30 April 2013


Happiness to a horse is green grass.
One of the first projects we started working on upon moving to our new acreage was the fencing for the horses.  After all, the whole point of us having an acreage is so we could enjoy our farm animals in our very own backyard.  Fence building is tedious yet strenuous work, as demonstrated by Evelyn.

After drilling holes, getting the bobcat unstuck, dragging hundreds of posts to said holes, setting posts, driving over tons (literally tons) of gravel by wheelbarrow to fill post holes, measuring and putting in barbed staples, bracing corners and mounting gates, then comes the fun and easy part--pulling the fencing through.
Well, it's fun until the fence goes around the first corner.  Then it gets difficult.
Then it's difficult and boring. 
Oops.  I think she worked too hard.
But, I'm happy to report, the horses' fence is finished!  One major goal off the list!

(The horses asked me to thank you Evelyn).

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29 April 2013

Stoney's Birthday Party

Our big gelding turned eighteen today.  Stoney's birthday party was rather mild, with rolled oats, molasses, carrots, plenty of green grass and a good brushing.
My, how time flies when you're having fun (Stoney's been with our family since he was a green two year old)!
Here's to many more, my good boy.

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25 April 2013

Patience Is...

Patience is walking a horse back to the paddock, only to be yanked to a stop every two feed while they grab another mouthful of green grass.

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23 April 2013

Travel Companions

Jack and the girls make awesome travel companions.  They slept at least six hours of our ten hour trip back to Indy.  See?
Later in the day, sleeping again!
The three hens we brought back from my parents', however, are terrible travel companions.  It wasn't that they escaped their boxes and wreaked havoc.  It was the noises they kept making.  Not, "Cluck, cluck, or the telltale egg-laying, "baw-gawk!"  Their vocalizations sounded like everything from a whimpering child, a choking baby or the van breaking down.  More than once, my heart skipped a beat, thinking there was a cop chasing me down.  Nope.  It was Rosie, Glinda or Checkers every time.
Surely they were chuckling all the way home.  We did get an egg en route though.  I guess that makes their practical jokes worth it.

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We returned home late afternoon from a family wedding and directly after changing diapers, we all split our separate ways to take care of the animals.  Jack haltered the horses and let them at our lush, overgrown yard while I went inside to check on the cats.  We were only gone for an extended weekend so I left a large bowl of water and cat food to sustain them.  It was probably a month's worth of food but they gorged themselves on well over half.  Picking them up to put them outside for some fresh air, I was certain they gained five pounds each.
The nurses preparing a box for the chipmunk.
It wasn't ten minutes later that I watched Hercules and Snickers batting around a poor little chipmunk.  He was old enough to have his eyes open but his mobility was wobbly, like a newly walking toddler.  He wasn't fast enough to give the cats chase and though they tried to encourage him to run, they weren't impressed.  Had they not been full-to-the-brim on cat food, the chipmunk's fate may have been different but he got lucky.
Snuggling in his bed.

We put the shivering rodent in a box with some of the horses' sweet smelling hay and will watch and see how the little guy does.
And, as if there were any other name for a chipmunk, this guy is going by Alvin.

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21 April 2013

Like A Farm

A family wedding brought us back to Nebraska for an extended weekend.  Usually, I devoted at least some of the time to giving Clay a bath and trimming his nails or cleaning out the cat box for grumpy old Ripley but both greyhound and cat have gone all the way of the earth.
I miss them but there was still plenty of animals to look after.
One of the older hens, Checkers, who will be making a move to Indiana.
My mom has been after an elusive breed of hen since she first got her flock: the black australorp.  They lay unusually large brown eggs which are often double-yolked.  Of course, she couldn't just get a few for her.  She phoned and asked (repeatedly) if I wanted some chicks.
She's already named Jellybean Junior, a.k.a. J.J.
How could I say no?
(ESPECIALLY to a face like that?)
Jack doesn't care much for hens but he never complains when I whip up an omelet for him.  So, about eight of the girls--a few chicks and a few older, already-laying hens will come back to Indiana.  Lucky for us too, we've already got a little shed that would be a perfect coop with a little paint and a fenced in yard.
Our acreage is feeling more and more like a farm by the day.

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16 April 2013

Do You Want One?

Do you want a baby, Dancer?
Dancer always been interested in children and babies.  Perhaps it's because they give up handfuls of grass so easily.  Perhaps it's because they're so small and often ride in beguiling hiking backpacks and jogging strollers.  Whatever the reason, she's curious about them.
One of my goals is to breed Dancer.  I don't take the task of creating a new life lightly.  I couldn't bring myself to find an old stud down the road and turn around to sell the foal if I didn't like the results.  It will take a bit of research--a horse's conformation and temperament is even more important than its color.
Of course, I'm not even sure it would happen this year.  Well, technically next year since horses have an eleven month gestation and any resulting foal would be born next spring.  I'm excited at the prospect of breeding my own equine athlete (my mother insists it would be an investment towards my future career riding in the Rolex once my children are grown.  I tend to agree.  We'll see what Jack says).
For now, the thought is simmering in the back of my mind.  Whatever we decide, Dancer's giving us plenty of entertainment otherwise.

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15 April 2013

Lesson of the Honey Bee

Notice anything "off" about Jack's photo?  Compare his ears.  Though he's got notoriously ample earlobes to begin with, one of his ears is not like the other.
The increased size of his right earlobe is due to a honey bee sting.  She got upset and defensive that Jack was looking around the hive, eventually getting frustrated and angry enough to sting.  It did it's job.
However, in the end, the bee loses.  Of course a sting hurts the offender but it is she that perishes from her own wrath.
Getting ready to move the girls to their new home.
So, as much as we sometimes would like to act on our passions, it is always better to be patient and forgive and forget.
That is the lesson of the honey bee.

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14 April 2013

What Grazers Do Best

Like Iowa, Indiana has no trouble growing grass.  That is fortunate for people who love to mow and animals that love to graze.  That would include both me and my horses but in the course of the move, our poor old riding mower took quite a beating and is near death.  It would be pretty difficult to mow without a steering wheel, I'm guessing.
So, I decided to let grazers do what they do best: graze.  We have a little chain-link fence backyard that needed a bit of trimming.
Thankfully they avoided stepping on our new garden while they rose to the challenge of trimming down the grass.
The entertainment while I wash dinner dishes.
It'll take a few days or so of solid grazing to tame the yard but the horses don't mind doing the work.  They're just happy there's green grass, regardless of how or where they get to enjoy it.
And there'll be plenty more for me to mow later.

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