Tuesday, August 31, 2010

House, part 3

It doesn't seem possible to keep cramming as much into every day as I'm doing. But I'm not too tired when I go to sleep, and I wake up rested, and I am actually having a ton of fun, so all is well.

Yesterday I came home, changed clothes, and went over and cut in the bedroom. Where I cut in didn't crackle, so I think the walls will be ok with two coats of paint.

Walls cut in

This morning, I got up early and headed to Lowe's before work. Got a contractor pack of REAL baseboard and creatively loaded it in my truck. My truck would be completely useless without the sliding window in the back, but because it has that window, it's actually more useful than some bigger trucks. 12' of floppy MDF baseboard wouldn't have ridden nearly as well in my husband's 8' bed truck! But I just jammed it in, tied it down, and it rode like a rock.


After work, I met up with my husband and we headed over for some $5 doors. A guy has been advertising $5 doors on Craigslist, and I've been hoping I could get some. They're very nice primed heavy-grade hollowcore interior doors. Not drilled for knobs, and they're not all the correct "handedness," but I can fix both of those problems. And I did get six doors for the price of one new door.

$5 doors!

After we got the doors, we dashed to the house and met the hay dude. A ton of hay sure isn't a very big pile, but it'll last Dixie and the goat for a while. I'll need more to get through the winter, I think, but I have a couple of months to get it together.

Tomorrow morning I have to buy gas (woops, should've gotten it today) and a bag of scratch grain, then after work I am going to score some CHICKENS! (Unless the lady sells them to someone else - that's the risk of Craigslist.) I figure since they need to be locked up for the first couple days to get used to their new homes, it's ok if they are stuck in the chicken haus until we move. I guess I will throw them in the dog crate and tie a blanket down over them. Poor chickens, riding in the bed of the truck will be traumatic. Maybe if it's dark they'll sleep through it.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Progress and setbacks

First thing today, I got the bedroom ceiling finished. It looks amazing with two coats of flat white! Pro tip: Everything looks better with another coat. It's not worth painting if you're not going to put enough coats on. :)
Second coat

Then I went to the paint store, in the rain. Look at this! Wet stuff, falling from the sky, onto my truck! Unbelievable.
What is this wet stuff falling from the sky?

I was so excited to have paint that I went ahead and slapped a coat of wall paint on the walls!
Ceiling finished, one coat on walls

Ducked into the bathroom and painted over the mildewed semi-gloss peach paint with more beautiful white...
Master bath ceiling

... then wandered back out into the bedroom to find disaster had struck.
The old crackle glaze is apparently still active. The new tasteful paint had cracked, allowing the heinous pepto-pink to shine through. All four walls! FML! Pro tip: Next time, just replace the sheetrock.
FML, it's crackling!

I primed the walls, hoping that the magical properties of primer would override the black magic of crackle glaze. Then I headed off to the den. Rolled the ceiling a second time, then stripped the border in that room.
Wallpaper border is down

The primer crackled too, but not as badly as the paint. Tomorrow after work I'll roll paint on the bedroom walls again and hopefully it won't crack. I am honestly not sure what I'll do if it does!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

House tour time!

Who would like to see my awesome new crib? Yes? Ok, here we go!

Here's what I did today. This is the master bedroom - it's pepto pink with antique white crackle finish. Yes, really. I got the wallpaper all off today and painted the dingy gross ceiling.

(Wallpaper tip: I have tried all the products and gadgets, and the best and cheapest way to get wallpaper off without fucking up the wall underneath is with vinegar. Peel off the top vinyl layer with your girlie fingernails, then spray or brush on cheap white vinegar. When the paper is soaked, it should peel off the wall with no damage. Unless you get impatient and fed up with it and stab the wall with your putty knife - no promises there.)


I made a mess.

Then I cleaned it up!

Then I painted the indescribably gross ceiling. It's not actually nasty-dirty, it just hasn't been painted in probably 33 years. It really paints like the original blown-on popcorn stuff, not like a ceiling that was painted at some point.

Two gallons of Kilz 2 got one coat on the bedroom ceiling and part of the hall. The second coat tomorrow shouldn't be as hard. I'll cut in tomorrow - I was TIRED and hungry by the time I rolled up 2 gallons of paint.

Ok, that's enough house stuff - on to the property!

Here's the small run-in. This is the one I'm going to turn into a compost pile shelter.
Manure pile?

A Cersei dog.

Looking at the first area of the bigger run-in. I don't know what it's closed in like that for.

The other two areas of the run in. I don't know what that fence is doing there...

Here's the rest of the chain link fence, the chicken coop, and a Cersei-dog.

Well, this must be the back of the chicken coop...

So the other side must be the front - wait, wtf?

This is the future paddock. There's a ton of weird junk. The neighbor's fence is horrendous - I am going to have to put up new t-posts for the whole perimeter. Sigh.

It's a pretty awesome place. Lots of promise, but lots of work to make it happen.

I hate wallpaper

Even when it's just border.

The bedroom view kinda makes up for it.

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Friday, August 27, 2010


Ok, it's not 100% final yet, but we appear to have a house. Here's some pics of the inside of the buildings I took today.


I will get pics of the pool, hot tub, and outbuildings tomorrow. Oh my god, what a day.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Well it took a year of hard work, but I really finally feel like Dixie is my partner. She does have good sense (usually), and she does trust me, and she tries hard for me. Yay!

The last couple times I rode more than 20 miles, I felt the next day like a truck hit me. Sunday I only felt like an angry 12 year old punk on a BMX bike hit me. My calves are fine, which probably means I'm posting right and my lower legs are just chilling out around Dixie's ribs. Everything else is a little sore - it takes so much core strength to keep riding.

In2paints mentioned Dixie's mane - I went out yesterday and washed her nasty rats-nest mane and tail. I cant bring myself to cut her mane, but it is a royal pain in the ass. It's so thick, and when I neglect it, it gets SO tangled. But it's truly beautiful and it really does keep the flies away.

Her back legs were a tiny bit filled. They weren't hot and she wasn't off or sore. Maybe I will get some liniment for after long rides? I worry about putting ice boots on - they don't have good circulation in their legs, and cold can be just as damaging as heat.

Her front fetlocks looked fine. She really does heal fast, and the rubs didn't break the skin.

I ran out of that Cowboy Magic goo I've been using to detangle her mane, so I had to break out the evil squirt bottle of show sheen. In the past, she's had some epic meltdowns about squirt bottles, so I was just delighted when she let me drench her tail with SS without any fuss. She got nervous when I started on her mane, so I got the treats out and we made it a clicker session. I alternated letting her choose to touch the bottle for a treat with asking her to stand still while I squirted her mane. It was a little difficult for her, so I didn't even get her whole mane done - she was being so good, and I didn't want to push too hard.

I rasped a little off the outside quarters of her fronts. Jim is not coming to trim her for two more weeks - that'll work out great for Comstock, but I want to deal with the problem areas before then. Even after a bath, her feet are like rocks with wicked thick walls. I will need to work on them some more.

House - we're trying to get the reinspection and walkthrough scheduled. Four more days til we close!!

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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Beautiful day

Ready to go.

What an awesome day. :) Dixie was perfectly well behaved for a 23 mile outing with Diego. I think she is finally turning into an endurance horse, not just a horse that dashed through a couple of LDs - she has an easy little 8-9 mph trot that gets us places without wearing her out. I wish she'd drink better... we hit a lovely little spring-fed trough at 10 miles and she just rinsed her mouth out. But she enjoyed the rare and wonderful green grass at the spring runoff, and she didn't particularly care if she or Dig was in front, and she took care of the things I'd like her to take care of. I don't always ask her to slow down at rocks or hills or washboard roads anymore - I let her decide. She has made a lot of mistakes, but she's finally learning that she has to think for herself for some things.

C and Dig.

The day started off near 90 and cloudless. We took our time working north through the foothills, then we picked up a good pace headed east to the other side of the valley.

We rode to them hills over thar~

The trough was at the other side, up a little ways back into the hills. Dixie ate a lot of grass and sort of thought about drinking. We went a bit further up into the hills on the east, but the road we picked, while very pretty, was slow and didn't lead anywhere, so we cut cross-country and got back down to the pipeline road. I think the clouds came up while we were up at the spring - when we got back down to the valley floor, the temperature had dropped nearly 10 degrees and there were stunning huge clouds everywhere. It even looked like it was raining in parts of Reno!

The color balance on the pictures came out terribly. It's not actually a uniform gold out there - the sage is, well, sage green, there are little blue-green plants here and there, the cheatgrass is dead and almost white, and the other spring flowers are dead and various shades of gold. The sky really WAS that blue, and the clouds were amazing, and the wind was blowing just hard enough to make me totally comfortable, and it was awesome.

Don't point that damn camera at me, UNTIE ME RIGHT NOW!

When I got back, I took some foot photos so you can see how her feet look after 20 miles barefoot in the sand and rocks. Front left - too much flare at the quarters, I should start touching them up between trims.


Front left again.

Rears - I've been keeping the outside quarters of her rears rolled up off the ground to hopefully stop the flare there. Look at that stress ring that's almost grown off of her hooves - I wonder what caused that? If I kept obsessive records maybe I'd know, sigh.

Well shit! Front leg post rinse - those damn bell boots rubbed her pretty good. So much for them.

I am officially pronouncing Professional Choice No-Turn Bell Boots a don't buy. They're not amazingly sturdy, the customer service isn't amazingly great, and they rub! FFFfffff.

Of course Dixie didn't act like her legs bothered her in any way shape or form. She is so frighteningly stoic. It feels like a ton of responsibility to try to watch her at all times and guess how she's feeling.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Now with pictures!

This is the best I can offer right now.

The well is in the top right corner. The tan building at the bottom corner of the field is the good run-in. The small white building at the bottom right of the field is the potential manure house.

The absolutely enormous brown building on the left is the barage (that's my new word for it). Huge sliding doors at front, small people door at back, open on the inside, unfinished upstairs. For scale, the white rectangle left and below the barage is a big RV.

The green thing is the aboveground pool. The hot tub is in the shadow of the house.

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So I want to safely confine my horse, her full size goat, and one day a couple of Nigerian mini goats. The back area is currently fenced with sagging death trap 4" square field wire. After weeks of hard thought, here's what I think I will do.

I'm going to run 4 strands of hot wire or polyrope offset a couple inches inside the current fence. Then as I get the money, I'll replace the field fence with 2x4 woven fence or even that horse safe v-mesh fence.

I am going to keep the existing fenceline where it is on three sides and make the area smaller on the east side. The well pump is inside the fence in the northeast corner, and I need to fence the livestock away from the well, so I'll lose a narrow strip along the east side.

I don't know how hard it is to pull t-posts from this ground, so I might need new ones or I might be able to reuse the old ones. If I have the money, and I think I will, I'll put up horse fence on the east side when I move it. 100' of horse wire is about $200, and the area is just over 100' on each side... based on sat maps.

(How do you even measure something that big? Should I get one of those surveyor's measuring tapes or can I cheat with string somehow?)

Before I do that, I'll get somebody with heavy equipment to scrape the deep sand to shallow sand in a strip along the fenceline. The interior will be deep sand and sagebrush, and the Two Stooges can hang out in it if they want, or they can hang out on arena-deep sand along the fence.

I think I'm going to use a pipe and wire mesh gate, not hot. I want 4', but I've had friends tell me to use 6' in case I need the extra width for equipment one day. Still not totally decided on that.

There are two run in sheds. The smaller is in bad shape, and I think I'll fence it out and use it for my manure pile. The larger doesn't need as much repairing and it'll be their shelter.

Any sage advice on this plan?

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Thursday, August 19, 2010

A bleg!

I know it's been forever since I posted and here I am with a request for y'all.

I've started thinking about tack storage. I'll have this enormous garage to put my stuff in! I have had tack in the back seat of my truck for FOUR YEARS, y'all - it's going to have a real home soon!

So here's my request. Please comment with any suggestions, or write a post showing all of us YOUR tack room / shed / trailer. What do you love about your setup? What do you hate?

Thanks in advance :)

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Endurance question

Last post for now, I promise.

I'm definitely doing Comstock on October 2. It's a no-brainer, ridecamp out of the LV arena two miles from Where Dixie Stay At and The House. I am pretty sure she could do the 50 - she had a ton of gas in the tank after the 30 at Moonshine.

I'd love to finish up our season and give myself a badass birthday present with Patriot's Day Lake Almanor. That one's not a cinch, though - it depends on me getting a trailer, which is extremely likely but not quite in the bag.

Am I asking too much? I am sure she could do the 25 Comstock and the 25 Almanor 4 weeks apart. Could she do two 50s four weeks apart? Should I do 25 at Comstock then 50 at Almanor? Or maybe the other way around, because Almanor is hillier - do 50 Comstock then back to a 25 at Almanor?

I know that with endurance the answer is always "it depends on the horse," but I don't know if I'm asking realistic questions. Would you take a well-conditioned mature mare in her first ride season to two 50s four weeks apart?

House, or, The WTF Post

Our Heroine is even closer to The American Dream of Home Ownership Subject to a Huge Mortgage. Here is the house update.

Ok, first, it won't be a huge mortgage as compared to other mortgages. It's just a lot of money if you think about the normal things you could buy with it. Second - this looks like a huge list of shit that's wrong with this house we're committing to, but it's not a new house and nothing is seriously, terribly wrong.

My husband has been doing an amazing job going to all the inspections, asking the right questions, lining up repairs if we have to do them. He gets all the credit for this update.

The well inspection was first. The pump is fairly recent, the well isn't terrifyingly deep (174' iirc) and has plenty of water, and the water is free from harmful bacteria. Buuut the well pump is sitting on the sand in the back half-acre and the power cable is just hanging out a couple inches under the sand. WTF? It needs a little pump house covering it up, and it needs the power line in a real conduit in a real trench a real foot or two under the ground.

The septic tank is in the front yard. The owners dug a bunch of mini-foxholes in the yard before they found it, but it was eventually found. It's in good shape and the leachfield passed, but the septic guy would like to replace a baffle for some reason. That one's optional.

The FHA appraiser dude appraised the house for 5k more than we have offered. Good! (Even better, FHA doesn't consider outbuildings in the appraisal... G wants to get it re appraised after we close and get the outbuilding / pool / hot tub included in the appraisal, get some instant equity, maybe get us out from under the PMI.)

The home inspector said good things and a few weird things. No termites - would've shocked me if there were. The crawlspace needs a couple more ventilation holes. One of the floor joists was jacked up and put on two supports - one of the supports is on a pier, like it should be, but one of them is just a post sitting on the sand. WTF?

There are two wood stoves and a propane furnace. One of the stoves, in the Fireplace Room, failed FHA inspection. We have to promise to remove it and if we burn the house down with it we get no insurance. It'll go with no regrets, because the great room / den has another newer wood stove, which passed inspection. Yahoo! My parents will just groan and roll their eyes, but I am totally nostalgic for wood fires. We had a (shitty leaky smoky dangerous) wood fireplace when I was a kid, which was replaced with an equally horrible fireplace insert. My mom doesn't remember it fondly at all but I do - I remember how to start a fire, how to tell if your wood is dry, how to chop wood, how to scream and drop the wood on your toe when a beetle crawls on your arm... I can't wait! Well, I could do without the bugs I guess.

The den / great room is an addition off the kitchen. It has heating ducts running to it, but they're all smushed and terminated in a bucket. A bucket? Yes, the base of a bucket is jammed in a cut-off piece of duct as a plug. WTF! That has to be fixed. And the attic over the den needs a roof vent and a gable vent.

The water pump for the swamp cooler went out a couple days ago, but the homeowner was already fixing that on Friday. And the swamp cooler is perched on a rickety wooden contraption near the hole in the wall for it, but not actually touching the hole in the wall. I don't know if that failed or not, but if it's not fixed when we buy it'll be the first thing I fix.

The south roof is totally shot and needs to be replaced, and there's a lot of peeling paint to be repainted. We wrote those into the contract, so they're definitely getting fixed. Apparently we get to negotiate about the other stuff. It's under 2k in repairs, so we'll see how much we can get the sellers to pay and we'll get the rest done on our own dime.

Less than three weeks to go! If we close on time, we close on my sweetie's birthday - what a great birthday present!


When we last saw Our Heroine and her horse... Hahah, I can't do this. I can't write in third person. Too pretentious! Anyway, I'd ordered some bell boots because Dixie was clipping herself, I was waiting to take a lesson, and I was thinking about touching up her hooves.

I had my lesson Tuesday, and it was very helpful. To start with, M asked me to trot in a circle around her. We hurtled along and managed a couple strides of trot, a couple strides of canter, and then a very braced pace for 3/4 of a wiggly egg-shape. I pulled Dixie up and said "That is our relationship in a nutshell, and that's all of our problems." We talked for a while about what my goals are and what I'm willing to do for them. I said that I'm willing to do arena-type work a day a week, and I want to get her soft and supple on both sides and able to collect up and stretch out. I don't want to show, certainly not at dressage shows, but I'd like to work on dressagey stuff because it's good for both of us. I want to get my horse broke - or closer to broke, at any rate.

She showed me a couple of exercises to work on. It's all stuff that I've read about but never could figure out on my own. How to tell when she's crossing her rear legs when I ask for that one-rein stop. A different cue for backing up from the ground. Some stuff that I'm pretty sure is just to get me aware of my seat - get her to walk more and more slowly without touching the reins, for instance.

When I could get Dixie's attention, she was smart as a whip. The problem, as always, is getting her to focus on me and my weird demands when she wants to stare off into space and call for other horses. I stuck with it and the longer I worked her the better she got - even when all the other horses at the arena packed up and went home, she started calling for them but was still really on the aids. I told M about The House and that I'll take lessons as I can afford it, probably every two weeks, and she was fine with that.

Then we cantered wildly home, as if to underscore the importance of following through on this. :) It was a lot of fun but it was the same old fight about how fast she gets to go - she wanted to gallop, I wanted to rack or even trot, we ended up with a canter.

Friday my Pro Choice Ballistic Overreach No Turn Bell Boots came in, so I picked them up, then I stopped at the other feed store and got a really good brand new rasp. I laboriously shaved off a fraction of the flare on her back right hoof - the flared quarter is just out of ground contact now. I think I will try to keep it off the ground for a trim cycle and see how it starts to grow in. Holy crap dude, her hooves are SO FREAKIN HARD.

Then I tried on her spiffy new bell boots. I'd asked them to order M and L for me, because I wasn't sure what size she needed but I thought I'd know when I saw them. M looked too small for her dainty (snicker!) legs, so I went with L. Here's the test fit:


They seemed to fit, she didn't care that they were on, and they didn't turn. Good enough.

Then we did some ground work with the clicker. She's almost given up bullying me for treats, and now she's turning all her attention to figuring out what I want her to do. (And doing it over and over to make the Treat Dispenser hand out more mini-wheats.) I got some lovely light straight backing up and some head down, so I moved on to getting her to move her hindquarters / turn on the forehand, whatever you call it, from the ground.

I held her head still and started twirling the rope at her hindquarters, which really pissed her off. Lots of tail swishing and backing and sidepassing and then the inside leg crossed the other and by god, I clicked at that instant! I am very much a novice clicker trainer, and my timing still sucks, so that was huuuuge for both of us. Lots of praise and treats, a couple more repetitions, and then the off side was relatively easy. And bending to the right is definitely harder for her - she clearly remembered what I wanted on the near side and was trying to repeat it for more delicious treats on the off side. I love that horse so much when she tries for me :D

Yesterday a big storm front moved in about 4 and cooled things off considerably, so I took the (incredibly hyper and bored) dog with us. I put on the full kit - breastcollar, crupper, and bell boots - and we headed up in the hills for a short ride. Well, short for us, long for Cersei in the middle of summer. Guess what! Bell boots are going to be expensive disposable items for us! How exciting!

Most of our fast work was downhill, so it was mostly pace. She doesn't clip at the pace - it's physically impossible, unless your horse travels really weird in the back and somehow clips a front leg with the other side rear leg. But we did get a bit of extended trot on the last straight stretch coming home, and she did clip herself, and the boot did protect her, and it's already ripped. So much for bulletproof-vest ballistic nylon. Argh.

Does anyone make Kevlar bell boots? I'll keep using these til they quit protecting her, but they're not going to last til fall at this rate. Better yet, someone should send me free boots to review. I'll take pictures and write words and my huge audience of loyal fans will rush out and buy the ones that work the best. It'll be like a cage match, Dixie's Adamantine Hooves vs. Man's Strongest Materials.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Breaking NHR news

There is a series on TLC called Police Women of Memphis which yall MUST watch if you ever hope to understand the truly bizarre town I used to live in.

I have to watch this woman have hysteric about her son steal her money, but I swear I will update yall on my new saddle pad, my lesson, and our (increasingly more likely) house real soon now.

UPDATE: She say he stole her money. The dudes in the neighborhood say she tried to run him over with her car and she just went snap.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Back to school

So Dixie and I are going to try a lesson with a local instructor tomorrow night. I blame this one equally on Kate and AareneX. Aarene is always extolling the virtues of taking lessons (and I totally agree - but she keeps it in the front of my head!) and Kate just did that awesome clinic with Mark Rashid. So when I saw this lady's Craigslist ad for a discounted first lesson, and she mentioned how she'd worked with Mark Rashid, I decided to jump on it.

Things I need help with: posting the elusive other diagonal. Sitting the canter better. Getting Dixie on the bit, at least some of the time! Riding from my seat, instead of (or at least in addition to) my voice.

I haven't posted hoof pics in a while. AareneX asked if Dixie's toes were too long - they don't look long to me. I've seen her wear them shorter, but I haven't deliberately trimmed them much shorter than this.

There's a goat in this picture.

Side view. The phone cunningly chose to focus on the manure ball, but the hooves aren't too fuzzy.

RF solar. You can see how my trimmer took down her inside heel a bit. And that month of light duty really took its toll - I have to ride more, or at least touch up in between trims if I'm not riding more.

RF heel. On the right side of the picture you can barely see where she clipped herself Saturday.

Right rear. See the flare on that outside wall? I am almost positive that's what's making the rear boot fit poorly. (Thank you Kirt!) I am going to start keeping that rolled back once every couple of weeks.

Left rear doesn't bell out, and the left rear boot doesn't get sand. (I think. I forget which boot gets sand in it, despite my best attempts to remember.)

Left front solar.

Left front heel. In this view, it looks like the outside front quarter is a bit long... I might take that down too.

Bonus goat!

As always, feel free to comment on her feet!

Beautiful Nevada

It's been too hot to take Cersei on my rides, so I've been taking her up on the mountain and throwing the ball at dusk. Some days I get out there early and get badass sunset pictures. Here's a few to share.



I thought of Karen Chaton's Skywatch series when I took this. No pictures for her husband, but a good night for me and my camera phone!


Sunday, August 1, 2010

Pretty girl

I got up early Saturday and went for a pretty pleasant ride on Dixie. It took us 27 minutes to make it out of the subdivision - various commonplace sights really spazzed her out - but we made it out and she behaved fine. On the way back home, she clocked her right front with her rear hoof, right above the bulb of her heel. She bobbled once, and that must've been when she whacked it, but afterwards she was rock solid and I didn't know til we got home.

This is the third time in a couple of weeks that she's interfered. I think she's just learning to really stretch her stride out - she was trotting at 11 mph, and pacing downhill at 10 or so - and she's banging herself. But I still don't want her to keep doing it, so I ordered some no-turn bell boots from my local feed store. She's hitting low enough on her foot that I don't think the heel captivators on the Renegades would protect her. Hopefully some time and the bell boots will help her learn how to travel.

After our ride, I gave her a real bath. I scrubbed her mane with tons of purple shampoo and it came out very white and shiny. Look at this glorious mane!


It's 22 inches long. It's just unbelievable. She has the kind of hair that you only see on Other People's Expensive Horses.

Anyway, I do love her, so after I took pics of her mane I let her roll :)

Clean horse becomes dirty from Funder on Vimeo.

The house is looking good. We got really approved by the underwriters, and it passed the well inspection. A couple more inspections, then we hope everything goes ok at the very last minute. I've heard of too many closing days gone terribly awry to be confident about it. Buuuut I think we really might own our own little suburban farm in less than a month :) Now taking suggestions for witty names - although I think DP's Farcical Farm is probably the best name ever.