Friday, September 25, 2009

Friday....sunshine and no gravel

No gravel tractor available and ours is not out of the maintenance shop yet.
No worry as there was plenty to do anyway.
I slept in a little, drank some coffee, chatted with Chelsea on the way down to the barn, then fed everyone. Then I cleaned stalls and picked the gravel paddocks....then headed home to do some computer work.
At noon I headed back to the barn and met my hired workers.
First we unloaded a ton and a half of hay.
Then we built a retaining wall for the small manure pile, got the large tarp folded up and then started on my mom's fence line. She has needed a small fenced in area for her dogs so that she does not have to go outside in the dark or in the rain. So we got all the posts put in and cemented a few. Then I watered the horses and gave them a snack of the new hay. Winston was unimpressd with it....he wants ALFALFA. He paced his paddock for a while and then decided he might be able to choke it down.

I then loaded my mother up in the truck and headed for the feed store. We stopped at Starbucks for a latte then went to look at metal fencing. She chose some black non climb horse fencing which should look good with her orangish pressure treated posts.
Tomorrow I will endeavor to hang the fencing......later in the afternoon!

I fed dinner to the horses about 6 pm and let most of them eat outside because it was still so warm.
The retaining wall looks great and should work like a charm....but one project always brings on another.....
I am going to replace two of the gates with mesh type gates.....much safer know that I am practically paranoid about legs getting stuck in places that they shouldn't! We have two rather long panel type gates and yes, sometimes the boys squabble over gated areas.....pawing and sometimes a well placed kick at a supposed villain.......I don't want leg injuries.
After surveying the gates......I decided that we need to fix the leaning posts on the arena. Yukon pushed on them and rubbed his fat butt on them last year...pushed them out of place where they are listing to the side. Looks tacky I think.....
I also need more fence posts along the forested side of the far paddock.......old rotten posts and some field fencing that I hate. So 13 more posts....

oh.........and railroad ties.......helps to keep gravel in place and provides a deep enough structure to hold it with a proper depth. I still have the three paddocks to gravel in....remember?

We still need to paint the loafing sheds to protect them from weather.....scrub water tubs, cut boards for the inside of stalls (wall repairs) ....most of these horses are big and hard on stalls, doorways and stall doors.

Also time to call the farrier for everyone.

Hey..........much thanks to SAFE BOAT employees who have sponsored Beaver in honor of their boss...........Beaver is proud! He wants his picture taken with ALL of them.

enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wednesday comes the weekend

Guess what I am doing Friday? guessed it work........specifically gravel and building a retaining wall for the manure pile.
I am anxious to get it done and over!

The paddocks that were done last week are great so far and they really look good too. I will feel happy when there is no mud to have to stand in or track into the stalls.

We expect this winter to be a bad one........for horses that is. We are trying to get some of our adoptable horses into new homes so that we have some "working" room for horses who will need somewhere to go. This also means we need to put hay away and we hope to be able to put enough away to help feed needy horses in the community.... if the need arises and I am sure it will.
I would like to publicly thank Joe Leitz of Leitz Livestock for his help with good hay at a good price and also the donations he makes to us for our benefits......he has given us hay several times. We love you Joe!

We are trying to help place two TB mares.....youngsters, registered, well bred.......they need a place asap or they are doomed. If you can help...please email me at There is a chestnut and a bay...well built girls.

enjoy the rest of your work week.........mine is over tomorrow and I have the three day weekend that I have come to love and need.

more later.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday evening......not quite finished

Friday was productive......we got two paddocks finished and only three more to go. The gravel started to settle nicely when it rained late Friday night and Saturday morning. The gravel also drained nicely and the horses seem to love to stand on it.
I have days when I think these projects will never finish. Just when I think we are getting ahead of the comes another one. We hope to get the arena footing re-done in the late spring.......too late now to work on it this year.

Saturday morning, Kim, Darlene and I worked on adding timbers to specific areas to hold the gravel in place. Then we added some gravel to Beaver's paddock, moved some mats (ugh...), placed some stakes to secure timbers and then added a half wall to Beaver's stall.

Then I was off to the hospital to visit my mom. She has been hospitalized for several days.......always worrisome.......but she got to come home Saturday evening. I got her home and into her house, got her dogs fed and then did my barn chores. She was tired and ready to go to bed as I was finishing up.

Sunday morning, I arrive to the farm, check in on my mom and find her still sleeping, so I let her sleep, but I put her dogs out, feed the cats and then feed the horses....who are slightly put out because I have been there for over fifteen minutes without handing over the chow. Then home to shower, drink some coffee and run some errands.

At 3pm I meet a new volunteer and introduce her to the horses, show her the feeding schedule and sign her paperwork..........she is helping out at Pony Up for her senior project and we will love having her with us for ten weeks. She is a girl I have known for a few years and she is horse experienced......YAY! This means she can ride, feed or clean. I am blessed by my volunteers....welcome Devon and thank you for choosing us!
I also have my boys...(workers) show up......more drainage projects to help keep water out of paddocks....they dig ditches while I clean water tubs and feed.
The boys and I work until just after six.......then back to the house to check on my mom, get her dogs fed, make sure she takes her niece is there with her and has helped her with some household stuff.

thank you to the Stiffey's for the horse treats, apples, sunflower seeds and help this week.........thank you to Kim for the help with feeding, cleaning and construction help.......thank you to Jason the tractor man for the hours of tractor work on Friday.........thank you to Eli's mother for the banana bread and for sending us the boys! I rave about those boys.......hard workers and polite....easy to be around.

Sharon, I hope your back feels better. You are now on light duty around matter what you say!

Projects to finish......paddocks, paint the newest parts of the loafing sheds, paint the chicken coop, retaining wall for the manure pile, pour a cement pad outside the barn (farrier and vet standing pad).......paint the inside of the barn, add some boards to the inside of the stalls where they need repair, fix the access gate, spread gravel on the loafing shed mats, install light fixtures in the loafing sheds for winter hours.......and spread grass seed in the pastures. Gosh, that is a lot isn't it? and I am sure I have missed some things.

Not to mention that we need to fundraise for medical expenses, training expenses, and start making a "horse food bank" fund for this winter. By the looks of Craigslist, it is going to be a crazy year ...maybe worse than last year and we want to be able to help folks. We encourage ideas ........send us yours. How would you work a horse food bank if you could? How would you encourage donations to such a thing?

enjoy your week..........

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thursday is my Friday

Heavy sigh of work week is is Thursday night. YAY!!!!

Tomorrow is GRAVEL day. My friend is coming with his tractor and will help me spread gravel for the anti mud treatment of the paddocks. Honestly, if I get these paddocks finished ....I will be celebrating. So much work. I hate to have horses slog in mud....I hate the resulting thrush and hoof issues it brings. I figure if we are giving horses a better place to live........well, we should give them a "better" place....shelter from the elements, good footing, good food, and NO mud. God knows I am trying. I may have more gravel than the local rock quarry at this point.

We got a nice bench off of Craigslist for outside of the barn. Very solid, varnished......simply marvelous! Only 5o dollars....such a bargain. Now we can ALL sit down.

Sully's leg is just fine..........thanks for asking. We are going to take him on a trail ride in the Banner Forest this weekend. I think he will enjoy it and it is good experience for him. I keep saying what a jewel he is..........someone will get a great horse.......I would keep him for myself if he were big enough! I swear! I am not an Arab person....but I really LIKE this horse.

Thank you to the Stiffey's for the garage sale they held and all the time they spent doing it! We will buy hay with the money.....we are feeding over a ton a month.

Thank you to Kim for helping me during the week and for working with Sully......and for killing big brown spiders lurking in saddles.......ewwwwww!

Fall is coming........cooler in the morning........getting darker faster....chickens go to bed won't be long now.

I write these blogs and tell you about all the work that goes into creating and maintaining a horse rescue.....but it isn't just physical is mental and emotional and financial. Sometimes it is a daunting task, sometimes it is depressing.........sometimes we don't know how we will feed another mouth or clean another stall......but we carry on. Committment and responsibility........helpless creatures who need care and love.....we cannot do it without volunteers and people who donate their hearts and a little bit of their souls to those helpless creatures.
I will always applaud our volunteers....who do it for the horses......they don't get a lot of press ........someday I will post pictures of each one....I am sure the pictures will show their halos.

It is a picture waiting to be painted...........a brilliantly sunny morning.......and there is Hamilton, surrounded by three teenage delicately holding his lead rope, while one applies show sheen to his coat and the other rubs conditioner/detangler into his tail.......their laughter pierces the air while they talk about their new school year....and they put "dibbs" on who will comb his tail out.........then one brushes his back and combs his mane while the other combs his tail out.........Hammy is half asleep.....but feeling the love of three angels. Thank you to Maia, Madeline and made Hammy feel like a million dollars. He is a horse who has not known much love or much kindness in his life, but in your hands he thinks he must be "something" important.

Volunteers.........they "rock"!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tuesday.......we have a tractor!

Pony Up North bought a tractor today! A John Deere 770, used, but just the right size......with accessories! A good friend of mine picked it up for me and took it home to give it some "maintenance" and a once over. YAY!!! We really needed a tractor and got a great deal (I think and my friend thinks so too)

Sunday I had a quite a scare at the farm. I was feeding breakfast and Beaver was anxious. He hates it when Sully gets his hay first......he does his best to reach over Sully's stall and bite him, so Sully kicks at him and I yell at both of them and so it goes,they eventually settle down.........usually. This morning was no different........Beaver bit, Sully kicked, I yelled and Sully kicked again...and then I heard it. THE NOISE. The noise of wood pulling back and more kicking. I was headed back into the barn, but heard THAT NOISE and turned around.......quick stepped back to Sully's stall. I expected to find that he had kicked through the plywood siding.....and THAT would have been bad enough.....but what I found was that he kicked the plywood siding and the 2 x 4 brace away from the post......and his leg slipped through the space he created when he kicked........the plywood flexed, his leg slipped through and then the plywood went back into place........holding his leg against the post. He was pulling against it and it would not budge. Enter ADRENALINE.........enter the thought "there is no one here to help me"........Run for the tack room for tools........door is to the back to tack room, unlock the lock......throw open the door, grab the hammer with the long claws........all the while calling to Sully to be a good boy...........easy does back to his stall and consider hitting myself in the head with the hammer.......I am going to have to pull the whole wall out.........I am on the outside of the stall, holding Sully's hoof in my left hand, telling him it is okay.........if he freaks out I am toast......there is NO HELP......I have to do this, no time to call anyone........Sully could break his leg or mortally wound himself. I am now Arnold Schwartzeneger........I take the hammer in my right hand and I put the claws under the two by four and I RIP it off of the post............voila.......I push Sully's leg back and down. My heart is pounding. Sully is such a good boy......he continued to eat his hay all the while that I held his foot. I go around and back into his stall. He is bleeding, his leg is scraped up......nothing deep enough for stitches. I halter him and he gets a cold hosing of the leg. Then I apply ointment, then pressure wrap it. Then he gets some bute. Then I sit down..........collect my thoughts..........then I replace the wall with a better wall. Two hours later..I am done. Fortunately I bought extra 2 x 4's the other day....wasn't sure why but thought I could use them for something ...!

I really always try to be safe......I try to have an eye for "things" that look dangerous. I am conservative where other people throw caution to the wind. I am a grandma mentality sometimes. Honestly.......Sully came from a farm that was a danger with a capital D......sheetmetal exposed, barbed wiring, jutting pieces of metal, broken name it....but he never got hurt and yet he gets his leg caught in his stall. Perhaps I should be drawn and quartered.......turned into the ASPCA .......who would have thought he could kick that hard? Not me. He is little. He is like a pony.

All that being said, it is a testament to his good and brave nature that he did not struggle and break his leg or pull skin off or tear muscles or some other atrocity....he was calm, he was eating hay and waiting for me to "fix" it. Some other horses (not named here) would have FREAKED out. Winston???....he would have taken the structure down and maimed himself..........with certainty.

I am happy to say that today (Tuesday) Sully's leg is fine, no swelling and he is no worse for the wear. I , however, am now looking for things.......dangererous, critical things........objects, rough know there is something, right?

With all that being of the most dangerous things on any farm...........electricity.....I mention this seriously. Winter is coming and we will use electricity to keep ice out of troughs, to provide light in the dark hours..........make sure your circuits are GFI (ground fault interrupter) protected so that your horse or yourself cannot be electrocuted. Horses mess with de-icer units........and the added feature of water will make a really dangerous combination.....don't take a chance! Also exposed extension cords are an attractive and dangerous nuisuance..........cover cords so that they cannot be chewed........replace extension cords with frayed or cracked insulation........keep light fixtures mounted where lips cannot reach them.........barn wiring should be covered with conduit in areas where horses have should have tube guards on fluorescent lamps so if they fall, they will not shatter all over the place. Horses will mess with light switches (just think about pony). The first thing he did when he got to my barn is to learn to flip the light switches, then break the switch cover off.......exposing wiring..........I had to block his access with WOOD. I could never figure why someone would put switches in harm's way? Get a qualified electrician to fix electrical issues. Electricity can kill.........don't take a chance

Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday....going to be sunny again

Friday......I love Friday...I don't work on Friday....Okay, I work, but I don't GO to a job, I work at the farm. There is always work to do at the farm. I wonder sometimes if anyone gets caught up on the work at a farm where there are horses? I am thinking NOT.

One of the reasons for not getting ahead on projects is that new projects always seem to pop up. Let's take the french drains we have been working on for know you dig a ditch, put some gravel down, put a pipe in the ditch, cover with some gravel, put some fabric over the top.....then pile the dirt back in.
You admire your work and think you got a lot done. Then several hours later as you are feeding the horses you notice that you did not cover a part of the fabric for some reason, so you go back over there and put more dirt on it. Then the next morning you see that the fabric is sticking up in another area and you get suspicious....and then you look over in another paddock and you see that a certain un-named pony is digging into the dirt, grabbing the fabric and pulling it up.....little ears forward and looking at you the whole time. Then you notice that a huge Holsteiner cannot walk anywhere in his paddock except for making a trail right over the new drain and so HIS fabric is everywhich way and then HIS neighbor horse sees the fabric and he too pulls it up, except he is also a huge horse and when he pulls it up, he PULLS it all up.
extra sigh.
I am now thinking these drains must be done with a backhoe and much deeper.........more dirt on the top or heavier gravel.

Yep, I am becoming an expert on drainage..........I just actually haven't seen it work yet.


Did I also mention the wood part of the fence was painted, looked great and then I noticed chew marks? Nobody chewed on it before it was painted.
Well and then there is my arena fencing. Four by four posts with cyclone fencing and now there are at least four of them leaning......leaning out...why you ask? Because some big horse needs to lean against them, scratch against them, hang out along the fence line to visit other horses and well, big horses tend to loosen posts when they lean.

So you see, I wonder how when I have visited other places and they are pristine pictures of horse leaning posts, no chew marks, no curtain drains with wadded up loose do they do it? 24/7 help?

well, off to farm work. Lots to do today. More hay to order. I need to buy beetpulp.....clean stalls, fix posts (don't I always write that one?) Kimis coming to ride Sully this afternoon.

enjoy your sunny day!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Monday and the holiday is over..........

A weekend that allowed us realize that FALL is almost here.......Fall means cooler, damper weather.......okay Fall really means the begining of RAIN season........and lots of rain for several months. It is how our landscape and scenary stays so green. Mother nature reminded me that mud is part of the fall scenary here in Washington, at least if you have horses. After this weekend, we have mud. We had some minor roof leaks too. So on Sunday we hauled some gravel, we bought more roof patch, we dug some more drainage ditches. I am hoping that it will dry out enough so that we can have the tractor spread the gravel over the geo tech fabric.........keep your fingers crossed for that. I hate to see horses slog in mud.

At least everyone had a dry place to stand.......thanks to loafing sheds and stalls. We are hock to hock...........hoping for another adoption before October so that we have some extra room. We are working on more wind blocks for the loafing sheds......which means more plywood and more paint to protect it.

Back to work tomorrow for most of us......but a short work week, right?

Kim helped feed and water tonight while I cleaned. Great to have volunteers and especially experienced ones. Kim used to ride hunters and will probably work one or more of the horses for us....she is working with Sully right now on lungeing and some ground work. She already knows the way to his heart is a carrot.

I saw beautiful pictures of Briann and Rio........he looks happy, she looks happy......and I am sure he is glad to be in his own stall with his own food which he doesn't have to he has an extra large pasture to go out in.......he definitely traded up!

I have my hired hands coming tomorrow........gutters need to be cleaned, fence posts need to be straightened, paddocks cleaned, retaining walls built and oh, yeah........more GRAVEL.

enjoy your week!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday.......volunteers rock!

Here it is, Saturday on Labor day weekend and we still have lots to do. Rain is upon us and there is mud to be managed, lean to's to be built and our volunteers get them done.
Sharon, Kim,Darlene and I built a lean to today off of a loafing shed. It will temporarily house "evil on four legs" aka Beaver, but eventually will be used to store a few bales of hay for those horses in the lower forty. We got the framing up, the metal roofing up and all we need now is ROOF PATCH for a few previous nail holes. Tomorrow..yes, tomorrow, I will get that chore done. I hope the weather will cooperate.
Kim groomed Hamilton and Sully, then helped Briann with Breeze. Ollie got a nice grooming and head rub..........poor Ollie has been lonesome since Rio left. Tonight he has a next door he won't be too lonesome any longer, although he may regret exhibiting lonesomeness! Also Bubba groomed Beaver....they are getting quite a friendship.......Beaver has not bit him even once!

I have hired a couple of very nice teenagers to do some work around the farm......great boys.....really great. Well mannered, polite, sense of humor and a great work ethic. Did I say I really like them? I do!!! Tomorrow they will wheelbarrow gravel and dig a few more drainage ditches....mend some fence posts at the arena, help me move some nice to have some muscle!

A big THANK YOU to the Stroh's girls/women who sponsor Breeze! They are a huge help and asset to us and we so appreciate it! They take their sponsorship seriously and I know they will help find Breeze a great home! We have had a couple of good referrals from Strohs. Might I also mention that if you need some plants or some plant advice........go to Strohs. My whole yard is comprised of great finds from Strohs, who helped me chose landscape items.

Also a big mention of Cenex who lets us put a pallet out for donations! A great and friendly crew.........Johnny, Jeff, Bill and Susie. THank you! and thank you to the customers who have donated items for us to use at the farm. We have received lots of wormers, some medical supplies and miscellaneous goods!

Last but NOT least..........thank you to Emily, the hairdresser, who cuts and styles our hair and allows a Pony UP donation box at her station!!! Not only do you give great hair cuts......but you support Pony Up! If you want a great me and I will give you Emily's number.

This next week I will try and finish the paddocks.......such a long project, but such a worthwhile one. We almost have the drains finished and next will come stretching out geo tech grid, followed by crushed rock, then sand and pea gravel. I am saying NO to mud this year. Any anti mud suggestions will be appreciated......yes, send them my way....I want to hear how you keep mud at bay and your horse hooves dry.

Please enjoy your long weekend and be safe!