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.
🙂

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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. 😉

They Don’t Need to Understand

Horse people.
Everyone has an opinion.
Some good. Some…not so much.
Me?
I listen to my horse.

The past 2 years, she’s worn a breakaway halter.
I’m home.
All.
The.
Time.

I’ve seen the images of horses who get caught up wearing a halter.
I’ve heard all the lectures.
Remember…horse people have opinions.
And, some are happy to beat you over the head with ’em.

Really, it’s no different from a horse wearing a fly mask…
Or a grazing muzzle…
Or a blanket 24/7…

But nobody lectures you or sends you shitty pictures of dead horses when you put those things on your horse.
Nope.
Just when you leave a (breakaway) halter on.
Makes me a bit prickly…thorny even…when I get the unsolicited “advice”.

Thankfully, Facebook has a block feature.
Heheh…
My block list is a veritable “who’s who” of the local horse world.
Everyone who has decided to take it upon themselves to “educate” me, for my own good, for my horse’s good.
They’re on that block list.
Because inevitably, what began as “I’m concerned” turned into “you’re a lazy idiot” when I explain why she still wore the breakaway.
Which is hilarious.
I am anything but lazy when it comes to these horses.
This horse.
You know what they say about opinions though…

For the record…

After a few months with the breakaway, the plan was to remove it.
I spent hours and hours and hours going out with a regular halter, practicing catch, love up and release.
It took time, but it was worth it.
Now?
I have exactly ZERO issues catching this horse.

And so, one day, I decided to pull off the breakaway too.
I took it off, gave her the “you’re free” command that let’s her know she can go be herself, and walked out of the pasture.
That was just about a year and a half ago…

She panicked.
She followed me to the gate.
She whinnied.
She tried to come out the gate with me.
When the gate was closed and I walked to the house, she ran to the back fence.
She whinnied again…and again…and again…
She ran that fence line, back and forth, working up a lather, calling the whole time.

It was ugly. And sad. And it broke my heart to see.
It went on for nearly a week.

Her coat got dull.
She wasn’t eating.
She was constantly pacing the fence line.
She was getting ribby.
I did what any sane person would do in an insane position…
I put the damn breakaway back on her.
And then we worked her way back to her healthy, fat as a tick, self.
Because the second I had that crown of leather over her ears, she relaxed…

I have, in all my life, never, ever heard of a horse acting like this.
Ever.
There is no precedent to follow, no training to use, no expert to help.
We were flying blind here, and I had to, simply put, listen to my horse.

Now, roughly a year and a half later, we’ve tried again.
After months (nigh onto years) of catch, love up and release.
I think, I hope, I pray to Epona…
This time, I think it has worked.

Behold!

“What made me tough almost killed me..at least that’s how I remember the story. Over the years I’ve forgotten how it was…”

We started out with her white leather halter going overtop…
Then, I undid the crown of the breakaway and dropped it.
Finally, I pulled the rest of it out and dropped it on the ground…

“But I survived and I won’t walk down the same old road that they all followed
It only leads to a life not meant for me…”

While wearing her white leather, I groomed her, cleaned her feet out, rubbed her down with bug juice…
And then came the moment of truth:

“We’re always running away and we don’t even stop to think about it
The worlds in our hands…
They don’t need to understand”

“We do it our own way, no matter what they try to say about it. We’ve got our own plans…”

“They don’t need to understand…”

And this morning?
A nickered greeting when I came out on the deck, she trotted over for her halter to go on for grooming(and a whole lotta loving ❤ ), and a relaxed, calm demeanor when I removed the halter again.
So far, so good.
She is as normal as she’s ever going to be.
That’s just fine with me.

Our musical inspiration for the day and this post:

Measure

“Intense love does not measure,
It just gives.”
~Mother Teresa

❤ Ruby ❤

Getting Ruby set up for her black background portrait.
She was 100% convinced that this was too hard for her to do, even though it was inside her own shelter.
Here she gets some comfort from her Human…breathing in his scent for as long as she needed so she had the confidence to do hard things. 😉

An example of the finished portrait…

Friday’s Hunt on Sunday

First…thank you to everyone for their kind words and messages after last week’s post. Your love and support is appreciated and cherished.
October can be a tough month ’round here and it caught up with me. I have always prided myself on writing what’s real here on the Farm. Sometimes real is ugly and hard and emotional.

This week I have a better outlook, and some photographic evidence of how truly Blessed I am…

Prompts this week are Starts with S, Week’s Favourite and Amazing.

Starts with s this week is Sable at sunrise:

Breakfast at sunrise...

Breakfast at sunrise…

Our temperatures have been bouncing all over the place, with some gorgeous warmth lately. That means, though, that our normal hay feeding stations are mud pits. And that’s just not good for anyone’s feet. So, I’ve been walking the hay out to different non-muddy spots and leaving piles for them to enjoy.
They’re on 1/2 hay rations, because they still have some pasture to eat. This way, they clean up all the hay, wander about, and nibble the pasture bits. We started out on full hay rations, and they were tossing it about and wasting it. We dropped the amounts until everything was being cleaned up, and body weights were not affected. Turns out, that was 1/2 rations. 🙂

Another sunrise photo...Sable and her best pal, Astrid.

Another sunrise photo…Sable and her best pal, Astrid.

This week’s favourite is Erik the Viking…

erik-the-joker

He looks like The Joker, with his bloody face.

Last weekend we butchered the last 2 piggies. Going hand in hand with us getting our meat for winter, is a feast for the cats. Here Erik had just finished gorging himself in that bucket…that bucket held livers, hearts, fat scraps, and anything else that we humans weren’t going to eat. After the cats had their way with it, what was left was chopped and bagged to be frozen for winter feeding.

Finally, amazing.
This one…

Rocking the mohawk

Rocking the mohawk

She used to have a long mane, but keeps pulling it out on the fencing. I’ve given up on her having a long mane again…so I pulled out the scissors, and cleaned up her.
The amazing part is that she stood like a rock.
Last time I tried to give her a trim, she lost her shit a bit.
Scissors are scary and could kill a horse, y’know.
Not this time. She dropped her head and stood for me to clean up that raggedy mane up and trim her bridle path. I left the bit of mane long at her withers, just in case I get a stupid urge to climb up on her…gotta have a hand hold, right? 😉
It was wonderful to have her completely relaxed for something that she had previously freaked out about.
It’s really amazing how far she’s come.

Sharing with Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.

Ooooh!! Look at the Pretty!!

A few weeks ago, I started cutting some of our grass with grass scissors so that I could dry it for small bales of hay.
Yes, I am crazy.
Certifiably so. 😛
Thing is, our yard site is huge, and the grass needs cutting. My hayburners need hay for winter. So, my brain says, cut and cure what I can, put it up for those odd times.
Y’know what I mean…Like when you first start to feed hay in the fall…the horses aren’t quite getting enough from the pasture, but, they don’t want hay 24/7, and the Hay Guy can’t get me a load right away because *he’s* still cutting and baling…and in the spring, when hay eating tapers off and the nibbling of the newly growing grasses begins. Those times when I’m not sure opening an 800lb bale is worth the potential for waste.

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here on the blog that I was looking into purchasing a scythe. Well, I kept looking, because I didn’t want to hand out the money for a new one. I was hoping to find something cheap on the local buy/sell/trade sites.

What I ended up with was something so much better…first, let me show you:

Hubby with the Pretty. :)

Hubby with the Pretty. 🙂

Yep, a scythe. But where did it come from?
I mentioned on my personal FB page what I was doing with the grass and scissors. I had a lot of friends offer ideas where to buy a scythe…many of them I already knew of, but, like I said, I didn’t want to put a lot of money into one. Not if I could find one the someone had in a barn that they weren’t using.

As it turns out, a FB friend had exactly that…and he messaged me with the generous offer to give it to me. Oh, I was happy to accept! 😀
It took a little bit of finangling to get it from him to me…our Hoof Trimmer was involved, there was a barrel racing fundraiser, and, I finally, after being FB friends for a couple of years, got to meet him in person. lol
In the end though, the scythe came home to the Farm.

This past Saturday, my brother came out to sharpen it for me…because he’s the expert in sharpening things.
If I needed it welded, or hammered while red hot, then Hubby could do that. But, he’s not 100% on his sharpening skills yet. 😉
Of course, while sharpening happened, so did photos…

Clamping the scythe down for safety...

Clamping the scythe down for safety…

Wire brushing the rust off...

Wire brushing the rust off…

Wire brushing the other side of the blade...

Wire brushing the other side of the blade…

Cutting the new edge...

Cutting the new edge…

Oooooh...sparky!

Oooooh…sparky!

Other side gets sharpened too...

Other side gets sharpened too…

Testing the edge...

Testing the edge…

Yup, it works!

Yup, it works! (Love Felix in the background watching!)

And now, all I need are a few good hot dry days, and I can make hay!
Squeeee! 😀