Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Stills

Bruno and Noble

Lucky and Slinky

MyLight and Maisie

Oskar, Johnny and Kennedy

Tony, Homer and Moe

Ritchie and Trigger

Levendi and Thomas

Traveller and Norman

O'Reilly and Duesy

Walden, Bruno and Fabrizzio

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Wasps, Wrenches and Dirt

Jason and I have both been  procrastinating finding other important things to do while we have both done our best to avoid jobs we don't wish to tackle. I hate, loathe, detest - pick your adjective - dealing with dirty horse blankets. It would be putting it mildly to say that Jason is not fond of hooking up our Bushhog and then sitting on the tractor hour after hour for several days to mow the pastures. We were both dismayed to come to the conclusion a few days ago that we could no longer procrastinate find other important things to do and we had to tackle these jobs.

Jason wrestled with the Bushhog after morning chores yesterday and managed to get it hooked up with relative ease. His exact description of the process was "for once hooking up that $#&#ing bushhog wasn't a total mankiller."  His friendly relationship with the Bushhog appeared to be short-lived.  I saw him walking to the front barn (instead of sitting on a moving tractor) and a minute later he walked out with the biggest wrench I've ever seen in my life. This wrench was literally like two feet long and really wide. 

He proceeded to walk back to the parked tractor and Bushhog looking most unhappy and then wrestled with this giant wrench on the Bushhog for awhile. I did not walk over to get a close up look at what was happening because A) I was busy holding a horse for the farrier and B) I am sticking to my resolution that I do not help Jason with the Bushhog. Ever. For God's sake he can give me a concussion with a feedbag, I'm not going near him with a two foot wrench in his hand. This scenario seemed to repeat itself several times throughout the day yesterday. Today seemed to go a lot better and the tractor and Bushhog were always moving when they should have been.

I now have two days into gathering and sorting dirty horse blankets.  Nothing like waiting until the middle of July to finally get around to doing this. I'm really setting the bar high, not.  You know you have procrastinated way too long when you get a friendly email from your nice blanketing cleaning lady asking if you are still planning to have her clean and repair your 100+ blankets? I think that was her friendly way of saying get off your butt and get the blankets ready for me since it is, you know, JULY.  Since she sent her email after I already had one day of blanket sorting done I felt marginally better about myself. 

Day one of blanket sorting was relatively uneventful. I felt like I needed to take a five hour shower after handling all of the dirty blankets so the task started off at its normal level of awfulness. I'll mention again that I just hate handling dirty, crusty horse blankets. 

Day 2, today, was a lot more eventful. I have to handle each blanket a lot. They all need to be relabeled with a sharpie as the names fade a lot after being worn outside in the rain, mud, dirt, etc. I also inspect each blanket to see if it just needs to be cleaned, or if it also needs to be repaired or if it simply needs to be trashed. I keep a list of the blankets that need to be trashed so I can arrange for replacements.  As I yanked a blanket down so I could inspect it suddenly I had a bunch of angry wasps coming after me. I did the right thing and took off running. They gave up the chase after a few feet and I waited several minutes before walking back over to resume my task. All was well until I pulled the next blanket and down and immediately found myself being chased by another swarm of angry wasps.  I thought surely I was in the clear after that but I was wrong. I got to repeat the experience of pulling down a blanket and being chased by PO'd wasps a third time. 

After my third mad sprint with wasps in pursuit I didn't stop running until I found a can of wasp spray. I sprayed the first three nests that I had uncovered when I removed the blankets. Then I took a deep breath, prepared myself, and yanked down another blanket and immediately took off in a 100 foot dash with a dirty horse blanket in tow. I repeated this mad dash with dirty horse blankets flying behind me over and over. After waiting a few minutes I would cautiously walk back in the barn and spray wasp spray like a mad woman at all the angry wasps coming at me. 

Jason came rolling up on the tractor right as I came running for my life out of the back barn with a dirty horse blanket in one hand and a can of wasp spray in the other. For once in his life he didn't know what to say for a minute but his expression summed it up, "WTF is going on here?"  

I explained to him that apparently I had found wasp nest central under one row of blankets and that he should stay away from that barn for awhile. You see wasps love, or maybe it is that they hate, Jason. If there is a wasp within 20 feet Jason is going to get stung. I've never seen anything like it. So it was thanks to Jason that I had my pick of about ten cans of wasp spray because he buys them in bulk and keeps a few cans in all three barns to try and save himself. 

After warning Jason I walked around to the other side of the barn for a few minutes as I needed to get more twine to tie up my blanket stacks. Apparently while I did this Jason decided to see if I was telling the truth about the wasps. Unbelievably Jason the wasp magnet walked into the barn I had just told him to stay out of. I knew he had not followed my advice when I heard him yell out "BLEEP" and saw him running for his life out of the barn. At that point Jason completely understood why I kept running like a madwoman out of the barn and left the building for good for the day.

Once I finished with that row of blankets things went back to normal and I stopped uncovering wasp nests. I must have killed 100 wasps with the wasp spray. I did realize that I must have deep seated issues that I should probably seek counseling for because I got this really strong feeling of satisfaction every time a dead wasp would fall to the ground when I managed to spray it as it was coming after me. There was something so amazingly satisfying about watching them literally just fall to the ground when a drop of spray hit them. My excellent aim with the wasp spray kept me from being stung.

Jason and I have both ended the last couple of days by taking our clothes off on the porch, dumping them directly in the washing machine when we inside, and then immediately getting in the shower. Nothing gets you dirtier than mowing pastures or handling dozens of dirty, filthy horse blankets.

I am hoping if I really apply myself I can finish getting these blankets sorted tomorrow. After doing more sprinting in one day then I have done in the last few years I am more than ready to be done with blankets, not to mention feeling like I am covered in grime. I am confident that Jason is tired of breathing in allergens, sitting on the tractor, and wrestling giant wrenches on the Bushhog.  We've both had enough of wasps, dirt and wrenches to last us awhile.


piles of blankets everywhere and I'm only halfway done

I think this would be Jason's least favorite piece of equipment on our farm

Jason mowing one of the pastures . . .

. . . and the results of his work

Stormy and Rocky

Donovan and Walon

Sam and Lighty

Sebastian and Johnny

Fabrizzio and O'Reilly (we had a theme going for picture taking recently, feeling the grooming love at Paradigm Farms)

Ritchie and Thomas


Faune, Cocomo and Gus waiting for breakfast

Gibson was waiting as well

Johnny and Africa

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Search Ends

As Jason wrote about last week he has spent an inordinate amount of time in search of a new lawnmower.  You wouldn't think it would be so hard to find and purchase a lawnmower however we do have a knack for doing things the hard way. After spending an entire day traipsing around north Alabama last week and coming up empty handed Jason was feeling rather disgruntled. "How hard can this be?" he kept asking.  

With desperate times calling for desperate measures he was preparing to make a trip, with trailer in tow, to Indiana to look at several more lawnmowers. I asked for about the 219th time if there weren't any lawnmowers in the great State of Tennessee we could buy. I always got some variation of the same response: "If I could find one worth buying don't you think I would have already bought it?"  This was usually stated in a less than friendly tone.

Jason was checking all of his usual internet sites over the weekend to see if any new listings had come up when he excitedly told me he had found a couple of Kubotas just across the state line in Kentucky. Driving 120 miles one way to Kentucky sounded a lot more reasonable to me than driving 350 miles one way to Indiana. So I happily sent him on his way the truck and trailer on Monday to head off on another lawnmower search. Quite frankly I was glad to have a day where I wasn't having to hear about our old lawnmower or our lack of a new lawnmower (Jason is very good at obsessing over things).  

A few hours later Jason called me and announced "I bought one!" in a very excited tone when I answered the phone. I will admit that I was less than excited when I checked our bank balances and saw the appalling amount of money that we had just spent on a freaking lawnmower. I could totally get behind spending that much and more on a horse. However I have zero intentions of having a fulfilling relationship with a lawnmower.

We are now the owners of a Kubota commercial grade zero turn.  Our grass was desperately in need of mowing so it got welcomed to Paradigm Farms by being put to work literally as soon as it arrived at the farm. I even took a brief turn on it. I figured for what we had just paid for it I might as well take it for a spin at least one time. The stupid lawnmower immediately highlited my worst riding habit, hanging on the inside rein. I found that our Kubota definitely drives better when one does not hang on the inside rein and instead focuses on the connection in the outside rein.

Mostly I am just glad to not be hearing about lawnmowers constantly. I don't really care about the pros and cons of John Deere vs. Kubota, or zero turn vs. front mount, or a gas engine vs. diesel engine (definitely diesel), or if it is liquid cooled, or when the zerks were last greased. I don't know what the hell a zerk is anyway, nor do I care. Maybe I should care, but then why bother when you have Jason to obsess over it all?


Jason looking very serious as he mowed our ridiculously overgrown grass. It no longer looks like a jungle along our driveway.

The girls, AKA the World's Cutest Fainting Goats, were not happy when their paddock was being mowed. Mina and Miss Lyle hid in their shed looking very concerned . . . 

. . . while Jo hid in the dogloo

Rip and Ritchie with Chance and Leo in the background

Hemi and Thomas

Homer and Moe

Apollo, Tony and Baby

Elfin, Grand and Levendi


Calimba and her on again/off again boyfriend Norman


Clayton and Largo (that's Stormy hiding behind them)

Bergie, Oskar and Donovan

Donneur (looking rather mud colored) and Lofty

we've had some pretty sunsets the last few days

and yesterday's pretty sunrise

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Stills


Cocomo and Silver

Lofty and Gus



what we see early in the morning; Walon and Johnny hanging out with Kennedy and Rocky off to the side grazing

Faune and George

Stormy and Bergie

Lucky and O'Reilly

Levendi and Moe