Monday Morning

With a busy week ahead.
This coming weekend, we are sending the first of our 3 piggies to freezer camp. Like the Peepers, we’ll do this ourselves.
While I’ll be sad to see them die, I am looking forward to having more home-grown meat in the freezer.

3 piggie bums...

3 piggie bums…

Once the pigs are all butchered, we’ll spread some cover crop seeds in there, so that when the piglets arrive next spring, there will be some delicious greens growing for them. ๐Ÿ™‚

Getting a thoughtful look from Anthony...

Getting a thoughtful look from Anthony…

I also have some sewing repairs that I have to get done before winter…ugh. I put off the zipper replacements too long. Didn’t want to do them while it was blistering hot and now, we’re looking at needing some of the in-between jackets…which, of course, are the ones needing fixing. Surprise!

But, I also want to get a start on getting some fresh pasta noodles in the freezer. At least a couple of bags, before the piggies get in there…I don’t know what kind of room I’m going to have, once the pigs are done. And, there’s fat to render for lard!
I was given some by a couple other friends when they got their pigs done. Mmmmm, lard!
Makes me look forward to bannock and chili in the winter. Nothing better than coming in from freezing your ass off working outside and smelling chili in the crock pot and bannock in the oven.
*drools*

This guy likes bannock and chili too!

This guy likes bannock and chili too!

The outdoor cats will be very happy with the butchering too…like the Peepers, there will be no waste, because what we don’t eat, the cats will. Some we’ll let them binge on, other parts will be ground and frozen in pre-portioned amounts for winter feeding.
That, to me, is a bonus…not only is the Farm feeding the humans, but, we can make raw cat food as well.

Oh you silly hennys!

Oh you silly hennys!

Mondays are “toss a bit more straw down in the coop” day…and then the hennys notice and get all mad at me.
“The hell, Food Lady! You wrecked our home, we must redecorate!”
Keeps them entertained. ๐Ÿ˜‰

And then, there’s the Girls…

Interesting sleeping position...

Interesting sleeping position…

Sable sleeps in the oddest ways.
She stayed like that for a good 10 minutes. I don’t know how it was comfortable. Funny Girl.

Astrid looking lovely as her winter woolies grow in...

Astrid looking lovely as her winter woolies grow in…

Ignore the poop piles in the background. I haven’t had a chance to get out with the wheelbarrow and pick them up yet.
It’s on the list for this week.

And finally…my helper as I lay in the grass taking pictures of the others…

"Hey Mom. Whatcha doing?" ~ Ruby

“Hey Mom. Whatcha doing?” ~ Ruby

Have the very best day y’all can manage, my friends.
I know it’s Monday, and that ain’t always easy.

Back Again!

Well now, I did it again, didn’t I?
๐Ÿ™‚
It’s been a hectic time, since I posted last…

~ I went off coffee for 7 days. Yup, 100% off all caffeine. I have pictures to show you why.
~ Our Blonde Girl had a colic day. Not a good time for anyone. More coming about that in a bit.
~ I cut 75% of the waist-high (and growing) grass. I really want to get a farm gate built across our driveway, so I can let the Girls out to graze. Instead of having to use a lawnmower for grass control. We’d have that done already, if it wasn’t for the rain. Every weekend. It’s getting a bit ridiculous. But, we’ll get it done, as soon as we can.

First up, some pictures to share…for Mother’s Day, The Kid bought me a geranium plant. Her school has a greenhouse (I know!!) that sells plants to students and is self-sustaining. How freakin’ cool is that?!?

Anyways, this plant has decided to flower. It was really neat watching it progress, and we all know, there’s a photo shoot in everything. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is how the flowering started...

This is how the flowering started…

I thought this was fascinating...

I thought this was fascinating…

Geranium3

Of course, this called for a few macro shots…this is the best one.

This is how it looked when all the flowers opened.

This is how it looked when all the flowers opened.

Now it’s sitting in my kitchen window, new leaves are forming, and in the very center, it looks like another flower stem is coming too.

Next up, Sable.

Kid has been working on ground work with her. Lunging, reminding her of personal space, walking on the halter…all basics that need to be worked, reworked, and reinforced from time to time. It’s good for The Kid, and good for Sable. Consistency is always key, to keeping a well-trained horse well-trained.

Walking a circle on the lunge line.

Walking a circle on the lunge line.

Sable’s biggest problem with working on the lunge line is she’s a pocket pony. She wants to always be beside her human. That’s fine, when she’s given permission to be there, but, not fine, when she’s supposed to stay outside the human personal space. It’s a challenge, sometimes, to remind her of personal space, but it’s 100% necessary. She’s roughly 1200lbs, she has to respect human personal space. I know this is sounding kinda cold and mean, but it’s not. We love her dearly, but, if we say “Back out of my space” it has to be done. We are the leaders, and she has to trust and respect us enough to follow us, no matter what. That’s part of what makes a well-trained horse well-trained.

In this picture, she’s doing very well…she has her ear towards The Kid, and her eye is on her too, watching for cues. The lunge line isn’t tight, but it’s not dragging either.

I also like to include desensitizing in any working session. Mostly because with Cookie, there is a lot of desensitizing that needs doing, but, I also like to do it with all 4 of the Girls. Here’s an example of desensitizing with Sable…

Oh, you want me to wear your hat?

Oh, you want me to wear your hat?

I can’t do this with Cookie.

1. Hats are scary.
2. Hats might kill her and eat her.
3. Hats are scary.
However, seeing Sable (and Astrid) wearing them, Cookie is now willing to sniff my hat. Helps that it smells like me, but there isn’t the instant “Oh shit!! Run!!” reaction all the time now. I have even managed to oil Cookie’s hooves while wearing my hat.

So, even when it looks like the desensitizing is only being done on one horse, trust me, the other 3 are watching and learning that what I’m doing isn’t scary. Cameras used to be terrifying to paints. Now, they both come to see it, and pose. It all comes in time, with patience. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now, for the colic episode…

The day after ^^^^ that session, Kid worked with Sable again. She groomed, tacked, fly sprayed, and with the final girth tightening(always do it in stages, never tight all at once. It’s hard on the horse.), Sable’s mood went downhill fast. She groaned and grumbled, and wouldn’t stand still. She pawed with her front hoof, and danced. All stuff that’s out of character for her. I thought, perhaps she was grumpy due to weather, and didn’t want to work. I was wrong. I told Kid to walk her for a bit, and see how she was. Kid walked her about 30 feet away and Sable went down. She just folded her legs and laid right down, saddle and all.

Yikes!!!

Out of character, and no good! If she rolled, she’d destroy the saddle, and hurt herself. I had Astrid haltered and tied, because I was grooming and fly spraying her, so I just unclipped Little Girl’s halter, sent her off and ran over to The Kid and Sable. I pushed and rocked Big Girl, while Kid undid the girth and got the saddle off. Sable made no move to get up. Just heaved a huge sigh. So, we pushed and yelled, and smacked her over and over to get her up. I’m sure anyone driving by would have thought we were beating her. Nope, just had to get her up. Again, 1200lbs. We needed her to trust, and respect us, enough to do as we said…and that was “Get the eff up!!”

Finally, she heaved herself up, and stood with her head low, cranky llama ears showing.

Oh oh.

That means upset tummy. So, bridle off, halter on, Kid starts moving her, and I’m hitting pressure points. In her mouth, the BL25 and BL27 on her back/rump. When I hit the one in her mouth, she let some gas out…Great sign! Not a big fart, but a small one. It’s great because then, I know, it’s not impaction colic <—-that means a blockage, and oh that’s bad!

So, with a fart, I know, we’re dealing with flatulent, or spasmodic colic. Once the fart happened, I got The Kid to walk her continuous, while I went and called the vet. While I had him on the line, explaining the situation, Sable pooped.

Yay!!

See, owning horses is so glamorous, we celebrate farts and poop. LOL! Really, we do. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The vet advised to continue walking, and monitor. If she showed no sign of improvement, call him back and he’ll head out. I love this vet team…he says “If I don’t hear from you, I know your mare is fine.”

And it’s true…she was. We walked her for the half hour, I hit the pressure points repeatedly. By the time the half hour was up, Sable knew exactly what I was doing in her mouth, and she would raise her top lip for my thumb to go in, and step into the pressure. Finally, we got the longest, loudest, stinkiest fart out of her. Yegawds, it was nasty, but the most amazing thing I had heard, and smelled, all day. Shortly after, she dropped another, much larger, pile of manure. Then, it was like a switch had flipped and she was fine. We walked her around the pasture to where the other 3 had gone, I rubbed her back, her legs, and her tummy a bit, and when she dozed off under my hands, we knew, she was going to be just fine. Kid popped her halter off, and we just let her doze, breathing a huge sigh of relief.

Any idea how badly I wanted to go in and have a pot of coffee?!? LOL!
Wasn’t an option…and now, I’ll show you why. First, the inspirational image..

Princess Cookie 20%This was taken Boxing Day, just over a month after they came Home. Heck, Ruby still has burrs in her forelock!

^^^That picture was transformed into this…

cookie tattoo

Fresh, just finished.

And why I couldn’t have caffeine for a week. This was done on the 11th, so I had to quit caffeine a week prior…I bleed and swell like mad, making the work go so much slower. Frustrating for me, because it’s more painful, and frustrating for the artist because she can’t work as long on me.

In case anyone is interested, the artist we (Hubby and I) choose to work on us, is the amazing, wonderful and insanely talented, Ivy Gowen, of Metamorphosis.

This picture is from earlier this morning…

Starting the ugly phase of healing..I'm so, so happy with it. Squee! I can't wait 'til it's healed!

Starting the ugly phase of healing..I’m so, so happy with it. Squee! I can’t wait ’til it’s healed!

Finally, to end this post, I have a fun picture for you…

When your back is itchy, roll and roll and roll and roll.

When your back is itchy, roll and roll and roll and roll. ๐Ÿ™‚

The great thing, when I look at this, is I see the cracks in her hooves are growing out. When she came home, they were right up to the coronet, and now, they are not. Tells me, I’m doing something right, with this big goof’s care. Having a super patient, and awesome, hoof trimmer helps. A. Lot!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The plan now, is to get back into posting as much as possible. I apologize for the long times in between. Life happens, and sometimes, all we can do is deal. Well, I’m going to be more diligent in sharing our life with all y’all.

Besides, this is post # 97, and at #100, the farm logo will be revealed. With a giveaway, so stay tuned!!
๐Ÿ˜€

 

Daphne vs The Peat Pot

Sometimes, Daphne finds things that she thinks are the greatest toys ever. Like most farm dogs, it’s typically something disgusting. Frozen horse poo (in the winter), fresh horse poo (all the time), bloated ticks, cat poo, assorted pasture garbage…it’s a dog thing, I guess.

After The Kid planted her sunflowers, she left a peat flat on the deck. Well, Daphne decided this was a grand toy!

She went running off the deck, and when I looked over, I saw this going on...

She went running off the deck, and when I looked over, I saw this going on…

Daphne peatpotShe rolled and she snarled and she threw it in the air, then chased it until she came running back up to the house…

Where she fell down beside the stairs, to continue in her mauling of the flat...

Where she fell down beside the stairs, to continue in her mauling of the flat…

There, in the back ground, you can just see the bit that's left...

There, in the back ground, by her back leg, you can just see the bit that’s left…

Dogs are weird. Especially my WhackaDoodle.

Sharing with Camera Critters

Muddy Babys

I know I’ve said it a few times now…the pasture is a mixture of greening grass, mud, poo, and slop. Well, yesterday, the girls decided a mud bath would be a good idea…

Blonde Girl

Blonde Girl

Not so blonde anymore!! Nope, a nice heavy coating of mud on that coat.

Dirty face!

Dirty face!

Not quite so obvious on Cookie, overall, but her face was showing signs of her mud bath.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Oh. My. Gosh.

Yeah, Ruby is the dirtiest…our unicorn is in full muddy disguise here! In case you can’t tell how bad it is, here’s a close up of her rump:

There's a horse under all that mud. Really!

There’s a horse under all that mud. Really!

*sigh* It’ll be interesting getting her clean.

Astrid is the only one who wasn’t coated nose to tail in mud. She did have a bit on her face, so Daphne licked it off for her…

Washing Astrid's face. <3

Washing Astrid’s face. โค

Priorities

Being new to this farmstead means there is a lot of things we want to do…A. Lot. I can’t stress that enough…One of the toughest things to do is prioritize what *needs* doing over what I *want* to do.

Like this:
We *need* more fencing. I *want* a finished chicken coop.
We *need* trees planted. I *want* a milk animal.
We *need* to get the attic dealt with-there are condensation issues, and no access panel. Must be fixed before next winter!
I *want* to re-do the bathroom.
We *need* rotational pastures…we *need* to seed the back 70 acres for pasture…we *need* to get a front gate up…we *need* to build a school bus shack…we *need* to get the walk behind snowblower fixed…we *need* the range hood installed…we *need* to clean the horse shelter…we *need* a barn…

I *want* to build straw bale buildings as guest houses, and a sewing hut…I *want* to have an aquaponics set up (Thanks Paul! Your set up has me dreaming and planning!)…I *want* to get stock ready for the summer Farmer’s Market…

I want to win the lottery… ๐Ÿ˜›
I need to win the lottery… ๐Ÿ˜›

And so on, and so on…there is so much to do, so little time to do it.

So, how do we decide what needs doing first?

First is fencing. Fencing the back 70 acres is #1, prime job to be done. If nothing else, we have to get the posts in. Pulling wire can come later, but as soon as we can get out on the land, we have to get the posts in. Why is this so important? Remember waaay back in this post I mentioned how we had an issue with a neighbour? That particular person leases the land next to us…he used to lease our land from the former owner. I did not buy this land to lease to a farmer, and while I am sympathetic to someone who loses 70 acres of healthy cropland to grow on, I am not willing to give up my land, my goals, to give that person extra crop land. Not when the property was publicly listed, and the person could have purchased it himself.

So, to be sure that our land is *our land* when fenced, I had a survey done…$1600 later, I have markers telling me exactly where my land is. In order to take advantage of that, fencing has to be done first. Also, I want to be sure there are no “mix ups” with that neighbour, and “accidental” seeding of my land happening. Fencing is the way to do that.

After that, comes trees.

I have 6 apple trees, 4 pears, 14 honeyberry bushes, 2 wolfberry bushes, 5 poplars, 60 white cedars, 40 villosa lilacs, and 50 Colorado spruce trees to plant. Yep, that’s a lot of trees. Obviously, trees are the #2 priority.

Oh, and I have 1 cherry tree, that came from the house in the city, to plant too. ๐Ÿ™‚

After that comes the garden. Seed starting happens next weekend. I traditionally start my seeds on Spring Break. Well, that’s next week, and so, it’s time! So many tomatoes to start! Plus the peppers, both sweet ones and hot! With all the snow though, it’s hard to get into the mindset of growing things.

Thankfully, there is a lot of the stuff I can do myself. Like cleaning the horse shelter…plus, once the snow in the pasture melts, the girls won’t insist on being right beside me while I do it.

We are also very blessed with many great friends who have offered to help out with our plans. Thanks to them all…and I hope after this summer, we’re still friends…because I plan to call in every offer I can, to help out. But, I promise to feed everyone really well after each and every work day! ๐Ÿ™‚

Painted Pony Paste

I’ve alluded to this a few times here…and in offline life, I have told more than a couple of stories that included “I thought I was going to be pounded into Painted Pony Paste!” Those stories alway center around time in the pasture with Cookie.

She's so pretty! <3

She’s so pretty! โค

The latest installment in the Painted Pony Paste saga finds us in the pasture, in Feb., just before a new wave of ridiculous cold was coming through. In preparation for the cold, I was attempting to pull up the frozen-to-the-ground straw bales, so I could re-bed the shelter for the horses. Pitch fork and shovel, and finally! Finally, they came loose. Makes horses happy, because oat straw is nummy. Nom, nom, nom, nummy! While Astrid and Ruby argued over who got to eat the chaff that fell out, I took the bales to the shelter, and worked on shredding them. While I shred and fluff, the rule is, no horses in the shelter. There huge, I’m little, in comparison, and I really, really don’t want to die in a 15×15 poop and straw filled shelter.

Normally, I put the wheelbarrow across the entryway, with the bale in it, to block equine entry. That day, however, I just put the bales on the ground. I thought it would be enough to deter nosy horses from bothering me. Oh, how wrong I was!

I had one side covered in fresh bedding, and was working on the next when I saw a large shadow cover the door. Thinking it was Sable-who just wants to be beside people all the time. She’s a total love pony!-I tossed a handful of straw behind me, and kept fluffing. I hear hoof beats behind me, turn around, and see Cookie coming in. Stepping right over the straw bale, and walking in…

Great. I’m about to die…pounded into so much paste, by the prettiest painted pony ever. I’m thinking “Well, at least I will die with the horse I love!”

That’s when she stunned me. Totally and completely.

Understand, that Cookie does not like the shelter. Well, no, that not quite right. She doesn’t like being cornered, or in a situation where she can’t control her path to freedom. She has issues, let me tell you. That’s why hay around the feeder is her bedding:My LoveShe rarely goes in the shelter, and when she does, she’s last one in, with her head poking out.

So, when she walked into the shelter, I was a fair bit surprised. What she did next, gobsmacked me. She walked over to the side where I had just put down a fluffy layer of straw…and lied down. Yup, lied right down, in the straw, and looked at me like I was interrupting her nap. Well, considering the weather was getting worse by the minute, I had to keep adding the straw. I just talked softly to her the whole time-starting with “who are you, and what have you done with my horse?”-while tossing straw.

All she did was grunt at me, and lay flat out…after a few minutes, the big goober started to snore. Huh. Seems that wasn’t my day to become Painted Pony Paste. Instead, it was a day for my girl to openly show her trust in me. A good day, indeed!

Around the Farm

Pictures! Oh how I love sharing pictures with y’all. ๐Ÿ™‚
This is what passes for wall art in our house:

Sable Bridle170314That was The Kid’s birthday present…a bridle for her horse. It’s a Connemara from Greenhawk-one of the most evil places on Earth!-with a loose ring snaffle. She bought it on Saturday, and then yesterday it stormed like mad, so it stayed hung on the wall. Hopefully, the weather will turn nice enough that she can try it on Blonde Girl and see if it fits. Kid bought the WarmBlood size, since Blonde Girl is also known as Big Head. She has a very big head! LOL!

I call this one "Who's yo Daddy?"

I call this one “Who’s yo Daddy?”

We know Daphne’s mom is a GSD. We met her, when we met Daphne, but no one is sure what her dad is. We had hoped, as she grew, she’d show signs of what he might have been, but we’re no closer to figuring it out. She’s on the smaller side for a shepherd, which is a difference from our last girl, OldWoman, who was huge for a shepherd! She topped out, in her prime, at 110 lbs. Practically unheard of, for a purebred GSD. Especially a female. For those of you who are new to my ramblings, here’s what my OldWoman looked like:

OldWomanShe crossed the Rainbow Bridge March23/13 at 14 years old. She was the best dog ever. She coughed on cue to get Fisherman’s Friend cough candies, she would try to sit in my lap anytime she felt sucky…or if we were in the vehicle, or if I was sitting in the grass outside. She was my mama-suck dog, my looks-like-dog-sticks-like-glue dog, my Heart Dog. Her body may not have made it here, but her Spirit runs free over the fields ofย  Midnight Calico Farm.

Smiling girl.

Smiling girl.

My Daphne is no replacement for OldWoman, and really, we shouldn’t try to replace them, just love another set of paws, ears, eyes, and smiles. My Daphne is special in her own way. From chasing and herding the barn cats, to chasing the red dot of the laser pointer. She’s a special little weirdo!

Speaking of weirdos…Blonde Girl has this thing for washing her front hooves in the waterer. I don’t know why. She won’t tell me, but she loves to do it in front of me…and when I yell at her for it, this is the face I get:

Pffttthhhrrbbtt!! I'll wash my feet here if I want to!

Pffttthhhrrbbtt!! I’ll wash my feet here if I want to!

Smart ass.

Notice the drip of water from her lip. :)

Notice the drip of water from her lip.ย 

In order for anyone else to have a drink(because, of course, Sable had poo on her feet when she washed them…it’s probably *why* she washed them. Brat!), I had to chop down the snow pack around the waterer, open it up and clean it. I’m just glad we had above 0*C temps for that! Sticking your hands into water in -40*C weather is nuts. I did not enjoy that job. At. All.

Astrid, peeking between the Paints.

Astrid, peeking between the Paints.

Yes, that’s Ruby’s big round belly there. She doesn’t seem to be getting any bigger…she’s grumpier than normal, but I’m chalking that up to the weather bouncing around all over the place. We’re going from above 0*C to -28*C in 24 hour spans. That’s hard on anyone, and I can’t blame her for being a grump. ๐Ÿ˜‰ So, yeah, I do believe our Ruby is just a fatty. Hahahaha!! Aww, we love her anyways, and this spring, once we get a round pen built, we’ll work it off her, and get her back into shape.

Finally, what’s a farm blog post without a barn cat? Here’s Spooky, our special little cat weirdo…

Spooky100314