Showing posts with label Horses. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Horses. Show all posts

Sunday, October 2, 2016

October Homestead

 It's definitely autumn around here.  The mares and colts are enjoying the last bits of green(ish) grass before the snow flies.  Soon it will be weaning time for the two little fillies.  So we spent some time with them yesterday afternoon and introduced them to halters and brushes.

Little Eileen has grown into quite the young lady. She is pretty willing to go with the program, whatever we ask her to do.  That's the way we like our colts to be.

You can tell by looking at Reba that she is bred to run.  We call her the "little red rocket".

We also happen to have a litter of livestock guardian puppies that are busy growing like weeds so they can soon head out onto farms and ranches and guard them from predators. We are so fortunate to have a pair of "LGD's"  to keep the grizzlies and other predators from strolling onto our place. In this area we are all having to learn to live "with" the bears a lot more than a few years ago.  The dogs are part of what makes our lifestyle possible in such a high predator area.  But for now, they sure are cute!!

The baby chicks we brought home last spring are grown now and have started laying an abundance of eggs. I had to snap a picture of Zorro yesterday, as he strutted around to show everyone  that he's the boss.

 The last of the garden will be harvested today and the soil will be turned over to rest.  Does it feel like Autumn where you are? I really hope it does! This is one of the best times of the year....

Now go make something beautiful,

Friday, February 28, 2014

While The Sun Shines

I think we have all heard the expression, "make hay while the sun shines."  Well, I'm gonna add to that.  Haul hay while the sun shines!  Yesterday was a gorgeous day for February in Montana.  Somewhere around 30 degrees and not a breath of wind.  But that has changed.  It's 3 degrees now and snowing.  There's a storm heading our way that is supposed to bring more snow, high winds and temperatures back down to -20 or so.  The wind chills will even be worse than that!

I never used to pay any attention to the weather.  Not much any way.  Boy, has that changed!  Now I have learned that watching the weather reports can mean being prepared for nasty storms or being caught out in a blizzard.  Kind of a big deal out here on the prairie.

So in preparation for this storm, I decided to haul hay all around to the different parts of the farm where I feed each bunch of critters.  I normally load a few bales each day, off of the stack and deliver them around the farm.  Now I have bales stacked up near each bunch of critters.  Some near the goat/lamb pen, some near the horses and calves pasture gate and some up in the alpaca barn. Now I won't be hauling hay when it's -20 below and the wind is trying to blow me off of the haystack!  Instead I was hauling hay in the sunshine, in shirtsleeves no less! 

Shirt sleeves and overalls. In February!

The alpacas were out frolicking and hoping all that hay was for them!  They love their groceries!!

"No really, you can just leave all that here." ~ Cricket

I also got some things cleaned up around the farm, fueled up the tractor and trimmed the pony's hooves.  The snow kept balling up under his feet, making it very hard for him to walk.  I'm hoping a hoof trim helps a bit.  A good brushing made him a happy boy too.

All of us seemed to be soaking up the sunshine while we could.... I'll let you know what tomorrow brings.

 "Paris" the barn cat.

Bye for now,

Monday, February 24, 2014

Being Followed

This is the start of a new week, thank goodness!!  Last week was a tough one.  There are times when we all have more on our plates than we think we can handle.  Days that almost shatter us.  I'm sure that all of you have had times like that too.
But now I'm just feeling grateful.  Saturday the weather was still quite chilly, but nice enough for my big boy and I to actually talk a stroll around the farm while doing chores.  Most of these winter days we have had to take a pickup, for heat and also to haul hay.  That little walk with my kid and my critters was just what I needed. 

As we stepped out the front door, the calves perked up, bawled at us and began to follow us along the fence. 

The little black mare took a break from grazing and came over to the road to say hello and joined the parade along the road towards the barn.  She thought I should definitely show off how hard she works to get good and dirty!

The alpacas met us at the gate and made a little marching formation, following behind us as we made our way up to their little barn and the feed room. This is Genesis making her, "feed me now!" face.

The chickens all swarmed around me, clucking contentedly and following behind as I went around straightening up their pen.  Even though they had a fresh meal in their house!  Happy little hens just hanging out to see what I was up to....

That was the moment.  The moment I looked up and took my first deep breath in a week.  The moment I realized everything really is going to be okay.  Even on my weakest days I have these happy little children and happy little critters to help me "pull focus" and remind me what's important. I felt like all of them had been following me around the farm, just to say "Hey! Don't forget! Life is good!"  Sometimes being followed is a good thing....

Bye for now,

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Winter Walk

This morning a little storm blew in.  It started snowing hard.  But the wind had kindly stopped blowing and the temperature stayed right around freezing.  Not any of that below zero stuff we often get at the end of January. 

I decided it was actually quite a nice day, in spite of the little blizzard going on.  So in effort to get a little exercise, I chose to walk around the farm to get my chores done.  Normally I have to drive something that can haul hay this time of year.  But there is a little extra stacked up in the barn so I didn't have to haul any today. Perfect day for a winter walk....

Today's snow is very heavy and wet.  It feels much like a Spring storm.  The girls almost seem to enjoy this weather.

Mudflap is not amused.... but he is never amused.

The calves were happy to see me put out their bales of lunch so they could stop rooting around in the snow covered grass.

The ponies are loafing in their shed....

The chores are done, the gate is closed and it's time for a cup of tea.....

Bye for now,

Today I joined the Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop! Check it out for more fun!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Just Wanted To Say "Hay"

Hay there!  I brought along my camera while my big boy and I did chores this afternoon.  There wasn't anything "special" going on.  Just another absolutely perfect, mid-January day in Montana.  But I though you might like to come along with me and enjoy the farm for a minute....

Skeeter wanted to be sure you had a good chuckle today....

Miss Ivy says hello.... Doesn't she have the most beautiful gold eyes?

Good ol' Rhett was thankful it was his day off....

The not-so-innocent, but innocent looking lambs were posing nicely for me today....

The big boy got to play mountain goat on the stop of the hay stack....

There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not aware how blessed we are to live this life.  Simple pleasures and beautiful things everywhere we look, no matter what we're doing.  Take a look around you right now.  I'll bet there's blessings everywhere....

Bye for now,

Saturday, January 18, 2014

A Love Story

This is a love story.  It began in the spring of 1997, when a big eyed, red colt came into this world.  He was a blessing and a gift from the start.  After a horrible accident, I had given my favorite mare, "Sevens" to the veterinarian that saved her life.  After kicking herself out of a two horse trailer and hitting the asphalt at 65 miles per hour, she was always going to be a little crippled.  We were all thankful she would be sound enough to be comfortable and would make a great momma.  Some months after I signed her over to her new owners, they called me and asked if I would like to breed her and get one baby out of my beloved mare.  It was a gift I have never forgotten or taken for granted.  The other gift was from my dear friends who owned a stallion and gave me a breeding.  Such generosity and love is so rare and I was doubly blessed.  A year and a half after that fateful phone call, the world was given "Rhett".
A halter class in 2004
One of many Grand Champion ribbons.
From the start he was special.  He had a bit of a large, bony frame but a chiseled, handsome face and was built quite correctly.  He was smart and sensitive and full of himself!  I decided I would keep him a stallion, at least for a while.  He was to be my new show horse.  And show we did!  Rhett and I showed in almost every event at one time or another. He also got the chance to be a sire to seven beautiful foals.  All of them sorrel stud colts like their dad, except the last colt, who was jet black.
Riding Western Pleasure in 2005. I was 5 1/2 months pregnant with my oldest son in this photo.
When both of us were young I never imagined all we would go through together.  I was 20 when he was born.  Young, carefree, selfish and driven to see the world.  He was my only obligation or responsibility other than myself.  I never in my wildest dreams thought he would someday go from the fiery red stallion, to the quiet old gelding that slowly plods along dirt roads with my precious babies in the saddle.  
The four loves of my life....
I believe in great loves.  I believe the great loves are here to show us the truth and meaning of love.  Whether it's the great love of a spouse, a child or even our beloved creatures that God gives us....Through the ups and downs, plenty and lack, I have had a red horse that never let me down....
Rhett is the only horse I have ever seen my mom actually feel comfortable with.

Bye for now,

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Weather Report

One of the things we deal with living in this part of the country is some rapid changes in the weather.  We get sudden storms.  We get "Chinook winds", that are quite a phenomenon. This is the Wikipedia explanation.

 " The reference to a wind or weather system, simply "a Chinook", originally meant a warming wind from the ocean into the interior regions of the Pacific Northwest of the USA. A strong Chinook can make snow one foot deep almost vanish in one day. The snow partly melts and partly evaporates in the dry wind. Chinook winds have been observed to raise winter temperature, often from below -4°F to as high as 50-68°F for a few hours or days, then temperatures plummet to their base levels. The greatest recorded temperature change in 24 hours was caused by Chinook winds on January 15, 1972, in Loma, Montana; the temperature rose from  -54 to 48°F."  

Then there's the cold, fronts that blast us from the North.  Like yesterday.  We the kids and I went out to do chores it was 38 degrees.  But there a thick bank of fog forming to the North and the air was thick with moisture.  A couple of minutes later the wind shifted and came rolling in from the North and it was cold!  We hurried to feed the calves and by the time the hay was in the bunk it was 21 degrees.  We had taken my car down to do chores so the little ones could stay warm.  It also has a very handy temperature gauge.

By the time we got to the barn, about 4 minutes later, it was down to 18 degrees.  A twenty degree drop in less than ten minutes. 

I love how that camo coat is doing it's job in this picture.... Where's my boy?

The fog thickened and the temperature dropped some more.... After supper we were at 11 degrees.  Almost a 30 degree drop in about an hour. 
This morning we have a lovely 8 degrees and snowing steady in the form of teeny, tiny little snowflakes.  The horses were kicking up their heels to stay warm.  Well, Fancy Pants was....

I think I'll be staying inside today....after the chores are done of course.

Bye for now,

Monday, June 10, 2013

Pistol Packin' Momma

*Disclaimer: If you are anti-gun, you may not want to read this post.  But it's ok, I'll still love ya....*

Tonight I got to sneak out and ride my Fancy mare.  She's enjoying becoming a horse again after a year of pretty intense training.  She isn't used to being ridden out in the world right now.  The safe confines of the arena are what she has gotten used to.  So out across the pasture we go.  Looking at every little thing, spooking at the dogs when they pop up out of the grass.  Not so fun for me, but necessary....
After our ride....
After she had settled a bit and we were slowly walking up to the barn gate we heard a slight buzzzzzz.... Oiy! Snake!  Fancy jumped backwards and shied away.  I hung on while hoping I wouldn't get dumped on top of a rattle snake!  I hollered across the field to Prairie Granny, who was out in the yard with the rugrats.  "There's a snake!"  Then, "Get my gun!"  I led Fancy to the house, calling the dogs along so they wouldn't get snake bit.  Unsaddled, turned Fancy loose and grabbed my gun.

At first I couldn't find him when I went back.  Of course.  But just as I was hopping back on the four-wheeler, there he was climbing up the big manure pile next to the corrals.  I quickly aimed at his beady little head and fired.  Missed!  That was actually the very first time I shot my gun.  It's a .41 caliber, single action revolver. I have sot some .45's so I figured it would kick a bit.  But it wasn't too bad.  Mostly it was just really loud!  Shoulda wore ear plugs, but I didn't....  I couldn't hear a thing for a few minutes after the shooting.  So when I'm a really deaf old lady, we'll know why!  I promise I'll have ear protection next time!

Anyway, I shot that dirty bugger three more times.  There is no better target practice than a rattlesnake on a manure pile!

See how well they hide?  It's easy to step right on them!
Prairie Granny dragged him out so I could take a better photo.
After we disposed of Mr. Snake, we did our evening chores to the chorus of a pack of coyotes somewhere nearby.  Ugh.  But it's ok, Momma's gotta gun....

Bye for now,

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend Insanity

Last Friday was the craziest day that I can remember having!  Prairie Momma Trish was branding that morning and invited me to come along to "help" and take pictures.  I did find myself being useful a few times, but spent most of my time behind the lens. I was taking in all the beauty that one only sees at a branding.  The weather was perfect, clear, deep blue skies, light breeze, warm but not too warm.  What I enjoyed the most was the camaraderie of life long friends and family all working together to make a tough, necessary job as enjoyable as possible.  It's always the very highest of  honors to be invited to help at a branding.  It means you've proved you're worth your salt and won't be a cog in the wheel.

A collection of friends, neighbors and family.

I was most in awe of  "Aunt Jo".  A woman of this prairie who has probably spent the equivalent of my lifetime on the back of a horse.  Weathered by many Montana years but still an formidable presence in the sorting pen....

Her horse is the result of breeding her own mounts for seven generations. "A little Appaloosey, a bit of Morgan, Thoroughbred and some Quarter Horse that goes back to Poco Bueno."

Unfortunately, I had to miss the branding dinner.  There is always a feast after branding is done.  I'm sure I don't even wanna know how yummy it was.  But I had to go meet up with a nice fella who was leasing a piece of oil field equipment from us.  I got things all squared away and sent him on his way back to North Dakota.

When my big boy came home from school we jumped in the truck and headed out of town on a rescue mission!  All the way to Cheyenne, Wyoming! Then we had to drive all the way home! I can't wait to tell you about it!  Tomorrow.... It's been a long weekend....

But just for kicks, here are some more images from Friday morning....

The Paint in this shot is actually my new little mare, named Dice.  Thanks to Miss Sherry for trusting me to give her a new home.

This is the gear on one of the horses that was used to gather the cows that morning.

Bye for now,