Summer Catch

As a teacher who owns a farm, I had been looking forward to summer for quite some time. I have lived in Georgia my entire life, but in spite of that I had forgotten something key that should have been obvious. Georgia is hot, and humid. My readers out there you are probably saying duh, but I had forgotten because I was focus on something else.

What does that call to Captain Obvious have to do with anything? Well, I was looking forward to summer for the opportunity to get more things done. My summer is nearly over, because teachers in my area go back to school early (seriously, earlier than anywhere I’ve ever worked). I am of course now feeling the panic of not having gotten my projects even close to done.

Now, I am looking forward to fall just so its not too hot to get anything done! Epic fail I know, but I just have so much to do! And of course, the cheaper way to do things are the ones that take longer. The ways that are cheaper and better to do require more time in the sun, and as a person with what I call, bad skin, I can’t be in the sun that long. At least I can enjoy all the seasons, but I have a week and a half left of summer, and I plan to make the most of it, even though I’m also having to start thinking about what I need to do with my room. Yikes!

A Bit of a Scare

willy

Some dog owners out there will know what I mean when I say a dog is more than a dog. The logical part of my brain, and the one trying to make this farm happen (at this point just trying to break even!) knows that it will cost dearly for a dog to be family. Willy is more than family, and that will certainly have both monetary and emotional costs.

Why am I having this downer train of thought? Well Willy has given us a bit of a scare and it hasn’t been completely resolved. Willy has been limping for the last few months. We tried a vet in our area that I didn’t like at all and the results showed no improvement. The limping has continued so I decided to take him back to his vet from before I moved out here. That vet has always been great, and works with a rescue I used to work with.

Upon doing additional Xrays the vet determined that it was inflammation with a possible fracture. The problem was the possible fracture. He couldn’t determine for sure if it was there, and also why it would fracture. Before he had gotten the xray the vet was worried about cancer, but there was no tumor on the xray, thank god. The problem is the vet isn’t sure if there was a fracture and if so why. If it is very early cancer, it could have caused the break.

So what now? Working on getting UGA to look at the Xrays for more information. In the mean time I sit on pins and needles praying that he is just a big clumsy dog rather than something more sinister.

A Mystery Solved

After working in camp barns over the years, I have encountered a huge variety of horse breeds. To name a few I’ve worked with Quarter Horses, Thoroughbreds, Percherons, Appaloosas, Arabians, Haflingers, Welsh Ponies, Belgians, POAs, Warmbloods, TWH, and quite a few others. I mention these to demonstrate why I say that typically I do a decent job of figuring out a horse’s breed.

My Zeus though, has been a mystery. I bought him as a Tennessee Walking Horse however I didn’t not think for a second that is what he was. He was strong, gaited, and not spooky. He seemed too thick boned to be be a TWH, and rather level headed. I liked TWHs, but he just didn’t seem to fit the bill.

I was going to pay for a DNA kit, but then, I had the good fortune that Zeus was due for a chiropractor visit. Now, my chiropractor is amazing. She not only does chiropractic, but also magnawave, massage, and saddle fitting. She also has a talent for knowing breeds and knowing them well. My vet came out too and agreed. Drum roll please….

Rocky Mountain Horse x Spotted Saddle Horse

The guess is they were going for the Rocky’s color and gait with a bit more color, size and gait from the SSH. When he didn’t come out exactly how they wanted, like in the case of many who breed, off he went. Lucky him, he is in the best home now. He is going to be spoiled forever, starting today with his teeth floating.

Take a look at the picture, tell me what you think! Do you think they got it right?

 

Zeus, sorry he looks a bit zonked, teeth floating right before.

Zeus

 

Rocky Mountain Horse

RMH

 

Spotted Saddle Horse

SSH

From the Heart

Many don’t know I have a godson. He is an adult with special needs. I find that being a part of his life has been one of the better blessing in my life. Today I am finally going to share the story of what I was able to share.

My godson (I’m protecting his privacy so for now, I shall refer to him as D) is part of a day group for adults with special needs. The person who runs the program is amazing. I love how she says all the time how she is all about making dreams come true. I already work with Special Olympics, so I was excited to help.

The only problem is, as many of you know, it is very tricky to make sure you can help without getting in trouble. I find requiring waivers is the only way to go about it. I also was thankful to know in advance that I needed to plan for a physical need too.

Horseback riding can be expensive, and to find someone who knows how to keep special needs adults safe as well can be even more difficult. I’m just blessed that I was in a position help. Many of the boys had ridden before, but still felt so much joy at being there. One was afraid, but he helped me lead Holly instead.

I don’t know many people who would trust a 10 year old mare to this job. It is a precious job with even more precious cargo. So, how did I know Holly could do it? She had done this with my nephew, who is fairly high functioning. I was able to watch how she was with him. She stopped when he came off balance, or tried to move under him. She was as patient as could be. No amount of noise the could make or wiggles could bother her. I realized she was something special. She was so slow, careful, and precise with them.

I am not giving a clear picture, or telling a good story. My writing style is off here, and I supposed it is just because I am happy to be a part of it. Sorry for the blocked faces, I didn’t want to share where I didn’t have permission.horse 3

 

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Safety First- For a REASON

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I am writing today to share a PSA reminder on why safety comes first, in the hopes that it will help others and they won’t need my good fortune.

So a fun fact about Holly that you probably don’t know: she is an amazing horse for children and special needs folks. She loves them and does things for them I’ve never seen precisely. I have worked with other horses who are what we call babysitters, but she takes it to another level. You’ll hear more about this later once I have the pictures to share with the story. All you need to know for today is that we had a group of special needs adults and a child out today for a visit and pony rides.

All but one person had ridden. It was the child whose mom was there and had experience with horses, so I let her handle it herself, and went to talk to the group about the other horse, Zeus. I suddenly hear loud whoa from a parent. I dropped what I was doing and came around to see the reins around her front left leg. I later found out that at some point they fell because¬† the child was hanging on tight to the saddle horn. Normally not an issue for pony rides, but the reins weren’t looped of the horn. For some pony rides I will even just use the halter, but I wanted today’s visitors included one who knew the basic stop start and steer.

So the child was pulled immediately, because Holly immediately stopped and stood. I was incredibly impressed that Holly slammed the breaks when it first pull her mouth so we could try to fix it. I first tried taking her bridle off, but it didn’t work and another pull from Holly trying to move caused her to be in some serious pain. It was slow enough it gave me time to yell for everyone to move, and then she popped up in a small rear attempting to break the bridle. I have never seen a horse in this much discomfort able to refocus and listen. She started to act like she was going to run off, but I was able to grab her lead rope and within a minute had her attention and her stopped. She then stood for us to take the bridle apart to get it out of her mouth.

She immediately had the corners of her mouth massaged, a lot. Now, even more amazing. When horses I’ve worked with have gotten this way in the past they have been high strung and jumpy the rest of the session. Once she had her massage and a quiet moment with me, she was back to social happy Holly. She put on a show while getting her shower (mimicking a giraffe is her favorite), loved on the kids, and was rock solid. I have worked with many camp horses and lesson horses. I am not worthy to have this mare. She is incredible.

Moral for this story: Make sure all adults understand to tie up the reins if they are not in use. Seriously guys, this is a safety issue. As for today, the adults and child had an absolute blast. They loved every second and can’t wait to come back. I am thankful beyond measure, incredibly blessed. I will never have a horse like her again. It makes the temptation to breed insane because I don’t want to lose her or her incredible temperament. I think I will think on it again, but I had to flex out bond hard today, with one adult with a physical handicap who needed everyone on their A game including Holly (more on this later) and being able to get her attention and control when she was scared and in pain. I take our bond for granted sometimes, and I shouldn’t. I’ve never seen a horse do what she did, never felt that strong a bond. God was with me the day I picked the first horse I saw ever when seeing her.

Tying Up Loose Ends

The finale of the Tractor Saga:

Our poor sales guy and service manager helped as much as they could and I want to plug them because they did the best they could. The problem was the manager wasn’t there nearly any time I called. It was insane. Finally, at the point where I told the poor sales guy that he needed to relay to his manager that something had to get this together quickly or else I’d have to get legal action. I hated to be that person, and I apologized repeatedly, but it was relayed to me that what was broken wasn’t covered by warranty…. It doesn’t matter if it was covered by warranty, the warranty was based on the delivery of a new functional tractor. If the tractor wasn’t working on arrival, then the contract is void. The sales manager decided before confirming with the manager that he would just cover the fix and explain later. I hate that it had to come to that, and I apologized to them repeatedly. Fortunately, he took care of it. I’m thankful I can work with him in the future instead of the manager of the store. I hate when people in charge don’t do as they need to so it is left to the people who work under them toe make it right. That is awful for everyone involved.

The gnats this time of year have been awful. More so than in the past, but I think that is largely due to having cows for neighbors. I don’t know what you guys do, but I can recommend SWAT. It works wonders. Putting it in about once a week works it out. Also, the word to the wise of other equine folks looking to buy property: careful with cattle property. We are thankful for the place, and we have worked on the property to improve it. The problem I have run into is barbed wire. Not just on the fences, but because this place was a cattle farm for a long time many trees have grown around barbed wire making it near impossible to remove. I have places where stumps are tangled in barbed wire as well as tangled in field fencing. Usually this means nothing worse than a scratch or two (I treat with furazone, but make sure to use gloves), but still unnerving.

Anyone out there have any advice on scratches? I’m treating with fung away now, which generally works. If anyone has any other ideas I’d love to hear it. It is my gaited gelding Zeus. he has no feathering but it is twice this year. He doesn’t seem uncomfortable at all, I just see it. Not sure what is causing it because their pasture has good drainage and it hasn’t been that wet. Any ideas? Hey, even if I am spending my Saturday night treating little things, this is my favorite way to spend it.

 

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The Tractor Saga

So, its been a bit crazy in the last couple of days in relation to what I am about to tell you about. When last we talked there was the crime report. Something happened the day the tractor was delivered.

You see, the tractor we got had an easy connect belly mower. The person delivering it demonstrated quite a few things and helped us learn to use it. Specifically he showed us quite a bit about taking the attachments on and off. There were no issues with the sprayer or the loader. The problem arose when we tried to work on taking the mower on and off.

The tractor arrived with the mower already attached. He showed us how to get it off, if you aren’t familiar John Deere’s models are drive over for our model. He drove it over to reattach and there were massive issues getting it to reattach properly. The manager and my husband needed at least 4 or 5 attempts. It was fairly flat where they were as well. Each time they ran over the mower it was not catching where it was supposed to. They tried repeatedly and finally it appeared it did. At least, the entire mower deck was moving, not just one end.

All appeared in order and they left. Michael tried to mow after and the PTO wasn’t engaging. Michael took it on and off to see if that would correct the problem only to find the rod used to get the mower engaged with the PTO was now bent. And the manager from John Deere is the one who put it on!

They are having to come back today and will be taking care of this issue, but we weren’t able to mow anything and that dog fennel was already border line on if it would need a bush hog instead of a mower. Now? there is no telling how bad it is going to get by the time we can mow. Oh, and side note, yes I will circle back at some point and tell the side stories I keep mentioning.

Crime Study Farm Edition

The Suspect: Eupatorium capillifolium Aka Dog Fennel

Image result for dog fennel

The Crimes: 

-Pasture destruction

-Harboring fugitives (members of the various pest gangs including the Rodent Brothers and the Fly Guys)

-Disturbing the Peace (walking through this is a nightmare)

-Resisting arrest (can’t be cut with a regular lawn mower)

 

The Evidence:

No real need for legit evidence. One look at my pasture and you can see that it is every where. Also, one walk through the pasture and you know because of the high stepping and the flies.

 

The Verdict:

Guilty. Unanimously. Judged by the owners of that pasutre, Zeus and Holly. This decision was backed by those of us who have to pay to feed them and maintain that pasture.

 

The Sentence:

First a life sentence enforced by the Feds (aka the big guns associated with a new tractor) and then termination by herbicide.

 

Sorry for the drama but I love crime shows. It was my way to introduce that we are getting a new tractor! We debated about buying new or used but we decided that we’d rather buy new and use the money we would put towards used as a down payment (though fiscally we realized later we should have just taken the 0 down offer instead of using the down payment to get lower monthly payments).

So, what did we get? A John Deere (so people love it, some hate it. We got it because they had they best hours and service department in the area. Also, from what we hear they do have a great reputation. The specific model we got was a 1025 R with a loader, belly motor, and sprayer. In the future we are planning to add a bush hog, ballast box, and a box blade soon, probably used. Its getting delivered today!

Image result for john deere 1025r tractor

Vegetables of my Labors

We put in our first garden at the new house this spring. I will update this specific post tomorrow or later today with pictures. I am writing this from the comfort of my couch on my laptop because it is the middle of the afternoon swelter here in Georgia.

So, this year we put tomatoes, squash, zucchini, peppers, sweet potatoes, and herbs in the garden. It has been so busy that I have not taken care of it to the level I should be, but I am blessed to have extraordinarily fertile soil in the garden. I also have some melons and butternut squash plants to put in on the hill. Normally I’d say this is late in the season, but since these are already started and not seeds, and Georgia’s growing season is a little longer than average it should be fine. Put a finger on the squash and zucchini because I’m going to come back to them.

To give you a picture of what our garden looks like I want to tell you what else we have. The plants I just described are in the small plot and will have to be replanted each year. We also planted a peach tree, four Mutsu apple (a mix between Golden Delicious and Indo apples from Japan. They are good for cooking, juicing, and eating. They also store well), and a Honeycrisp apple tree. There was already some kind of apple tree in the backyard not terrible far from the others, but we aren’t sure what kind. Between that and the honeycrisp there should be plenty for pollination. We have two types of blueberry bushes that are waiting to be put in (bad on us, but they are doing fine for now) and there are Concord and Catawba grapes growing on a trellis. We have one more to put in the ground. The area we have all of this in isn’t big enough that we can use it for large growth, even enough for a fruit and vegetable stand. If we decide we want to go bigger we will have to put it somewhere else later. Which means we will have to run water further back into the property at some point. I didn’t get my corn and sunflowers in this year, so maybe next year.

All of this description was so that you got to know it a little better, but I’m also so excited because yesterday we had 6 squash and one zucchini ready for harvest. The tomatoes aren’t quite ready yet, and when they are, funny enough, we don’t eat them raw! I hope to make soup and homemade marinara and either freeze it or can it. I say that but I didn’t realize it was too humid to properly dry herbs, so my herbs have basically gone to waste this year, but at least now I know I can do it! Its ok though, we were just too unorganized to be very efficient with our crop this year. This was tagged in humor, and story, and this has probably seemed like neither one. The humor and story to me is that I didn’t even know the squash and zucchini were there because we’ve been so busy with other farm tasks and house tasks. My wonderful neighbor had to come and tell me what I’d missed. I guess not that funny, but I have to laugh at myself. Thanks for bearing with, everything can’t be zingers.

Look for a recipe I’ve adapted for some really tasty oven baked zucchini and squash chips in the next day or two!

The Theif

Our dogs love Nubz. Some people don’t like them because they are part of the nylabone family. They all have great reviews though. Anyway, ours love them which is why we keep using them. They can be expensive but the best place I have found to buy them is Costco.

This morning I woke unexpectedly and was therefore groggy. I didn’t notice until I had been awake for a bit the bag of Nubz was tipped over. You have to realize the dogs can’t reach the bag where I have it. I only figured something was wrong when I saw Willy with a bone that I hadn’t given him.

I started watching and the bag was located near where peeps likes to go. That little booger knocked the bag over for the dogs! They were just going to town on gosh knows how many. I think I took enough away that they should be fine, except what I’m guessing is going to be an unpleasant belly ache. Go figure, they are working together, I’m doomed.

Side note on Willy, he currently has a knee on the back that is a bit sprained. The doctor said he needed medicine and bed rest. You tell a 100 pound Great Dane Boxer that he is on bed rest, lol. It had to wait until I was home to enforce it, but he is now resting as best I can make him. He’s been tolerating although Rocket has been harassing him. Keep him in your thoughts, he’s too young to have a bum leg.

 

Image result for nubz

What Was That?!

Let me tell you about my morning. It was insane. So realize during the summer teachers often take classes from their districts to improve our instruction. Some do it because their principals require it, but others, like myself, do it because we want to bring something new. It doesn’t hurt my county gives incentives for attending.

Anyway, so picture me waking up a little later than I normally would for school to go to a class. I got myself up in time to do what I needed to with maybe a few minutes extra. Willy, the Great Dane Boxer mix, has a sprained knee right now so he needed medicine (imagine wrestling a 100 pound dog), and can’t go out with Rocket. I manage all that and I start hearing an odd sound.

It sounds like a mix between a pigeon and an owl. I am thinking of my chickens and ducks who have some deer netting to protect from owls, as that is the primary predator, along with hawks, that I am working with. I know, I really owe you guys pictures of the enclosures. I am half dressed at this point, and realize I need to go see what is going on, because I can tell that it is coming from the area of the flock.

I head out in flip flops through wet grass. I hate walking through wet grass. It’s weird I know, but if I can feel the wet grass on my feet or ankles, I hate it. Anyway, I get closer and think it may be the goose. Lucy is wonderful and her alerts have already saved three of my ducklings from drowning (I will try to remember to go back and tell that story). I get closer and realize it isn’t her because when she sees me she starts honking. What is that noise?

I get halfway to the duck pen when I hear it again behind me. Have you ever listened to a boy as his voice changes? It isn’t quite sure what is doing. That is similar to what I was experiencing: a baby rooster. Yes, laugh at me, but I have only ever really been around adult roosters. Besides that, we only had one potential rooster (a bantam) since the others were pullets. Well, this was one of the production reds, so we definitely have a pullet fail.

I walked over to him, watched him, and saw it for sure. My entire morning was derailed. By a baby rooster…

rooster

 

 

 

 

After that in the rule of Murphy’s Law, I got caught behind an incredibly slow moving train, which then when backwards. I was almost 15 minutes late. Thanks rooster…

Scams

Hello readers who stuck it out with me. Others, miss ya, sorry I had website issues. So, I am going to tell you about some scams I’ve encountered that because I could tell they were scams, were hilarious to me, but could be useful to someone else. First though, the background information.

Michael and I have decided to look casually for a gypsy vanner mare. The plan (very long term) is to breed. We don’t want a giant breeding operation or anything like that, just something small, a mare or two. Its all very casual though because we have so many irons the the fire we don’t exactly have time for it at the moment. Essentially, the plan is to browse every so often, and it we see a great deal that fits our needs, grab it. Anyone with any knowledge of this breed knows that they are valuable and maintain value. Usually there are rarely any below $6,000, but it does happen occasionally.

So now that you have the background:

I came across a few ads that looked just too great to be true (typically, if they look that way it means that they are). So there was a mare form $700 (yes, that’s correct, I’m not missing a 0). Already suspicious, but hey, asking won’t hurt. The ad mentions being located in Texas, but then when I email for more information they are suddenly in California. I then get told a story about how their daughter Jenner had passed and how they just wanted a good home for Dacy. The $700 would just be for shipping of course. I’m very suspicious at this point, for obvious reason, but let me investigate. I ask for confirmation that Dacy is pure, because she doesn’t look like it. I also answer their question about if I’m a breeder, what my home is like, etc. I also sent some pics of my horse to show health. When I get the response, they won’t come out and confirm she’s pure, they are asking for my address etc so they can go to the ‘agency’ and have her registered in my name, etc. No request for references. I’m not going to lie, I wish they hadn’t gotten as much information from me as they had. They had my name (can’t recall if they had last too), pics of my animals, and know what my husband and I do for a living. Luckily, they don’t know where we lived exactly (no address, but they may have gotten a town, but can’t recall that either). I don’t think they can do anything with that information, but if you think they can please let me know. So, thought it was weird and decided just to leave it.

 

Then, funny enough on another listing site I come across another gypsy mare for $700, this one listed as being in Mississippi, but upon requesting information it too was in California. Different picture though. I ask for more information and hear the same story about poor parents whose daughter Jenner had died. And they asked the same four questions… DONE.

 

Then in another ad on another site there was a team of mares for $2000 each. This seems somewhat more reasonable until I hear claims of how decorated they are in the show ring. Huh. interesting. This time it was owner’s medical needs. I text the number as instructed, and get a ton of hello, huh. Okay, no big, I won’t contact any further. Then later I get texts about it. I explain the recent scams and ask if they could give me a reference. At that point I got a huffy, “Do you think I am a scam Madam?” Based on that response, yes, yes I do.

 

Be careful out there y’all. I tried to report the ads with limited success. I was able to see through it and think it is probably no harm no foul, thought I will be keeping a close eye on some things just in case.