Tuesday, June 30, 2009

it rains, it pours...

If you live here in New England, you are probably beginning to grow gills and webbed feet, we are all so tired of the rain/fog/wet/drizzle... etc. etc...I feel bad for the folks who are paying to be here... certainly there hasn't been much in the way of swimming or outdoor activities... from what I understand, there might be a glimmer of sun for the 4th, I think we are all banking on that.

But in another department "it rains, it pours" has a more positive meaning... in that I have been pretty busy with dog training lately. I had two private sessions today, and another one tomorrow morning, plus class tomorrow night. This is a real blessing right now, and I am most grateful to the Good Lord for sending me the work!!!! I like traveling to new towns, meeting some wonderful folks and working out the little quirks with their dogs....

Today, while I was running the roads.. Ed and Sadie got the birdies all switched around. The hens have been moved to a new outside pen (well, outside the barn, their pen is under the lean to roof),and the turkey chicks have been moved from their small cage to the "birdie stall"... I didn't get to see them in their new house tonite, but Sadie said they are very happy with all the space. That is something that you do have to watch... to make sure they have plenty of space, or they will pick (peck) on each other!!! The stall should hold them for a bit until we can figure out what we are going to do about a "birdie building" and pens. One thing for sure, I am glad to have them out of the tack room... for the truth is, they are smelly little buggers, no matter how clean you keep them, and I am happy to get my tack room back to tack!!!!

We are looking forward to the 4th.. Kas, Nate and grand dogs are coming to spend the weekend...and we will have friends here for a cookout on the 4th. Unless the weather greatly improves, it's unlikely right now that there will be much in the swimming department, but I will enjoy my company just the same. I do wish it felt more like summer... it's so hard to think that today is the last day of June... it feels more like the middle of April, except that we have green leaves and grass.

No one has cut any hay, and that it a bit worrisome.. I am extremely glad that we bought a big load last year, because I am OK in the hay department, but I do know that some other horse friends are getting a little nervous with their low supply. It's doubtful (to me) that we will get a second cut around here, but I am not a "hay man", so I don't know that for sure. We need about a week of good sunshine and gentle breezes to dry out the fields so they can be cut. I will definitely buy another 500 bales or so this year as well, I like the security of knowing that we have hay in the loft. I was also hoping to do some berry picking this spring and haven't done that either, maybe if Friday is somewhat good weather wise, I will go and see what is left in the berry patch. I have an urge for some nice fresh, sweet strawberries...

We might have our computer back by the end of the week, and I can post pics with the blogs once again, I hope so, I miss doing that...

well, guess that's about it for this evening and for this month... tomorrow we begin again...

hello July.....................

Sunday, June 28, 2009

living in the little camp

It's been one week since we moved back into our little camp, I don't know where the week went, except that we have been busy with everything else, so I guess that has "chewed" up the time. We have had a good week here, but I am so thankful that we didn't decide to try and live here all winter (like I wanted to last fall) because with all the snow we had ...and the ice storm, I am not so sure we would have kept our sanity here!!!!

"Everyone" asks, "how big is the little camp"... and I was thinking about that last night (as I was working on falling asleep).. the little camp is 20x24... we have a galley kitchen with an "open" area that serves as the living room and dining area (I will get pics on the blog when I can). There is a down stairs bedroom, that just about holds our queen sized bed... a nice bathroom, and the loft... and that's it!!! It's wonderful for weekend retreats, but as a "house"... it has taken some getting used to. My horse's stalls are roughly 12x12.. so basically, we have two and half stalls that we are living in.... that is, three adults, six cockers and three cats!!!

I have found the secret is keeping everything in it's place .. and for the most, I have found a place for nearly everything.. you just have to look under the couch for the dog's canned food, and on top of the cupboards for the extra plates and things, and the plastic bin is keeping our bread, cereals and such. Dishes are done the moment they are used, and the laundry has to be done every day, because there just isn't room for any "dirty laundry piles"..... it's impossible to do "big grocery shopping" because I don't have any place to put "extra"... so, I think I will be running to the store every few days. Even the mail can't pile up, and needs to be attended to right away.

The good thing is... (when it isn't rainy) we will spend most of our time outside, and with the invisible fence, the dogs love being out and running "loose"... The other thing is, I think I will learn to keep in the "picked mode"!!! I am usually I pretty neat and organized person, but sometimes it is easy to let things "go" more than I should, I can't do that here, so maybe it will get me into a new habit!!!! And I do know, that in time, we will look back on this time fondly and think of the time that we lived in the "little camp"... though that new house is looking better all the time.

I wish I could post you some pics of the turkey chicks... you can't believe how much they have grown in just a few weeks!!! I have to fill their water "dish" twice a day, and today I filled their grain trough twice as well. We think that in another week, they will have to move out of the "cage" they are in.. we'll make a new outside pen for the two chickens, and put the turkey's into the "bird stall".... we just want to make sure that they can keep themselves warm enough to handle being in the big stall. They have all their wing feathers now, and some are beginning to get their body feathers, and once those are in, they should be pretty "hardy". I will be happy to get them out of the tack room... it's hard to keep them "neat"... and as cute as they are... they can be kind of smelly in that small pen. I can't stand to see them "messy" or crowded.. so, I will be happy when they can handle more room.

I thought that I was going to get another "barn" kitty today, but the gal that offered her to me, didn't call, so I'm not too sure what's up with that. I wouldn't mind giving a kitty a chance at a new home, but I worry some about Annabelle being happy with that idea, so, either way. If she calls again, that is fine, but if not, it's ok too.

I haven't done any driving work with the horses since the clinic!!! one because we have been too busy and second the weather has been next to awful!!! I wish both would calm down!!!! I can't even think of when we had the last full day of sun!!! I hope this isn't the trend for the summer.... it's going to be rather dreary if it is!!! But, I must admit that I did enjoy an afternoon of movies and cross stitch today. Ed went to the NASCAR race, I puttered around the barn in the morning and spent the afternoon quietly.. it was kind of nice, something I haven't done in a while. So, everything has it's good....

Monday again tomorrow.... and next weekend the 4th..... whew..........

Saturday, June 27, 2009

still no pics...

I really don't like blogging without pictures!!! but at least if I "log" on something, you will all know what we have been up too. We should have our own computer next week, and while I appreciate having Sadie's to post on, I miss my own!!!!

It was such a busy week, we "went thru" the big camp in great detail!!! Got Titus moved to the cellar of the new house (he is safe there, but I miss watching him swim around his tank)... Ed got some much needed work done on the big camp.... storm windows with screens put on... new front door, replaced some clapboards, power washed the deck, bought two new chairs and a new rug.... our renters arrived just as we were finishing up, and from what we can see, they are really enjoying their weekend.

This "renting" is a funny business, and I am continually surprised at what people want (request)... for example, I had it rented for a week in August, and today the renter wrote and wondered if each bedroom had a TV in it... NO... I thought you were at the lake to ... well, use the lake. So, I wrote her back and said no about the TVs.. and tonite, found a note back saying that they had changed their mind.... oh well, someone else will take the week I am sure. Another inquiry I got wanted to know "how buggy" it was around here.... didn't know that I should be "counting the bugs!!!" and someone else wanted to know "what type of a refund might they get for bad weather".... sorry, I can only ask the Good Lord for good weather... I don't control it!!! But all in all, we meet a lot of nice people and most the come and stay seem very happy.

Today, I drove up to Augusta (about a two hour trip) to be a "speaker" at the "Maine 4H weekend"... I of course, was the "dog trainer" and spoke to the "dog kids"... it was very fun, and the girls were cute with all their dogs. Quite a wide variety of dogs too.... Camille was right in her element.... she loves kids, and is loving this obedience stuff with Mom.... so she had a great time. I used to be a 4H leader when our girls were little.. but at that time Maine didn't have a dog program, so we joined a New Hampshire group. I loved going to the fairs and helping the girls getting ready to show their dogs.... it's nice to see that things like 4H are still alive and well... it's a great program.

Tomorrow, Ed heads out to see the NASCAR race... I am hoping to go and pick some strawberries with the kids, but we have to see if any of the patches are open and have berries.. with all the rain we have been dealing with.. I worry if the berries are all mooshy.... if they are, I am sure we will come up with something fun to do.

I can't believe that next weekend is the 4th!!! where is the summer going.. or rather, where is summer??? with all this rain and cool weather (50 to 60's) I am a little worried that we might not even get a "real summer"... oh well... at least we had some sun today. OH... and also tomorrow.. is Tonka's 5th anniversary with us!!!!! (where has five years gone????)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"sick" computer

Well, there are no pictures to share in this blog.. and there almost isn't a blog... we have a sick computer and it needs to be taken to the doctor. Fortunately, Sadie has a little lap top, so I can post stories, but no pictures, so just so that you all know we are alive and well... here's a story.

It's been a busy week, as you all may know, we are moving from the big camp into the little one... even though (I thought) we were very careful not to bring in TOO MUCH personal stuff, we did, and it's been a few days of sorting and getting things into place. We are pretty tight here in the little camp, and it will be important that everything stays in place, or we will certainly feel tighter than we all ready are.... but, the view of the lake is amazing, the loons sing us to sleep at night, and we don't have to pay rent.. so what more could we ask for. The cockers have gone back onto the under ground fence, so they are getting used to being "free" again and remembering where the boundaries are. Tazzy has had the most trouble with it, but she is getting better, and Trevor has done the best on it.

Our first renters come this weekend, and after that, the big camp is pretty much booked for the summer. This is wonderful......dog work continues to be busy, and in fact, I need to make some graduation hats for this evening's class (so I shouldn't be playing on the computer!!!) and even though the weather has been pretty yucky, I have a feeling that the summer will zoom by.

The turkey chicks are growing in leaps and bounds!!! starting to get their feathers, and we have moved them down to the tack room... so far, everyone is alive and well, so we got thru the first week without any troubles. Our chickens are doing well, I actually let them out for a bit today, Mr. Guinea had to show him that he is the top bird of the farm, but all in all, they got along well. I don't' know if he really appreciates the fact that I "got them for him"... but at least, I think he is less lonely....AND it seems that we will try another barn kitty... I have been contacted by the local shelter to see if another cat would like to live in our barn. I told them as long as Annabelle doesn't feel threaten, I will give her a try, so I guess she comes this weekend.... we'll see. Funny how animals seem to "find us" instead of us looking for them. Think we'll have to be careful about "getting too many"...

well, got to get those hats done... and see what we can do about our computer!!!!!

Friday, June 19, 2009

awards banquet

Last night was my dog club's annual award banquet. Each year we take the time to honor the dog/ handler teams that have earned various titles on their dogs. I didn't receive an award this year, as Camille and I just finished our Rally title this past May (which means we will get one for next year)... but that doesn't mean I was about to miss the banquet. It is actually one of my favorite meetings as you have plenty of time just to visit with doggie friends. When we arrived at the restaurant they were running an excellent special on lobster... so, you can only guess what Sadie and I chose... (I adore lobster!!!..so does Sadie).It was a great meal, and it was such fun to sit with our friends and just have a special evening out.
Today it's back to the moving thing, actually almost everything small has been moved to it's final spot, and with the rain pouring down, my plan of attack is to begin the cleaning side of things... starting in the basement, (which is partly finished with a bedroom, TV area and bathroom) we have the first of our renters arriving next weekend, and the summer season has begun.
I also got an email this am from a friend who has four new cocker puppies..... I am really getting puppy fever, and I don't know how much longer I can wait!!!!NOT that I don't have plenty to do already, but puppies have certainly been on my mind lately........

Thursday, June 18, 2009

turkey chicks.....

Sometime last spring, as I was getting grain, I saw that they were taking orders for "birds", I asked if there were going to be some turkeys ordered and they said yes. So, I ordered some.
We have raised turkeys before, the first time was kind of by accident... we had gone to the grain store (another one) and there were some "left over chicks"... they just wanted them to get out of the store, and offered them to us at a very low price (1.00 per chick), at that price Ed said, why not, if we weren't successful, we didn't have that much into them. As it was, we were successful... in fact, quite successful in that we didn't loose one chick and all six went into the freezer.
Being the "animal person" that I am, I wasn't sure if I could do this "raising thing", seeing those birds and knowing what their outcome was going to be. But, I did not attach myself to them, and as they got bigger and older, they kind of became mean... cleaning their pen began to be not so much fun, so when it was time for them to "go"... it was OK with me. Besides, I knew that we had given them a "good life"... they had a huge pen, the best food and water, completely clean environment... certainly not the life of some of their kind. Once I had tasted our "own" birds, I knew that we would certainly do this again... animals that are raised in excellent/kind environments... have a much better "taste" than the commercial.
The second time we raised turkeys, we weren't so "lucky"... of the six birds we started with only two went to the freezer. We lost the first three within days and now realize that we had allowed them to get cold. The other three made it to adulthood, but when they were "dressed", one had this awful growth on him and the butcher advised us not to take him.... we didn't. The two that we got into the freezer were as good as the first batch.

We didn't' raise any birds last year, with the move to the farm and all that was going on (kids coming home, etc) it was just too much. But this year, having the farm and all, we went way out.... and ordered 12 chicks.
I can't believe how they come, in a cardboard box with a bit of straw, some food.... they were all peeping and trying to break out of the box!!! Nice and lively, and were just hatched last Sunday, so they are only a few days old. (I opened the box to peek in and got this photo!!!!)
We got them home and into a cage.
This time, we know more, and have a nice heat lamp for them to cuddle under, a bigger food trough, and plenty of water (I can't believe how much they are drinking!!!) We're keeping them at the house for now, but in a week or so, we will move them down to the tack room and keep them "inside" until they get some growth on them.
As it turns out, there aren't 12... there are 13, guess someone miss counted.
They are still nice and lively (and quite noisy!!!) but the first week or so is the tricky time. At this stage they are quite fragile and it's not unusual to loose one or two. We're hoping we can keep them all. In the meantime, Ed has yet another project on his list.... get an outside pen and house put up for them..... (what were we thinking??) but come next fall, when they are all tucked into the freezer, we will know what we were thinking......

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

here we go again...

I think it was just about this time last year, when I began to think about moving. In the "whole" 49 years of my life... I had move just three times... from my parent's home to our first apartment, and from the first apartment to our house. Then, of course, last summer, we moved from the house to our camp, in order to be close to the farm while our new house is being built. In the fall, we went from our little camp into the bigger family camp for the winter.... three moves within six weeks... not so bad, as we didn't have much "stuff" with us (the rest having gone to storage.) We have been pretty comfortable in the "big camp" this winter.The past few summers, we have been renting the big camp out.. to help pay for taxes and the like. So, over the winter, I was pretty excited to see that people were still interested in renting the big camp this summer... with the economy and all, I wasn't too sure how the rents would be this year.

Now, as silly as this might sound, as I watched the weeks fill up for the rent.. it never really occurred to me that "renting" meant.... we can no longer live here!!! and with the fourth of July just a few weeks away, I realized that we need to get out here!!!! I need time to get everything in "rent" order (cleaning, finishing up some projects and the like), so the move is on. We tried very hard not to bring too much "stuff" in over the winter, but try or not, there seems to be a fair amount of it anyways!!!! I took three "loads" to the new house yesterday... mostly winter things, like the boxes that have our Christmas ornaments, winter clothing... our snowshoes, movies that we never did watch this winter, and then I sorted out what will be moved (again) next door into the little camp. Everything looks like such a hodge podge... and I "hate" that. Today, I need to go thru the cellar and see what we have down there... at least the "piggies" are moved and all settled in at the barn... Titus on the other hand...well, we are still working on a game plan with him.
I'm still not too sure how "comfortable" the little camp is going to be... (six cockers, three cats, three humans).. but it's what we have, so I guess it will just "have to work"... might make us hussle up a bit more to finish that house!!!!!
Now... what's with this photo. Well, our neighbor and friend Belinda (who attended the driving clinic) heard of the plight of Mr. Guinea. I have had a hard time finding keets (though I do have a couple of leads) and I still don't like him being all alone. Belinda was telling me that she had a black hen who seemed to be picked on by the others in her flock and she was feeling bad for her hen. She asked me if I would like to have her, maybe as a "fowl" friend for Mr. Guinea. I told her why not.... and the next thing I knew Belinda's hubby Drew, arrived with two black hens. He wasn't sure which hen she was talking about, and since there were just the two, he brought them both to us. I'm still not sure what I think about chickens, I like their "sounds" but I really don't like birds IN my barn... (honey where's that coop you keep talking about???)

Belinda said she had no idea if these hens still laid eggs or not. It didn't really matter to me, because once they are used to the place, I will let them free range (and hope Mr. Fox doesn't get them) I am hoping that between them and Mr. Guinea, the ticks will stay at bay. I checked their pen for eggs, just in case... and low and behold... look at this... plus another one today. So, I guess they do lay.. or at least one lays... a bonus to be sure. One or two fresh eggs a day would be kind of fun.

The barn swallows have quite a nice home coming into shape. I have been watching them nest building and it's pretty neat. I think it's funny when the one bird (I assume it's the male) brings some little thing to his mate for the nest, and "she" checks it all over and sometimes keeps it and sometimes she just chucks it out and sends him off for more. There is bits of horse hair, hay, twigs and mud. I love to watch them make the mud balls.. they go into the pasture, looking for a damp area, and then using their little beaks, rolls a mud ball and flies back with it. the way they have this nest tucked into the corner will certainly keep it out of any weather... clever creatures.

I'm not sure how Mr. Guinea feels about his bird friends, once in a while he looks at them in the pen, but mostly he likes to be outside hanging out with his friend Mocha. Maybe he is just holding out for his own kind... "birds of a feather, flock together"...
but since we just got a call from the grain store and our 12 turkey chicks are here..... there will be even more feathers on the farm.....

Sunday, June 14, 2009

driving clinic .. day 2

Well, we had ONE beautiful day (weather wise) for the driving clinic... this morning I awoke to a steady rainfall.... (oh no!!! ) I kept hoping that it would let up, but that proved not to be the case. However, everyone arrived for the clinic this morning, all in high spirits after yesterday's successes...and willing to do whatever we could get in today.

We started out by bringing Tonka and Duke out into the alley way and having everyone practice their tacking skills. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful barn to work in.

We laid the harnesses on the floor, and the students had the fun of tacking Tonka with his leather harness and/or Duke with his biothane harness. It was fun to hear people talking and laughing and simply enjoying the day, despite the weather.

Here is Tonka, playing teacher. Gordy, a friend and assistant this weekend to Butch, helped guide two students with tacking.

Somewhere along the line, a heard a conversation with regards to Duke... and the possibility of riding him!!!! And before I knew it, Butch had
Tonka's saddle on Duke.. and I heard "not a bad fit"....

then I look out the barn doors (into the pouring rain!!) and see Butch mounting up....

and heading down the driveway!!!! Duke looked great under saddle, he was a little confused at the first, but with Butch's gentle guidance, he seemed "game" for this idea. Butch thinks there is a chance that somewhere in his life, he has been ridden since he did go so well.

And then, who is on next... but Becky!!! by now the rain was really coming down, but she didn't mind.... and neither did Duke!!!

But the best of all, was when Betty wanted to try him out as well (I never got on him myself....) she hopped right on and took him for a short ride herself......it really isn't in my game plan to make Duke a saddle horse... but I am also learning that you never say "never" in the world of the horse...so who knows? Duke will be a part of our family for a long time, so I won't make any future predictions....

Now, one of the gals that came is our neighbor and "new" friend, Belinda. Tomorrow is her birthday, and this weekend was her birthday gift from her hubby. So, of course, we can't let a birthday get by without a cake... I think we surprised her!!!!

After lunch, it was all about minis.... we brought Mocha and Alice out to play "tacking up with them". I was determined to get Mocha back in her cart... rain or shine!!!! (How many people does it take to tack a mini???) It was nice to have these two to work with, because their harnesses are quite different from the drafts, and the students had the opportunity to work with both.

Deb was determined to get Alice into her cart as well. She had a great day with her yesterday and she felt it was time for Alice to work with her cart. The rain did let up a little, so while Mocha was being tacked up by some... Alice was being hitched by others.....

And here we are ... two VERY wet Mom's and Minis.... but we did it!!!! Next weekend, is the mini's second anniversary with us... I told Deb, we should go for an anniversary ride next weekend!!! I have a feeling there will be many mini rides together from now on!!!!! (and yes, we shared them with the others, and they got to do mini driving as well!!!!)

just as I knew it would... the weekend went by way too fast, and it was time to pack up and head for home(s). Because the big guys had been out in the rain all day... Butch brought them into the barn to dry them off and warm them up before their trip home....

so, we laughed, and learned.... played and worked.... and enjoyed a weekend of good friends, fun times and horses......

The end!!!!!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"the" driving clinic.

Trying to cram all that we did today into one little blog posting is going to be difficult at best....so I will begin by telling you that my camera took 186 pictures today... hopefully I pulled out some of the "more interesting ones" to share with all of you. It was a picture perfect day... we began with everyone taking a little time to get to know each other over coffee and donuts, and Butch telling us about his training methods and basic manners of the driving horse.
Next he "borrowed" Alice, Deb's mini mare to show some round penning exercises and talk about ground manners. For as he explained, it doesn't matter if you drive a 200 pound mini or a 2200 pound Belgian, your horse has to know who is the "boss" and who he can trust if things should go wrong.
He also explained how to "spook proof" your horse with all sorts of funny items... like this blue tarp for example. Horses are "flight" animals, which means... when frighten or threaten, their first instinct is to run from danger. Course, if they are in a cart... the last thing you need is a horse that will run if he is scared. It is unlikely that you can ever totally teach a horse never to be afraid, but you can work with a horse to teach it to be more tolerant of strange things, and to trust the person that is at end of the rein.
He also worked with Tonka, showing the "obedience" and softness of a horse... like dropping his head when you need to.... aside from the horse showing "respect".. a horse that will lower his head, makes it much easier to put a bridle on him... if Tonka raises his head as high as he can.. I can't reach the top of his head!!!!

This was a real "hands on" clinic... the students had the opportunity to work all the horses that they felt comfortable handling. This is one of Becky and Butch's big Belgians.... looking at the size of this boy.. you can see why things like... "stay out of my space", "lower your head", "stand quietly".. are some real important "rules" for a horse to know. This all begins with ground work and manners!!!

the students had a grand time working with all the horses....which included the two big Belgians, two minis and our Tonka....the morning flew by, and after we took a lunch break, it was onto harnessing....

And ground driving!!! This part was really fun, and some of the students found themselves driving horses that they never thought they would be able to handle!!!!

here I am with Tonka... but he was driven by a number of different people!!! good for him and good for them!!!

Butch had great fun driving Alice... quite a difference from what he is used to being behind!!!

And here is our Mocha, out for a little drive with Becky and Belinda.....it doesn't matter the size... driving is driving... all the same rules apply....

this is Rick... he was comfortable handling the team (Rick has horse experience)... He had a wonderful time handling the two big boys together....

Sadly, my camera battery "died" before I got to take some pictures of CARTS!!! after all the ground driving, we got Tonka into his cart and Mocha into her's.... and the students got to do some driving in the carts and not just from the ground....

but, that is where the clinic will pick up tomorrow, and my battery in in the charger..so with any luck.. there will be cart pictures tomorrow. The thing about a clinic is you are trying to get so much into one short weekend... this is only the beginning of real driving work. But the good thing is, it gives folks a "taste" of driving, and the opportunity to see if they wish to pursue it for themselves...

As Rick so brilliantly said this evening... driving horses is a dying art... the days of the horse and carriage are long gone, so it's wonderful to have Becky and Butch who are so willing to share their knowledge and to see so many great people who are interested in keeping this wonderful "hobby" alive....

Friday, June 12, 2009

the day before the clinic...

Even though we have been planning this driving clinic for months and we have been preparing for weeks, there was still much to do today with lots of last minute things. We were all up bright and early.. Ed headed to the barn to begin chores, and Sadie and I went to work in the kitchen. I pre made supper for this evening, and she got to work making salads (fruit in this photo). The morning was grey and rainy... it poured in the night... but there is a promise of a good weekend..... what a blessing!!!!

I headed to the barn, leaving Sadie to do the picking up around the house.... and took the guinea pigs with me. I have been wanting to move them to the barn for the past week, we need to be out of this house just after the clinic and the "poor piggies" haven't gotten much attention lately.... I kept them in the cellar of this house, and just didn't handle them as much as I used to. I figured that living in the tack room, they will get a lot more attention, and it's a good place to have them until we move into the house.

They were a bit shy at first in the new surroundings, and not too sure of all the "traffic" back and forth in front of their cage. But after a couple of hours, (along with some nice hay and some sprigs of fresh grass) they were out and about, squeaking their little sounds. I wonder what Annabelle will think of with her new roommates!!!! Just so you know, the Mama pig is the one on the left, and her two babies... Curly and Penny. It will certainly be easy to care for them at the barn... everything I need is right there!!!

We began to set things up for the clinic... brother Bill arrived with the first run of food stuffs.... I did the stalls while waiting for the port a potty to arrive. Ed ran to get Alice (Deb's mini... Mocha's baby) who will be participating in the clinic). These are the "thank you bags" that all the students will be taking home with them... the hats were Betty's idea (they say Sweetgrass Farm... driving clinic 2009)

Later in the afternoon, Becky and Butch arrived with Belgians in tow!!! They looked pretty happy when they saw the weekend accommodations!!! Tonka and Duke didn't quite know what to make of our guests!!!!

We are all ready to go......

Monday, June 08, 2009

she'll never ask again.....

Betty popped over yesterday to see "if I had anything she could do" to help get ready for our clinic next weekend. Since Ed had gotten most of the cleaning done the day before, about all that was left, was to finish up the tack room.... and tackle the tack!!!

Tonka's harness is leather and brass, and though I absolutely love it .... it is a lot of work to keep clean. I said to Betty that I wanted to "run over Tonka's tack" and she jumped right in and said, "show me how"....

A few HOURS later.... she had it gleaming!!! I almost hated to put it on him for fear of getting it dirty again!!!!

She is such a good sport, and got a mini lesson in the "parts and pieces" of harness!!!! I wouldn't blame her one bit if she never asks again "what would you like me to do?"

but if Tonka weren't handsome enough...

A clean harness makes him look even better....
Both Mocha's and Duke's harnesses are the bio thane (not too sure of the spelling).. but either way, to clean them... you simply run water over them, and then dry.... "everyone" told me, back when I ordered Tonka's harness, that I should go with the bio thane... but I wanted to be traditional.... guess that meant traditional work as well.
I am sorry that I didn't get a picture... for bright and early yesterday morning... Rick was on the farm with his dump truck and tractor!!! He offered to take the manure pile away for us!!!! I was thrilled... I don't like where we chose to have the pile (we are in the process of changing that) and if I can, I would like to keep that pile under control and get rid of it whenever possible. Some year we make take the time and begin our own compost pile, but right now there is enough going on without having to "make dirt"... the nice thing is.. Rick left a small pile which turns out to be a good thing..since my little fly predators will be arriving again within the next couple of days....
things are looking good on the farm....

Saturday, June 06, 2009

ask a man to clean the barn!!!!!

With the driving clinic just days away... I had it in my mind that the barn has to be in A1 order!!! NOT that it's in bad shape... our horses haven't even lived there for a year.. and I'm in it everyday, fussing over one thing or another...

But it is a barn.. and they do get dusty, have cobwebs.. and well... Mr. Guinea hen isn't the neatest creature in the world... so there were some things that needed some attention. I also figure that if you really stay on it, then it will never be a huge job to do.

And true to his nature... my hubby never does anything "half well"... Ed fired up his presser washer and began to go over the entire barn!!!!

He did an amazing job, and this evening when we brought the horses in.. the barn looks as good as it did the very first night that they lived there.....

I spent the better part of the day in the tack room.. sorting thru things... weeding out!!! (I am determined NOT to be a pack rat in this new home!!!) I still have some things to finish up tomorrow, but now I feel like everything is really in it's place, and even came across some of those items that "I know I have that...but where is it?" I re-arranged some things, and feel that the "flow" of the room is better....got to live with it a bit and see if I really do like it.

Sadie was gone this morning, helping out the dog club with their little dog show. When she returned, she said she would give Mocha (who is still shedding up a storm!!!) a good grooming...

ya, Sadie... it really looks like you're grooming here

Ah... Tatter... you might need to watch your butt!!!!!

OK... so she did help tonite bedding down the nice clean stalls!!!! (note, the bare feet!!!)
I hate to think that next Saturday evening we will be half way thru our weekend... so, I won't... and will just concentrate on the "before".....

Friday, June 05, 2009

one thing... leads to another...

Have you ever had one of "those projects" that leads from one thing to another?? well, such was the case with Ed and I today. I woke this morning with all good intentions of staining our "electrical shed" ... I want to get it done before the wood ages any more, and have it done for the driving clinic next weekend. But when I arrived on the farm this am... Ed had another project in mind.

At the edge of our driveway is our outdoor wood furnace, at some point in time, we need to take the pine trees down that are around the furnace. We also need to make room around the drive to have a place to push the snow next winter, as well as a place to put the wood that will feed the furnace. This project is on our "to do" list... but the "to do" happened today.

We noticed that the "town" has been working on clearing out the ditches at the road edge, digging out the sand and gravel that over the years, has begun to clog up the ditch. Ed spoke with the road commissioner and said he would take some of the "fill" that they were pulling out of the ditches. This "fill" is perfect for the area around the furnace and the drive. Well, this morning the road commissioner came to the farm and said, if we wanted the "fill" he would be happy to bring it to us. It saves him hauling and dumping time, especially where they are now working on the road that passes right by the farm.

So, in order to get the fill where it needed to go... Ed and I had to get some trees down and the area cleared....

Almost before we could start, the first dump truck arrived. Since we really were not ready for it, they just dumped it in the driveway.

The easiest and most efficient way to do this project, was to have Ed cutting trees, and me running the chipper that is on the back of the tractor. I wasn't too excited about running this thing, it's loud and strong, and I wasn't so sure that I could do it.
But, Ed showed me how to run it, and I just decided that I needed to do it. I figured I would go slow and careful, and do the best job that I could.

So, he got to work, taking down trees, chunking up the big pieces that we can use in the furnace next winter... and then piling the brush up for me to put thru the chipper......

Once I got used to running it, it wasn't such a bad thing at all. I did take my time, and carefully put the brush thru it. Wood chips were flying everywhere, and I had to put the hood up on my sweatshirt to keep them from running down the back of my neck.
We work well together, and I was able to keep up with Ed, which was nice, because as he got a tree down, it was all clean up and gone before the next one went down.

Hard work, but well worth it.
After we had a good area cleared, Ed got on the tractor and pushed the pile of dirt into it.

By the end of the day, all the fill that had been brought to us, was evened out and the area is flat. We still have to make it bigger, but that can be done on Monday when they bring us more dump trucks of dirt.
It wasn't exactly the way that I had planned to spend the day, but, when good things come your way... you need to take advantage of them. If we had to buy this fill, it would have been quite costly... (they don't say "dirt poor" for no reason!!!).. the road crew was happy to have a place to put it, and we were happy to take it off their hands... all that was needed was a bit of work. So, job well done, and another thing that can be checked off the "to do" list!!!!