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Farm Friday 06.23.2017

It is the week of the summer solstice, but Texas summer is still holding off a bit. Yay! It is supposed to be gross hot today, but then cool off for nearly a whole week!

Sterling has been a superstar about getting his leg worked on this week. He isn’t the most typical of horses, so I would have expected him to have been much more difficult for the twice daily wound draining procedure. Most days he would just eat grass while I squeezed on his stifle. The best part is that means it doesn’t hurt.

Sterling eats his meals while I do his hydrotherapy. The dogs LOVE the horse feed from Muenster feed mill because it has coconut oil. Mickey has decided to help himself to Sterling’s food during his hydrotherapy and went so far as to growl at Sterling to which Sterling’s response was to slowly walk away from his food. Yup, the 6lb dog ran the 1100lb horse away from his food!

 

This will be Dragon’s first real Texas summer. She isn’t a fan so far and when the temps get into the 80s she prefers the sofa to being outside, even though she LOVES to play with her buddy Dickens in the horse pasture.

Sighthounds passed out on the sofa. Notice that Dickens mouth is open. He played so hard and was so tired that he slept like an old man with his mouth open and even drooled. Ha!

 

Bubbles is the somewhat feral barn cat. For the first year we had her she didn’t leave the horse stall where her food lives. However, for the past few weeks she has been adventurous and we have seen her outside some. Yay for Bubbles! She also has started sleeping in the chicken wire in the ceiling of the barn. Presumably this is cooler, but it sure looks silly!

Bubbles relaxing in her chicken wire sleeping hammock. Eventually we will build a real chicken coop and tear down this old barn and the poor kitty wont have her chicken wire hammock any more. She also sleeps with her tongue hanging out. We always have the weirdest barn cats.

Happy weekend y’all and stay cool!

Farm Friday 09.02.2016

This is where the goats live when it rains. Because goats melt when they get wet…..

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The driveway has been a special version of horrible since we have been getting lots of August rains so Boot City poured a load of concrete on Derrbetts Grand Canyon Part 4

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He does good work.

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All the kittens have been adopted! Yay! We may still keep the mama kitty, but aren’t sure yet. Do you need the most loveable house cat EVER?

IMG_7159I call this Kitten Cowgirl.

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Happy Labor Day weekend y’all!

 

Coco – 0, Fence-1

A (non-horsey) friend of mine often says that horses are born trying to die. Most of the time I don’t agree, but every once in a while they (the horses) attempt to change my mind. It has rained quite a lot lately so I’ve kept the horses in their stalls for the past couple nights. To my mind this would be a completely safe environment for the horses to spend the duration of the storms. I was wrong. Coco has a very fat and scraped up hind leg.

I suspect that she rolled in her stall run yesterday and stuck her leg through the fence. There is a pretty good scrape and a few minor scrapes on both hind legs. She isn’t lame, thank goodness. For the next few days we will hearken back to last summer for twice daily ice wraps and poultices. Thankfully she is a very well behaved patient so should improve quickly with treatment.

Initially I just wrapped it with an Ice Horse wrap to get some cold on it. The longer it is hot and swollen the worse it is for the leg long term.

ice horse

 

When she was in her stall I poulticed her leg. This is a clay gunk that you slather on, wrap in newspaper, then wrap with a standing wrap. The poultice dries and pulls the heat out of the leg. It is best to do this when they are confined so as to not tear the wrap off. I was impressed with how cooperative she was for her first hind leg wrap. They always act funny the first time their hind legs are wrapped. I presume something wrapped around their legs in the “wild” is most likely a snake or something bad.

standing wrap

 

 

After the poultice has been on for a few hours you remove the wrap and rinse off the leg. This is what the dried up newspaper-wrapped poultice looks like:

poultice

 

Her leg was markedly less swollen after a couple ice wraps and the poultice. Yay! You can also see her ugly scrapes. Dear Coco, please don’t put your leg through any more fences.

bare leg

Boot City gets his Weld on

Most husbands are somewhat handy at wood working. Mine is decidedly not very handy at wood working; his speciality is working with metal. Therefore many structures that would be made of wood at a wood worker’s home are made of metal at our home. This makes for some VERY heavy duty bridle racks and saddle racks that you could hang a sofa from. Most recently Boot City stepped up to make a stall run for the “bed-ridden” Coco Chanel during her 6 week layup.

We had planned to have stall runs on all four stalls on the “new” barn from the get-go, but time and funding are not always readily available so nothing happened until there was an express NEED for a stall run. We did a great deal of internet research about design; how far apart should the pipes be, how far off the ground should the lowest rung measure, how heavy duty do the pipes need to be and all kinds of safety and convenience research.

Human nature is to repeat what we know worked in the past. My parents had runs off the stalls on their barn in Montana so that was the basis for our design. We altered it slightly by putting fewer pipes and having the bottom rung further off the ground to prevent trapping legs. We beefed up the size of the frame pipes and opted for 1 1/2″ sucker rod for the bottom 3 rows. This is the finished product plus horse.

Coco outside in her run on the first night it was open for business.

Coco outside in her run on the first night it was open for business.

Boot City is all about building things to be very sturdy. This time around he put posts in the ground at least every 8 feet and in the case of invasive tree roots he put them even closer so as to not have to harm the roots.The closer the poles in the ground are to one another the sturdier they are because there is less room between bracing for the horizontal pipes.

Poles in the ground. I promise that all of them are nearly perfectly straight. Boot City doesn't mess around.

Poles in the ground. I promise that all of them are nearly perfectly straight. Boot City doesn’t mess around.

The whole project took about three weeks from start to finish. I really and truly thought it could be done in a couple days, but that was unrealistic wishful thinking. The concrete had to set for the poles in the ground to be sturdy enough to weld on and the measuring and levelling is extremely tedious work. Boot City finished the fencing late on a Wednesday night and Coco will be forever grateful. ┬áThe plan is to complete her neighbor’s stall run in the coming months, but emphasis is now on putting in a property gate, updating fencing by the house and finished the “nursery” AKA the paddock fencing for Coco and her new foal come March.

Late night welding

Late night welding

A “River” Runs Through It

Boot City and I live on top of a hill. A very large and rocky hill. Our friends like to tell us how delightful they find our driveway. Truly delightful. The primary reason that our driveway is so very delightful is due to laws of gravity: what goes up, must come down. This is true not only for our driveway, but for other parts of our property as well. All farmers and ranchers are constantly battling erosion of some sort. We aren’t actual farmers or ranchers, but we do have an ongoing battle with erosion. When the rain comes down, it has to go somewhere and so down the hill it goes. Generally after a hard rain most any loose dirt and rocks from our driveway have found their way to the highway by our house. I’m confident the county road crew loves us the most.

For the past nine years we have lived on our happy 10 acres we have been working towards improving the land and increasing the amount of grass that grows. Improving the soil is all about adding organic matter and nitrogen. The combined efforts of the chickens pooping, the goats pooping and the horses pooping have done wonders to increase the amount of organic matter. We try to compost as much as we can, but sometimes that sh$% just has to get spread around. Boot City has also gotten to justify his schmancy new 65 horsepower John Deere all in the name of grass and soil improvement. This allows him to dig up the soil, plant seeds and fertilise when necessary. And this spring has shown the fruits of our (mostly his) labor better than any other.

So much so that after an especially hard rain this past weekend there was a great deal of evidence that we really need to work on creating our very own mini-creek for the water to go down after such hard rains. As it is now, the water running down the hill just takes all the organic matter we’ve worked so hard to accumulate with it!

The top of the hill on the back of the property. You can see how fast the water moved down the hill and created it's very own path through all the beautiful grass. We have the beginnings of some rocks set down to prevent all the dirt from eroding with the water.

The top of the hill on the back of the property. You can see how fast the water moved down the hill and created it’s very own path through all the beautiful grass. We have the beginnings of some rocks set down to prevent all the dirt from eroding with the water.

Further down the hill there isn't any grass growing in this part of the water flow for a couple reasons. The first is that there are a lot of trees so very little sunlight gets in and the second being that every hard rain just washes away any grass that has started to grow.

Further down the hill there isn’t any grass growing in this part of the water flow for a couple reasons. The first is that there are a lot of trees so very little sunlight gets in and the second being that every hard rain just washes away any grass that has started to grow.

Towards the bottom of the back hill the grass had gotten to be about 12″ – 14″ tall. When I walked the property the morning after the rain I was somewhat surprised to find how it had been completely flattened by the water runoff. This was a prime opportunity for us to identify the low spots and plan for adding rocks and other solid barriers to slow down the water and to prevent the topsoil from being eroded.

Flat grass! Boot City has already moved some dirt to change the layout of the hill and alter the pathway of the water. Now, to add more big rocks.

Flat grass! Boot City has already moved some dirt to change the layout of the hill and alter the pathway of the water. Now, to add more big rocks.

In the back, right before and at the largest back pasture (about 5 acres) the grass is thick, tall and lush. It’s that perfect spring green that makes anyone associated with agriculture and animal husbandry smile and take a deep breath. Along the path of the water runoff it had gotten completely flattened and looked like a big green walkway. Again, indicative of where to plant more large rocks!

You can see the water path towards the back of the pasture.

You can see the water path towards the back of the pasture.

Last, but not least, this is where the water collects and runs to lower ground on the neighbor’s property. Last year, in the fall, there was a similar large storm and the water runoff collected so much debris that by the time it got to this spot it took down the fence!

The endpoint of the "River"

The endpoint of the “River”

Now we mow, mow and mow some more (and by we I mean Boot City mows) and collect rocks from other parts of the property to add to the future “creek”. Maybe by fall we will have a genuine little waterfall to share!