Posts Tagged ‘farm’

Farming Friday–Do a Lot with a Little

This is what we started with when we moved in last June.  We decided with just two horses we would put off building a barn until such time as it became absolutely necessary and economically feasible.  Instead we took the little carport off the garage and turned it into this:

Please click for a larger version

Sometimes my perfectionism stops me.  Often I think if I can’t have exactly what I want, I should wait until I can.  This time we took the little that we had and improved it to the point where it serves our needs to perfection.  Is it that perfect barn of my dreams?  Nope, it is simple and minimalist, but it’ll do and the mares are happy.

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Farming Friday

Today is a very exciting day around the farm.  After enduring many fractuosities (which is a big word for the whole lotta crazy stuff that happened) our big red mare was bred today!  I noted over the weekend an increase in Sparrow’s “friendly” feelings, we had the vet out on Wednesday.  Dr Brian took care of several things, like Halo’s 2nd  Pneumabort shot (getting close now!) and then he “probed” Sparrow.  She was less than thrilled with this turn of events.  However, we were thrilled to see this:

So we ordered the semen from her future baby daddy and sent her to the vet to spend the weekend.  She was inseminated for the first time today with a lovely 4.5 cm follicle.  The vet said the semen was beautiful (only an equine vet would say such a thing….lol) 65% motility.  She will be inseminated again tomorrow and then the wait will begin.
Here is our girl 2006 Chestnut Thoroughbred Dixie Dash (truly horrible name so we call her Sparrow)

Here is the prospective sire 1999 15.3 hh Bay Leopard Spotted Knabstrupper Colorado Skrødstrup


Colorado is the very first Knabstrupper to complete the 70 day testing process!   Where he placed 3rd in Dressage and 5th overall (and that was after his 5% age deduction!), with 9.5 for temperament, 9’s on character constitution, rideability, and trainability, and 8s and 8.5s for his gaits.

Colorado is owned by Avalon Equines.  I cannot say enough about how truly helpful, knowledgeable and kind his owner Kathy St. Martin is!  If you are looking for a stallion I would recommend checking out hers!

Spring 2011

For those of you who have been wondering what happened to us…..winter happened. The freezing temperatures meant busting more ice than I care to think about and watching hay disappear at an expected, but nonetheless, depressing rate. We lost our entire flock of hens and guineas to a late night carnival of blood by some local carnivore. Mostly though, winter is a time for waiting. Waiting for daylight and the ability that comes along with it for working folk to actually DO stuff after 5:00. However, it wasn’t all bad:

Over the winter I spent a lot of time thinking about the projects we would need to complete once the wait was over. We need to add internal fencing to allow for pasture rotation. We need to add a paddock for Halo so that both mares can have access to shelter and be kept off the grass for a couple of months. Then her stall needs a second door so she can get in said paddock. We need a light in the barn and some outdoor lighting around the garage. The girls need an industrial barn fan so this summer isn’t quite as miserable as the last (especially for the much anticipated foal!). We need a web cam with night vision so we can spy on Halo when the time draws near. We need a manure bunker to add some structure to our out of control shit! We need lime for the pasture. About 1.8 tons per acre according to our soil report. We need raised beds for vegetables because I cannot continue to condone paying $1.48 for a green pepper! We need a new and improved chicken coop and a new flock. We need to clean land any chance we get for expansion. We need to clean out all creeks on our land to allow some damp spots to dry out. We also need to breed Sparrow to her chosen beau. And of course, await the impending birth of our farm’s first born.

Well, I am exhausted just from writing that all down! Wish us luck as we kick off Spring 2011 on our farm with……lots of work!

Farming Friday-3 Great Things About Farming

While I can think of many reasons farming is fantastic, today I will stick to just 3.

#1 Constant Improvement

Around the farm there is always something to work on. There is always a project that needs completion, or land that needs clearing, or fence that needs work. Once finished, you have the powerful sense of accomplishment that only witnessing change wrought with your own hands (or heavy powered machinery) can bring.

Project Completion

This is the greatest nesting box in the world! You are certainly free to disagree, but you MUST post pictures of a different one in order to do so. AND I must add that this nesting box was made by TheManWhoKnowsEverything using an old bench and scrap wood he had lying around.

Clearing Land


Clearing Land

If you compare the right hand sides of the two above pictures you will see how much we accomplished….not to mention the fun of FIRE!

Working on Fence

If you haven’t balanced a fencepost on your head have you truly lived?

#2 Involving the Kids

I cannot think of better way to teach children a good work ethic than farming. They learn that work produces results. They learn responsibility and patience through the care of animals. They also learn super important things like chicken poop stinks way worse than horse poop. Maybe all this teaches them the important noble lessons that we hope or perhaps it just teaches them to live in loft apartments in big cities.

Buddy Working


Red Working the Wheelbarrow

#3 Living with Horses!

This reason is self explanatory….but an excuse to post pictures nonetheless!



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Farming Friday–We’re Pregnant!!

On August 4th we decided that we wanted to have a vet come out and check Halo to see where she was in her cycle. The stud we had chosen for her closes the breeding shed September 1st. All of the moves for the girls and for us had been very financially and mentally draining, and it might have made sense to wait and bred both mares in the Spring. After all there was only this tiny window of opportunity. That could mean a good bit of wasted money. Trusting God can often seems like taking a chance.

Halo had shown no signs of heat at all, so I had no expectations. I was at work when the vet called and said “When were you planning on breeding this mare?”

“As soon as possible.”

“Well she has a 4.3 follicle, so how bout tomorrow?”

For those of you who don’t know, a mare usually ovulates at around a 3.5! The vet wanted to know if I could get the semen there by noon the next day. He called me at 11 pm. The breeder can only guarantee next day receipt if you call before 12! Luck? No. God wants us to be successful. I believe that.

The vet bred Halo via Artificial Insemination on August 5th and August 6th. On the 5th her follicle size was a 5.1 and he gave her a shot to induce ovulation. This is important to note for future breedings as mares often follow a consistent pattern with regards to their individual reproductive cycle. If we had checked her a day or two earlier we would have bred her too soon and missed out on this year’s breeding.

The vet returned on August 24th and ultrasounded to confirm a singleton on the left horn.

Halo

X

Sempatico

=

Coop Confident


You know if we had a tape measurer and level that actually worked this project would be so much simpler. I’m sure ours are the only ones in the whole world that have been calibrated to cause us to have to replan, remeasure and recut so many times.

One of the best choices we have made was to wait on getting our chickens until the coop is complete. However, we do have 6 guineas living in the garage. I would love to use the coop as their transitional housing as they work their way towards becoming free range tick killers!

As we pull together the disparate pieces of the coop I am gradually tending towards optimism. Are parts of it crooked and completely off level? Yes, yes indeed they are. Overall, I am starting to believe it will serve our purpose quite well. It has also served as a confidence builder. Because at each step, as we improve and gain knowledge—we believe—we can Do Anything Ourselves!

If we can do it, so can you! Do you have a project you have been putting off? Is there something around the house you have been longing to tackle on your own? Get out there and DIY!

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Coop Envy

I never thought I would be envious of chicken coops. Nevertheless, after lurking around for quite sometime on Backyard Chickens I found some coops that filled me with a difficult to explain covetousness. As you can see, some people are ridiculously blessed in the coop area.


The problem with having a coop of our own is that The Geek, my beloved, is a very….frugal (YES CHEAP! Oh he is SOOOO CHEAP!) individual. He said we didn’t have the money to buy one of those lovely manufactured coops. He said we could build one ourselves! I have only one issue with that scenario. Our combined knowledge of building comes to about –16. So just one issue, but a pretty significant one.

Here is what WE have so far. Looks slightly different from the other chicken palaces doesn’t it?