Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Horse Apples

No I'm not talking about the type that you feed to horses but rather the type they leave you to clean up. Somehow I had forgotten that horses create so much manure - any kid who wants a horse should get a job mucking stalls and get to realize that riding and exercise is just a very small part of horse keeping. Most of one's time is going to be taken up with cleaning either the horse or it's environment or producing/acquiring the fodder that gets turned into those horse apples. I have also discovered just how much 2 horses can turn even well drained ground into a muddy morass which is nigh unto impossible to push a wheelbarrow through. I do not remember them leaving this many goodbyes in the run in shelter at their former home; I guess I should take that as a compliment as to how much they like what we've provided for them. Forgive me if I wish they liked it a little less - especially when I'm trying to clean out the shelter.

Speaking of horse apples and the things that get turned into them, I've started feeding Aeolae and Samwise beet pulp which they absolutely love. They probably think they're getting royally spoiled (although they probably really think it's just their due) especially since I mix their oat ration in with it, but Aeolae's been losing weight. Some of it I think is the change in environment and part of it is that they have nothing like the pasturage they did and part of is the colder weather but that doesn't mean I have to like it. It isn't bad yet but I'd rather have my horses slightly plump than slightly skinny.

Part of it probably also is the fact that they're due for worming. This time we got the good stuff - Zimecterin Gold which takes out all the usual parasites plus tapeworms. At $18 a dose I hope not to have to use it every time but for their first worming here, and maybe the next one, which will be after the first hard freeze, it seems like a good idea.

Who's There?

A few minutes ago I was sitting here surfing and there came this strange knocking on the corner of the room. The house is in 2 sections - my father-in-law has the trailer home with it's 1 real bedroom and the full bath and my husband and I converted the 2 car garage into a bedroom/studio with a connecting hallway between the parts as a place to live after fleeing IL. The propane tank is by that corner and God forbid something should be causing that kind of a noise with it, especially something serious enough to make it knock loud enough to be heard inside. Turns out it was an errant woodpecker who had mistaken the corner of the room for a tree - I only hope it was confused and not telling us there is something worth going after over there. Thank goodness we live too far north for termites.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

First Snow - Argghh!!!

Well, it finally happened, far too early in my opinion, but last weekend we had the first snow of the season that stuck to the ground. It was the first snow of the season period but most years it normally comes and goes in the same day - not this year. 10 miles down the road it hardly stuck at all but here it stayed around for the better part of 3 days. Scared the bejesus out of me - I was afraid that it was really here to stay and there still is way too much to be done.

OTOH, a real blessing beamed down in the form of my father who showed up to take my father-in-law (who lives with my husband and I) to the eye doctor for an exam before his upcoming cataract surgery. Since he came all the way up here for that, (with a dozen bales of premo hay), he decided to spend the week helping me out which was desparately needed since Mark has been unable to help. We got a leaky water trough from a friend over here to use as a hay trough since I'm tired of the horses scattering their hay all over their shelter; if there's anything that drives me nuts it's wastefulness.

From the same friend we got a really nice raised chicken house with enclosed, sheltered area and a nice long run. The fact that it is off the ground should make cleaning up the chicken pooh a whole lot easier than conventionally cleaning out a chicken house - a task well remembered from my childhood and not much looked forward to now. The dust, the smell, the feathers - ugh! This way I just have to rake out from underneath it. I have yet to put a roof on it to shed snow from the run part of it and do something about blocking the wind since it is out in the open and is way too heavy to relocate; plastic sheeting should be good for that.

Personally, I think that our society uses plastic for way too many things - it may be convenient but it's a real pain to dispose of and of limited reusability. Since the bottom has fallen out of the recycling business one can't hardly give recycleables away much less get any coin for stuff. That only covers the stuff that is recyclable - not the majority of plastics one encounters on a daily basis which either gets burned or ends up in the landfill. OTOH, >3 mil plastic sheeting is one of the great things that chemistry has produced - especially for the homestead. Ok, so maybe I'm over enthusiastic but it is useful stuff especially for keeping snow off and winter winds out.

Besides getting the trough for hay, and the premo hay, the horses got a much larger paddock. It would have been almost impossible to do an effective and efficient job of running the electrical rope fencing by myself but Dad and I got an approx 400' perimeter area fenced in in one afternoon. The process would have gone faster except Samwise was trying to be sooo helpful. Never-the-less the horses seem to like their new area and I arranged for useful gates to the old logging roads into the woods and to the round training pen that i still have yet to build. Like I said, way too much to do and not nearly enough time; the last thing I need right now is snow coming and sticking around.