Friday, October 9, 2015

Our Superstar

Autumn, beautiful autumn!
It's been a spectacular week here on the farm.
Foggy mornings in the 40's... 

and afternoons reaching 70...
fairy tale clouds in bright blue skies...

It's been a busy week here with outdoor chores, fall housecleaning, and
seasonal baking.

Ghostly shortbread cookies
Crunchy, spicy ginger snaps
I've tried to pack as much as possible into each and every moment
of these amazing autumn days.
Yesterday was a milestone day as I hooked Red up to his cart for the first time.

Walking him by lead rope while I pulled the cart behind me helped to 
acclimate him to something new "following" him.

He stood still while I worked on his harnessing.
And once hooked to the cart he showed no signs of nervousness.

He was a little reluctant to start walking...feeling the little bit of weight from the cart on his sides
and the harnessing that seemed to encircle him.
I am sure he felt a little trapped, but he kept his cool.

"But Mom, can't you see....I'm stuck here...surrounded!"
With some treats and a little coaxing, though, he took his first step and off we went.
Up the lane beside the garden...

and then along the upper pasture fence...

down into the yard by the gazebo...

He walked and walked with no difficulties... no more hesitation.

We still have much work to do with reining,
however, passing this milestone is huge.

Red is one smart little horse who is eager to please.
I see many adventures in our future!
Needless to say, he got lots of treats and lots of kisses.

Very soon I will make a video of him pulling his cart.
Red....the Superstar!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Gardening With Chickens

Yesterday took me away from the farm.
I donned my scrubs and spent part of the day wearing my nursing "hat"....
but not before I spent a little time with the little pink fairy.

I kept Mackenzie for an hour so that her Mommy could run some errands.
We played on the floor until fatigue overcame us...
there's nothing sweeter than a baby napping in your arms!

This little girl has definitely found her smile...and is quite happy to share it!

Meanwhile back at the farm,
the Lucilles were continuing my gardening efforts.

There is nothing in the world more efficient at cultivating the soil
that a bevy of hens.
They can sweep through a garden and decimate it in no time flat.

If only they could be trained to get rid of the weeds and not the vegetables.

I am actually considering opening the big fence and just letting them all in.
Not really...
no, I prefer a more systematic and controlled approach to gardening.
And believe me, there is nothing controlled about a chicken in a garden!
 Right, Roy Boy?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

A Good Day Is A Mix Of Work And Play

Great weather continues...
and so does the outside work!

I've been working on cleaning out the vegetable garden.

It's amazing how quickly weeds take over once the vegetables are done.
At some point this summer I stopped weeding.
(Yikes... that was a mistake!)
So, I have a few weeks of work to get the garden beds ready for winter.
I will do a little each day until it is done.

Most everything in the garden is now dead,
with the exception of these gourd vines.

They just keep growing and spreading and making new gourds!
The early gourds are now huge, hidden here beneath the asparagus.

I swear if winter never came the entire garden might be covered in birdhouse gourds!

All work and no play makes for a very long day.
That's why I spend a little time each day just sitting with my friends.

Afternoons are quiet in the pig yard and the sheep yard.
It seems that in both places afternoons are made for napping.

I quietly sit beside the sheep and listened to the sound of their breathing.
Sheep are the most peaceful creatures,
and my presence doesn't seem to bother them in the least.

I imagine another time, long ago, when I might have been a shepherdess...
tending to my flock in a meadow on the side of a mountain.
And then I remember that in those days I would have had to worry about wolves.

Luckily, my girls live a predator-free life without fear.
Their world is as peaceful as they make mine.

I find myself wishing that this were the case for the whole world...
peaceful co-exsistence.
But alas.....

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

I'll Tell You A Secret

Wanna know a little secret?
I'd trade you 5 summer days for 1 autumn day anytime...
in a heartbeat!

Yesterday may just have been the most stellar day of the entire year so far.
Long-sleeve-cool temperatures, brilliant blue sky, light breeze, no humidity...
do I need to go on?

I awoke with more energy than I've had in months...
and so I put it to good use!
After morning chores were complete, the farrier arrived
to trim all of the equines' hooves.

I took the opportunity to groom them while he trimmed their feet.

Curry, curry, brush, brush, buzz, buzz, snip, snip.
Each one got a complete makeover from head to tail.

Were they grateful?
Probably not.
But they were well behaved and I have learned to be satisfied with just that.

When the farrier was finished, I headed back to the house to fold a load of laundry
and do a week's worth of ironing.
Next on the list was cleaning the front pasture.

Sam is always willing to accompany me for chores
and loves to ride shotgun.

For the most part, he sits in the passenger seat while I pick up horse manure.

That is, until the donkeys get a little too close for comfort.

"Maybe if I close my eyes, I can pretend they aren't there!"

Eventually he makes a hasty exit out the driver's side.

The pasture is a peaceful place this cool October morning...
everyone just nibbling and enjoying the day.

My next stop was in the pig pen, where I also picked up "poop."
After emptying my buckets at the manure pile, I decided it was time to do a little mowing
(hopefully the last of the season.)
I trimmed a few bushes and picked the last bucket of tomatoes and peppers
and headed home to cook dinner.

If this had been a hot summer day, I could never have accomplished all that I did.
I am thankful for these days...
and only wish we had more of them each year.
But, I won't be greedy.

No, I'll just take advantage of them and enjoy them,
remembering that winter is coming and life will slow down considerably then.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Hello Sun!

By Sunday afternoon our almost-week-long rain event finally ended.
We were ready to get out of the house...
and so were the dogs!

It seemed as good a time as any to tackle trimming feet.
And so we stopped at the sheep yard, with Ritz in hand,
and began the process.

I couldn't take photos during the trimming as it took both of Hubbs' and my hands
to accomplish this task.
We have learned that it is much easier to trim the sheep hooves 
while the sheep are partially on their backs...
So Hubbs had the job of holding them while I trimmed them.
These photos were taken afterward,
and as you can see... no one looks at all traumatized by the earlier events.

Next on the list were the goats...
also uneventful.
(I prefer uneventful!)

It was time to liven things up a little, so we put a halter on Red
and took him and the dogs for a walk in the woods.

On the way, we stopped for a quick visit with Becky's horses...

I am trying to desensitize Red to all sorts of stimuli,
so walking him all over our property helps with that.

I was hoping that perhaps some deer would jump out during our walk,
but that didn't happen.

It was a peaceful walk...
which Red seemed to enjoy.

We put the game cameras out along our trails.
(We'll share what we capture on them later this week.)

By the time we returned to the pastures and barn,
the sun was shining.

The thirst quenching rain of the previous days had rejuvenated our dry and dusty
farm once again.

The rain had knocked down more chestnuts,

so I stopped along the driveway to pick them up and feed them to Ginger and MaryAnn.

Can you see the smiles on their faces?
They are most definitely happy girls!

I've got to say, that after the rainy week that we had,
I am a happy girl as well now that the sun is back!
The coming week is to be cool and sunny... a gift of wonderful Autumn.


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