Change is in the Air!

You may have noticed some changes going on, namely my name.  OK, I suppose it is time for me to come clean – I am not who I have said I was all these years.  I am a sham!

While I promise not to bore you with every little detail, I can say that when I was born, I was Robin – when I was adopted, I was Robyn – when I got married, I was over the whole sign your name with a smiley face thing and went back to Robin.

It was time to stop trying to raise Unicorns!

It was time to stop trying to raise Unicorns!

Unfortunately, Texas could care less that I was making the whole grown-up statement over 20 years ago and is now making me spell my name as it appears on my adoptive birth certificate.

TMI?  Believe me – this is the “light” version!

It all started when I went to get my Texas driver’s license. I was so excited to take yet another step towards being a real Texan. (I still can’t make myself say “y’all” but do say “Bless Your Heart” from time to time).  Anyway, I needed to provide both my birth certificate and my social security card, which did not match.  This meant I had to get a new social security card as well as start using my proper legal name: Robyn Gotch. Doesn’t that just scream “I wanna ride a unicorn?”!!

I apologize to all you RobYn’s with a Y out there.

The problem does not end here. In addition to my driver’s license and social security card, I also have to switch over:

  • Work and personal signature
  • Email Address
  • Tax Records
  • Checking and Savings Accounts
  • Facebook (yea, important I know)
  • LinkedIn
  • Blog
  • Website
  • Resumes
  • …a ton of other places where my name is used

Elements that I cannot change:

  • Certificates of Merit
  • Diplomas
  • Stuff like that and more …

I suppose everything happens for a reason, and what better time to make this change than during a cross-country move?  Maybe it is time to revamp myself as well?

A Rose By Any Other Name...

A Rose By Any Other Name…

Ultimately, this makes me think about how complicated our world has become.  One element does not change without altering other elements down the line and/or upstream.  Years ago, the change of a name would not have been near as big a deal; but today there is an electronic trail that can be easily severed.

With this being said, the location of this blog has changed – as has that of my website:

www.robyn.gotch.co/blog – BLOG

www.robyn.gotch.co – Website

A rose by any other name?

 

Our Life in Texas – The Horses Move Home

One of the happiest moments of settling into our new home in Texas was when the horses finally came to join us.  Of course, this did not happen overnight!  A good deal of preparation had to occur first.  Then there was the issue of finding hay and other resources before they came home.

The first job to tackle was their new living quarters.  The pasture area was clean and level; however, there was the matter of a missing fence and a run-in shed.

The Fence

We had some tough choices when it came to fencing.  The perimeter

New no-climb horse fence is laid out - now to dig through the Devil Dirt to sink the H braces New no-climb horse fence is laid out - now to dig through the Devil Dirt to sink the H braces

New no-climb horse fence is laid out – now to dig through the Devil Dirt to sink the H braces

fence for the back of the property was 6 strand barbless wire while the main fencing around the home was welded pipe with no climb wire.  Originally, we were going to equip the containment fence that separates the pasture from the shop with 6 strand barbless wire like the main perimeter, those plans soon changed.

Then We Met Buddy Love!

Buddy Love

We call him “Buddy Love”

Ok, I have no idea what the names of our neighbor’s horses are – have not met them yet, but when the grey stallion from next door started to come up to their adjoining fence and singing sweet nothings to Spirit, there was no other name to call him.  Because Buddy Love was such an amorous sort, it was decided that the fence we were building would be no-climb horse fence just to be on the safe side. Note: we also found out that there is another young stud pastured in the small area next door as well – just another reason to be better safe than sorry.

Putting up this fence was not easy, have I mentioned yet that we live on “devil dirt”?  Kyle calls it devil dirt because it is red in color and hell to dig post holes in.  Ultimately, we asked our nice neighbor to use his post hold digger for the end H-Braces.  They were over putting up the welded pipe back yard fencing so this worked out great.

The Shed

As soon as we knew which house we were buying, I began checking out local resources for contractors.  We chose the local company Homestead Sheds to do our horse shed and were very happy with the results.  The folks were pleasant and didn’t mess around. They were here when they promised and kept going until the job was complete.

Now we are settled in and can sit on the patio and watch the horses enjoying their new home as much as we are.  Each morning I walk the short distance across the back yard to feed and pet Rusty and Spirit – I can’t imagine living any other way.

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Now we can relax and watch the Texas sunrise knowing our horses are home.

From Wisconsin to Texas – The search for a stable

Ok, many of you know how important our horses are to me.  If you didn’t know already – be warned.

Snow Horses

Wisconsin Horses

They are my 16 hand babies for goodness sake!  In Wisconsin, even though the winters were harsh, my kids were spoiled as much as possible.  Rusty wore bug rugs in the summer because he would welt up so badly and they both had full sub-zero gear plus comfy stalls in the wintertime. — They LOVE their stalls.

View from the kitchen - via camera

View from the kitchen – via camera

 

Because the barn was a good distance from the house, we even installed a camera from Trailer Eyes so I could keep an eye on things from the kitchen.  Anyway, you get the picture. So, when the time came to figure out what to do with them when we moved, it was a very long and detailed process.  We knew we wanted to board them for at least the first 30 days, but were not sure where they should stay.

I should back up just a tad to note that our home in Wisconsin was on the market for a very long time. There were many factors that contributed to this which I may go into later.  This meant that for over 3 years I scoped out an area south of our corporate office in a half circle that included many different towns. Overall, there were about half a dozen stables that I put into my home search data base.  From these sites, I received lots of information, pictures and even added a couple to my Facebook page.

Ultimately, the decision had less to do with price and more to do with how I felt about the people at the stable overall.  From the moment I added JoMar Farms and Joni Brown as a friend on Facebook, I felt connected.  Almost daily, posts about horses, the facility and items of interest came through from both the stable and Joni.

One of many database entries for stables

One of many database entries for stables

You know how it feels to read a really good book?  After just a few pages you forget that you are sitting on your front porch reading and, instead, take on the life of the characters?  You are THERE!  This is how I felt each time I read a post from JoMar Stables.  I could picture our horses living here as they waited for us to join them.This was the reason we chose JoMar Farms to care for Rusty and Spirit while we were in the process of moving cross-country and getting the new place set up for them.

Jo Mar

Deciding where to board them was not very difficult – the process of moving them; however, was much more exciting!

From Wisconsin to Texas – Part 2

THE JOURNEY BEGINS!

As I left off in Part 1, our journey from Wisconsin to Texas and our new home began on February 24, 2014 at 4 PM.

Alex and Loki made one last check and we were on the road!

Alex and Loki made one last check and we were on the road!

I should say that I originally had plans of taking lots of pictures to chronicle our journey south; however, leaving late as we did, there were no real pictures to take. That is, unless images of random gas stations would count.

 

 

 

 

Our caravan consisted of the following:

Taking the lead was Terry driving our Ford F150 pickup and pulling a 3-horse slant bumper pull trailer.  The trailer was filled to the top with all manner of tools, a motorcycle and the personal belongings we wanted to have with us when we first arrived. Our son, Kyle was co-pilot.  Along with them was Terry’s other co-pilot – Molly (short for hot tamale).  Molly is the amazing Chihuahua that is pictured on my main blog page as header.  She is 5 lbs. of awesome!

Bringing up the rear was our Chevy HHR with our daughter, Alex, driving the first leg and me resting as co-pilot.  Our cargo consisted of Spaz (my rat terrier), Loki (Alex’s baby mini schnauzer) and two cats – Bart and Bailey.  You would think that traveling for almost 22 hours with these animals would be traumatic; however, they all rode like champions.

Throughout this long and tiring journey, Alex shared the driving responsibilities with me and was a joy to talk to.  Alexandra made what could have been a very long and boring trip a whole lot more enjoyable.  I am so grateful for the help our kids gave us along the way.  They are the greatest!

INTO THE STORM!

Near white-out conditions made the trip exhausting!

Near white-out conditions made the trip exhausting!

The weather was 16 for a high and -4 for a low (Fahrenheit) – the low felt more accurate.  While the sun was shining as we pulled out our 1000 foot rock-covered driveway for the very last time, little did we know that the weather was about to change.

By the time we got past Albert Lea it was beginning to snow. Light and fluffy, it continued to up the ante until we were driving hours and hours through a full-blown blizzard!  The entire time we drove through Minnesota and Iowa, we had to deal with white out conditions and ever-worsening roads.  Never fear, we were too fixated on the goal to leave the frozen north woods to bat an eye at all that Mother Nature was throwing our way.  We sallied forth!

FINALLY HOME

This pretty cement walkway leads to our new front door. (notice that there is no snow?)

This pretty cement walkway leads to our new front door. (notice that there is no snow?)

Needless to say, after 22 hours of exhaustive and constant driving, we finally pulled into our 50 foot cement covered driveway in Texas.  I wanted to jump out of the car, drop to my knees and kiss the non-snow covered ground.  Alas, my legs were locked in place and my back was screaming words my mouth have never dared utter.

IMG_2199

Bart was so happy that we brought his favorite stool along! Of course his riding companion, Bailey, hid in our room for a while, but she was happy that her carriage had stopped moving finally.

But we were home!

I have said over the course of this post so much about how Kyle and Alex were our invaluable right-hands, but I would be remiss if I didn’t add to that the contributions that Emily Gotch provided down in Texas.  Even though she had recently underwent appendix surgery, this amazing young woman still found time to help ease the transition when we arrived.  Thanks to our wonderful daughter-in-law as well!

There is much more of the story to tell as we opened the door to our new home for the first time and officially became Texans… (did I mention that the moving van was close behind —- NOT!)

From Wisconsin To Texas – Part 1

I know that many have watched my posts on Facebook to see how the progress of our move has been going, but not many know the entire story!  Here is the first installment of our new adventure!

The day was fast approaching, boxes were packed, our address was set to change and everything was ticking along famously.  The only hitch in the git was the weather.  Those of you who are still up in the frozen waste lands know exactly what I am talking about! This was the timetable:

  • Wisconsin Close – February 14, 2014
  • Horses picked up to head to Texas – February 20, 2014
  • Texas Close – February 21, 2014
  • Leave for Texas – February 24, 2014
No way a semi was going to make it up the driveway in this!

No way a semi was going to make it up the driveway in this!

It seemed that each week leading up to and through our move was met with new snowfall and sub-zero temperatures.

Was Wisconsin leaving her mark on us one final time?

 

HORSES HEAD TO THEIR NEW HOME:

No way a semi was going to make it up the driveway in this!

No way a semi was going to make it up the driveway in this!

Spirit and Rusty were none too pleased when, at 9:30 PM the semi pulled up on the road to come take them to their new home.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature had done her best to make this the worst experience possible. The 1,000 foot driveway from the barn to road was glare ice and dangerous for any type of travel.  To get the horses to the trailer safely, I had to lead them through 3 feet of snow in the pasture the entire way. By the time I made the journey I was soaking wet, freezing cold and not just a little cranky.

There was one other emotion as well – Pride.  I was so very proud of both my kids for walking the distance, in the dark by my side with supreme patience.

The drivers were amazing as well. Their first concern was our horses comfort and safety. When they left to head to Texas ahead of us, I felt confident that both Spirit and Rusty would receive the best of care.  We highly recommend Equine Express for their professional service and would use them again.

PACKING:

Bailey is so tuckered out from packing, she took a snooze on the baker’s rack!

Living in one spot for over 20 years is bound to create a lot of possessions – er or just plain Junk!  I consider myself a very practical person who does not store unnecessary items, but I guess I don’t know myself all that well – or others in our family.  We spent months literally packing, selling, giving stuff away and throwing stuff out. With that said, we still had a full moving van plus our horse trailer.

I cannot thank our great friends and neighbors enough for chipping in to take items off our hands.  I hope that all the household goods, horse equipment, furniture and game room items will provide as much joy for you all, as they have for us.

MOVING DAY:

Two Allied moving trucks were needed to transport our boxes to the Semi waiting on the road.

Two Allied moving trucks were needed to transport our boxes to the Semi waiting on the road.

The day arrived and things went pretty smooth.  It took a long time to load all our belongings on the truck as well as a tractor,

lawn mower, 4-wheeler and a Corvette.  Because of good-ole’ Mother Nature, we had to have two straight trucks haul our belongings out and a semi wait on the road for the larger items. Ultimately, they found their place in one truck to make the trek to Texas. After all that was said and done, we had to fill the horse trailer with our remaining things.

Is this the end of the journey?  HELL NO!  As we pulled out of the drive at around 4 PM, our adventure was only beginning – More to come.

Sam emerges from here winter Wisconsin home to make the move south.

Sam emerges from here winter Wisconsin home to make the move south.

*NOTE:  When making a cross-country move, NEVER expect your stuff to be to your new place soon after your arrival.

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