Thursday, May 30, 2013

Close Encounter

I realize there are some people out there that like snakes. I am not one of them. As you have probably already guessed  I had a close encounter with a snake today. It all started off very innocently. The dogs were barking like crazy and I went to investigate. I found them on the driveway and realized they were barking at a snake. It was hard to tell exactly how big this snake was since it was all coiled up and repeatedly striking at the dogs. To say this snake was acting like he had gotten up on the wrong side of the bed would be an understatement. I was also pretty sure that I was having my first ever encounter with a poisonous snake judging from the color pattern.

To put it bluntly I freaked out. I have a major snake phobia, and I was the only on the farm at the time so I could not dump this problem in someone else's lap while I ran off to curl up in the fetal position and hide. I called Jason in tears and explained my situation to him. His suggestion was that I run the snake over with a car. The problem was I had no vehicle at that point in time. Our truck is still on the injured reserve list (but hopefully gets off that list tomorrow) and Jason was off in our other vehicle. 

After assessing my options I decided that I had no choice but to hike up to my parents' house and commandeer my mom's Mercedes. That poor vehicle gets pressed into some interesting jobs around the farm. Since I would rather be safe than sorry I locked the doors after I got in and headed off to do battle with the snake. I honked the horn like a mad woman so the dogs would get out of the way and floored it at the snake. Amazingly the SOB didn't just die. It slithered away. I put it in reverse and went for it again but we now have a very angry snake slithering around somewhere, and it has a personal vendetta against me. At least it left and the dogs went back to the house unharmed. 

I called Jason back in tears to give him an update on the one that got away. Instead of hearing about how brave I was or getting an "atta girl" for trying, I was informed I must have been going to slow or missed the head. Gee, thanks. 

And for those of you who are going to tell me about my cruelty to the snake I really don't care. As this snake learned today, if you go after any animal on my farm - or my child - I will break out a level of crazy that will make your nightmares seem like a happy place (and thank you facebook for that gem of a quote). I hope the sucker slithered off to die. 

It will probably be a month before I can sleep again. 


Thomas and Hemi having a grooming session

George, Flyer, Gus and Silver

Lofty and Donneur

Baby and Grand

Lily and Maisie grooming, Cinnamon grazing

Thor and Merlin

Sebastian, Wiz, Dutch and Murphy

B-Rad, Alex and Lighty

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Things That Are Broken

We seem to be having one of those stretches where we break everything we touch. In a span of 24 hours we found ourselves with a broken truck, no front hydraulics on one of the tractors, a gator that wouldn't start, and a broken lawn mower. I'm pretty sure I am not leaving anything off the broken list  but I wouldn't guarantee it. We went on quite a streak, or maybe I should say quite an expensive streak. We are now in the process of attempting to repair everything that is broken. In the case of the truck and tractor this meant they had to be transported to their respective mechanics. 

Jason is currently attempting to repair the lawn mower and the Gator himself. The last words I heard from Jason in regards to the lawn mower was that "as soon as he had a %#&$ing truck he was going to put the &$%#ing lawn mower on a trailer and take it somewhere to be someone else's problem to repair."  It seemed best to just smile and say that sounded like a good idea. 

Of course as soon as we found ourselves with no truck we also found ourselves with a horse that needed to go to the vet clinic, on Memorial Day no less. It is extremely hard to tow a horse trailer without a truck. Thanks to the generosity of friends and neighbors we were able to borrow a truck, complete with a gooseneck hitch and an appropriate plug, to get that done. Thankfully our clinic attendee appears to be doing fine, so I guess that means we are going to have to beg, borrow or steal a truck from someone again to get him home. The fun never ends.

I hope everyone else has had a much more boring, and a much less broken, time of things than we have had lately!

Maisie in the process of being clipped with Lily standing nearby for moral support

Lightening and Thor

Johnny and Rocky

Gibson, Donneur and Lofty

Noble and Walden

Oskar and Clayton

Asterik and George

Homer, Tony and Apollo

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Stills

Donovan and Johnny grazing, Tiny and Oskar grooming

B-Rad and Lighty

Africa and Murphy

O'Reilly and Lucky

Gus and Silver

Romeo, Flyer and Lotus

Clayton and Rocky

Merlin and Noble with Snappy hiding behind them

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Groundhog Week

At the risk of sounding like a broken record our main activities over the last couple of days have been body clipping and teeth floating. Yes, I realize that sounds like we are making our very own version of the movie Groundhog Day, except we shall call ours Groundhog Week. What did Jason and Melissa do this week? Body clip horses and get a bunch of teeth floated. What did we do last week? Body clip horses and get a bunch of teeth floated. Groundhog Week.

Lily is now clipped. Lily and I have come to an agreement on certain things over the last few years, namely bathing and body clipping. Lily hates having a bath. She especially hates the pre-clip bath that consists of fully lathering her up in soap not once but twice. Having two baths back to back on the same day would be something that would feature in Lily's worst dreams. However we have reached a tenuous pact with each other that I work as fast I can and she keeps the body slamming of Melissa to a bare minimum. 

Lily used to require heavy sedation in order to clip her. Now she is mostly good about clipping and needs no sedation at all. I always have some on hand just in case, but haven't needed it for her last three clips. She does tend to do some moving around but nothing major, mostly she stands quietly. Lily is a smart horse and I think she realizes that she feels a lot better after being clipped each year. Even better this year, Lily's clip job was not our typical, epic, two sets of blades clip job that takes several hours to complete. The weather stayed cooler this spring so I didn't have to rush to clip her to keep her from frying under her huge coat, so she had done a lot more shedding prior to clipping this year. It was a nice change for both us. As always I forget how pretty her head and neck are until the hair comes off. 

In other news a bunch more horses had their teeth floated this week.  All of the horses living on the back half of the farm get their teeth floated in the spring. Between last week and this week they now all have teeth floating checked off their list of things to do in 2013. Jason and I are thrilled to have that huge job done for another year. Now you don't have to listen to us complain about teeth floating again until the fall when we do the front half of the farm. 

I think I only have one more body clip to go now. Then it will be back to sorting blankets!

Lily plotting her revenge after her bath

making progress

Done! With hair from one end of the barn to the other but who cares, Lily looks happy.

Rocky's mom will understand the significance of this picture. Rocky has both a hand AND a float in his mouth and he isn't trying to kill everyone within a 10 foot radius. Major progress!!

Apollo, Hemi and Thomas

Grand with his ears at half mast, Elfin grazing

Sam, Sebastian and Murphy

there is some serious pony attitude being portrayed in this picture of Norman and Cuffie; these two are the perfect couple

Stormy looking very alert about something, but Bergie didn't notice

Largo and Tiny definitely saw whatever Stormy was looking at

They were looking at this. We had another day with a bulldozer and cleared a path through some heavy woods in their pasture. Their pasture renovations now give them a nice view of the front of the farm.

Sebastian having a good roll

Lightening, Stormy and Thor

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Damage They Do

Jason and I are continuing to set records that we don't particularly want to own, namely ones that involve determining how many hours we can work in a day.  Spring is definitely here. One of Jason's current projects is replacing fence boards at my parents' farm . My dad would not let us use a hotwire on any of the wood fences at his farm. Not because he thought a hotwire was mean, quite the opposite in fact, but because he felt electric fencing of any sort interfered with the signal from his ham radio towers. 

After dealing with wood fences for a few years that had nothing on them to encourage horses to leave them alone, one of the vows Jason and I made when we purchased and built our farm was that our fences were not ever going to be easy targets for cribbers, wood chewers and scratchers. The damage horses will do to just about anything is quite impressive when they are given the opportunity. We have something like six miles of four board wood fence at our farm and every bit of has a hotwire on it. And I do mean HOT.  I have personally made the mistake of grabbing the wire on more than on occasion and damn, you would think I would have learned after the first time.  Over the last three years we have replaced exactly ONE fence board that was broken due to a horse. We have replaced a few other boards that were broken when tree limbs fell on them but we can live with that. 

One time someone made the comment that it was mean to have a hotwire on the fence. A couple of times people have tried to tell me their cribbers don't need to wear a cribbing a collar. Well, today Jason worked on replacing chewed and cracked fence boards in ONE pasture at my parents' farm.  He bought a pallet of 84 boards. Each board is 14 feet long so it can be cut in half and used to replace 168 boards since each section of fence is seven feet long. He used every single board on just one pasture. I find it mind blowing that he replaced 168 chewed or otherwise damaged boards in one pasture. In addition to the boards he also replaced three fence posts.

To be fair this pasture was where a particularly destructive group of horses lived but still, that is ridiculous. In addition to 168 boards and three posts he has about 20 hours of work into repairing the damage from the cribbers, chewers and scratchers. God help us, can you imagine if the cribbers hadn't had collars on?!  Jason went and bought another pallet of 84 boards today to start on the next pasture. We are hoping it won't actually take the entire pallet of boards for the next pasture and maybe it will be enough for a couple of pastures. At some point I imagine Jason will be buying a third pallet of boards. If he does go through three pallets of boards he will have replaced 504 boards (and I undoubtedly made him cry like a baby as he read that).  

After having the "pleasure" of tackling this project at my parents' farm I can assure you that anyone who attempts to remove the hotwire from our pasture fences will be met with deadly force. Anyone who tells us their cribber does not need to wear a collar will get a smile and a nod, and the collar will stay on.  Not to mention it is always good to remember that the safest fence for any horse is the fence they have no desire to touch. We have done our best to make sure they have no desire to touch our wood fences! 


Flyer, Gibson and Lofty

O'Reilly, Fabrizzio, Lucky, Merlin and Walden

Gus, Silver and George

Apollo and Trigger


Kennedy with his signature drooping lower lip

Norman and MyLight

Traveller and Cuff Links

Silver, Gus and Donneur

Lily and Maisie

Faune, Romeo and Lotus

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Stills

Johnny and Sam

Darby, Africa and B-Rad

O'Reilly, Fabrizzio and Lucky

Toledo and Rocky

Merlin, Walden and Noble

Moe and Homer

Donneur and Lofty

Clayton and Largo

 Kennedy and Donovan

Flyer and Faune on the run