Thursday, December 26, 2013

Belated Merry Christmas


I hope this finds everyone in good health and surviving Christmas Eve & Day. We had our annual farm's Christmas Party on the 21st, thanks to a nice little snow storm the Saturday before. As it was, there was still a nice turnout that evening. Lots of good food, and friends !

Soon, it was Christmas Eve, and I still had two gifts to be wrapped ! It all turned out well, and we got some nice gifts to Unwrap the next morning.  Glenn cooked Christmas dinner and I must say- it turned out delicious. He can cook dinner anytime he wants .

Speaking of Glenn, he's now officially retired from the 'car business' as of this past Friday. He was SO ready to be retired and had given his 'all' to his job that he is Still catching up on rest. Mostly mental but that wears on a person sometimes more than physical tiredness. 

Next week, we begin a brand new year. 2014.... I sure hope it is better than this past year has been. I know one gal who doesn't need the big load of stress any more.  It has been a fun year but stacked with heartbreak and fear of losing the one thing most cherished. I am most definitely looking forward to what this coming year brings.

Hope your Holiday is joyful !

Monday, December 16, 2013

"Knock Out" ? Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo


Knock DOWN is more like it !

Yesterday was interesting... I am still doing battle in convincing my hens that they simply cannot survive by living in an open row barn. It seems chickens do not walk in snow- EVER. Fact.... proven fact at our farm.

Saturday was a snowy day- we got a mere 3-4" of snow and that suited me just fine.  Apparently this small snow storm was not suiting The Girls- OR R.C. I tried to herd them all as a group out of the empty stalls, along the pathway ( yes, I did clear a path for their little chicken feet- imagine that) and therefore- out to where their hen house was easy to see. The horses had already created a way for them to go, but it didn't work as I planned.

First hen, when she realized that SNOW was the only route to take, freaked out, and tried to fly over it all. Well, that didn't work and there she was , up to her feathered tummy in cold snow. The others ?  Oh- much more wise.... they turned around and RAN as fast as their legs could carry them , in the opposite direction. Back to where we all started...< sigh>  So, trying again, singing the 'chicken feed song' at the top of my lungs  ( my neighbors have to think me crazy) I enticed maybe 2 hens to follow along behind me. Yep- to the edge of the snow. I gave up and finally put up some barriers in front of the stalls , tossed them some scratch, got a bucket of water and wished them all luck.Chickens pay No attention to our tales of "monsters" coming from the forest at night, it seems.

Next morning- Sunday- there they all were- safe n' sound. I gave them breakfast, re-filled their water bucket and went about the normal AM chores.( whewwwww) Glenn had walked up with me to help out some which I appreciated since I kept all of the horses stalled. ( Ice had been predicted and wind too) That meant 10 dirty stalls , 10 horses to get out into pastures for the day, breaking ice in water tubs so there was water, and putting plenty of fresh green hay out for each horse. THEN I could begin on the "in the barn" chores.

While Glenn was filling the horse stall water buckets, I got the hay all put out for all of the horses. I then took the beasties out for the day, with my wonderful husband helping. It had been a LONG time since he'd been up to help at the barn, so he didn't know all the things to get done, but he did really well. Once all of the horses were outside in the snow, I got busy on those stalls. Not having to lug 18 buckets with dirty water in them really made a difference on my 'not so healthy' back. Some horses have two water buckets in their stalls- one heated one and one non- heated. That way there is Always some water for them to drink. Horses need as much water in winter time as they do in summer. Perhaps a little more, if you think of what they eat all winter... dry feed, dry hay,dry winter grasses...   Impaction colic is a serious problem and I find it's MUCH better to prevent it, than deal with it. So- water is of an utmost item for the horses here.

Anyway, as I was writing.  I got all of the chores done by 11:30 AM and started down to the house to warm up my toes and fingers. I thought that I'd go into the two drafter turnouts to be sure there was no ice - but water for them. BoJangles did not like being ALL Alone (in reality, Abby was in the pasture right beside him)-  he couldn't see his bestest pal, Lynn and, therefore, he had no one to tell him what to do. He'd been pacing up n' down the fenceline, almost frantic at not being able to see his pasture pal.

That's where I made a mistake. I had a shovel ( plastic snow) with me to remove the ice, and Abby was most grateful. Then I walked thru the snow on semi frozen feet out to Bo's pasture.
 Well - HE thought I was coming to 'save' him- by swinging the gate open so he could then gallop thru Abby's pasture, up the hill lane and into the barn so he could find his pal, Lynn.

I had to yell at him to prevent his taking off, thru the unopened gate and over me. He whirled around and took off across the pasture, bucking and farting his opinion about my yelling at him.

He came galloping back towards the gate and I figured that I was the target. Brandishing my little shovel, I tried to sound totally bonkers and look oh so scary. It worked- but then, he turned around, and not seeing me at all, hit me with his shoulder, knocking me right over. Splat- RIGHT into a most soggy area full of reeeeeeeeeeeeeally cold water! I laid there, wallowing about trying to get my feet under me, as Bo trotted off in total Shock. Oh, MY- he'd knocked over the BOSS MARE- and that surely meant he was going to be chopped up into small pieces and cooked or even worse- not get fed that evening.  So there I was- freezing my butt off trying to get up, or at least out of the big puddle, and it wasn't working well. My goose down vest was soaked, and weighing me down. Finally I got up to my knees, and had to then laugh at Bo's antics. His eyes were WIDE open in terror and his head was well over 12' in the air, watching his boss mare flounder about in the snow and water. 

Poor Bo... he had a tough life before he came to live at our barn, and now ? Even worse- the 'Boss' wasn't acting well at all. In fact, he hadn't Ever seen her behaving like she was now...

Once I got up, it all got a little funny. Bo came trotting up to me and shoved his big ol Percheron face in my chest full of apologies for being so big and clumsy. I hugged him back and rubbed his face, telling him that I forgave him- and thank you for Not stepping on me with those giant feet of his.

By the time I got into the house, it Was Funny.... telling Glenn about the excursion into the drafter pastures and then why my whole backside was soaking wet made the day.

Moral of this story--- don't ever think a horse is watching out for you when he's hysterical.
Have a great day, everyone.

I'm going to try to add a short video here of BoJangles FINALLY getting to go up to the barn later on that evening.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tis Almost Christmastime !


Yes indeed it is. Plans are being made here for our annual Christmas party at the farm- Next Saturday evening. If you'd like to come, feel welcome !

On our farm at Christmas, it feels almost magical. Sometimes snow falls, sometimes not. At any rate, we're nice n' cozy inside this little house. The hay loft  is full of delicious smelling hay and so long as I don't get mixed up in making sure there's plenty of grain in the feed bin, we're set for a BIG snow.

Lots of baking going on, and cookies galore - YUMMY. This time of year, I don't get concerned about eating very healthy. I figure next year I can get back to that. In the meantime- we enjoy.

Today we are expecting snow. It is pretty cold out side and from what I hear on the news, it should begin as snow, then sleet/ freezing rain into tomorrow, then rain. Yuck. I'd prefer a little snow instead of all that, but hey, Mother Nature has her way no matter what I think ! Right now ? Nothing but clouds and 23 degree temps outside.

The hens have been doing nicely in this cold weather. It is so funny to feed them in the mornings any more. They stay in their roosts til I come to open their front door, then it is similar to diving chicken competitions ! The littler ones come out first, then the middle sizes , and then the BIG chickens. IE- RC, Lilly and Daisy. Lilly sometimes waits til I get done spreading out their corn n' laying mash combo, and then she gets lifted off of the roost  by her 'human'... me.  Daisy has been molting ( yes, I explained to those girls that it's DECEMBER and they should have done this Much earlier) so she looks rather uggy. Some bare spots- especially on her butt, and other areas are positively mangy looking. There are feathers All over the place at the barn, and they tend to end up inside the barn, no matter what. She's getting her new feathers in now, as this morning, she didn't do the Kamikazi dive out the door.   RC comes leaping/ flying/ falling from his perch and lands with a very undignified thump. He's SO big and heavy, his wings are not powerful enough to do much 'flying'....  Once everyone is outside, they happily peck up all of their breakfast, and then the girls rush to their water at the barn for a drink. Then off to the wild blue yonder- known as the manure mountain - to find yummy chicken things to eat.

I hope everyone is getting their holiday items found and purchased- I did all of my holiday shopping online. Lately, the hoards of humans rushing about in stores isn't fun for me. I'm easily becoming a recluse - but not really. Just that crowds of people are not for me any more. This way, I can shop in my jammies and no one will mind !

Merry Christmas Early !!