Saturday, January 2, 2010

Tennis Balls, Barn Dances, and Mafia.


We are definitely in a cold snap. We are only doing the low teens at night, and the low twenties during the day, with an icy wind chill factor. The water troughs are masquerading as ice skating rinks for the flea circus and we are having to get creative again.

No power anywhere on the property except at the house and, so far, breaking up the ice and carrying down hot water in jugs has been our main defense.

I did a little reading up though, and some are using balls floating in the troughs to keep the ice from forming a solid block. At first we thought it would be good to float a large ball in the tank, if we could get one to float at least 50% below the surface so that the horses could push it down to drink as the water froze.

However, after trying several balls, and even deflating a basketball somewhat, we discovered that you would really need a weighted ball of some sort to achieve this. I'm going to keep my eye out for something like that.

Some of the insulated water troughs I saw were similar. Basically, they were enclosed, insulated plastic boxes with volleyball-sized balls set underneath holes cut in the lids. The combination of insulation, the cover, and the balls to push down kept the water in a liquid state. We could build one of those easily enough, if we took the time and found materials.

But for now, we are going to try another trick. Floating a half dozen tennis balls in the trough. It's a pretty large one, and the hope is that they will all form an area of water than cannot freeze into a solid sheet. The horses, will hopefully be able to nuzzle right down through the bits of ice between them giving way, and the sheet of ice that forms all around should be easy to lift out in one section, rather than having to break it up with a hammer and scoop the pieces out; a tedious and mildly painful experience.

Last night we had a great barn dance, despite the temperature being 23 degrees and a wind chill factor of 15. Yup. It was cold!

I brought our firepit over but, as I feared, the smoke was just too much inside the barn. So it went outside. There were a couple of space heaters that we huddled around between dancing. It was another adventure we tried and enjoyed. We lasted until about 10 pm, then headed up to the house for the last couple of hours of the party. We had all wanted to spend New Year's Eve together so much, that we made this night the substitute, including fireworks at midnight!

Michael and I had office cleaning to do before the party, and it was a gift from God that Elaine and Ashlee offered to come by and help us, because when we got there we found many hours of extra labor needed after construction had taken place inside. We'd have never gotten it done in time for the party if they'd not stopped by. THANK YOU!

We picked up some friends along the way to the dance and, after hauling all the food and stuff down, I was the last one to be dressed. Elaine and I snapped this quick picture before heading down to meet everyone.

The barn was decorated beautifully! White lights were all over the post and beam supports inside, and Gary had even made a straw pathway lined with lights on the outside. We all just stared at it. It was great!

The theme was, any period costume you wanted to show up in. I had this medieval gown you saw above. Here are some of the others.

Chicago Broadway

The Scottish Kilt - now this young man was NOT used to a dress, so he retreated to find a pair of jeans quite early in the evening!


Frozen Modern mom.


Cowgirl Princess


1960's Fashionista


Annie Oakley.


Another lovely medieval damsel.


Frozen Modern Dad




Gentleman Cowboy.


Ninja. Hi, Michael!


1960's Babe.


Early 20th Century Woman of Gentility.


Civil War Lady.


Civil War Lady with frozen Scottsman son.


Another Maiden Faire from Medieval Times.




Classic Square Dancer


Victorian Gentleman


Nordic Long Jumping Skiier.


Victorian Gentleman


Host and Ancient Firemaker


We ate lots of food.

Apparently the hot Jalepeno cheese dip we brought was a hit, as people were eating it to keep fire in their bellies.

We protected the nether regions with a cloaking device. Being unfamiliar with skirt lengths, the kilt-arrained police officer was concerned about bending over without someone having his back as the firepit was taken outdoors.

We danced.

We huddled.

And we even scorched ourselves by cuddling a little too closely to the heaters!

Then we went up to the house and were so relieved to be comfortable and warm that not a lot of talk went on for a little while.

Note the scorch mark. But ever the creative seamstress, Angie already has plans on how to repair it.

Then we played with guns...

We played music.

We ate more.

I learned how to play "Mafia".

This looks like a really boring game, if you look at the photos...


Then, before we all went home, we shot off fireworks. I've never seen kids decide it was too cold to play with fireworks before last night. But they came in when the show was only half done.

Up til 3 am this morning, had a nap today!

Can you believe it's 2010? May this year be a great blessing to you and yours!




  1. I hate that you were cold, but it looks like you had a good time. Nice costumes.
    Happy New Year,

  2. You are blessed to have such a fun group as friends.

    Good wholesome fun!

  3. Looks like a chilly but fun time was had by all!

    Thanks for the comment you left on my blog!

  4. Ba ha ha ha! My favorite is the Civil War Lady with frozen Scottsman son pic! That was so much fun! Perhaps next time it will be slightly warmer? By the time we went up to the house I was numb, so I couldn't feel anything anymore.

    You did well playing Mafia (and you were a wonderful sheriff!)I also never realized how boring pictures could make it look!

    I can't wait to put up my next post... you will squeal because they are so cute... but I am going to leave you with the suspense. :-D I'm mean!

  5. SFG,

    Happy New Year to you, as well!



  6. Sharon,

    We are in a portion of life right in in which we are being watered deeply, with good friends. We are very grateful.

    I appreciate our online friends as well. They are just as much a gift. I'm glad you stopped by! :)


  7. Jenn,

    Sure was! Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!

    Couldn't pass it up. You have a nice blog!


  8. Leah,

    Suspense... sort of life Mafia?

    OK, I'm on pins and needles on the edge of my seat! Wonder what you are cooking up......


  9. You have such a delightful social group. And you do things I know I would enjoy.


  10. That was a lot of fun! Wow, Mafia does look very boring from the pictures :) Next time we play I should try using my 'Puppy Dog Eyes' lol

  11. Linda,

    I bet you've got some great barns, too! I'm glad we'll have time in the future to do all sorts of fun and interesting things, when we meet one day. :)


  12. Nate,

    Noooooooooooooooooo! Not the puppy dog eyes!!!! noooooooooooo. lol


  13. This was my first time on your site and I usually don't like reading about someone's parties, but your "about me" really tugged at my heart, you have so much courage and willingness to put it all out there. Then I thought this post would be about horses (it's listed under that category?) Anyway, as I read this post I began laughing right away, and never stopped. Your life just pulled me right in!
    Thank you for sharing such a cute story of good times. (These days we all need more of this in our lives).
    I'm sure I will enjoy reading all the other adventures you have the guts to share- and will I'm sure I'll learn much about how hard it is to live the good life (um, since I havent' been around much I'm going to guess... part homesteading/non-consumerism- part farmgirl wannabe... something like that?)
    Well, here's to the simple life - even if it's a lot more work!


I always enjoy hearing from others. If you become a regular commenter, I'll assume you are being friendly and pretty much comment regularly right back. :o) God bless and have a terrific day!