The first flush

Spring has come to the farm.

Mystery fruit tree

The grass is green and becoming lush.

The Tweeds got to return to the Big Field. There was much rejoicing. Unfortunately I missed videoing the first great galloping stampede.

Hay consumption has dropped off as the horses prefer the fresh stuff.

Pretty pleased with his grass.

Trees are blooming.

Those are the neighbor’s trees, but I think I have a better view of them from the big field.

The tulips I planted in the fall have bloomed gorgeously.

They’ve gotten even more over the top in the last couple days.

The daffs came up too, less ostentatiously.

Spots of sunshine under the trees.

There are surprise flowers in the side yard glade.

They only bloom in the morning.

Phew, enough pictures for now?

How about one more?

Sun after a spring storm

A blast of winter

We had a fairly mild winter until this past week. Then the arctic air slipped out of the Arctic and into Missouri.

With it came record negative temperatures (-8 real temp one night) and about 8 inches of snow.

Everyone layered up and the horses slept in at night.

Syd with two layers
Leda with 600 grams of fill combined
Elbie wore a few layers
I piled them on as well

But we all kept warm enough and managed with a good routine and lots of hay.

These waterers are amazing. Half a bucket of hot water once a day kept them from freezing.

The worst is over now, and we’re looking at 50 degrees next week. I think the mud will be worse than the cold. For now, I am going to savor the pristine white blanket.

First snow

The new year has brought our first snow on the farm. Not much snow, but first there was ice so the snow stuck to everything. It’s quite pretty without all the hassle of deep snow, so I have enjoyed it!

Elbie, John, and I walked around the farm yesterday and I took bunch of pictures. Here are my favorite:

The last one was actually this morning. It hasn’t gotten above freezing yet so things are still so gorgeous. It’s lightly snowing now, as if purposefully to freshen up any partly dewhitened areas.

Wash stall

Okay, I better update this blog before I lose the pictures I’ve taken of the slow evolution of the barn and farm.

We’re still doing tons of little projects and getting things sorted to suit us and the horses, I just haven’t been updating because I’m so busy now with work and everything. Our school is still virtual, so I am still teaching from home, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day!

Fall has officially arrived here in Missouri, so I clipped Syd a couple weekends ago. He is a furry beast and his hair gets so long and thick in the winter he really needs a fall trim to be able to stay in work.

Last year I hired a girl at the barn to do a trace clip because I believe in as little alteration (and as light of blanketing) as possible. However, by January his non-clipped areas were so hairy! So this year I decided to take everything off except the legs and head.

And I had to clip him myself.

There are some track lines and a few chunks and the lines along his head and legs are not straight edges, but he’s got short hair and will be more comfortable when working and when it’s not bitterly cold this winter. Already it’s in the mid to upper 60s this week and he’s glad to have only a light coat on instead of a giant ski jacket.

In process. Look at all that hair! Also, a very unflattering angle for Syd… He is not at all bony!

Before clipping, I gave him a good sudsy bath.

The internet tells me a clean horse makes for an easier clip. It definitely seemed to help.

This brings me to the farm project update I meant to write about for this post. I love this wash stall! It’s bright and inviting.

I had to do a little cleanup to make it workable, but all I had to buy was some rubber washers, safety cross ties, and a milk crate.

The before picture

It has warm and cold water, and the heavy duty rubber hose came with the place. Actually, so did the spray nozzle, but it leaked so I got some rubber washers to fix it.

Handy little things

The hose hanging bracket had been pulled off the wall but was still stored in the tack room, so I found some screws and rehung that.

I cleaned off the spiderwebs after this picture, but they’re probably back by now.

I also dragged out the honeycomb mats that were already there and cleaned them. The previous owners had flat mats in the aisle, so I pulled those in for the back of the stall and rearranged the honeycomb mats to cover the metal drain.

I added a milk crate to corral shampoos and sponges and some velcro safety cross ties. In a pile of stuff left behind, I found a small bucket for baths and hung Leda’s chain lead from the existing bridle hook in case of a horsey meltdown. And voila! Ready for baths!

The horses find it very inviting too.

Sunday project: 3 Bin Compost

On Sunday afternoon I built a compost system fit for country life.

Can you hear the trumpets?

Well, John helped. A lot. Especially with nailing because apparently I’m incapable of starting a nail.

And he cut all the boards a couple weeks ago.

But I picked out the plans, masterminded the board cutlines, orchestrated the putting together, stapled the mesh, and just generally contracted the project.

So I’m going to say I built a compost system this Sunday.

We tried to compost in the city, but it never really worked. Now that we’ve moved to the country I refuse to throw kitchen scraps and other organic things into a landfill.

Compost started

This 3 Bin system will have a bin for filling, a bin for sitting-and-degrading, and a bin for spreading in the garden. There’s also the pile of discarded hay off to the side to layer in as the “brown” to kitchen scrap “greens”.

They say one should add a little “brown” organic material to every bit of “green” organic material

The plans give lists of new lumber, but we had enough scrap wood between what we brought with us and what was left on the farm to build it without buying anything!

This thing was free!

And somehow the whole thing (minus the cutting) took only a couple hours! And most of that was spent wrestling the green mesh that had been tangled in the blackberry bushes.

This is not a blog post

I need to update the blog with some more manure spreader news (spoiler: it’s here, it’s awesome), but I’ve been so busy with the start of the school year I just haven’t had the inclination to write it up. Soon though! In the meantime, here’s some pictures of random scenes about the farm.

Ziggy under the reddening sky
Tweedles dressed for battle with the flies
You can’t tell, but that thing is huge!
Storm rolling in from the south
First time in the west paddocks
Looking before he leaps
Farm cat life is exhausting
The sunsets here. No words.
I mean, this is just obscene. Every night.
Ok, I’ll stop now…

More actual updating later this week hopefully. I must keep up with this so I can remember in 10 years what it was like when we first started!

Lead a horse to water

The whole farm is on city water. Even the barn.

This will be so awesome if the power goes out for an extended period of time. I won’t have to worry about the well pump not working! I may not be able to see the water buckets, but I’ll be able to fill them. Also, I don’t have to worry about a well running dry in the event of a drought. Both of these worries loom large in my memories of growing up on a very similar farm (but with well water).

However, city water also means water treated with chlorine. We have a water softener in the house, but the barn water is unfiltered.

Basically, Leda.

The water in the fields is provided by auto waterers, which are amazing. Leda thinks they are SO FUN.

Leda and Syd figuring it out. Leda got it first and then spent a week playing with it non-stop.

So they at least were drinking outside. But the fresh, chlorinated stall water? Not so much. Both Leda and Syd were water guzzlers at their boarding barn (with well water), so I found this alarming.

I tried offering a second bucket of apple flavored electrolytes (ew). I tried dissolving a peppermint in the water (ew). I tried kool-aid in the water (ew).

And then Mom found hose filters on Amazon.

Great brand name.

Turns out there are hose filters specifically marketed to horse people too, but they had many fewer gallons-per-filter, so I figured I’d just order the Amazon one.

Super easy to connect, especially with my new expandy hose

So far, both Leda and Syd are drinking more inside, especially Syd. He seems to be waiting to come inside to drink in the morning now that he has filtered water in his bucket.

Filtered water is worth celebrating, in Syd’s opinion.

Ziggy doesn’t seem to notice one way or the other. He’s just happy to come inside and stand in front of a fan.

Wheelbarrow Eulogy

Sad news. Old Squeaky wheeled his last load tonight.

This wheelbarrow, left behind by the previous owners, carted a lot of crap in the last month.

Literal crap

He gave it his all, squeaking the whole way.

This discarded hay pile, moved by OS, is at the bottom of a hill and at least 400 feet from the barn.
Feeling strong, back when we first moved in.

Old Squeaky’s been feeling a bit delicate lately and needed a few up-end-and-kick-back-togethers in recent days.

Tonight he collapsed under a load stepping down out of the barn and had to be bailed out into a muckbucket.

After one last kick-it-together, he managed to wheeze over to the manure pile and there he laid his wheel down.

RIP, Old Squeaky.

Wild thing

We have let Butternut the cat out into the world and, as predicted, he loves his new adventure.

On his own

We began with very short excursions with close supervision. In other words, I followed him around and scooped him up if he went too far, much to his chagrin.

At first, he stayed close to the house

Before too long, though, he was getting to adventure further afield.

He chased a squirrel up this tree.

Now he is allowed out in the daytime as long as we are around. He comes and goes a bit.

He’s pretty clear when he wants to go out.

He’s definitely pleased with life as an indoor/outdoor kitty. Now he needs to get up to the barn to take care of those mice!!

Skies

From the day we moved in, I have been taken by the beauty of the skies over this landscape.

That first evening

Every new hour brings new beauty.

Foggy morning
Cloudless blue
Approaching storm
Rainbow after a storm
Clouds at sunset

And of course, this is the perfect morning view.

It’s breakfast time!