Monday, September 29, 2008

Welcome To This Farm

There are several canine residents on the horse retirement farm. Over the years between my parents and I we have taken in a large number of wayward animals. I've already mentioned the stray goats, we have the stray flock of chickens, the cat that I cat-napped, as well as our assortment of dogs. Today I would like to introduce you to Bush the coon hound.

Jason and I have determined that Bush speaks slowly with a strong southern drawl. Anytime a new visitor comes he is happy to greet you with a smiling face and a wagging tail. Jason always says that Bush is saying "Welcome, welcome to this farm" in his slow, southern drawl as he stands there wagging his tail.

Bush always has a happy and friendly expression
I think he is trying to look regal or noble here; it really isn't him
Happy with a wagging tail is typically his look

There are two things in the world of Bush that are without equal as far as bringing him joy. Riding in the back of the Gator is sheer bliss for Bush. If the Gator moves out of my parents' garage for any reason, Bush expects to be standing in the back, catching the breeze and touring the farm. In fact, he often sleeps in the back of the Gator waiting for someone to come drive him around. On some occasions he refuses to get out of the Gator even to eat and we have to put his food bowl in the Gator with him.
A typical scene around the farm; Bush in the back of the Gator, Bugle in the passenger seat, Dad driving
Jason with a few passengers; Bear is looking over one shoulder and Bush over his other shoulder; as always Bugle has claimed the passenger seat

The other great joy in the world of Bush the coon hound is riding in my Dad's truck. Dad's truck is strictly a farm vehicle and is used to haul stuff around, pull trailers, buy stuff at the co-op, etc. Thus, Bush does not get a daily truck ride which is unfortunate for him. Bush loves to ride in the truck so much he actually recognizes the different set of keys that my dad uses when he drives the truck. When he sees those keys in my dad's hands he bolts over to the truck and waits for the door to open. If the truck is moving Bush expects to be a passenger!

Bush with Jason and my niece Caroline; Dad's truck in the background

One of the funniest memories I have of Bush involves my dad's truck. For some reason Jason and I had switched trucks for the day with my dad. I can't remember why but for some reason we were driving his truck. We were only a couple of miles from the farm when the serpentine belt broke. We managed to make it back to the farm and I called a tow truck. The tow truck came, loaded the truck onto the back, and started to drive down the driveway. Bush is not the brightest bulb in the box but he knows that if the truck is moving he gets to ride. Bush took off running after the tow truck, trying to get into "his" truck. He simply could not comprehend that the truck was moving and he wasn't in it, and he was determined to rectify the situation! Unfortunately I don't have a picture of that but I wish I did.

Bush in the back seat of my mom's car; he had followed Jason & I down to the road while we were repairing a fence board so we called my mom to come pick him up. I didn't think I would ever see Bush in the Mercedes so I had to take a picture to commemorate the occasion.

Although Bush doesn't know this he is quite lucky to be a resident of this farm. His life could have been very different. My dad was driving on I-65 several years ago and stopped to fill his car up with gas. He saw an extremely skinny dog at the gas station and inquired about the dog. They told him she had just showed up a couple of days ago. Dad put the dog in his car and brought her home with him.

He named her Dolly, and Dolly was the thinnest dog I have ever seen. Her backbone was raised up and prominent, her ribs stuck out, and she was basically a walking skeleton. She gained weight quickly as my parents stuffed food into her. My dad was quite proud at how quickly she was packing on the pounds. As it turned out she was pregnant and she had thirteen puppies. We were able to find homes for most of the puppies but Bush stayed at the farm.

He has no idea how different his life could be today as he yawns lazily

Followed by a nice streeeetch
Napping in my house with Bear
Hanging out by the fence with Jason
Bush is always a very happy dog

I hope you have enjoyed meeting Bush. If you ever happen to visit the farm he will greet you with a smile and a friendly wag of his tail while saying "Welcome, welcome to this farm."

Saturday, September 27, 2008

How I Spent My Saturday

If only running a horse retirement farm was all about playing with the horses. It would make life absolutely perfect! Unfortunately there is a lot of other stuff that is involved in maintaining a farm that has nothing to do with horses. About a week ago I was feeding the horses one morning and I noticed this huge tree limb was down. It also happened to be over a fence line. Thankfully it was not touching the fence and hadn't damaged the fence at all when it fell. I don't have any idea why it fell either. We hadn't had any wind, rain or other type of weather and the tree is (was?) healthy.

I was NOT happy when I saw this one morning

I knew it would mean a lot of work cleaning it up, and this job would be especially hard since there was fence involved. I didn't say anything to Jason about it and he never said anything to me about it. Apparently we were both operating under the theory that if you don't discuss a problem and pretend it isn't there, then the problem doesn't actually exist.

Last night when we were driving home he mentioned out of the blue that we really needed to take care of the tree tomorrow. Remember, we hadn't discussed this problem yet, however he knew that I would know exactly what he was referring to. Unfortunately I did know exactly what he was referring to. And he was right, we couldn't just leave it there and wait for it to collapse on the fence. This is a huge limb and it would wipe the fence out. So when I got out of bed this morning I knew this task was waiting for us. Ugh.

We wanted to tackle this job with all of the tools at our disposal. We decided to use the old Kubota tractor. That way if we managed to squash the tractor with this tree limb it would be the old tractor. We loaded up our trusty Kubota utility vehicle with our chainsaws, a logging chain, and the other assorted things we thought we might need and drove the two Kubotas over to the tree. Bear checked with his union rep and he was cleared to work on Saturday and was our supervisor for this job.

Bear was the only one who was excited about this

First we put the bucket under the limb on the east side of the fence where it was touching the ground. Jason removed some of the bigger limbs with his chain saw.

Then we had to relocate both Kubotas and our assorted equipment to the OTHER side of the fence to tackle the hard part of the job. Holding the limb up off the fence while removing it from the tree. Jason climbed the fence and went back to the other side to remove some more of the branch while I was on the tractor manning the hydraulics. I'm sure he is thrilled to know that I was holding the camera with one hand and running the hydraulics with my other hand.
Jason removed as much of the limb as he could and then climbed back over to my side of the fence. The front loader of the Kubota is the only thing keeping our fence from being destroyed at this point.

It was time to bring out the logging chain. There are so many uses for a logging chain on this farm it is amazing.

Jason was able to successfully pull the limb away from the fence. Yes! We thought things would all be an easy downhill slide from here.

He repositioned the logging chain to pull the rest of the limb off of the tree. But the limb had other ideas and really wanted to stay attached to the tree.

Bear was transferred to "jail" in the back of the trusty Kubota utility vehicle to keep him out of harm's way. We wouldn't want him to have to file a workman's comp claim against us.

Jason continued trying to remove the tree limb from the tree. He decided to try and push it off with the front end loader. It did fall away a bit more but it was still hanging on.

It is amazing how little bark it takes to hold this huge branch onto this tree. If the bark is still so darn strong why did the stupid thing fall to begin with??

We decided to cut off part of the branch and then try pulling it off with the logging chain again. We were hoping with a shorter section of branch we could have the chain higher on the log and get more leverage to pull it off. It worked and we finally had the branch all the way off the tree!

Then we had to continue with the chainsaw work, cutting everything up into pieces and making a huge burn pile. As much as Jason makes fun of my chainsaw it does get the job done!
Jason's chainsaw decided to give up the ghost just before we finished. One of the hydraulic lines also snapped on the front end loader as we were using it to dump the large logs onto the burn pile. Thus, as I type this Jason is at Tractor Supply getting replacement parts for the hydraulic line. We will also be purchasing yet another chainsaw to add to our collection. Apparently you can't just use one of the other four chainsaws because they are all for specific uses.

Our huge burn pile
So how did you spend your Saturday? I am hoping you did something far more enjoyable than remove huge tree branches from a fence line, break the hydraulic line on your tractor and kill your $500 chainsaw!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New Chicks And Other Pictures

I'm not exactly sure when these chicks hatched. I know they weren't there last night, and I noticed them today about mid-morning. They hatched on one of the workbenches.

Newly hatched chicks

Following mom

Exploring this big, new world Running to keep up with mom
And of course we still have the retired horses living on the farm. I haven't had any pictures of them the last few days.

Poco never gives up; he rotates between Faune and Ogie. I could take this picture almost every day, just substitute which horse Poco has chosen to victimize.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We All Need Good Help

I think I have mentioned a few times that Cloudy is the Best Barn Cat Ever. We actually had a wonderful predecessor to Cloudy named Barney. Yes, Barney the barn cat. My dad came up with that name and I'm pretty sure he must have pulled an all-nighter to produce a name as creative as Barney for the barn cat. By the way, Barney turned out to be a girl and she had a nice, long life with us.

Cloudy has been with us on the farm for about ten years. He is wonderful about keeping a close eye on the new arrivals for a couple of days. He naps on the ledge in their stall, or sits in front of the quarantine paddock when they are turned out and is generally a constant presence around a new horse for the first couple of days. His attention is short lived though as he moves on to other things after a new retiree has been here for a day or two.

I actually cat-napped Cloudy from another barn. I was traveling back from an out of state horse show and laid over for the night at a barn about halfway between home and the horse show. Cloudy was the cutest little kitten and would attack my wraps as I was rolling/unrolling them and climb up my jeans and generally demanded attention. I was asking one of the guys who worked at the barn about him and they had gotten him from someone in a free to a good home type of deal.

Their idea of a good home was different than mine as they didn't plan to neuter him, vaccinate him or feed him. I hardly slept that night fretting over this adorable kitten's fate. I got to the barn really early the next morning to wrap and load my horse and drive the few hours home. No one was at the barn yet so I made the executive decision to take the kitten with me. Since he was climbing all over me I didn't have to look very hard for him! I seriously doubt they ever noticed he was gone. So I am publicly admitting that a) I stole the cat and b) he did not just show up at the barn.

We have another barn cat named Olivia. You have never seen a picture of Olivia and that probably is not going to change. Olivia is quite shy and somewhat elusive. She and Cloudy are great friends but Olivia is not in to having her picture taken. I mostly see Olivia when I am up in the hay loft during the day or when I am in the barn to do my last check at night before going to bed. She is often in the aisle of the barn at night but not during the day. Olivia is definitely nocturnal.

These are pictures of Cloudy from today. I took these as Cloudy "helped" me unload some feed and shavings from the truck.

Who is that strange cat looking at me?

Walking on the shavings

Good thing the truck has a bed liner
Is he cute or what?

Monday, September 22, 2008


Some recent videos from around the retirement farm. We have quite the cast of characters. Of course there are the retired horses, as well as the donkey, the two stray goats, the flock of stray chickens, Poco the evil shetland pony, Cloudy the barn cat and all of the dogs. I don't think I left anyone off of that list!

Cloudy, Number One Barn Cat

Feed me NOW!

The goats and the rooster

More of the goats (and a brief glimpse of how they destroy the trees)

Ogie, Trillion, Sebastian, Faune and Poco wandering through the pasture

Sparky the donkey on the run with Ogie bringing up the rear

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Some of the pictures I have taken of the various equines around the farm in the last couple of weeks. I don't think our residents could ask for a better retirement home.

Grazing on a beautiful day

Sparky loves to roll, or maybe it is more accurate to say he lives to roll

Two bays, Elfin in the front with Apollo behind him

This one wasn't taken at the farm. Me on Bonnie playing in the water jump at a cross country course. On our way home we had a trailer accident thanks to some idiot slamming on their brakes to do a u-turn on a narrow, two lane road with no shoulder on a blind curve going down hill!!! It is probably best they left their scene of mass destruction as I would have had to hurt them if I knew where to find them. They would also be paying my vet bills. So this is a lovely photo reminder of the last ride I had on Bonnie and probably will have for awhile, and unfortunately Lexi was in the trailer as well. Life isn't fair sometimes. Hopefully they will both be fully recovered sooner rather than later.