Friday, September 30, 2011


The trouble with new hay buildings is they need to be filled.

So I ordered a trailer load of hay. Somehow when it arrived it looked more daunting than imagined - will all that hay fit in my new building?

The first evening I got about 1/4 of the load inside. These bales are huge, just under 100# and loosely baled, so they are awkward to move.

On day 2 I got some help. It was still a challenge getting all that hay stacked inside. I love this kind of work, though. There's a task, work at it until it's done. Oh look, it's done. Simple. I still need to get the front tarp up, although I did get the hay covered, since it's supposed to rain tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Small Mesh Hay Nets

Small mesh hay nets are supposed to make horses eat more slowly, chew more thoroughly, and hence get more nutrition out of their hay. The continual supply of food is said to make them less defensive of their food, and generally be more natural for them.

The horses mostly readily took to the nets, and almost immediately spent less time chasing each other away. 

The alpaca also figured out how to eat through the small mesh, and hovered around the netted bale.

I need to figure out how to keep the hay near the ground, but off the ground. Once the rains start it won't work to have it just sitting on the ground.

I'm testing using an old trough as a container. These two horses are less interested in taking the time to pull hay through the netting. They first tipped the trough over and pulled the netted bale out to find the larger holes at the bottom so they could get huge mouthfuls of hay. I put the trough next to a tree to make it harder to tip, and so far they are ignoring the netted hay. 

Part of introducing the nets is also providing loose hay while they transition over, so everyone has plenty of food they'll eat. Hopefully these two will condescend to eating more slowly sometime soon.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hay Storage #2

Woo Hoo! It's finally here!

Welcome, Hay Storage #2. A friend dropped this 1/2 container off the other day, and another friend came over to help me get it prepared for hay. This clearing was cut out of the alder forest, and all stumps had to be cut down to the ground, and the ground leveled out enough for a trailer to back in. Next week I get bark shavings delivered to cover the road construction cloth, and make it (hopefully) a year-round approach.

The Alpaca came by to visit and see what all the fuss was about - and to taste the new grass sprouting up.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Mighty Zander

Zander has finally figured out that he can actually stand on top of the crate, instead of just leaning over it. He's pretty thrilled with this new experience - it gives him a whole new view of the world. Fortunately he hasn't yet figured out that he could jump or climb over fences. 


The Himalayan blackberries have done exceedingly well this year; I am always surprised at their determination to take over my lower field. I spent a couple hours cutting them back to their side of the fence. All the lovely dark green bushes behind the fence are blackberries. Filled, this time of year, with luscious, tasty fruit.

The pond from a bit further back, to show the trees beginning to turn colors. Our late, spectacular summer is drawing to an early close. The berries won't mind - they have a 10 month growing season here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dry Season

While it does rain a lot and frequently in the Pacific Northwest, we do actually have a dry season. Summer came late this year, but you can see things really do dry out, even in a wet year. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Changing Seasons

So many people claim Autumn as their favorite season. I struggle to see it in a positive light. Summer in the Pacific Northwest is beautiful. It is rarely too hot, it rains rarely, and the skies are often clear, displaying the beautiful mountains. The days are long, the evenings cool and delightful. 

Fall transitions right into winter. It is the beginning of the dark and the wet. I do love many things about Fall and Winter. My challenge is to live in the moment, enjoy what is up for the day, find the beauty in rain, appreciate the long nights, be grateful that I have a warm and dry home to snuggle up in. Live in the now, don't borrow from the future. Be grateful for the moment. Welcome the Fall.

Friday, September 09, 2011


Such beautiful colors transitioning from night to day.

Monday, September 05, 2011

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Chickens Just Want To Share

A half-dozen chickens were sunning on the stump when I put hay in for the Alpacas. They immediately headed down.

"Do you think there's grain hidden in that hay?"

"Probably. Let's look over here."

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Fence Reinforcement

My "Dog Yard" is also part of my septic system field, filled with underground pipes. This, plus the inevitable slope of the land, makes fencing a challenge. I first put up my usual sheep fencing with concreted in wood end posts and interior metal t-posts and woven wire. However, there is a long area that is both sloped and over pipes I didn't want to risk pounding posts into. The fence was never tight and strong, and didn't improve over time. The solution?

I had a large number of stored bird cage panels, and thought the wood frames would add some stability to the fence. They do. They also add a rather whimsical air to the place. 

This should also keep Zander from figuring out that he could really jump fences if he wanted - a skill I hope he never acquires.