Winter…Are You Done Now?

It seems like we’ve had more blizzards this year than normal.
I don’t know if we have or not, and well, I’m honestly too lazy to go searching for the information to know for sure. 😉
I *do* know we’ve just come out the other side of one more…one that started with temps above 0*C paired with a massive downpour of rain, and in a few short hours turned to howling winds, snow and sub-zero temps.
We’re very happy for sunshine today.
It’s cold, but clear. The wind is strong, but nowhere near what it was just 24 hours ago…which was nothing compared to 12 hours before that! We hit gusts in the 90km/h range…that is nuts!

This morning dawned cold and clear, and as the sun rose, we were met with whinnies of greeting from the Girls.
They are happy to see the sun too…

I braved the cold with the camera to get a couple of shots, and then the battery died. Later, I’ll go out and take some more pictures, but for now, I have sunrise shots of the Girls to share…

Astrid

Sable having a shake…shaking is like shivering and you get oats for shivering, so…oats??

11 days…
11 days to Spring, y’all.
We can do this. 🙂

Friday’s Hunt Feb. 26

This week’s Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills had a prompt that had me stumped. I had never heard of “Chiaroscuro” before.
Ever the curious human, and always looking for a photography challenge, I googled the term.

“Chiaroscuro” is an oil painting technique that uses strong tonal contrasts between light and dark, to create a dramatic effect.

Ahhh!! Yes, I can do this…and it was the perfect prompt for something I had been wanting to try with the Girls.
And so, here’s my offerings for this week’s Friday’s Hunt…

Starts with H

Heh. Horses. What else?

It's my Peanut Gallery!

It’s my Peanut Gallery!

Hubby was working on trying to convince Ruby that walking into the shelter on the lead rope was an easy thing for her to do. These 2 were watching (and probably laughing at) Ruby acting like she was going to die if she went into the scary black place. LOL!

Week’s Favorite

Two words for this horse when she poses…

<3

Rock.
Star.

She is absolutely perfect.

Chiaroscuro

This…

cookie-bbg-feb-2017-wm
No words…just is.
Perfection.

How You Doin’?

Hey, how was your week?

Ours was…ah, it was a week.
Last Friday, Ms Cookie went off her feed.
Oh, she was still eating hay and drinking just fine, but she refused her beet pulp. That is so out of character for her.
There was no cinnamon, no bananas, no bread (these are all things she’s convinced will poison her) in her bucket. Just her normal soaked beet pulp and ground flax. Same thing she’s been eating for the past 2 1/2 years. Same thing she comes galloping in for…
Friday though, she refused it.
I wasn’t overly worried, because I had put a slice of banana in earlier in the week, and didn’t scrub her bucket afterwards…have I mentioned she likes her bucket spotless? Yeah, gotta scrub her bucket once a week, minimum.

Saturday though…

Came home from the stable to find her napping in the sunset.

<3

So, I went and snapped a few pictures. Then I rubbed her back and rump. She likes that. 😉
Meanwhile, The Kid had gotten the beet pulp ready and taken it out to hang up for them.
Cookie didn’t even bother getting up.

Okay, now I was beginning to worry.
Time to check pulse, temperature, gum colour…
Everything was normal.
*stumped*

Hubby brought hay to the feeders, and she got up and went to eat hay.
Ooookay…
Huh.
So, I went and got a handful of canning salt and offered it to her.
She licked a bit up off my hand, but for the most part, she wasn’t interested. But, was still eating her hay.
So, after making sure I could hear her tummy working, I left her to eat.

And that’s been my week.
Oh, toss in a nausea inducing migraine for me too.
Brought on by the stress of worrying about my big Dork, no doubt.

By Tuesday, she still hadn’t eaten more than a mouthful from her bucket, so I scrubbed it again, rinsed it with an apple cider vinegar/water solution (which I gave to the chickens 😉 ) and soaked a red solo cup of alfalfa cubes with a 1/2 cup beet pulp, and scaled her flax back to 1/2 cup.

That she ate about half of.
Still not normal, but definite improvement.
And that’s where we’re at, feed wise. More alfalfa cubes than beet pulp, flax at 1/2 cup, and she’s eating more and more of it.
Yesterday, she even picked a fight with Astrid…though, I tell ya, I think some of the problems this week have to do with Astrid throwing her weight around. Cookie is still second in the herd and Astrid doesn’t like it. So, when Cookie shows even the teeniest bit of weakness, Astrid is all over her.
Hubby’s theory is that during some asshat-ery, Cookie tweaked something, and was sore from it. Astrid jumped on it, pushing her around and jockeying for herd position. Cookie, not feeling 100% already, felt the stress of it, and went off her feed.

It does make some sense, since, as she’s eating more and more of her pail, she’s snapping at Astrid’s little pushiness movements.
Like, yesterday, she chased Astrid up the snow drift, biting her the whole way. And, when Astrid tried to come down to retaliate, Cookie bit her fetlock (that’s how tall the drift is!).

Either way, made me worry myself sick about it all.
Never a good time. 😦

Edited to add:
She hasn’t refused all food. She’s been eating her hay like normal, she’s been drinking just fine, and things are coming out the other end as they should be.
It’s her daily pail of beet pulp that she was refusing.
She hasn’t lost weight, and yes, she’s been seen by the vet. 🙂

Napping and ignoring The Kid. ;)

Napping and ignoring The Kid. 😉

"Ugh. Child woke me from my nap!" ~Cookie

“Ugh. Child woke me from my nap!”
~Cookie

Hay Run

We hooked up the trailer for another hay run yesterday…

Bringing home the food for nags...

Bringing home the food for nags…

I like to do this early on a Sunday morning.
Get it done early and the day is ahead for whatever else needs doing.
Like napping. 😉

On Friday, Hubby had brought home an apple jack for me.
Not the traditional apple jack (distilled apple juice…nom nom nom!) but the pastry, which is, basically, an apple hand pie rolled in cinnamon and sugar. That was my breakfast, with coffee, while we went up to the Hay Guy’s place.

Once home, I figured with the lovely sunlight, I’d go take a few pictures of the Girls, while Hubby unloaded hay and straw (for chickens)…well, it didn’t take long for someone to figure out I had eaten something that any horse would love!

"Uh. Huh. So, you dare come in here smellng like apples and you have none for me? Really?!?" ~Cookie

“Uh. Huh.
So, you dare to come in here with apples on your breath and you have none for me?
Really?!?”
~Cookie

I tried to tell her it was an apple jack, that there was cinnamon involved, that she doesn’t like cinnamon (she’ll leave her beet pulp pail uneaten if there’s even a hint of cinnamon in it!), and well, quite honestly, she didn’t need any sweets. Seriously, her butt jiggles when she walks…sweet apple pies are not what she needs.

Yeah, her face says it all.
“Uh. Huh. Screw you, hooman…”
😉

Horses are…

Strange creatures.
They can hurt themselves in the oddest fashion, and some, in the most spectacular ways.

Take, for example, our Bella…

Pre-blizzard nap in the sunshine.

Pre-blizzard nap in the sunshine.

We’ve just come out of blizzard-like conditions…again.
Friday night hay supper was a family affair, the weather was so bad.
As I was pouring out some oats for the Girls, The Kid noticed something up with Bella’s eye.
We think that she’d been standing somewhere that her head wasn’t 100% out of the wind, must have closed her eyes, and 1 eye froze shut.
By the time she had finished her beet pulp and the bashing and crashing about that went with it (no joke, they’ve been absolutely crazed with this weather), her eye had opened…except, it had torn some and she had blood running down her face.
Of course, this happened before the oats, and I hadn’t noticed any problems with her. Kinda hard to, with her big head stuck in a bucket, gobbling food. 😉

And so, there was another injury, in the crazy cold/wind/horrible weather to deal with. A new one at that!
Thankfully, today her eyelid is just fine. A wee bit of scabbing at the bottom, but no swelling, no heat and no problem with the eye itself.

Not much photography happened last week. With blizzard conditions, trying to keep everyone warm and fed, and me falling on my face into a sleepy stupor every time I came back into the house.
This week’s favourite photo comes from New Year’s Day…

Cookie and the tree.

Cookie and the tree.

Oh, Ms Sassy Pants ^^^ up there…
“This is what I’m supposed to do, right Mama?
This is what you’re taking my picture for?”

From big ol’ ‘Fraidy Cat to Sassy Pants who knows exactly how I want to her to act/pose for pictures.
I ❤ this mare. 🙂

Horses…they are amazing creatures.
Whether they’re showing us the different ways they can hurt themselves, or they’re playing and looking fabulous, or they’re showing their mischievous sides…

Oh, the size difference between Sable and Astrid...just pure luck I caught them lined up like this.

Oh, the size difference between Sable and Astrid…just pure luck I caught them lined up like this.

Amazing creatures.
Can’t imagine my life with out them.
🙂

Today’s post is being shared with Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills, where the prompts are Starts with B, Week’s Favorite and Creature.

The Winter Blues

January can be a tough time.
We’ve just come out of the hustle and bustle of Yule, Orthodox Christmas has come and gone, we’ve eaten and drank ourselves into a stupor, and now we’re facing the long cold journey until the warm spring winds start to blow.
We all start to get a little stir crazy.
Humans and animals alike…

Especially the horses.
It’s cold, and all they want to do is eat…and then they get bored and want to play. Oh, but then, they’re tired and a nap sounds good. When the sun is out, a nice nap while the sun warms your coat is delightful. Enough to even lay out flat for a bit…ah, but the reality of the cold snow on the ground seeps in and they go back to napping on their feet.

If you happen to have kids, think of it this way…
Y’know how in winter they get snappish because they don’t get out to *do* stuff for long periods of time? Just look at your toddler with cabin fever and the crying starts, right? Fighting for no reason, throwing tantrums, and having hissy fits, just because they can.
That’s how the horses are in January.
And, well, my toddlers average 1200lbs and can smoosh me without even thinking.

Horses are very in tune with their circadian rhythms. Their bodies tell them the light is coming back, and to get ready for the coming spring. They are excitable for the new growth and the longer days.
However, the early dark (albeit later than in December…they’re not eating their beet pulp in the dark at 4:30pm) and the cold temperatures send a different message.

Which leads me back to…1200lb toddlers who are sleep deprived, cabin fevered, grumpy assed brats.
Oh yeah, we humans?
Feeling the same damn way.
*sigh*

So, what’s a Farm girl to do?
Ha!
She drops a bunch of high energy, super fun music on her phone, suits up in her winter gear, grabs a grooming kit and heads out to brush and maul the ponies. 😛
That’s when the fun starts…
Everyone wants to be groomed.
1 woman, 1 grooming kit, 4 horses…lol

I keep telling people to come out for a visit, I’ll give you a brush and you can brush a horse until your hands fall off (that’s right about when the Girls will decide they’re ready to go eat again.) Few have taken me up on the offer though…I muddle through. With music. Which inevitably leads to some crazy cantering games.
Which is good, because then the Girls stretch their legs, have a little fun, buck and kick and play. And I take pictures. From outside the fence. That was a lesson learned a couple of years ago. When the music gets them going and they’re going to run and play, then its time to step outside the gate and photograph them ripping it up.
Trust me, it’s much safer that way. 🙂

This first shot is from last week’s grooming/music/run like a fool session…

Go Cookie, go!

Go Cookie, go!

The next few shots are from yesterday…with all the snow and the bright sun, over exposure happens.
Sometimes, I like to go with it, and enhance that in editing.
Photography isn’t just capturing an amazing image, it’s art too… 🙂

Miss Lazy Pants when I first came outside...

Miss Lazy Pants when I first came outside…

Sable, blasting through the snow drifts...

Sable, blasting through the snow drifts…

Ruby and Astrid...

Ruby and Astrid…

My walking stomachs had Bif Naked’s “I love myself today” as their soundtrack…

Today, if weather allows for it, I’ll throw out the jolly ball for them.
Jolly balls always make for fun times and great photos.
Stay warm, my friends, and stay happy.
We’ve turned the corner, and we’re in the straight away on our way to Spring…we can do this.
And if you local folks need a little music/equine therapy to get you through, you just let me know. 😉
I can hook you up…

Feeling Thankful…

As 2016 comes to a close, I’m feeling pretty darn grateful.
2016 was a year of challenges and learning…
From spring and Bella’s hoof issues, raising piglets and caring for chickens, septic repairs, Cookie colicking, and then Cookie’s health issues…
It’s been a hard fucking year…pardon the cussing.

But…

We’ve grown as a family.
My Kid learned about raising meat animals, the proper care and respect, and the work that goes into sending them to Freezer Camp.
She was my rock to lean on when my horse colicked…which was amazing, because she’s always leaned on me whenever her Sable did.
My Hubby taught both of us the proper way to dispatch food animals, and how to gut and clean them.
He worked his ass off, taking extra shifts to cover vet bills for my stupid horse…a horse that he puts up with because I love her, but he doesn’t really like much. And that’s fair, because she did try to kick him into next week a few years back…damn near killed him…and he’d have been well within his rights to put a bullet in her for it…but it never occurred to him to do it.  He’s just learned and adjusted how he works with her…and he’s done so well that he trims her hooves now.

That is amazing…
That is dedication I have to admire…
That proves (as if I didn’t already know it 😉 ) I have a damn good Man…

And me?
I had to learn to adapt to a when things don’t go to plan, learn how to let things go and let them work themselves out, and celebrate the little joys that life gives us.
I’ve been covered in mud, blood, shit and puke this past year, and as hard as some things have been, the knowledge I took away from each and every experience has been valuable.
Some things I don’t want to have to do again, but if it happens, I know now what to do.
I call that a success.

Tomorrow, I think I’ll do a Best of 2016 photo retrospective…because I’ve pushed myself as a photographer too, and I’m damn proud of the images I’ve captured.
I hope y’all will come back and see which ones were my favorites…and tell me which ones were yours.

For now, here’s one from this morning…

rippin-it-up
The Girls were rippin’ it up again this morning…enjoying life and having fun. Gotta love that. ❤