K is for Kicking Up Your Heels

I’ve mentioned before, Astrid really wants the lead mare spot. It shows during the times of silly horse play…sometimes she’s playing, and then, she gets serious in her attempts to over throw Queen Ruby.

This series started out as the Girls having fun, kicking up their heels with a weather change that brought sunshine and a warm wind after a cold snap…then it turned to, well, just watch Astrid’s facial expressions, compared to Ruby’s. 😉

Started out like this...after a helathy canter from the back of the pasture to out front.

Started out like this…after a healthy canter from the back of the pasture to out front.

Since it was warming up, every one had some ice down their spines…right in that divet we affectionately call their “starvation pudge”. 😛 A roll helps scrub that ice off, and scratch the itches Mama misses.

Popping up from a roll, and ready to go!

Popping up from a roll, and ready to go!

Ruby’s just enjoying the weather, playing…Astrid’s like “Ima kick her butt!” I love seeing Ruby in the air like that. We make fun of her for being our “Fat Girl”, but Girl can move!

Ruby still hasn't figured out that Astrid's a little more serious about the game...

Ruby still hasn’t figured out that Astrid’s a little more serious about the game…

Ahh, now that she's turned around, she's figured it out...

Ahh, now that she’s turned around, she’s figured it out…

Astrid: "UhOh!! I'm in for it!"

Astrid: “Uh Oh!! I’m in for it!”

"Little help, here, Mom?!?"

“Little help, here, Mom?!?”

Of course, I’m not offering any help. I’m too busy taking pictures and laughing…and if you look at Ruby, she looks like she’s amused too.

"Help meeeeee!!!"

“Help meeeeee!!!”

Hahahaha!!
Nope.
I figure if Astrid really wants to challenge Ruby, she best be prepared to take her lumps. Ruby, however, is totally unconcerned here. She knows she’s the Queen.

But, just in case Astrid forgets, all it takes is Queen Ruby to walk up, and off goes  Astrid.

But, just in case Astrid forgets, all it takes is Queen Ruby to walk up, and off goes Astrid.

K is for Kick Up Your Heels.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday.

Frost on the Farm

We woke up to fog and some interesting frost formations yesterday.

On the bbq

On the bbq

Close up of the bbq handle

Close up of the bbq handle

The garden stake

The garden stake

frost3

frost5

frost4

Hay bale

Hay bale

Fence post

Fence post

Frost needls that had fallen off the powerlines above

Frost needles that had fallen off the power lines above

Honeycrisp apple tree

Honeycrisp apple tree

Honeycrisp apple tree

Honeycrisp apple tree

Cookie's mane

Cookie’s mane

Also Cookie's mane

Also Cookie’s mane

Sharing with Crafty Spices, Create With Joy and Blog Paws for Wordless Wednesday.

SHS~January 25th

What a week! We had some fantastic weather, snow melted, I picked mud…MUD!!!…out of hooves, groomed muddy horses, and now we’re back to below freezing. It’s been an interesting one, that’s for sure. Thankfully, the warmth made it so all I needed to do was a quick pile picking in the shelter, instead of a full clean out. Yay! No one wants to be inside when the weather is warm, and the sun is shining. My Girls sure enjoyed sunning their bums!

The prompts this week are Relax, In my Cup, Light, Looking Down, and Weather.

Relax

Horses yawn for a myriad of reasons…stress, discomfort, relaxation…just like us humans. I have a pretty good handle on my Girls moods, and I know what’s going on with them when I see yawns. These yawns were definitely because they were relaxed…

Right after a grooming session.

Right after a grooming session.

Ruby is a tramp when it comes to grooming. Brazen hussy. Brush whore. We have learned that grooming gets what you want from Ruby before food. Yup, Girl does love a good brushing.

In fact, right before this yawn series, Kid had her front hooves in hand. No panic, no “gimme my foot back!!”, no side stepping…just “Oh, you want that? Okay.” 🙂

Clearly, the trick is to get her to relax with a good grooming, then ask for feet.

There's my relaxed Girl. <3

There’s my relaxed Girl. ❤

This one ^^^^ just did something scary, and learned that it wasn’t so bad. Hubby hooked up the lead rope, walked her away from me, then showed her the German WW2 helmet, while I took pictures. She was on edge, not knowing where Mama was (she is a huge Mama-suck! That’s okay. I love that her and I have bonded so well. I just plain love her. 🙂 ), and it was tough for her to trust Daddy.

But she did it, and he rewarded her with a few pellets, which made her relax almost instantly, and brought on the yawns. I am very proud of her!

In My Cup

Coffee, in one of my favorite cups.

Coffee, in one of my favorite cups.

Light

I love this shot of my Girl…

Cookie

Cookie

I found it to be washed out though…we had some sunlight peeking through the clouds, and between the fence and snow, it just washed out. So I played with the colors, contrast, and lightness until the shot looked like this… My Love color adjusted scaledI am much happier with this version…Oh, but then, I desaturated, to get a black and white image… My Love color adjusted scaled bwAs far as I’m concerned, this one is perfect. Stripped out the color, bumped the lightness up and there we go…beautiful.

Of course, when it comes to Her, I am biased. I admit it.

Looking Down

We tried to get Daphne to wear the German helmet…German Shepherd dog wearing a German helmet…yeah, would have been awesome! Daphne, however, does not understand Mama’s need to make her wear stuff, and refuses to do it.

So, we tried sitting her next to it. She spent a good 10 minutes looking down at it and sniffing, sniffing, sniffing…

"This smells so interesting!"

“This smells so interesting!”

Once the sniffing was done, Hubby caught her attention, I hit the button, and kept shooting, until this…

Perfect!

Perfect!

Best shot of the entire day!

Weather

As I said above, we had some lovely weather this week. Well above normal temperatures. We even hit a high of +5c! Of course, that weather brought melting and mud. Oh, and who figured out fast that getting caked in mud means a grooming?!?

Brazen Hussy

Brazen Hussy

Yep, you guessed it. Our Ruby Girl.

Have a look at how well she caked that mud on her bum!

Holy mud, Ruby!

Holy mud, Ruby!

😛 That’s our Ruby.

Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.

J is for Job

Here on the farm I have a few jobs. There is the day-to-day job of being a stay at home wife. I look after the house, The Kid and Hubby. Do dishes, cook, laundry…all the normal stuff.

I also sew. I make moccasins. Saddle pads. Repair clothes. Pants. Just about anything that can be sewn, I can, and do, do. I’ve even done a wedding gown or two in my sewing career. *shudders* As fun as they were, I don’t particularly want to take one on again…it’s a lot of work, for a relatively small amount of pay.

A sample pair of moccasins I did for a customer.

A sample pair of moccasins I did for a customer.

Saddle pad fabrics, waiting to be cut and sewn.

Saddle pad fabrics, waiting to be cut and sewn.

There is a huge interest in camo saddle pads right now. I am more than happy to sew them up and capitalize on that interest! That snow camo in the front is for me though. I want to see how it looks on Cookie. If I don’t like the look of it on her (with Cookie Monster blue binding and straps), then I’ll put it up for sale too.

Another one of my jobs (and this is the one I am actually trained to do) is Goldsmith.
Now, I can work in a traditional setting, doing repairs, making traditional jewelry, but folks, if you’ve learned anything about me reading here, you know full well, I am no traditional anything. 😛 I much prefer to go my own way, which means I have limited clientele.  When I produce a piece of jewelry,  it’s a one of a kind. That suit me just fine. A while back, I showed you what I was doing with hoof clippings, in the Sableine post. Here’s my 2 favorite personal pieces, that are in the same style…

Bear claw, copper, Baltic amber

Bear claw, copper, Baltic amber

African lion claw, 22kt gold and wulfenite

African lion claw, 22kt gold and wulfenite

The bear claw came to me via a friend of a friend. She had gotten it from a hunter who used the carcass to feed his family.

The lion claw is a much sadder story…we had a friend who was doing taxidermy. The hide of the lion was dropped off to him to mount, but it was in too poor of shape to mount, and the person never came back for it. He gifted me the claws that he could salvage, hoping I would use them somehow. I set this one, and I have one more that I have put away, until I get The Call to do something with it. Such a sad end, to be reduced to 2 claws left of what was once a majestic animal.

Another job I have, here on the farm, is I am the official photographer of Midnight Calico Farm. As such, I get to take all sorts of interesting photos (which y’all get to see every time you drop in), and sometimes, I get to design some crazy photo shoots for the horses…for example, I have this on loan for the weekend:

German HelmetThat would be a WW2 German helmet, and I got 4 pretty heads out in the pasture that it will sit on. 🙂

I also get to take pictures like this…

hello birdie!This is why I don’t pull out dead plants in the fall. It’s not really because I’m lazy, it’s because the birds enjoy the seeds in the winter. 😉

As a part of being the Farm Photographer, I have created a line of cards for sale. Images come from the fun photo shoots done here, and money goes into the expansion of pastures, purchase of hay, and of course, pads the vet fund, because with 4 horses, one never, ever knows when an injury will occur. And they will occur. Horses are just like that!

Card backs and photos to attach

Card backs and photos to attach

Cards2

I like to have a removable print, so folks can use as art afterwards.

Cards are a set of 4 for $12. You can buy individuals too, at $3.50 each. In the next week or so, you’ll see a new page on the sidebar, where the information for ordering from us will be.
Or, you can find us on Facebook.

So, there you have it. Those are some of my jobs on the farm. Truth be told though, my biggest job, after feeding every one is this…

A mountain of well-used straw

A mountain of well-used straw

Yep, my main job is as a Manure Removal Expert.
And trust me, I am an expert!

J is for Job.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Aphabe-Thursday.

Cats!

Our little barn cat Mip has taken a liking to Astrid. On Monday she had a grand time loving up on her. Thankfully, I had the camera to get photographic proof. 😉

Mip

Mip

Astrid and Mip1

Astrid and Mip2

Astrid and Mip3

Astrid and Mip4

She even hopped up on Astrid's back...Astrid didn't care.

She even hopped up on Astrid’s back…Astrid didn’t care.

Then Ruby wanted to see what the fuss was about. Mip quite enjoyed being the center of attention. ;)

Then Ruby wanted to see what the fuss was about. Mip quite enjoyed being the center of attention. 😉

Oh, the cuteness!

Oh, the cuteness!

Sharing for Wordless Wednesday at Blog Paws, Create With Joy and Crafty Spices.

SHS January 19th

Another week of Scavenger Hunt Sunday, and late again. Ah well, I’m notorious for being late. If it wasn’t for Hubby, I wouldn’t get any where on time! 😉

Prompts this week are Starts with J, Kindness, Three, To Do, and Shoes.

Starts with J

Joy…joy starts with j.

Oh, Sable...

Oh, Sable…

In the summer, this trough is used for water.

In the winter, we use it as a hay feeder. It helps reduce wastage from them peeing or pooping in the hay, and keeps it contained when there are crazy winds.

Our Sable takes particular joy in standing in the trough. I had hoped this year she wouldn’t. We’ve been keeping the snow pack shoveled out, so that it’s not as easy to step into there, but she managed it anyways. Brat. While it’s cute that she stands there to eat, she still spooks when Ruby or Cookie come up behind her, and I worry about her hurting herself trying to get out in a hurry.

Kindness

kindnessI believe in treating all our animals with kindness, but this Girl ^^^, just a little bit more so…Sable is a very sensitive girl, and, believe it or not, gets hurt feelings easily. It comes with her being at the very bottom of the herd order.

When the hay wagon comes in, the rule is, no one eats until the human says so. We control the food, as herd leaders. So, if we have pushy behaviour, the rude horse gets chased back to a respectful distance. Rarely do we have to do this with Sable, but those times we have had to, she wears a very hurt expression, like she cannot understand why she’s been disciplined.

So, while rude behaviour is never excused, with Sable, once she’s invited back in, we treat her a little bit more gentle, show a little more kindness.

Three

threeThese three manage to eat just fine without standing in the trough. Just Sable feels the need to stand right in the food.

To Do

On the daily to do list, is picking up as many feet as possible. We have 16 hooves out there, and normally I get 12, sometimes 14 picked up…it’s them darn Paints. They are better than they were last year at this time, but they’re still not at the same lifting skill level as Astrid and Sable.

Kid lifting Sable's rear hoof...

Kid lifting Sable’s rear hoof…

I am thankful that we’ve had a week without ice balls. Picking ice balls out of hooves is such a pain, especially with those Paints, but it’s just one of those things a horse owner has to do.

Shoes

Sable's bare hoof.

Sable’s bare hoof.

No shoes on my girls!
Luckily, none of my Girls need them.
I’m not anti-shoes, but I am pro-barefoot. If that makes any sense. 😉

What I mean is, if my Girls can stay barefoot, and be healthy, with no lameness issues, then, that’s the way I want them to be. However, should they, for what ever reason, need shoes, then, that’s what we would do.
At the end of the day, it is, to me, all about the health of the horse, and the very best way for them to have the best quality of life possible.

That hoof, by the way, is at about 12 weeks since her last trim. She’s definitely over due…weather has played a huge part in this, plus a wee bit of bad luck for Hubby.

We had planned a horse shelter expansion, that included a wind break spot specifically for hoof care. Just one week before building, he had an accident at work, and tore the tendons in his foot. That meant postponed building plans until spring…which put us (and our awesome trimmer) back at the mercy of the elements.

We do have a week or so of fairly nice weather coming, so hopefully, we can fit into Michele’s schedule. 🙂

Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.

I is For Idea

Sometimes, I see some thing and think I should try it. Earlier this week I watched a video where a photographer used a glass ball to take pictures through. I have a glass (crystal) ball or two around, and thought, “Hey! I want to try that, what a great idea!”

It took a little wrangling to do, because I was on my own, with 4 horses trying to help me. Lots of shots, but only 4 that were visually interesting…

I kinda like this one, but I was ruched in setting it up, so the stand for the ball is tilted...

I kinda like this one, but I was rushed in setting it up, so the stand for the ball is tilted…

Ruby and Astrid were on their way, and I didn’t want them knocking the ball and stand off the fence post.

I love the image inside the ball, but find the overall image unsatisfying...

I love the image inside the ball, but find the overall image unsatisfying…

Again, Ruby was on her way, and I was shooting fast!

Better!

Better!

This one is much better, but still not 100% satisfied with it.

This one is the best of the bunch!

This one is the best of the bunch!

Of all the crystal ball shots I did today, this one is the most satisfying to me. It’s interesting, and I think the idea worked well. I definitely want to try this again, but with a couple of helpers to assist with the equine helpers. 😉

I is for idea and interesting.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock for Alphabe-Thursday.

First Scavenger Hunt Sunday of the Year

Prompts this week are New, Red, Breakfast, Simple, and Circle.

New

Jollyball!

New jollyball!

Girls are unsure of this thing yet…it might kill them, but it smells good(peppermint), but it might kill them. 😉
On New Year’s Day, I ordered them a new blueberry scented one…we’ll see what happens with 2 of them in the pasture.

Red

Ruby Girl

Ruby Girl

Ruby Girl’s halter isn’t as red as it once was. She’s hard on halters, that girl is.

Breakfast

Horse breakfast.

Horse breakfast.

That would be 50ish lbs of hay. They get that morning and night. If it’s cold, they get extra. If we find that 50 lbs isn’t lasting until the next feeding, they get extra. Breakfast though, is almost always the 50lbs…they spend more time during the day pawing and dozing, where at night, it’s colder and they tend to eat more.

Simple

I didn’t think finding a photo for simple would be so hard! I finally settled on this:

My breakfast.

My breakfast.

A simple cheese pizza. Home made, of course.

Circle

Hoofprint

Hoof print

This would be Sable’s. It is quite large, and she has the biggest hooves in our pasture.

Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.

H is for Horses

Last night at haying time, Cookie decided to be a turd. Herd dynamics are unstable right now, as Astrid is pushing to take over lead mare, and Ruby is pushing back, because she loves being the boss, which makes Cookie just plain grumpy. She tried to take that grumpiness out on Sable once the hay was down.

Now, for the most part, as long as everyone eats, and no one gets hurt, I don’t care what posturing and grumpy mare things they do. It’s just them being horses. What I care about is when these things happen when the humans are in the line of fire. Then it crosses over into disrespecting the real Lead Mare…me(and by extension, The Kid). And I ain’t puttin’ up with it!

Last night, once hay was down, and before Kid got out of the mix, Cookie tried to take a round out of Sable. Well, the answer is always to make the feet move on the shit disturber. So, Cookie had to move her feet…and the chase was on!

I had just gotten the wheelbarrow out, had Daphne running loose with me, and Cookie goes zooming by, with The Kid behind her…’round and ’round the pasture they go, every now and then, Cookie slowing, stopping, and The Kid asking if she’s ready to behave. Instead of turning to join up, she’d turn her butt to The Kid….which is blatant disrespect from a horse. Every time, it earned her a frozen horse turd to the butt, and off they went again.

I wish I would have had a chance to grab my camera, because  this included some full-out galloping by Cookie, and damn, she is one beautiful horse in motion!!
*sigh*
But, no, I had to hold Ms Daphne’s collar, because to her, this seemed like some grand game of chase, and oh, how she wanted to play! She’s a herding breed, and this game? Right up her little puppy alley!
As much as I’d like to let her go and play too, I know full well, Cookie will kick and stomp her to death. No joke, Cookie is not a fan of dogs. If Daphne is right next to me, she’s safe, but running loose around Cookie? Not so much. Therefore, I avoid having Daphne run loose around her as much as possible.

Oh, but the puppy excitement! I had a hold of her collar, because the gruff “down!” wasn’t working any more. Her herding instincts were starting to take over, and she was having a hard time focusing on my commands. Once I had her collar though, even though she was whining and crying to join the chase, she didn’t pull or squirm. At one point she had her front paws on my arm, and just kept looking at me and yipping, begging to be let go to join the chase. Her excitement was palpable, and it egged Cookie on.

Finally, on one of her gallops past, she bounced to a stop, and turned to come in to me…well, the join up was what Kid was after, but with her, not me. When The Kid got close she turned butt to Kid. I told Cookie that she had to be respectful of The Kid too, that turning to me wasn’t going to work. She had to afford The Kid the same respect she gives me. She gave me a snort and a sigh, made like she was going to run off again, then finally turned and offered, rather grudgingly, to join up with The Kid.
Finally!!
From there, The Kid and her have a moment, and then The Kid releases her to re-join the group to eat. From that second, I know it’s safe to let Daphne go, the excitement has dispelled, and I sent her out of the pasture with her big Kong chewy toy.

As I walked towards the gate, past my Girl, she sighed. I rubbed her shoulder, and told her if she’d hadn’t been so stubborn, The Kid would have let her back to the food sooner, and she wouldn’t have had to move her feet so much. In answer to that, she snorted,  twitched her tail, and walked off to join the others at the feeder.
Silly bum, she has to remember, even being my Love Pony, she has to be respectful of all humans, not just me. 🙂

H is for horses, hay, herding dogs, and herd dynamics.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday.