Sunday, May 30, 2010

More Wild Turkeys and More Fence Progress

A few weeks ago I had a close encounter with a wild turkey. In all of the years we've spent on this farm I've only seen a wild turkey one other time, and thankfully that time was at a distance. This year is apparently the year of the wild turkey. I hear them all the time, but most typically I hear them gobbling away to each other in the mornings. There is a flock of turkeys that I think lives in the woods in the Big Boys' pasture as I see them walking through it all the time.

Wild turkeys hanging out and doing whatever it is turkeys do (I have no idea) in the big boys' pasture early this morning. Sorry for the poor picture quality but the sun wasn't all the way up, they were in the shade, and I was quite a distance away from them.
This afternoon my Dad was being very industrious in the barn. He had an unused flat feedpan that he was scrubbing in the wash rack. I found this to be odd but I didn't say anything. He soaped, scrubbed and rinsed the feedpan several times and I kept wondering why he was so diligently washing it. Instead of putting it away he put it in the back of his gator to take with him.

At this point my curiosity was overflowing and I couldn't stand to be left in the dark anymore. I asked him why he scrubbed the feedpan and put it in his gator. He told me that there was a mommy wild turkey nesting in the woods right in front of my parents' house and that she had 14 little wild turkey babies. Apparently he has seen them several times in the last week. He was going to put some chicken feed out for her in the feedpan. When Jason and I drove down the driveway this evening we saw where he had not only put feed out for her but also a bucket of water. I come from a long line of softies when it comes to animals.

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Our first round of fencing is complete at our new farm. It is amazing to me how much different it looks seeing a fence along the road as you drive up. As previously mentioned we had 6,000 feet of 4-board wood fence installed. I also previously mentioned that the master plan eventually calls for 30,000 feet of fence to have the entire property perimeter and cross-fenced. It is exciting to us to have at least made a start on one of the zillion large projects that we have waiting for us. We have grand plans but you never start where you want to finish so I keep reminding myself to prioritize and be patient. We admired our new fence for awhile on Saturday and had a lot of satisfaction in just looking at it. This is a good thing since the (depressingly large) bill for the fence arrived in the mail on Saturday as well!

Jason standing at the entrance of our new farm with our new fence. We put two 12' gates at the entrance to give us a 24' opening. The entrance is set off the road by about 80' to allow plenty of room for semis to pull in off the road even if the gates are shut.

The fence along the road, we had the boards put on the inside of the posts so the horses can't pop them off when they decide to use the fence as a scratching post.

The only downside to having the boards on the inside of the fence is that it does not look as pretty from the road. The fence is behind a hedge along much of the road frontage but a few hundred feet of the fence is plainly visible to the road. We had the fence contractor double plank about 350' of the "exposed" fence with boards on the inside and the outside of the posts. This was purely for aesthetic reasons so the fence could look pretty from the road and as you pull up to the entrance. As you can see we've put way too much thought into this fence and the driveway entrance, but we're trying to to be thorough and smart with our decisions since we will be living with them for a lifetime. After living with a driveway that is not exactly horse trailer friendly we are looking forward to having the easiest driveway ever for horse trailers and semi's to traverse.

Our next projects include building the first of many run-in sheds, putting in a driveway, and running some water and electrical lines. The good news is that we have gas, water and electricity at the road so we only have to get permits to tap in and then run lines. As far as water we intend to eventually have both well and county water like we have at our current farm. Having more than one water source is something that provides me with a lot of peace of mind. If something goes wrong with one you can simply shut if off and turn on the other water source. The ability to do this eliminates a lot of potential drama.

I hope everyone has a nice Memorial Day tomorrow.

Hemi and Tony enjoying a vigorous grooming session

O'Reilly, Snappy and Lightening grazing in the shade

Cuff Links

Alex and Bella the dog hanging out

Faune, Asterik, Sebastian and Winston

Lexi and Norman


MyLight

Levendi and Tony trotting through the field


Thomas, Leo and Homer

Hemi and Chance hanging out . . .

. . . Hemi decided to rest his head on Chance

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Back Shortly

We're enjoying some down time this week and will be back to blogging in a few short days!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Late Friday Update

Sorry for the late Friday blog update! I've been spending longer hours outside as the days continue to lengthen and it doesn't always leave much time (or energy) for updating the blog. The weather has been lovely and it is more fun to be outside, even in the evenings, than on the computer! Below are some pictures and a video of recent scenes around the farm.

I have a yellow wagon that I keep down at the shed where I store feed, blankets, halters and such for the east side of the farm. I use it so much I got another one. As I rolled it down the hill to the shed the mares used this an excuse for much running, spooking, snorting and general excitement. I missed a lot of it, by the time I turned on my camera Harmony and MyLight had already done their mad dash across the pasture but I caught Lily's run. In the middle we see Dustin running down the hill in his pasture to see what all of the excitement is about.

video


MyLight and Thomas cozying up over the fence Asterik and Alex
Lightening

Silky aka Slinky

Lucky and Chili
Thomas, Leo and Homer (Trigger hiding in the background)

A typical scene; Chili, O'Reilly, Snappy, Teddy, Clay, Lucky, Silky and Lightening

Dustin

Chance and Hemi
Thomas

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crepe Myrtles = Yummy

Some new landscaping was put in around the barn yesterday. The beds were redone and two new crepe myrtles were planted on either side of the driveway at the entrance to the barn. It all looks lovely and my dad especially is quite pleased with how everything turned out. I'll be honest I've never given 2 seconds of thought to any landscaping and was a bit surprised when the crew showed up and started landscaping away. However even I will say it does look nice.

My dad and I went to dinner together Monday evening since Jason and my mom were both otherwise occupied (we had mexican food - yummy!). As my dad was driving down the driveway towards the barn and my house we noticed a lot of 'activity' around the crepe myrtles. Bubba the goat was ramming his horns into one of them. He loves to ram things, especially his house. Mina had wedged herself in between the branches of the other one and was furiously eating the bark. Jo and Billy were standing on their hind legs eating leaves. I hope the trees make it. When someone from the landscaping company came by today to check on everything he said to my dad that the deer had already attacked the crepe myrtles and one in particular had really taken a beating. Dad said he didn't have the heart to tell the poor guy that it wasn't deer but our pet goats (this guy and his crew worked HARD digging the holes and planting these trees).

Needless to say my dad did not take the sight of his brand new trees being destroyed very well. Not well at all. The World's Cutest Fainting Goats, along with their friends Billy and Bubba the stray goats, are now banished to their paddock. Their paddock is quite nice, a half acre overflowing with grass and they have three goat houses to choose from. Usually their gate is left open and they are allowed to entertain themselves and wander around the barn, my house, and their paddock at will. Every time they saw me today there was much screaming and bleating from their gate as they demanded to be let out. It was apparently a very bad day to be a goat here today. Unfortunately I have no pictures of the event, which is probably for the best. I don't think my dad needs any reminders at this point.


I love Tony's droopy lower lip, he was quite relaxed when I took his picture. His nickname is of course Tony the Tiger. When I was a little kid Tony the Tiger was the mascot in the Frosted Flakes commercials. (they're grrrrreat!)
Elfin (The Instigator), Homer (Homey, Home Fry, Homeboy) and Levendi (Mr. Crankypants)

Chance; no nickname required with such a mischievous name!

Alex checking out the Kubota

I took this picture from the top of the hill by my parent's house (facing north)


Another shot from the top of the hill, this time facing east (big boys behind the pond)

Homer, Homey, Home Fry, Homeboy (Homer is such a great name for coming up with nicknames, and the name Homer is SO perfect for Homer!)

Leo (no nickname but he should be The Instigator II; he is forever causing trouble and then when you go to call him on it he is looking around and whistling with an expression of "I didn't do anything - what??"); Thomas (Ladies Man, The Hunk) and Baby (Baby Dragon)

Hemi (whom Jason calls Hemie with a long i - I have no idea where that came from but now we all say it!) found the leaves to be very tasty

Mr. O'Reilly (Mr. O, the big O) and Lucky (nickname Hershey because his coat color is the same as a Hershey's chocolate bar) enjoying a grooming session

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Nicknames

As I was posting the pictures for this blog it struck me that we have given nicknames to many of the horses here. I've shared the nicknames for the horses in the posted pictures. Jason comes up with a lot of them because . . . well, I don't really know why, because apparently it is just part of being Jason! Not everyone has a nickname, some of them already have the perfect name that we can't top with a nickname. My horse Sky for example does not have a nickname. Sky works for her and even Jason has been unable to come up with a variation on that. However she is from Canada so Jason does say "Sky, eh" a lot to acknowledge their shared heritage.

Other nicknames for some of the horses not in the pictures:
Traveller - "Pixie" and "Pone-pone;" (Pone is short for pony)
Lexi - Jason insists on calling her "Ixel" which is Lexi backwards. It has become kind of permanent as well.
Sebastian - "Sebi"
Baby - "Baby Dragon" (his owners actually bestowed this nickname on him and we carry on the tradition; it works for him and it makes everyone laugh as well)
Ivan - "Hivey Ivey" (one time we thought Ivan might be developing hives. It turned out he was not but Jason had already started calling him Hivey Ivey and once again it stuck)
Apollo - said in a long and drawn out way "Apooolloooo"
Elfin - "The Instigator" because he likes to start stuff and is always in the middle of things
Levendi - I call him "Mr. Crankypants" because he always makes these ugly faces at you in the cross ties that remind me of a bratty pony. We also have an expression that Levendi is about to 'go pony' on us)

So now I want to hear about nicknames other people have given to their horses (or other pets, spouses, kids, significant others, etc.). If their is a story as to how the nickname came about share that as well!

Leo and Dustin (Jason usually calls Dustin "Dustbin" because he is always so dirty or Dunstin); Leo's name is perfect and no nickname would work better than Leo. (Ok sometimes we call him fatty . . . I promise he doesn't mind!)

MyLight (usually called "Pretty Girl") and Lily (often referred to as "The Lil" or "Lilypie" and if she has a certain expression "Biker Babe.")

Slinky (his real name is actually Silky but we always call him Slinky because he is just too macho to be called Silky; he is "Slink in pink" during the winter because of his pink pony blankets), O'Reilly ("Mr. O" or "the Big O"), Chili ("Chili-bean") and Clay. Clay doesn't have a nickname because Clay just works for him.

Winston, often shortened to "Win"

Alex and B-Rad; no nicknames necessary for these guys, their names are perfect. What could top the name B-Rad anyway??

Faune, Big French Guy (him mom bestowed this nickname on him as he is a Selle Francais imported from France, we just carry on the tradition)


Chance and Hemi (Jason insists on pronouncing Hemi's name with a long i as in pie, so now everyone calls Hemi by the name "Hemie"; one of those things that starts as a joke and then becomes permanent). Chance is way too cute of a name to replace it with something else!

Thomas and Homer having a grooming session. I refer to Homer as either "Homeboy," Home Fry" or "Homie" and everyone else usually uses one of those nicknames as well. Thomas is the perfect name for Thomas, but he is also quite the ladies' man so sometimes he is referred to as such, and sometimes we just call him The Hunk because he is gorgeous and, well, he's a hunk.

Sky, Bonnie and Cinnamon; Sky and Cinnamon are without nicknames but Bonnie is often called "Bon Bon" or more frequently "The Bonster"

Norman, usually known as "Normie," although Norman is the perfect name for him.



Thursday, May 13, 2010

Happy Anniversary !

As I mentioned in a previous post, both Melissa and I have been married before. I was with my first wife for nine years and Melissa was with her first husband for seven years. I think we would both agree that our first marriages were extremely painful toward the end, perhaps only exceeded by the disaster of pain caused by divorcing our respective partners. I can't speak for Melissa, but my first marriage is a price I would gladly pay again if I knew then what was in store for me the second time. Until I married Melissa I had no idea what a great gift marriage truly is. Using a metaphor with which I am intimately familiar, my marriage to Melissa is exactly like nurturing a sickly plant in good, deep, fertile soil, except instead of a plant what she nurtures is my soul. In no small part, I am what I am today thanks to her.

On Friday of this week, Melissa and I celebrate our fifth wedding anniversary. In honour of this, and in addition to our regularly scheduled photos of contented retirees, I have included a few favourite photos of mine which I hope capture some of the fun we manage to get up to while doing what we love !

Melissa, thank you for being my wife. I love you very much !! Happy Anniversary !

Jason and Sparky, November 2009...Melissa often wonders which one is the donkey and which one is the ass.... :)

Bonnie, Jason, Melissa, Lexi, September 2008
Bonnie, September 2008


Melissa, Jason, Bear and Trooper, September 2008


Bear with an audience floating in our pool, Orwell, VT, August 2005. Bear LOVED jumping from the deck onto the raft and floating around while we swam and played !



Our child Bear, Melissa and Bridget, Orwell VT, May 2005

Melissa with Oreo the cat on a rope in our front yard, Orwell VT, April 2005. Oreo didn't lead well...surprise, surprise !
Melissa and Jason on our first trip together, Olympic National Park, Port Angeles, WA, August 2004
Lexi, April 2004
Bonnie with her mother Gabby, April 3, 2004 [hotographed by yours truly on my first trip to Middle Tennessee

Bugle meets Bonnie...my absolute favourite pic ! March 26, 2004. Bonnie is 8 hours old in this photo. Note the insolent expression which persists to this day !

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Retirement, golf in the morning, swimming in the afternoon . . . Homer says it is all very tiring.

Faune and Winston

Slinky, Lightening, Chili and O'Reilly

Ivan and Tony trotting up the hill together


Apollo and Hemi walking down the hill together


Ivan

Clay

Tony

Lightening and Teddy

Lexi and Norman enjoying a grooming session . . .

. . . and just hanging out together