Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Another Project Involving Trees and

chainsaws, except I didn't have to participate!! I have a shed in the middle of a few of the pastures with feed bins and where I store blankets, halters, grooming supplies, etc. There were a couple of dead trees, one fairly large, next to the shed that needed to be dealt with. Since we could work away with our chainsaws for a year just trying to clean up trees that have already fallen over we were having a hard time getting excited about pulling over even more trees.

On top of that Jason and I are notorious for having a million unexpected problems occur when we are working away at our home/farm improvement projects. I just knew if we tried to pull the tree closest to the shed over we would end up flattening the shed and ourselves in the process. We almost tackled it ourselves, and even had the trusty Kubota utility vehicle loaded up with chain saws, rope, and a logging chain. We put the bucket back on the front loader of the tractor and had it ready for service. Finally one of us (me) heard the voice of reason that was desperately trying to tell us this was a bad idea. So I called a tree service and happily took pictures while they dealt with these two trees. Of course since Jason and I were only bystanders everything went perfectly and it didn't even take very long.

They had already done most of the limbing on the dead tree at this point but they were still finishing up with a few large limbs
Standing on the dead tree to do some limbing; it made me nervous every time he did that
Ready with ropes to make sure the branch fell in the right direction
Swinging back to the live tree; he climbed the live tree and then would swing over onto the dead tree to cut off limbs. What really impressed me was when he would just hang in the air and stabilize himself with one hand on his rope and cut down limbs one-handed with the chain saw in his other hand. No way could my little arms handle a chain saw one-handed!!
Finally taking down the trunk
Cutting his way through
Yeah! The dead tree is down, my shed is no longer in danger of being flattened, and I only had to watch. A perfect day!
Now taking down the other tree. This one was easy, no big limbs and branches. Jason and I could have easily done this one ourselves but they were here and I liked this no participation concept a LOT.
Almost ready to fall
Going, going, gone!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Dealing With Blankets

I just gathered up the blankets that I need to run over to my wonderful person who does blanket cleaning and repair. I really hate dealing with blankets. Put them on, take them off, change to a different weight, get the dirty blankets cleaned, etc. The most irritating part is dealing with blankets that are on the injured reserve list. Most of the horses don't come with "spares" so dealing with ripped/torn blankets is a real pain. My list of blankets in need of repair that are going to the blanket fairy tomorrow include:

Rambo sheet with broken chest surcingle
Weatherbeeta blanket with huge rip on one side
Dover Rider's sheet with broken chest surcingle and rip in the shoulder
Gatsby sheet with giant rip in it
Dover hug blanket with large rip
Saxon blanket with large rip

As you can see there is no discrimination going on around this farm. We rip and tear all brands of sheets and blankets in conformity with our affirmative action plan!! I can't even blame it on a certain horse or claim that certain groups tend to play too hard and be rough on the blankets as again we are equal opportunity about blanket shredding. Surely I am not the only one who is having to deal with various blanket issues right now??

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Horsey Christmas

Like any good horse person I have lots of horse-themed holiday decorations. Most of them have been found by my mom who is amazing at finding great stuff to decorate with. I rarely get past the tack store and the feed store so I'm not the best at decorating. Following are a few of my horse ornaments courtesy of my mom. To everyone Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Happy Holidays etc.!

Huntsman Santa with his hound
My mare Bridget with her foal Lexi (Lexi is now 4). My mom painted their faces and socks so they would be correct - 4 socks on Bridget and 3 socks on Lexi. My mom is awesome, and she probably just wants my tree to look half decent!! She gave me this for Lexi's first Christmas.
The horses need carrots of course!
Horse ornament
Horse trailer complete with horse inside which unfortunately doesn't show up in the picture. Did I mention my mom is the best?
She even made a brush jump for my tree
Christmas saddle
Hunting horn
Grooming box - my mom just continues to outdo herself every year

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sometimes I Amaze Even Myself

Two days ago I was preparing to feed everyone dinner. I made a quick trip to the compost pile to empty my muck bucket and I noticed the horses in the neighboring field were in the woods hanging out. No big deal, they love to go in there and explore and nap, they do it all the time. So I am standing there watching them with a smile on my face until I notice one horse is down on the ground. And he's not moving. I knew right away it was Trillion because he is the only dark horse in that group. Trillion is a bay and everyone else is a gray or chestnut. He should have had his blanket on and actually been a dark green horse with some bay parts sticking out, but Trillion has been known to remove a blanket before according to his mom.

I start calling his name hoping he was just napping but he doesn't move. I scream his name and no movement, nothing. I noticed Sebastian and Asterik were hanging around him and I started really freaking out. "Oh no, he's died and they are staying with the body." I am crashing my way through the woods at this point with all sorts of horrible things going through my mind. "Dear God what happened? What am I going to tell his family? I'm going to miss him so much. How can this be happening?" and etc.

Just as I am preparing to climb the fence I notice something out of the corner of my eye. Of all things, a dark green horse with bay parts sticking out - Trillion!!!!!!! I was overcome with joy and was crying tears of happiness. Since I was much closer now to what I originally thought was deceased Trillion I looked more closely and realized it was a big log. I took a decade off of my life over a downed log in the woods. The sun was setting when I originally noticed "Trillion" but gosh, my eyes aren't that old and surely aren't that tired. It has taken me a couple of days to see the humor in this.

You can see why from a lot further away than this I might mistake this for a dead horse . . . or maybe not
Sebastian and Asterik grazing around "Trillion"

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Merry Christmas To Me

I always do the same thing for myself for Christmas and remember a horse rescue or two in my Christmas giving. I will have more about this in another post. Today I simply bought myself my own Christmas present a few days early. Ho ho ho!!

I gotta say dear old Mother Nature has truly turned her back on me the last few weeks. I don't know if someone peed in her wheaties or if she happens to think someone in middle Tennessee did so or what. As I mentioned in my letter to her a couple of days ago we have had tons of rain the last couple of weeks. The last few days we were in the 60's and even the 70's. The next 48 hours will be cold. Waaaaaaaaay to cold for this part of the south, especially this time of year.
To top it off karma decided to play some kind of sick joke on me this morning and the zipper on my coat broke. Like, it completely broke and is utterly useless. I only have one coat for the farm. So I got to work outside in the cold and wind with an unzipped coat for a few hours this morning. Nice.

After lunch Jason and I made a quick trip over to Tractor Supply Co. to purchase another coat for me. I was already unhappy about my zipper breaking, and I was less happy about getting a new coat from TSC. I have nothing against their apparel, I am just very fussy about coats. The one I've used the last few years was actually a nice ski coat and I loved it. It was warm, windproof, waterproof , it wasn't bulky and it was easy to move around in it and do stuff. TSC carries a lot of Carhartt stuff, which is warm but so stiff and bulky. After trying on every coat in the store I finally picked one out. I don't like it and I plan to head to REI after Christmas (I just can't face the crowds right now) and get another ski coat.

Once I had made my coat selection I began wandering through the store. I had mentioned to Jason that I would really like two things for Christmas. First I would like a cart or wagon to drag the blankets around in. Since most of the horses live out 24/7 it is a real pain to actually get the blankets to the horses. I have the blankets stored in a couple of different locations to have them closer to the horses but I still have to drag them out in the pastures. The other thing I asked for is a leaf blower. Why, oh why, am I STILL sweeping the barn aisle every day when I could have that task done in about a minute with a leaf blower? Every time I bring the leaf blower up Jason simply cannot comprehend why I think it would be useful. It seems like a no-brainer to me but apparently not. Needless to say I am confident that Santa will be dropping neither a leaf blower or a wagon down my chimney.

So I'm wandering through TSC and what to my wondering eyes would appear but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer? Well not exactly but I DID see a lovely cart!! It was perfect, nice and long with sides that can be dropped down if you wish and a wire grate bottom so it won't collect water. So I came home with an ugly, yucky coat AND a new cart to drag blankets around with. Merry Christmas to me!!!!!

Me with my new cart and my ugly new coat. Bear likes being pulled around in the cart.
Bear wondering if his new ride is already broken. No Bear, we just needed to tighten all the nuts and bolts.
Jason tightening the wheels
Checking over everything
Putting more air in the tires. Jason was thrilled (not) to have one more piece of "equipment" to "service"

Thursday, December 18, 2008

I Had to Share

this picture of Faune. You've met Faune before in this post. Faune's mom e-mailed me this "action" shot of him she had on her computer this evening. I absolutely love seeing pictures of the residents prior to their coming here, whether they are action shots or not. Since we feel like these horses become "ours" it is like looking through a family photo album when we see pictures of our residents in their previous lives.

Faune won extensively in the hunters in the professional and amateur divisions, but I learned tonight that he occasionally showed in the jumpers as well. He is over-jumping this jump by so much that the photographer couldn't even get his rider's head completely in the picture. And Faune still doesn't even look like he is trying! I've requested more pictures of Faune both showing off like this and just hanging out with mom, and if she can dig up anymore on her computer I'll share them.

And any other "parents" that read this post, if you haven't previously e-mailed me pictures of your boys and girls I would love to see them if you have them!

Faune showing in the jumpers at Saratoga
While I am showing off pictures of our residents, Sebastian's mom sent me this picture of him a couple of weeks ago. This picture was taken at Christmas a few years ago (if the wreath on the stall didn't already give the season away). I love this picture of Sebastian because it looks like it should be a holiday card, and also because his mane is dark and he is obviously a few years younger in this picture than he is today!!

I think this picture should be a Hallmark card, don't you?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Dear Mother Nature

It is obvious to all of us now that you feel bad for forgetting to put some rain clouds over us in September and October. Yes, we got a tiny bit of rain but nothing much. The rain clouds you have parked over us for the last few weeks have MORE than made up for what we missed out on earlier. Thank you so much for trying to make it up to us, but I think everything is accounted for now and you can move those clouds elsewhere. All in all you have given us some pretty crazy weather lately. We're ready to go back to normal now. Oh, and having several hours at a time where it does not rain doesn't count, at this point I'd like a few weeks without rain.

Much Love,
Paradigm Farms
I'm sick of having to dress like this every day. It does nothing for my self esteem. Talk about taking one for the team!!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Winter Wonderland

It snowed - we received a bit over three inches of snow Thursday evening!! We received even more rain on Thursday. It rained all day on Thursday and when the sun went down it just barely went below freezing and the rain changed to snow. For middle Tennessee, especially this early in December, 3+ inches of snow is a big deal. Horses and people all had lots of fun in the snow. We had to get our fun in quickly as most of it melted during the day on Friday, and the little bit that remained melted on Saturday. Gwen, our amazing farrier, still made the trek to our farm on Friday despite the challenging (for us) weather and worked away on the frisky horses. Without further ado I bring you pictures of our winter wonderland.

The snow coming down Thursday evening. Being the good southerners we are (well, Jason is a Canadian transplant) we had to go out and play as soon as we realized it was snowing.
Missy and Teddy sharing a peaceful breakfast while Bella hangs out with them

Henry hanging out in the snow. Henry is only here for the winter and just arrived last week. His mom also owns Sebastian so Henry had an "inside track" with us. Henry came down from New York and may have thought his mom had lied and didn't send him south after all.
The goats weren't too fond of the snow, and neither were the chickens. Everyone else was!
My riding arena
The "big boys" hanging out waiting for breakfast
Homer impatiently awaiting breakfast
Harmony, Missy and Buffy
Leo and Elfin were playing and having a great time
Snappy, Clay and Chili

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Floating Away

I don't know how much rain fell over middle Tennessee Tuesday through Wednesday morning but it was quite a bit. Jason said we set a rainfall record for this time of year and I believe it. The horses have a lot of mud to work with needless to say, and they are thrilled about that! Why do they love the mud so much?

What I want to know is why couldn't we have gotten all of this rain in October and early November when we really needed it? When the grass would still have had a lot of new growth from the rain? I'm starting to sound whiny so I'll wrap this post up by including some pictures. These pictures are all from early and mid October.

Elfin with Chance in the background
Chance with a mouthful of grass
Elfin, Ivan, Leo
Asterik, Poco, Sparky
Trillion, Sebastian and a chicken
Bella, Bonnie and Jason
Sparky and Jason
Homer crossed his front legs and fell asleep waiting for his turn with the farrier
Jason and Asterik
Asterik with one of the goats
Sparky and Faune