Catching y’all up…

I’ve been working on writing this post now for a few days…
There seems to be so much going on, that I don’t know where to start, or how to put things into words.
And yet, its typical summer time things…

Weed/water the garden
Care for the animals
Cut, rake, bale hay
Clean the house
Make the meals
Clean the kitchen
Start again the next day…

I’m finding myself exhausted before the day even begins.
And I’m trying really hard *not* to whine about it.
Which is a huge part of why writing this post has sat and sat and sat…

I am very happy to share that the garden is on track to produce the best crop this year.
We should have a bumper crop of bush beans, if flowers are any indication.
There are crazy amounts of flowers on the zucchini…I’m so excited for a lot of zucchini. I think I’m probably the only person in the world who *hopes* for a huge zucchini crop.
I love it in everything. And now, I’ve found a pickle recipe that uses zucs instead of cukes! I so want to try that!

Daily watering has made a huge difference.
That’s something I struggle with, because we haven’t yet fixed the hose tap on the house, so we’re running a hose from the yard hydrant over by the garage.
That’s a couple hundred feet…and my hose is holy.
OMG
That sounds like a terrible country song!!

“Waterin’ ma garden
With a holy hose
I’m waterin’ more weeds
Than ma tomatoes”

πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Point is…I need a new hose. Or a few to put together, that won’t water the weeds while I’m trying to water the food forest.

Oh and we had a heat wave the last week or so…
It was hotter than…well, it was hot.
We lost almost half of our meat chicks.
Talk about frustration.
These guys are supposed to be our winter food, but if I lose them early, it makes it so much harder to get enough put up to feed everyone through to next year.
I did contact the hatchery and had a good chat with the owner, who gave me some tips for next time.
Fingers crossed that all grow well for us now!

Sable is feeling much better!
Though I’ll tell you, she’s probably so sick of me by now.
I’m all over her ever day to make sure she’s feeling better.
I have been so worried about her…let me tell you, lose one and it breaks your confidence. Or, at least it did mine.
So, I’m trying not to be a pain in the Vet’s ass, while still trying to make sure that our Cinder-Bella is healthy.
Add into that my ridiculous anxiety about making phone calls…sweet merciful crap, now *that’s* a pain in the ass!
Like when we finished Sable’s shots, and we found she was losing skin in spots…I had to call and find out if this was a side effect of the drugs, or was this something else.
Then, we found the same thing going on with Ruby on her chest.
Turns out, it was reactions to horsefly bites.
Something I should have recognized, and been able to handle without a vet call, but I panicked.
Jeez, I’ve always prided myself on not being “that owner” who calls over every little thing…yet, here I am.

But, the good thing about the Girl’s skin…
I did a betadine scrub on them, to clean up the loose skin, coated them in SWAT (to protect from the damn bugs) and now everyone is good again.
All the hair has grown back in.
So I’m lighting daily smudges, as the wind allows.
That’s the only thing that’s effectively combating the stupid horse flies. That layer of smoke on the mare’s coats gives them a couple of hours protection after they leave the safety of the smudge smoke.

I did get a chance to photograph a lovely prairie sunset the other day:

See the mares at the bottom?
❀

So, y’know, I’m trying to focus on the beauty and splendor of country living, instead of whining all the time.
LOL
Sometimes though, it feels like all I’m doing is whining.
πŸ˜‰

Soon enough, harvest will happen.
*Then* I’ll whine, out loud, often and with gusto.
As we put chickens and pigs in the freezer, I pull out the pressure canner for veggies, and tomato products, and with a whole lotta Bambi Dancing luck, we get a deer or two to add to the freezer.
Then I’ll be whiney and tired, more than I am now, and I’ll be longing for the quite days of hay, weeding and watering.

Winter is coming.

Advertisements

Puzzled

Ruby was puzzled this morning…

“Uh, Food Lady…we have an issue here.”

“See that hay over there? That’s *yesterday’s* hay.
Where is today’s hay?”

“Just what do you think you’re trying to pull?!??”

That darn mean and awful Food Lady…
How dare I think they should finish what they have before adding more hay to the pile.
πŸ˜‰

And now, because it’s Feline Friday at Comedy Plus, here’s a picture of Trouble using the hay wagon as his very own personal bath tub.

TroubleCat

Enjoy your Friday, folks!

A Look Back at 2017

So, here we go into 2018.
Let’s take a last look back at 2017 first, ‘kay?

I’m not a Resolution kinda gal, but I do like that look back at the things that worked, the things that need a little tweaking and the things that were a fail. Then, we adjust from there, for the next year.
Plus, there’s all the pretty pictures to look at. πŸ˜‰

So, since we’ve got 12 months of stuff to look at, let’s get at ‘er…

January

Very first image of 2017…first one I shot, first one I shared.


No Yule season is the same without a Yule pony picture…Ruby took that to a whole new level by trying to eat one of the decorations.
Jerk. πŸ˜‰

“Hey Mom, you put apples on the tree??”
~Ruby

My Old Ladies… ❀
Practicing their long and low trot.
It may not look like much in a photo, but this is so beautiful in person…I could watch them do this all day long. Just look at how in sync they are here…gorgeous!

Holding the heat vent down…

It was a typical frigid winter, so Miss Daisy Mae did what any good cat does…stay warm on the heat vent, while I Dreamed about the garden and coming Spring.

My shoe box full of seeds…

February

February saw us playing in the snow…

I love this shot so much…feral or friendly Palomino?!?

Doing some hoof maintenance…

“Make sure it looks good too, Dad!”
~Sable

And doing portraits…

❀

❀

 

And then, there was this fun shot…

Who doesn’t like a pink mint?

March

March is when we start getting out more, thinking about the coming Spring. We can smell it on the wind, the snow is slowly melting…and the cats?

Ghost (in front) and Trouble

Out more, wandering, looking for trouble…but not these 2 ^^^ anymore. 2017 saw them become fat, lazy, neutered boys.
That’s a good thing, because those boys were going out fighting way too much!

“Do you mind??!?”
~Gabrielle

Gabrielle has a pee inside a hoof print in a snow bank.
Weirdo. LOL!!

Xena, asking for belly rubs…

Pretty Xena, enjoying the sunshine.

Max and Ruby

Aww, Max and Ruby. πŸ˜‰

Then, the water came…

Luckily, Lake Midnight didn’t stick around nearly as long this March.

Splashing in the puddle…

Oh, but my Girl made sure to play in it. Splashy ponies are so fun to watch. πŸ™‚ Do you see the heart I clipped into her coat? On her bum?

Then came the photo shoot to celebrate the arrival (if only on the calendar) of Spring!

“Oh! Hey Mama…whatcha doin'”
~Cookie

***Sigh***
“Seriously?!? Why do you keep doing this to me?”
~Astrid

“If I have to wear this, I want treats.”
~Sable

April

Easter, more portraits both at Home and at Home-away-from-Home, sleeping horses and mud…
So.
Much.
Mud.

Sable EasterPony

❀

❀

Oreo

Sable

The look I get when I wake Astrid from a snoring sleep…

And a muddy, stinky Palomino has a roll…

May

Pig babies!!!
Pig babies arrived in May…

Bacon Bits 2017

They are so cute when they’re little.
Before they figure out the Food Lady, before they fully understand their new world around them…I just want to snuggle them, and hug them, and pet them…LOL!!
But wait, later on, I’ll show you how much bigger they get…

This is our brave piglet…

See? Little, so adorable…
The grass is coming back, the sun is shining more, the Girls love to bask in the sunshine…they’re like giant cats in the sun.
Sunshine melts their bones into jelly. ❀

Sable just wanted me to know she was tired.

Ruby

Sunshine jelly bones means I get to practice my sunrise photography.
Sunrise is my favorite time of day to shoot. ❀

Ghost

June

By June, school is almost done for The Kid, the garden has seeds and some plants, and we’re looking ahead to meatie chickens…

Tilling my soon to be garden space…

The Kid forking green food to piglets…

Pig babies are figuring out, and loving the weeds getting forked to them…and growing like weeds too!

Andy Piggie says “Listen Food Lady, if you aren’t bringing us food, then why are you waking us up?”


Daphne rests after running like a maniac (her everyday normal) and throwing weeds around the yard, while barking and growling at them.

Having a rest in the long grass…

Max helps me in my early morning photography, and our Blonde Girl…

Sable looks on with interest…

Is bright gold after shedding out her winter fuzzies.

July

July brings us the first hay cutting…I did good this year!
Near onto 700lbs of cut with a scythe, hand raked and baled hay.
Yay, me!!

Filled, strings tied…

July also brings us flowers, rodeo trips and bugs…

❀

The air this bull got was amazing.

“Oh. Hello.
Did you want to pass?”

The deer in the middle of our road…we’d just turned off the highway towards the Farm, and youngster was standing there. Such a beautiful image of our road to Home.


All those bugs means smudge fires…Our Ruby, she does love a good smokey fire. πŸ˜‰

“It’s just so relaxing, Mama!”
~ Ruby



August

Blankets, a birthday, apple slices, ducks and more…

“Ermagerhd!!! I’m being eat…oh, wait, this ain’t so bad.”
~ Cookie

Old Ladies need to know they *can* wear blankets. Especially when it’s frigid cold, and Mama needs to know Old Ladies are safe. ❀

❀

I turned 45.
My Pony and I had a photo shoot together…
My Kid captured this perfectly.
I love everything about this shot.
❀

“Oh, hello there Ladies…would you like some apple slices?”

My 4 moochers…
Kid has a bucket full of apple slices, I lay on the ground by the fence.
Wholly and completely inspired by Underlook and his Under-Horse project…

Ohoh!!
Some one got a sour one!

And then these 2 arrived…thanks to a friend from the Stable…

Quack quack quack

Gotta tell ya, these 2 boys have grown a lot!
Looking forward to spring, when I can get them some girlfriends. πŸ™‚

Heh.
The ears tell you how much she appreciated being photographed.

My BabyGirl doing a normal horse thing…enjoying the relief from bugs in the smoke of the smudge. ❀

September

My biggest accomplishment for September was helping my Cookie get over her fear of having her breakaway halter taken off.
It was huge for her…
In fact, you can read about it here:
They Don’t Need To Understand

❀

October

In October I met a horsewoman that I have long admired at a clinic I was beyond excited about…

This was a preview image from the Anna Blake clinic…
I still have to finish those images to share them.
But, I learned a lot at the clinic and come home ready to share that knowledge with my mares.

Winter coats are more obvious…

Fluff from the poplars rests on long fuzzy hairs…

Naps in the sun are still a priority…

And the Pig Babies begin their journey to Freezer Camp…
See? Not so little and cute any more!

Joining their neighbours, the meat chickens…

November

The land is getting ready for sleep, its cooling off, and we’re ready to do the annual Remembrance Day shoot…

This year I wanted a simple image, with a big impact…
A yellow ribbon, placed on one who would always wait for her Love to come Home to her…


2 days after I took this picture November broke me.
Ripped my Heart right out of my chest and destroyed me.
November 13th.
I can never, ever forgive November for this…

Sable saying goodbye…

November 13th…
My Heart.
My Soul.
My Best non-human Friend.
My Cookie…crossed Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge, taking a huge chunk of my Heart with her.

Hubby took this while I was working on convincing her to wear that ribbon…she loved cats. I love that they’re sharing breath here…Coal was an amazing comfort to her. She was the only cat other than Cookie’s Felix who was allowed to sit on her back. ❀

A funeral pyre fitting for my Warrior Queen.
πŸ˜₯

December

I have no pictures for December.
I’ve taken nothing on the Farm since that fire.
I am, in truth, so glad that 2017 is finally done.

I have things to do.
I have places to go.
I have things to learn.
I have a Heart to heal and a camera to learn how to love again.
That’s all on the list for 2018.

Hope you’ll stick with us on that Journey.

Happy New Year.

First Snow of the Year, # 500 and the Anna Blake Clinic

We’re headed hard and fast into crock pot season.
Heh. Who am I kidding…it’s always crock pot season here, unless it’s bbq season. πŸ˜‰

This morning we’re in the midst of our first snow storm.
Which started out as a rain storm. And, there’s a ton of wind.
Of course there is. Why wouldn’t there be a ton of wind to chill down the wet ponies, right?
*sigh*
I could be wrong, but I don’t think this snow is going to stick with us.
Supposed to be sunny and +5*c on Saturday.
Which is good, because I’ve got 14 more chickens to get into the freezer, and we still have the pigs to do.

But…

The bulk of our winter hay is on the yard.
We’ll probably need another dozen bales come beginning of March, but what’s here will get us through the worst of the cold.
Our straw bales were delivered Tuesday.
We are so lucky…
We have wonderful friends who, for a 3rd year in a row, have given us big straw bales to build the shelter extension for Sable (and the other 3).
I hope they know how much we appreciate it. We say thank you often, but I really do hope they know… ❀
This year, Hubby was able to work out a deal with the fellow giving us the straw and our (mutual) Hay Guy to have the straw delivered.

This.
Was.
Wonderful!!!

Since Hubby has been putting in soooooo much O.T on the weekends (which is why we still have 6 pigs to send to Freezer Camp), our Kid hasn’t been getting the same # of riding lessons in. πŸ˜₯
And, the last 2 years, when she had lessons, we brought the trailer, and brought home 4 bales at a time.
This year that didn’t work…but an empty trailer after a hay delivery and some awesome folks made getting the straw home possible.
We have a few bottles of rum to distribute this Yule as a thank you!!

#500…

This is the 500th post here.
Yeah, I talk a lot. πŸ˜‰
But, it’s also been 4 years, so, really, not that much.
LOL!

These guys were back around this week:

Bald eagles

I wasn’t thrilled to see them hanging out in the trees closest to the poultry yard. Neither was the poultry.
All the chickens were hiding in one of the 3 houses, whilst the ducks were defiantly making their presence known…and fluffing themselves up so that they appeared bigger. It was rather interesting to see them putting on their “Ima tough duck!” display.

I went out and shoo’ed the eagles away…flapping a feed sack at them is just startling enough to get them to fly off. Perfect, because there ain’t much else I can do to an eagle, know what I mean?

Then there’s this one…

Little Red

Y’know how I keep saying Astrid is pushing her luck with Cookie?
Luck done run out for Little Red.

See, I keep telling her to quit starting shit. She’s not going to win against that Paint, that Paint is going to clean her clock.
Oh, does Miss Astrid listen?
Naw.
She’s pretty sure she’s 10 feet tall and bullet proof.
Except she ain’t, and she’s feeling it now.

She started shit over 1 of 4 hay piles. Tried to drive Cookie off…Cookie let it go…twice…3rd time? She took a round out of Astrid.
Normally that means a few bites and a kick leveled at her. And, Little A is pretty darn good at avoiding those kicks and bites.
This time she got caught. She tried to deke, and I saw the second she did it, she was going to lose…poor Little Red tweaked her back.
*sigh*
Cookie’s bite connected, there were squeals and snorts, and Astrid slowly moved away.
I got the ice pack and dropped it on her right away, trying to bring the swelling down…and got in contact with the vet.
She’s pulled a muscle.
Rest (as much as is possible without stalls), liniment and gentle stretches.
With daily admonitions from Mama…
“DumbAss. Told you to quit pushing the Black One. Told you, you ain’t gonna win. But did you listen?? Oh, no! Had to learn the hard way. DumbAss.”
*rolls eyes*

And the Anna Blake clinic…

We were late.
So awesome for someone with social anxiety, coming into something late, at a new place, with all new people, and having to catch up.
Wheeee! That was fun.
But, we got there, and it was good.

Did I learn stuff?
Oh, hell yeah.

Did I take pictures?
Um, really? Do you have to ask? πŸ˜‰
Still working on them, around everything else.

Preview:


Of course I took pictures…what better way for a person with social anxiety to hide, but still soak up as much knowledge as possible? lol

I do wish I had a chance to pick Anna’s brain a little more about Ms Cookie and her halter…we did start a conversation about it, but then it was lunch and things got busy and we didn’t get a chance to finish talking.
I also recognize as an auditor, I don’t get to have as much time (if any) from any clinician. It’s nice when you get it, but the people paying full price tend to (and should) get more time/instruction.

So, was the clinic worth going to?
Oh, yeah. And I still wish that I could have brought Cookie.
Not that we’d have done any of the riding part, because Cookie don’t do that…yet…but the hands on learning with her would have been so valuable.
But, I can only do with Cookie what Cookie is okay with me doing.
Her pace always, not mine. πŸ˜‰

Now, I’m going for some fresh coffee…
It’s cold and blustery and I still have to check on the pigs and poultry…and check in with the horses again.
Not ready for winter.
Just want to register my protest.
Not that Mother Nature cares.

Winter is Coming

And I’m already tired.

The nights have been cooler.
The days, when not raining, well, not so much.
But the nights are cooler, and there is a definite scent of Fall in the air.

I’m not ready.
There is so much work to do before we can settle in and say we’re ready for Winter.
The good news?
I have the hay money all set aside for a full delivery of hay, not a month to month purchase like last year.
Thank Epona for that!! Just have to get that arranged…

But before winter comes we have so much other stuff to do…
I have to start 2nd cut on my hay.
Now it’s going to be just the front, around the fruit trees.
Hubby used the mower on the tractor to cut the back yard because we had people come out for our Anniversary party.
The grass wasn’t quite long enough for hay yet, and we needed to not sit in mosquio-ized grass.

There’s this guy…

Meat chicken…

And 48 of his friends (we lost one last weekend to a “piling” incident) to get ready for their Freezer Camp session…

As well as this guy…

Andy Piggie

And 5 of his pals to do the same with.
Plus, once the pig processing starts, I’m hoping to run the smoker for a few days and get some hams and bacon done as well.
Last year I didn’t get bacon done before winter, and um, I was sad.
LOL!
Having home smoked bacon for the winter months will be wonderful…but pigs don’t start the Freezer Camp journey until into October, and the weather can be unpredictable then.
Of course, now that Hubby’s garage is cleaned up, I can run it in there in cases of inclement weather.
So, that’s a huge bonus!

I’m also working on getting this one…

❀

Used to wearing a blanket.
It’s been a slow and steady process, and neither one of us have died yet.
That’s good. πŸ˜‰
I figure with the way the weather has effected her the past couple rough seasons, being able to toss a blanket on her (and Sable as well) will go a long way towards my sanity through the long cold months.
Normally, I don’t worry about blankets for the Girls, but the 2 Old Ladies sometimes just need a little extra help.
And it’s my responsibility to make sure they get it.

And then there’s these 2…

Quack quack quack

Ducks are new to me.
I’ve never wintered ducks before.
This is a learning experience, and again, it’s my responsibility to make sure they get what they need.

Oh, and there’s the garden to put to bed, once things are done there.
That should be done before pigs go to Camp, so that the pigs can eat some of the left overs…pea plants, bean plants, carrot tops…that sorta thing.
Sadly, can’t give ’em potato plants or tomato plants, because nightshade family, so those will be burned.
Then we can cover in manure, pull the tarp and stake it down.
All so we can be ready for next spring, when the plan/hope is to get the whole of the garden planted.

We’re also hoping to set the fence posts for the next pasture.
I know, said that last summer/fall, but yeah, I really want either a milk cow or a couple steers next year to round out the meat freezers. Another pasture is a need, to be able to do either one.

At the end of the day, I know all will be well.
The Kid will miss a few weekends of riding lessons while the work gets done, we’ll work until we’re so tired we can’t think…then go do some more, and all will get done.
Why?
Because, it has to be done.
That’s the simple answer.

So, if you start seeing one picture posts, or no posts for a little while, it’s all good.
We’re just getting ready for the inevitable.
Winter is coming.

Monday Morning

It’s a long weekend here.
I’m listening to the birds singing, the little meat chickens peeping and flapping about, hennys singing their egg songs, piggies grunting and playing and the occasional snort from the mares.
Everyone else is still sleeping…

Normally I’m all about the “get out of bed, there’s chores to be done!” but this weekend has been rather productive, so I’m letting them sleep.
Saturday was a putter around the Farm yard day, doing a whole lot of little things, that don’t look like much ’til you stop for the day and see how much you’ve actually done. And then, there was the plan for yesterday…

My Bro came out to give Hubby a hand with cleaning out the garage.
It’s something that’s been needing to be done for the past 3.5 years, and time just hasn’t been there. But, my hay cutting kinda forced our hands and it had to be done to be able to effectively store the hay for winter.

So, that was an 8 hour job yesterday.
Now it’s done, and Hubby can finally use the garage as a shop…oh, and with the tractor pulled out, I could work on teaching horses to stand in there on cold days for hoof trimming. πŸ˜‰

And then, this bin was moved in, to stack my hay in, and on top of…

Full of my first cutting…

It’s 4’x8′, and 8 feet tall. As you can see, I have it jammed full.
I had extra bales that wouldn’t fit inside, so we tossed them to the horses. Yeah, I coulda stacked them on top (that’s where 2nd cutting will go, when I start in a few weeks), but, they were standing around the smudge fire and I figured feeding them there would be a good thing. That way, they can enjoy the bug free zone, and have some noms.

Speaking of the smudge…
Look who’s enjoying it too:

Aww, they’re so cute all lined up like that! πŸ˜‰

It’s taken The Cookie a while to come around to hanging out in the smoke. Sometimes, she’s terribly anti-social, and hanging out in the bug free zone is a social activity. It gets hard for her to handle…and yet, the lure of the lack of bugs is even harder to resist.
I’m just happy to see her do normal horse things. πŸ˜‰

Heh.
The ears tell you how much she appreciated being photographed.

I had to sneak out of the house, hide the camera, and turn the focusing beep off to catch these shots of her doing normal horse things.
It’s really quite hilarious.

Then there’s this…

❀ Sable ❀

There are no words for how adorable it is to see a horse try to scratch their ear with a hind foot…she gave up and chewed an itch instead.
I did help her out and give that ear a scritching. πŸ˜‰

Onward and upwards, folks.
Today we work on hoof trims…
Have a great week!

Baling Hay

Last week I told you how I broke my baling bin.
In reality, I was using a simple blue recycling bin to shove my hay into and tie up.
I’ve been after Hubby to build me something a bit more substantial for a while now, because hay is an important commodity.
Yesterday, he got the job done, and I was able to bale up the last of my first cutting…

Simple box made out of 2x4s, 2x6s, and some other scrap bits we had around the Farm yard.

There are 4 nails in the bottom, to hold the baling twine in place while I fork mass amounts of hay into it…

Filled, strings tied…I think I could have filled it more, but that’s going to be a trial and error thing.

I also got him to put nails on the outside, so I can wrap the twine around them and keep it from shifting at the top.

Voila!
Finished bale.

The joy is, I can fill, stomp down and tie all by myself with this…I just place a knee on the grass to pull the twine tight and tie it.

Hubby holding the finished bale.

And that, my friends, is just about 25lbs of hay.
So, in terms of feeding, that’s an average daily meal for 1 horse.

Next thing to do is adapt the baler to put it on the furniture dolly, so it’s easy to move around. That’ll be done with a couple of eye bolts and a bungee cord or two, so that it’s not permanently fixed to the dolly.
After that, we’re onto building a hay shed, because seriously, Hubby is running out of room in the garage for my bales.
πŸ˜€
That’s a good problem to have!!