Category Archives: Desert Reviews

Mike’s Custom Footwear

Mike’s Custom Footwear

I don’t normally write reviews. With that said – when a business or service goes above and beyond I feel compelled. Such is with Mike’s Custom Footwear in Ontario Oregon.

Over the years I’ve taken my boots, both riding and hiking, to Mike for repair. “Can you do something with these? They are my favorite hiking boots. They don’t make them anymore. It doesn’t have to be pretty – just give me a few more years with my favorite old standby’s and I’ll be happy.” The kid behind the counter smiles and says, “Sure. I’ll see what we can do.” 2 hours later I pick up a fully functional and stitched hiking boot that will last at least another 20 years.

Uh oh...
Uh oh…

A couple of weekends ago my horse threw an Easy Boot glove on the Weiser River Trail. Luckily I found it. They are not cheap. The total boot will put you back $62.00. The gator alone comes with a $27.00 price tag. The gator had separated from the hoof boot. There was no damage beyond the stitching. It would cost me $27.00 to replace it and at least a week, maybe two, without them. I had a ride in two days that would require the boots. I pondered how I could fix them myself. I could try super glue – but I doubt that would hold. I wished I had a heavy duty sewing machine. That’s when it hit me: A boots a boot! What’s the difference if it’s human or equine!

I took both boots to Mike so he could see how they are designed. I sat them on the counter. Mike asked how he could help. I said, “Well, I’m really hoping you can be my hero for the day. Can you fix these?” He didn’t hesitate or question the fact that I’d just handing him an Easy Boot glove for horses. “Absolutely,” he said with a smile. “And I bet you’re going to want these back pronto?” I said I’d be happy if he could fix them at all. “Come back in 30 minutes,” he said.

Thirty minutes later Mike handed across the counter a perfectly repaired and likely better than new Easy Boot glove for the sum of $5.00. Five bucks…that’s it. Triple stitched and better than the original. My Hero.

  • Cowboy boot repair: $8:00
  • Hiking boot repair: $8:00
  • Easy boot repair: $5:00
  • Customer Service: Priceless

Mike’s Custom Footwear – Facebook Page

 

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Heal, Inspire and Revive…

The last of my nannies finally kidded out. Meet “Inspire and Revive.” Odd names for goats, you say? Well, there is a back story. There is always a back story.

Inspire and Revive
Inspire and Revive

I was perusing the Dr. Carson for President FB page when I came on a photo of a guy wearing the same “Ben Carson for president” T-shirt that I have. I thought to myself – why not. I’ll snap a selfie of me in my T-shirt and post it to my FB page to show support to what I believe may be our only hope for this struggling country that for decades has gone so very, very wrong.

With cell phone camera in hand and donning my freshly washed and oh-so-comfy wearable bumper sticker – I head for the general area of the goat shed where adequate lightning is sure to be had. As my finger lingered over the shutter button, a distressing sound emanated from the goat shed. I have heard that sound often enough to know that a goat was in need of assistance.

Sure enough, my last nanny was trying to give birth. This was her first time kidding and she looked as if she had been at it for some time. She was tired and weak. I could see tiny feed inside of the water sack “bubble” protruding from what I will refer to as “the baby shoot.” I know – silly – but there are some words I have difficulty saying, let alone typing.

I don’t have dainty little girly hands. There wasn’t room for me to reach in and help pull the baby. I couldn’t do a goat episiotomy without running back to the house for a sharp knife. Remember, I was dressed for a photo shoot – not capra aegagrus hircus obstetrics.

I broke the water bag and was able to barely get hold of the tiny hooves. I pulled and “Checkers” pushed. The baby came out backwards. Rather large for a first time momma. He was lifeless. I cleared the sack from around his nose and mouth and gave him a brisk shake. He sucked in his first breath and commenced to coughing. I tossed him toward Checkers head and waited for the next. It’s better for first time mommas to have singles, but not uncommon for them to have twins. I could tell by the way she was acting there was another one in there.

Checkers got up and down several times – totally ignoring the little buck she’s just given birth to. I left her alone for a few minutes while I ran in the house to get some clean towels. I was covered in goat-goo from my favorite T-shirt to the bottoms of my Dickies.

Back at the barn, Checkers was on her side and struggling to push out baby number two. I was able to reach in this time and feel for two feet. Backwards like the first. I winced as I pulled. It always feels like you are going to pull off their little legs. Out came a multi-colored, lifeless baby goat. I cleared her mouth and nose. Nothing. I hung her upside down by the feet and swung her around. It sounds cruel – but has revived a lot of babies by clearing their lungs. Still nothing. Shit. Aside from the momma and twins I’d lost a few weeks earlier – I’d had an excellent survival rate of 100%. I cupped my hand over the babies muzzle and blew several good breaths. A few seconds later and the baby sneezed and coughed to life. I tossed her alongside her brother and backed away. I learned if you interfere too much – the mommas can reject the babies.

Checkers is doing exceptionally well for a first time momma. The babies are thriving and healthy. Inspire and Revive buck, kick and strive to keep up with their rambunctious cousins nearly two weeks older than they. I soaked my Dr. Carson for president T-shirt in Shout and set it to cold wash. It came out surprisingly clean with no trace of blood or goat-goo.

Needless to say, my photo-op would have to wait until another day. Back at my computer I posted a reply to the post of the man wearing the identical T-shirt. One of the posters suggested I post a picture of the babies and name one of them Ben. I thought about doing just that. However, I’m not sure how city folk would respond to being named after a goat. I thought about naming them Ben and Candy – or maybe Carson and Mrs. Hughes… (Downton Abby friends will understand where I’m going with this.) Instead– I opted to call them Inspire and Revive, part of the slogan representing the healing hands of a man I feel would make an excellent President. A man who has not lowered himself to the reality TV circus that has become the norm in today’s politics. A man who in every debate has been the only contender to answer every question to the point and with integrity.

Unlike my T-shirt – we can’t toss the country in the wash and hope for the best. We need to wake up, pull our heads out of the sand and take action. Like two little goats that came into this world kicking and fighting for their first breath – I pray that Dr. Carson kicks and fights his way to the White House despite the odds. I whole heartily believe the very breath of our country depends on it.

Support Dr. Carson for President

Fourteen War Horses and a Goose – A movie review

I wrote this goofy little “review” after watching War Horse a few years ago.

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14 War Horse’s and a goose

I wanted to like this movie, I really did. What could be more endearing than a story about a boy and his horse, torn apart by war? Set in the early 1900’s against the backdrop of the sixth deadliest conflict in history and directed by Steven Spielberg – it was bound to be an epic experience. It was not. At least it was not for me.

“The Movies 3” theatre in Rawlins Wyoming was not showing War Horse over the holiday’s like most of the larger theatres. I would wait to see it a week later when I returned home. It sounded like an excellent way to ring in the New Year. With a pocket full of Kleenex and a hefty amount of expectation, I purchased a ticket and strolled into theatre #1, now showing “War Horse.”

The theatre was virtually empty. I laid my coat at the end of an empty row and went up front for a three dollar box of chocolate covered almonds and a four dollar root-beer. The price of a ticket and concessions might explain the large number of empty seats.

With concession items in hand, I walked back into the dimly lit theatre to find the entire row next to my coat occupied. Looking around the theatre, I could not help notice that except for a few scattered movie goers, my row had suddenly become very popular. Not wanting to appear rude, I chose not to pick up my coat and move to a less popular row. I picked up my coat and stared at the row-invaders who in turn, stared back. I pretended to shake out my coat blatantly in the faces of the invaders, intending to dispel any doubt as to who was here first.  I sat next to a gentleman who smelled like nicotine and stale gym socks and made weird, guttural noises.

There is something about witnessing a person attending functions alone that makes some nervous. I personally enjoy going to the movies by myself. I can enjoy an entire movie without listening to another’s narrative. I can focus wholly on the movie and not worry about what the other person may or may not be thinking and if they smell bad or make weird noises, I can take comfort in knowing they won’t be going home with me.

The man setting to my right was obviously very uncomfortable that I chose to come back to my designated seat. I would not yield. I was here first. I scooted as far to the left as I could, sat at an almost 45º angle to the big screen, and tried not to breathe too deeply. The man shot several sideways glances in my direction throughout the movie, presumably looking around for the “other person” who surely accompanied this lone movie-goer. I’m telling you – it freaks people out to see someone go to the movies without a date. You can get the same reaction standing with your back to the door and facing everyone in an elevator full of people. Try it sometime, it’s a kick.

The movie opens with a minimum of four different foals/colts portraying Joey, the equine actor. I just don’t get it. With today’s technology in CG – can they not find two doubles portraying the same horse to look at least believable? I understand the need to utilize multiple horses in a move that encompass the lifespan of the horse. I understand the need for stunt doubles. I get it, really. I read they used 14 doubles to portray Joey from foal to adult horse. I have little doubt that if given the time, any horse enthusiast worth their salt could point out every 14 of those horses. From markings to confirmation – none of them matched; even the gates of the different horses were off. Granted, I suffer from a healthy dose of OCD and probably notice such things more than the normal person would. I might expect such a thing in pre-CG  and spaghetti westerns, but in today’s computer generated graphics and special effect technology…come on…slap a little air-brushing on the horse and at least make it somewhat convincing.

I did not care for the casting of the lead role for Albert, played by actor Jeremy Irvine. I kept waiting for the type of on-screen connection between human and horse l saw in The Black Stallion, starring Kelly Reno as Alec. Nope. Flat. I felt the movie could have relied entirely on the interaction of the supporting actors and horses.

There were a few scenes, while hard to watch, almost brought me to the edge of my seat…almost, but not quite; just when I thought it was about to happen, my butt would slide back into the seat with disappointment as cold as the theatre seating itself.

The scene where Joey runs through the battlefield and becomes entangled in barbed wire would have been more dramatic had it been believable. Anybody who’s been around horses knows that a horse can cut his leg clean-off in 2 feet of a single strand wire. Had that scene actually occurred, it would be unlikely the horse’s body would have remained attached to his head.

The movie was predictable. I felt like I was watching a remake of Black Beauty; especially when Topthorn entered the scene. Everyone knows the equine side-kick in any movie is as doomed as a Cartwright boy’s fiancé. Topthorn’s fate, although sad, was no surprise. The most unnecessary scene of the movie enters here. Did they have to show the tank ominously rolling toward Topthorn’s dead body? I had to look away, even though I was assured later they didn’t actually show the dead horse being squashed under the tracks, I could not watch it. I understand the conflict Spielberg and Michael Morpurgo, author of the original book of the same name, was trying to portray; the impending coming of advanced heavy artillery and military warfare that rapidly rendered the horse in battle obsolete. I felt the same effect was better portrayed in the scene where Joey jumps over the tank and into the trenches; much less disturbing, for sure.

The scene where Tommy and Fritz free Joey from the barbed wire was the one redeeming scene in the whole movie for me. Might it have happened? Unlikely. I suppose in real wartime, someone would have shot the horse and continued on with the killing of each other. Regardless, when a dozen or more wire-cutters flew out of the enemy trenches, I actually smiled for the first time during the movie. Other than a goose making an occasional appearance throughout the film, it would be the last.

To sum up a rather long critique (and my first ever) – I found War Horse predictable, unbelievable and the characters lacking charisma. If the horse could actually have survived such a Calvary charge or the barbed-wire episode, being forced to watch his own premier of War Horse, “Joey,” I fear, would have died from boredom. gooseend