Blizzard Day 2

Remember how I said we’d need a bit of snow yet to cover the ground?
Well, we’ve got it now. And more is blowing in.
This is day 2 of it. Supposed to ease up on us late tonight and into tomorrow. Then the real clean up begins.
So many highways are closed or not safe to drive.
The Kid has been home for 2 days because of school closures and Hubby, well, I texted him to come home early yesterday when I was hearing rumours that the highways home might get closed.😦

The horses are safe. We’re feeding them every 2 hours. They’re gobbling the hay to keep their internal furnaces running.
They’ve had their daily beet pulp, plus an extra serving…everyone except Cookie got a little grain (grain is not her friend this
year…😦 ), plus some loose salt.
This is prime weather for dehydration.
Dehydration leads to colic.
Colic in a blizzard is a nightmare.
Salt makes ’em thirsty so they drink.

I’ve dug out the auto waterer so many times…I’ve lost count. But, digging it out compared to hauling water? No brainer!
The auto waterer is also heated to a comfortable to drink temperature, so once the salt kicks in, they are happy to drink.
I’m happy they drink.
We’re as happy as we can be in this weather.

Hennys are shut in the coop.
They have no interest in coming out.
They have food, water, their fermented grains…
I gave them some chopped lettuce and old pumpkin puree from the freezer. Things to keep them from getting too bored.
They’re used to being outside now, so a long time shut in makes for cranky hens.
I’m looking forward to the first time they come out after this.
LOL!
There’s snow drifts hip high on me.
I’ll have to take the camera out to capture their reactions to the new environment.

Cats are getting high fat noms too. All those pig scraps I saved for them are being minced and added to their meals. They have their house on the deck, stuffed with clean fresh straw, and that’s where the 7 of them have been. They come out to eat, play a bit, and back to snuggle. Everyone is good.πŸ™‚

Daphne, the giant frickin’ weirdo, loves this weather.
Wind blowing snow and hay bits, drifts over her head to blast through, and some crusted drifts to run on…yep, my dog from Nunavut is in her glory! Freak.❀

And me?
I have coffee for the day time, wine for the evenings, my Hubby and Kid are home safe and sound (maybe a wee bit bored, but that’s okay), the animals are all good, and I have photos to edit from a wonderful shoot last Saturday.
I may be snowed in, facing days of shoveling when it’s all said and done, but I’m good.
It’s just another day in the life of this Farm girl.
❀

Quiet?

I went out today to take some pictures to try to illustrate what “quiet” looks like here…it’s wonderful those odd times it happens.
Oh, it’s quieter here than any city.
No sirens, no screaming or yelling, no hoards of people…
And yet, quiet can be hard to come by.

So, instead of “quiet”, let me show you some of the things in my farm yard that just plain make me smile…

First, Astrid and Ruby exchanging breath…

Awww...they are so adorable.

Awww…they are so adorable.❀

Daphne had the zoomies...

Daphne had the zoomies…

I nearly died laughing at these 2. It’s taken Ghost a long time to realize that when Daphne rushes and barks at him, she’s not trying to kill him. She really just wants to play.
Finally, Ghost figured this out, and now Daphne zooms around him at top speed, barking, and he leaps and tries to grab her…

ghost-and-daphne2While taking these, I was laughing so hard, I ended up sitting on the driveway to take the pictures. That, of course, led other cats to think I was there for them to sit on.
No such thing as anti-social cats ’round here!πŸ˜‰

And then, because people keep asking me “Wolfie, how come you have so many outdoor cats?”…

Isn't Bella looking super fab??

Isn’t Bella looking super fab??

Obviously the pasture has a rare Cat Tree growing in it, and we’ve reaped the bounty from said tree.

Monday Morning Roundup

It’s a wet and snowy Monday morning here…I’d show you pictures, but it’s a wet and snowy morning. LOL
I really dislike taking my camera out in wet, drippy weather, and well, to be honest, right now I don’t want to take myself out in wet drippy weather.πŸ˜›

The day started early, right around 3:30am, when Hubby woke me to tell me it was raining. Oh joy.
Thankfully, yesterday Hubby got the bale extension made on the horse shelter, and I got a good amount of straw tossed in, so the horses should be fine…and then I remembered that we fork feed hay. And so, out I went to check on the feeders…there I found out dear sweet Sable shivering.
*sigh*
+1*c, rain and wind means my Big Girl gets cold…and so, back to the house to toss her towels into the dryer, and then load the hay wagon with some extra hay. Got her food down, ran up for her towels, rubbed her down and refluffed her coat, and she was good. I so❀ that sigh of relief she heaves when she feels the heat of the first towel. It’s like she knows, Mama’s going to make it better.πŸ™‚

Everyone else was fine. In fact, they didn’t even come out of the shelter. I filled the trough with hay too though, just in case they emerged as I left. I didn’t want anyone pushing Bella out of her food. As much as she loves her warm towel treatment, the best way to stoke the furnace and keep a horse warm is to feed them…

This wet November has made us very happy to be bringing our hay home a month’s worth at a time. Normally, we’d get our delivery of the entire winter’s hay at once, and we’d have it all on the yard. Well, we don’t have a shed to store it, and tarps work to a certain extent, but still wet, windy and miserable means wet hay…and that leads to moldy hay.😦 Moldy hay is garbage hay.
Thankfully, our Hay Guy has been okay with us leaving the bulk of our hay in his shed. Also, thankfully, our Hay Guy is very trustworthy, and as long as he knows what we need (I try to let him know through the summer, to be sure he has for us) it’ll stay there until we either come get it, have it delivered or tell him we don’t need it…

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again…

A reliable hay source is invaluable. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your winter hay to feed your animals, and it gets sold out from under you…or you discover its moldy or full of foxtail when you get it.
I don’t have to worry about that with our Hay Guy, and I am so very grateful for that!

Yesterday was a frosty day from the get go. Frost I’m willing to take the camera out in, so I did manage a couple of pictures to share:

My personal rainbow.

My personal rainbow.❀

It’s a lovely rainbow indeed!
With Cookie being the closest to me, it looks like Astrid is taller than her, but she’s not. Close though! Cookie still has at least an inch on her…Astrid is our smallest Girl. I haven’t checked their heights/weights lately. I really should. It takes the 3 of us to do Cookie, because the measuring tape around her girth is terrifying to her. Mostly because she doesn’t understand it. But, with slow and steady movements, and a lot of my breathing in her nostrils, we can get it done.πŸ˜‰

As you can see, Sable is our biggest Girl. I still find it fascinating that our biggest horse is also our most timid and gentlest horse.

Cookie's fancy frosted tips...

Cookie’s fancy frosted tips…

Frost on a black coat is pretty darn amazing looking. Same with snowflakes. This winter, I’m going to practice my macro snowflake shots.I managed a few decent ones last spring, but I want to try again. It’s not easy taking shots of teeny tiny things on the fluffy coat of a living, breathing animal.
We’ll see what I can do.

Surprisingly, the wet and snowy morning hasn’t deterred the hennys from coming out into their yard. I figure that’s a pretty good barometer for what the day’s going to be like…a little miserable, but all in all, not too bad. When we’re facing a really awful weather day, the hennys don’t bother coming out of the coop. I open up the little door, they peek out and run to the other side of the coop. When that happens, you know, the weather is going to suck. lol

Speaking of sucking…I have my henny food bin sitting in the bathtub, dripping off snow/ice right now. I forgot to mix up the next batch of their food yesterday, and so I have to do it today. I’m NOT doing that outside, so I had to bring the bin (which is one of those huge plastic garbage cans) into the house.
*sigh*
That’ll teach me to get it done right away.
(Alas, no, it won’t. Not when the feeders were full and I knew they’d be okay until this evening.πŸ˜‰ )

And so, I am now off to outrun the T-rex that is Monday…wish me luck. I just may need it.

I found it on FB, laughed my butt off, and then realized, this is my life. LOL!!

I found it on FB, laughed my butt off, and then realized, this is my life. LOL!!

Saturday Morning Musings from My Deck

I love to have my morning coffee outside. Even when it’s chilly.
This morning was no different…
I let the hennys out, gave them their fermented grains, refreshed their water, topped up their feeders and then went and threw hay down for the horses.
While my (fresh) coffee brewed, I put together the outdoor cats’ morning hot breakfast (which consists of any left overs we might have that I know won’t get eaten, a few scrambled eggs, some ground flax and hot milk) and then braved my chair on the deck to watch everyone enjoy their mornings.

We haven’t had any measurable snow yet…that’s not a bad thing, but I find myself hoping that some will come. We’ve had a good wet fall, which, while bad for hooves (can you say slimy mud? So hard to keep feet clean) is good for spring. That moisture gets trapped into the land when we have a good freeze and releases in time for spring growth. As someone who relies on pasture grass for feeding the horses all summer, this is important.
As is a nice blanket of snow that jump starts the moisture for growth process before the frost comes out of the ground.
It’s really amazing how closely you start to listen to the land when grass is so much more than something to cut to make your lawn look nice. lol Around here, good grass and good growth are precious commodities!

So, while I sat and watched my Girls eat, and my lap warmer snuggled in…oh! Wait, I haven’t told y’all about my latest lap warmer!!

This guy:

ghost(Picture is from last winter)

Ghost has come around big time this summer, and has decided when it’s just he and I, lap sitting is a good thing. He snuggles and purrs and just enjoys pets. Pretty good for my scary feral tom cat.πŸ˜‰
Hubby says “Oh big surprise, an animal has decided they love the Food Lady!”
Hahahaha!!
Yeah, they all come around, sooner or later…and he really is the sweetest boy ever.❀

Anyways, coffee, Girls eating, lap sitting Ghost…
And I start thinking about how I’m going to keep my Old Ladies healthy this winter.
See, my herd is split down the middle…The Walking Stomachs (Ruby and Astrid…can’t find ribs on ’em to save your life!!) and my Old Ladies (Sable and Cookie…who are doing pretty good so far, but are a little harder to keep weight on this year.)
I tell ya, since Cookie had that big colic incident this past summer, she hasn’t been the same. And, in all honesty, it’s scares the crap out of me. She’s only 11…that’s young for a horse. She should have another good 15 years (or more) to her life…but the Girl has been far more sensitive to feed, temperature, change, you name it, since the colic.
And winter is *always* hard on Sable…
So, I’m monitoring my Old Ladies closely…

What worries me is the Walking Stomachs have been forcing the Old Ladies out of hay piles.
Normally, I have 2 feeders. That has worked well, because Paints went to one, Sable and Astrid went to the other one, and everyone did just fine. This year, I’m seeing Ruby forcing Cookie out of the one they would share, and Astrid forcing Sable out…and then, the two don’t let them into *either* pile.
*sigh*
So a 3rd pile it is, and then everyone seems to be getting.
So far, so good.
I hope it lasts.

All this leads me down the thought path of what a huge responsibility we’ve taken onΒ  here…so many lives on the Farm depend on us to make sure they’re healthy and can weather the coming winter.

4 horses
7 outdoor cats
4 indoor cats
1 dog
19 hennys

That’s a lot of animals that rely on us humans to not fuck it up.
But, no pressure, right?
lol!

The impending cold also leads to dream of the garden next year…how to get it ready, so that I don’t have a repeat of this year is the big thing. We have a lovely hill of composted horse poo that is slowly working its way over to the garden area. It’s so nicely cooked, you’d never know it came out of a horse’s bum. Haha!

And then, what to grow!
I have a list of squashes and pumpkins, beans and tomatoes, corn, lettuces, spinach, onions, garlic, peppers, carrots…so much to grow and hopefully fill the shelves with for next year’s cold season.

Ah well, whatever happens will happen…and we’ll take it as it comes. As always.

Cookie Made a Friend Yesterday

I showed y’all what I had to do to Cookie’s mane:

Rocking the mohawk

Rocking the mohawk

This is because she is horrible for sticking her head out the fence to eat on the other side…and on 3 sides of the pasture we have barbed wire. Please don’t tell me how dangerous barbed wire is for horses…these Girls have been just fine for the past 3 years, and Sable is a complete Bubble Wrap Horse.

Now, Cookie will stick her head through the fence any time. The pasture can be up to their knees in green grass, and she’ll *still* eat through the fence.
It’s one her quirks.
It’s why she rocks the mohawk.

Yesterday, she decided to stick her big fat head out through the gate on the west side of the pasture. It’s a shitty gate, constructed from what looks like old bed frames by the previous owner. We haven’t gotten around to replacing it, because, for the most part, the horses are very respectful of gates and fences.
Well, aside from Ms Quirky-Ass Pants.πŸ˜‰

So, as always when I catch her sticking her head through the fence, I opened the window and yelled at her…which mighta went something like this:
“You get your fat f**king head out of that gate or Ima come out there and kick your fuzzy f**king ass all the way to your fuzzy f**king ears you stupid Cow!”
Yup, that reads about right. LOL

As I was yelling, I missed the car that went by.
I didn’t, however, miss it when the driver slammed on the brakes, backed up and pulled into my driveway.
Oh boy.
Boots and jacket on, and out I go to see what’s up.
The woman pops her head out the driver’s side window and asks if everything is okay…she’d heard me yelling, and was concerned that I might need help. Truthfully, I think she was concerned the horses might need help and was trying to phrase things carefully.
Never know what you’ll get with crazy country folks, right?πŸ˜‰

With a smile, I told her that all was good, just the black horse is a jerk who won’t keep her fat head inside the fence. She also loves to provoke me to yell at her when she does it…if you’ve been here when she does it, you’ve seen that self-satisfied smugness she displays when Mama yells at her. She’s a jerk, but she’s my jerk.❀
And then I asked the woman if she’d like to meet the horses…which brought a smile to her face, and she was out of her car lickety split!
Yesterday being Gotcha Day, I had a few nummies in my pockets (and my Girls are shameless treat whores) so it was easy to coax the walking bellies over to visit.
Cookie found this new person fascinating (that she held the candy cane cookie I gave her helped) and the woman was seriously enjoying the equine attention.

I found myself explaining why I was yelling at Cookie, why the mane-do, and the fact that the horse, no matter what she might tell you, is not starving. She’ll play it up…”Oh, my Mama never feeds me, could I please have one more cookie because I am so very hungry and I have no food!”…but the layer of fat over her ribs and ass tells a very different story. lol
Which I showed the woman…I let her run her hands all over Cookie (who was drinking up this attention like a tramp…amazing!) and feel the fat deposits in places that tell an owner that she’s just fine weight wise. In fact, considering her recent showing of back and pelvic pain as the weather cools off, she’s a bit overweight. She could stand to lose a few pounds to make her joints feel better. But don’t tell her that. No woman wants to be told she’s fat.

About twenty minutes later the woman thanks me for my time, and says she has to get off to work. I thanked her for checking in on us…I appreciated that she was brave enough to stop when she felt concern. Most people wouldn’t.
She blushed when she admitted she had her cell ready to call 911, just in case.
With a laugh I told her that was a good plan. Humans are far too unpredictable.
I then told her that if she had a free afternoon, and wanted to visit again, drop in. I’m always here and I’ll even make coffee…and I’ll give her some brushes to groom the horses.
LOL!
I’ll take free labour to spiffy up the Girls any day!

Fatty fatty 2x4 Couldn't fit through the big barn door!

Fatty fatty 2×4
Couldn’t fit through the big barn door!

And Cookie will likely be happy to tell her sad stories of woe and hunger.
Miserable nag.πŸ˜‰