Garden 2017

Y’all remember how last year my garden, due to circumstances beyond our control, became a giant plot of weeds?
Not that we wasted anything, those weeds fed pigs for the summer, but still, it was hard on the ol’ FarmHer spirit to not have a garden going.
In the fall, with the last cutting of pig feed, we started covering the area with old plywood. Stuff we had lying around, but wasn’t good enough for building with…well we discovered that the soil underneath the wood was lovely. Still a bit of grass and weeds, but nowhere near as bad as last year.
Problem was, we didn’t have enough to cover the whole garden…takes a lot of wood to cover a 24×40 foot garden!

Ahhh…but we are nothing if not adaptable to the situation. πŸ˜‰

The yellow/brown grass is where the wood was…

You can see though, that there is some really good grass growth on the side…*sigh*

So, the space that was covered by wood is about 12 feet wide, and the full 40 foot length of the garden. Even our powerful little tiller was having a rough time with the full grassy area…and so, what we’re going to do is this…

I’m going to plant everything I can in the 12×40 foot space, mulch it heavily with straw, and be happy with a space that is 3 time the size of any garden I had in the city…

Then, while the one side grows, we’re going to use our ever renewing composting manure pile to cover the other side, and then, we have a huge hay tarp we bought…back when I had visions of actually tarping our hay…but that never happened because, seriously, more trouble than it’s worth. You want hard on a marriage?!? Try tarping hay together…I wish I was kidding about that. :/

We’ve had this tarp sitting, and we figured now we’ll put it to good use. It can cover the side that’s too weedy right now, and then, once the growing season is done in the fall, it’s big enough to cover the entire garden.
We’ll start fresh for the entire space next spring. πŸ™‚

See?
Adapt, overcome, move forward.

Tilling my soon to be garden space…

Sable looks on with interest…

As he was tilling, Hubby had to stop periodically to untangle roots from the tines of the tiller…he’d toss them off to the side, and our (definitely not) starving Sable had to try to reach them so she could eat them…

“I am wasting away here, Dad….
I am but a shell of my former gloriousness as a beautiful horse…
Soooooo hungry…
Can I has those roots please??”
~ Sable

While Hubby used the tiller, I put the scythe back to work, and cut the entirety of the rest of the garden, in prep for adding compost and covering.
Like last year, those greens did not go to waste…

The Kid forking green food to piglets…

As usual, when yard work is happening, Daphne ran around like a maniac…nothing this dog does is at low speed. She just runs until she flops down, dog tired.

Having a rest in the long grass…

When we were finally done, and I walked into the house, this is what I found:

Daisy Mae and Odhinn

He’s always complaining about Daisy bothering him…she’s not even 2, he’s an old man at 15. But that doesn’t stop the snuggles when cats need naps. πŸ˜‰

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Cookie and the Stick

Daphne has her stick.
Well, Daphne has many sticks, but this stick:

"I got my stick!!!"

“I got my stick!!!”

This stick is just right.
It’s long and fun to drag around, and sometimes, she can even hit people with it. Horses too…ask Cookie how she felt about getting that to the back of the front leg. You can just imagine…

The other day, during beet pulp feeding, Daphne decided to swing her stick around. I’m not sure what she was trying to do (I don’t think she knows either) but it ended up part way in the pasture, over Cookie’s bucket.
And so, Ms Cookie thought it was for her…

Grabbing the stick and playing tug of war with Daphne.

Grabbing the stick and playing tug of war with Daphne.

I was laughing so hard at the 2 of them, this was the best I could do for pictures. πŸ˜›
Clearly, Daphne won!

In other news…

Check this out!
I had an article published on homestead.org‘s website.
Go check it out, and if you’re on FB, don’t forget to click the “like” button. πŸ™‚
And, feel free to explore too…some pretty interesting, and informational, articles published there.
But, here’s the link to mine:
Adapt, Overcome, Move On

Friday’s Hunt Jan. 28th

It’s been an interesting week.
I thought I had lost my feral tomcat Ghost to coyotes, but he reappeared yesterday. A little thinner, a little worse-for-wear, and in need of some of Mama Wolfie’s TLC…but, he came home, and that’s what matters. ❀

The horses have been braving climbing the snow drifts.
Not because they’re trying to walk out of the pasture (which, scarily enough, in a few places they probably could) but because the weather has them restless and bored.
One upside of this weather is they’re not eating as much hay, so a bale is lasting longer.
Downside is with them getting smaller portions, we’re out more often (even at night) to check and be sure there is enough in the feeders. Meh, who needs sleep, right? πŸ˜‰

Chickens have been enjoying the weather too. Bok bok boking around their yard, chasing Xena who still thinks she’s a chicken even though she’s a cat, and just enjoying some much needed sunshine.
Sadly, we had to cull one henny. 😦
She had prolapsed again…after the first one died from a prolapse, I am no longer a softie about it. 1 treatment. If it happens again, then, we cull. I did have a discussion with the Other Two about calcium amounts…they didn’t realize when feeding that I put as much of the calcium supplement in the food as I did. When the hennys are outside more, it’s easier to offer calcium in a separate feeder, but it’s not as easy in the coop. So, now we’re all on the same page, and everyone seems to be doing well.

Cookie decided that stealing Daphne’s stick was a grand plan…there was even a moment of equine-canine tug of war going on.
Hilarious!!

On to pictures for this week’s prompts for Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills

Starts with D

How about Daphne?

Wild and crazy hound catching snow balls...

Wild and crazy hound catching snow balls…

"I got my stick!!!"

“I got my stick!!!”

Week’s Favorite

Astrid ❀

Climbing the snow drift, completely ignoring me telling her to get off there...

Climbing the snow drift, completely ignoring me telling her to get off there…

I have pictures that I’ll share later on of Ruby climbing that same drift and falling through the top crust…Astrid had to climb it because Ruby did. Toddlers.

Close Up

Helper Palomino just wants to help take pictures.

Helper Palomino just wants to help take pictures.

I was trying to get a sunset shot of her eye. Once again going for calm, ethereal beauty…
That’s so not my world.
LOL!!
Nope, **this** is my world…wide eyed Palomino trying to lick the lens while I’m pushing her muzzle away and laughing.
This image says so much about my world.
❀

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.

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.

6 Days…

When I realized it had been 6 days since my last post, I started singing “6 Days on the Road”…the Sawyer Brown version, just because it’s fun. πŸ˜‰

Let me catch you up on what’s been going on around here…

Mostly it’s been yard work…still cutting and putting up small bales of hay. I’m getting a cute little pile in the garage. Like I’ve said before, it’s not much, but sometimes, all you need is a little bit of hay to keep an equine face busy while you work with them on other things…or you just need a little hay for them to pick at while the grass grows in spring. That’s what this is for.
It’s handy to have small amounts for those times.

This past weekend it was finally dry enough to get our septic system fully repaired. Thank goodness. That was a hefty, but extremely necessary, repair. And, this should last us many many years…especially since we have a fence around the end unit to protect it so that it can’t be hit with a tractor…which is what happened to the one we had fixed *before* we bought the place. The damage was long-standing and near the frost line, so, realistically, we’re lucky we got 2 1/2 years out of it before needing to have the repairs done.

I’ve been working on edit 3 photos sessions that I need to get done.
1. The demos we watched at Cloverdale Forge.
I’ve shared a few from the set, but I still have 20 or so more to finish up.
2. Jousting. From the same day, we went from the Forge over to the Medieval festival and I have 40 or so images from the jousting to finish.
3. A portrait session I did with a friend from the Stable…this one I want to get done so bad, because the images are **gorgeous** and I can’t wait for her to see them…I gave her this as a teaser shot, but really need to sit down and get the rest done…
KB1 bw wm
And then there are the pictures of the animals here!
For example, I have the following series…animals playing in water…

Daphne goes all in savage when playing in the hose!

Daphne goes all in savage when playing in the hose!

Did you know piggies like to play in the stream fro the hose?

Did you know piggies like to play in the stream from the hose?

Nigella has a drink from the hose.

Nigella has a drink from the hose.

Washing her face a bit.

Washing her face a bit.

Rinsing out her mouth...

Rinsing out her mouth…

Just enjoying the cold water on a hot day. :)

Just enjoying the cold water on a hot day. πŸ™‚

And Ruby…

"The Hell, Dad!! Don't spray me!!"

“The Hell, Dad!! Don’t spray me!!”

Oh, I told y’all about piggies and bags?
Here’s Nigella having a munching good time:

"My bag."

“My bag.”

"Whut? Pigs like toys. This my toy."

“Whut? Pigs like toys. This my toy.”

I missed when the 3 of them each grabbed a piece and started shaking their heads side to side like dogs…oh, it was funny! lol

Another picture of Ruby. Just because she’s pretty. πŸ™‚

Ruby Portrait
Finally, one of Sable and Ruby racing.

<3

❀

Later this week, I’ll share some shots The Kid took of Astrid while I was scratching her back. Astrid really gets into the scratches and back rubs, let me tell you!
I’m also hoping to be able to share some Lawn Pony shots with y’all. When we take Cookie on another excursion into the yard, I’m going to get The Kid to photograph it..
Y’see, Ms Cookie had her very first experience coming out into the yard a couple weeks ago. It was really hard for her. Gates are terrifying, and she was sure she was going to have to go somewhere. She didn’t know where, but she was sure she was leaving. *sigh* Poor damaged horse. lol
When she finally got to go back into the pasture, she darn near lost her shit. Actually, she tried to run me over to get through the gate, which led to a lesson in manners and how to *politely* return to the pasture.
Finally, she figured it out, listen to Mama and you’ll get back there sooner. Act like an ass, and you’re stuck outside the pasture…where something might get her and eat her or take her away. πŸ˜‰

When she finally did walk back in politely, she waited ’til the gate was closed, spun and went straight backwards until the end of the lead rope. There she half reared and honked like a goose.
I promptly died laughing at her.
She just thought I should know that yard was scary and she could have died. If I really cared about her I wouldn’t make her do that ever again, because “coulda died Mama, I could HAVE DIED!”

Recovering Lawn Pony, back in her pasture...AKA The Drama Queen.

Recovering Lawn Pony, back in her pasture…AKA The Drama Queen.

The Iron Paint Goes Down

Be forewarned…profanity ahead…don’t say I didn’t warn you, ‘kay?

I call my Girl many things…she’s Cookie, she’s a Miserable Cow, she’s my Dork, my sweet chicken livered Dolly, my Heart Horse…she’s also my Iron Paint. By that I mean, she has never been sick, hooves aside, she’s always healthy, and I can count the number of injuries (not bug related) I’ve had to treat on her on exactly 1 finger…
She is as low maintenance, health wise, that a horse can be.

Early yesterday morning I went out with the camera to take some shots of her lying (and rolling) in the grass. I get great shots in the morning light of the Girls, and figured this was another chance to showcase my Sweetie’s beauty.

Iron Paint1
Iron Paint2
Iron Paint3
Iron Paint4
Iron Paint5
Iron Paint6
The whole time I took these, I was sure I was photographing a happy (aside from bugs) horse. Turns out, I was wrong. Very wrong.

I had to go back up to the house to get Daphne out of the cats food, and went in to grab a coffee. When I looked out the front window, I saw not only was Cookie down again, in a different spot, but she was rolling again. Odd.
Out I went to check on her…and then, I saw the droopy donkey ears, the tense looking belly, the all-over sheen of sweat and oh my…the Elvis lip.
Shit…oh motherfucking shit.
My heart hit the ground, because I knew…I just fucking knew, what I was dealing with. And, it scared me to the ends of the Earth.
That one thing that new mothers and horse owners fear at all times…

Colic

Fuckfuckfuckfuckfuck…

First stop, call the vet, because a. it’s Cookie, and um, I don’t know how to get her through and b. rolling. Oh, Goddess, rolling.
Rolling is bad.
Really, really, really bad.
It twists guts, which can lead to death.
Vet was busy, but would be on his way ASAP, and, in the meantime, I did what I do with Sable. I deal with this with Sable far more often than I like, but, at least I know what to do with her. So, transfer those skills to the Madam…

Lead rope on her was a bust…she turned into a psycho horse. Rearing, bucking, cantering around me in circles, trying to run over me…okay, lead rope off, because stressing her more wasn’t going to work. And down she goes…into her back I went, knee braced into her withers, talking the whole time…and I start the back rub that always helps Sable. At this point, I’m not hearing her guts working…this is so fucking bad…but I’m hoping it’s because my stethoscope is shit (note to self, spend the $$$ on a good stethoscope!), not because there really is no gut sounds…

When I say gut sounds, I mean, at any given time, you should be able to hear a horse’s digestive system working. Much like we have growly tummies when we’re hungry, that’s what a good working gut sounds like. It’s not because they’re hungry, it’s because their digestive system is working on the food they ate.

No sounds means things are not working…now, it could be a gas bubble holding things up. If that was the case, what I was doing could help stimulate things enough to shift it and move things along. Or, worse…so much fucking worse, it could be an impaction.
A blockage.
The thought scared me, because that’s a guaranteed vet visit and not a guaranteed recovery.

But I wasn’t going to dwell on that thought, because, like I kept telling her…she was going to be okay. Mama said so, and when Mama says you’re going to be okay, you’re just going to be okay. No choice.
We spent the next couple hours with her getting up, turning around, and laying back down…I rubbed her back (palms along her spine, my whole weight bearing down on her), and pushing the pressure point in her mouth. The pain was easing, I knew, because her nostrils weren’t flaring as bad, ears were not as droopy…but she was still hurting.
The vet made it out, she was still down, he listened to her stomach and found he could hear her gut working.
Thank Goddess!!!
Stupid shit stethoscope.
He gave her a shot of banamine, and with discussion and a stern admonition to call him ASAP if anything changed for the worse, he went onto his next call.

During the next couple hours, things were more of the same…she managed to get herself cast against a straw bale, where the Kid and I had to roll her by hand…oh, and stupid fucking idiot at one point lay too close to the white fence, rolled, and got a back leg caught in the fence. I thought she was going to break her leg…the last thing I ever want to have to do is shoot my horse because she broke her leg. Holy shit did I yell at her when she managed to untangle herself and get up. Stupid, stupid horse.
Thankfully, all she has is a scrape on her inner thigh from the fence. Idiot. She has no idea how lucky she is…

Finally, the Kid and I got her settled down over by the shelter. She layed down again, but without trying to roll. So, we let her. She was exhausted, and it wasn’t long before she was flat-out, asleep. In a moment of sheer stupidity (because I can’t get out of her way fast enough if she goes to roll or get up), I sat down next to her, and rubbed her ears. All I could think was “I know one day you’re going to break my heart. Today. Is. Not. That. Day.”
I laid on her side, listening, hoping I could hear those magical, beautiful sounds, and I swear, the first growly sounds I heard, I burst into tears…and then…the tail lifted and out came this teeny tiny tootling.
Oh. My. God(dess).
Nothing has ever smelled so horrible, and yet so wonderful!

By this time, Ruby and Astrid had gone past us, into the shelter. My Girl decided enough of this outside shit, she was getting up and going inside! She heaved herself up, and walked straight into that shelter, with a tail swish that just dared me to try to stop her. She pushed in between Ruby and Astrid and stood there…at one point she tried to go down, but Ruby bit her. There’s not enough room for her to lie down, with anyone else in there, and Ruby was not leaving. The message was clear…”Stand or get out!”

That’s when I looked at the Kid and said “I need a coffee…let’s go have coffee.”

From there we went to checks every half hour, updating everyone who needed it as we went. By 3ish, I was cautiously optimistic that she was through the worst of it. By the time Hubby got home after 5, she was out in the pasture with everyone else, nibbling and being herself…a tired, far more cranky version of herself, but herself.
And finally, the jackpot…that beautiful tail came up and out came the manure…
While I sat on the deck, with my coffee, covered in mud and shit and blood from slapping horseflies off her, thanking every single Deity I believe in for not taking her from me.
❀

Such a beautiful picture...if I can ignore the fact that she's colicking.

Such a beautiful picture…if I can ignore the fact that she’s colicking.