Sunday, February 28, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Jason Shares His Thoughts on Farming
My passion in life is farming; literally everything about it makes me feel good about who I am and what I am doing on this earth. It has been so ever since I can remember following my grandfather literally through each season since I was a small child. I grew up among a large, kind and loving extended family. However, of everyone in the family, my granddad always seemed to be the one who had endless time for me, and he certainly had an outsized role in shaping the man I have become. If he had a favourite grandchild amongst his large brood…..and this was never a certain thing….that grandchild was probably me. Thanks to the endless hours I spent with him, I gained a depth of old rural knowledge uncommon in children of my generation even in the community where I grew up. One of the things I remember best about the years I spent working with him every day around the farm was his slow and persistent way of accomplishing large, seemingly endless tasks (of which there are a God’s plenty on any working farm). He never looked like he was working very hard or accomplishing very much, but he was ALWAYS working…and by days end he had usually out-accomplished all the rest of us while consuming what seemed like half the expenditure of labour we required in the process !
My grandfather was an excellent farmer who got his greatest joy out of doing the work itself, no matter what that work happened to be. Since I am definitely not my grandfather in this respect….I fully detest some tasks (!!), I have to find my salvation elsewhere !
What gives me equal parts comfort, joy and peace is working within the rhythm of the seasons to correct imbalances and in so doing to make everything living thing on the farm perform more vigourously than it did before. On this farm I very much like to see my horses, cows and pastures perform with vigour ! I once compared my role on the farm to that of a maestro conducting an orchestra and I think this is an apt comparison, although there aren’t very many maestros who have hands as dirty as mine at the end of the day ! Thankfully, maestro is a necessary job description on a farm too!
So in back of my answers to unasked reader questions there (unsurprisingly) lies a question for all you readers. Which part of the horse experience brings out your passion to the highest degree ? Is your passion highest while in the heat of competition, or does some other aspect of horse keeping, or indeed life generally, bring it out more ?
Baby, Thomas, Homer and Trigger grazing in the morning sun
Cuff Links and Bella
Lucky was taking a nap while Chili grazed
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Still Not Spring
I mentioned that by the weekend the skunk smell in the barn was largely gone. If the breeze blew in just the right direction you knew the smell was still hanging on, but most of the time it was not noticeable any more. The brief but heavy rain shower we had on Sunday evening took us back to square one. The skunk smell in the barn came roaring back. Not as overwhelmingly strong as it originally was, but still fairly strong. Eleven days and counting on the skunk smell. It did seem better today, we'll see how long that lasts.
I still hold a grudge against Punxsutawney Phil, I hold him personally responsible for the weather. It is good weather for watching the Winter Olympics though. Jason and I aren't usually TV watchers but we have been Olympics junkies. I am pretty fascinated with the curling, and since Jason used to curl regularly in Canada he is excellent at explaining what the heck is going on. He was a bit . . . deflated . . . after the men's Canada/USA hockey game. I have been pretty enthralled by the snowboarders, skiers, ski jumpers, bobsled, luge, skeleton, all of it. So many of these people are crazy!! Who decided it would be a good idea to go head first down the luge track?? Unfortunately the Olympics have not motivated me to ride in the cold. Of course I rode during the nice weather, but this afternoon I could not make myself get on. Just call me a fair weather rider, I'm down with that.
Missy and Lily in the front, then Buffy and MyLight, Thomas just behind the fence and then Elfin and Chance
MyLight was not interested in me taking her picture
I watched a repeat of the video I posted last week. First Apollo rolled in the mud . . .
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Living the Life
The horses were enjoying the sun and it seemed like every time I looked around I saw another horse down taking a nap. There was a lot of "dead horse" going on around here this weekend. It wore me out running around making sure everyone really was just taking a nap. The last three days were just fun days to be on the farm. All I saw were horses running for the fun of it, playing with each other, rolling like fiends, of course taking naps, and grazing in the sun.
A couple of the horses are in serious shedding mode right now although most are just now starting to shed, and very halfheartedly at that. It always seems like the gray horses are the ones that really start to shed ahead of everyone else. Cuffie lost a mountain of hair today while I went over him with the shedding blade. I watched Lily roll this morning, and there was a pile of white hair on the grass after she stood up. When she did the requisite after roll shake white hair when flying everywhere.
Thanks to our wonderful (not) winter we had this year we are having a very late spring. Our daffodils should be in full bloom by now and they are just barely starting to come up out of the ground. At least it feels like spring really is going to come, and hopefully soon!
The skunk smell in the barn has improved tremendously, we are on day eight today. It is mostly gone, with the office being the only part with an odor lingering consistently. Since the windows have been able to be open in the office the last few days hopefully that will help with the odor.
Lightening and Lucky running just for the fun of it . The zoom on my camera was temporarily stuck so a lot of this looks far away. At about 1:20 that is Lightening and Clay both rolling, it is hard to tell since the stupid zoom decided not to zoom for a few minutes. I think my poor camera is so overloaded with dirt it is getting time for a replacement.
Continuing on with more happy horses. How anyone could think these horses would rather be standing in a stall most of the time being "pampered" is beyond me. We start with Lucky and O'Reilly playing. Then Trigger and Thomas run along behind the fence, and then Thomas stops to roll. We then see more playing O'Reilly and Levendi playing over the fence.
Homer and Ivan napping with Chance grazing in the background
Missy and Lily
Mares just hanging out; MyLight, Harmony, Missy and Buffy
Winston was napping hard in dead horse position
O'Reilly, Chili and Snappy grazing in the sun
Homer, Apollo, Levendi, Baby and Trigger were all very happy to not be wearing a sheet or a blanket
Dustin, Ivan and Tony
Jo the fainting goat was a very active participant on farrier day. Here she decided it was time to say hello to Gwen the farrier while she was trimming Missy.
Another horse in dead horse position
Faune snoozed in the hay while Winston ate hay on Friday morning
Thursday, February 18, 2010
The Sun Returns
Our snow that came down early this week had all melted by Wednesday afternoon. The sun graced us with its presence today and our temperature started climbing up towards a more normal level. Our normal daytime highs for this time of the year would be in the mid 50's. Some days we have barely reached 40. Jason said the weather forecaster on the news tonight said this was the third longest period since weather records have been kept when we haven't reached at least 50 degrees during the day. Hmmph, I don't like setting these records!
However spring is clearly on the way. The cool season grasses are greening up, the geese are back in the pond, and most of the horses are shedding. Some have a decent amount of hair coming off of them, others are barely shedding. It will not be long before I am breathing in large quantities of horse hair all day long.
We're still breathing the lovely aroma of skunk hair in the barn. It may have lessened slightly, but we're at five days and counting. I think I am starting to somewhat get used to it. Tomorrow is another farrier day and I am off to make my list.
Leo and Apollo celebrating blanket freedom with a nice, muddy roll. Why can't they roll in the grass?? Thomas gets in on the action as well even though he still has a blanket on.
Homer, Thomas and Apollo
Levendi, Elfin and Ivan
Tony, Chance and Ivan were all squeezed together hanging out
Thomas and Elfin
Levendi; what a cute face he has
By Thursday our snow had melted, the temperatures were going up (still not where they should be!), and several blankets were removed. Lily rolled immediately!
Harmony and MyLight
Slinky in front of the fence, Chance and Trigger behind the fence