Fragrance

There is no denying the effect that the fragrance of horses has on people…

You either love it, or hate it.
We, ’round here, are quite firmly in the “Love It” camp.
πŸ˜‰

Make no mistake, there are days when I say to the Girls “Could ya stop lying on, and rolling in, the manure pile? Damn, you stink!!”
For the most part though, the Eau De Equine soothes the Spirit, eases the aches and pains of the daily grind, heals the open wounds in our souls.

I say it a lot…only the horses are allowed to eat money around here.
It’s true, horses are a money pit.
So, why do we keep them?

“oh, hi Mama…you got treats for me?”
~ Ruby

“The Hell, Mama!!
Stop calling me, I ain’t dead! I *was* having a great nap though!”
~ Astrid

LOL!! We had another passerby stop in to tell me about the “dead horse” in the pasture. Astrid was not impressed. πŸ˜‰

“I hear your beepy thing…I know you’re there…I’m too sleepy…”
~ Cookie

“I be rollin’
My back is itchy…oooooh, feels soooo good!!”
~ Sable

We keep them because horses change lives.
Our lives are so much richer in ways other than money.
Yeah, they eat money, but what they give back to us is worth so much more.
Those days I have to leave the Farm, I’m always thinking about coming home. About standing in the midst of my little herd, breathing their unique scents, feeling their breath, touching coats, leaning on bodies that love to support us…

Many times I’ve been told that they’re lucky to be with us.
And while I sorta agree, because of what could have been when they were in the auction ring, I tend to lean farther towards I’m lucky to have them. We’ve given them a soft place to land, a Home ’til the end of their days, with good food, health care, and a whole lotta love.

❀

What they’ve given me, all of us here at the Farm, is so much more.

4 of 4

Last night, my baling bin broke (say that 3 times fast!) while The Kid and I were trying to get the hay on the ground baled before rain.
We only got half of it done before the bin was in such rough shape that we couldn’t continue.
Instead of wasting 50lbs of beautiful, scythe cut, Mama sweated on,Β  lovingly raked and dried hay, I forked it over the fence for the nags to enjoy now…instead of in the fall or winter.
And, I just happened to fork it over the fence right beside the smudge, so that nags could enjoy some tasty noms while in a smokey, bug free space.

3 of 4 trotted over, because this is an unusual time of the year to get hay, so it’s exciting and new and they must gobble it down.
Toddlers.
πŸ˜€

4, though…
Interesting.

The Cookie…eating not at the hay pile…

Right out of the gate, the moment her hooves hit the land here, we knew this Girl had issues with food.
Not aggressive, resource guarding type issues, but anxiety issues.
For the first 2 winters, we had to stick to a strict schedule of when hay arrived in the pasture. It didn’t matter if there was lots in the feeders, or if we fed extra at the right times…what mattered was that it came regularly, when her internal clock said it should.
If it didn’t, she panicked.
It was the same with beet pulp pails…and that’s a year ’round feeding.
Panic if it was late.

1200lbs of panicked toddler is…

Not fun.
Kinda scary.
Really, really sad.

This past year, we’ve seen some amazing and wonderful changes in her. And last night solidified it for me, that I’ve done right by this horse.

I threw 50 lbs of top quality hay over the fence.
3 of 4 trotted over to gobble like piglets.
4?
4 came over leisurely, had a few mouthfuls, and wandered on.
She nibbled the greens just past the smudge, she went for a drink of water and played in the big trough, she wandered back and stood with her head on Sable’s back…and when Ruby and Astrid moved off to eat fresh grass, she and Sable ate hay together.

Simply put, no panic.
No worries that there won’t be food later.
Just a relaxed, normal horse, doing relaxed, normal horse things.

It’s taken 3 1/2 years for her to get there…
It’s okay though, because, her and I, we got nothing but time to work together and work things out for her.
And this relaxed normal horse thing looks real good on her.
❀

Using What You Have

I’m a firm believer in using what you have.
Whether it’s re-purposing something, or fixing it, I believe that throwing money at things is not always the best plan.
In fact, in Farm life, throwing money at things is the fastest way to become a broke FarmHer.

Take my pig and chicken yards…

All re-purposed materials, except for the main henny coop and fence posts.
The posts we bought the first year here, when the plan was fence the entire 80 acres.
We haven’t got that far yet, and so we used some of the posts for the food animal yards.

Chicken yard is a mixture of found-at-the-dump stucco wire (I found a 3/4 roll in the metal pile and fished it out right quick!) and chain link fencing that was from my Mom’s place in the city.

Pig yard is primarily pallets, which are, thankfully, free.

Pig house, and meat chicken house are built from skids and scrap wood that Hubby was getting free from work.
So, aside from hauling it home, the only cost into the shelters that have housed food animals for 2 years is maybe $20 in screws.
Pretty darn good, if you ask me.

This year’s pigs have an extra added bonus to their fence…
Bacon Makers…

For the past couple of years, we’ve been given medium square straw bales by a friend…they’re dirty bales he can’t use, and would have to burn, but, so long as we haul them away, we can have them.
This is what we’ve been building the shelter extension for the horses with, which makes winters so much easy on our Sable.
Come spring though, we have to figure out what to do with them…

This year? We put them around the pig yard. And it’s been perfect. Gives the piggies extra shade, Daphne uses them to (safely) watch the pigs, and it’s also something that the pigs can reach through the fencing to chew on.
It’s a winning situation all the way around.
And, next year, when they’ve broken down a little more, we’ll replace them with new ones, and turn these bales into smudges for the horses…and you’ve seen how popular smudges are around here. πŸ˜‰

And then, this past winter, when Hubby hit a hard poo lump with the tractor, and ended up cutting a hole in the trough, I showed y’all my simple fix, that made it safe to still use for hay feeding.
Once the heat hit, we had to figure out some other fix, or we’d be looking at a new stock tank…which, if any one’s interested, runs about $300. If we could fix it, that’s $300 we didn’t have to spend.

One day, Hubby’s grocery shopping, and he sees a can on the clearance rack. It’s for a flexible spray rubber product.
Well, for $5, he takes a chance and buys it.
And then, using a cut open beer can, he made a patch to cover the biggest part of the hole…so, $5.10 later, we have a fully functional, safe water trough that give the Girls an extra 250 gallons of water.
Yup, totally worth it.

Oh, and the left over part of the can?
He used to fix the chicken waterers that had rusted out on the bottom.
Yeah, so, we didn’t have to pony up another $50 each for those this year either. Which was kinda nice. πŸ˜‰

But, my real pride and joy for re-use, re-purpose, re-create ideas is this:

Putting Hubby to work…again.

That’s an old pressure tank that some one threw away at the dump.
I said to Hubby “You could cut that in half and we’d have 2 pig feeders”
He says “Yup I could. Shall I load it into the truck?”

And into the truck it went.
It’s been cut, and now we have to spray paint the inside with a metal paint (hello Rustoleum πŸ˜‰ ) and he has to smooth the edges so that no piggies hurt them selves.
We will then have 2 good-sized feeders for piggies.
With little cost, just some elbow grease.

At the end of the day, I think we can approach this whole Farm/Homesteading thing 3 ways…

  1. the “throw money at it until it sticks” method (which, quite frankly, is what we do with the horses, because horses are money eaters)
  2. the “use it ’til it dies, and then fix it one more time” method (of which I am a huge supporter and practice myself πŸ˜‰ )
  3. or a mixture of the 2 methods.

The real key is, to know when it’s time to use each method.
Either way, you gotta get your hands dirty…a little soil under the nails…or it’s not going to work at all.
That’s what helps make a successful Farm.
πŸ™‚

Where There’s Smoke…

There’s Ruby, in there like a dirty shirt. πŸ˜‰

Last night, close to sunset, the bugs were bad…like carry you away, drain your blood, drop your carcass for the horse flies to finish off, bad…B.A.D.

So, we lit a smudge for the horses.

As close as she can get…

I learned fast with Ruby, we cannot have a smudge fire with out it being inside the corral panels. The very first time I lit a smudge, I did it on the concrete pad behind the garage…figured it was perfect, because that’s where I had piled manure all winter. Manure smolders and smokes beautifully for bug control.
Well, Ruby decided to stand in the smudge, and then roll in it.
Now we make sure she can’t hurt herself, but still gets the benefit of the smoke.

So nice with out the bugs buggin’…

Even Astrid was enjoying the time without bugs all over her.

Oh, but the best was Ruby making faces…

Licking the smoke out of the air…

Absolute bliss…

Strikin’ a pose…

She stayed in the smoke for a good 45 minutes, and then wandered off to eat. Over the evening and well into the small hours of the morning, everyone took turns standing around in the smoke.
Doesn’t take them long to figure out that the scent of smoke on them keeps the bugs off even after they move away from the smudge.

Sharing with Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.
The new round has begun, and all the prompts are highlighted in my post. πŸ™‚

Skill + Vision + A Whole Lotta Luck

I am often asked how I capture the images that I do with the horses.
It is, in my mind:

1 part skill,
2 parts luck,
1 part artistic vision.

I know, as a fairly serious lover of photography, I should be aiming for 3 parts skill and the other part a mix of luck and vision, but y’know…
1200lb toddlers with a mind of their own.
Many days, I have an idea in mind of what I want to see in the final image, and yet, nothing goes to plan to achieve that vision…adapting on the fly, shooting even when it seems it’s not working and accepting that things may not be exactly as I wanted…that’s how I capture the images I do.

Kinda like this next image…

I caught this during my Canada Day shoot with the Girls.
The plan was the flag on her halter, the flowers and her eye…well, she wasn’t chuffed about the flowers in the first place and kept tossing her head to get rid of them. So, adding the flag pin wasn’t a possibility.
Instead, I stood in front of her, talked softly and when she pricked her ears towards my voice, I shot, capturing this.
Not what I was going for, and yet, a beautiful image. ❀

I am not afraid of storms,
for I am learning how to sail my ship.
~ Louisa May Alcott

Catching up on the Friday’s Hunt

All right, so I missed last week.
It’s been gray and gloomy and rainy here.
Not much for pictures, and even less energy…but this week, I’m catching up with prompts from last week as well.

First set of images are for the prompts Starts with X, Week’s Favorite and Insect.

Starts with X

When you have no idea how to approach a prompt, you hit the google and type in “words that start with x” and read the Scrabble websites for ideas.
That’s how I hit upon “xenobiotics”…though, now that I think of it, I coulda just used Xena, my warrior princess barn cat. LOL! Mighta been too easy…

Anyways…xenobioticsΒ are something we use on the Girls. In fact, we spend quite a bit of money on them and a ton of time trying to apply them…a xenobiotic is a “chemical foreign to or not produced by an organism” such as a pesticide…’round here we call it “bug juice” and we slather it on the horses as much as possible.

After a healthy (or maybe not so healthy) application bug juice, we see this sight a lot!

Bug juice makes for happy horses, because sleeping is so much easier. ❀

Week’s Favorite

Ruby ❀

Do I really need to explain why this is a favorite? I’m sure I don’t. πŸ™‚

Insect

With the rains, come the mosquitoes…and that’s our insects. Many, many, many insects.
Which is why we spend so much money on xenobiotics (I’m loving using that! lol!) so that instead of running and stomping, we see this:

Nice face, Roo πŸ˜‰

Much better than dropping weight running from bugs, or messing up hooves and legs from stomping. I’ll give ’em toxic skin coatings to save the other parts of them. πŸ˜‰

Now, for this week’s prompts. They are Starts with Y, Week’s Favorite and Splash.

Starts with Y

Ruby does some morning yoga stretches, while eyeing me. Just in case there’s some sort of horse treat coming to the fence…

(there were no treats to be had this day…because Round Ruby does not need treats. πŸ˜‰ )

Week’s Favorite

This:

The Cookie having fun.

After her bout of achy, painful joints keeping her down, this was wonderful to see. Her playing, leaping, bucking, kicking and cantering.
Does this woman’s ❀ good to see.
The near daily application of the ointment is helping her.
I’m loving that.

Splash

Splashing and playing in the rains…

Oy! Dirty girl!

Taken out the livingroom window while the rains were coming down…they were just having a grand time running and playing.

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

Brassy

“…I like ’em sweet, I like ’em with a heart of gold
Yeah, and I like ’em brassy, I like ’em brazen and bold
Well, they say that opposites attract, well I don’t agree
I want a woman just as tacky as me
Yeah, I like my women just a little on the trashy side…”
~ Confederate RailRoad “Trashy Women”


Perfect quote for our Ruby…
She is an absolute brazen hussy when it comes to being groomed.
Girl loves her some hands on pampering time.
πŸ˜‰