Sunday, November 26


Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
Our neighbor, Coy Dan, finished repainting his John Deere 4010 tractor. I took the opportunity to take a few pictures of it before he added the front-end loader back to the tractor. Coy Dan's grandson, Tanner, was there visiting his grandparents while I took some photographs. I caught this image of Coy Dan explaining to Tanner that someday this would be his tractor. Coy Dan plans on passing on the tractor to his son Bruce, who in turn would pass it on to Tanner.

Coy Dan told Tanner to make sure his dad kept the oil changed and kept good care of it while it's his. Check my flickr stream for more photos of the tractor.

Saturday, November 25

Pair of mares

Pair of mares
Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
Here's a picture of Jennifer's two Percheron mares, Eve and Desi. She plans to use them for dressage and breeding. Included in their lineage is Blackhome Grandeur Lynn, who has been honored with a Breyer replica.

Thursday, November 23

Thanksgiving Activities

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Today we had my cousins Aaron and Blakely and the neighbors over for a very non-traditional Thanksgiving meal. Jennifer had basically cooked an entire traditional Thanksgiving dinner last week (and it was delicious) so we decided to go with something different. We figured everyone would be turkeyed out so we had Jennifer's famous lasagna (and it, too, was delicious). My parents, still in the Philippines, missed out on some good eats!

Aaron and Blake helped me with yet another project today as well. We had quite the assembly line going and made short work of a stack of 2x8 boards. Today we were able to close in the round pen. Now it's only missing a gate. I showed Aaron how to operate the camera, so the credit goes to him on most of the shots in the collage above. For a closer look at his work see my flickr stream.

Aaron captured a some shots of me and my power tools, of Blakely setting up the next board to be nailed in, as well as some shots of the animals playing. Dobie, who looks fairly menacing in the image, was taunting the other dogs. Aaron wandered around the house and snapped some shots of the chickens including the English game bird that is shown. He also took a quick shot of the Percheron mares.

Jennifer presented me with my early birthday present, my very own horse. She's an old mare who's well broke; something for me to learn on. Her name is Princess, but we've decided to just call her Red. She's in pretty rough shape at the moment but nothing a little TLC won't fix. I'll postpone posting any pictures of her until we've got some nice before and after shots.

All and all it was a really nice day, and we've got so much to be thankful for.

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Monday, November 20

Labor of Love

power take off
Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
Our beloved neighbor, Coy Dan Blakemore, has taken apart his 4010 (I think) John Deere tractor for a good repainting. Pictured here is the rear of the tractor and the PTO (power take off). Coy Dan painstakenly repaints the tractor to its factor colors and applys brand new John Deere stickers as required.

Coy Dan bought this tractor in the late seventies and has put somewhere in the area of 5000 hours on it since then. His son, Bruce, told Coy Dan he wanted two things only from him when he died. One was a rifle, the other was this tractor.

When the assembly is complete, I'll post pictures of it before its put back to work.

My flickr photostream has more to see as well.

Sunday, November 19

Scrap Metal and Horse Clinic

This trailer load wasn't quite as lucrative as the previous one. I was, however, relieved to actually get the unsightly mess off the farm. On the trailer was several miscellaneous pieces of metal, fence, the old mail box, and the remnants of an old trailer that apparently was in the brush pile we burnt earlier in the year.

I had loaded and reloaded the trailer numerous times. I would load it with the scrap metal only to find I needed to use the trailer for some other task before I could make it to town while the metal collectors where open. I made it my goal to get that trailer unloaded (at a scrap metal buyer) this weekend and finally succeeded. I drove into Bob Scrap Metal, weighed, unloaded, then weighed again. I took my $14 and left Bob's Scrap metal with an empty trailer.

While I was avoiding getting tetanus Jennifer was attending a dressage clinic. She's forgotten more about horses than I'll ever know and she's still on the quest for more knowledge. For the uninitiated dressage is a discipline of horsemanship often referred to as horse ballet. Comparing a normal trail-ride to dressage is like comparing pick-up truck to a sports car, not because of a speed difference but the quality of control.

It'll be slow working into the dressage field. It's definitely not a sport for the poor!

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Thursday, November 16

Never Again

Jennifer just knew we could make some good extra money picking up a few black walnuts. "Good extra money" is of course a relative term. The above image is a shot of the load of walnuts we picked up around our place and the Blakemore's farm. We didn't spend really all that much time picking them up, maybe 2 hours total. By the time I had time to take it to a weighing station they were down to $10 per 100 lbs. The borrowed trailer sat for three weeks with the same amount of walnuts in it.

For the trouble, we sold our black walnut for a whopping $35! Keeping in mind that we purchased a $45 walnut picker to start off the season I guess we'll have to do it again next year to get out of the hole!

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Monday, November 13

Project Sunroom

This image represents where my normal blogging time has gone. My parents have given us an early Christmas present by helping us close in the garage to make a new bedroom (aka a place for Jennifer to keep her ever growing plant collection.

More pictures of progress will be forthcoming.

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Monday, November 6


little bittle kittles
Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
Do other people come up with names for their pets in addition to the "given" name? We rarely call any of our dogs by their actual names. The names we call them are the product of a slow transformation based on their name or things that rhyme with it as well as personality traits or specific incidents.

Take for example our first dog, Dobie. Dobie quickly became Dobie Doo, then Dobie Doodle, or just Doodle. He loves to lay on the couch so we started calling him a couch potato (po-TAY-toe). He also now goes by Tayto or some time Tado, and some times Tomato (because it rhymes).

Haley became Haley Bailey. That turned into Haley Bailey Boo, or now just Boo. She's also known as Belly, because of her pink belly that she likes to show off.

Gelleon, gets called Mellon, or Smellon, or Mr. Magelleon.

Suey was easily shortened to just Sue, but she quickly acquired the nickname of Toots (rhymes with Sue but has other obvious meanings).

Our dogs respond to all of their names, and frankly I don't think they care what we call em as long as we keep treating them like the own the place! Jennifer and I joke that it's their house, we just pay the mortgage.

In the same way that we call our dogs by many names, sometimes referring to all of them as potatoes (they all love being couch potatoes) I pretty much refer to all kitties as Bittles. Kitty became Little bittie kitty, bittle kittle, and finally just bittles. Picture here are 3 of our 7 bittles (including momma bittle). Soon they'll be old enough to be weaned, then we'll find them some nice homes.

Feel free to sign up now and reserve one of these cuties!

Wednesday, November 1

evening grazing

evening grazing
Originally uploaded by duanekeys.
We released the horses into the new pasture this weekend and they quickly went to grazing the new pasture.

I was too slow in hanging the gate to get very many good pictures. This one I took with the help of my lovely wife, who acted as a carbon-based light stand for my off-camera flash.