Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cedar Dresser Final Saga

It is finally done the cedar dresser we had made. We logged the cedar ourselves, delivered the logs to the local mill, then transported the cut wood to a local Amish craftsman. After almost 6 months we have our huge cedar dresser. It is a feeling that I do not think a modern human has felt in a very long time. Completion - from sweaty start in logging to the final installation. The finished end result that we can enjoy and pass down to the next generation. We saved some trees that needed to be harvested and made quality furniture that will last. I think we honored these trees using them well. It was worth it, the time, energy, sweat and labor to make this dresser. And on the back I wrote down all the names and dates of those who made this dresser possible. And the best part is we kept it all local to our small town. Nothing oversea nor made in China, made in the USA in Missouri, as it should be. And with all the people involved in the making of this dresser, we made friends and learned how other people live and skills they have to share.

Death and New Life on the Farm

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Last week was enough for me to want to run screaming down the road. Dolly our 19 year old mare went down in her stall and was clearly in distress from a high fever. The vet came and we agreed she was past the point of no return. So together with the help of friends we got the hole dug and put Dolly at peace. Then, I had some hatched chicks not make it and one needed to be euthanized due to deformity. Then a neighbor decides he wants to have his coffin ready this year. He wants to have his wooden coffin upholstered at his wife's request. All of this happened in less than 24 hours last Sunday- Monday. Ugh it was rough.
But then life begins again. My surviving chicks are now outside in the big brooder in the chicken coop. The trees and plants are all flowering and the air smells wonderful. Baby birds, snakes and butterflies are everywhere. I have so much new life springing up around me, makes me happy again to be on my farm.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Teaching The Babies


Last week my husband took our 2 year old Maple along side Luna to meet the outside world. We have since learned to tie the lead rope around the halter to keep focus. Young horses will try anything and test you often.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Last Weeks Hail Storm


Last week in the Ozarks we had a storm turn ugly with popcorn skies sending ice everywhere. Put a hole in our horse trailer and filled the evening with fog in the pasture. I have been too busy to post the photos until now. Our ducks and horses took the worst of the hail, but all survived.

Chick Hatch


I am having a busy day watching our incubator chicks hatch out. This is the first time we have ever hatched ourselves with an incubator instead of a broody hen. We are hoping to fill in the ranks of chickens lost to predators on the farm. I read the farmers almanac on when to collect the eggs before putting into the incubator. One chick blasted out of its shell and has been running all over the incubator. It is full of energy.
All my chicks are off by a week since I stored them for 7 days prior to incubation. This is quite the learning curve raising our own chickens. After they are dry they will go into an indoor brooder then into the outside hatchery in the coop. They will be around their own kind until they are old enough to be with the flock. They will see and hear the others in the flock and learn the coop is home. And baby chicks are very noisy to have in the house and I will be happy to have them outside.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dolly Down, Dolly Up


This morning at feeding time I was missing our older 19 year old mare, Dolly. She always comes in for breakfast even on 3 legs. I could not find her in the pasture until my husband arrived. She was standing but not walking. She has fluid coming out of her nose and mouth. We called the vet and decided to force her to walk up to the trailer. It took a while. We hooked up the trailer and got her to the vet. He said it was choke, a blockage of pellet feed in her throat. He sedated her and tubed her to flush out the blockage. She sneezed and got me and the vet coated in goo. After the blockage was removed he flushed out her tummy with H2O. She felt better instantly.
Lesson learned: Pellet feed must be ingested slowly in an older dominate mare. She ate fast with a new horse bugging her and it got stuck. Older horses also tend to not chew the pellets with older teeth. She needs to have the pellets watered into mush first. And I keep the new horse out of the stalls at dinner time. She lost a lot of weight over the winter since this photo last summer. She needs all her calories now.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Meet Tip


Here is our newest horse, Tip at his old home. He is on loan to us from his owner to ride as she does not have time to ride all of her herd. Tip is a gelding Arabian and Appaloosa double registered horse. He is a very sweet tall and broadly built horse. Tip has the shortest Appaloosa tail I have ever seen, but he was born that way. We needed another horse for me to ride along with my husband. We will be taking our Foxtrotter mare, Luna and Tip on trail rides and to pony our young horses. Tip gets shoes on Friday and we hope to ride him in the afternoon.
Today Tip got the freedom to join our herd in our pasture. He is the low man on the totem pole along with the donkey. But he can hold his own getting away from the lead mare.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Endangered Sticker Pig


This is our sticker pig. He began life as a piggy bank but has morphed into a sticker holding depot. It began when grocery stores began putting those little annoying stickers all over every piece of produce they sold. Used to be only on bananas, now they are all over everything. When washing the produce I used to make a pile of them along my sink. This was annoying my husband, so I put them on the ugly window pig by the sink. And so the sticker pig was born out of the need to keep the sink unclogged of stickers. This represents years of produce purchases from all over the world. Very sad to think about how we have used up so many resources to get produce year round from all over the world anytime we want it. That is an unsustainable way to live and eat. My goal is to let this pig become obsolete by growing my own produce instead.
Tomatoes, broccoli, lettuce, potatoes, onions, apples and pears can all be grown by my own hands. And my fellow farmers with greenhouses can trade me for the tropical produce I might crave. This is sustainable and without all the annoying little stickers.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Riding Luna


Luna is the only rideable horse we have at the moment. Our 2 year olds are in training for this summer and our other mare is recovering from founder. And Luna is an easy keeper and gains weight fast if not ridden. So my husband rides her when he can. Yesterday at sunset he took around our country roads. She wears an English bridle as it is the only one we can find that fits her small face. She wears the cowboy martingales to keep her from popping her head up. She does this and can hit the rider in the face without them. Luna is very head strong and can get away from the rider. And the halter is still on for when my husband wants to dismount and visit with a neighbor, he can tie her up with the lead rope. Never tie a horse with the bridle and reins like in the cowboy movies. It does not work and the horse can take off and destroy a bridle, which Luna has done. I rode a well trained quarter horse once that would stay in place if you dropped the reins on the ground, Luna is not that horse.

Hatching Day

A friend gave us some bantam hens she no longer wanted. She said they are good broody hens and she was right. After 22 days of ownership, we have chicks hatching under these hens. I have 3 broody hens that are all about to hatch this week. I also have incubator chicks and ducks due to hatch in 2 weeks. Very exciting to have new life on the farm.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Donkey on our farm

Our neighbor bought his first guard donkey for his sheep farm. We are keeping his jenny (female donkey) for him until he has a flock to be guarded. She is now guarding our herd of oblivious mares and their babies. She is a sweet donkey and likes to be handled. And she might be in foal as well. So he is getting two for the price of one. She is a great guard and goes after predators without hesitation. I am learning to really like donkeys after having her around.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Naps and Freedom


Our herd got to run around on a windy afternoon in their new pasture. All this running wore out Luna the gray mare, so she took a nap. Luna is getting back in to shape for trail riding again. Her son still needs to grow up a bit before he can be ridden.

Free at Last


We got our electric Horse Guard tape up after 2 long years of waiting. We fenced in over 15 acres of pasture and woods for our two mares and their babies. Now our horses are clean and happy to have the tall fields to be natural in. They can run and nap in the clean grass instead of our dry lot.