So Much Rain! And Sleet! And other Yukkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkky Stuff.

This is supposed to be our last winter storm. They said it will knock our socks off. Personally, I need my socks ON to even TRY and stay warm… Trudging through 4 inches of mud in the pig pasture to bring more bedding hay inside the shed for my sweet 700 pound Priscilla meant that my socks got wet and my feet are stinky. But Miss Prissy is warm and dry….well, dry anyway, and covered in hay…I’m not sure anybody is warm today.

I’m okay with this rain today. By this evening the temps will drop 20 degrees and the rain will turn to sleet and then snow. We might not be able to get out of our driveway tomorrow. Next week’s forecast is calling for sun and higher temperatures, so this rain and cold winter weather is but a bump in the road. I’ve decided to like it.

Hank and Frank...two dumb roosters who wouldn't come out of the freezing rain. They are now inside until they are dry.

Hank and Frank…two dumb roosters who wouldn’t come out of the freezing rain. They are now inside until they are dry. Hank is quite tame, as this is his second foray into the world of climate control after a bout of extreme dumbness and possible brain damage from refusing to come into the coop out of the brutal wind and sub-zero temperatures we had a couple of weeks ago. Hank and Frank both have frostbitten combs. Hank is mostly Rhode Island Red, and Frank is Rhode Island Red with a smidgen of silky somewhere his background. He has really pretty silky red feathers. Both need new homes as my dominate roo does not like either one…although they are his children.

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Our yard. This is the shallow end.

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Jetaime (one of our milkers), and Wedgy (the brown wether with the white face behind her). Eating hay and watching the rain come down. When I walked inside they were all laying down but refused to allow me to take a picture of them like that.

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Most of the herd inside munching hay. Malachai, their guardian is afraid of the camera. Silly dog. He thinks it will steal his soul.

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A pile of wood waiting to go into the woodstove. The only remedy for a cold and miserable day.

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Ahhhh, a nice warm fire.

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Foxy Brown. She reminds me of a wolf dog. She’s the sweetest dog in the world though.

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Happy Dog. Doing his favorite activity besides eating…sleeping.

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Christmas Eve

It’s Christmas Eve and it has turned cold again.  I was sort of hoping for a 70 degree Christmas day but it doesn’t seem like that is going to happen.  I haven’t wrapped any presents yet, in fact, I only started shopping yesterday.  I know, bad me.  I get so caught up in helping other people with their Christmas gifts that I forget that its even Christmas! 

We are up to our eyeballs in mud here from all the rain we got over about a 48 hour period.  It stopped raining sometime during the day yesterday, but oh my goodness, the mud!  I hope that the horses still have feet when I go to trim them this week…for all I know, they might not have feet anymore.  😦  (Don’t worry, no one is limping except the TB who always limps a little)…still, I’d like a mud-free pasture for everyone for Christmas…or at least new year…that is my Christmas wish for the animals…a mud-free pasture…except the pig…she would not be happy without mud. 

A Nice Green Planet Earth

That’s what I’ve been wishing for.  Everyday.  When all I see is brown.

I seem to have gotten my wish.  Driving home from Cumberland today everything was lush and green.  The grapevines in Phenix were absolutely stunning, lush and leafy and draped romantically over their arbors, which rolled over gentle hills back toward a white farmhouse and outbuildings.

The soybeans are knee high with thick, luxurious leaves and stems.

The tobacco, well, it’s doing well too.  Field after green field of it.  Some fields were being watered this morning as I left out on my way to Cumberland.  The plants are waist-high and I can only imagine the water that they need to stay healthy and green.

The humidity is rising, and it’s not possible anymore to walk from car to store without sweating.

Profusely.

A good way to detoxify I’ve heard.  And in some places people pay a lot of money to sweat.  Maybe they should just move south.

Our small pastures are green and the grass is short, but thick.  The horses actually have something to graze.  But, they still want their hay two times a day.  And they get it.

I bought turnips in Farmville at the co-op.  We’re going to plant a small test plot for the goats.  I bought a pound which is way more than I need.  Hopefully the rains keep up and the chickens don’t eat all the seed.

Instead of flowers in front of the house, we’re going to have turnips.  It’s pointless to grow flowers now anyway since we have to redo both the front porch and the back deck.  Might as well grow turnips.

The spring hens have began laying.  I put a big nest box and feeding area up for them, which they are ignoring.  Instead, they are laying their eggs under the tarp that is over the hay.  The eggs are very, very clean.  One of the new hens is laying bantam sized eggs.  So far I’ve gotten about 5 of them, so I guess they will stay that size.  It’s funny though, we don’t have a single bantam hen on the property.  No bantam rooster either.

The little goat girls are all in with the big goat girls and things are settling down.  Not so much picking at each other and they are eating the weedy  pasture down beautifully….leaving the grass and chomping on the weeds, baby trees, young briars, etc.  It’s good to be a goat right now.

Milk production is lower, but steady. We’re getting around 4.5 gallons per day, milking 4 does.  We’ve done better, but that’s really all the milk we need.  More than we need in fact.  I’ve been making a lot of cheese and soaking the chickens grain in the whey and also feeding them the leftover milk or kefir we don’t use.  I’ve only once had a soft shell, and it was more like a mistake than an ongoing problem. Seems like the chicken forgot to lay down the hard part of the shell.  The egg only had the tough inner membrane.  No more eggs like that though.  One was enough.

Anybody heard what the Farmer’s Almanac says about the coming winter?  We’re all expecting the worst.  How about you?

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How To Let the Horses Out…A Guest Post by Ciara, the Goat

First of all, make SURE the power cord running to the electric fence charger is OFF!

Believe me, I tried this once while it was plugged in and the results were painful.

electric fence chargerNext, make sure there is at least one horse paying attention to what you are doing.  If not, what’s the point.  There’s lots of other stuff to do!Horse NoseAfter you’re sure the electric fence is off, and  you’ve got at least one horse paying attention to what you’re doing, then it’s time to get started.

First, jump up on the fence and attack it.  Bring it down as far as you can.goat jumping on fenceThen, just do whatever you gotta do to keep it low so somebody can step over it.  Remember, the horse is supposed to be paying close attention to what you’re doing.  Don’t let any humans see you do this though or they’ll probably run over and plug the fence in.

That will hurt.Now, be careful not to get yourself too wrapped up in the fence in case something goes wrong and you have to get outta there fast.  For safety reasons it’s probably best to do this if there is only one horse behind the fence.

In this last pose I about had it down when BOOM!  The next door neighbor shot his shotgun and scared the herd of horses into a mad gallop and I jumped so high I pulled the whole thing down.  But, I ran really fast and I don’t think anybody saw who did it.

I think they blamed the horse.

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Another beautiful day!

It’s beautiful so far anyway…still nice and cool.  The weatherman says we’re supposed to get up to 93 degrees today.

Yesterday, driving through Farmville, the bank thermometer read 93 degrees.  It didn’t feel too bad, really.  Especially when I think about all the snow we were plauged with all winter.

When even a short walk outside mean hat, coat, socks, mittens, then traipsing through mud, snow and ice.  Feeding animals who were used to being on at least a little grassy pasture…now all of a sudden dependant on humans for every morsel of  food.  It was a daunting task and I do not envy those people who live in the North and endure that type of thing every day.

Now we have bugs however…and I don’t especially like bugs.  True, I can get away from bugs (somewhat) by going inside the house.  The horses and goats, however, are doomed to be plagued with every kind of annoying insect there is.  Flies are getting bad, but the mosquitos are worse.  They love biting udders and inside of goat legs where there is not much hair.  They bite the horses on the stomaches and in the udder/sheath area and there is not much a horse can do about it.  Ticks are bad too.

Luckily, I discovered a product a few years ago that at least discourages ticks.  And I bought plenty of it…only thing is, I can’t find any of it.  It’s called Freedom 45 and there are six to a pack for about $25 bucks.  Tractor supply usually carries them, and I normally get by with about a pack and a half for the whole summer.

Freedom 45 spot on for horses

The great thing about this stuff is that although the package says to use one tube per horse, applied every two weeks….it is NOT necessary to do this.  Too much  poison!  It works just as well when I apply one tube to the WHOLE  HERD.  That’s one tube total..divided up.  You put it on all the normal places, heels, backs of legs, poll, neck, top of butt, etc.  It works great!  Another thing is that I can use it on the dogs for ticks AND fleas.  Again, using only a portion of the stuff. In fact, several times I used just one tube on 6 horses, two dogs, and a CAT!  No ticks or fleas on any of them!

It’s probably poisonous to cats, but since my cats all seem to have more than 9 lives, it hasn’t harmed them yet.

Anyway, I have lots of planting and mowing to do today, plus a few of my own horses hooves to trim.

Enjoy the summer!