Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Playing Games

I was going to post about how I had to wait for the turkeys to cross the road when I left for work this morning.

Or, post about how it is finally raining.

But, no, I'm going to post about my stinker horse (not Jackson, never Jackson) -- Winston. Brett decided to bring the horses into the barn in the afternoon when the rain started to come down in a steady, earth soaking beat. Flash was standing in the oak pasture run-in shed and Jackson was outside; true to form. Brett brought them into the barn first.

He walked over to the clover pasture next. Winston came right over and sniffed Brett's hand (holding a cookie), and then whirled and ran off as Brett reached up to put the halter on his neck. Winston kept at it; coming close and running off; taking Mufasa along for the ride. Brett was wet, the footing was muddy and slick, and he was worried about them slipping and straining something. Not to mention destroying the "clover" pasture. Brett stomped off into the barn and fed Jackson and Flash some hay. Winston watched from the pasture gate.

Afterwards, Brett walked back and tried again to halter Winston -- or Mufasa. No luck. Same game. Brett went back to the barn and worked on fixing the broken axle on the muck cart. Later, he tried again. Same game. Brett went to the house, took off his boots, and sent me a text; a very angry text. I replied that I would put Winston in the barn when I got home from work.  Brett was upset as well, that Winston was keeping him from getting close to Mufasa.

At 6:30 we trudged back out to the barn, grabbed halters and cookies, and then made our way in the pitch black rain to the pasture. We could hardly see where we were going. Winston came right up to me as usual. He reached his face to the halter, took a sniff, ...whirled and took off. What the ??!! A few minutes later, he came trotting back. No way, I said. Get away from me. I don't want you. Shoo.

He approached again, head low, licking his lips submissively. I showed him the cookie; stepped next to his head and... he slid backwards and away. Shoo! Shoo!Shoo!Shoo! Go away. I said.

I was getting wet, not to mention irritated. I sensed Mufasa wasn't enjoying the game as much as Winston so Brett came in and haltered his horse. Totally backwards. We normally have to halter Winston first so he doesn't herd Mufasa away. Not this time. Mufasa was done with Winston's game.

As soon as Brett and Mufasa walked through the pasture gate towards the barn, my very wet Winston jammed his head into the halter. He was so anxious to get it on his face that the throat latch twisted and it took a minute to latch. He danced around. He couldn't wait to be in the barn. Being alone in the pasture was not his idea of how the game would end.


After this storm, we are going to mix up the horses a bit. Brett thinks Winston needs to spend some time with Flash. I couldn't agree more. Flash doesn't tolerate insubordination. Mufasa and Jackson will hang out together in the oak pasture while Winston is at reform school.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Almost, but not quite, Useless

Even though I wasn't feeling strong enough to ride today, Kersey thought I was very useful.

1. My lap made a great place to rest against while I was sitting on the ground pruning rose bushes. Standing was fatiguing so I joined the dogs on the soft bed of oak leaves surrounding the rose planter. They stretched out next to me, still smelling faintly of skunk.

2. Kersey is a stick dog. She loves to chew on sticks and was busy with oak twigs she found lying about. She ran over to the porch where Brett was stacking wood and started whining, pawing at her head and writhing on the grass.  I sat on the ground next to her and pried her mouth open while she rested a bloody paw on my arm. There was an inch and a half long piece of rose bush wedged in the palate of her mouth. The thorns and sharp ends must have been excruciating.

3. While Brett fed hay and mucked the clover pasture, I tried to help a little bit with chores tonight by mucking the oak pasture.

I found Kersey in the pasture, sitting forlornly up past the run-in shed. Brett has closed up all the holes she used to get out onto the road behind us. We don't know exactly where she goes under the fence to get into the pasture, and she doesn't seem to remember either when it comes time to get out. When I finished mucking, I put the cart next to the gate blocking Flash behind it. I opened the gate and stood in front of Jackson so he couldn't go after her either. Head down and tail low, Kersey scurried past me and out the gate.

4. I put a turkey breast in the crock pot, made cranberry sauce and mashed some potatoes for dinner. My appetite is still not back but Brett is getting tired of takeout pizza and sandwiches for dinner. He doesn't complain but he works hard and deserves a good dinner. Turkey is one of his favorites.

5. While I rested in a chair in my garden this afternoon, Brett talked about building me a garden shed. I love it when he plans and builds. I could see it complete, up against the side of the garage, with a brick floor, a work bench and the old laundry sink.  Brett asked where he should put the door... and the windows.  I had been thinking lean-to shelter; he's thinking a real deal potting shed.  Is it any wonder I love the man so much?

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Under the Weather

Thursday afternoon I had a scratchy throat -- the tickly kind that make you cough. I sucked on throat lozenges all night and felt okay to go to work Friday morning. Holding Jackson for two hours in the barn that afternoon, while his feet were x-rayed, did me in. I was in bed at 8:30 last night. This morning I went out to help Brett with chores even though he told me to stay inside and rest. I thought the fresh air might relieve the pounding in my head.

There were some clouds high in the sky, smushed and blurred together like a Monet painting.

My head did feel better but I pushed it too far, mucking the pasture, and was back on the couch for the rest of the morning. I've been living on hot tea and bananas. Maybe I'll lose a couple of the pesky pounds that arrived last summer and refuse to leave. Theresa asked if I've lost weight. In my dreams! (but thank you -- thigh blocks on a saddle are great for giving a slimming profile).

Meanwhile, Brett was busy completing the horse trailer parking area behind the garage. The cars and trailers have been parked in the middle of the area between the house and the barn -- like we just arrived and unloaded. (which is sort of true).

In the past few days, he's been removing all the rocks and debris that was piled up behind the garage. Yesterday, he used his tractor to grade the area flat. There were some railroad ties that he used to define the parking area. Then he took scoops of gravel from a pile back by the oak pasture to finish it off. He had to buy one railroad tie to complete the project -- $40. That's the most economical project yet.

I was looking forward to riding Winston this afternoon and practicing my homework from my last lesson. Instead, I dragged a chair around chasing the sun. Nothing feels better when you have a cold than dozing with the sun warm on your face and dogs sleeping at your feet.

Jackson is doing very well with his fancy frog boots. He's walking almost normal and I was able to decrease his bute. A few people asked if I had him checked for metabolic issues since they can cause laminitis. I did. His thyroid and his Cushings test both came back normal. I put him on Pergolide for a year to see if it would make a difference, but it didn't. The laminitis is most likely the result of poor conformation in his feet. He's a very crooked horse; built like a potato chip all curvy and wavy and not at all straight. The bones in his hoof are not stacked straight and that is stressing his foot.

Fingers crossed that I feel well enough to ride Winston tomorrow.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Random 5 Friday

1. Good news on the Jackson front. He is definitely having an acute flare up of laminitis but x-rays reveal no further rotation of the coffin bone. Dr. Mike showed me how to make a frog boot for Jackson which takes pressure off of the hoof wall and sole so the inflammation can settle down.

2. Jackson was very thorough about this episode. Five days of pain on the right front, one day of respite (yesterday), followed by pain in the left front. So, lucky boy, he gets two boots. The boots should stay on for a week, as long as he doesn't get crazy in the pasture.

3. Jackson, and all the other horses, have to lose weight. He's getting fat on a diet of grass hay and no grain. Fortunately, the pasture is brown so we don't have to worry about the calories in grass. We are cutting back to two feedings a day. Since the horses are on pasture, they are able to nibble all day long and keep their gut moving.

4. Sacramento set a record a few days ago for the most consecutive days without rain (46) in the rainy season. The record had been set in 1884. Average rainfall for our area in January is 6 inches. Today a record was set for high temperature in January: 79F.  We are slightly cooler in the Placerville area but still around 70F.  The lakes are mere puddles and the American river is reduced to a trickle. The white water river rafting companies are worried. We're all worried.

5. The unseasonably warm, dry weather has brought bear out of hibernation early. They have been playing on the ski runs. Skunks are out as well. The other night one sprayed near the house and it seeped into the house through the gaps in our windows. Everything reeked for days: the house, the garage, the cars and the dogs.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

On Being An Emotional Wreck

Usually I hold it together pretty well. Losing animals is never easy but some losses are harder to grasp than others. Jackson isn't gone yet, don't worry, but his days are numbered and whenever I am faced with "it might be now" -- well, I don't do so hot.

In January of 2012, two years ago, after months where Jackson was lame more than he was sound our vet took some x-rays to see if we could see what was causing the pain. Sure enough, the coffin bone showed rotation. It was official... Jackson had a terminal condition. Previous to the diagnosis, we had thought he was having a series of abscesses. They never broke and the lameness would eventually dissipate; sometimes after days and sometimes after weeks. I soaked his feet and packed his hoof full of epsom salt poultices; but the problem wasn't abscesses. We tried pads and special shoes but nothing worked for long. I was an emotional wreck then, too.

In February 2012, after a 10 day acute flare up, our farrier told me that Jackson could go at anytime; that he was beyond repair. I didn't put him down but I did retire him. I told Jackson that it was up to him; that he needed to tell me when he was ready; that he could live as long as he was pasture sound. In April, I had his shoes pulled and, amazingly, he did better barefoot. His feet which had always been thin and soft got nice and hard. He grew out new hoof which was strong and his "off" days decreased. He still had episodes here and there but other than a severe episode in December 2012, he was only off when turning.

2013 was a very good year for Jackson. I was lulled into thinking he was going to be fine forever. He survived the ten hour trailer ride up here, walking off the trailer with no problem. He has been loving life in the oak pasture with Flash; maybe loving it too much. Lately, he has taken to cantering up from the far end for breakfast and I've seen him playing hard -- bucking and rearing and carrying on. He felt good and it made me incredibly happy to watch his antics. He is only ten, afterall.

I'm guessing all those antics caused concussion on the coffin bone. This has been by far the worst I've seen him. The vet is coming on Friday to take x-rays. If the coffin bone has rotated further, I'll put an end to his pain. I've been working my way to that decision since Monday; dancing close and then running backwards from the thought. I spent much of today fighting tears and not always winning that battle. I'm exhausted. Today he was slightly improved. He met me at the gate for his bute and cookies. Brett said he didn't lay down except to take a mid-day nap. He's still head bobbing lame, but he can walk. Now, it's up to the x-rays.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Jackson Still Struggles, Me Too

I have been giving Jackson 2g of bute, twice a day, and it isn't touching his pain.  Normally, I give him a loading dose of 2g and can move down to 1.5 on day two and 1g on day three.  Normally, he's pain free by day four.

Not this time.

I think the pain is getting worse.  Jackson spends most of his time laying down in the leaves.

He's easy to dose with the syringe full of applesauce and bute.  He has always been easy to worm and he loved his ulcer medication.  He swallows all of the applesauce bute mixture and then I give him a couple cookies.  But it doesn't ease the pain.

I sat with him in the pasture yesterday and his breathing was shallow.  I could feel suffering radiating from him.  He is telling me that it is time.

I can't seem to wrap my brain around that fact.  I did make an appointment with the vet for Friday but I keep hoping that he'll be running around doing rodeo bucks by then and I can cancel the appointment.

Jackson does get up at meal time and slowly, painfully, make his way to the hay feeder.  Here's a link to the video if the embedded one doesn't work.  His manure is normal.  His ulcers don't seem to be back despite the high dosage of bute but I worry.

Come on, buddy.  Pull through.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lesson with Sandy Savage

This morning I loaded Winston's saddle, bridle, and tack box into the trailer. I added a clean white pad with bright black piping - not one of the faded ones I use normally. His white schooling boots were dirty so I packed maroon Eskadron wraps. I made a couple PB&J sandwiches while Brett packed water bottles on ice. We loaded Winston and headed south to Wilton just before 11am.

Winston unloaded and went on llama alert -- head high, trying to lean on me for support as we walked around the grounds. "Winston, you are six years old. You can stand on your own feet and walk like a grown up." We walked out past the round pen, the tractor, the water truck, the barn and the covered arena. He nibbled on grass behind the dressage court. We walked back to the trailer where I grabbed the lunge line out of the trailer and then headed to the round pen. Winston was doing a pretty good imitation of an ostrich at first; head high, eyes darting back and forth, looking at everything. Then he went to work.

Back at the trailer, I wrapped his legs, settled the saddle on his back and slipped the bridle over his head.

He calmly walked with me back out to the dressage court where I walked him around inside the court, both directions, until Sandy arrived. His head was low and relaxed as we walked along. Periodically, he bumped my hand softly with his nose.

Sandy asked about Winston's history, what we had most recently been working on, and then asked me to start working with him like I would do at home so she could see where she could help.

I came home and listed eight "homework" take-aways from the lesson so there are plenty of areas where she is helping. Most of the help came in the form of instruction to help Winston be comfortable in the contact and for me to be effective. To start with, she changed how I hold my hands so that I influence the contact with my wrist instead of my whole arm. This frees up my elbow to operate like a shock absorber so the movement of my body doesn't smack him in the mouth. It also allows me to effectively increase or decrease the amount of contact needed at a given moment.

Winston wasn't too thrilled with the new effective me. He tried throwing his head up (I curled my wrist in, increasing the contact), he tried sucking back (I kicked him forward into the contact) and then he gave -- and I immediately went to a very soft place with my hands.

Sandy also taught me how to use half halts in the downward transition to keep Winston from running into the trot from canter. It. felt. awesome.

Winston and I were toast at the end of the lesson; happy toast. Winston was very pleased with himself and I was equally proud of him. Brett said we looked like we were back in business. I can't wait to practice what we learned today and I'm looking forward to the next lesson.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Oh, Jackson

I picked up Heather from the Sacramento airport Friday afternoon and we got to the house with just enough time to take the dogs for a long walk before chores. When we pulled in the driveway, Jackson was laying down in a bed of leaves in the pasture. He's not one to stay down for long naps so I was surprised that he didn't pop up to standing when we drove in the gate.

I grabbed the dog leashes out of the laundry room and called the dogs. Sedona stood still with her tail wagging slowly from side to side while I clipped on her leash. Kersey collapsed onto the ground in a fit of excitement and wriggled so violently that I didn't think we'd ever get the leash attached. Jackson was still laying down as we walked by and my concern increased. He wasn't in distress but was resting comfortably with his head up, his ears pricked forward, watching us go by. We walked up the dirt road that circles behind our property, along the fence line behind the pasture. As we passed by Jackson again, he stood and gave his body a good shake. I sighed in relief and we started up the first hill.

An hour later when we returned home with two tired, happy dogs, Jackson was still standing ... in exactly the same place. Uh oh. He was lame. Three legged lame on the hoof with rotation of the coffin bone. No heat, no swelling, no rocks in the frog. Just lame. I smashed some horse cookies with a hammer, added bute, a splash of water and mixed it up. Jackson hates bute or vitamins or anything other than grass, hay, carrots and apples. I had to hold the mess of wet smashed cookies in my hand and only then did he reluctantly eat it; more to please me than anything else.

Saturday morning, he was standing but reluctant to move. I mixed more bute with some sweet feed and he ate most of it. In the evening, he was still off and getting tired of the sweet feed that tasted like apple flavored bute (special ordered for him because he won't go near the peppermint flavored stuff). He ate half.

This morning, he was STILL very lame and he flat out refused to eat anything from the bucket. He hobbled away from me when he realized I wasn't going away. I gave up with a mixture of annoyance and worry. Why does the horse that needs medication have to be the picky eater?!

Heather and I spent the day at a dressage symposium at Starr Vaughn. At lunch time, Brett and I were texting about Jackson. I suggested that he mix the bute into some applesauce, put it in a syringe, and shoot it into Jackson's mouth. Brett went to the market and picked up a jar, found a syringe in the tack room medicine chest, and loaded the syringe. Jackson let him shoot it in his mouth but didn't swallow the whole amount. At least he got some. Tomorrow morning I'll be able to give him the bute. Fingers crossed that he works his way out of this. This is his first lame episode since we moved up here which is phenomenal. He has been feeling very good, galloping around, bucking and playing like a healthy ten year old. His spirit is willing but his feet are weak. Poor guy.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Random 5 Friday

1. My friend Heather is coming to visit this weekend. She flies in tomorrow and we are going to be busy, busy, busy -- going wine tasting, taking long walks, and going to a dressage symposium on Sunday. I may not have time to post. I'm very excited about her visit. She's excited to be leaving the heat wave in Southern California, where it's been in the 80s all week.

2. The warm weather and winds in Southern California increase the fire danger. There is a fire burning in Glendora, where I grew up, right now. It started up on a fire road where I rode horses and hiked with my best friend, Janice, as a kid. They think it was started by transients camping in the foothills. Five homes have burned so far. We have friends who have been evacuated. We hope they, and their homes, stay safe.

3. Brett was a police officer in Glendora before he retired. He's been following the situation through his friends who are still there. We hope that the police officers and fire fighters stay safe as well. They are putting in very long hours.

4. The weather here has been warm; not as warm as the LA area, and not windy, but unseasonably warm nonetheless. The nights are still cold, in the low 30s, but the days are in the high 60s.

5. Mary Ann wanted to know what I'm going to do with all the fruit from my orchard. I won't get fruit for a number of years so I won't have that to think about for awhile. The pears, in particular, take five years to start producing. The peach will be first. Apples tend to bear heavy one year and light the next. I'm hoping that they aren't all on the same cycle. If I get a bumper crop I'm sure the horses and donkeys will be more than happy to help us out. I love fruit. I love walking around the orchard gorging myself on the fruit. I eat it straight off the tree, put it in salads, bake it in pies, and make applesauce or jam. I expect birds will eat more than their share of it as well.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Working Woman Weeknight Dinner

Tonight's dinner took a bit longer than the usual 30 minutes to make (close to an hour) but it was worth every minute.

Black and Wild Rice Salad with Roasted Squash form the Epicurious website.

Healthy and very tasty.

Black rice and wild rice, cooked in salty boiling water for about 45 minutes.

Butternut squash, tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and then roasted in the oven at 450 for about 20 minutes until toasty brown. Pistachio nuts chopped -- Brett loves the Salt & Pepper roasted pistachios from CostCo so we had a big bag on hand.  A cup of pomegranate seeds, some sliced scallions (not too many and cut big enough so Brett could pick them out) and a cup of mixed chopped parsley and cilantro. The recipe calls for "microgreens" but parsley and cilantro were what I had on hand.

When the rice was tender, I drained it and let it cool for five minutes.  Ditto for the squash -- pulled the roasting sheet from the oven and let the squash cool slightly.  The recipe calls for letting them cool completely but we were hungry and a warm dinner sounded better to me than a room temperature salad.

It was very tasty.  Did I say that already?  Even Brett, who is suspicious of granola vegan looking food, said it was good.  Bon appetit!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

My Boy is Back

On my lunch today, I drove from the office to the barn where Sandy Savage works. I wanted to check out the trailer parking in advance of my lesson next Monday and get a feel for the lay out. Ooh la la. Pacific Equestrian Center is beautiful with large grassy paddocks, a jumping arena, a covered arena, two dressage courts and a covered round pen. The barns are beautiful and the grounds peaceful. I walked carefully down the dirt road to the dressage courts, trying to keep my pumps from getting too dusty. Get this: a woman who used to be at the barn where I trained my Friesian, Auke, was sitting in a chair by the judge's booth talking to Sandy Savage who was riding her gelding. Brett had trailered this woman's 2-year old gelding up here a number of years ago when she moved. Sandy was riding that gelding, who is now nine and showing at 4th level. I introduced myself to Sandy and she smiled, "I read your blog" she said. Watching her ride and talking to the owner made me want to get to work with Winston right then.

I managed to get home from work early enough to ride Winston before dark. Brett wanted to ride Mufasa in the dressage court so we headed out there too.

While Brett and Mufasa warmed up at the far end by C, I lunged Winston down at A. Winston was prompt in his transitions, from my voice, and he looked great. I praised him and he tried harder. "You think that looked good? Get a load of this!" We did some transition work and when he was nice and loose, I got onboard. Winston marched right into the court and got to work. Brett rode Mufasa past us, down towards A and Winston had a mini-meltdown. "OMG, Mufasa is leaving me. I'm going to be alone in the big scary dressage court in the hinterlands. Whaaaaaaahhhh."

"Winston," I said, "you are a big boy and you are not going to die. Those little half rears and trying to run backwards are not acceptable behavior. Put on your big boy pants and do some turns on the forehand for me. Now. Like that. More. Good boy." ...and I called over to Brett "would you mind riding up at the C end of the arena so he doesn't think you are leaving?" Other than a silly spook a while later at the blue chairs that have been on the side of the court forever, Winston was awesome. We even had consistent transitions from walk to trot that didn't involve llama-neck, dropping-back syndrome. He stayed nice and round in the transition. I could feel him stepping way under with his inside hind on our 20m circles. Canter, well, it still needs some work but the transitions were smooth and he tried to bend around my leg.

I called it a day there. The moon was coming up and the chores still needed to be done. I told Winston he was a rock star and he nodded. "I am all that and more," he said, "and you need to be riding me a lot more. I miss you."

I miss you, too, Winston. But we are getting back on track. I promise.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, January 13, 2014

Plan B

Sunday morning, I schooled Winston. He met me at the pasture gate and ducked his head into the halter. After a good grooming -- he was filthy after snoozing in the mud -- we walked out to the small arena. I've been working with him there instead of the dressage court because it has a fence around it, creating boundaries.

One of the neighbors behind us had a couple burn piles going. With the rain we had Saturday, the ground was damp and many people in our valley were burning their trash. Winston lifted his head high, sniffing the air and listening to the snapping, crackling flames.

I worked with him on the lunge line first. Hmmm. Winston is normally a pleasure to lunge. He knows the words "walk," "trot" and "canter." He is normally very prompt off of a spoken "aaaaaand trot." Somewhere in the past week he lost his vocabulary. I know Katy uses sounds (cluck to trot, kiss to canter) but it has never confused him. I tend to cluck and kiss when on his back so he knows both. I wondered why Winston had lost his bilingual skills.

After working on transitions to get his attention, and waiting for Winston's back to loosen up, I walked him over to the mounting block and climbed on. He had decided that the burn pile wasn't anything to worry about but he immediately started testing me. Hmmmmm, again. Not normal Winston behavior. We got to work and he pretty quickly got religion about working with me and not against me. We worked until he was focused and consistent; then we called it a day (I had trees to plant).

I wasn't thrilled with the changes in Winston's way of going; both on the lunge line and while I was riding. The only thing different this past week was J riding him. I could see that J's comments to me that she didn't know how to work him were accurate. He had lost his bearings a bit. Clearly, much as I really liked J, they were not a good fit. Winston was taking advantage of her. No wonder she was afraid.

I talked to Katy later in the afternoon. She had spoken with J and they both had reached the same conclusion. Katy said she had noticed the same things when she worked with Winston last Friday and that prompted her call to J.

We are moving on to Plan B. Katy will ride Winston one day during the week. I will school him on the weekends. Katy will come watch my lesson with Sandy Savage next week. That way, Katy will know what direction Sandy wants us to go and Winston will receive training from both Katy and I that is consistent. As the days get longer, I will try to ride in the evenings after work. We'll keep moving forward on this journey to strengthen our partnership and skills.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Productive Weekend

Saturday morning, Brett and I worked in the garden preparing it for all the bare root fruit trees that arrived in the mail during the week.  The previous owner must have had quite an extensive garden as there were planter beds everywhere.  The beds were outlined in cement block and lined with chicken wire, to keep gophers out.  I don't need many planter beds so most of the garden is being converted to an orchard.  We worked for a few hours, digging out the cement block and stacking them in a corner.  We must have had eight stacks, each about five feet high.  The skies were getting grey and eventually it started to rain.  The rain continued, on and off, all day and into the evening.

I started making chicken and dumplings in the crock pot before settling on the couch.

At one point, we heard thundering hooves and looked out into the retiree pasture to see Flash and Jackson going full tilt from one end to the other.  They were rearing and bucking -- Jackson got all four feet off the ground and let loose with a rodeo buck at one point -- and not acting like their normal sedate selves.  This morning they seemed fine; I was sure we'd have two gimpy boys for sure.

Our neighbors Al, Cindy and Vanessa came over and we had dinner together.
Um, yeah, we had some wine too.

Pumpkin pie for dessert -- there isn't a picture of that because it disappeared so fast.  Everything disappeared.  I used my new crockpot cookbook that I got for Christmas (thank you Camille).  If this recipe is any indication, it is going to be a well used book.

The rain moved out before we went to bed and the temperatures dropped overnight.  Not much rain, but better than nothing.

The horses were hungry.  There's nothing like cold weather to work up an appetite.

The sky was brilliant.

We spent this afternoon planting all the trees; all eleven of them.  The orchard now has thirteen trees.  They are mix of traditional favorites and heirloom varieties.  Brett dug the holes and I planted the trees.  I topped them off with a mound of compost and then watered them deeply.  We're both tired and sore.  But my orchard is in; the garden is coming together.

The trees in the orchard are:
5 apple (2 Fuji, and one each of Golden Noble, Honeycrisp and White Pearmain)
3 pear (Kieffer, Seckel, Warren)
2 cherry (Black Tartarian, Rainier)
1 Persimmon (Chocolate)
1 Peach (O'Henry)
1 Nectarine (existing)