Follow me every step of my journey across America, 'wwoofing' on ranches and farms to explore what life is like for those who choose to live a little bit different than we do.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Howdy Y'all

Well, it is almost time for me to leave Georgia. I am leaving on Tuesday morning, and I am ready to go. I love it here, and wish I could have stayed longer, but it is time for me to head back home. I miss family and friends and my own bed! And I miss the beach! I have been having a great time out here, and know that I will be back again some day. But I am looking forward to seeing Spencer soon! And my Grandfather and my Mom! Our little trip to Austin is going to be so much fun. I cant wait.

So lately around here I have just been riding horses, playing with dogs and doing some work around the ranch. It is so hot during the afternoon that we cant work outside, so we have to work in the morning and evening. But in the evening you get eaten alive by bugs, so it makes it difficult. I have been working a lot with one Tennessee Walker named Georgia Belle, and she is doing really well now. She had no manners and was completely untrained when I first got on her, but now she walks great and listens really well too. I love riding horses around here. I ride around to the lake and through the woods and it is so nice. I wish I had room at my house for a horse.

I tried homemade peach ice cream, and it was the best thing I have ever tasted! I dont even like ice cream, but that stuff was amazing! Along with sweet tea and red velvet cake (the real stuff) I am pretty much in heaven here.

But not much new is happening. I am leaving here and picking up Spencer in Little Rock on Tuesday evening, so I will be driving all day on Tuesday. It is about a 10 hour drive from here to Little Rock. Then on Friday we are driving from Arkansas to Austin, Texas to pick up my mom. So a lot more driving is ahead of me, but it means I am closer to getting home so I am excited.

I will talk to you all soon! See you in Arkansas!

This is a 2 day old foal. She can barely stand because she doesn't have any balance 

This is Hamlet, our little pot bellied pig. 

A grave marker at Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia

Rose Hill Cemetery

Sea Nettle Jellyfish at the Georgia Aquarium

Whale Shark in a 2 million gallon tank. He weighs about 40,000 pounds and is over 15 feet long. He is still a baby

Large Manta Rays

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Riding Lawnmowers


Today was a really fun day! We all went to the lake, and there is a little cove there that is similar to a beach. We took all the dogs and a small paddle boat and paddled around the cove with the dogs in the back. The dogs loved the water and swam the whole time! It was really hot out, and the water was even warm so it wasn't very cooling, but still very fun. The lake is close to the house so it was a nice little trip out there. Then we all came back to the house, ate lunch and everyone went to take naps. I had to study because I have a test tomorrow. Then I worked on the small courtyard outside. I have to move really heavy granite blocks from a pile, and lay them out to make a checkered floor out of the blocks. I have been working on it a little at a time because it is so hot outside. After that, we had to saddle a horse that has been acting really crappy for the past few days. She bucks her saddle off and runs back to her 'herd' when we try to ride her, so we are breaking her in again. She saddled fine today, so I rode her around the front yard for a long time. The front yard is very big, so I just rode her around through the grass and trees and waved at all the cars that drove by. I have to get her conditioned to cars driving past because I am taking her on a ride around the block on Friday, and we ride on the street when we ride around town.

I rode around the neighborhood on horseback today and it was so much fun! Everyone talks to you and is really nice when you are riding by them on a  horse. It was really funny because I was riding down the street on horseback and a kid driving down the street on a riding lawnmower rode past me. This was when I truly realized that I am definitely in the South. Everyone rides lawnmowers around the neighborhood, and others ride horses. Everyone loved that I was riding a horse down the street and it was really fun.

Tomorrow I am taking a test, and working on the courtyard and cleaning out stalls. Then Friday I am taking a long ride around the neighborhood with a few friends and Korinn. This weekend Korinn is taking me to Smiley's, which is a very large outdoor flea market. It is basically like our swap meet, but 10 times bigger and people sell junk along with good stuff. I am going to try boiled peanuts, which every native Southerner loves, but Korinn hates. I am skeptical of them but I will let you know how it goes. Next week I am planning my trip to Atlanta to go to the aquarium and I am very excited about it.

Going to study now, but have a great rest of the week! Miss you all, and I will be home very soon!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Hey Guys,

Things have been very hot around here lately! It has rained a few times, and there is often lightening at night, but it is really cool to be able to watch the lightening storms outside when it is dry. You can sit in a lawn chair late at night and watch lightening break all around you. It is really warm at night still, so it is better to ride horses and work outside after dinner most nights. I usually spend my evenings riding and training horses. It is too hot during the day. Last week we went and picked up 4 horses that a guy had to get rid of because he couldnt afford to feed them anymore, and they were all Tennessee Walkers. That is my favorite horse to ride now, because they have a faster gate than other horses, and when they are walking properly, like they are trained to do, they walk really fast and smooth. You can cruise along really fast on them. It is so much fun! My days have been spent waking up early, when it is still cool, and feeding the horses their grain, putting on fly masks and fly blankets, and turning the horses out into their pastures so they can graze and exercise for the day. Then I usually take care of the birds, the pig and the dogs. Some days we have a dog here named Bohdee. We pet sit for his owner while he is at work. Bohdee is a German Short-haired Pointer, and he was found as a stray. Someone dumped him on the side of the road, but he is a show quality dog. He is in perfect condition and sweet as pie. He loves coming over here to play with the other dogs and get in some socialization time. Korinn and I usually have errands to run in town, either to the grocery store or feed store or hardware store, and then we take a break in the afternoon when it is the hottest. Then, when Orval gets home from work at night, we ride horses in the arena or I train horses that need it. Then we feed out all the horses, and that takes a long time. This week, I am going to the river to hang out on a paddle boat and swim around and play in the water. Then on Friday I am going to do a long ride down the street with another girl I met through the local animal rescue group and an older man that boards his horse at our stables. I am excited to ride Georgia Belle (a Tennessee Walker) around the streets!

Last night I tried to saddle one of the other new Walkers that we got, but she was in a pissy mood and refused to saddle up. She bucked her saddle off and sat back on her hind legs so she snapped her lead rope off and walked off. I had to go catch her, but I just put her back because she was in no mood to ride, and I was in no mood to get bucked in another rodeo. I have to saddle her again tonight though, because she will learn that if she misbehaves, she will get her way if I don't saddle her again.

I am planning a trip back up to Atlanta soon so I can visit the aquarium. I tried to go when I got here, but I got to town too late and they were closed already. I wanted to go to St. Augustine in Florida because I thought it was only 3 hours away, but it is actually 5 hours away, so I will just pass. I will take another trip and go to Florida sometime.

Days are very relaxed around here. It is too hot to move during the day, so we work in the morning and at night. There is a lot to do, and I have to find time to do it all. I leave here in exactly 2 weeks from today, so I dont have much time left. If I had have known I would love Georgia this much, I would have planned to stay longer. But I am ready to get home and get to the beach!!!! I miss all my family and friends and cant wait to see everyone again!

Not much else is new around here, but I will let you know how the river trip goes and if anything new happens. Love and miss you all, and cant wait to get home and see you!

I want to have a bonfire and a nice get together with everyone when I get back!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I survived!

Howdy Y'all

Wow it has been a long two days so far! I have been having a blast out here. Yesterday was my first full day of work, and it was wonderful. I was outside by about 8am to feed the horses, put their fly masks on, and turn them out into a pasture for the day. Horses cannot produce their own vitamin D, so they need sunlight to aid in the production. So we turn them out during the day to do that. Then I played with the dogs here and started working on socializing a gorgeous dog named Mishka. She is part Husky and part Wolf (as in actual Wolf). She is about 3 but was very neglected and abused, so she is a bit scared of certain things. She is possessive about toys still, so I am working on that. And she doesn't know how to play with other dogs, so I am teaching her that. I gave her a bath, and she did really well. She used to get very upset and aggressive and scared when she was bathed, so we think her previous owner used water as a punishment, much like he used anything else as a punishment. She has improved wonderfully, and she is a fantastic dog. Yukon, a black lab is here because he was tied to a tree and left to starve to death. At full grown, he weighed less than 50 pounds. Now he has more than made up for that, and weighs over 130 easily. He is a fat and happy old man now, and is extremely spoiled by all of us. After playing with awsome dogs, I relax in the air conditioning and eat lunch. Then when it cools off after dinner, I am able to ride horses. Last night, I rode a horse named Glock. He is young, and doesn't know anything as far as commands are concerned. He let me saddle him and mount him, and he walked fine. I started teaching him his turns and leg cues, but I wanted him to trot so I lightly kicked him in his sides (which is the trot leg cue) and he started bucking me off! I held on and put on a little rodeo show for everyone, and he didn't buck me off like he wanted. After that was over, he straightened up and started listening, but we need to start a bit slower with his leg cues from now on. I figured that one out the hard way. I had a great time and was glad I didn't get bucked off, and now that I got it out of his system he will probably be fine. I rode till after 10pm last night, then fed out the horses and then went to bed.

Today my morning routine was the same. I fed the horses, turned them out, and worked on a horse named Rosie. She is very green and unbroken, so I am working on teaching her to trot, run in a round pen and turn left and right. I am teaching her to back up, stop and go and she is doing very well with that. She is getting frustrated with trotting and running, but I just have to keep working with her. She stepped on my foot the other day and completely pancaked it. I am pretty sure my pinky toe is broken, and it is completely black and blue. However, there is nothing any doctor can do for a broken toe, so it will just heal on its own. It hurts really bad though, but it will be fine. It definitely wont stop me from riding.

This evening, I went with Orval to pick up 2 horses that a guy is getting rid of because he cant afford to feed them anymore. They are Tennessee Walking horses and they are beautiful. I rode the older mare, who is about 11 years old. Tennessee Walkers are known for having a faster gate (walk) than other horses, but this girl could move! She looked like she was power walking around the arena. I had a complete blast on her! She was so quick and smooth. It was like driving a race car. And she was neck reigned, which means she knows to turn in a certain direction based on how the reigns lay across her neck. It makes riding extremely easy and smooth. I love riding her and cant wait to ride her again tomorrow. After riding, Orval and I fed out the horses for the evening. Then a big lightening storm started and clouds started moving in. Then a severe tornado and thunder storm watch went into effect. It was still warm outside, but all of a sudden really strong winds blew in and it started to rain a lot. The wind was so strong, it blew a rooster off of his perch! I saw him go tumbling across the air in his cage!

So I am in for the night, and we are waiting for the storm to pass. Tomorrow I will ride again and go pick up 2 more horses from the owner who got rid of his Walkers today. Then I will go to the local pound and help out with their dogs in need. I am going to a few adoption events this weekend to help get dogs adopted out and meet with local rescue groups to compare ideas for fundraisers and network.

I found a country bar around here called Whiskey River that I am going to on Friday night, so I hope they do line dancing there!

Miss you all, and I will post pictures tomorrow when I get them!



Monday, June 13, 2011

Macon, Georgia

Howdy Y'all!

I am finally in Macon and I have settled in to my new place. I got here last night and immediately felt comfortable with Korinn. The house is beautiful and my room is very nice. They have 3 rescue dogs here and all of them are so sweet and kind. They were all rescued from a sad situation, but they are doing wonderful now. There is also an enormous pot bellied pig named Hamlet. He is my favorite, but he seems quite a bit overweight. He sleeps a lot, and loves cookies. Hamlet and I have those things in common.... He is a big fat boy but will play with you when he wants to. All the horses here are very sweet and kind. I started training and working one this morning, then came in for the afternoon to cool off. Later, Korinn and I took her daughter over to a friend's house, then went to the grocery store. She showed me around downtown Macon, and there is a large country bar there that I want to check out this weekend. There are also a few restaurants that I might go to. I wasn't able to go to the aquarium in Atlanta yesterday because they closed before I got there, so I will take a day trip up there soon. I am also trying to take a day and go to the beach, which I think is in Savannah. I would love to see the beach on the east coast! And the water around here is very warm. I really love Georgia and the universities here are very good. They also have a vet school in Georgia, so it is a prospect I am considering.

This last weekend in Tennessee was very fun though. Friday night, the French girls and I went out to dinner, then to a billiards bar. The bar was very creepy and I found the most normal looking people in there and asked them where a good country bar was in town, so they sent us to a place called Kicks. It was so much fun! It was a local spot, but they had amazing country bands play, line dancing and very polite guys. We obviously stuck out so all the guys wanted to know where we were from and everything. They all asked us to dance and were very nice. Then we went mudding in the middle of the night in a popular mud hole in a truck. It was so much fun to hang out under the stars and enjoy a true southern summer night. Then, Saturday night we went to a backyard rodeo and watched my friends ride broncos and bulls. That was a fun time, but we stayed out very late both nights, so getting up at 6am to leave for Georgia was hard! But I made it to Atlanta, ate wonderful Thai food, said goodbye to my French friend, and headed down to Macon. I really do love it here, and I am excited to see what else this amazing place has to offer.

I am going to start training for barrel racing soon. That is where you ride a horse really fast around 3 barrels in an arena for the best time. If I get good enough, I will enter into a competition at the local rodeo. I am so excited! I may never come home! You guys will all have to come out here to visit me instead!

Im going to eat dinner now, then finish some training with a horse later.

Miss you all!,


Thursday, June 9, 2011


Hi All,

This past week has been good. It is very hot here and getting hotter! It is usually in the mid-90's and the humidity is unbearable. I have been working a lot, usually all day. I have been building fences, running electrical wire and doing a bunch of things that don't relate to horses. Most times I don't get to ride at all, and have only started training one horse once. I am not happy with the fact that I was promised that I would learn a lot, and I am used as a free worker instead. So I have decided to leave this ranch, and head down to Macon, Georgia to work on a ranch there. I originally wanted to go there over Tennessee, but this placed seemed promising so I tried it. But the place in Georgia still wants to have me, so I gladly told them I would come help out. They train and rehabilitate rescued horses and they work closely with a dog rescue as well. I know I will learn a lot from them and have a great time with the horses and dogs. There is one review of their ranch, and it was completely positive so I am excited. I will be leaving here on Sunday, stop at the Jack Daniels Distillery first, then arrive in Atlanta to see the aquarium, then I will arrive in Macon that evening. I am excited about the trip and about learning a lot. The days here are long, hot and overloaded with work. The ranch hands are very nice, but I rarely see Jim and never see Nancy.

I went to Nashville Saturday night with the French girls, and was disappointed in the lack of line dancing, but impressed with the country music talent. It is a great place to listen to music, but dancing is pretty much out of the question. This Friday night I am going into Columbia, which is the next closest town, to have dinner with the French girls and go out to a bar. Then Saturday night I am going to a rodeo down the road to watch our ranch hands and other guys compete in bronco and bull riding events. There is a big BBQ afterwards so it should be a very fun night.

Other than that, I have gotten very comfortable riding horses on trails, even ones that are newly broken. We have been working on breaking them in and getting them used to walking on trails through the forest. It is fun riding them on trails, and we are supposed to take a 4 hour trail ride tomorrow if we are lucky. I really hope we get to go because there are waterfalls and things on this ride that I really want to see.

Sunday I got a day off and went down to the river with the ranch hand Joey and David and we jumped off a bridge and swung off a rope into the river and just relaxed. The river wasn't flowing fast at all and the water was actually warm so it was so much fun to just hang out and cool off. Then we went and got pizza in town. It was a really fun day.

I have to get back to work now, but I do miss everyone and wish you were all here experiencing this heat with me!

Love ya,


Thursday, June 2, 2011

Shoveling Shi.....Manure

Hi Guys,

Today was a very long day for me! I was awoken very early by the stupid rooster. He crows all day long, and he starts at about 5 or 6am so I usually can't sleep once I hear him. So I got up, made breakfast with my roommates, and then we were outside by 7:30 or 8am. We started our day by catching a few horses that needed to be re-shod. That took a very long time because they didn't want to be caught. But we were able to catch them, and they got new shoes put on. Then we had to shovel a ton of horse poo out of the stalls. They hadn't been touched in weeks, so we had to clean all of them out. That took a very, very long time and it was extremely hot. Then I had to go with Bo, the ranch hand, out to the far pasture to drop off salt and mineral blocks for a few of the horses, and we had to take care of one of the donkeys. He was fly-bitten very badly all over his legs, so we had to spray him with a solution and spread vaseline on his legs to stop the fly's from biting. He felt better after we took care of him. Then Bo let us have a break, so we went down to the creek and stayed in the cold water for a bit to cool off. It felt amazing! Then we had to get back into our sweaty, hot jeans and boots and continue to clean out the horse stalls. After that, we groomed horses. Then I had to fill 16  buckets full of old horse manure and take them up to the house so that Jim could plant his vegetable plants in them. Then I had to take a few buckets full of manure down the road to his mother's house, so I could replant her vegetables. After that, Bo let us ride the horses in the arena. I chose to ride a beautiful Friesian draft horse. She was a very slow walker, but very smooth to ride. I worked her through the obstacle course a couple of times and she did very well. We practiced our turns a lot, and she got a lot better. I really like the draft horses because they are so big and captivating. It is amazing to me to see such a large animal that can move so calmly and gracefully. After that, we groomed the horses, put away our saddles (which weigh 70 pounds each!!!) and got to have the rest of the night off. So I put in an 11 hour day today, and it is supposed to get much hotter this week! But the French girls, myself and Joey are going to go to Nashville on Saturday night to go dancing, so I am very excited about that! I really hope we  can find a good line dancing  place with great music and a good atmosphere. I am just excited about seeing the Nashville nightlife! So far it has been very hot, very humid, but very fun. I am learning a lot about how to handle the horses and train them. The girls I live with are both very experienced riders, so they teach me a lot! We have a great time together, and Bo and Joey are very nice. I feel comfortable around them, and I am eager to learn a lot.

I am going to shower now, and I am dead tired. Goodnight all!!

Love and miss you,