The Greatest Gray Mare

Blessed are the Broodmares. There’s even a book written about it. I’ve been lucky enough to to retire two ladies on this farm, and I have an especially soft spot for them. Retired broodmares have value that you can’t put a price tag on and they are wise beyond their years.

This is a tale about a little gray Arabian mare that came into my life in a remarkable way.

I was super excited for my first foal. 100% sure everything would go great. Because that’s always how life works, right?

My mare is a calm, sweet girl. She’s my personal riding horse and I was taking a break from riding to raise a baby so I thought it would be great for her too. I carefully selected a perfect, complimenting warmblood stallion. The resulting filly was absolutely amazing.

Baby Cozette. Wasn’t she the cutest? I may be slightly partial.

Except Faith wasn’t sure about being a mom. She didn’t like that adorable little filly one bit. And neither was her body. Despite the filly being full term, she had no bag whatsoever. The filly refused any part of bottle feeding. We were in for the long haul.

Enter Stacy. She lived right down the road. And her colt had died 48 hours earlier. As soon as she got off the trailer and heard a baby she knew it was hers, and it was love at first sight. For both.

Stacy in her element

She was the best mama.

She even took her little gray filly to her inspection where she was site champion and acted like a she’d done it all her life.

When it came time for weaning Stacy’s owners called and asked if we’d like to keep her. The foal she’d lost was meant to be her last. I had become very attached to her over the last 6 months, so I immediately said yes!

She was put out in the field with our OTTB King, and my sister’s childhood horse, Taz. All was well for about a year until Taz started having some odd symptoms I couldn’t quite put my finger on. About 10 days later those developed into a full blown, neurological EPM episode.

It was so bad. I didn’t think he would survive. He spent the better part of a week standing in a field walking in circles. IV DMSO and steroids kept him alive in addition to EPM meds, but barely. We had several of those “end of life” conversations nobody likes to have. He’ll be 25 next year, so he’s no spring chicken.

He’s my last living link to my childhood, though. He’s been with me through it all. High school, mean girls, breakups, college, pharmacy school, my wedding, the death of my first horse, us buying our farm, bringing our baby home.

So I stood in my front yard and sobbed and begged him to not die just yet.

Taz, front and center with my mom on board. Aren’t our outfits amazing? 😂

He finally slowly started to do better, stopped the God awful circling, and began to look like he was going to make it.

He was still somewhat neurological, and fairly weak so the decision was made to send him to my parents house where he could be spoiled and have a closer eye on him.

I knew immediately what buddy would go with him. From day one of his illness I feel like Stacy had considered him less like a buddy and more like another foal. She’d taken on another job.

From the minute they got back to my parents house, that little stoic mare would lose her mind if he got out of her sight. She never leaves his side in the field. Every night when they come in, she tries to get in the stall with him. For all practical purposes I truly believe Stacy thinks that’s “her” baby.

A few weeks ago, Mom called and said they would be late getting home from visiting my grandmother in Knoxville. I knew Taz had been having a rough week and the vet had been out earlier to adjust some meds. The weather was kind of crappy, would I mind to go over and put them up?

I drove over, opened the gate to their field and they begin to walk up the driveway to the barn. Every few steps, Stacy would turn to look at him. He was indeed having a rough time of it. She knew. She also knew she had dinner and a nice warm stall waiting in the barn, but she walked in solidarity with her friend all the way to the barn so he wouldn’t be alone.

It made me tear up. Many people are quick to castoff these mares when they’ve weaned their last foal, but they have SO much more to offer in life. The gentle spirit and kindness they’ve fostered over a lifetime of raising foals is priceless. I think I’m especially sensitive to it right now after speaking with a client earlier this week who doesn’t quite feel the same about his girls that I do about mine, but darn if I didn’t have to go in that stall and throw my arms around my girl. She won’t ever want for anything. I think that book may have it a bit wrong. Blessed are the humans that get to watch the Broodmares. Blessed indeed.

Stacy in her new role of caretaker

Keeping Order in Your Home When You Live With Toddlers

I don’t deal well with disorder and clutter in my life, especially in my home – in fact in gives me an overwhelming sense of anxiety. It’s important for me to stay in a routine, because when we are home I’d much rather be spending time with my daughter and hubby or out in the barn and honestly I don’t have one of those “perfect Pinterest” houses either. But I do keep it tidy, and I do try to stay on top of things around here. Below are some of my top tips:

Isn’t this the truth?

#1 MAKE YOUR BED EVERY DAY

It’s the best way to start your day. It looks nice, and I’m just super type A in general. If my bed isn’t made in the morning, my whole day is thrown off. Period. Just trust me on this, it will set a positive, calm tone to kick start your morning.

#2 DON’T LET THINGS ACCUMULATE

This. Is. Huge.

Do a visual scan when you are in a room, especially in your more populated areas. See toys, clothes, mail, etc that don’t belong? Pick them up and return them to their rightful place right then.

#3 WIPE SURFACES

I wipe my kitchen counters and bathroom counters every day, and I give the sinks a good scrub as well. I love the Mrs. Meyer’s products as well as the Weiman granite cleaner. We have granite in our kitchen and marble in the bathrooms, which I have to be super careful with and these work wonderfully.

This is not only a good idea because these are highly trafficked, germy areas, but it will also help you remember to put things away that are on the counters as well!

#4 LAUNDRY

Do a load, every day. This routine helps me so much! I can throw a load in the washer in the am if it’s a day I’m working and then into the dryer when I get home. Fold, put away, and you’re done. Don’t let it pile up. It’s so much easier this way.

#5 KEEP UP WITH THE DISHWASHER

Load it in the evening, run, then take 5 minutes in the mornings to unload. This way its ready to go to in the evenings after you make dinner and you aren’t left with a huge pile of dishes in the sink. There are few things that can start my morning off on the wrong foot like walking past a full sink of dirty dishes. I do a lot of cooking at our house, as Mr. Pharmer has pretty severe food allergies that most restaurants don’t seem to be able to handle, so this is a daily occurrence here!

#6 SPEND 10-20 MINUTES EACH DAY DECLUTTERING

This really should be my number one tip for me with Baby Pharmer. 10 minutes in the morning, and 10 in the evening max. I grab a laundry basket and organize her toys and games. We have several of these in her play areas which makes getting the toy situation under control a breeze.

I got these from Walmart and highly recommend them

#7 SET A SCHEDULE

And stick to it. This is vital. Monday is my *bigger* laundry day from the weekend. It’s also Baby Pharmer’s gymnastics day and I try to meet my hubby for lunch after. Tuesday is meal planning. Wednesday I plan out our family activities. Thursday is grain day. Friday is for open gym and grocery pickup or Instacart (and yes, as a mama who works and lives on a farm with 14 horses, 9 goats, 4 dogs, 3 cats, and a pig I take full advantage of these services!) Saturday is Baby Pharmer’s riding lesson and fun with the family. Sunday is bed linens. Every day I do a load of clothes or towels. I don’t ever waiver from this unless I’m sick or on vacation. I highly recommend finding a good planner – the Erin Condren Life Planner has been life saver for me.

That’s basically it! Anyone have any tips I’m missing out on?

Top 7 Tips for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is one of our favorite events of the year. This is the second year we have attended and we had a blast! Here are some of my best tips for a Magical night (especially if you are like us and have small kiddos!)

Such excitement! GoldaMae Clothing made Baby Pharmer’s dress this year. If you want her, you gotta ask early. I think she made two custom Christmas dresses this year.

1) GET YOUR TICKETS EARLY:

These events sell out. I bought our tickets as soon as dates were released to make sure we didn’t have any issues getting the night we wanted. I highly recommend going on a weeknight if possible, as I’ve found the crowds to be lighter, which in my opinion makes for a much more enjoyable party. We went this year on the second night of the party, and found the crowds to be quite sparse. It was great!

2) GO ON THE FIRST NIGHT

I’m not sure if this would actually work for everyone, but it was great for us as we didn’t miss any actual “park time.” We arrived at the Polynesian around 2:30pm well rested, dropped our stuff off and took the boat to the Magic Kingdom (you can enter on your ticket at 4pm.) When we got back that night, we simply called the bell hop and had our stuff brought to our room. Easy peasy!

3) EAT A LIGHT DINNER BEFORE THE PARTY STARTS

We hit up Pecos Bill for some Feliz Navidad Nachos and the Three Caballeros Spiced Yule Log for an early dinner – split three ways.

There are TONS of treats at the party, we snacked all evening and even took a bunch of stuff back to the villa with us. Holiday themed cookies, snowman pretzels, eggnog, apple cider, hot chocolate, and a blue sno cone to name some of the offerings.

Yule Log at Pecos Bill

4) RIDES AND FASTPASS

FastPass on party nights turns off at 6pm. I set mine for 3:30, 4:30, 5:30 and that’s all we did. Lines will generally be quite short those nights, but we like to enjoy the party.

5) MEET SOME CHARACTERS

Ahh! One of my favorite parts! Several special characters are out and about on party nights. The Seven Dwarfs, Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws and Sally, Village Belle, Moana, Christmas Mickey, Santa, Ariel and Prince Eric, Aurora and Flynn Rider, Snow White and Prince, Tiana and Naveen, Aurora and Prince Phillip, Cinderella and Prince Charming, Winnie the Pooh and Friends, Scrooge McDuck, Mary Poppins and Bert, Aladdin and Friends, as well as others.

We saw Pooh and friends as they are Baby Pharmer’s favorites. They were about a 30 minute wait.
We also got to see Goofy dressed up as Santa.
And Mickey of course!
Around 11pm the line for Jack and Sally was only around 20 minutes, which was awesome! They were super awesome, and spent several minutes talking to our little girl. She was in heaven.

We checked twice, but never saw the line for the Dwarfs less than 2 hours. No way were we waiting in that! Moana was just as long or longer.

6 SEE A FROZEN HOLIDAY WISH

You must make time for this, especially if you have Frozen lovers. 6:15 & 8:15.

Elsa and Anna light up the Castle, and it’s truly magical, but mostly to watch your kid’s face.

7) LINE UP EARLY FOR THE PARADE.

We love watching the parade from Main Street, as it “snows” and it’s just truly magical. Even on a not super busy party night I would recommend lining up at least 45 minutes early if you want front row viewing. Trust me, you do!

The first parade is at 8:30pm, and the second parade is at 11pm.

For the second parade this year we went to train station, and they actually let us watch from the reserved viewing area. That was also a neat view!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is fantastic value, in my opinion. Our family had a wonderful time, and even the littlest Pharmer made it all the way until the clock struck midnight and was still proclaiming it was the best night of her life all the way to the monorail.

A Tale of Two Alpacas

We’ve had alpaca for two years now. They are the craziest looking creatures (especially when they are running!) Abbye, Andi, and Ayla were the first ones that came to our farm, followed by Aiden, Alaska, Allister, Atticus, Asher, Adrian, Annie, Granny, and Alkesi (are you sensing a theme here?) Poor Granny is old, gray, and slightly arthritic and I just couldn’t find an “A” name that suited her….
<figure width=”360″ id=”attachment_73″ align=”alignnone”>
From L-R Abbye, Ayla, Andi

We bought the alpacas mostly to help eat down pasture. Their fiber is AMAZING and incredibly soft and dense, but I’m not talented in the knitting department, so we’ve not done much with it after their yearly shearing. I adore looking at them in my backyard, though!
Asher is our only unaltered boy, and I knew as soon as I met him he’d make awesome babies. He’s got quite the personality, and is friendlier than any other alpaca I’ve ever seen. In his former life, he was a therapy alpaca, and went around to local nursing homes. He comes in our house every once in awhile, and Ellasyn thinks it’s hysterical. He seems QUITE at home!

The boys! Daddy Asher is the gray one.

We bred Annie to him in Septmeber of 2015 for an early August 2016 baby (yep, they have a super long gestation period!) Alpacas are very difficult to see pregnancy in, and have little to no changes in their body shape when pregnant. She made it to her due date, and then almost a month past. I figured at that point she just hadn’t taken, and we would just try to rebreed her.
Then came August 28th. I went out to feed that morning, and noticed all the alpacas were hanging around Annie. She was in the process of delivering a tiny baby. So tiny in fact, that she walked off grazing after having him and didn’t look back (or maybe that should’ve been a warning to me.)

Archie just minutes after birth. His poor head was covered in dirt where his mama had him standing.
Starting to warm up. See his funny ears, and soft feet? Totally not normal.

Archer “Archie” weighed in at about 5lbs at birth…less than half of the 12-20lb normal birth weight for a cria. He had funny, folded back ears, soft feet, and many other signs of being premature, even though I knew by the dates he was almost overdue.

He was barely breathing when I got to him, so we rushed him and his very reluctant mama to the barn. We got him under a heat lamp, and got an oxygen tank hooked up (courtesy of my father-in-law.) He wasn’t able to stand to eat, so we gave him milk replacer and hubby tracked down some calf colostrum. Mama was completely uninterested in him, and passed a placenta that was about 20% of the size it should’ve been. She never even had any milk that came in.

Archie on day 1. He had dried off and fluffed up a little!

Archie did pretty well the next two days, taking in life, and hanging with his still reluctant mama in a stall. He was sooo stinking cute, and we loved watching him wobble around. It was exhausting for us though, as we were trying to work, and take care of the farm and Ellasyn.

Archie in his baby pen. This way he could see and interact with mama, but we didn’t have to worry about him getting trampled.
Fast friends.
Of all the things Archie loved in life, food was definitely #1.
Such an adorable face!

That Friday evening, Archie started going downhill very fast. Within just a few hours, he went from playing in his stall and sucking down his bottle to shivering uncontrollably and running a very high temperature. We rushed him back to the vet clinic for more antibiotics and some pain meds, but he passed away very shortly thereafter.
I was utterly devastated. We had worked so hard with the little guy, and he had so many people praying for him, as I’d been posting regular updates on FB. I wondered if we’d done something wrong, but truthfully I think something went wrong with the placenta and he just didn’t grow like he should. I think Annie knew he wasn’t going to survive from the beginning, and that’s why she was completely disinterested.

That Monday, Labor Day ironically, started off as a beautiful, crisp, early fall day. Once again, I was out feeding when I noticed all the alpacas standing in that too-familiar circle again. I let out a scream so loud that my husband heard it on the second floor of the house, where he was painting a bathroom WITH several fans going. I’ve never been as scared as I was in that moment running down to see what was going on. Abbye had just finished delivering a baby. Except this one was normal sized! And already trying to stand!

Asha minutes after birth.
Asha less than an hour after birth. Quite a difference from her brother

Asha means blessing. And that’s totally what she is. A mending of our broken hearts, and such happiness every time we see her. She weighed in at a whopping 17.2 lbs and was standing and eating within 20 minutes. Her mama was completely, utterly besotted with her from the beginning. We know that Asher got in with the girls for just a minute, and apparently that’s all it took, lol!

We start all our babies off right!
Mama love.
Asha and Abbye out with Annie. Annie was Archie’s mama. She and Asha have always had a special bond.
The most gorgeous color! So difficult to capture with a camera.
Cuddles with mama 💜💜
Growing up so fast! And such personality, lol!

She is almost 4 months old now, and is growing up to be a beautiful girl. She looks to be a light rose gray color, and she has the softest fiber. She is an absolute riot, and enjoys running, jumping on her mama and aunties, and eating. We are so so so grateful to have her in our lives. We miss her tiny brother, but known he is in a better place where he is free of pain and happy. Life is such a funny thing….
Both Annie and Abbye are due to have babies again this fall. I will keep you posted!!

Totes Mah Goats

I just adore our little herd. We bought our first goats last spring from an awesome local breeder after toddlerpants went crazy for them one day at the zoo. I’m SO glad we got them because they have made the best pets and addition to our farm.We started off with two baby Fainting Goats aka “Myotonic Goats.” 

Cattle Kate, Calamity Jane, and herder Ellasyn. Aren’t they so cute?

The Fainting Goat can be traced back to the 1880s. A farm worker named John Tinsley who traveled from place to place (perhaps looking for work) came to central Tennessee to the farm of Dr. Mayberry with four unusual goats that got stiff and fell down. It is believed that John Tinsley came from Ireland by way of Nova Scotia. After a year, John Tinsley moved on and left his goats (one buck and three does) on Dr. Mayberry’s farm. Dr. Mayberry began to breed the unusual goats and found that their babies got stiff and fell down, too. 

These guys are my total favorites! I can’t get them to faint much by scaring them (that just makes me feel bad, too) but they faint twice a day, every day when they see us coming with their food.

Soon after we got Calamity Jane and Cattle Kate, we brought two boy fainters home. Brigham Young and Doc Holiday seemed liked the perfect continuation of our Wild West theme. Besides, with the addition of boys meant the possibility of BABY goats one day. Nothing on Earth is cuter than a baby goat.

Doc Holiday. No one could possibly say no to that face!
Brigham Young as a baby.

A few months later a friend had a Nigerian Dwarf for sale that we couldn’t resist. I love love love the idea of making goat soap in a few years when our daughter is a little older. “Nala” didn’t really fit our WWW theme, but fit her too perfectly to change. Nala *should* be due around the middle of March. She’s an absolute doll.

Nala and the Magnolia Creek Farm welcoming committee
Nala and the shorter welcoming committee
 

Not long after we got Nala, Gizmo (another Nigerian) came into our lives. He was a bottle baby and believes he is mostly human, haha. He comes in the house quite frequently and loves watching movies and eating fruit snack. He is Nala’s baby daddy, and we cannot wait to see their kids!

Gizmo the house goat
I just love these two!
 

I really love these two breeds, and doubt we will incorporate anything else into our herd. Both are small, and very friendly. They love attention from our daughter and stand to be petted and brushed. They require very little attention, too! Shots, worming, the occasional hoof trim, shelter, and some hay and grain. I’m SUPER excited at the thought of babies and having milk for cheese and soap. 

I’ll leave you with a few more pics of our cuties 😀

Ellasyn, #1 goat herder
💜💜💜💜

The world’s most comfortable heel (no lie!)

The shoes that go with everything!
I’m SO obsessed with my Toms Desert Wedges. I’ve been wearing them with everything lately. As a pharmacist, I’m on my feet a lot throughout the day, and this is the only heel I can truly work a 10 hour day and still be comfortable. They also make your feet look tiny (which is wonderful when you’re 5’8″.) The heel is on a cork base and is around 2 3/4″ tall.

Rocking these with my Anita skinny pants from StitchFix

They are listed at $88.95 over at Zappos, but I found them at Amazon for around $60. Truly, they are a fabulous investment piece, and will go with absolutely everything in your closet.

See how cute? Your feet will love you forever.

Babies in the snow

We recently had some cold weather. Like COLD weather. The kind we don’t see much in Tennessee. 4+ inches of snow and sub zero temperatures. Naturally, I was freaked out about how everyone would handle it, but a constant supply of hay and water (thank God for water tank heaters) kept everyone looking a-ok. These temperatures were no joke, though. On the way to the barn today I saw 3 deer that had frozen to death in the neighbors pasture. Is it spring yet?

This stock tank heater is awesome, if anyone is in the market. We’ve been using it for several years!

Water Heater

Fontine and Cash
Cattle Kate and Calamity Jane
Ariel and Aurora
Faith and 8 month baby bump. Apparently baby keeps her quite warm, as she wanted no part of her blanket
Ponies and ‘pacas
King and Taz. Taz is humiliated by his peace sign blanket.

It’s a wonderful life, indeed….

Welcome to my blog!

I’m mom to an absolutely beautiful little girl. Wife to a man who supports all my dreams and loves our crazy life. Pharmacist at a job I love. Hobby farmer (pharmer) on our dream 20 acre farm in NE Tennessee. Sporthorse breeder, and obsessed with anything horse related since I took my first breath. “Mom” to 6 full sized horses (with one on the way!) 5 miniature horses, 6 goats, 10 alpacas, a pig, 3 dogs, and 4 cats.
I love anything fashion or makeup related. I’m passionate about being a mom, babywearing, breastfeeding, warmblood breeding, and animal welfare.
I still have to pinch myself most mornings when I walk outside and see our beautiful farm. I’m living the life I always wanted.

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