A Farm Update

Ahhh, the joys of Summer, and decent weather. We’re getting things done!
Which explains the past week of no posts.
Hubby just came off of a 5 day holiday…trust me, out here, there’s no such thing as a holiday! There is always some sort of work to do.

Since we had lovely weather, we worked on getting the cross fencing in. For those who don’t know…cross fencing is when you take your big pasture, and using fences and gates, make several smaller pastures. This is done for rotation purposes, because horses can eat a pasture down in no time! Without a little time to recover, they can kill the grass and end up on hay 365 days a year. We’re trying to avoid that!

Our pasture is big (about 9 acres), but where the previous owner had 2 horses, I have 4. Sometimes, they eat down their favorite spots, and there’s no chance for it to recover until spring. So, we did this…

Cross Fence 2The bags are there so The Girls know the fencing is there…yes, they helped put it in, but when Krazy Kantering Games start, I don’t want them to miss the fence and go through. A few bags to lessen the chance of injuries is worth the fear of plastic bags. 😉

A gate!!

A gate!!

The gate is the most exciting part to me. This is something my Cookie has some fears about. Going through gates means she’s leaving, in her mind. Walking her past a gate causes her minor panic. Which means poor stupid Dork doesn’t get to come out in the yard to graze the long grasses. Ahh, but now!! I have an in-pasture, safe place to work with my Pea Brain, and show her, going through a gate means that you get to go places, and that you always come Home. I am excited for this next chapter in learning for her. ❤

We call them No Helpians.

We call them No Helpians.

We had a couple good friends come out to help set posts, and as always, it takes Kid and I to keep The Girls from helping.
Okay, so I wasn’t keeping them away here, because it made a great shot, but, for the most part, they were well-behaved. Sable barely tried to chew the tractor…she did fall asleep right in the line of where Hubby was augering post holes though. Brat!

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We were also able to add some more food bushes to the Farm.
I’ve said it many times, we’re believers in growing food, not lawns. Aside from the grasses The Girls eat. 😉
When I had a chance to pick up 2 pots of Honeyberries and 2 pots of Blueberries cheap, I leapt at it. Now, I am even more glad I did, because I have come to learn from the nurseries that potted the plants, that each pot had 3 cultivars in them. It’s recommended to leave them as a bush when planting (which I did), but I could also have separated them into individual plants (which, if there are any more plants when I go back on the weekend, I will do). I’m pretty darn excited to have the plants here. I had Honeyberries in the city, and loved them! It was one of the things I wish I could have transplanted out here…but the bushes were 6+ feet tall.

Soon, these will be too!

Honeyberry

Honeyberry

Blueberry

Blueberry

Then, since I now have the plants, I did this, with my last pound of Honeyberries in the freezer…

Yummmm!

Yummmm!

That’s now 3 different gallons I have going of mead. I can’t wait to try them! The strawberry and this one will take quite some time to be ready, probably, after a few rackings, near onto a year or more. Joe’s Ancient Orange though, according to the “Experts” 😉 Could be ready in a couple of months. We’ll see.

Last night, we bottled our first batch of wine.
We were given a wine making set, that included everything to make wine. It even included a box kit that has 2 different varieties. We started it on the last day of May, and bottled last night. Not bad, I say. I got 22 bottles out of it. Supposed to make 30, but I had a few glasses from the carboy last week, and we were likely more careful racking to keep sediment out than needed. I did lose a bit at the bottom in the racking the last time before bottling. Meh. With practice, I’ll be better at judging how low I can go, without sucking up sediment. For now, I’m happy that a free to me kit gave me 22 bottles of red wine.

I sweetened 8 of them right before bottling, just to see if I like that better than the unsweetened. The kit makes a dry wine. I typically prefer a sweeter wine. Though, I’m not complaining about the taste of the wine as is. It’s quite nice, actually. Once chilled. I don’t know if you’re supposed to chill red wines, but that’s how I like them.

I figured, since we bottled the one, it was time to start the next kit. So, now I have that one sitting in the primary pail, doing it’s thing. 🙂

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The kittens are doing very well. Growing like weeds, eating us out of house and home. Like any other baby. lol!
We ended up having to take Fiona’s 3 away from her…they were in the house with us for about a week, learning about humans, enjoying formula, crunchies and turkey. Now Storm, Xena and Penny are happy little babies running around and playing with Polo’s kittens.

Trouble hunts and kills a birdie.

Trouble hunts and kills a birdie.

Blue did not want to meet Ruby.

Blue did not want to meet Ruby.

To be fair, Ruby looks like a giant monster to teeny kitties. 😛

And finally…a few pictures of my Girl, just because I love her, and the shots.

She was not letting me out of her sight yesterday...where ever I went in the pasture, she followed.

She was not letting me out of her sight yesterday…where ever I went in the pasture, she followed.

At one point, I was rubbing her face, and she rested her muzzle in my hand. It's just one of those things she likes to do...and then she dozed off.

At one point, I was rubbing her face, and she rested her muzzle in my hand. It’s just one of those things she likes to do…and then she dozed off.

It’s not easy to one-hand a shot with the Red Monster. I managed, without disturbing her, too.
I love this shot.
Only thing I’d do different, if I could do this one again, is have my 18-55mm lens on, so I could show you that her muzzle is right in the palm of my hand. It’s one of her favorite ways to doze. ❤

SHS~June 21st…The First Day of Summer!

Summer. It’s so lovely…6 months ago all we could do was Dream of summer. Now, it’s here, and we’re working hard to get things done and ready for the next winter.

Hope all the Dads out there had a great Father’s Day.
Hubby’s Father’s Day included hooking up the 6 ft mower and cutting some grass…which made the horses super happy, since we rake it and toss it over the fence for them…and then a relaxing bbq with a beer or 2 on the deck.

I planted a whole bunch of stuff in the garden. I’ll spend the rest of the week finishing that up, and then, like always, we wait. It is, really, a leap of faith, planting these seeds, hoping, hoping, to have growth, and food.

Kid worked with her Sable. Ms Sable was a rock star yesterday! She lunged walk/trot with ease for The Kid. Both are getting more and more confident working with each other. It’s great to see. Next up, Kid will work her up to walk/trot/canter. Sable isn’t confident enough yet, for that canter in lunging. It’ll come. 🙂 I have faith in them both.

Prompts this week for Scavenger Hunt Sunday are…Special, Habit, Explore, Me, and Sprinkle.

Special

Sable 061715Sable is our special girl. We are so very lucky to have met her, and been able to bring her Home. This is the girl we go to for horsie hugs, for those times you need a mane to cry in, for unconditional love. She’s the one that people who are hurting gravitate to in our pasture. Heck, she’s the one our (formerly) broken horse gravitates to. 😉
She is a once-in-a-lifetime horse. That’s how special our Sable is.

Habit

HabitNow that the bugs have emerged, the black birds make it a habit to follow the Girls around. Y’see, if they do, the Girls kick up mosquitoes and the birds get an easy meal. I think it’s a pretty darn good habit. So do the Girls. 🙂

Explore

Storm, Xena and Penny

Storm, Xena and Penny

These are Fiona’s kittens. Fiona is our little Siamese barn cat who was dumped in our yard by some jerk as a wee kitten.

ExploreThey’re getting old enough now to explore and eat crunchy food. Some days, between these 3 and PoloCat’s 6, it can be a real rodeo to get everyone fed. Everyone wants it now, and they don’t want to wait. Climbing the arm of the person with the food is a very real possibility!

Me

I so don’t do the selfie/in front of the camera thing. lol! Instead, you get a picture of someone who is very special to me

Yup, it's Cookie. <3

Yup, it’s Cookie. ❤

This is from last week. I had taken my coffee to sit out on the deck in the morning, and she came walking over to me, expressing her displeasure at me for not sharing my cup with her. I love that she is becoming more and more vocal with me. It turns out she likes to talk, and I love that she likes to talk to me. 🙂

Sprinkle

I planted a bunch of stuff in the garden last night in the hopes of getting it in before the rains came. That way, the sprinkle we were supposed to get could do the watering in for me. Well, as it turns out, we got much, much more than a sprinkle of rain!

SprinkleI know it’s hard to see in the picture, but there is a gray haze over everything…that’s the rain coming down. Hard. I was actually worrying about the peppers I transplanted. I did dash out and check on them…so far, so good! They seem to be enjoying the rain they’re getting.
Plus…just look at all that green! Some of the grass out there is higher than the Girls’ knees.
I swear, I’ll never take growing grass for granted again! lol.

Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.

Outdoor Cats

The barn cats got a new house. They still have free run of the garage, but they now have a house up on the deck too. Stuffed full of straw for warmth.

Cat house

Cat house, with Max and Polo.

We brought home a load of hay…

4000lbs of hay on our new-to-us trailer.

4000 lbs of hay on our new-to-us trailer.

Which quickly turned into a kitty cat hot spot…especially when the sun was out.

Fiona

Fiona

Polo

Polo

Fiona and Polo

Fiona and Polo

The ever elusive Marco...

The ever elusive Marco…

Yup, even Marco came out to enjoy the sunshine on a hay bale.
What a life these guys have…warm places to sleep, hay to bask in the sunshine on, endless amounts of food and fresh water, plus so much hunting to do!

Compare that to what my indoor cats get to experience…

Freyja

Freyja

I’m not sure who has the better life… 😛

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

Wordless Wednesday-The Animals Of Midnight Calico Farm

So much fun with animals here. The horses had a cantering good time yesterday, Sable wore her cooler blanket for the very first time (and behaved very well with it on!), our PoloCat has revealed herself as female (we didn’t know because she moved into the garage with her pal Marco before winter and refused to be handled), and soon to be a Mama cat…like in a week or so! Max and Fiona have been snatching dog food off the deck, and Daphne…oh, my Daphne. She has discovered empty pop cans as toys. My weird, weird dog.

Onto the pictures…Enjoy!

Paints, starting the cantering fun.

Paints, starting the cantering fun.

Soon, everyone got involved.

Soon, everyone got involved.

Astrid tries to catch up.

Astrid tries to catch up.

'Kay we need to stop and brreath for a minute...

‘Kay we need to stop and breath for a minute…

Mooching water over the fence.

Mooching water over the fence.

Her spanky new blanket.

Her spanky new blanket.

WhackaDoo

WhackaDoo

Max and Daphne enjoy Daphne's food.

Max and Fiona enjoy Daphne’s food.

Our PoloCat and her big round tum. <3

Our PoloCat and her big round tum. ❤

Linking to Wordless Wednesday at Create With Joy and Crafty Spices.

Surprise!!

Yesterday I was in the pasture, giving The Kid a hand with Sable. We had a storm coming later in the day, and Sable was feeling off from it. Sounds odd, but, I was told this by a wise HorseMan. Horses are very good barometers for weather, and if there is storm coming, you can tell just by watching your horses. We’ve paid attention, since being told this, and it’s true. Well, our Blonde Girl was feeling out of sorts and Kid was worried. I took some other lessons to heart, and used a few equine pressure points to make our girl feel better. Then, I rubbed the inside of her ears-she loves this!-and she evened right out…after letting out a tremendous, stinky fart. LOL! That’s how you know the pressure points are working. Horse gas. 😉

After Sable was okay, I left The Kid to walk her for a bit, just to be sure, and went back towards the shelter. Hubby and I have been working on getting the grass cut-there’s lots of it, and it’s waist-high! We’ve had an abundance of rain, and not enough time in between to get things cut, so it got away on us. And, the Girls aren’t comfortable coming out of the pasture to graze… 😦 I’m working on that!

As I passed the shelter, I saw Fiona, our foundling barn cat stretched out inside. I went to the doorway and saw something behind her…I thought maybe Spooky had come back. But then, she started to hiss, and I realized that wasn’t Spooky…instead, I saw this, trying to get out the back of the shelter:

Kitten!!

Kitten!!

Well, these are the very first babies born here on Midnight Calico Farm. It’s rather exciting! 🙂

I’d like to introduce you to:

Daisy

Daisy

This is the little girl…yes, she has gooey eyes. So does the boy. Fiona did too, when she came. With a warm cloth, Kid and I cleaned them up, and put a drop of polysporin in both.

Daisy dozing in Kid's jacket.

Daisy dozing in Kid’s jacket.

Such a little cutie pie! See, after cleaning, her eyes are much better. 🙂

Here’s the little man:

Duke

Duke

And another:

Duke

Duke

This is after his eyes were cleaned up…he looks a little cross-eyed, but it’s from the camera flash.

Mama Fiona wasn’t worried about us handling Daisy and Duke…she had some bologna, and some chicken, so her tummy was happy. She sat up in the rafters and dozed while we snuggled the babies.

You can hold my babies...for now.

You can hold my babies…for now.

There’s no way to know, 100%, how old Daisy and Duke are, but I figure they’re in the 3-4 week mark. It’s hard to tell because Fiona is such a small cat herself, and these 2 are tiny. If they weren’t so full of wiggles, I could hold both in one hand. Hopefully, they’ll grow into strong hunters for us. In the meantime, we’ll handle them, love them, and keep those little eyes cleaned!

Friendship Friday~Fiona and Cookie

Our little miss is growing up. She’ll be roughly 6 months old now…keep in mind, when she came, we had no idea how old she was, since she was “dump on the side of the road”. Tough little girl, she’s our one kitten who’s made it all the way through winter.

Heidi went missing after Spooky’s Grand Adventure, and Spooky went missing after we started hearing coyotes out in the back field. 😦 I miss my Spookapotamus, but, unfortunately, with coyotes around, and he was a barn cat (outdoor access 24/7), well, these things are going to happen. I was hoping the little idiot would live a long, happy life though…

Finger checking...

Finger checking…

She’ll never be my friendly girl, not like Spooky and Heidi were, but she’s a little more receptive to being petted. Of course, that could have something to do with starting her first heat…oh, and the fact that I had some turkey for her…

Nom, nom, nom!

Nom, nom, nom!

Here’s someone else who’s been more friendly lately:

Cookie110414.2We’ve been working on her comfort zones…one thing she doesn’t like is her ears being touched. So, I touch them anyways. I started with while she was eating, rubbing behind them…

Pushing the boundaries of Cookie's comfort zones.

Pushing the boundaries of Cookie’s comfort zones.

She’s been really good about it. Just relaxes and lets my rub. Until I decided to do the brain sucker thing between her ears…that was fine ’til I told her that her brain was being sucked out…then she tried to bite my leg. Hahaha! No sense of humor!

The other thing I’ve been doing with her-and all the girls, now that winter has finally loosened its grip, and we have soft snow piles-it running my hands all over her, including right down her legs to her hooves. She won’t lift yet, but I can handle her feet on the ground, and I’ve been able to moisturize them for her. It’s progress. 🙂 Add to that, I’ve been able to hug her a couple of times the past few days, and I get to place kisses on that pretty face daily now, so, yeah, we’re getting there.

"I'm always friendly when you have food for me!"

“I’m always friendly when you have food for me!”

Sharing with Friendship Friday.