Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Cacti

These beauties bloom for me every year, and bloom for months. They bring bright beauty into the house during the dark of winter.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Impossible Dream

The back horse pasture is out of hay. My road is not passable, no way to get help. No problem. I'm sure I can get a bale back there if I take it slow and steady. The snow should make the bale easier to roll, right?

Wrong. I had a heck of a time getting the bale out of the shelter. Either this bale is heavier than the others I've moved, or something's wrong. The good thing is that within minutes I am no longer cold. The bad thing is I think what's wrong is that my gloves are slipping too much on the frozen plastic. 

I remove the gloves. Now my body is very warm and my hands are very cold. The bale moves much better. The goats and a few sheep arrive to help by making the bale lighter.

Progress is very slow until I get to one of the hills. Progress pretty much stops. I'm hot, my hands are freezing, the bale isn't moving, it's 20 degrees F, and I need to pee. Time for a new plan. There's nothing like a nearly impossible project to inspire a new plan.

I thought about this for awhile. I have 3 horses in a pasture with no food but a pond they break a drinking hole in. I have a dozen sheep in a pasture with - now - 3 bales of hay and no water. The pastures are connected.

I open the gate. Two horse charge in, circle around the 3 bales of hay, attempt to intimidate the sheep, roll in the snow, and settle down to chomp at the new bale. The sheep decide the other two bales are just fine.

So far it's working. The third horse isn't fond of sheep, but hopefully there's enough food and room that everyone will be OK. I'll go back and check once I've warmed my hands, eaten, and taken care of other business...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

End of the Day


I'm glad I don't have to go anywhere. Trees all along the lower road are bent over by the heavy snow and now frozen in place.

After The Storm

What a beautiful morning, after two days of dark snowness. It is very cold, and that cold sucked half the volume out of the snow! Where last night 8" of snow covered the world, this morning it is only 4". Hopefully that means my first round of shelter roof-wacking was done by nature.

It is nice to see an immediate benefit to the cold - I am of the belief that temperatures should never get below 20 deg F. It just isn't right. It isn't expected to get above freezing today, so I am looking forward to hauling water around much of the day. Eternally grateful for electricity and working power.


It's a gloriously beautiful morning. Sun shining brightly, reflecting off all the snow. It is, however, under 20 degrees F. I saw Polly sunbathing, and thought I'd open the door just far enough to snap a pic.

Then I noticed that one of the peacocks was soaking up sun just in front of her.

I was about to shut the door when I realized Charlie was also catching rays, just under the table.

I was almost inside (before my fingers froze off) when I saw Jesse. This must be the hot spot of the property.

And how focused was I on Polly and the cold, that I didn't notice everyone else right away?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Food In the Storm

Sheep and goats, happy with their surplus hay.

Big Foot

Zander on the left.
Judy's slightly large barn boot on the right.


Can someone come out and play?

Greeting a friend.

Zander's First Snow - Day 2

Life is so much fun when you are with a puppy.

Buried Treasure

Unexpected Encounter

Zander and I were walking up the hill under the power lines. I looked down in an area with no visible vegetation, and saw this: 

A tiny spider, no where near shelter. It was snowing fairly hard, about 36 degrees.

This small spider was walking across the snow. Actually, he'd stopped, seemingly aware of my presence.

He checked out the local environment with a few legs, and started walking again.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Zander's First Snow

Zander's first snow. I was expecting him to go running around, sliding in the snow. Instead he took 2 steps out the door and started to eat it. Maybe I'm not feeding him enough :).

When he finally made it off the porch, he started digging for things - and found a bone to eat! I guess it's too wet and not deep enough for playing in.

First Snow

Snow is magical and beautiful. It transforms the world into something silent, white and pristine.

However, it also makes for lots of work. In the last heavy snows (two years ago) I lost 2 of my shelters to snow load. I have 4 shelters now, and spent 2 hours clearing the roofs before it got dark. Trouble is it never gets cold enough for snow - the snow comes down wet, heavy and sticky. Then it freezes overnight into a solid mass.

I discovered a problem with my new round bales. They take up all of the room in the shelter. Squeezing between them and the walls and then smacking the roof with a broom is an interesting exercise. Today I officially do not need to go to the gym.

The Snow Begins

Hanna, enjoying the snow falling.

Growing Up

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Preparing for Snow - Hay Day #2

Getting hay in is always a bit of a challenge. There's too much mud to get truck and trailer inside the gate, so Charlie has to be locked up and a watch kept for critters sneaking out.

I love the new wrapped round bales. Each weighs about 500 lbs (the previous ones I got were 900 lbs), small enough that I can roll them around.

This is a month's supply for the sheep and goats. I can get bales out to this field by myself.

I had help getting this one to the field beyond the sheep area, since there's some uphill involved, but getting a round bale out here saves me having to haul square bales by hand daily!

Notice that all the areas are empty? As soon as I rolled a bale into the sheep area, the horses followed me in - and proceeded to chase the sheep out.

The donkey snuck out the gate and is heading for her favorite berry patch. The horses soon tired of the sheep field, and went to see where the sheep disappeared to.

By the end of the day I coaxed the sheep back in (with grain),

And the horses came down to see what changes had been made to their feeding grounds. I had to go get Polly, she thought maybe spending the night out would be a good plan. I did manage to get everyone into their respective fields, and all are happily chowing down.

Flying Puppy

Have you ever worried that your ears were too big? You've got nothing on Zander. Maybe he'll grow into them.

He LOVES to run. Just look at the joy in that face, and in the whole body. Life is good.

Puppy Explorations

Zander had such a good time exploring the railroad cut. It's lush and muddy, what could be better?