Mar 032019
 

by Doranna

As we know, Bob, it’s been a while since I was blogging with any regularity.  Long enough, in fact, that Things Canine have undergone quite a few changes.

Tristan, for instance, was less than six months old when I last blogged.  Now he’s a young man with significant titles on both ends, about to head to AKC Agility Nationals!  So here’s a part 1 re-introduction: Continue reading »

Feb 242019
 

Just gonna leave this here–go forth and get stuff! I’m off at Sandia Dog Obedience Club’s Tracking Dog test, where I’m playing test secretary (my guys all have this title and more).  Write down the codes, click on the linked image, and have some reading fun! 

(Hint: I’ve heard you need to purchase the books separately in order to make the codes work, which makes sense.  Ish.)

(PS also, here’s the link to all the titles in the Bash)

Apr 032015
 

By Patty Wilber

Appaloosa color genetics are influenceded by three genes: The LP gene, Patn1 and Patn2.  The LP gene controls the varnish roan color and this gene is required for the Patn1 and Patn2 genes to be expressed.  Addition of the Patn1 and/or Patn2 to the LP results in spots.  Check out this site.  It has a horse color genetics interactive pictorial thingie where you can add in the color genes you want and it spits up a horse of the color and patterns you chose! There are lots of combos to create!

I guess LT is LP  (so she can have an appy coat pattern) and Patn2–spots on her butt.  She got these genes from her dad.  Her mom was a chestnut quarter horse and would not have the LP, Patn1 or Patn2.  LT, however does NOT have a blanket.  Spots but no blanket, is not covered in the website above. She also apparently has the champagne gene (it is covered above) which makes her super shiny.

Continue reading »

Jul 022013
 

by Doranna

In our previous episode, I spent all of my reviewing time running around like a crazy person with the smell of mold stuck in her nose.  But eventually I got to the good stuff.

PLAYING WITH DUNCAN’S FOOD!

Even without the cubes, we had cookies, pellets, compressed grass/alfalfa, and beet pulp shreds to fuss with.  8)

I’ve used hay pellets extensively (of bermuda/alfalfa); these timothy pellets are a little smaller in diameter.  Because I make a daily mash of pelleted food–a carrier for supplements and/or meds–I used the pellets in a mash to be consistent with my usual. So here’s my little visual diary:

The newly opened bag.  No mold!  Smelled yummy.  Dunno why it smells that good when eating it really kinda sucks.  Duncan says, "More for me!"

The newly opened bag. No mold! Smelled yummy.

A handful of pellets at the bottom of a bucket prior to soaking...

A handful of pellets at the bottom of a bucket prior to soaking…

They soak up into a pretty decent volume--!

They soak up into a pretty decent volume–!

My little score card:

Pros: 40lb bag, nice size to carry; shiny yummy pellets that Duncan liked; they soaked up well and quickly.

Cons:  Nothing in particular, other than the obvious “costs more to feed than hay does.”  I’ve always found hay pellets as a good option as a supplementary food, and as a post-ride treat, when I scatter them around Duncan’s stall for an extended treasure hunt.

(Note: Duncan’s stall is a walk-in arrangement without bedding, and the floor is covered with stall mats.  So this particular method works for us, but wouldn’t for everyone.) 

However, I’m likely to get the timothy/alfalfa mix pellets if I can find them, because…

We also tried the compressed grass/alfalfa bale and oh boy. 

Alfalfa doesn’t happen to agree with Duncan when fed as any significant percentage of his diet, but he likes it fine–and I thought the grass/alfalfa mix might be a nice way to give him a little something special now and then.  I grabbed some of the mix and a handful of the timothy and set them out for a taste test.

Duncan didn’t hesitate, of course.  He went straight for the mix, every time.  Then I upped the ante and gave him a really yummy mash, and once he was eating, I quietly spread a small amount of the mixed hay in the other corner of the stall.  Like a magnet, oh yes.  He didn’t even look at the mash until the hay mix was gone.

Duncan, his Nibble Net, and his grass/alfalfa delight.

Duncan, his Nibble Net, and a grass/alfalfa treat.

Pros: He loves it.  He loves it.  He loves it.  Also, it’s a good balance of nutrients, with the sugary timothy vs the alfalfa’s protein.  It’s also tidy in its compressed bale, and was good-looking hay.  I like the consistent quality of these compressed bales.

Cons:  Well…it’s an expensive way to get alfalfa…

 

Beet Pulp Shreds:

I’ve been using beet pulp for ages.  I soak it, I feed it dry (scattered)…whatever.  I used pellets, which take hours to soak up if that’s what you want from them, while shreddings soak up in about 30 minutes.

If there’s a difference in the taste experience, Duncan didn’t mention it. 

I fed the shreds in his mash meal and scattered across his stall like chicken feed; he gobbles it down either way.

The beet pulp shreds...

The beet pulp shreds.  They have more scent than the pellets, and looked clean.  Duncan vacuums them up with pleasure.

Equal weights of shreds and pellets

Equal weights of shreds and pellets

Pros:  All the good things about beet pulp pellets, lightweight bag, short soaking time.

Cons: More expensive way to buy it, curiously difficult to scoop.

 

I saved the dessert for last, of course!  The cookies!  “Whinny Nicker Horse Treats!”

 When the box arrived, it emitted a wonderful berry scent! These are little mini hay cubes–alfalfa, timothy, and cranberry all infused with apple juice–and I really like that it’s easy to break them down into smaller portions.  (Duncan isn’t as fond of that feature as I am.)  They’re fun to have around and I enjoy feeding them–plus don’t worry that he’s getting junk food when I do.  That’s a big plus!

I don’t have any photos of Duncan eating the cookies, because I only have two hands.  Pesky logistics.

No cookie pics.  So here's a random photo of Duncan feeling important and dramatic.  (And sort of muddy.)

No cookie pics. So here’s a random photo of Duncan feeling important and dramatic. (And sort of muddy.)

Anyway, in the end I learned a whole lot more about timothy hay cubes than I ever expected, and…I had fun!  Taking pictures, soaking and timing the pellets, watching Duncan scarf down that alfalfa mix and the cookies with whiskery gusto…a little adventure for my little barn life.  I’ve always been impressed with the compressed timothy–it seems like a really forward-thinking way to manage hay, and it has a consistent quality I don’t always get from regular baled hay, whatever the source.  But I think mainly what I learned is that my own Hitchn Post feed store is awesome (which I already knew!), and that Standlee’s customer service withstands a good shake-down with responsive dignity.  Things worth knowing, I think.

 

 

Jul 012013
 

by Doranna

1002.17dashing.TN.29When Duncan lived in Flagstaff (well, I was there, too!), he ate bermuda hay.  After years of irritated digestion on grass hay in the east, he settled in to digestion of a robust nature, and we were happy.

Then came a dry year, so I started raising my awareness of other forage options.  I added beet pulp to his diet, and he did well on that, too–and I used bermuda pellets with a bit of alfalfa in them, because they had a guaranteed content, unlike our bales of bermuda, and I wanted some constancy in his nutrients.  But on the whole, it was about the bermuda hay.

THEN we moved to New Mexico, where there’s a ton of alfalfa (which Duncan can’t eat), and no particular supply of bermuda.  A big chunk of my time became devoted to figuring out what was available here, how much it cost, and how well it might sit with Duncan; I ended up with timothy hay.

Along the way he colicked and kind of should have died but didn’t.  So I tried soaking hay (for short periods, for long periods…in sub-zero weather, through the summer…there is no good way to do it).  I tried free-feeding with Nibble Nets–and I still think this is the bestest possible option, supposing you don’t have a horse who’s such an air fern that it just won’t work.  I still use the Nibble Nets, because they’re awesome, but I have to meter out the hay.

I tried regular timothy and compressed timothy  and Triple Crown feeds and different hay pellets and different combinations of beet pulp, but his digestion never straightened out.  He not only colicked again, he showed signs of ulcers, so I added slippery elm into the mix.  And then, finally–FINALLY–I got my hands on bermuda hay, and the world started to right itself again.  All is well in Duncan’s tummy world.

But along the way I did a lot of research into commercial forage products.  We not only have no pasture in this area, we have the ongoing and horrifying drought that hits horse owners right in the pocketbook.

So when the Standlee Hay people dropped by (well, in email), and asked if I’d like to try some product ($120 worth) in exchange for a review, I said, “Heck yes.”

For one thing, the compressed timothy sitting in my barn is from Standlee, and I love that stuff.  Duncan loves it, too–he just can’t have it as his primary hay.  But shoot–it’s tidy, it’s easy to stack and handle, it fits in my admittedly limited hay stall space, and the price isn’t that much more than other hays around here.

(Those of you who live in hay country have no idea.  I’m just sayin’.  I pay $30/bale for 3-string bermuda and I’m glad to get it.  I could probably get it for less if I bought directly, but I tried and can’t get less than a ton delivered and my barn holds only a fraction of that and Duncan just doesn’t need that much.)

Anyway, I also thought it would just plain be fun, and a great way to learn about what else is out there, and interesting to blog about, too.  Little did I know–!

s.card

Standlee sent out a nice card with a gift card in it.  I ran down to my favorite feed store (Hitchn Post, and they are very cool as you are about to see) and ran into the first obstacle…it can be hard to find a full variety. I suspect certain things are popular in different regions, but that’s a complete and utter guess.

I ended up with timothy pellets, timothy cubes, beet pulp shreds, a bale of compressed alfalfa/grass, and then ordered horse cookies separately.

The Big Haul

The Big Haul

I was most interested in the cubes, because it was an entirely different form of food; I thought it might be convenient as a pellet alternative, something for Duncan to sink his teeth into.  I think it’s a matter of personal preference, as the pellets and the cubes cost the same by weight.  So I opened that bag right up and stuck my face down to inhale of the sweet hay scent–

*cough choke sputter BLEHHH!*

Whoa.

s.cubes.bag

For those of you not used to sticking your nose in horse feed…that is the dreaded Mold Monster at work. Do Not Feed. Do not even keep in barn. RUN AWAY.

And so the inadvertent part of the adventure began, wherein I ran back out to the feed store with all the windows open on my little car–once those bags were open, they were potent–and at Hitchn Post, they totally got into the spirit of the thing.  We took down lot numbers, made notes about the logistics of the product’s journey, and slit open the remaining bag to make sure it wasn’t also contaminated.  We had no concerns that the bags had gotten wet here, because…hello…long-term drought, no rain for eight months, two percent humidity…

I contacted Standlee on their Facebook page just to see if they could help explain, left a message with the customer service folks via the Standlee web site, and opened the new bag AND–

*cough choke sputter BLEHHH!*

Wherein I discovered that the center of a bag could look fine while the end of the bag was profoundly moldy.

*insert a lot of tedious back-and-forth on the phone to gather more info and ponder options and then…*

I heard from the quality control person at Standlee, who answered all my questions, even the potentially uncomfortable ones.  At that point I learned that timothy is a pesky, pesky hay to deal with..and, in fact, this particular product was in the phase-out process for exactly this reason.  The whitish nature of the mold meant that the problem happened not at home base (because if that had been the case, the whole bag would have been black, hot, and just more disgusting than I care to imagine), but along the way.

And the way timothy cubes (as opposed to pellets, which don’t do this, or the compressed hay bales, which also don’t do this) manage this is that if they travel from a dry clime to a wet clime to a dry clime…they suck water into themselves from the air along the way.  Just like little sentient cubes of greed.  THEN they sit in the heat and make mold.

Interestingly, the other hays and hay mixes don’t have this problem…just the straight timothy cubes.

"Don't mind me...I just got a little thirsty.  Go ahead.  Feed me to your colic-history horse.  I dare you."

“Don’t mind me…I just got a little thirsty. Go ahead. Feed me to your colic-history horse. I dare you.”

So.  By this time I’d gone through all the available local bags–all from the same shipment, all from the same lot–and spent the better part of two work days running back and forth, taking notes, and making phone calls…and I have to admit I wasn’t interested in putting any more time into getting a replacement bag.  That was the end of the timothy cube trial.

But the rest of it was all fine!  Ready and awaiting Duncan’s eager grinding teeth.  And that means another blog tomorrow–!

 

 

Dec 092012
 

by Doranna

I’m slow off the mark on this one. I should have been celebrating out loud at least a week ago.  But it turns out that TAMING THE DEMON should have gone into production right about the time Sandy hit, so by the time they were able to get to it a couple of weeks ago, the time crunch was pretty crunchy.  And that means I’ve just done two weeks of back-to-back production rush.

*blink*  What day is it, anyway?

So I have good news, and I have good news!

For starters, I’ve just signed on to do four more Nocturnes.  Two will be in the Sentinels series, and the remaining two have yet to be decided.  We get to see how things go–after all, next year will see the release of the Demon Blade series.  Who knows?  Maybe we’ll decide to play in that seriesverse some more…

Wild ThingJaguar NightLion HeartWolf HuntNight of the TigerTiger Bound

 

And speaking of the Sentinels…there’s a new book in the line-up, oh yes there is!  KODIAK CHAINED just hit the shelves!

Kodiak Chained

Kodiak Chained

Sentinels Book 5

December ’12

READ AN EXCERPT

ORDER PRINT: Harlequin | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-A-Million | IndieBound | The Book Depository

ORDER EBOOK: Harlequin | Kindle | Nook

One mission. One night. One costly misstep….Don’t miss this scintillating romance from Doranna Durgin!

A mighty Kodiak shifter, Ruger is more than a Sentinel warrior. As a Healer, he willingly risks everything defending the sick and helpless. But after an ambush nearly kills him, he can do only so much-until a sensual lady black bear shifter arrives to provide him backup….

In human form, she is called Mariska. Feisty and self-assured, she has finagled her present assignment helping Ruger chase down a rising new threat. The moment Mariska scents the heroic, battle-scarred grizzly she knows he will be her only weakness…and greatest desire.

Mariska will do anything to aid Ruger–even if confronting the enemy puts everything she holds dear in jeopardy.

 There.  That’s plenty of good news for one post, don’t you think?  Unless, of course, you’ve got your own good news to share!

Aug 272012
 

Yes!  I went to the local SF/F convention this past weekend!  And lo, the people were wonderful and the hotel was lovely and the programming was FUN!

WAY TOO MUCH FUN!

And that would be why, instead of writing a REAL blog, I’m going to bed.  Splat.  Collapse.  Splooge.  What indulgence!  I’ll dream up details for the current round of Nocturne proposals and smile in my sleep at just how happy it makes me to talk to people who enjoy my books.

I hope you had a good one!

Jul 112012
 

Sadly, as I have learned this week, white Jesus rides badly.

Very badly.

He does it while wearing a big gold crown and using a bridle made of gold, which is certainly all very much in keeping with the Jesus in my Bible.  (Do I need to explain that this is sarcasm?  No?  Good.)

It’s no wonder that white horse is scowling.  (Or maybe it’s because of whatever happened to his poor right foreleg, which appears to be a victim of “I have to draw this horse, but don’t know either equine anatomy or foreshortening.”)

I’m mostly bemused by this image–which came to me in a marketing flyer courtesy of my PO box, and is a solicitation for a…

A…

Hmm.  A gathering of people who will tell you their version of what Revelations means while pretending it’s THE version of what Revelations means.  Yes, I guess that’s it.  I don’t mind someone telling me their version of any religion.  But let’s be humble, right?  Let’s suppose that other scholars might have informed interpretations, too.

You know, I once lived down the ridge from a little church that insisted THEIR way was the ONLY way.  They had about 36 members.  I guess heaven won’t be crowded.  But I digress.  Sort of.  Sort of not.

So, yes…I’m mostly bemused, but also angry.  Okay, never mind that Jesus can’t ride.  I would think He could, but…

Mainly, it’s the gold that bothers me.  And it’s the haughty expression.  And the whiteness.  And the pandering implied by all these things.

I don’t need pandering.  I don’t need my Jesus to be the same color as me when He very likely wasn’t (or at least not quite that white–and since we don’t really know, how about a nice reasonable guesstimate of middle ground?), and I don’t need Him trapped out in riches.  And I really don’t need this in my mailbox.

Mind you, it’s fine with me if this image floats your boat.  But if it’s in my mailbox, I’m going to talk about it my way.

And my white horse would dump this rider and his perchy little seat and his flailing hand right into the mud.  Which is fine, because I happen to think  we all deserve better than this, in all respects.  Quit breaking religion, People Who Send This Stuff Out.  And quit pretending your way is the only way.

You know what I mean?

Jul 042012
 

Sales!  Freebies!  Instant gratification!  Brain candy!

I know, I’m shameless.  But so goes the July newsletter, reproduced below only in part, because yeahhh…in order to clickie on the linkies, you need to see a live version.

The live version is here.

At this link.

Where the freebies live.

Click click click!

(If you’d like to sign up to get the newsletters in your mailbox so when I post them here, you can feel all smug and “I already have it!”, there’s a link in the right sidebar.

And all the really cool links are down below the scroll...

Are you in the mood for freebies?

Jun 132012
 

Without willpower, I am bad.

Because this has been another One of Those Weeks so far, I am without willpower.

Therefore I am bad.

Therefore, I offer to you on this blog day, an excerpt from a book I recently read.  No, I’m not telling you who wrote it, but I will tell you this one goes into my files.

I’ll also mention that it wasn’t the only such “you said WHAT now?” passage in this book (which is what makes it fair game).  Or that the frequency of same didn’t again make me despair at the obvious fact that careful craft and prose don’t necessarily equal sales, and sales don’t necessarily equal careful craft and prose.  (Because yes, you can imagine that this author is not, as I am, a midlister.)

And no, I’m not taking the easy way out.  I’m not reading from Shades of Grey.

After all that, are you ready?  Are you over eighteen?  Okay, over sixteen?  Okay, not me who stumbled over my first explicit novel at 13yo when I found it–literally–in the gutter?  And read it because of COURSE I read it?

Here you are.  The day’s wisdom in abbreviated blog form:

“…but his sensual lips had the ability to make her panties wet just looking at them.  And she didn’t want to remember how they’d tasted.”

You’re welcome.