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.
😉

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. 😉

“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.

Friday’s Hunt x2

I figure after making all the way through the alphabet last round, I should make just as much of an effort to do the same this round.
I make it sound like it’s hard work, but it’s not, and this really is one of my favorite link ups to join in on.
Life just gets busy at times, so some weeks will be double prompt weeks…like this week is. 😉

We’ll start with last week’s prompts:
Starts with B, Unbalanced and Door

Starts with B

I don’t have a horse whose name starts with b, however, we did go to a rodeo last weekend, so I have a photo of a bucking bull for this one.

The air this bull got was amazing.

I am in absolute awe of the athleticism of these bulls.
For the past few years, we’ve seen the same bulls over and over again, and it’s obvious these guys know their job is to buck, and they enjoy it.

Unbalanced

No matter how many times I watch a horse get up, I hold my breath just a little bit. They look so unbalanced, and legs can be so fragile.

Lookin’ a little drunk there, Astrid. 😉

And then they’re up, and we’re all fine. 😉

Door

Heh, when it doubt for a prompt like this, I go back to images from the Stable…there’s always something I can use!
Like this:

This young lady and her trusty steed silhouetted by the light from the big door.
They stood like this for a few moments after their ride, just enjoying the view and each other.

This week’s prompts:
Starts with C, Building and Something I Wear

Starts with C

Are you expecting a Cookie picture?
Ha!
This time, it’s a cat…my GhostCat.

Being adorable…

He had found a length of rope in the grass and was playing with it. Rolling and singing, tossing it in the air and pouncing.
Happy, normal cat things.
Wonderful things to see from my former feral tomcat.
Guy gets neutered and remembers how to play.
🙂

Building

We finally gotten all of the winter straw bales moved to around the pig yard. The last two were the one’s on the north side of the garage, which made for a small cubby beside the building where the horses could hide from southern winds. Rare around here in winter, but still happened enough to place a couple of bales as windbreaks.
Ruby figured this was a great place to sleep in the sunshine:

All that’s missing here is her horn.

Something I Wear

It’s that time of year…
Outside a lot, sun shining, cutting hay and weeds and working with animals.
A hat is a must…but hats get sweaty, so they need to hang to dry.

You can tell which one is mine, by the hook it’s on. 😉

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

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,  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.
😀

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. 😉

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. 😉

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 😉 ) 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 😉 )
  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.
🙂

Just a Funny Picture

A couple of months ago, I traded a digital thermometer for a 500gb external hard drive. I got the thermometer for a smoking hot deal of $20, and actually bought 2 of them. Along came someone who said, “Hey, I have this hard drive I don’t need, because I upgraded to a 2 TB one, wanna trade?” and I said “Uh, ‘Kay”.

First thing I did was empty my memory card and format it. First time in far too long…and now, as I’m still working on the stable portraits I did in April (this is why I don’t market myself as a photographer, only sell art prints…because I’m a terrible hired photographer), I’m finding images of my own horses that are awesome, adorable, or just plain downright hilarious.

I have 1 folder I have been avoiding for the past year too.
It’s the one with all the images of Cookie colicking, when I didn’t realize it was colic, until after I was done shooting.
I just can’t bring myself to look at them, and I can’t delete them either.
So they sit there.
But, at least I have a whole lot of space for them to sit in now. 😉

What I found though, was another image that just makes me smile…

Having a darn good roll.

She was as happy as a pig in…well, you know… 😉

It was a muddy, messy, sloppy day, she was starting to shed out the winter coat and was itchy, and rolling around in the muddy messy slop was fun.
And no, I will not apologize for having her “parts on display”, and nope, I will not “protect her dignity”.
Both were things I was told by an anonymous commenter when I posted a similar image of Sable a while back…
This horse has no dignity when it comes to rolling around like a pig in muddy slop.
Hahahaha!!!
😀

Also, I tried to figure out a way I could make this post/image work with The Daily Post’s prompt for today, Bumble.
I couldn’t come up with anything, so I’m just shamelessly linking to the post anyways. 😉

Smokey Ruby

A few more images from the smudge fire…
This horse sure does love a good smoke bath, that’s for sure!

“It’s just so relaxing, Mama!”
~ Ruby

Grit is that ‘extra something’ that separates the most successful people from the rest.
It’s the passion, perseverance, and stamina that we must channel in order to stick with our dreams until they become a reality.
~ Travis Bradberry

What does it take to be the first female anything?
It takes grit, and it takes grace.
~ Meryl Streep

Above her ears, you can actually see the heat coming off the smoke…Ruby don’t care. No bugs are buggin’ her while she stands in the smoke. ❤

One of the greatest boons that can ever come to a human being is to be born on a farm and reared in the country.
Self-reliance and grit are oftenest country-bred.
~ Orison Swett Marden

Where There’s Smoke…

There’s Ruby, in there like a dirty shirt. 😉

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. 🙂