Thursday, May 28, 2015

Finish Line

I think I finished my annual Body Clipping Marathon today. I have one more horse that I'm keeping my eye on, but it looks like a couple more rounds with a shedding blade may actually be enough for him. The final tally of 2015 body clips was 12 body clips over a two week period. I have crossed the finish line of the Body Clipping Marathon and I am ecstatic.

I have breathed in enough hair and dirt to choke . . . a horse. I am hoping now that I am done with body clipping for the season my marathon sinus infection can finally die. I will not mourn its passing, and I hope it does actually pass for good. 

Every year I am always asked what clippers I use. I use Andis Progress clippers. I really like them. They are easy to hold, they cut well, they aren't loud, they are just easy. Anyone who has ever had the misfortune of using Oster Clipmasters would appreciate my Andis Progress clippers. The Oster Clipmasters feel like you are holding up an anchor powered by something as loud as a jet engine. In my opinion this makes for an unpleasant clipping experience. The Andis are so much lighter and much quieter. 

I also need to give a shout out to Gil's Sharp Shop. After dithering around with some local options the last few years for servicing my clippers and sharpening blades with extremely lackluster results, a friend recommended Gil's Sharp Shop. I packed up my clippers and all of my blade sets and mailed them off to Gil's in March. About ten days later they arrived back at the farm. 

It was like I had brand new clippers and brand new blades. The difference was so remarkable it made me wonder if the local people I had worked with in the past actually did anything to the clippers or the blades. My clippers ran better than ever and my blades were sharp. In addition Gil told me he could tell I was not tensioning the blades correctly and sent me a packet with step-by-step directions. Now I know, without question, when I have my blades tensioned correctly and it has made a big difference. He also set me straight on the best blade wash to use (one that contains NO water), the proper blade oil, and basically spent 45 minutes on the phone giving me a free lesson on how to properly use and care for my clippers.I learned a lot and it all made noticeable differences in this year's body clipping marathon.

Sebastian and Blu galloping off after being released back into the wild this afternoon. They were not going to give me the opportunity to change my mind and do more bathing or clipping. This was the end of the 2015 Body Clipping Marathon.

I plan to send my clippers and blades back to Gil's Sharp Shop soon to have everything ready to go for the next round. I consider Gil's to be my best find of 2015 and Gil gets five stars from me. 

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furry Sebastian


Sebastian says "skip the after picture and just let me go out!"


 Blu in progress


Blu and Sebastian wanting to skip the after picture and get back to their group


more pictures of Sebastian and Blu galloping madly away



Levendi, Moe, Homer and Tony looking less than thrilled to have halters on and be waiting for the farrier yesterday.


 a closer look at Tony


Homer


Moe and Homer


Elfin


River, Rocky and Rubrico


Jingle and Joy chatting with our stray cat Oscar through the kitchen door


Lucky and O'Reilly


Faune and Flyer


Hesse, Bruno and Remmy



Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Five Years

I found myself looking through the file labeled "farm building" pictures on my computer the other day. What a difference five years makes. Five years ago this month this was our new farm. Five years ago there was absolutely nothing here, not a perimeter fence, not an old falling down barn or shed, absolutely nothing but raw land. Five years ago this month Jason and I were totally clueless as to how much work, time and money it was going to take to turn our raw land into a functioning farm. Don't get me wrong, we knew it was going to involve tremendous amounts of work, time and money. But I don't think it is ever possible to over-estimate how much work, time and money a project like this takes. 

I'm proud to say that after designing the layout and then overseeing and sometimes doing the work ourselves, we are still married. After three barns, six run-in sheds, about 23,000 feet (a little over 7,000 meters) of fence which involves about 3,300 fence posts and 40,000+ boards, a mile of water lines and electrical lines, and many other things like, oh, building our house, we still speak to each other. 

At this point Jason and I laugh out loud when we hear the saying "if your marriage can survive building a house together it can survive almost anything." Our house was the last thing we built. It was about as challenging for us as eating a piece of cake at that point (and I'm a pro at eating cake). We were seasoned pros by the time we got to the house. I don't even think of that as an event, or a thing. It felt like a little side project by that point.  No, no, no. If you can survive deciding on the layout of everything I mentioned above, then deciding how everything will look, where every last fence post will go, where the water spigots will go, where the driveways will go, where the stalls will be in the barns, what color the roofs will be, where you are going to place every gate . . . if you can survive all that while simultaneously working together every day, building a house is a walk in the park.

Through the whole process the biggest fight we had, and in fact the biggest fight we have ever had, period, was about auto waterers. That fight was epic. It lasted for days. We went to the brink of divorce over auto waterers, not designing and building our house. I literally lost my voice screaming at Jason during our multi-day Water War. Jason got so angry his face was permanently a blotchy red color for three days. We fought almost to the death of our marriage over auto waterers. We ended up with auto waterers in every pasture. They are, without question, the best decision we ever made. I am glad that on the rare occasion Jason won and was right, he was really, really right. I was really, really wrong. The horses drink from them no problem, and in fact overall water consumption went up with the waterers. 

We survived the Water War (barely), the fencing, barns, run-ins, water-lines, spent a cringe-worthy amount of money paying someone with a bulldozer to clear paths for fences and driveways, and generally hemorrhaged money at an appalling rate throughout the process. On the other hand our house came in almost exactly on budget and consisted of some friendly discussions about layout, design, colors, trim, etc. By then we knew how to plan, budget, and most importantly, say no.

Without further reminiscing on those "fun" times, here are some pictures from five years ago, along with some "after" pictures. These pictures are only of the front part of the farm, in another post I'll share some before and after pictures of other parts of the farm. It takes awhile to sort through all of the pictures.

View from the road in May 2010, the day before fence construction began


May 2010 after fence construction, this picture is the same view as above. These are the gates to our driveway at the road.


This picture is also the same view as the above two pictures but taken after we had an actual driveway, one run-in shed and the beginnings of the front barn.


The same view from the road as it looks today looking at the front barn and the first two run-in sheds.


Three years ago we fenced the other side of the driveway and built our 7th and final pasture. 



A before picture looking at the front of the farm from the opposite direction (at the road instead of looking in at the farm from the road) five years ago.


How the same view above looks now


_______________________________


Walden and Fabrizzio


Sam and Mick


Silky and Norman


River and Rubrico


Hemi, Tony and Trigger


Trigger and Ritchie


Rip and Grand


Slinky


Romeo and George


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Stills


Donneur, Romeo and Lotus


Calimba and Lily


B-Rad and Alex


Sebastian and Murphy


Jo, Miss Lyle and Mina, the World's Cutest Fainting Goats


Homer, Moe and Levendi


Johnny, Rubrico and River


Rocky and Stormy


Asterik and Lotus


Traveller and Cinnamon


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Foot Stomping

In an effort to help me forget about my cold that I can't quite seem to shake, one of the horses kindly stomped on my left foot yesterday. I think he wanted to give me something else to focus on aside from being sick, and stomping on my foot definitely did the job. I was actually already starting to feel better thanks to my trip to the doctor but I guess he didn't believe me. Right after my foot stomping I thought I had at least one broken toe but thankfully that is not the case. I do have a badly bruised and very swollen toe but I can live with that. 

I have to say that a lifetime of riding and working around horses has not been kind to my feet. I've had various bones broken in both of my feet on different occasions. Thus escaping with a few bruises and some swelling doesn't seem so bad. It is really easy to find me on the farm these days. If you see a coughing person with a limp you've found me.

On a less whiny note I am happy to have made great progress in my annual body clipping marathon. I completed my tenth body clip of the last couple weeks this afternoon! I only have two, maybe three, horses that will need to be clipped and then I will be done. The finish line is in sight!

__________________________


Rip's expression sums up how he felt about bathed and clipped


Rip almost finished


I tried to get a better picture of Rip's clip job outside but he all he wanted to do was scream and drag me to the pasture. I can't really blame him.


This picture does not accurately show how brown the soap suds were as I was washing Gus. I bathed him twice before I clipped him.


Gus clean and clipped


Alex wasn't overly thrilled to be participating either but he had a lot of hair that needed to go. 


Alex is finished


I only took an "after" picture of Taco.


our stray cat Oscar is still allowing us to feed him


Apollo,  Hemi and Thomas


Leo and Chance


Donneur and Gibson


Donovan and Oskar


Silver and Lotus


Silver and Cocomo


Cocomo and George


Dutch and Renny


Murphy and Blu willing me to feed them


Lighty screaming to Johnny, "play with me!" . . . 


. . . so he did