15 May 2013

My Favoite Part of Gardening

2012-07-30 06.59.36We got the sweet corn started last weekend and will follow with a later planting in June. We planted Mirai, Vision F1, Xtra Tender, and Wildas pride, an ornamental. That is my sweet corn loving husbands favorite part now I am working on mine. I may have mentioned it before but I love pumpkins. They make me happy. Thinking about them makes me giddy.

I have fifteen varieties of squash to plant this year. Last year we planted sixteen rows on purpose plus the volunteers. I know I only want to plant one of the Speckled Hound they are amazingly prolific. I suppose I could get by with one of the Baby Bear, Big Max (although it makes me sad) and Wee Be Little. Definitely one Acorn Squash and if there was a way to do half of a Spaghetti Squash they are both astonishingly good producers. The Mini Harvest Blend and Small Ornamental Gourd blend might offer the desired variety if I let two seeds go from the same hill. The others though I don’t know how I will limit myself to one plant of each.

They are so beautiful. Even their names are enchanting: Rouge Vif d’Etampes, Marina Di Chiogga, Jarrahdale, Queensland Blue and Lumina. They are my favorites flat and deep orange, round smooth and blue, big warty and grey. My new experiments for this year: Connecticut Field, Nothing fancy an old heirloom variety plain smooth orange, I suppose the early settlers made many a meal of them carving there niche out of the wilderness. Bushel Gourd, I am fantasising about spending next winter carving and decorating many a bird house next winter.

But one hill of each it will be. Already myriad volunteers are popping up across last years pumpkin patch. There is great excitement in seeing what they will be. We will transfer them into the open space and wait to see what we get. Probably twenty spaghetti squashes like last year.

14 May 2013

Planting Corn

Now there’s corn planting

And then there’s CORN PLANTING

6 May 2013

Spring Things

4 May 2013

A New Red Wagon

We finally got the Small Goblin Child’s wagon put together. Only about a year after receiving it. Better late than never. She loves it, we love it. As handy as the back pack is for things that require using my hands, like oh, say working Nevel, the wagon is easier on my shoulders for walks and the like. She is so cute sitting in there clinging to the sides as we bounce over the rough roads. Good thing it’s a four-wheel-drive wagon.

26 April 2013

Dirt is Healthy

I was a little concerned so this is very good news. It’s all well and good to theorize and listen to hearsay but a little proof is always nice.

We put the tomatoes and various other plants out in the green house today, finally. What is it now a month after we first hoped to get it done? The tomatoes had gone insane. They were a good two feet tall twining about the grow lights. We dug the holes for the four going into the green house with a post hole digger. We buried them until they are only about six inches tall.

Every thing else looked nice, until it saw sunlight for the first time. They wilted instantly standing in water. My gardener husband constructed a little shade and they are recovering nicely. The peppers are gorgeous and we will have petunias coming out of our, well they look good.

The Goblin Child got her first ride on the four-wheeler hauling the flats of plants over. Then, during the planting, we sat her on the ground where the corn isn’t coming up. She played happily the whole time. I looked over once to see her sucking on a clod of dirt like a lolly pop. I took it away and spent the rest of the time trying to control her dirt intake. I wasn’t going to tell anybody. I didn’t want people to know what a bad parent I am, but I came in the house and started to research dirt so I would know how much I had to worry about it.

Come to find out I am actually a very good parent. I am helping her to develop a strong immune system. When I let her pet poor disgusting Daisy, same thing.  So we will, cautiously, continue to allow her to eat dirt. Now I need to start researching the eating of grass, I think she has been watching the horses to much.

25 April 2013

So Exciting!

It’s the little things.

I got a new book! I know how cool is that?

Well it’s a new book on clicker training. Used to train dolphins and quite common in the dog world it is still mostly unheard of for horses. So of course if it’s not main stream I’ve got to try it.

I’ve made it through the first couple of chapters and it’s fascinating. I was able to sneak out and work Nevel during the child’s morning nap so we tried it out just a little. We tried targeting. It sounded, and seemed to be, very simple. I brought my beautiful purple lunge whip and every time he touched it with his nose I clicked my clicker and he got a cookie. The point being to teach him to associate the click with a reward and realize that he did something to cause it. I’m not sure yet how this carries on into something useful. I guess I will have to finish the book.

Also, I’m getting a tack room!

Life is so very very exciting.

In our yard sits a building that at one time was the bunkhouse where the hired hand lived. I planted flowers up it, but mostly it has sat there rotting for many years now. Generations have used it for storage but now the roof on one side had caved in and it was deteriorating at a much quicker rate.

A bundle of tin was discovered that had been ordered for it years ago then forgotten. So my occasional carpenter husband and his pay-loader driving father re-roofed the west/worst side. I tried to help but we used up the Small Goblin Child’s brief happy patient period quickly. I spent most of the time in the house trying to get her to sleep. Seldom have I been jealous of anyone but I have to admit I envied my brother for living close to my mom. She baby sat for him all the time while he worked on his house. It sure would have made this easier. I think he’s had his share and now she needs to move out here. Fortunately the father-in-law showed up to help and was, I’m sure, way more help then I ever could have been. I love the way they use the pay-loader for scaffolding.

Now we simply need to finish the other side of the roof, clean out decades of carefully stored “stuff”, and haul all of our junk over. Oh yeah, it doesn’t just get to be my tack room. That is merely a pleasant side effect. Mostly it will be a storage shed for gardening supplies and all the other misalliance “stuff” that currently fills our back porch. Eventually we will get this house organized so we all fit.

20 April 2013

Been Busy

2013-04-12 11.08.59
See how his hind fetlock joints bend forwards?

The blizzard got over. As far as I know the two calves who started their lives in the barn are still alive. The one I tubed had bad hind legs. My father-in-law thought his hind feet had froze. I thought it looked like contracted tendons. We shall wait and see if they get better or fall off. If he is still alive that is. I went along to doctor him during the last snow, he had pneumonia pretty bad. He had a bed of hay in a pen with only one other calf, and their moms but sometimes they really like to die no matter what you do for them.

The one other calf is his barn buddy, that one decided he had no interest in eating. The guys spent a lot of time running his mom into the chute so they could show him how it was done. (By guiding him into position, not by demonstrating.) Now that the weather is nice again I am no longer checking cows and really have no idea what is going on out there.

My hands are full enough with the small Goblin Child. We have been thinking about trying to return her to her true father (the goblin king). We hope she is teething, if not, well if not hopefully she will out grow this stage quickly. She has given up on sleeping through the night and now wakes up two or three times. Lately she is refusing  her naps leaving us with the most amazingly grouchy baby.

She is learning to walk. Very exciting for her, and us. Every time we get near her she reaches out her hands wanting us to assist her to her feet. Once up she doesn’t really want us to hold onto her any longer but she also has no sense of balance and no fear of falling. Her favorite position seems to be standing with her forehead pressed to the floor.

We got more chickens! The three from last year all turned out to be roosters. As fond as we were of them we didn’t want roosters. One went to be the herd rooster at my husbands uncles house. The other two took to roosting on the in-laws porch. My husband doesn’t eat chicken, weird I know, and apparently the in-laws don’t ether or at least don’t want to butcher their own. The chickens disappeared one night, I didn’t ask for details.

The new ones are promised to be hens. Bomgaars said so. They also has an excellent selection. I got a Silver Laced Wyandotte, one Blue Andalusian, an Americana and two of my all time favorites Speckled Sussex.  Bomgaars is supposed to be getting a shipment including Buff Orpingtons so we may have to get one more chick.

10 April 2013

The Aftermath

The snow is supposed to be over at least. In reality it is still coming down pretty good out there. The guys have been out in the pay-loaders all morning clearing snow out of the feed lot so they can feed calves for reals, yesterday they got some bales of hay. When the small Goblin Child went down for her nap I went out to check the horses and look at the snow. The horses were great, the snow was incredible.

While I was out I thought I would let the cow and her hopefully still alive calf out of the barn. He was not only alive but doing great so I fought the door open, there was some doubt as to the outcome, and kicked them out.

Unfortunately I then immediately found another calf born on the ice and mud still alive but barely kicking. I called my snow plowing husband and he came to our aid. We were able to get that cow and calf into the recently vacated shed. She is quiet and devoted but not licking on the poor little guy. Of the calves born yesterday that seems to have been the main deciding factor in whether they lived.

Two were still alive when we found them, the one in the barn and another that was immediately hauled to the Quonset and placed in front of  a heater. He barely lasted out the hour. At the barn door was another already gone when we got there. At least one other was up and going nicely.

Today we found an older calf that looked like he had been laid on. One newborn and the one we got into the barn this morning and lots of brand new calves up and running around. All in all we fared nicely there is tons of protection in the pens. I can’t imagine how people are doing with out so much shelter. I didn’t realize just how bad it was until I dropped the child off at the in-laws. The wind was blowing straight down the driveway, the one unprotected spot. It was cold. In the shelter of the pens it had been nearly warm and the snow was melting.

The main roads are opening again but I hear they have given up on the county roads until the snow stops blowing so hard. School is cancelled today and again tomorrow. I hear the snow is drifted to the second floor windows.

9 April 2013


There’s a blizzard comin’ on how I’m wishin’ I was home
For my pony’s lame and he can’t hardly stand
Listen to that norther sigh if we don’t get home we’ll die
But it’s only seven miles to Mary Anne
It’s only seven miles to Mary Anne
You can bet we’re on her mind for it’s nearly suppertime
And I’ll bet there’s hot biscuits in the pan
Lord, my hands feel like they’re froze and there’s a numbness in my toes
But, it’s only five more miles to Mary Anne
It’s only five more miles to Mary Anne
That wind’s howlin’ and it seems mighty like a woman’s screams
And we’d best be movin’ faster if we can
Dan just think about that barn with that hay so soft and warm
For it’s only three more miles to Mary Anne
It’s only three more miles to Mary Anne
Dan get up you ornery cuss or you’ll be the death of us
I’m so weary but I’ll help you if I can
All right Dan perhaps it’s best that we stop awhile and rest
For it’s still a hundred yards to Mary Anne
It’s still a hundred yeards to Mary Anne
Late that night the storm was gone and they found him there at dawn
He’d a made it but he couldn’t leave ol’ Dan
Yes, they found him there on the plains his hands frozed to the reins
He was just a hundred yards from Mary Anne
He was just a hundred yards from Mary Anne

I love this song. I’ve only heard the Chris LeDoux version but it’s a great one. I love to sing it when I’m out riding in the summer heat, right now it hits a little too close to home.

It is howling outside. For once I’m happy to play the girl card, stay inside, and care for the child.

Yesterday was spent preparing. I moved the horses up front out of the way. The father and mother-in-law put out bales in all the pens and I waited for the call to say he was ready to bring the cows in. The day started nicely enough warm without too much wind. As the day wore on the temperatures dropped steadily as the wind rose. And still we waited. At last  a freezing mist began to blow and it was finally bad enough to be just right for moving cattle.

Coyote was feeling the coming storm. He was hot, I think we could have run laps around the two four-wheelers. They came off of the corn stalks easy enough. Until they got to the gate at least. The fences around the pivot are all single strand electric and the calves happily pop back and forth underneath them. They saw no reason why today should be any different.

There we sat with the cows in the narrow lane, the calves out side the narrow lane and coyote boinging around the narrow lane like the squirrel in Over The Hedge after they gave him coffee. The father-in-law and the neighbor Bill were off their four-wheelers chasing calves on foot through the tree row on one side and the wheat field on the other. They are both around seventy give or take a few years and there I sat on my horse while they ran about on foot. I felt awful. I felt as though the natural superiority of the horse was being put to the question.

Coyote managed not to crash into the electric fence and no one had a heart attack. We got one batch of calves into the pens and I found a secure place to tie my horse then I ran through the tree row on foot. The calves all seemed to have come in, no one was bawling last night. It started snowing in earnest shortly after we finished. It would have been nice for them to have more time before the storm to get paired back up but moving pairs in nice weather is simply not done.

Coyote was lathered, soaked to the skin more from nerves than exercise. I turned him out anyway. A good roll seemed like the best cure. Later that evening I went out to check them and found them all shivering. Not too surprising, I groomed them. I knew as I picked up the curry comb that it was a bad idea. They got locked in the barn for the night. It was nice and warm and dry. They hated it.

8 April 2013

Why are People so Bad at Selling Horses?

In a fit of insanity I called about a horse this morning.

I was browsing through Craigslist, because that’s what I do while the rotten Goblin Child eats, skipping over the decently priced horses and laughing at the really bad adds. I saw one philly for sale and a half quarter half pertron, what is that exactly? But there are so many blogs devoted to the well deserved mocking of Craigslist horses I wont get into that. Then I came a 13 year old Morgan mare, I got all excited and clicked on it. The add was as bad as most other Craigslist adds including a picture of her papers. Not close enough to read them just a picture of it laying there.

Mocha is a 13 year old registered morgan. She was used as a ranch horse when Mike bought her. Can be a little hard to catch, but is good as gold once haltered. Easy with her feet, easy to load and can be ridin bareback.
Asking $900 OBO.

It’s not much information but worth calling about, I have been (not) looking for a teenaged Morgan mare. The guy answered I was suprised being a week day and all. Score one, and final score. I asked him to tell me about her. He thought real hard and said “well she can be hard to catch.” Great you said that in the add, can you tell me about her?

He really couldn’t.

I finally managed to squeeze out of him that they had used her a little to work cattle. He bought her from a friend who had ranched on her. She liked to look at cows at least and would spook at strange things. Great she’s a Morgan I expected all of that, he still hadn’t told me anything about the horse. So why do I want it any way? Obviously I am insane.

He said he would get back to me with her blood lines. I hope he doesn’t, it would be awful if she is beautifully bred.

The pictures didn’t transfer well but I liked how uphill she looked cantering. She seems to be short and stocky her legs look nice and she is cheap and close. That is always important.

Theoretically, it would be fun to buy her make sure she is riding nicely shine her up a little and try my hand at some marketing. I believe there is a market for this type of horse but it’s not Craigslist in this country where no one has heard of anything but a quarter horse. Of course if she turned out to be really nice I could do some more training have my horse for the child and husband and maybe breed her to Nevel some day.

Ahh, the joy of wishful thinking.

There is no hay. There is no grass. There is no time. I need to stop looking at Craigslist. This is self inflicted torture.