! FINALLY got back to the dinner table, but by then everyone else had eaten, so I just ate a plate of delicious smoked ribs that Dennis cooked beautifully, and some nice side dishes. So exhausted now after this long day, heading for a shower and bed, happy that I have electric again! Good night, baby! Love you!

Thursday, November 24, 2022 – Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey Babe!
I can’t remember the last time I had a big Thanksgiving dinner, but I certainly made up for lost time today! After chores and breakfast, I finished off making the deviled eggs I promised, did my rounds for a bit, chatted with some folks, then rested for a good part of the afternoon, until I finally wandered over to where “my group” was fixing to have dinner. Dennis had put a 15 lb. turkey in this incredible home-built smoker that he expertly designed and installed into the back of an old horse trailer, and I could smell the fire burning when I fed the horses in the morning, though he didn’t put the turkey in until about noon. Between the five of us, we had enough fixings for a dozen people, but even so, we took a good chunk out of it once we started eating around 5:30. Didn’t even have room for the pumpkin pie I brought, but we’ll have that tomorrow, I’m sure. Started out foggy but turned into a beautiful and relatively relaxing day after all! A very memorable Thanksgiving, so glad to be out here at Dupuis! Won’t be long out of bed tonight! Love you, my sweet! Good night!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022 – Another Full Day

Hi Sweetie!
Was out of bed at 7:00, which is becoming my habit these days, had breakfast even before chores today, because it was really foggy and I was hoping things would dry out a bit, and I didn’t want to start my tractor too early and wake up any nearby campers. After breakfast I fed the horses (because they are confined to a stall and one paddock these days, I’m having to give them lots of hay and grain twice a day now), then quickly put up the last few numbers on the paddocks (the lively two were already out so their paddock was clear), then soon headed out to town, hoping my package was safe. Fortunately, it was, though the gal at the post office was just as mortified as I was that Amazon just left it in the lobby where anyone could have taken it. Headed to Glenn’s and spent a full three hours working on his pool. I wanted to vacuum the spa because there was a lot of sand, and he had told me the skimmer had a place for a hose, but it wasn’t working properly, so I had to work it from another angle, all of which took time. After I finally got that to work, and vacuumed for a bit, then I took out the big filter and did a very thorough washing of that, and that seemed like an endless job. All the while, of course, throwing a ragged old ball that Lola had found, just to keep her busy. The pool does look a lot better, and I adjusted the speed again, so I’ve got my fingers crossed we’ve finally found the right balance. Was so late by then, but I had to stop at Tractor Supply to pick up hay and an end to my burnt out electrical cord, then stopped at the Ace Hardware for a 1/4″ extension for my ratchet, which will make the installation of my regulator much easier, and finally, a stop at the grocery store for eggs and a pumpkin pie. I had offered to bring deviled eggs to the Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow, and they had a bunch of pies there, so I got one of those, too. FINALLY got back to camp, did my rounds, and amazingly, didn’t find any new campers yet, which surprised me. Petra and Dennis had arrived while I was gone, and they helped me get my hay in the barn, then I headed back home and put the new regulator in my truck, so my window is working fine again, yay! Didn’t have as busy an afternoon as I thought I would, so I relaxed a little, then started on my deviled eggs (hard-boiled eggs came out perfect!), did my last rounds at 8:00, only one new trailer had come in but no one was at home so I wasn’t able to get their permit information yet. Now I’m exhausted, falling asleep in my chair, so I’m heading to shower and bed early again, which is also becoming my habit. Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022 – New Paddock Number Signs

Hiya Darlin’,
Started the day off doing chores, breakfast, then I decided to go ahead and take out the bad power window regulator on my truck, the second one to go, this time the right rear one. Since I had done the other side before I pretty much knew what to do, but I followed along on a youtube video just to confirm each step. My new part is due today, I was hoping to get it all done, but then something more important came up. A could named Karen and Charles had offered to manufacture some metal numbers for each of the paddocks and for the stalls in Barn 2, which for some reason never had numbers put in like the other two barns, and when Karen arrived with the numbers, I got busy installing them. That took me most of the afternoon, but man, do they look nice! Nice and big so you can see them from a ways off, black and shiny, really nice! For some reason, I was missing a zero, but I did almost every one, except one paddock that had two overly-lively horses, and my paddock, which I just forgot. Very impressive! It took me until past the time post office closed, so I didn’t even worry about picking up my new regulator, then when I finally noticed it had been delivered, it was after hours, and the Amazon driver just left it in the lobby of the post office! I couldn’t believe it! Anybody can come in and take it (not that they’d want to), but nevertheless, not the smartest move. I only hope it’s still there in the morning! I ended up crashing early, such a busy, hot sweaty job, but a really good job well done! Finally settled down early, showered and heading to bed. Good night, babe! Love you!

Monday, November 21, 2022 – Puttering Day

Hey Babe,
Having got most of the big jobs done, at last, it was just a handful of jobs that needed doing this morning. Fed the horses, who are now confined to the barn for the week, so I had to give them plenty of hay. Luan actually left me half a bale, so that was nice, but I also hauled another bale over from the trailer. I’m going to have to pick up some more in the next day or two or I’ll run out very soon. I fixed a loose plank in the manure bin near Barn 1, widened a bolt hole on a stall in Barn 2, then helped Luan with her horse Yarnell. Nice horse, but it seems absolutely no groundwork has ever been done with this horse. She’s been having trouble loading him in her LQ trailer, though he’s fine with a livestock trailer, apparently. Anyway, I offered to help, but this horse needs a good week in a round pen before he’ll start listening to anyone. I managed to get him to make a few quick turns on a lunge line, but it took 20 minutes for him to start to understand, and he behaved like he was really fat and lazy, only walking at first. Took awhile, but he got a lot better, but nowhere near where he needs to be to load him into a trailer he doesn’t want to go in. After that I did a few more odds and ends, tried to fix the chimney on my tractor but I think I’m going to have to do it again with something stronger than what I used. Spent some time with some of the other horse campers that came in, nowhere near as many as permits that were issued, so it may not be as crowded as we figured. Could have a lot to do with the weather, it was gloomy all day again, and rainy in the afternoon, and the forecast is the same for the next few days. Fed the horses again in the evening, which I’ll have to do now that they’re in the barn, and settled down to a nice steak dinner and a Stephen King movie. Heading for shower and bed, right after my Spanish lesson. Good night, sweetie! Love you!