Fluff

Winter coats are blooming.
The Girls are lush, plush ponies.
I call them my Velveteen Ponies.

I love to run my fingers through that soft fluff of her coat.

Sable is in such great condition this year.
This is the first winter with us that she’s fluffy and soft and hasn’t lost any body condition. She’s still round and plump, with a soft fluffy coat over.
I’m hoping this bodes well for a gentle on us all winter…but with enough moisture to balance out our dryer than normal summer.

Actual fluff…

I thought it was dandelion fluff.
A friend on Facebook pointed out it was tree fluff…yup, with the poplars around us, I should have realized…tree fluff, not dandy fluff.
🙂

 

Day After the Storm

The day after a storm always reminds me how amazing life out here is.
We’ve just come through the first snow storm of the season.
This one was a little tougher than the last few years because I have an injured mare and an arthritic mare…and in stretching my injured Girl, I tweaked my back.

*sigh*

Old age is setting in.
But, even as sore as I was last night, it didn’t stop me from doing my nightly checks, making sure Astrid was snug in the shelter with her herdmates, making sure my Cookie wasn’t laying somewhere out in the storm because laying eases the aches, making sure Bella was comfy too…Ruby is my Super Horse right now and I slipped her a few mints last night and thanked her for being so.
I worry about them all in a storm, but, having 1 that I know I can put a hay pile in front of and she’ll be fine made things just wee bit less stressful.

Poultry and pigs fared just fine through the first snow of the season. I broke open a bale of straw to line the pig hut, and both the poultry coops.
Even though the pigs will be going to Freezer Camp in the coming month, they still deserve to be comfortable.
And, oh how they loved having new straw down!!
Once they figured out that they could burrow into the fluffy straw there were oinks and grunts of glee. LOL!!
It really was fun hearing them enjoy their newly bedded home.
Almost made me consider attempting wintering a pair…but not this year.
Maybe next year…

Chickens are always delighted with straw, whether it’s new bedding, or an old lump of buggy, moldy straw. It’s exciting and fun to play in, and new bedding in the coop *must* be rearranged to chicken specifications. I just don’t decorate properly, according to them. 😉

Ducks were torn between being happy and offended at my throwing straw into their house. Jazzy was hissing at me, while Rain kept trying to chew my pant leg. Finally, when I was done, I chased Rain into the shelter and he realized how nice fluffy, dry straw can be.
When we went to let them out this morning, no ducks came out with hens.
Peeking into the house, I saw 2 ducks snuggled together in deep straw, necks entwined.
Awesome! 🙂

Today my injured mare and my arthritic mare are doing just fine too.
Astrid even gave us a little trot while coming to the feeders.
It was real good to see. ❤
She’s still slower than her normal, but she’s showing great improvements from when she first hurt herself. Now, if only she’ll remember the lesson she learned here…

As for me, today I’m racking my green tomato wine to a carboy, getting ready to start a roasted pumpkin spiced wine and prepping for tomorrow’s final Peeperpocalypse. It’ll be nice to have all the chickens done and in the freezer. And then we start pigs.
Raising, and butchering, your own meat animals is incredibly rewarding.
I know their treatment, care and feed from a very young age (day old with chickens, 3 weeks with pigs) all the way up to the day they die.
It’s also exhausting.
But so very worth it, in the end.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

I don’t have any new pictures to share today, so I’m going to re-use this one…just because it makes me smile…and coming through the first storm of the season is definitely a good reason to smile. 🙂

“Oh, hello there Ladies…would you like some apple slices?”

First Snow of the Year, # 500 and the Anna Blake Clinic

We’re headed hard and fast into crock pot season.
Heh. Who am I kidding…it’s always crock pot season here, unless it’s bbq season. 😉

This morning we’re in the midst of our first snow storm.
Which started out as a rain storm. And, there’s a ton of wind.
Of course there is. Why wouldn’t there be a ton of wind to chill down the wet ponies, right?
*sigh*
I could be wrong, but I don’t think this snow is going to stick with us.
Supposed to be sunny and +5*c on Saturday.
Which is good, because I’ve got 14 more chickens to get into the freezer, and we still have the pigs to do.

But…

The bulk of our winter hay is on the yard.
We’ll probably need another dozen bales come beginning of March, but what’s here will get us through the worst of the cold.
Our straw bales were delivered Tuesday.
We are so lucky…
We have wonderful friends who, for a 3rd year in a row, have given us big straw bales to build the shelter extension for Sable (and the other 3).
I hope they know how much we appreciate it. We say thank you often, but I really do hope they know… ❤
This year, Hubby was able to work out a deal with the fellow giving us the straw and our (mutual) Hay Guy to have the straw delivered.

This.
Was.
Wonderful!!!

Since Hubby has been putting in soooooo much O.T on the weekends (which is why we still have 6 pigs to send to Freezer Camp), our Kid hasn’t been getting the same # of riding lessons in. 😥
And, the last 2 years, when she had lessons, we brought the trailer, and brought home 4 bales at a time.
This year that didn’t work…but an empty trailer after a hay delivery and some awesome folks made getting the straw home possible.
We have a few bottles of rum to distribute this Yule as a thank you!!

#500…

This is the 500th post here.
Yeah, I talk a lot. 😉
But, it’s also been 4 years, so, really, not that much.
LOL!

These guys were back around this week:

Bald eagles

I wasn’t thrilled to see them hanging out in the trees closest to the poultry yard. Neither was the poultry.
All the chickens were hiding in one of the 3 houses, whilst the ducks were defiantly making their presence known…and fluffing themselves up so that they appeared bigger. It was rather interesting to see them putting on their “Ima tough duck!” display.

I went out and shoo’ed the eagles away…flapping a feed sack at them is just startling enough to get them to fly off. Perfect, because there ain’t much else I can do to an eagle, know what I mean?

Then there’s this one…

Little Red

Y’know how I keep saying Astrid is pushing her luck with Cookie?
Luck done run out for Little Red.

See, I keep telling her to quit starting shit. She’s not going to win against that Paint, that Paint is going to clean her clock.
Oh, does Miss Astrid listen?
Naw.
She’s pretty sure she’s 10 feet tall and bullet proof.
Except she ain’t, and she’s feeling it now.

She started shit over 1 of 4 hay piles. Tried to drive Cookie off…Cookie let it go…twice…3rd time? She took a round out of Astrid.
Normally that means a few bites and a kick leveled at her. And, Little A is pretty darn good at avoiding those kicks and bites.
This time she got caught. She tried to deke, and I saw the second she did it, she was going to lose…poor Little Red tweaked her back.
*sigh*
Cookie’s bite connected, there were squeals and snorts, and Astrid slowly moved away.
I got the ice pack and dropped it on her right away, trying to bring the swelling down…and got in contact with the vet.
She’s pulled a muscle.
Rest (as much as is possible without stalls), liniment and gentle stretches.
With daily admonitions from Mama…
“DumbAss. Told you to quit pushing the Black One. Told you, you ain’t gonna win. But did you listen?? Oh, no! Had to learn the hard way. DumbAss.”
*rolls eyes*

And the Anna Blake clinic…

We were late.
So awesome for someone with social anxiety, coming into something late, at a new place, with all new people, and having to catch up.
Wheeee! That was fun.
But, we got there, and it was good.

Did I learn stuff?
Oh, hell yeah.

Did I take pictures?
Um, really? Do you have to ask? 😉
Still working on them, around everything else.

Preview:


Of course I took pictures…what better way for a person with social anxiety to hide, but still soak up as much knowledge as possible? lol

I do wish I had a chance to pick Anna’s brain a little more about Ms Cookie and her halter…we did start a conversation about it, but then it was lunch and things got busy and we didn’t get a chance to finish talking.
I also recognize as an auditor, I don’t get to have as much time (if any) from any clinician. It’s nice when you get it, but the people paying full price tend to (and should) get more time/instruction.

So, was the clinic worth going to?
Oh, yeah. And I still wish that I could have brought Cookie.
Not that we’d have done any of the riding part, because Cookie don’t do that…yet…but the hands on learning with her would have been so valuable.
But, I can only do with Cookie what Cookie is okay with me doing.
Her pace always, not mine. 😉

Now, I’m going for some fresh coffee…
It’s cold and blustery and I still have to check on the pigs and poultry…and check in with the horses again.
Not ready for winter.
Just want to register my protest.
Not that Mother Nature cares.

4 Years

4 years ago our story began…it was the day we first met.
I loved her the second I lay eyes on her photo.
I knew that she and I were meant to be together.
4 years ago…
I told her “I’ll be back for you. I’m bringing you Home.”

Taken the day I met her…

2 months after, she arrived.
She’s Home.
A Midnight Calico Farm lifer.

Sleepy Girl ❤

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The same day, Hubby met his Girl…

Oh, Ruby!

Such a character, his Fat Girl.
Patient, willing, always up for a scratching. 😉
A level-headed, calm Girl…
Perfect to lead our little herd.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s not Gotcha Day.
Nope.
It’s “Damn We Were Lucky to Meet Y’all” Day.
Definitely worth celebrating.
🙂

Believe

Foggy morning in the pasture.

I would say to always follow your dream.
And dream big because my whole career,
including any of the things that I’ve accomplished,
I never thought in a million years that I would be here.
So it just proves that once you believe in yourself,
and you put your mind to something,
you can do it.
~ Simone Biles

Impromptu sunrise photo shoot with BellaPalamina

Elastic

She ain’t as young as she once was.
Maybe not quite so limber either.
But sometimes, even an old Gal can’t resist the pull of scrubbing an itchy spine across the Earth…

Happy pony scratching…

The yogi will tell you
That you will feel and look
As young as your spine
Is elastic.
~ Richard Hittleman

In other news, I am counting the sleeps to 2 weeks from now, when I have the absolute pleasure of auditing an Anna Blake clinic.
To say I am excited and looking forward to this clinic is such an understatement.
Just in reading her blog, I have learned so much from this woman, on how to interact with The Girls…with Cookie.
My only regret is that none of the Girls travel.
I would love, love, love to take Cookie to the clinic for hands on learning.
But, I know my Girl’s limits, and that’s just something she can’t do.
Not yet.

Knowing this, I made contact with the organizer and asked about auditing, because even watching and listening, so much can learned!
Which is why I love those Elaine Potter clinics at West Wind.
Elaine is another one of those amazing, inspirational horsewomen that I have learned tons from…even if she doesn’t know it, seeing as how I’m just a part of the peanut gallery during her lessons. 😉

Anyways, I have been over the moon happy since learning that a. auditing the Anna Blake clinic was not only welcome, but encouraged, and b. the cost was beyond reasonable.
14 sleeps.
Only 14 more sleeps…
So excited to learn everything I can, for the betterment of my Girls.

I am FarmHer

My day starts at 4am.
On a good and lucky day, it’ll end around 8:30pm.
Normally though, it’s closer to midnight, sometimes as late as 2am.
Even on a 2am night, the day starts again at 4am.
There is nothing fashionable about my life.

I have been covered in shit and mud.
I have worn blood more times than I can count.
I’ve been slobbered on, bitten, kicked, stepped on and chased by a crabby sow or two. I’ve also been nuzzled, snuggled and had the sweet breath of a mare blown in my face in greeting.
I’ve had my hands freeze, gloveless, in -35*C weather to prove to a Certain Girl I wasn’t going to hurt her.
I’ve cleaned and treated wounds.
In good weather and bad.
I’ve ended the suffering of those who couldn’t be treated…and yes, I’ve cried over every one of them.

I’ve held a weak kitten in my shirt, close to my skin, and heart, in hopes of revival.
I’ve sat under the cold starry sky soothing piggies scared of the bangers a neighbour put out to keep geese off his field. The same piggies who will fill my freezer for winter.
I’ve had full conversations with a cheeky duck who loves to talk.

I have eaten $0.25/package ramen to make sure any extra money goes into animal feed.
I’ve gone without coffee more than once, when a sick, injured, or just plain sucky animal has needed me.
Some days, whiskey just ain’t strong enough.

And yet…

I chose this life.
It’s hard and messy and sometimes really ugly.
It’s also amazingly beautiful.


I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Those nickers, squeals, chirps and quacks that call for The Food Lady.
Those mares who tuck noses under my arms to be close.
That cheeky duck and his pal, who follow me, peck me and call me.
The chickens, meaties and hennies alike, who crowd around, knowing that I’ll bring them treats over and above the regular noms.
Pigs who scream for left over coffee, garden weeds and waste, and love those scratches on the forehead so much they fall over happy.
Cats who practice the ancient art of “lap sitting” and even that dog, who loves to roll in the stinkiest things and rub up against me…

My heart, my soul, my spirit…
They belong here.
On the Farm.
I am FarmHer.

Reflection

It’s a quiet, grey day here on the Farm.
Skunk season has begun.
This morning I woke to find the current Pepe LePew, that felt residence in the garage after binge eating eggs was a good idea, in the trap.
So, there’s that issue to deal with.

Since Pepe is right at the garage door (maybe I’ll get more eggs today??) I had to feed the horses on the other side of the driveway.
Heh.
Poor silly nags, as I’m moving the wheel barrow, they’re calling “Mom! Mom! Mooooommmm!! We’re over *here*!!”
Nope.
Sorry, not sorry, I ain’t tossing hay whilst standing next to a Fart Squirrel.
And, needless to say, Daphne was tied to the tree stump in the backyard, lest she think that Fart Squirrel is the best playmate ever.
She’s not really the smartest dog on the planet, but she’s got a lotta play in her. 😉

After explaining myself several times, and her herdmates figuring things out, I finally led The Cookie around to the food. She thought I should just open the gates and let her go over…and in theory, this could have worked.
Except, the idea of leaving the pasture makes her defecate explosively.
She’s getting better at it, but it really was just easier to lead her around.
Must say, I’m pretty darn proud of her…no halter, and after the first 3 steps with my hand under her chin to guide her, she simply followed me, as if on the lead. So, good pony. 😉
And, her foot is so much better. Yesterday, after the rains stopped, she got a liniment massage (such as my limited skills can do) to help ease the aching of trying not to walk on the ouchy hoof.

Then, yesterday, I woke to what was playing out in Vegas.
I normally don’t discuss current events here…it’s not that I don’t have opinions. Anyone who knows me even reasonably well, knows I have them. This blog has never been about anything but Farm life, so rarely do I touch on current events.
But this is huge and mind-boggling and soul crushing…and frankly, tragedies like this bring out the worst in people.

I will never understand people whose immediate thoughts after a tragedy like this turn political.
From the hoplophobes to the paranoids…I don’t get it.
I don’t get their bloviating to anyone and everyone their opinions, as if those opinions are the most important thing to be seen and heard.
And the memes…the ridiculous, stupid effing memes.
*shakes head*
Not when families are wondering if their loved one is one of the casualties or one of the dead.
Tragedies should not be fodder for one’s agenda.
And yet…social media yesterday, and today, are full of it.
In the wake of horrible situations, political agendas are inappropriate.
Compassion and aid are what people need right now.
Not some ghoul using innocent bloodshed to fuel their oh-so-very-important argument.

And, I gotta tell ya, when I see some Canadians crowing about how our gun laws here are soooo much better, it makes me ashamed to be Canadian.
I love my country. No doubt about it.
Even with all Her faults, there is no where I would rather live.
Her people??
Some of those fuckers could learn a lesson in what “tact” means.

There will be a time and a place for all of this…the agendas, the political pushes, the fear, the anger, the accusations and placing blame.

Now is not that time.

Not when some families are still waiting, wondering, hoping, praying or grieving.
Those lives lost are not just numbers, they are not tools to use for your agendas…they were real, living beings. Out for an evening of fun and music.
People who had families and friends who love them.
People who had hopes and dreams that will never be fulfilled.

Don’t sully their importance, who they were and what was lost, with bullshit.
Okay??

Today I’ll be spending time with my loved ones…the hoofed ones. 😉
Equine therapy is the order for today.
PonyFace and I are still discussing this blanket thing…and I’m sure another liniment rub will improve her mood.

Be good to each other, people.
We’re a Continent in pain right now.
Try to remember that.
Donate blood, if you can.
Consider a monetary donation to a fund that’s going to help the victims and their families.
And, if you can’t manage to not be a C.U.Next.Tuesday, then seriously, just keep your gob shut, ‘kay?

Blogaversary

Holy Moly folks!
Today is our 4 year blogaversary.
4 years of rambling about this Farm life.
4 years of pictures…we’re just starting to run out of storage space.
Hehe. I may have to spring for a paid account soon. 😉

Here’s a few pictures to celebrate 4 years…

Mr. RainyDay Duck

Such a handsome, cheeky duck.
I’m telling ya, ducks rock!
Chickens are fun, but ducks have way more personality…at least, my 2 do.
That’s why they’re permanent residents. They’ll get girlfriends in the spring, so that we can hopefully have some ducklings to add to our Freezer Camp stores in the Fall.

Mr RainyDay Duck and Sir JazzyHands taking over the chicken coop…

This year’s batch of ex-battery hens have been unpleasant.
They’re mean and nasty bitches.
Even on high quality foods, with lots of greens and straw to play in, the coop treated in case of lice, and ample places to dust bathe, they’re still pecking each other. In too many cases, to death.

So, next year, we’re going with eggie chicks.
And this year’s lot of ex-batts are being disciplined by the ducks.
Sir JazzyHands takes no shit from nasty chickens…he’s not a mean duck at all, but he keeps those egg laying bitches in line. 😉

❤ CoalCat

We have a rule…when kittens were placed in homes, we told folks, if it doesn’t work out, we’ll take them back.
This Coal Cat is a returned kitten, who’s home placement didn’t work out. It’s taken us a few months to reintegrate her into Farm life, and she’s now happily an outdoor hunter cat…who also loves a hella good snuggle with the humans. ❤

“I’m itchin’ my leg, Mama. Don’t take my picture while I’m itchin’ my leg!”
~ Cookie

Poor BabyGirl has had a rough week.
We had some goose hunters out pulling bullshit on the field next to ours, shooting simply to scare the Girls…normally, they don’t care about guns, but when 5 guys shoot before daylight, in the darkness, that scares the bejeebus out of even a well adjust horse.
Once they were wound up, they just couldn’t settle while they jackwangs were shooting. And, of course, they could *see* the Girls running, so even when there were no birds, they shot off rounds just to see them run.
And Conservation was a damn joke to deal with.
😡

The next day, my poor Girl came up lame.
Like 3 legged hobbling lame.
On went the halter, Kid fed her grass while Hubby and I went over that horse with a fine toothed comb.
Turns out she has a stone bruise in her right rear hoof…so epsom salts soaks and a clean hoof were the order for her week. Then, I ran out of epsom salts, so I switched it up to sea salt soaks.
And today, she’s doing much, much better.
Stiff and sore, from compensating for the booboo hoof, but better.
She’s biting Astrid again, so… 😉

And, one of my favorite pics from the last few weeks…

It’s the rainy/damp season, and she gets ouchy.
Some days are worse than others. Some days it’s too hard to get to the beet pulp spot to eat and get her supplements in…some days she’s also a colossal Drama Queen. LOL!
But, because I love her dearly, Hubby is patient with her, even when it’s clear she has her D.Q. crown on.
Here he held her bucket for her while she ate…she was obviously hungry because she had her piggie nose in there before he bent over enough for her to eat comfortably.
What can I say, she’s my special pony, and I love her.

In 4 years of writing this has been my most popular post…
They Don’t Need to Understand

Or, if not my most popular, my most read post.

So here’s to 4 years, and darn near 500 posts.
We’ll probably do something to celebrate 500…maybe a giveaway of a print? Or an Equi~Gem?
We shall see.
I welcome y’all’s input.

Now, can we all chant “4 more years!! 4 more years!!”…because that just makes me giggle. 😉