Sunday, January 26, 2014

Evening Feed


I have always enjoyed doing evening chores at the barn- especially in winter.....  The horses have all been outside for a good part of the day, and are MORE than ready to come into the barn for dinner. Even though they've been eating hay all afternoon, still they're ready. We have had to have a 'swing shift' here due to the bitter cold, and this coming week isn't looking any better. Yuck.

We have it down to perfection, this mid winter deep freeze animal care. It's so nice to see shiny coated horses ( well, SOME who's names I won't mention - are yellowish.) warm n' cozy in our barn for the evening. The hens (and RC) are safe inside their little house - plenty of corn and fresh water for them. They have been taking dirt baths in there- so when I need to fill their little red dish up with food ? I've gotta search for it !

Glenn & I have been doing most of it all, thanks to his retirement last month. Everyone has been telling me how I'll soon be sick and tired of having a husband around ALL the time, but so far ? I like it. I enjoy the company and he's a great help too !

He gets the feed dished out if needed, and while I keep track of what horse is on it's way inside, I slide the stall doors shut. Their hay, water and feed has already been added, so they are busily feeding their horsey faces immediately.

I like doing chores when it's gently snowing the best, I believe. Reminds me of being transported back in time when people did this all the time... Quiet, and just the sounds of horses munching on hay, knowing they will all be warm and safe for the night, no matter what comes of the weather. Same with my chickens..... they are safe n' cozy in the little red & blue house also.

Ah well I just saw on the news that we're going to be in another 'deep freeze' this coming week. Temps in the -3 areas with wind chills of -25 , once again. Life does get tough when it is that cold, and one owns animals.  

It seems to me as though this is becoming a normal item for this winter, but I sure would enjoy the temperatures back into the 40's for a bit..... 

Stay warm everyone- and if you have outside pets ? Bring them in somewhere where they are protected from the terribly cold weather.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

NOW Winter arrives ..............


It was almost an easy winter here, but I knew better to believe that January n' February would be as kind as December had been.

We have had one "polar vortex'' that all but froze us completely.... got thru that ( with the flu, too.) and then one almost pleasant week .  But yesterday, it all began again.  LUCKILY our farm only got a few inches of snow- the kind of 'squeaky' snow that tells a person that by gosh, it's COLD outside.  This morning, however ?

HA. Minus 4 here at 8:30 AM.  Let me tell  ya- I just didn't want to go to the barn at all. Wishing I could become a 'city' person til April, I donned the long undies, heavy warm boots, and a misc. grouping of clothes to help keep me warm- off I went. EVERYthing was frozen. Ice in all water buckets, the hose in the tack room didn't want to work, and wow, it was ( still is) COLD outside.

All the equines got their heavy winter turnouts put on, and after I put out plenty of hay for them, they all got put outside. Then came the not so fun part.  Breaking Ice. My super duper help handled getting water to the outside tubs after I'd broken all of the ice out and by then, my back felt like it had put in a whole days work.

We got busy in the barn- I removed the ice, refilled buckets and plugged in the heated ones full of water. Dished out hay to the empty stalls and to my Percherons too. They were all fuzzy !  Got their stalls all cleaned and re-bedded while the other stalls were cleaned out.

Whewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.  All done for this morning and in a couple of hours ?  I get to go do it all over again .  Now, I like winter.  Generally speaking... but these temps ? No WAY.

Other areas of 'nearby' got hammered. Back where I came from originally had a good foot of snow !  Nooooooooooooooo thanks.  I'm content w/ what we have here now  :)

Below are a few photos I took last night.... My beloved husband dug a little trail to the barn.

Snow capped seed pods

Snowy hemlock branches:

See ? He does nice work, doesn't he ?  Thanks Glenn

No so much snow here :

Sadie n' Paddy happily snuggled in :

Sunday, January 19, 2014

What Happened to The Horse Kids ????


Back when I was a little girl, I LOVED horses. I would do Anything to be around them..... Unhappily I did not grow up in so called "horse country", I just grew up in the country.There were few to no horses with in walking distance or even on my bicycle . I had to entertain my growing passion for horses via books, tv, and the occasional horse that someone would ride by our house on. I knew horses were around because I'd see the shoe marks  left as one had passed by.

After becoming an adult, there were Always horse loving kids who'd hang out at my barn. They'd be eager to learn- doing anything to be around the horses. There have been quite a few who have gone on to become proficient at showing and training that they had learned from me.

So, zoom forward to January 2014... WHAT happened to all of those horse crazy kids who'd be at the barn by dawn ? What happened to those kids that ate, breathed, and dreamed "horses" ? I don't know....

Perhaps the teenagers of today have gotten incredibly lazy, wanting things handed to them on a silver platter ( there are some here from championships but I'm not handing anything out on those!). These teenagers, and kids don't want to be at the barn when it is :   too hot, rainy, too cold,or when anything negative is happening with the weather outside.  Nope- they don't seem to care that horses need 24/7 care no matter What it's doing outside. 'Let someone else do it ' seems to be their thoughts.

Are their parents partly to blame - not wanting to get up, and dressed to drive their child to 'the barn' ?  Are they the ones telling their child that " they don't drive in This Weather" ?  Or that it's "too cold" or 'too hot" ??  Are they the ones teaching their youngsters that horses are merely part time ? That is is alright to not bother calling to let the barn manager know that something "more fun" came up and they wouldn't be there that day ? Do they even care if this "no show" routine destroys someone elses' day because they cannot be counted on ?

Or ,are the so called horse crazy ones of today
simply not caring enough to be there when it counts?
When their horse is not feeling well, or is lame or what ever.

I am finding this to be true. We offer free lessons to those who would like to trade time/ labor for learning. Do the kids / young adults want to come ? Sure, so long as it's a nice warm sunny day out. Otherwise ? Nooooooooooooooway.

So, here's to those who Did slave away at someone elses' barn - as a youngster or adult. Thank you for being available when it was snowing, raining,freezing cold or blistering hot..... for working along side another true horse person, and learning, learning, learning.

Here's to the REAL horse folks !

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Breeze Gets Bridled.


The other evening, as I was cleaning the three Percheron stalls, I was thinking about finding that teeny little snaffle bit that had been stored away for decades. It was for my very first horse ( notice- HORSE.... not a pony) and he quickly outgrew it. I kept it, being the sentimental fool that I am. Over the years, it got moved along with all of my other riding horse equipment from house to house- farm to farm. Each time I cleaned/ conditioned all of the other bits and leather, it got cleaned and polished, even though it hadn't been used.

There was one wee pony that wore it for a little while while he was being trained. He was sold, and the teeny snaffle once again was stored away. ''For what'', I'd sometimes wonder to myself...

Then last year a small VERY scared Hackney pony came into my life. Breeze. I've gotten her to the point where she wears her ( teeny) turnout blanket easily, and we can Almost pick up all feet without too much panic.

Back to the other evening.  I thought about that ever so small snaffle bit, and wondered if it might fit Breeze. It has large loose rings on it, and might just fit her fine ! Once finished all the evening chores, I began digging thru tack trunks. I had to uncover the one first- but underneath alllll the saddle pads, martingales,english bridles I most likely would never use again- was the BIT. It had a small nylon headstall on it still from when I'd used it last. Nylon is good because it's easily adjusted with the poke of a hot nail.

Breeze got to check it out, sniffing it carefully- and showing no fear of Something New. So, I slipped it on over her halter... didn't fit really well because Breeze needs to have her mohawk bridlepath clipped again. She was very patient with me as I made the headstall longer and more comfy for her. Wow- I expected a BIG flight instinct to kick in concerning those little Hackney ears, but no- nothing.

I kept telling her what a Wonderful Pony she was and how brilliant she looked with the bit on.She let me take it off and re-bridle her twice with no trouble at all. She knew what had happened, and after a little of the infamous " blah,blah, blah" of the mouth , she settled in , quite at ease. Perhaps my little bit of a pony has been trained- even if so slightly !

Will she keep moving forward in all of this driving stuff ? I sure hope so.... I've Always wanted to drive a Hackney, and if it's a little shorter than others, so be it.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Happy New Years, belated.


Well, we about missed both of these holidays. Christmas was quite and peaceful. I can't wait to go 'treasure hunting' with my gift of a metal detector !  Ever since, the ground has been frozen solid.... And even if I DID "find" anything, there's no way to dig it up. Kind of like getting a sled for Christmas and have the weather hold steady at 40 degrees.  Ahhhhhhhhhh, spring will be here soon enough and THEN perhaps I can go treasure hunting??

We had a big black guest visiting here. She stayed for a week, during the PA Farm Show ( which is a glorified State Fair held in January), so her owners didn't have to travel back n' forth to their barn to feed/water just one mare. Cady was great fun to have here but wow, does she demand to be fed FIRST !!!!   Adding one more stall to be cleaned certainly made a difference here.

We both got hit with a wicked flu bug over New Years day, and are still coughing, sniffling,etc but are feeling better each day. Like all horse women- I don't have the luxury of staying in bed to get better. Nope- twice daily trips to the barn sweating out where it was often below freezing sure is not good towards getting over being sick.  But, I AM getting better at long last.

The Girls did fine this week when we had the so called "polar vortex" . Oh my word- it was SO COLD, my camera told me there was no way in hades it was taking any photos. Between the couple of gals who got here to help out, we got everyone cared for. When it was finally warm enough to let the hens n' RC  out, oh my, did they all run around like crazy.  Some held their wings up , running all over, some just wandered about, looking for bugs ( no bugs, sorry) or simply running, zig-zagging all over the area. Two almost ran into each other . RC just stood up in the doorway, crowing for all he was worth. He responds to anything that makes noise, and the crowing begins. Again- "eraser' brains'' strike again.  All in all, they are all fine and I Think have finally stopped molting. What IS it with chickens and molting so late in the year ?  I had more bald hinied hens around ! I felt bad for Liza who lost a LOT of her gorgeous speckled feathers . She's back to being gorgeous again , happily for her.

That's it for this time. I hope everyone has survived their holidays, and are looking forward to what 2014 has to dish out.  Here, I'm looking forward to a lot of different things- mostly "horsey" .