Horses and an unexpected house guest

There are some things that you really do not expect to here from a family member at 8:00 at night.

“Mommy, mommy, mommy……There’s a praying mantis in my room!” falls into that category.
Sarah was reading in bed before going to sleep, and looked over to see this young praying mantis on the wall next to her head. We relocated her (the mantis) outside so she could find a better place to hang out. We have no idea how she got in the house.

The horses are doing great. I haven’t ridden them as much as I had hoped to this summer, mainly because I keep getting injured (foot bridge, raccoon, etc.). So we’ve mostly focused on ground work, but the effort is showing results. Sarah had not been out with me in quite a while and was pleasantly surprised at how much improved Meeka was in her willingness to be handled. We worked on mounting today, and Meeka willingly stood next to the mounting block and allowed Sarah to rub her all over on her off side. She wasn’t too sure of weight being placed on her, but we’ll get there. She did stand nicely while I put the bareback pad on her.

Mahogany, on the other hand had a great day! After standing nicely for the bareback pad, Sarah was able to mount her from the mounting block with no trouble, and rode bareback around the pasture. Both horses are wonderful to handle. They nicker every time they see us and come over to the fence for twice daily rubs. I feel incredibly fortunate that Steve stumbled across their ad on Craig’s List.

This is Meeka watching our other unexpected visitors. I was working from home the other day, and looked out to see two little white tail bucks on the hillside in front of the house. They were browsing in the fodder just outside the barn lot, and are still in velvet.

Life continues

Well the back creek is truly dried up now.  No more runoff water from the mountains.  It lasted an incredibly long time this year.  We are hoping that that creek will start to run year round in the future.  I fenced again today, it was a mild 92 degrees in the shade.  I stood out in the sun and pounded metal posts into the ground and braced the railroad ties together with twisted wire.  Let me tell you that driving posts into the ground in mid-September is nothing like putting them in the ground in the spring.  My help was sick today, I was granted the privilege of driving the posts in by myself (Sarah usually stands on the other side of the post hole driver and we do it together.  Works well and we can put in more posts than I could do alone.).  Some of those posts I had to hit 30 times to drive them into the rocky (concrete like) ground.  It was not easy, but as in all things in life it needs to be done and I am running out of time, so it gets done the hard way.  I managed to string up a single strand of smooth wire to use as a marker for placing the metal posts.  I have to string the wire anyways, it only made sense to use the wire (instead of string) as my alignment marker. 

I ran the tractor for a little bit this last week.  I am trying to get the last little bit of mowing done since that is the current attachment on the tractor.  I mowed a path to the new gate past the barn lot.  This way the cows can be fed without driving through the barn lot.  I still have to use the tractor to get the foot deep ruts out from Winter.  Unfortunately, when mowing tall grass you cannot always see what you are mowing.  I ran over an old pile of used baling twine (from hay bales that were fed), pieces of hog wire and a coil of old barb wire.  Not good for the mower, it killed the engine on the tractor.  I had to get out and crawl underneath the mower and cut off all the twine and unwind the other assorted metal pieces.  I am going to start picking up big rocks and old piles of wood and fencing.  That way when I mow I won’t hit anything.  This is a long term project.  I figure it will take me about three years to get the little stuff all picked up.  It is much better than when we started but it takes time and you really have to work to not just throw some stuff on the ground. 

My chickens are starting to pick up production.  I collected 14 eggs today.  I had to adjust the times for my night light and closing time for my automatic chicken door.  I need to count the chickens to see if any are disappearing.  I haven’t taken chicken inventory in over a month. 

Took Annmarie out and she sighted in the 30-30.  She did great.  At 20 yards she can get a six inch grouping with three rounds.  We used the tires (future elevated garden, eventually) out in the ram pasture as a back stop.  Those slugs tore huge chunks out of the back of the tires.  No way is an animal going to get away from her again.  She put thirty rounds through it and is going to practice some more tomorrow.  Sarah is going to have to reload more shells!!

Work is piling up

Well, the chores around the farm are not doing themselves.  We just got back from four days of camping and had a blast.  Truly enjoyed ourselves for the first time in a long time, very relaxing weekend.  I got to beat on people with sticks and pointy objects.  Of course, no one did anything on the farm while we were gone.  No little brownie doing all the chores while we were out having fun.  We did come back with eight bales of straw (archery and combat props) for the sheep to bed down this winter.  I really want an even ton of straw.  I figured I would put the call out on Craigslist for a ton of straw in the area.  I need to start concentrating on purchasing hay for the winter.  I want to lay in 10 ton of hay.  I think we will only need around 6-7 ton but just to be safe we are going to buy some extra.  The nice part about having a dark covered barn is the hay does stay together and safe from the elements.  We just make sure and feed the oldest hay first.

The sheep don’t like being locked up in the ram pasture, so I opened the side gate into the orchard today.  I am hoping the five holes I plugged in the orchard solved my escape problem (five separate holes plugged).  I am not real hopeful, but the only way to figure it out is to let them back into the orchard.  I tied the gate high so the horses could not get out but the sheep could push their way in to the orchard.  I am crossing my fingers for luck.

Going to have to get back on to the fencing starting this week.  Plus, I need to look at the old sheep shed and clean out an area for the tractor and the horses this winter if needed.   I am not sure I can get the fencing  completed and the horse lean to done before the weather turns.  It is the goal, I am just not sure how realistic of an endeavor it is.

The back creek is still running.  It is a little weird as the water table has lowered to the point were the water comes out near the chicken coop.  Above that level the back creek is totally dry. So it counts as having water, since the sheep and chickens can still use it to get their daily water dose.