Here is Alan wearing a real cowboy hat for the first time. We learned why so many farmers and horsemen wear cowboy hats. It keeps your head and neck protected from the sun and low branches. Plus you get respect from your horses, not really.
Here is Angie working her horses in training for cow cutting practice. It is very exciting to watch how quick the horses respond to her queues. Both cows and horses work up a sweat in the practice ring.
Here is Alan taking his first ride on Pudding, a 12 year old cutting horse mare. She is a great schooling mare who can put up with new riders. And she is a great working cutting horse who can go after cows in the ring or in the pasture. Alan got to ride in the ring while cow cutting was also taking place.
This past Friday I got to watch horse trainers work their cows and horses for competition. The young cattle were fast and strong for each run. Each horse was worked by two riders who took turns training each one. It was a learning experience for this English rider.
Here is our little boy, Mr. Bean, a Missouri Fox Trotter. He is now three weeks old, though small for his age. He is eating grain and hay like Luna, but milking is his full time job. He is strong and doing well despite his size.
Early this morning I saw flashing lights from my window. It was my husband taking flash photos of our large pair of armadillos. They were the size of watermelons. These two were busy digging holes looking for grubs on our back 40. The wounded one we think is a male and the tan one a female. The red cord is our electric cord leading to the under construction stables. These 'dillos got enough of us and departed into the dark woods. It is never dull in the Ozarks.
Here are photos of two of our more dominant hens. The Barred Rock avoids the rooster and goes her own way. She will not be told where to go nor what to do. And our brown Cinnamon Queen comes when called and follows me in the yard. Both hens know when the horses eat they eat. I never knew chickens liked corn and oats with molasses. We have very happy free range hens thanks to the watchful eye of our German Shepherd.
Our neighbors have grown and shared several great tomatoes with us this summer. These had color and flavor beyond anything one could ever buy in the store. I have decided to dehydrate the extra ones to enjoy in soups and pasta this winter. I will post the results after they are dried. I also dried green onions and peppers with the batch. My deck smells wonderful as the dehydrator is outside. My yard smells like a pizza parlor.
Here is the only hen we named from our flock. She was named by a house guest who was visiting our farm. She is also the only hen we have that is gray. She is an Americana hen who will start laying green eggs by October. Grayson is one of thirty chicks we hand raised in May. She is also very independent and vocal for a hen.
Now that both of our auction mares have given birth we have to build more stalls. We are adding to a small goat stall that will become hay storage. The rest will be new large stalls for the horses to have in bad weather. As you can see our hens like to assist us in the building process. It was very hard to dig out the holes for these 6x6 posts. Ozark soil is rock with more rocks. The blue tarps were used for shade since we are building in the death heat of summer.
It has not rained enough out here in the Ozarks. We get the clouds but no rain. Things are very dry on the surface but we have humid mornings and foggy sunrises. And it does not look like any rain is coming this week for us. On a good note though it is finally cooling off and temperatures are more bearable to do outside chores on the farm.
Our young colt is now 15 days old and growing stronger everyday. He is in a large outdoor paddock giving his legs room to stretch. He gets to talk to the other horses and cows in the stable. When he is not running he is sampling the grain in his own pail. But his mom ends up eating most of it. We are going to upgrade him to a foal feeder to keep his mom out of his chow.
Living in a fan cooled stall is so boring for a horse. Mr. Bean gets some freedom to run around the arenas while I feed the rest of the horses. His mama Luna follows close by being a good parent. Mr. Bean might be the first fox trotter trained as a cutting horse. We will wait and see when he turns two.