Thursday, September 29, 2011

More Fun With Rocks

Everyone knows that Jason and I do not have a good track record with rocks. Unless you have been living under a rock (it is a joke - get it - HAHA) you already know the story of our first encounter with a rock. If you happen to have missed those posts here are the links:

As we continued our construction progress, and thus the lengthening of our driveway (which is now just shy of 4,000 feet long), we found another rock. Another big rock. The lovely rock was located right in the path of where the driveway would run. Jason asked me if I thought we should change our plans and reroute the planned fencing along the driveway to avoid the rock. In a very cavalier moment I announced I would "not live for the rest of my life with our fences and driveway in a less than perfect location over a damn rock." God I'm stupid sometimes.

I refused to redesign this masterpiece of fencing and driveway location over a rock.

We built our fences as planned. We kept driving along our "driveway," and driving around the large rock sticking up in the middle of it. We built more run-ins, built another barn, ran water lines, and merrily went on with life, all while driving around this rock. Jason kept telling me it was pointless to start having gravel hauled in until we had dealt with the rock and gotten it out of the way. We carried on with life, driving around the rock on our redneck, dirt/mud only driveway.

Finally I said to Jason on Monday that the time had come, we had to deal with this rock so we could have a real driveway. You know, one that has an actual surface aside from dirt. Jason started telling me how busy we are, how much we have to do. I replied that I was fully aware of how busy we are and how much we had to do - and that maybe some things would be easier without this stupid rock in the way all the time. He broke down and called the equipment rental place. Yesterday a bobcat with a jackhammer was delivered to the farm for our entertainment frustration near death experiences rock removal.

This time we had a plan. Instead of trying to remove the entire rock, because we had no idea how big it was, the plan was to just bust the rock up to the point where it was now level with the rest of the driveway. I have bad news for those of you hoping to read about our usual disasters and projects gone wrong.

The plan worked.

Yes, you read that correctly, the plan worked. The equipment was big enough for the job. The equipment did not break. We did not break. There were no "marriage building exercises" involved. I know, we're in shock too.

Jason was able to bust big chunks off the rock, and then bust those down into smaller pieces. And then our rock was level with the driveway after awhile. At one point Jason was whipping around on the bobcat and gleefully slamming the jackhammer down on rocks with a big grin on his face. He looked like he was actually having a grand time. Later he told me that he was assigning names to the rocks - naming them after people he doesn't like or people who aggravate and annoy him - and then having fun smashing the rocks into bits. Of course this led me to ask "was my name assigned to a rock?"


I posted this picture on facebook page with the caption "be afraid, be very afraid."

Something is wrong with these pictures. The plan is working.

Sam running from Jason on the bobcat. Just kidding, he was actually running for dinner.

Darby, B-Rad and Alex were also on the run

Noble, Snappy, Thor and O'Reilly

Fuzzy Punch

Clay and Chili

Maisie, MyLight and Lily

Renny using Sebastian as a scratching post

Rampal and Tiny

Dutch and Wiz

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Picture Perfect

Today was one of those perfect days that made me think repeatedly about how lucky I am to work with horses each day. As the sun was rising over the farm and the morning fog was lifting, Jason and had the pleasure of seeing a beautiful sight. The big boys were quite a ways out in their pasture grazing quietly. The scene with the horses against the rising sun was gorgeous enough, but the boys were grazing contentedly with a herd of 11 deer. They were all mixed in together, clearly used to each others presence, grazing quietly. Of course I attempted to take a picture, however as I was climbing the fence in order to get a clear shot I spooked the deer and they took off, bounding over the 5' fence as if it were a pole on the ground.

For the most part the big boys ignored the scattering deer. There were a couple of lifted heads as the deer herd galloped away and leaped over the fence, but the dramatic exit of the deer was met with little interest. It made me wonder how much time the two herds, deer and horses, have spent together.

The rest of the day was equally as nice. The weather was perfect with a light breeze and a high of about 79 degrees. It was one of those days when everything just worked. The horses were mannerly and cooperative, the sky was blue and the birds were singing. This will be a great day to replay in my head the next time I am soaked from the rain and the horses are acting like heathens. If only every day could be so perfect.


Chili and Fuzzy on the run

Clay was close behind them


Rocky and Clayton

Kennedy, Toledo and Stormy

Rampal, Tiny and Kennedy


Sebastian, Murphy, Wiz and Dutch

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Quick Trip

Jason and I had a quick (very quick!!) getaway from the farm for a couple of days. It was my first day off since May 2010 and it was quite nice. We were briefly in Lexington, KY and, as always, we admired the gorgeous thoroughbred farms. As we drove along on Paris Pike and passed one perfectly pristine, manicured pasture after another Jason made the comment "they sure know how to stripe a pasture here." So we began grading the different farms on their striped pastures, with some earning very high marks for their perfectly even and prominent stripes and some being graded just above ghetto status (the term ghetto being used jokingly of course) for their faint stripes. As we drove past thousands of acres of picture perfect pastures surrounded by freshly painted fences we saw maybe 50 horses total actually occupying any of the pastures. No wonder the pastures all look so perfect!

Inevitably our conversation turned to how cheap Lexington real estate is and how we should buy a horse farm there and move to Lexington. We have this conversation any time we are in Lexington. As always we nixed this idea quickly due to the Lexington winters. I started pulling up the Lexington weather records on my phone and said "never mind, not doing the winters." If you are from the north I'm sure a Lexington winter looks pretty mild. When you are from the south a Lexington winter looks cold, snowy and long.

We stopped briefly in Bardstown, KY on the drive back from Lexington. Bardstown is home to the residence Federal Hill which inspired the words to the state song "My Old Kentucky Home." We stopped by My Old Kentucky Home to have a look at the house and grounds. The place was quite charming, however both Jason and myself were ready to throw large rocks at the speakers that were continuously playing "My Old Kentucky Home" when it started on the sixth loop of the song.

Bardstown also has a very nice, very well preserved town square. There was a 'wild turkey' made from a bourbon barrel (Bardstown claims to be the Bourbon Capital of the World) on the town square complete with a saddle. Jason happily climbed aboard the turkey for a photo op, and I present the evidence for your viewing pleasure below. Clearly Jason needs his stirrups shortened by a few holes!


Jason riding the "wild turkey" in Bardstown, KY

Chimano and Fonzi napping with Faune and Winston hanging out

Cuffie, Cinnamon, MyLight and Maisie

Kennedy, Stormy and Clayton

Tiny and Johnny

Thomas shaking after a good roll

Renny with Alex and B-Rad behind him

Happy grazers; Chimano, Fonzi, Silver, Romeo, Gus, Asterik and George

Winston and Faune

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Great Grain Wagon Redemption

In my opinion, a good farmer needs a junk pile and some old broken down equipment in exactly the same way that a politician needs an audience. But Melissa didn't agree with me, at least until recently.

A few years ago, I brought home a 6 ton V-box grain wagon on an extremely old and worn out running gear. The tires were so old and so flat that they actually flaked away entirely over the mile I towed it along behind my truck. What little rubber was left made some really nice piles along our driveway as it clanged along behind my truck as I crested the hill. When I got my new purchase (yes, I actually paid money for it) down by our house, I was met at our gate by my lovely wife Melissa, eyebrows down and hands on her hips.

Uh oh.

The questions began.

"Where did you get that piece of junk, how come it's making so much noise and WHY is it now residing in our yard?"

I answered that it was a good deal and that although the wagon frame and tires were in poor condition, the V-box itself was in excellent condition, though a touch rusty.

"You paid MONEY for that ??? "


"Why ? We don't currently grow any grain and have no plans to do so ! Do I want to know how much ?"

At least the answer to the last question was easy.


For the last six years it has been unceremoniously parked in a corner of our equipment yard and every single time we've had a "discussion" about something, the old V-box has made it foresquare to the center of the conversation.

A few days ago, Melissa made the suggestion that it would be a good idea to save our backs and investigate purchasing bulk feed now that all the horses were in one place. At least, it would be a good idea if only we had some place to store it.

Well honey hush and zippedy-do-dah-eh !

We DO have some place to store it ! Or rather, we WILL have some place to store it just as soon as I can get some railroad ties together to make a foundation for the good old V-box to sit on and gather together some tin to make a roof for it.

Stay tuned for chapter two in "The Great Grain Wagon Redemption".


Moe, Apollo, Elfin, Ivan, Grand and Leo

Homer enjoying a good roll . . .

. . . and sporting his new look as a pinto

Sebastian, Renny, Wiz, Dutch, Murphy and Sam

Clay, Chili and Fuzzy

Thomas and Hemi


Tiny, Johnny and Rampal

Johnny, Toledo, Kennedy and Rocky

Elfin and Grand

Winston, George, Chimano, Fonzi, Faune and Gus

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A New Mouth to Feed??

As most of you know, Melissa and I moved the last group of horses to the new farm a couple of weeks ago, a year less a day from when the first group moved. One of the biggest changes and challenges involved in having everyone at the same place has nothing to do with horses. We now work together every single day instead of just on some days. This means we have had to re-learn how to work (and travel to and from work) together every day. Fortunately, we've had plenty of practice with this and after only a few days of icily quiet (or achingly loud) car rides we figured out how to create space for ourselves again.

One of the joys of our daily commute through a very pretty part of Tennessee is keeping track of what is going on at various places we drive by each day. Our conversations are punctuated with sentences like, "Look there ! Billy has his hay cut FINALLY !" and, "Gee, wonder what happened to the red cow that grazes at the crossroads every morning ? Haven't seen her in a few days." You can be sure that we notice when something changes, just as I am sure that our neighbours notice when something changes at our place.

On days when we choose to take the highway, just after we get off the interstate there exists a neat little little brick house with a field full of goats beside it. Of course both Melissa and I are big goat fans, and we've watched this little flock pretty carefully over the past year. One little goat in particular captured our attention a few months ago thanks to his over the top antics with his brothers, sisters and friends. His markings are also very distinctive; black with a big white belt around his middle and a bunch of black spots in the white belt. About two days after we started travelling to and from the farm together, the goat acquired a name. We call him Lyle. Every morning since his naming and again every evening we slow the car way down and try to spot Lyle among his friends. (Melissa here to mention that I said we should select a gender neutral name since there was a 50/50 chance of Lyle being a girl. Jason did not listen to me . . . not that ever does . . . !)

The day before yesterday we didn't have to look very hard to find Lyle because he and some of his friends had broken out of their enclosure and were standing squarely in the middle of the highway. I stopped the car as quickly and safely as possible and we both got out to shoo them off the road. When this was accomplished we pulled in the driveway and went to the house to let them know their goats had broken out. A nice lady answered the door and quickly put the goats back in their pen. When this was accomplished, we told her that we'd been watching her goats for the past year and that we'd even named some of them. She laughed hard when I pointed out Lyle because Lyle is a female and her name is Speckles. (Like I said Jason should learn to listen to my good advice . . . )

As it turns out, the lady keeps several mama goats and a couple of bucks as pets, and to keep from being completely over-run with goats she has to give some of their offspring away every now and again. In a rare twist of fate it turns out that Lyle/Speckles and some of her friends are free to a good home, and Lyle/Speckles is also a fainting goat. If you haven't already guessed where this is most likely heading you clearly don't know either of us very well.


Speaking of goats no that is not a gremlin in the picture below, it is Jo the fainting goat caught in the act of being naughty and trying to hide behind the trash can.

The morning view, it never fails to look beautiful to us

Lightening, Lucky and Noble

Thor and O'Reilly

Clayton and Stormy having a grooming session

Another morning view - a bunch of greys and a bay chowing down on the trees. George, Fonzi, Asterik (in the trees, hiding behind Fonzi), Silver and Gus enjoying some early morning gourmet leaves. Chimano opted for grass over leaves.

Gus, Winston and Faune

Chance and Leo

Traveller and Silky