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Monday, January 26, 2009

Win A Copy of Love Finds You

My book, Love Finds You in Last Chance, California is being featured on Tracy Ruckman's blog, PixnPins. She's doing a short essay contest with some unusual words that must be used in the story you write. To find out more be sure to visit her blog.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Update on Starving Horses

This is a starving horse. I promised an update, so here goes.

I was only able to get a picture of one of the seven horses not being fed that I told you about in my last post. You can see the sunken back & distended backbone, along with the hollow hips & ribs showing even through the coarse winter hair. Two of the others look just as bad & the other 4 are close behind.

I've sent this picture and others to the Sheriff, and my son in law has called them again. We've still not been given a report, so yesterday I went to check on them again. .... Oh...and we've fed them (at our expense) three more times, as well.

I drove up the road yesterday and got close to the pasture, only to find 4 of the horses loaded in a large, old, rusty horse trailer being pulled by an old truck. They headed back down the hill the way I'd come. I jotted down the license plate number and turned the car around, determined to follow them however far they went. I suspected the Sheriff had finally contacted the owner & they were spooked. Time to move the horses somewhere that nosy neighbors couldn't see and they'd be safe from another negative report.

No way was I letting them disappear. I called my daughter who was waiting to be picked up a & told her to hunker down and wait, I might be awhile. No problem, she wanted these horses saved even more than I did. She's been sick to her stomach and not sleeping, she's been so stressed.

I followed for about 2 miles when the truck pulled over to let another vehicle pass, as they were moving pretty slow. I decided to see if I could talk to the driver or passenger, so pulled up behind them, then waved my arm out the window. The passenger got out and came to my door. A big, heavyset Mexican with a frown on his face. Uh-oh. Think fast, Miralee.

I put on a smile and told him my daughter was interested in the little black filly and did he want to sell her? His face broke into a grin and he said "Sure, and I'll make her a good deal if she does it soon." He went on to say he was moving them back to his house a few miles up the road where he has better feed, since the pasture where they were was pretty scanty.

Scanty? Try non-existent. It's January, for goodness sake! There IS no grass in Jan. Just snow, muck, and froze blades lying flat against the ground. Is the man blind? Can't he see these horses are starving? Apparently not. Oh...but he did mention they'd dropped some weight in the past 2-3 wks, during that big snow we had. RIGHT.

I smilingly inquired if he has hay at his house and he said yes. And he'd just bought supplements as well and hoped to get some weight back on them soon.

I thought fast and asked for his name and phone number, as my daughter would want to talk to him personally. He gave it to me without hesitation. I thanked him, turned the car around and went back to pick up my daughter.

She was jubilant and very proud of her mom. She couldn't believe I'd not only followed the truck, but flagged them down & got the man's name, license # and phone. My heart swelled at her pride in me, but even more, with thanksgiving that the Lord gave us a way to help these horses.

And yes, she was seriously interested in buying the little black, and maybe even the gray in the picture. Not because she liked them, but so she could save them. I agreed to pay half of the purchase price if we could get him low enough, and half of the hay, then sell them as soon as they were in shape.

She called the man and we got directions to his house. Amazingly, the other horses he owns were all in good shape except one yearling that was a little thin. Why could the man feed these horses, but not bother with the rest? But all four had big piles of hay in front of them when we arrived and he told us the little sorrel mare that was lame, was cared for. She'd been walking around for over a week with a nail straight up in her foot. He pulled it, soaked and doctored the foot. Can you imagine? Because he didn't care enough to come feed and check on the horses daily, that filly had been in agonizing pain for over a wk, and now has an infected foot. Oh...and the supplements he purchased? There were piles of corn chips...yes, like Fritos...on the ground near the hay. Someone told him they're pure corn and better than grain. Right.

He wouldn't come down low enough on the horses that we felt we could come close to breaking even on cost, but we'd have taken the risk anyway. But after talking to him and asking numerous questions, we both decided he's going to feed them. He must have been scared from someone contacting him (hopefully the Sheriff) and decided he'd best get them in shape. And based on the condition of his other horses, we hoped that laziness and "out of sight out of mind" had played a part in him not caring for this group. He assured us he's picking up the other 3 today, and he'd left hay for them when he'd brought the first batch home.

We'll get in touch with the Sheriff again and give them an update, along with his name, phone # and home location. That's about all we can do for now, but we feel somewhat better, knowing that at least all our calling and badgering forced him to bring the horses home where he has hay and can keep a closer eye on them. Maybe now they have a fighting chance to survive.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Steaming Mad!

This is what a healthy properly fed horse should look like.

Tomorrow (if I'm able) or the next day, I'll post a picture of what I'm angry about.

We live in the Pacific NW, in an area where we get a lot of snow, cold weather, freezing rain and wind. Not a fun place to live outside, in winter.

I want you to imagine yourself with a light-weight jacket with a thin lining, living outside with bare branches as your shelter. No fir boughs that break the wind or stop some of the rain from hitting your back, just bare, leafless orchard trees. Now imagine yourself with your water tank frozen over and two feet of snow on top. You don't have water, so you eat the snow.

Now imagine living outside, eating snow, having only a light weight jacket on, and getting tossed one meal every 2-3 wks. Are you shivering and hungry yet? OK, now you're desperate and you start stripping the bark off the trees for nourishment, you huddle against the side of a small shed that's kept closed, and where a few bales of hay reside....but aren't being thrown out so you can get it. You paw through the deep snow, now 2 1/2 ft deep, praying to find something underneath to eat.

Getting the picture yet? My daughter, her husband and I have been keeping an eye on 7 horses on the outskirts of our small town that are slowly being starved.

Yes, we've called the Sheriff. The deputy assigned to the case went home sick the day after it was assigned. They're short handed, so didn't give it to anyone else. She was out for a week. We got tired of seeing the horses getting thinner, and took 100 lbs of hay down and tossed it over the fence. When the deputy came back (and another one finally went out to check 10 days after our report), they saw the remnants of the hay we'd tossed and assumed they were being fed. Case closed.

But not for long. I've been calling and being a thorn in their side every 2-3 days, asking for updates, demanding (nicely) to speak to the person currently investigating. Today I finally got a call back...2 wks to the day from my first report. Understaffed and other cases got in the way.

Yes, I do understand, people's needs to have to come first. But at what point do starving animals become a priority?

Today I took them more hay. I told the deputy the hay they saw was MINE...that there's only been one feeding in the past 3 wks by the owner. They promised to 'look into it' some more.

We'll see.

If nothing happens, my next step may be a letter to our local paper. If that doesn't work, maybe a few posters scattered around town with pictures of the horses and the names of the owners. No one seems to know who they belong to at this point, as they've been moved a couple of times to empty pastures with no house attached. The deputy says they're working on finding out. We can hope. In the meantime, I'm making calls of my own to discover who they belong to.

Hay isn't cheap and I have my own horse to feed, and my daughter and her husband (who are also helping) have three. But we can't see these animals starve to the point where they're skin and bones and unable to walk. Two are seriously lame now, probably from unattended injuries.

OK....I've ranted enough. I'll post an update when I have one. Not sure I can get close enough to the horses to get a decent picture, but if I do, I'll post that too. Thanks for listening, and hopefully caring as well. When they shut down all the horse packing plants, it put many, many horses in this situation with owners who can't afford to feed them, or just don't care. Horses are starving across this entire country.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

100 Things About Me

I’ve seen these lists make the rounds of people’s emails and blogs but have never done one myself. After seeing another one today I thought…Why not? Looks like it might be fun. Besides, it’s a new year and maybe it would be good to reflect on where I’ve been. It might help me firm up my goals on where I want to be this coming year. So here goes (only I shortened the list from 106 to 100…let’s see what you can come up with!

Feel free to copy this list to your blog and asterix the things you've done and add a few new things. I’m not using the exact same list that’s being passed around, as I wanted to add a few new things of my own, and left off some that other’s have added that didn’t fit for me. Leave a comment here and tell me about some of your adventures or leave a link to your blog.

1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Lived in Alaska
4. Visited a foreign country
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland and Disneyworld
8. Climbed a glacier
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a duet with a friend at church (or a solo if that fits you)
11. Ridden a horse
12. Helped an animal give birth (in my case it was a horse)
13. Been close to where lightening struck the ground
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Been a foster parent
16. Had a case of Shingles
17. Driven a car in Mexico
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Driven the Al-Can highway two times (from Alaska thru Canada to Washington St)

20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Ice Skated
23. Owned more than four different types of animals at the same time
24. Built a snow fort
25. Been sledding on the old time runner sleds
26. Gone skinny dipping (in our own private pond lest anyone is gasping)
27. Had a cougar in my car
28. Took a cougar to work
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Been on a girls baseball team
32. Sailed on a sailboat
33. Owned a cougar
34. Gone camping
35. Ran the mile in track in high school
36. Learned a foreign language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Taken an honor’s class in college
39. Camped in the woods
40. Roller skated
41. Gone fishing in the ocean, river, lake and pond
42. Spoken in front of a group of people (at least 50)
43. Paid for something for a stranger
44. Owned pond we stocked with trout with it’s own fish ladder
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Flown in a two person airplane
47. Painted at least one oil painting (several)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Had the mumps (while in college)
50. Gave the mumps to a loved one (my fiancé)
51. Been called for jury duty
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Met someone famous
57. Started a business (at least four)
58. Started or have a web site
59. Visited Baja
60. Served at a teen shelter for street people
61. Been in the Girl Scouts
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Led a high school youth group
65. Taught a Sunday School class
66. Joined a book club

67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy (book!)
70. Ridden in a glass bottom boat
71. Eaten lobster
72. Lost a loved one
73. Been on a bucking horse
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Worked for a newspaper
76. Driven 100 miles an hour (in a Corvette on a straight stretch one time)
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle (I thought it was speeding, LOL!)
79. Sold a piece of art (oil painting)
80. Published a book
81. Been involved in a law suit
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Been stung by a bee
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible (I'm not sure on this one, but have come close.)
86. Owned a cell phone
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating (includes fish)
88. Had the mumps (while in college)
89. Gave the mumps (or measles) to a loved one (my fiancé)

90. Worked at a saw mill

91. Ran a piece of power equipment (saw, drill, planer, etc)

92. Driven a school bus (used for church groups)

93. Driven a Cat and/or excavator (heavy piece of equipment)

94. Acted in a play

95. Attended a musical

96. Felled a tree

97. Slept over night in a car

98. Built our own house

99. Threatened someone’s life (when I was 3 yrs old, LOL!)

100. Taught a class at school

Monday, January 5, 2009

Blessings Poured Out

My new historical romance (inspirational) Love Finds You In Last Chance, CA releases Feb. 1st and my author copies arrived this week end. I stood in quiet joy holding my newest (& 2nd) book in my hands after opening the case. Summerside Press is such a wonderful publishing house to work for, and they do beautiful work. I'm excited about my new release, but also thrilled to share the first official review.

A few days ago I discovered Romantic Times Magazine (one of the largest print review publications featuring both secular and Christian fiction) had just released my review and rating. My book received a 4 1/2 star rating out of 4 1/2 stars, something that I understand is not common in the tough, competitive rating world. The review states the following:

RT Rating: 4½
Published: February 2009
Type: Inspirational (Historical)

Ferrell has done her research and produced a well-written tale, set in 1877 California, with characters that show depth of emotion and spiritual clarity. She adds a touch of suspense with plot twists that tweak at the heart. Readers will definitely want to read more from this author.
Summary: Alexia Travers' father died suddenly, leaving her burdened with a heavily mortgaged horse ranch. Getting married would be an easy solution, but instead, she puts on men's clothes and sets out to make the ranch a success on her own. When Justin Phillips comes to Last Chance with his young son, Toby, the effort to save the ranch quickly turns into a competition between cowboy and tomboy. But when disaster threatens, they must work together to save someone they both love. Can two independent people learn to depend on God and on each other? (SUMMERSIDE, Feb., 320 pp. $12.99)

—Lindy J. Swanson

I'm honored and blessed by the reviewers thoughts and rating.

Also, Kregel has officially offered and signed a contract for the sequel to The Other Daughter, tentatively titled Past Shadows. It should release in the fall of this year and I'll begin edits and revisions later this month. I should have a firm title and cover design to share within the next 2-3 months.

So as you can see, I'm indeed triply blessed by all that's happening in my career at this point and so very grateful.
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