Rainy Days

Not much happening here.
We’ve been getting the entire summer’s worth of rains in the past few days. As much as we need the moisture, I need sunshine (or at least no sky water falling) to get things done.
Hopefully we’ll get a day or two this next week, because I got 49 birds ready for freezer camp, and I ain’t doing that in the house!

Taken during Friday’s monsoon…

Nothing like napping in the rain, butts to the wind. 😉

If I was any other kinda woman, I’d take today’s rainy day as a sign to pamper myself.
Heh. But no.
Between chores outside (because animals don’t stop needing just because of weather) and working on cleaning the house (haven’t done that in a while, because outdoor work…) I have a 5 gallon pail of ripe tomatoes my brother brought me from his garden.
He had a bumper crop and wasn’t sure what to do with them all…I said, bring ’em to me. I will most definitely use them!

So, I’ll be making some tomato sauce today.
Whilst trying to stay dry…and keeping up on the mud tracked into the house.
😉

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Autumn

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~ Albert Camus

Nope, my world is not on fire…just an amazing sunset.

Today is the Autumn Equinox.
It’s officially Fall now.
Are you ready for winter?
We’re still not.
Between meat chickens, pigs, getting the winter’s hay and straw home, putting the garden to bed, and getting the ducks lined up for winter, it feels like there is so much to do yet.

❤ Cookie ❤

Yes, you’re seeing that right, she’s eating hay.
Already.

Y’see, we had a very, very dry August.
The pasture that normally holds them until mid-October is pretty close to done. So, they’re on hay now. A month early.

Oh, but we’re getting rain now!
In time to make the butchering difficult to get done.
We really do need the moisture, even if the timing kinda blows.
Ahhh, farm life…an ever changing, always adapting, oh Goddess how are we gonna get it all done, kinda life.
😉

But…

PonyFace is still halter-less.
She hasn’t dropped any weight, and she’s been herself.
If nothing else, that makes me happy.
I feel like we’ve finally broken down that mental fence that stood between the “broken” horse and the horse who feels free to be herself.
So there is that to count as a success.

The rest?
Well, we’ll get it done in time.
😉

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.
😉

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. 😉
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.

Today’s To Do List

Farm stuff to do list for today:

1. Cut a swath (or 2) of grass around the outside of the pasture. This is the stuff that Black Horse sticks her neck out the fence for, resulting in that lovely mohawk mane of hers…as in the picture.

Rocking the mohawk


2. When Hubby gets home, load the back of his truck with all the grasses cut, bring back to the farm-yard, and make windrows for drying.
Why do this?
Because I’m too damn lazy to walk out past the pasture to rake and turn as needed. It’s so much easier when all I have to do is walk off the deck to do it…plus, baling is easier when it’s closer.
Last year I cut that swath too late to use for hay, but this year, I’m right in time to put it up for winter. I’d be a fool not to do so!

3. Work on building a new baler out of scrap wood…because a plastic bin breaks way too easy, though I did get 2 cuttings of use out of it, but still, I need something solid.

4. Clean the chicken coop. Again.
Meat chickens is yummy, but they are such poopy little buggers, and so, cleaning the coop happens a lot. Way more than with hennys.


5. Call it a day, bbq supper, and eat home-made fireball egg nog ice cream.

Yeah, sounds like a good day to me.
🙂

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.