Where have I been???

December 18, 2012

Lordy me, no update since September? Where have I been? I distinctly remember being buried in produce in September and October, so most likely I was somewhere between the garden and the kitchen during that time. I finally gave up the garden when the freezer stopped closing and every canning jar was full – I opened the gate for the chickens and decided I’ enjoy the rest of the bounty through eggs.Β  At the end of October, I took a quick trip over to Central Oregon for a friend’s wedding – perfect time for a sunbreak! I don’t actually remember much about November, so I think I spent it recovering from summer and fall… and now today I’ve had my first snow of the season, so the herd is all tucked up comfy in the barn, and I can update the blog finally. In farm updates, the horses are doing well – the yearlings are both over 1,000 pounds now. I was able to ride Annie once (Maggie got ahold of my camera while it was on the fence post recording my first ride, so there will be a picture-free period of several weeks, but I got a new camera for Christmas so I’m back in business).Β  Annie blew an abscess in her front foot shortly after her first ride, so she’s been resting since then. Chance is a little tender right now, too, and I just haven’t bothered to ride Natty since it’s dark the whole time I’m home. This time of year is rough – it’s muddy, the horses get gravel stuck in the mud in their feet, then they walk into the barn with concrete floors, and pretty soon they have stone bruises, poor babies.Β  The other critters are fine, too. B-dog had a rough time this fall because he got a foxtail grass seed embedded in his leg and had 2 abscess surgeries before the vet found the seed lodged in his knee, but he’s on the mend now. The goats are thriving, and I’m hoping for some kids near the end of February. The young goats got their first taste of snow today and didn’t want to walk in it – too cute.Β  And now, on to the new pictures!

The garden went above and beyond – wow!

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I had a special request for hoof prints for Christmas – here’s the first attempt. I need to try again pronto or I’ll be late!

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One day (or maybe 3 days), I shoveled all the horses’ bedding into the barn. The truck is a little too tall to back under the barn roof, so they dump right outside and I shovel it in. Talk about sore core muscles!

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This next group of pictures is from the beginning of November when the winter woolies were really starting to grow.

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My perfect angel, always so clean. Contrast with pigpen above.

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I missed getting a picture of Maggie – must have been tired after grooming all these muddy mountains!

Here are the goats enjoying the windfall from a windstorm.

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Here is the only picture from Annie’s first ride. She did great – calm and responsive!

Annie first ride

Here’s a picture showing Lightning Bug (near side) and Niki so you can see how big he is getting!

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And another with Bonny, Lightning Bug, and Niki, left to right…

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Here’s a quick picture from a rest stop in Eastern Oregon – gorgeous place.

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And here are some “goats make me laugh” pictures – first one, Woody is sprawling down from 3 bales up to eat the bottom one, second one he’s standing in the wheelbarrow with his head stuck in the hay bag – for the second morning in a row…

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Here’s Maggie – she looks better outside the barn πŸ™‚

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Doesn’t Lightning Bug have a pretty head for a drafty fellow?

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Here’s post-op B-dog using his cone of shame to store his tennis ball.

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We all know I like to put my mom to work every chance I get πŸ™‚

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These two know who loves them

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And here’s a perfect example of why I almost never post pictures with me in them – somebody’s always clowning around!

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Here’s the whole muddy herd.

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And finally, a few stunning landscapes

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Long Overdue Updates

September 25, 2012

Wow, I can’t believe the whole summer flew by without a single blog update. I’ve been keeping busy! Here are some updated pictures.

The youngsters are growing like weeds as you might imagine – Miss Bonny finally outgrew the regular Horse Size halter and got her very own brand new Large Horse Halter this weekend. Lightning Bug was jealous, of course, and tried to back her out of the pictures…

This is the season when the roans all get their dapples – so much fun to watch them all change color.

Everybody around here works hard to keep the property from getting overgrown.

Here are some good pictures from my mom’s last day of slave labor. In this first one, I went out to the pasture to get a horse for Mom. Note how hard to catch all my animals are…

Mom worked with Bonny in the arena for awhile. It went well until Bonny decided she was done, bucked, and ran back to the pasture. Note to self: close arena gate and work within young horse’s attention span.

After arena work, I set Mom to work grooming horses! Just look at Natty – wow has she come a long way in 4 years πŸ™‚

Next up Lightning Bug. This little fellow is SOO smart but has all the attention span of his namesake, unfortunately. Tonight I worked with him for the first time on using the hoof stand (paid for with YouTube advertising money – thank you all for watching my videos!), and he got it perfectly right off the bat. I got his first foot trimmed right away, and he was so good. Then on foot two, he just lost interest in the game. I guess I’ll do another one tomorrow night and try harder to challenge him!

Mom found the treat bag and all work ceased.

Bonny’s a bit of a bratty jealous mare…

If you’re wondering what I did all summer, here are some before and after pictures around the house:

And a couple of shots from my canning and freezing activities (keep in mind these aren’t the most recent – the shelf now has another 2 dozen jars and the freezer is full now)

A few pictures

June 13, 2012

The herd was out in the yard helping me mow tonight, so I snapped some pictures while I supervised. They are still muddy of course (we’re above normal rainfall for the water year already, and the water year runs through September) but all except Lightning Bug have their lovely summer coats. LB still has some white woolies around his tummy, but he’s getting a lovely shiny red coat.

I love this horse. Note his dapples and the depth of his heart girth now. I’m not sure when my baby grew up, but he sure is gorgeous.

Oh, to live a cat’s life!

Beautiful time of year

May 7, 2012

Spring in the Northwest is awesome. I spend more time than I care to admit walking around taking pictures because everything is so gorgeous. Here are plenty of good shots for everyone to enjoy πŸ™‚

Nap time turns into…

Maggie the jungle gym for goat kids…

This was really the first time the goat kids were able to bond with the horses.

My chameleon coltie turning back to white. Roans are such fun with all their color changes.

Downside of roans: every kick and bite leaves a dark mark in an otherwise white coat.

My boys: Chance turned 4 on 5/4

And Lightning Bug had his first birthday 5/5

Peaceful happy herd

Niki the gentle giant and Woody the fearless young fellow

Lightning’s birthday present – a good grooming with the delightful undercoat rake

Full tummies = lazy horses

He may be flat-out resting, but he’s still nibbling anyway (he learned this from his mama)

I guess a motherless kid will take whatever kind of role model he can find?

Spring is finally here!

April 22, 2012

The horses are shedding like crazy, the grass is growing, the sun is out, life is good! Enjoy the pictures πŸ™‚

Sun is hot! We enjoy the shade since we’re still shedding out.

“Hey Mom, everybody else is getting scratches in the shade! You’re on your own!”

My beautiful Niki. She’s done shedding on her neck, but she still has some fuzzy white hair on her face.

The ever-handsome Chance, less wooly but not yet his summer red self.

Sweet old Maggie has a lot of hair left to come off.

I was scratching away trying to get some of her extra hair off when Niki and Bonny saw an opportunity to get some scratches of their own!

Oh so sweet

And here’s the rascal Lightning Bug, my fence wrecker. This picture was taken at a bad angle – he’s nowhere near that chunky.

Love shedding roans – Lightning bug has these funny white patches around his ears and Maggie has dark raccoon eyes.

Here’s Miss Bonny

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The whole herd – it’s getting harder to squeeze them all in one picture.

My small sidekicks

Long Overdue Updates

February 5, 2012

 

Wow, I can’t believe how long it’s been since I updated the blog. Things have been busy around here. This time of year, the horses spend most of their time in the barn, so I spend most of my time cleaning the barn πŸ˜‰ Among the biggest changes in the last couple of months, the Quarter Horses are gone and Maggie is home from her baby-weaning vacation. We’ve had some snow, the first the weanlings had ever seen, and yesterday we had beautiful warm sun that makes me think spring might come soon. Some of the horses are starting to shed out their winter woolies, and I’m eager to see what the youngsters look like this year (not that I think it will stick – Chance’s yearling year he had the odd blond shoulder all summer, and that’s long gone now). Speaking of Chance, he had a growth spurt again, and he’s now at least 17 hands if not a little taller. He’s amazing. All the mares are doing just fine. We’re all just waiting out winter and looking forward to spring!

Here are some pictures since last blog (oldest at the top)

Christmas Day my mom came over, and I put her to work grooming horses. I am trying to get her out again now that everybody’s shedding – hopefully she’ll be here later this morning.

As we all know, a freshly groomed horse immediately rolls in the messiest spot he can find. Here in the Pacific Northwest in the winter, that is often a mud puddle.

This was the first time the foals were nose-to-nose with Annie since being separated for weaning, and she’s clearly already done with them!

Why do horses always get up when I just want to take a picture while they’re resting so peacefully???

Here are some pictures of Maggie while she was on her vacation.

Maggie has the right idea about the arena – it’s for exercise! Niki and Annie are a little confused…

Auntie Niki is such a comfort to the youngsters.

Babies’ first snow:

I spend several hours per day cleaning stalls this time of year, and the youngsters are always curious!

The rest of the pictures were taken yesterday – an absolutely gorgeous day! I just sat in the pasture and enjoyed the view for awhile – heaven!

It’ s so hard to get decent pictures of pocket ponies!

View from the pasture

 

Natty and Chance – when did he get so big???

Maggie is back with the herd now, but her boy is still attached to Niki

November Updates

December 6, 2011

As some of you know, I had an accident with the herd just before Thanksgiving. I was in the pasture, they spooked, and the herd wheeled around and ran over me. Note to self:Β  the underside of 7 draft horses is never a good place to be! I’m on the mend now, but I am grounded for the time being, so all I can really do is wander around and take pictures over the fences.

Before the accident, I did have a couple of great field trips, though. For my birthday, we went to the beach again! I brought Chance this time, and Lauren brought all 3 of her horses – she rode her oldest and ponied her youngest, and my mom came along and rode the nice quiet one. The weather was more typical to the Oregon coast, meaning gale force winds and COLD!!!! but luckily it did not rain until we were unsaddling the horses at the end of a nice long ride. I was very interested in the different reactions of Natty and Chance – Natty, ever the caretaker, stubbornly wanted to go back in the dunes but was otherwise perfect. Chance actually spooked and tried to run for his life at the worst possible moment – all turned out ok, but I barely stayed on and he almost trampled an innocent family on the ground. He is a big goober and was totally fine after that, doesn’t it figure!

My other field trip didn’t involve my own horses but was amazing nonetheless – Cavalia came to town. It was really amazing, so fun to watch, and soon I need to put my herd to work learning some of those acts.

Here on the homefront, the foals are in their way to being weanlings. Maggie is vacationing with friends for a month and really thriving, and Annie is still home but separated from Miss Bonny. The whole situation has been hardest on Bonny, poor baby.

Here are pictures since the last blog post.

Mom and Whiley

Riding on the beach with my mom πŸ™‚

Back on the bay side, we were sheltered from the wind.

Back at home, the happy herd still has fallen apples to pick up, yum!

Uncle Chance teaches baby Bonny to pick apples from the tree

Moms and babies. These are some of the last pictures I have before weaning.

These are from yesterday – I walked around taking pictures of all the animals because the sun was out.

Dominique rooster

The weanlings

Nice job keeping the fenceline clear!

Some of the younger chickens exploring – I love those little golden birdies in the green grass

Here’s a mama hen with the chicks she hatched herself Thanksgiving Day. They are followed closely by my turkey hen who desperately wants babies and tries to steal them from the chickens.

Now there’s a relaxed horse!

The big horses’ pen is so muddy and slippery that I am trying to get them a little arena time each afternoon to cut loose on good footing. Of course, they usually do their laps on the mud outside the arena, but I try. Today a freezing fog rolled in, and it made for some neat pictures.

Chance steals the whip – this layup is not going to do him any good – boy needs a job!

Natty – beautiful even with mud on her face (I like to think we have that in common)

 

October Field Trips with Natty

October 30, 2011

October was another busy month. Early in the month, Lightning Bug was gelded. It all went smoothly, and he’ll have a better life for it. I have wonderful caring vets and vet techs. Here, Lightning gets an affection pat while he’s waking up.

Maggie wasn’t feeling so great around the time of Lightning’s gelding, and the sweet boy stood watch over his mama while she rested.

In the middle of October, I took Natty on her second-ever field trip to Tryon Creek State Park. Chance was lame again, and I had promised to take Mom riding, so I took Natty instead. She’s a lot of work because she’s so green, but she’s perfectly calm and safe and generally does what she’s supposed to.

Natty’s first bridge crossing – she didn’t bat an eye!

Natty’s second bridge – she was much less certain of this one because it wasn’t solid and she could see the creek below, but she still crossed it fine.

We made it safely back to the trailer after Natty’s first trail ride!

This trail ride was he hardest work Natty has ever done in her life. My beautiful girl was tired!

Now for a few pictures from home. Annie looks like some small child took the scissors to her mane, poor girl.

Here are some shots of the foals playing:

Yesterday Natty and I went to the beach! It was Natty’s first time at the beach and my first time there with my horse.Β  She was awesome, as usual πŸ™‚Β  Well, she wasn’t easy to steer on the beach and really wanted to go back over the dunes where there was grass and no ocean, but she was pretty darn good.

Natty’s first glimpse of the ocean

Down onto the beach we go

Natty’s none to sure about this lake – it smells funny and seems to contain a horse-eating monster that keeps rushing in her direction.

Thank you to Lauren for hauling us to the beach with her! That big black horse in theΒ  background is a Clydesdale/Lipizzaner cross- fascinating horse.

Image was brave enough to go into the water

A bigger wave almost knocked her over! Look, she is wet all the way up o her mane.

I guess Natty wasn’t too stressed by the whole beach experience

After the beach, we checked out the trails on the other side of the dunes along the bay. This was more Natty’s speed, although she was very focused on the fishing boats on the bay πŸ™‚

Fall is here

October 2, 2011

The weather is changing, and so is Lightning’s coloring. I’m really enjoying watching this boy move through his various coats of many colors. This week he’s a wonderful unusual leopard-looking colt.

Here’s a detail shot of his reverse dapples and dorsal stripe:

Here’s one of the horses ready for their next adventure:

Here are pictures from a recent trail ride in a nearby state park. This is Peanut, a 2-year-old QH. Now that we have the bigger horse trailer, he can come with us on our adventures. He’s a good boy πŸ™‚

Chance and I usually bring up the rear because Chance doesn’t have shoes and picks his way carefully along gravel paths.

I brought Chance’s lead rope along again because there was a Civil War reenactment happening in the park, and I wasn’t sure if he’d be bothered by artillery fire and horses running around and things of that nature. I should have known better – Chance wasn’t worried a bit!

I hear many horses are afraid of bridges, but none of ours mind this one in the slightest:

The trail makes a loop through the park and there is a grassy arena in a big field near the trailer parking area.

Chance has a fancier trot than I realized!

Look at that reach!

All of the horses who carried riders think they worked hard… Peanut isn’t tired, though.

We went to Gaming Night again last Monday, but I don’t have any pictures. Chance was awesome, and strangers were actually taking his picture, lol πŸ™‚

Thursday we had probably the last after-work trail ride of the season. The weather was awesome. It’s getting dark earlier now, though, and we made our way back in the dark – and I do mean DARK! There’s one stretch that is a tunnel under overgrown trees and blackberries, and it was so dark I couldn’t even see Chance’s head. I just hunkered down as close as I could to his neck and trusted him to get me home, which he did. He’s such an awesome horse! He does have something to work on now, though – he kicked the horse behind him, the brat! It’s a good thing we usually bring up the rear.

Here are some detail shots of the ever-changing Lightning Bug.

Here’s Maggie for comparison:

Here is Maggie’s ear – you can see she’s more red and less grey:

Here’s Miss Bonny telling Lightning Bug to step back and let her have ALL the attention!

Notice how big Lightning Bug in this picture – he’s standing in front of Niki, the only full-draft in the herd, and she’s actually on the up-hill side of him. Yikes!

Here’s the herd helping me pick up fallen apples:

I just love this little guy’s pattern

Miss filly is too much an attention hog to make for good pictures

And last but not least, here are my beautiful fatties!

Round up!

September 18, 2011

Chance and I attended our first cattle round up yesterday! There were about a dozen riders to bring in maybe 80-90 cows and calves, but enough of us were newbies that we really did actually need that many. Chance was pretty darn good considering this was only his second time out with cows. He did jump straight up in the air at one point, and then when half the herd broke away and headed for us, he moved us out of the way quickly and with much spunk (he clearly didn’t understand that he was supposed to hold the line and turn the cows back, but oh well).Β  For the most part he was under control, though, and we did get to push the cows forward from the rear a little bit, although we were not the closest horse/rider.Β  I guess I’d say we kept a safe distance and weren’t much help, but it was a great experience nonetheless. We brought the whole herd in, then Chance had to stand tied while the cows and calves were separated by hand, and then we help drive the calves back out to a new pasture. After that, we tucked Chance and his friend Whiley in a pen in the dead center of all the action! There is a squeeze in the middle of a bunch of pens, and we put the horses in the middle in a pen that had the cattle lane on two sides and the shoot/squeeze setup on the other two sides, so every cow to be checked circled them completely, and there was much activity and noise. Talk about a great desensitizing experience! Chance looked around and reached over the fence toward passing cows a few times, but for the most part he was just really calm. I love this horse! He is SOOO good for his age and experience level! Here are the pictures:

Getting direction and assignments before heading for the cows. You can see some of them on the far hill, and they were already mooing away and milling around a bit, but note Chance’s ears – he’s listening, but he’s standing quietly enough that I was able to take pictures.

Here we go!

Our job was to keep the cows from heading out into the middle of the pasture while those horses way ahead of us got up behind them and pushed them down the fence line. I chose this job mostly for the distance between us the cows, although at this point I’m not sure Chance had realized they were on our side of the fence.

We maintained a safe enough distance that it was actually a little difficult to get pictures with both us and cows in the frame.

Chance sure was focused on the job at hand (or the job others were doing halfway across the field, whichever way you want to look at it)

The herd is on the move now!

The second-hardest part was getting the cows to cross the dry creek bed

This bunch didn’t want to go

These next pictures kinda make it look like we moved in to help, although I sure don’t remember that!

They’re all across the creek bed! 20-20 hindsight tells me we should have moved up and held our line instead of pausing for a photo op here, but look how beautiful and relaxed my boy is!

Alright, we’re back on the job now.

Wait a minute here… they are stopping and some are turning around!

After all the chaos, about half the herd ran by us (well, I should say they ran through the hole left when Chance decided to get the heck out of the way!

Here we come for round 2

We got an easier job this time – just get behind them and keep them moving down the fence line.

This little guy did not want to go!

We brought up the rear.

We got them safely back across the creek bed and turned them over to the more experienced riders to get them into the pen.

Almost all in

Time to start sorting mama cows from their calves. This was done by hand on foot by some very brave women!

 

Finally all the cows and calves were separated, and it was time to herd the calves back out to a new pasture.

This part was easier – Chance had settled down quite a bit, and of course the cows were happy to be going away from the barn!

Finally it was time for the cows’ preg checks. Chance and Whiley were tucked away in the dead center of all the action – each and every cow had to move in a big circle around their pen, and there were gates opening and closing, cows rattling around in metal shoots, squeezes clanging, lots of metal and mooing and shouting. Chance isn’t sure where in the world he is all the sudden! Whiley doesn’t care where she is because there’s a little something to nibble. She’s the perfect companion for Chance on these outings because she is so laid back.

Now I think he’s reaching over the fence to sniff a passing cow

Surrounded by a sea of cows

The action is all on this side

The action isn’t so exciting – time for a snack

I was running the gates to let the pregnant cows back out to the pasture, so I got pretty busy at this point and had to put the camera away. What a great experience for my boy and a fun time for everyone except the cows!