Friday, October 28, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

If you have ever owned/loved a horse you will understand what I am going to say. 


Horses bring out the best in you,
and
horses can bring out the worst in you!

We love our horses,
and so we care for them...
day in and day out,
several times each day,
no matter what the weather,
no matter how we feel.

We hay them.
We grain them.
We keep their water fresh.
We keep their bedding clean and dry.
We clean up their manure.
We groom them, clip them, bathe them,
keep their sheaths clean.
We pay vet bills.
We pay farrier bills.
We drop money on horse care items without even batting an eyelash.
We take them out to graze,
and round them up again.
We love our horses...no matter what.


And in return.....
they teach us patience, perseverance, humility.
We become better people when we spend time with our horses.
Most of the time.


And then there are the other times,
when our horses can elicit a string of profanity from our mouths that would make
our mothers blush!
It is at these times, when our worst side shows.

Unfortunately, my worst side emerged yesterday.

You see, Moonbeam, my haflinger has a hoof abscess.
I have been soaking and dressing his draining hoof this week.
The good news is... 
he is getting much better.


The bad news is...
I am pretty sure he broke at least one of my ribs yesterday while changing his dressing.

During his dressing change,
he started to crowd me in the aisle.
I turned my side to him and pushed, attempting to push him back into the middle.
He pushed back, and moved forward,
pinning me to the stall wall with his 1500 pounds.

It all happened in a split second.
I felt the crush.
I herd the pop in my chest.
The pain ensued.
(An all too familiar pain.)
And yes, I cussed a blue streak!
(And landed a girly punch right on Moonbeam's side.)

He meant no malice.
He didn't think.
He is quite often oblivious to his massive size.
He did to me what he would have done to another in his herd.

My feelings were hurt,
not to mention my chest.
Eventually, though, rational thinking prevailed
and I realized that for the most part
our horses consider us just one of the herd
and treat us like they would each other.

I suppose that is all we can really hope for....
to be one of the herd.
After all, our horses do not love us in the same way our dogs love us.
Do they?
The affection our dogs give to us without asking for anything in return,
might just be a little much to ask of our horses.


And so, we continue to love and care for our horses,
through the bites, the kicks, the stepped-on-toes,
the bruises, the fractures...
all the while knowing that the love we hope our horses feel for us,
is something quite different.


And yet, it's enough.

Don't worry, these types of occurrences are rare.
Our horses are usually quite pleasant and cooperative.
Moonbeam is moody right now.
His foot hurts.
He'll get back on track.


And so, as you read this, I am driving my sore ribs to West Virginia to pick up
Ginger and MaryAnn
our two little Kunekune piglets.
And no, in answer to a question I keep receiving,
we will not be eating them.
They will become part of our farm family.
And I will have lots of pictures for you on Monday!!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Joy

There are times in life that are hard to describe in words.
Perhaps there just aren't adjectives that are sweet enough.
Yesterday was one of those days.
We had a visitor on the farm....

Tyler spent the day with Grammie and Mup (that's what he calls Hubbs).

Pictures say it all.....











There is nothing sweeter than the pure joy on my two "guys" faces!
It made me happier than words can say!

We had a surprise arrival on the farm yesterday afternoon....
a bathroom!


The "Port-o-let" was delivered for the construction workers.
Yesterday they put 1/4 of the roof on....
the rest of the roof should be finished today.



Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Our Version of the Slow Food Movement

If you have read my blog for some time,
and seen my many posts about our equines,
then you probably have noticed that my "bigs" and "littles"
are a bit on the chubby side.

Keeping the horses trim seems to be a never-ending battle,
and at times a losing proposition.

I limit the time they spend on pasture;
and unless it is cold outside,
I also limit their hay.


Horses are grazers, though, and are healthiest when they can eat small amounts often.

So......
in a attempt to find middle ground,
so that they can eat more often without
over-consuming calories....

I am trying out some slow feeders for hay.



I found these at our local feed store and installed them yesterday afternoon.
Then I took a video to show you how they work.....



While I was busy working with the horses,
the construction crew was doing this....

and by the end of the day, our barn looked like this....


Can you believe...
those workers walked around on top of those roof trusses
like tight-rope walkers.
Amazing!

I have a little guessing game for you today...
Can you guess what this is?


It's very strange, isn't it?

It is a small part of this....


How about this?

I think it looks like it could be part of a nostril.
Maybe of a piggie?

But, no, it is a part of this.....
which I call our "ogre" fungus...
because it looks mean and nasty!


And last...
the last roses of the season.
We are to have frost this week,
so these blooms will soon be just a memory.



And lastly, I want to tell you about our lady bug phenomenon.
Each year when the weather turns cold,
we have an afternoon or two when
scores of ladybugs leave the woods and cling to the side of the barn and house...
soaking in the season's last bit of warmth.
Yesterday was one such day...
a ladybug day!


Ladybug, ladybug...
fly away home.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This Little ..........

In just three short days, I am leaving the farm
and heading to West Virginia ( 7 hours away) for a brief visit with
Amy, of Verde Farm....

where.....
(can you feel the excitement building?)

(wait for it.....)

(wait for it.....)

we

pick

up

our


piggies!

Yes, this weekend our sweet little piggy sisters,

Ginger

and MaryAnn

are coming home to live on the farm!

We are sooooooooooo, so excited to finally meet these little gals.
Don't worry,
I will take my cameras and chronicle the trip to and fro for you.

A seven hour trip home with two squealing piglets....
Do you think the girls will cry "Weeeee, Weeeeee, Weeeeeeeee"  all the way home???

PS...
I thought you might like to see a barn update...

The roof trusses were delivered yesterday.
Soon the skeleton will be complete!
Happily, the weather has cooperated these past two weeks.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Life is Good!

What a wonderful Fall weekend we had!


We had a reprieve from rain 
and were able to get some significant work done around the farm.


After the work was done
we took some time to relax....
enjoying both the company of family and friends.

Saturday evening we were treated to dinner with friends at
Caputo Brothers Creamery.
Dave and Ryn Caputo are an amazing young couple who spent 
a significant amount of time getting culinary training in Italy.
Just this year, they started an artisan cheese making business.
They make Mozarella (Fior di Latte) in the traditional way
(unlike the processed way we make it here in the States)
and, oh boy, can you taste the difference!


I bought some curds from them and will attempt to stretch my own Mozarella
this year around the holidays....
(I'll video the process!)


Sunday's weather was spectacular!
We gathered all of the dogs and the kids
(after our traditional 9 AM Sunday Farm Breakfast)
and headed out into the woods for a hike.



Maddie, our Newfie....

Naturally, Old Hickory, our 16 year old Norfolk Terrier
gets to ride in the stroller...
the walk being much longer than she could make.


And everyone takes their turn pushing her.


What a life this old gal has!


We hiked our trails, while the dogs had a blast running through the woods,


and ended up at our camp for a little rest.


This is the longest hike our old Sadie has taken in quite some time!


I snapped a few woodsy pictures along the way....





As we walked we were followed by a flock of grackles...


Sam and Maddie found a groundhog hole....


which Sam just had to investigate a little bit further!


A few cute goat shots along the way back...

"Hey, whatcha lookin at?"
"Do you smell what I smell?"
"Does this log make my butt look big?"
There's no better scene on the way back from a walk,
than our much loved herd of equines peacefully grazing.


The turkeys greeted us on our return.


And the guineas?
Well, after making sure that we didn't bring any riff-raff home with us,
Guido and the boys went back to the business of hunting for ticks.
At this time of year we could use an army of guineas for that task!

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