Labour Day Weekend

How, oh how, can it be September already?
I feel like I’m going into Fall kicking and screaming.

“I don’t wanna get ready for winter….waaaahhhhhhh!!!!”

*sigh*

And yet, the signs are all there.
The cooler nights.
The geese are coming back.
Combines on the fields.
Horses are getting fuzzy… 😥

I’m not ready for fuzzy horses…last night at beet pulp time, Bella said she isn’t either.
Ah, but we have no choice. Time marches on, and away we go towards the coming winter.

This weekend has been a busy one.
Hubby worked Saturday, came home to take The Kid back to the city for back to school shopping.
Grade 11, this year.
Once more, where is time going?!?
How can I be okay with watching my baby girl handle a 1200lb animal, including jumping, and yet, be so on edge with her handling her Father’s truck??
It’s not that I doubt her skills.
She’s had a good teacher…
It’s the fact the she’s grown up enough to be legally allowed to take the truck out.

*sigh*
Damn that Father Time. 😉

Yesterday, Hubby worked on the winter duck house.
We cobbled together a quick shelter when we realized that putting them in the coop with the meat chickens wasn’t viable.
Now, we need to put together an insulated coop (with a heat lamp) for winter. Still don’t know genders, but that’s okay. In spring we’ll figure it out, and we’ll add whatever gender we need to get baby ducks.
Hubby is building a good-sized coop, because we’re all pretty darn enamored with ducks.
And we all like duck meat.

Ducks ❤

Seriously, how adorable are these 2?
Rain (front) always has an opinion…I have to admit, I love that.
I love an animal that you can have a conversation with, and I can totally do that with Rain.
Jazzy (back) is much quieter and a little more wary…s/he is warming up slowly, but is still uncertain of this crazy person who keeps trying to pet her/him. LOL!
Today, I had them both nibbling grain out of the feed scoop.

Speaking of feed scoops…

This one:

😉

Has learned how to lick the pig grain out of their feed scoop.
Now, nobody panic…the pigs eat a crushed wheat/barley mixture as their primary feed. Nothing that can harm a horse in any way.
In fact, Sable gets anywhere from 1/4-1 full cup of this grain mixture a day in her beet pulp.

Yesterday though, she had the pleasure of eating it from the scoop, once I was done feeding the piggies.
Just a few licks, as a treat. 🙂

“I like apples…”
~ Cookie

I’m so loving this taken-from-below set of images.
The Girls look so different from that angle, and it’s an absolutely fun set. I’ve got a few more I’ll share over the next few days…

With the forest fires, the high winds from the North, and our own smudges for bugs, we’ve had a few fairly smokey days…the haze on the image above is only 1/2 from the smudge fire.
It’s been hard on The Kid, and Cookie has been coughing a bit too.
😦

And then, there’s my MaxCat, who in one frame sums up my feelings for today…

“Really? You want me to what now??”
~ MaxCat

I’d love to crawl back into bed with a good book and a big bowl of bbq chips. Not to be though. As always, there’s work to do. And, I don’t have any chips.
We’ve actually managed to break the chip addiction in the house. Haven’t bought a bag in near onto 3 months.
Whew! That was a hard habit to break!
Anyways…
Onward and upward.
Winter is coming.
Boo.
😉

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45

I thought it might feel different.
I don’t know why.
But I don’t feel any different today than I did yesterday.
45 doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal.

Yesterday, with help from The Kid, this happened:

I love that my leg and her left front are at the same angle.
I love my “appaloosa” spots on my foot.
I love that little spot of white peeking through on her left hind.
I love the background.
All in all, it turned out better than I had hoped it would.

It was a mess, this shoot, to begin with.
From time to time, I forget prickly mare is prickly.
I can’t just walk up to her, snap a lead on and say “Here’s something new to do, let’s do it right now.”
That’s not how she works.
I know this, but sometimes, I forget. I get so focused on the end product that I go in hot and ready, and she’s like “Um, nope.”
Sometimes, she’s so good at doing the “normal horse” thing that I forget, she’s anything but…

And then, there was the Other 3…
I wanted this shot at ground level, so The Kid needed to be on the ground. The Other 3 wanted to see what she was doing down there.
*sigh*
So Hubby had to hold them off, while The Kid shot the image, and I called directions.
It’s a wonder we got anything good.
Breathe deep.
Embrace the Chaos.
LOL!!

I’m happy with the final image though, and there are a few more that, with a little post production tweaking, will be just as good.
All in all, it went well, and I got what I was wanting.
Hopefully, that bodes well for the year ahead.
🙂

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. 😉

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! 😉

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. 😉

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. 😉

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.
😀
That’s a good problem to have!!

Friday’s Hunt July 30th

Can you believe that in 2 days its August?
Already?
Summer is flying by…
I’ve finished first cutting of our hay, and have more in my first cut that I had all last year. I’ve broken my baling bin, and Hubby’s plan today is to build something to do the task for me. Which is good, because I have my last few bales worth finishing drying and will be ready for baling this afternoon.

We’re coming up on 4 years here.
August 16th makes 4 years of Farm life.
And yet, it feels like a life time. 🙂

In 4 years we’ve gone from our little urban “farm” to a rural one, raised pigs, meat chickens, hennys for eggs, and cared for 4 lovely equines.
In 4 years we’ve redesigned this property to produce food for us, with a 24×40 garden (and this year, I actually got much of it planted!), 9 smaller raised beds, and a whole bunch of fruit trees and bushes.
Last week, I savored the first 2 honeyberries that came off our bushes.
Today I’m planting 2 red currant bushes, which, should they do well, will be propagated into a nice little orchard of currants.

It’s been a lot of work, and we’ve got a long way to go to get to where we want to be.
I still don’t have a milking animal, and we are still planning on bison. Those are adventures still to be written about…but for today, I have my images for Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.

Prompts are Starts with D, Favorite, and Photographer’s Choice.

Starts with D

The lilies are blooming, which in my world means a photo shoot with horses. As always, Astrid gets excited to join in on the fun, because humans and bug juice and pets and scritches and oh my!!
And then, when it’s her turn, she begins to wonder if this is all as fun as she though it might be…

“Uh, wait…
This isn’t what I thought was going to happen!”
~ Astrid

I figured, since she was relaxed, and enjoying the attention, that putting the lilies in her mane would be easy peasy…nope, she turned into a big old dork and kept flinging her head up, saying “No! I don’t want that!!”
Silly Girl. 😉

Favorite

This one… ❤


And this one… ❤


And this one… ❤

Photographer’s Choice

Deer Watching

We wandered off to a local rodeo this past Saturday.
Took some pictures, enjoyed the mini donuts (I need a mini donut machine!), bought tickets to the foal raffle (we didn’t win 😦 ) and then, on the drive home, we saw these young ladies:

“Oh. Hello.
Did you want to pass?”

We were in no hurry, so Hubby just stopped the truck, while I and friend Shay pulled out our cameras.
And while it’s not the best quality image (it’s taken through the dirty windshield) I love this shot. ❤

Then Hubby caught movement to his left…

Hiding in the trees of the cow pasture, watching to see what we were going to do.

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.
🙂