Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012

As in the past I make a list of things I want done in the coming year. My original list for this farm has only ONE thing crossed off on it. I will continue to make the list so I have documented the fact that anything I plan is not done, but we certainly did get lots done this year.

The MAJOR ITEM was we got a PUPPY! I needed that like a hole in the head, but coincidentally on his first birthday, December 1, he seems to have straightened himself out. I might not have needed him, but he needed us. One of these days he's going to be a fantastic dog, it is just not today.

We did manage to FINALLY get Irene spayed. Her personality has not changed one single bit, even though she was going on two years old when it was done. She didn't hold it against us or act mad in any way. She's a great cat, a Tiger.

The BIG TICKET item this year was the future pasture rehabilitation. Coming back from corn is a huge undertaking. Corn is brutal on its environment. We used 6 and a half TONS of Lime, bags and bags of fertilizer, bought an antique spreader, and had the Orchard Grass Mix drilled into the field. It looks good, even with snow on it. In my fantasies that pasture is fenced in. Next year that will be the big ticket item. I am estimating that will cost about $10,000 to fence. And that is with us doing all the labor. Ouch.

When that is fenced in, and the fencing is tied into the dry pasture, everything will come together. We can 'rest' the pasture the boys now are in, grow some decent Orchard Grass there, and rotate between the two. And cut back on hay consumption.

I also want to get new glasses.

We'll see how many of the things I want done and things that come up actually get done instead in 2013.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Again with the Snow!

Every three days it seems to snow! Argh!

When the snow was done, the wind picked up and turned the slushy snow into black ice. The boys spent the night inside, again.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Last Full Moon For 2012

Friday, Dec. 28, 2012, 5:21 a.m. EST. The full moon of December is called the Oak Moon. Other names are Frost Moon, Winter Moon, Long Night’s Moon, and Moon Before Yule.

The full moon rises around sunset and sets around sunrise, the only night in the month when the moon is in the sky all night long. The rest of the month, the moon spends at least some time in the daytime sky.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Snow, Again

Today was first day back at work, supposedly. The time between graining the barn kids and taking a shower it began to snow.

I was giving him instructions about what to do when it started raining, and it was snowing!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

White Christmas

Unexpectedly we had a white Christmas. I think lots of people wanted one, so lots were pleased. Here we got about two inches overnight. The roads were slick, it got foggy after the snow stopped. Made travel plans interesting.

Fog cleared off, and Christmas day was nice.

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Wind chill or 'real feel' is a mathematical equation. Chicago was experiencing some wintry weather and it was headed straight for our place. The snow part was not arriving but the gusting winds were promised.

On Saturday we celebrated with family. Driving up to Gettysburg he had to keep both hands on the wheel, the wind gusts across the roadways were trying to yank the wheel out of his hands. I would hate to be pulling a trailer on such a day.

It remained clear and sunny, but the 40 to 60 mph wind was horrible.

The waxing moon was lovely, but the wind persisted. Consequently the boys stayed in three nights in a row.

The weather front blew in with snow and sleet. O boy.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Before Christmas

I've been lucky enough to have some days off from work, however, the weather hasn't really cooperated for riding.

We took the best day of the holiday to ride at the Agricultural Farm History Park in Derwood. We used to board off that park, are familiar with the trails and developed some of them.

The Park has been working on bridge installations and planting 110,000 saplings. When I first heard of the tree plantings I believed it was a misprint. There really are that many trees planted in those meadows. In five or ten years it will be an incredible sight.

Most all the snow was gone, and it was in the mid 40s.

Friday, December 21, 2012


No one likes to fall. This is universally human nature. We sometimes like the 'feeling' of falling, lots of amusement rides give you that same feeling. But mostly we don't like to fall.

I have lots of stories about falling; from horses, down the stairs, over the dog, into a ditch... the list could go on. I do my own stunts.

I fell in the barn. Nothing serious, but it happens so quickly you really don't have time to catch yourself.

I was tucking the boys in for the night, getting hay, cleaning up manure, filling water buckets, and like that. The Ford tractor, manure spreader, and lawn mower are parked in the middle of the barn aisle.

I had a full bucket of fresh water, a five-gallon bucket weighing about 40 lbs. Yea, I'm a heavy lifter. I tripped or caught my toe on an electrical cord while moving forward. The big tractor tire was to my left, the hayloft metal ladder to my right, the area to land was not wide.

I managed to realize I was not going to catch myself and swung the bucket forward, spilling the entire contents onto the floor while falling onto the now empty bucket and my knees. The bucket prevented me from a face-plant into the stonedust floor now puddled with five gallons of cold water. Now my knees were wet and my ribs were dented. My right hand was still wrapped around the bucket handle, which I fell directly onto. Ouch.

I was wearing my heavy coat and insulated leather barn gloves. Glad for that extra padding. My hand immediately started to swell. O boy.

Sprite spooked at the sight of a large puddle directly outside her stall door. It eventually soaked into the dust and gravel.

Let's not do that again.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Historic Gettysburg Thursday Before Christmas

Thursday before Christmas I drove to Gettysburg for the day, and enjoyed lunch with my beautiful Aunt, who does an awesome impression of Maxine.

It was cloudy and rainy, off and on, but the trip was great!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Testing 1 - 2 - 1 - 2 - 1 - 2

Just kidding! 12-12-12 is supposed to mean something, to someone, somewhere. To me it means mid-week December.

The weather has been a serious roller-coaster - mid 60s, then 30s, up to high 50s, back to mid 30s. Crazy weather.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Sunday, Sunny Sunday Ride

I got up early with Max, but after my little chores were done I got back into bed, sort of, and slept til 9!

The fog was seriously thick at sunrise, the power lines were nearly invisible and were crackling from the damp.

Eventually the fog burned off, so we started out late - 11:30 or so - we chose to park at the trail head in Marriottsville eliminating a little over an hour of riding - we needed that extra time because as it turned out with the clouds moving in, it was getting kind of dark by the time we got back to the trailer at 4:30.

On Saturday I walked out into the pasture to get the coats off the boys. They stood still for this. Sunday I pretended to do the same thing. I had no rope with me, but KC thought about leaving, hiding behind Skip.

I took off Skip's coat, so he was lulled into believing that is all I was there for. I heard him at the gate and told him to STOP. KC was still standing there, so I moved on to his coat. Skip never moved off, so after I dropped KC's coat I held onto his halter, and got Skip, too.

I led them both up the hill. GOTCHA. They both loaded easily onto the trailer.

Had transfered all our equipment: saddles, bridles, etc., out of the LQ and into the Glick. We had to re-install the mats and add sawdust, too. All this takes time. While I was pulling out his chaps the Wahl trimmer came out, too! Yea! The battery is dead, but I have been looking for this thing for months.

We parked at Marriottsville, in the lot with one other car. The back end of the Subaru was plastered with bumper stickers. The best one: 'Freedom Isn't Free, so quit your whinning and pay your fair share of taxes.' While we were tacking up another car pulled in. It had a single bumper sticker: 'Taxed Enough Already.'

On our way to the Woodstock, after crossing the Patapsco River, I noticed a cell phone on the trail. I knew it could not belong to a biker or hiker, because neither ever comes down to the river at this point. The gas pipe line is too steep and the river is too deep to cross without getting soaked, might be a plan in July, but not in December.

I hoped off of KC and picked it up, noticing that the battery was getting low. Also, it was password protected so we couldn't use the phone to call the owner.

Since we did not park at the LOMH we didn't know how many horse riders might be out and about in the park. The entire day we saw 5 horses and two mules.

After we got home we charged the phone up, and well after dark and chores and laundry the 'found' phone rang. He answered, turned out the Aunt of the owner was calling. He googled her name and number: she's a detective with the MPD! and was Cop-of-the-Year last year. Wow. The phone owner was riding on Saturday with his uncle and 'lost' his phone. Soon to be re-united with the help of USPS.

After dinner I took the charged Wahl trimmer out to the barn and trimmed KC's nose, chin and ears. He really likes that trimmer! I next did Skip's face and ears. When I was putting KC out he wouldn't move off to the hay flakes out in the pasture. I turned on the trimmer again and laid it on his face, between his nostrils. He loves that trimmer!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Sick as a Dog - Max's Version

Max has been 'sick.' I think he feels alright, but he has diarrhea. We were lucky to get away with it on Thursday, but Friday not so lucky.

I had planned on going to the grocery on Friday night, and we stopped on the way home to fuel up. Plans have a way of getting changed, right?

We spent the evening cleaning up after Max, mopping the floor, hosing off his feet, the patio, his crate, etc. He did not sit in his crate after the episode, so I am imagining he was exhausted by the time we got home. I thought we'd have to bathe him, but he was completely clean, except for his feet. Poor Max.

I really felt sorry for the guy. All evening and into the night we took turns taking him out. And he was exhausted. Slept most of the day, too.

The internet is a wonderful tool: Google says to not feed a dog, at all, and offer electrolytes instead. Pedia-lite, grape-flavored, is what he got. And lots of rest.

One thing we learned is that he is house-broken. Seriously. He doesn't want that in the house, or on him, or anywhere he might step.

Hay, Man

We slept in - Max was not feeling well so we both have a sleep deficet.

We got a call back from Corey at Cedar Lane Farm and dropped in mid-day. We got 60 bales on the flat bed and loaded all of it into the hay loft. I do have to re-arrange some stacks up there and get more of this great hay.