Garden 2017

Y’all remember how last year my garden, due to circumstances beyond our control, became a giant plot of weeds?
Not that we wasted anything, those weeds fed pigs for the summer, but still, it was hard on the ol’ FarmHer spirit to not have a garden going.
In the fall, with the last cutting of pig feed, we started covering the area with old plywood. Stuff we had lying around, but wasn’t good enough for building with…well we discovered that the soil underneath the wood was lovely. Still a bit of grass and weeds, but nowhere near as bad as last year.
Problem was, we didn’t have enough to cover the whole garden…takes a lot of wood to cover a 24×40 foot garden!

Ahhh…but we are nothing if not adaptable to the situation. 😉

The yellow/brown grass is where the wood was…

You can see though, that there is some really good grass growth on the side…*sigh*

So, the space that was covered by wood is about 12 feet wide, and the full 40 foot length of the garden. Even our powerful little tiller was having a rough time with the full grassy area…and so, what we’re going to do is this…

I’m going to plant everything I can in the 12×40 foot space, mulch it heavily with straw, and be happy with a space that is 3 time the size of any garden I had in the city…

Then, while the one side grows, we’re going to use our ever renewing composting manure pile to cover the other side, and then, we have a huge hay tarp we bought…back when I had visions of actually tarping our hay…but that never happened because, seriously, more trouble than it’s worth. You want hard on a marriage?!? Try tarping hay together…I wish I was kidding about that. :/

We’ve had this tarp sitting, and we figured now we’ll put it to good use. It can cover the side that’s too weedy right now, and then, once the growing season is done in the fall, it’s big enough to cover the entire garden.
We’ll start fresh for the entire space next spring. 🙂

Adapt, overcome, move forward.

Tilling my soon to be garden space…

Sable looks on with interest…

As he was tilling, Hubby had to stop periodically to untangle roots from the tines of the tiller…he’d toss them off to the side, and our (definitely not) starving Sable had to try to reach them so she could eat them…

“I am wasting away here, Dad….
I am but a shell of my former gloriousness as a beautiful horse…
Soooooo hungry…
Can I has those roots please??”
~ Sable

While Hubby used the tiller, I put the scythe back to work, and cut the entirety of the rest of the garden, in prep for adding compost and covering.
Like last year, those greens did not go to waste…

The Kid forking green food to piglets…

As usual, when yard work is happening, Daphne ran around like a maniac…nothing this dog does is at low speed. She just runs until she flops down, dog tired.

Having a rest in the long grass…

When we were finally done, and I walked into the house, this is what I found:

Daisy Mae and Odhinn

He’s always complaining about Daisy bothering him…she’s not even 2, he’s an old man at 15. But that doesn’t stop the snuggles when cats need naps. 😉

Double Double

I missed last week’s Friday’s Hunt hosted by Teresa at Eden Hills.
Since I have resolved to make a valiant effort to do the post every week, I feel I must do a double post this week…starting with last week’s prompts…Starts with D, Week’s Favorite, and Summer or Winter.

Starts with D

How about a dog named Daphne with a jolly ball? A very nearly destroyed jolly ball?

Daphne and the Jolly BallPuppy sure does love beating on that thing!

Week’s Favorite

Taken a week ago, but I didn’t get to editing it until this morning…

Hubby meeting a friend's Gotland pony, named Huck.

Hubby meeting a friend’s Gotland pony, named Huck.

It’s the first in a series of 6, where brave Sir Huck met Hubby, and tried to decide whether or not this new Human in his pasture was a threat or not…it took a bit, but Huck did decide it was alright for Hubby to be there…after all, his trusted Humans brought this new one to meet him, so he must be okay. 🙂

Summer or Winter

Ruby would like everyone to know, she has dropped her winter weight and is now in her fine, sleek summer body…which truth be told, isn’t that much slimmer than her winter one, but we cannot bruise her delicate equine ego, now can we? 😉

Ruby's Summer Weight 2016

“I’m not fat, it’s the angle Mom took my picture.” ~ Ruby

And now, this week’s prompts…
Starts with E, Week’s Favorite and Bounce.

Starts with E

E is for “Egads Woman!! What the hell did you do to your hand?!?”

I haz a boo-boo.

I haz a boo-boo.

I did that Wednesday afternoon…quite by accident!
I was honing the edge on the scythe, took my eyes off the blade for a millisecond, and sliced myself.
So, the math is this…Razor Sharp Steel + Inattention = OMG!!! Owwww!! (plus some other choice words, and a steady stream of blood) I bled on the deck, the scythe, the honing stone, all the way to the bathroom, and under cold water…
I took the above picture today. It looks much better.
I have been treating it just like I treat an injury on Sable…cold hosing and raw honey. 🙂
If it’s good enough for my Bella, it’s good enough for me.

Week’s Favorite

From last night, while we were BBQing…

Awww! They are the cutest kitties ever!

Awww! They are the cutest kitties ever!

Hot, tired, half sisters Xena and GreyCat having a snuggle. So adorable! ❤


Okay, I don’t have bouncing animals, like our host 😉 so I really had to think about this one. lol
Finally, I settled on the bounce of the hammer off of red-hot steel.

Forge2 wmI’m still working on editing the forge images, but as I work on them, I’ll share more. I love the slag flying off the steel after the hit!

My Hubby so needs to get his forge built, so I can do night time shoots!

Introducing Parker

Parker is a pure bred German Shepherd youngster who has joined us on the Farm.

"This is my toy!"

“This is my toy!”

He is our new farm dog (n is for new).
He comes from the West Coast of Canada, where he was much-loved by his Boy, but, life happened. As it sometimes does. And, Sir Parker needed a soft place to land.
80 acres, a friend in Daphne, cats, horses, a jolly ball…all new stuff for him. And a few adjustment pains…

What's left of Midnight's driver seat.

What’s left of Midnight’s driver seat.

My (vintage) truck got a bit of a remodel…thanks to Parker.

Right down to the frame!

Right down to the frame!

Oh my!

Oh my!

But, sometimes, when life happens, a Pup has anxiety about his life changing. Sometimes that manifests in the destruction of a truck seat.

Oh, that face, though!

Oh, that face, though!

I couldn’t give him trouble…he knew I was upset, but it was human (Mine. All mine) error that put him in the position to be able to eat Midnight in the first place. So, when he came out of Midnight, he already was feeling the anxiety of knowing he’d done something wrong, fighting with the joy of people returning to him.
Best thing to do was give him a simple-to-do command, and praise him for doing it. Redirect the anxiety to “Oh! I can do that!!”



Happy to see the swans return. (week’s favorite)
Though, I daresay, they are not likely terribly happy for the latest blast of winter weather we’re getting. I know we humans (horses, dogs, cats) are not.
Can’t we just have Spring already?

The Girls...huddled up beside the shelter.

The Girls…huddled up beside the shelter.

We’ll all be happy when Spring finally settles in.

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

SHS~July 13th

Yesterday’s heat must have melted my brain. With the humidex, we were sitting at a whopping +42c. Hot, hot, hot!
We had a fencing repair to do in that heat too…I’ll tell y’all about that in another post. Or, Ruby will. 😉 The Girl’s have decided they each want a chance to write a post, and after much discussion, we (the humans) have decided that it’s a darn fine idea.

Prompts this week are Down The Street, Beneath My Feet, Faceless, Blurry, and Red, White + Blue.

Down The Street

We don’t really have any streets here…I live on a gravel road, miles from any town. I like it like that. But, here’s a shot of the closest thing…my driveway.

Here’s a shot down the gravel road…

So pretty!

So pretty!

That’s the closest I can get to a down the street shot.

Beneath My Feet

9 kittens who come up to the deck every day for food…can you guess what’s always beneath my feet?

BlueCat says "Hullo Lady, gots da food?"

BlueCat says “Hullo Lady, gots da food?”

Penny will just climb me...

Penny will just climb me…

Funny thing about Penny…turns out, she’s a he. We named him before I had accurately sexed him, and I thought he was a she. Nope. Turns out Penny’s a boy. He’s our Boy Named Sue.



My little StormCat like to climb me too…here she got a little distracted by the long grass.


A faceless shot of PoloCat…


This would have been an awesome shot of Penny, if it hadn't been blurry.

This would have been an awesome shot of Penny, if it hadn’t been blurry.

Red, White, and Blue

I didn’t have anything to put the 3 colors together, so I substituted orange for red

r w b1Here we have an orange (in place of red) ball in a blue Chuck It! handle…

This thing throws the balls with the flick of a wrist. It’s awesome. Especially for a high energy dog like Daphne…

r w b 2The Kid throws the balls past the white fence of the pasture from the deck with this thing…that’s well over 100 feet!

r w b3And Daphne runs, run, runs…until she’s too hot and she flops down in her pool…which is also blue.

Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.

SHS~June 29th

I did not have to work hard to find photos for this week’s prompts, that’s for sure! I did have to work a bit harder to remember to take the Red Monster out, but that’s another story…Kid is off on summer holidays, so we’ve been spending a lot of time with The Girls. Hard to take pictures while snuggling my favorite Girl. ❤
I will say, her and I have made great progress again.
That’s what she always needs, is time. Hands on, those reminders that it’s okay to like being with your person. We’re getting there. Again.
Like Mary Cooper once said about her son Sheldon…”you have to take your time with Sheldon. His father, God rest his soul, used to say to me, Mary, you have to take your time with Sheldon.”
My Cookie is the same way. You’ve got to take your time with Cookie…

On to the Hunt! This weeks prompts are Favorite Time of Day, Nature, The Sky, Hello, and Photographer’s Choice.

Favorite Time of Day



Daphne’s favorite time of day is whenever the troughs are getting filled. That dog could find water anywhere and play in it!


Polo, Felix and Screaming Mimi

Polo, Felix and Screaming Mimi

Nature follows Her path, and Mama’s feed their babies.

The Sky

Saturday evening...

Saturday evening…

That was about 6:30pm…that is a one heck of a storm sitting there! Only, it wasn’t sitting, it was swirling around us pretty darn good. It hammered us with some crazy rain, but that was all. Thank goodness!




Oh, hello little one…are you having a nice nap there? 🙂

Photographer’s Choice

Something new we’ve started here at Midnight Calico Farm…

Ancient Orange

Strawberry Mead
As always, when it’s Photographer’s Choice, I have at least 1 of my Girl…playing with the filters in my editing program.



Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.

SHS~March 1st

Wheeeee!!! We made it to March! Spring is coming, Spring is coming. Can you tell I’m a little bit excited about that? lol!
Soon, we’ll be starting seeds, here on the Farm. That *really* means Spring! 😀

Scavenger Hunt Sunday prompts this week are…Soft, Early, Top, Selfie and Dreaded Task.


About a month ago, I started The Girls on ground flax. I add it to their beet pulp, instead of the canola oil. In this short time, I have seen some interesting changes in their coats. Winter woolies are softer, everyone’s color is brighter, and their skin is gorgeous.

Cookie's mane

Cookie’s mane

This is the base of Cookie’s mane. Her skin there has, as long as she’s been here, been dry, full of dandruff, and itchy. I dewormed, used lice powder, had a skin scraping done…nothing was found. She’s healthy, but she itched bad. Much like the base of Astrid’s tail. Near as we could tell, it had to do with being out 24/7, cold, wind…all the same stuff that gives us humans issues with skin.

So, I was rubbing coconut oil into the spots. Which was working beautifully. Until is got really cold and it wouldn’t soak in, or it was too cold to go out and apply it, or it was so cold they huddled in the shelter together and the others started chewing her mane because it smelled like food.
So, that’s why I was adding oil to the beet pulp. It sorta worked, but not as well as I would have liked. No where near as well as the coconut oil.

Then, having a discussion with the Barn Manager at the stable Kid rides at, about coat color, and how to keep a black horse black, she mentioned flax. All the horses there get 1/2 cup a day. Let me tell you, those coats shine! They’re silky and soft, and so gorgeous. I came home, did some extra research, and thought, well, it can’t be worse for them than the canola oil. Hubby and I set of to hit the feed store and brought home a 50 lb sack. Figured if they wouldn’t eat it in the beet pulp, I’d make them flax/apple cookies.

Shoulda just had faith in my piggie Nags, though. Of course they loved the flax! So, they’ve been on it a month now, and everyone is smooth, soft and silky. 🙂


EarlyBeing Sunday, these guys got fed an hour early. Gives them a chance to spread their hay all over, enjoy as much as they want, and then, at a decent time, we can go out, clean up the clean hay and get rid of the piles of poo.


TopDaphne, in one of her favorite places, on top of the hay bales.


I almost combined this with the dreaded task prompt. LOL!
As much as I love to take pictures, I really don’t like to be in them. I find what’s on the other side of the lens way more interesting. 😛
I sucked it up, though, and tried to get a half decent selfie…figured if I had to do it, so did one of the mares.



Since I don’t use my phone to take pictures, it’s not easy to stand next to a horse, and get both of us in frame with a DSLR camera. This is the best I could do. Me and Ruby.

A Dreaded Task

Our real dreaded task for today…

A Dreaded TaskDigging out that gate, so Hubby can get into the pasture for poop removal. Some can be done with the tractor, but there will be some hand digging fun too. Oh joy! <sarcasm>

Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.

O is for Oats

My Girls do love their oats.

OatsThey’ll tell you they don’t get them as often as they’d like. Piggies that they are, they’d like to have them 3 times a day, every day!

Oats2This 50 lbs sack lasts us almost a year.

My Girls are pasture potatoes…meaning they very rarely do any work, and they don’t need the high energy super burst oats will give them. Think 1200 lb toddlers sugared up…that’s horses on oats!

So why do I buy oats?

They get oats added to their beet pulp slurry when it’s really super cold. Like -40*c cold. Even then, it’s less than 1/2 cup.

Oats3I have found, even though they **LOVE** their beet pulp, if it’s ridiculously cold, a little extra something is needed to make sure they eat it all. Especially if they have to stand in a cold wind to eat it…that’s going to change next winter, as we change our feeding stations over the summer.

The other time they get oats is as a reward after deworming. No one likes the taste of the dewormer, and to ease hurt feelings and unhappy tongues, we shake some oats out on the ground. 🙂

I also like to have oats on hand in case of a break out. We are very lucky, because the Girls are super respectful of the fencing. Ahh, but, things can happen with livestock, where they’ll jump a fence, or go through a fence. They’re prey animals, and you can never know 100% of the time, how they will handle things.
So, in the event we were to have a break out (knock on wood!!) all we have to do is call names and shake the oats bucket. Them Girls come a runnin’!
If they’re at large, well, they can be convinced to have a halter put on and a lead rope snapped on, while they have faces in a bucket of oats. That is well worth the $ spent.

Yesterday, I gave them a bit of oats in their beet pulp, and then, tossed out jolly balls.

"What the heck did she throw at us?!?"

“What the heck did she throw at us?!?”

Blue one is blueberry scented. No one was impressed with that one. Red is peppermint. Ruby was impressed with that one!

"I smell nummies!"

“I smell nummies!”

I was just proud of Cookie for sniffing, big chicken that she is. 🙂

Jolly Balls1She came at them from a few angles to be sure they weren’t going to kill her.

Then Sable got bored with it and wandered back to the fence.

Sable is helping me take pictures...

Sable is helping me take pictures…

Big goober kept fogging up the lens! Haha!
When I pushed her head away so the lens would clear, she stuck her muzzle into my neck and started licking me. Oy, that Girl! 😛
And then, Daphne decided to get brave and grab the jolly ball from Ruby and run! Silly mutt!

Daphne Jolly Ball

O is for Oats.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday.

SHS~January 25th

What a week! We had some fantastic weather, snow melted, I picked mud…MUD!!!…out of hooves, groomed muddy horses, and now we’re back to below freezing. It’s been an interesting one, that’s for sure. Thankfully, the warmth made it so all I needed to do was a quick pile picking in the shelter, instead of a full clean out. Yay! No one wants to be inside when the weather is warm, and the sun is shining. My Girls sure enjoyed sunning their bums!

The prompts this week are Relax, In my Cup, Light, Looking Down, and Weather.


Horses yawn for a myriad of reasons…stress, discomfort, relaxation…just like us humans. I have a pretty good handle on my Girls moods, and I know what’s going on with them when I see yawns. These yawns were definitely because they were relaxed…

Right after a grooming session.

Right after a grooming session.

Ruby is a tramp when it comes to grooming. Brazen hussy. Brush whore. We have learned that grooming gets what you want from Ruby before food. Yup, Girl does love a good brushing.

In fact, right before this yawn series, Kid had her front hooves in hand. No panic, no “gimme my foot back!!”, no side stepping…just “Oh, you want that? Okay.” 🙂

Clearly, the trick is to get her to relax with a good grooming, then ask for feet.

There's my relaxed Girl. <3

There’s my relaxed Girl. ❤

This one ^^^^ just did something scary, and learned that it wasn’t so bad. Hubby hooked up the lead rope, walked her away from me, then showed her the German WW2 helmet, while I took pictures. She was on edge, not knowing where Mama was (she is a huge Mama-suck! That’s okay. I love that her and I have bonded so well. I just plain love her. 🙂 ), and it was tough for her to trust Daddy.

But she did it, and he rewarded her with a few pellets, which made her relax almost instantly, and brought on the yawns. I am very proud of her!

In My Cup

Coffee, in one of my favorite cups.

Coffee, in one of my favorite cups.


I love this shot of my Girl…



I found it to be washed out though…we had some sunlight peeking through the clouds, and between the fence and snow, it just washed out. So I played with the colors, contrast, and lightness until the shot looked like this… My Love color adjusted scaledI am much happier with this version…Oh, but then, I desaturated, to get a black and white image… My Love color adjusted scaled bwAs far as I’m concerned, this one is perfect. Stripped out the color, bumped the lightness up and there we go…beautiful.

Of course, when it comes to Her, I am biased. I admit it.

Looking Down

We tried to get Daphne to wear the German helmet…German Shepherd dog wearing a German helmet…yeah, would have been awesome! Daphne, however, does not understand Mama’s need to make her wear stuff, and refuses to do it.

So, we tried sitting her next to it. She spent a good 10 minutes looking down at it and sniffing, sniffing, sniffing…

"This smells so interesting!"

“This smells so interesting!”

Once the sniffing was done, Hubby caught her attention, I hit the button, and kept shooting, until this…



Best shot of the entire day!


As I said above, we had some lovely weather this week. Well above normal temperatures. We even hit a high of +5c! Of course, that weather brought melting and mud. Oh, and who figured out fast that getting caked in mud means a grooming?!?

Brazen Hussy

Brazen Hussy

Yep, you guessed it. Our Ruby Girl.

Have a look at how well she caked that mud on her bum!

Holy mud, Ruby!

Holy mud, Ruby!

😛 That’s our Ruby.

Sharing with Scavenger Hunt Sunday hosted by Ashley Sisk.

H is for Horses

Last night at haying time, Cookie decided to be a turd. Herd dynamics are unstable right now, as Astrid is pushing to take over lead mare, and Ruby is pushing back, because she loves being the boss, which makes Cookie just plain grumpy. She tried to take that grumpiness out on Sable once the hay was down.

Now, for the most part, as long as everyone eats, and no one gets hurt, I don’t care what posturing and grumpy mare things they do. It’s just them being horses. What I care about is when these things happen when the humans are in the line of fire. Then it crosses over into disrespecting the real Lead Mare…me(and by extension, The Kid). And I ain’t puttin’ up with it!

Last night, once hay was down, and before Kid got out of the mix, Cookie tried to take a round out of Sable. Well, the answer is always to make the feet move on the shit disturber. So, Cookie had to move her feet…and the chase was on!

I had just gotten the wheelbarrow out, had Daphne running loose with me, and Cookie goes zooming by, with The Kid behind her…’round and ’round the pasture they go, every now and then, Cookie slowing, stopping, and The Kid asking if she’s ready to behave. Instead of turning to join up, she’d turn her butt to The Kid….which is blatant disrespect from a horse. Every time, it earned her a frozen horse turd to the butt, and off they went again.

I wish I would have had a chance to grab my camera, because  this included some full-out galloping by Cookie, and damn, she is one beautiful horse in motion!!
But, no, I had to hold Ms Daphne’s collar, because to her, this seemed like some grand game of chase, and oh, how she wanted to play! She’s a herding breed, and this game? Right up her little puppy alley!
As much as I’d like to let her go and play too, I know full well, Cookie will kick and stomp her to death. No joke, Cookie is not a fan of dogs. If Daphne is right next to me, she’s safe, but running loose around Cookie? Not so much. Therefore, I avoid having Daphne run loose around her as much as possible.

Oh, but the puppy excitement! I had a hold of her collar, because the gruff “down!” wasn’t working any more. Her herding instincts were starting to take over, and she was having a hard time focusing on my commands. Once I had her collar though, even though she was whining and crying to join the chase, she didn’t pull or squirm. At one point she had her front paws on my arm, and just kept looking at me and yipping, begging to be let go to join the chase. Her excitement was palpable, and it egged Cookie on.

Finally, on one of her gallops past, she bounced to a stop, and turned to come in to me…well, the join up was what Kid was after, but with her, not me. When The Kid got close she turned butt to Kid. I told Cookie that she had to be respectful of The Kid too, that turning to me wasn’t going to work. She had to afford The Kid the same respect she gives me. She gave me a snort and a sigh, made like she was going to run off again, then finally turned and offered, rather grudgingly, to join up with The Kid.
From there, The Kid and her have a moment, and then The Kid releases her to re-join the group to eat. From that second, I know it’s safe to let Daphne go, the excitement has dispelled, and I sent her out of the pasture with her big Kong chewy toy.

As I walked towards the gate, past my Girl, she sighed. I rubbed her shoulder, and told her if she’d hadn’t been so stubborn, The Kid would have let her back to the food sooner, and she wouldn’t have had to move her feet so much. In answer to that, she snorted,  twitched her tail, and walked off to join the others at the feeder.
Silly bum, she has to remember, even being my Love Pony, she has to be respectful of all humans, not just me. 🙂

H is for horses, hay, herding dogs, and herd dynamics.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Alphabe-Thursday.