Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Worst Job Continues

I have much I could write (er, complain) about but I am too tired. The Worst Job Ever is not completed yet and it has pretty much worn us out. One more day and it should be done. I can't wait. I will never complain about cleaning the cow trough again, I shall do it with a big smile on my face. I will relish every minute spent nailing up thousands of insulators and think about how lucky I am to be doing that job. I will complain to the bitter end about removing triple layered old wire fencing. This promise will be ridiculously easy to keep!

Some days it feels like we are trying to herd cats. We call and call asking them to come get fed and they completely ignore us. Jason rounding up Wiz, Renny, Murphy and Dutch for breakfast.

Then he herded in Clay, Chili and Fuzzy

Hanging out with Sam after breakfast. Sam likes Jason

Then he spent some quality time with Dutch

Cuffie peeking out from his new run-in shed

B-Rad, Alex and Darby

one of the groups of wild turkeys that we see all the time; Jason tells me they mean me no harm but they are just SO creepy looking

Thor, Snappy, Silky, Spike, O'Reilly and Lucky

Silver, Romeo, Faune, Fonzi, Asterik and George

Gus and Chimano

Moe, Ivan and Apollo

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Worst Job Ever

I think I have officially participated in the worst job ever on the farm. I used to think that cleaning the cow trough was a yucky job. Now I scoff at that notion. I literally laugh out loud when I remember that I used to think cleaning the cow trough was a rotten job.

As everyone knows we are in the home stretch of getting everyone moved to the new farm. In addition to packing up their stuff, Jason kept telling me we needed to "pull wire" before we finished moving horses. He brought this up several times and - silly me - I thought he meant putting up more hot wire on the top boards of the fence. Every time he would mention pulling wire I would think "we've never had all of the hotwire in place before we've moved horses so why now??" and go on with my day.

NOW I know why he would bring the topic up but we never actually did anything about it. "Pulling wire" meant cleaning out old wire fencing in one of the unoccupied pastures at the new farm. In the last two days we have pulled out over 3,000 feet of old fence and we still have another day or two of this project to go.

When I do the math it is actually much more than 3,000 feet of wire that we have pulled out, more in the neighborhood of 9,000 feet. Because the idiots who farmed this land previously apparently thought it was a brilliant idea to never get rid of any of the old, sagging wire fencing. Instead they would just put up a new row of wire fencing right next to the old stuff. So we are pulling out two rows of mangled up wire fencing plus a third row of triple strand barb wire fence. My arms look like someone has scrubbed them with a cheese grater after two days of being shredded by this wire. Thank god I had my tetanus shot boostered a couple of months ago. My clothes are ripped and torn as well.

Dealing with all of this rusted, tangled, mangled wire is bad enough. But you have to understand the totality of the situation. It isn't like you can just walk up to the old wire and start cutting and pulling. It is all embedded in, tangled in, wrapped around in about 70 years worth of tree growth and underbrush. We have to hack our way through the growth to get to the stuff, then wrestle it out. In addition to dealing with the wire I live in constant fear that I might run into - horror of horrors - a snake. Surely this type of habitat is perfect for snakes?? Not to mention all of the bugs and spiderwebs. The last two days have seriously been like one of my worst nightmares playing out in real life. I hate unidentifiable bugs and creepy crawly things, I hate walking through spider webs, I hate being in a bunch of undergrowth where I can't always see what might be in there with me.

At one point I threw my bolt cutters on the ground and said to Jason "this is why I went to college? Why I graduated magna cum laude? Why I busted my butt in biochemistry??" Imagine my voice getting louder and louder with each question . . .

Yes, you noticed I said bolt cutters instead of wire cutters. One of the things I have learned over the last couple of days is that wire cutters are pretty useless for cutting wire, especially thick barb wire. You want bolt cutters for this job. How does one go about removing old, embedded, mangled wire fence?

1. Hack your way through the woods and undergrowth to get to said fence

2. Rip away as many of the vines, weeds, etc. as you can while trying to identify exactly what is fence and what is not fence.

3. Decide how much of a section to cut. You can't just find an end and start pulling, the stuff is way to embedded and tangled in the growth. In fact some of the trees have grown around the wire so the wire is literally in the middle of the tree trunks.

4. Pick up your bolt cutters and start cutting away, trying to free a section of the fence.

5. Drop your bolt cutters and start screaming and frantically trying to brush off the creepy crawly thing you are SURE you just felt crawling on you.

6. Dig around in the brush and find your bolt cutters and resume cutting.

7. Repeat numbers 4 through 6 several times until you finally free a section of fence.

8. Start dragging the section of old fence out of the woods, constantly freeing it from everything it gets tangled in. Once you free a section it of course whips around and shreds your arms, clothes, snags your hair, etc.

9. When there is enough room to maneuver the tractor and you absolutely cannot get a section of fence out do what Jason does. Throw your bolt cutters on the ground in frustration and utter a few expletives. Then go stomping away with no explanation as to where you are going. Return with the tractor, hook the front end loader up to said section of fence with a chain, and slam the tractor in reverse. Watch with satisfaction as you pull out not only the section of old fence but half the woods and underbrush with it, complete with dramatic sound effects as you rip out the roots and break trees in half.

I made the offer a few days ago that anyone with the desire could come nail up a few thousand insulators to fence posts. I now extend to everyone the offer to come remove old wire fencing (triple layered no less). Really, it is fun and you will like it, disregard anything I said above. If nothing else it will give you a story to tell and some war wounds you can brag about.

Not Jason's happiest look ever. I believe he was in the middle of saying something along the lines of "if you take my bleep bleep bleep picture I will shove that camera down your throat." Notice his hand is resting on an old fence post wrapped in tangled wire that he had just 'liberated.'

One of the dozens and dozens of piles of old wire we have pulled out

me in action with my bolt cutters

Jason working away with his bolt cutters. Isn't it cute, we have his and hers bolt cutters.

In the midst of all our craziness lately we have had the pleasure of welcoming a new face. His name is Moe and I am sure you agree with me that he is super cute! He has a personality to match the name Moe.

Noble and Lightening making their way through the one of the paths in the woods


Tony hanging out in the shade


Elfin, Thomas, Homer, Chance, Leo and Levendi

Ivan and Apollo

not everyone works hard around here; Cloudy passing the time with a nap on the bench

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Moving Day

We had another moving day today. We were hoping it would be the last moving day but we will be having one more moving day in the near future. I said to Jason today that the finish line seems so close yet so far away right now. We still have a few projects that need to be completed before we move the last group and I am still in the process of organizing all of the stuff to get it ready to move. Most people have heard me say this before but moving the horses is the easy part. It is moving all of the stuff that is the hard part. Oh my gosh the STUFF!! The feed, feedbags, supplements, medications, grooming and bathing supplies, the blankets, extra halters and leadropes, and all of the "extra" things that a lot of the horses come with for those "just in case X happens" type events - in other words the stuff we have never EVER needed, but if we leave it behind will of course need it ASAP. Can you tell I really wanted to wrap this all up today??

Today was another successful day. The mares and ponies are now happily grazing in their new pasture. The geldings that had been sharing a fenceline with them had a particularly bad day today for about 15 minutes. They screamed and called and basically threw a group temper tantrum as they watched them load on the trailer. Thankfully once everyone was loaded and the trailer pulled away they quickly stopped caring and went back to grazing. Remember that line from Austin Powers when he is trying to convince his Mini Me to get off the ceiling? It went something like "if something happens to you I will be inconsolable. Actually I would be inconsolable for about 15 minutes and then I would move on and get a new Mini Me." The boys were inconsolable for about 15 minutes and then they moved on.

As always it only took a few minutes to unload everyone and put them in their new pasture. I immediately ran into the pasture armed with my camera, ready to capture all of the glorious action shots and fun videos as everyone explored their new pasture. I ended up with exactly one action shot and no videos. The grass was so tall the horses could not resist and they just started eating. I was primed and ready but my subjects were not cooperating!


MyLight got the day started right. She was first on the trailer and loaded like a pro.

Maisie needed a moment to stand and check things out, then she walked on quietly.

Traveller is such a good pony he probably would have loaded himself

Lily walked right on the trailer

Silky backing into her stall

Missy was the last to load and then they were off

Driving up to their new pasture at the new farm. You can see one of our unfinished projects in this picture. We have not finished extending the driveway and currently the gravel stops after the first 1500 feet off the road. We need to gravel another 2000 feet. We have simply been driving on the grass (dirt) like rednecks. Good thing it has not rained in a couple of weeks!! It isn't hard to arrange for a bunch of gravel but there is (ahem) a rock that needs to be dealt with first. We ares still so traumatized from our first rock experience we are avoiding dealing with this one. All I can say is please do not let dealing with this rock turn into a blog post. PLEASE.

Fuzzy and Chili were watching with interest while the newcomers unloaded.

Sam, B-Rad and Alex on the other hand could not have cared less about the new arrivals

Cinnamon and Traveller were wild things after they unloaded

My one action shot, Norman and MyLight trotting

Missy, Cuffie and Silky walking through their new pasture. Maybe this picture kinda/sorta counts as an action shot

Maisie, Silky and Missy



Lily, Cuffie and MyLight

Lily and Maisie

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Final Preparations

We have been extra, super busy the last few days. We are preparing to finish up moving horses. If all goes as planned, and we all know the saying about the best laid plans, we will be moving the mares and ponies in the next couple of days, and then have one more moving day hopefully next week.

I have mentioned before that Jason likes to give his best Scarlett O'Hara impersonation from time to time. We all know how his announcement about "as God as my witness I shall never pick up another rock again" turned out. We've spent some time the last few days working on the "as God as my witness I shall never repair a fence board again" statement. We want to eventually have hot wire on the top board of the fences, and possibly even the top two boards, to keep the fence from being a perpetual scratching post. The fence is always the loser in this scenario. By default Jason is also the loser since he has to repair the fence. The mares are, by far, up there with the worst offenders when it comes to breaking fence boards. Thus we want to make sure that the wood fence is officially not a pleasant place to scratch.

I have come to realize over the last few days just how many fence posts it takes to fence off a pasture. Each pasture has a few thousand feet of fencing. There is a fence post every seven feet. Every post needs an insulator for the electric wire. You see where I am headed with this. Every time Jason would start throwing a temper tantrum about what a pain it was to rig up the hot wire I would remind him how many hours of his life he has spent repairing fence boards. That was all it took to shut him up on that topic and he went back to work. One pasture hotwired, several more to go.

One of my cousins commented to me a few years ago that farming felt like trying to empty out the Mississippi River with a teacup. There is a lot of truth to that statement.

Jason unrolling the wire

If anyone is ever bored and would like to nail a few thousand insulators to fence posts we can get you hooked up!

Elfin and Homer

Snappy and Thor


Lightening, Snappy and Noble

Lucky and O'Reilly

Rampal on the move



Winston and Faune

Tiny and Johnny