Posts Tagged With: hay

An Injury and a Revelation

My boots squelched and squeaked as I slopped through the mud. I lifted my feet with care, attempting to stay on the highest ground. I stomped the excess mud off my boots and entered the tack room. The tissue box sat on top of the grain trunk, so I lifted it to put it back.

Inside lay a sky-blue egg.

My mind flashed back to the Vet saying, “If you haven’t had eggs from your chicken, it’s not a pullet.” My Father-In-Law saying “That ain’t no chicken. That’s a rooster.” The girls at camp stating, “Her vent hole is clean, and she’s definitely a girl.”

Lucas lays eggs–we’ve just never found one before now.

I mentally pushed this new information aside. The horses nickered and whinnied from all around and inside the barn, shaking me from my reverie. I added hot water to each grain bucket, creating bran mashes.

I gave Misty and Zeus hay, acknowledging their nickers and hugging them as I entered their stalls. I saved Melody, my horse, for last. I hefted an armload of hay, prepared to throw it in her hay net.

I dropped the hay.

Tears coated the right side of Melody’s face. Her swollen eyelid remained shut. Red membrane ballooned from under the lashes, and she backed away from me as if in fear.

I felt moisture gathering in my own eyes for my wonderful, sweet horse’s pain.

Melody’s been through this before. She scratched her cornea in 2011, but needed a Vet to diagnose it and provide medication.

I’d never met Dr. Tavernier before, but I called her when Melody scratched her eye that first time. Our first meeting began a professional union, one I’m proud to be part of.

Luckily, I saved the medication from that first meeting.  I applied the  ointment, and within a few minutes the swelling diminished. She opened her eye, and I saw the exact place where the top layer of her cornea scraped off.

I strode into the tack room to return the ointment, and once again spotted Lucas–no; Lucy’s, egg. I lifted the precious egg in one hand and the vitally important ointment in the other.

I sighed and smiled, shaking my head.

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With a Little Help From My Friends -Lennon and McCarthy

I savagely ripped through its guts, pulling and clawing through its innards. The rotting corpse stench pained me. Disgusted, I threw the hay aside, frustrated that such a beauty on the outside could be rotten in the core.

I feed my horses the best hay I can find. The lush, green orchard grass is from Riley Peck in Leslie. I pay $10 for a 50-lb square bale.

Sometimes, though, I get a “heavy bale.”

Heavy bales are the kind I dread. When the farmer collects the grass from his field, sometimes it isn’t completely dry. When it packs into bale form, there’s nowhere for the moisture to go. Unfortunately, though it looks tasty and dry from the outside, the inside can be full of mold.

Yesterday I recieved an email from my best friend. She told me that she and another boarder found a “suspect” bale–one that had already been opened.

I groaned when I read the email.

The bale, when I opened it yesterday, seemed fine on the end flakes. It seemed a little heavy, sure, but not heavy enough to cause me worry.

I should have second-guessed myself. I should have ripped that bale apart.

Instead, I blithely filled hay nets in a few of the stalls; thinking of how exciting my evening would be. (Did I mention yesterday was my birthday? I had other things on my mind.)

Yesterday evening, when I recieved the email, I sat back in shock. I should have known. I should have KNOWN.

But I didn’t.

I make mistakes. Luckily, I have an amazing best friend and a phenomenal boarder who corrected yesterday’s error.  I’m grateful other people here are on top of things. I try to catch it all–but nobody can do it alone.

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[Hay] Good Lookin’

Grab a fork and some Ranch Dressing.

The new load of hay, freshly delivered from Riley Peck at Peck Farm in Leslie, is so delicious you’d want to dive in. Twirl it around a fork like spaghetti. (Not really. Humans can’t digest grass.)

However, every last scrap is snarfed, devoured, licked, chewed, and inhaled by 11 hungry ponies. They love the meadow, they love grazing on fresh grass, but Riley’s second-cutting Meadow hay is a close second.

The load isn’t large. Hay costs $10 per bale instead of the $5 I paid last year. These are hefty 50 pound bales, but we go through hay like kids go through candy. Riley found a farm up north willing to sell him a large load, so the next time hay arrives, we’ll have a full barn. This small load is an “in-betweener.”

The next-door neighbor, Mike, is still hoping to get a 2nd cutting on his hay, but it’s not very promising at this point. The midwestern drought created many problems. There are Facebook groups who are pooling resources and sending Semi-Trucks out to Colorado and the Dakotas to bring hay into Indiana and Illinois. There’s a Michigan group who have a “Hay Finder” network. It’s incredible how different the hay situation is this year versus last year. It’s downright discouraging.

Thank God for Riley. He’s working hard to keep us in the green.

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‘Tis a Gift To Be Simple – Aaron Copland

  Today is a gift.

  It may not be wrapped up in a pretty bow, but it is a gift all the same. It’s deliciously perfect. There’s a bite in the air, but it’s not bitter. There isn’t snow on the ground, but the mud is frozen. Every pony has shelter from the wind, and everyone is fed and happy. My world is gloriously complete.

   Today is Firefly Farm’s first Christmas, and I was given the gift of time. Time to spend with the horses. Time to relax with my husband and dog. Time to cook and clean and build the husband’s Christmas gift after he opened it.

   I woke this morning, alight with evergy. I fed all the ponies warm bran mashes. They also ate 2 of their 3 flakes of hay in stalls. The wind is blowing, so the hay would have scattered all over the place if I’d put every flake out in the pasture. Then I mucked the stalls, put the last flakes of hay in the pastures using the tractor (so I could spread out the flakes easier.) As I was sorting hay flakes at the far end of the pasture, the tractor ran out of gas. I laughed, and you could say I frolicked back to the barn in search of a gas can. I’m amused by my own folly.

   Today, nothing can ruin my mood.

   I gleefully grabbed that gas can and filled up the tractor, enjoying the looks on Lexi and Senorita’s faces as I vrroomed the tractor and cart out of the girls’ pasture.

   Most of the girls are finally together. I moved Braz and Misty to be in the same pasture as Senorita and Lexi. They’re getting along very well. (Misty has it bad for Coffee–another cougar, I know.) The girls didn’t have a single problem being together this morning. I fed all the ponies at the far end of the pastures, so they didn’t have to eat in mud. (I can’t wait until spring, when I can expand Dusty and Coffee’s pasture. I feel so bad for the boys. They need more than 3/4 of an acre to play on. They’ll get it as soon as it warms up, if I can have my way.)

   Lexi and Senorita have really bonded. They eat from the same hay pile and watch each others’ back. Misty and Braz seem to be the same way. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when we add Melody and Savannah to the mix. Misty is, by far, the most dominant horse in the current “large” herd. Savannah and Melody are a tag-team you don’t want to mess with, though. Let the fireworks ensue. (Some other day. Not today.)

    I’m here at my heaven-on-earth, enjoying the scenery out my window (Coffee and Dusty in one pasture, Melody, Honey, and Savannah near the other side of the barn.) I couldn’t ask for anything more. I have what I want, and most of what I need. I’m grateful for it. All of it. It is, inteed, a gift.

   (I don’t have  to be a whirling dervish to see that.)

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Shel(ter) Shocked

I owe a great deal to many people after this weekend. My best friend and her husband were the driving force behind the horse shelter. A potential lesson student’s family came yesterday, and the father was instrumental in beginning the project. We also had almost every boarder out to help at one time or another. It’s incredible.

The rest of the shelter will be set up by the workmen who frequently help us out around the barn. They have the ability, the tools, and the training to complete the project. I’m excited we were able to accomplish the enormous amount we did, and floored that so many people were so kind to help out Firefly Farm. It’s difficult to imagine a kinder and more generous group of friends. Thank you all.

I had a delightful ride on Honey this evening after the end of our shelter raising and finishing night chores. I let Senorita and Lexxi out in the back (with seven flakes of hay spread out–lucky ponies!) Then I took Honey into the indoor arena to groom. She was grumpy, but once I started to use the curry comb, she forgot everything except how much she was enjoying her “massage.”

I saddled, bridled, and mounted uneventfully. We then worked on walking, stopping, reversing on the haunches, trotting and western jogging, and cantering. Throughout this entire training session, I worked on getting her nose in and haunches underneath, giving us impulsion. The girl goes really well, and has gotten to the point I don’t have to urge her on. I give her a signal and she goes until I give her a signal to stop. She’s such a delight to train! I love working with her. I’m so fortunate she’s my horse. I have the feeling once she’s trained, she’s going to be sought after as someone’s personal horse. She’s so wonderful, I’d have a hard time giving her up. I’m thrilled with how easy she is to train, and elated she remembers our training sessions no matter how far apart they are.

Tonight we have three horses inside. Braz, as usual, but we also have Melody and Savannah inside tonight. Savannah came in for dinnertime but just picked at her grain. I noticed she was a bit gassier than usual, so I gave her a small amount of banamine. I walked her around, trotted her and cantered her on the lunge line. She had noises from her intestines and passed a movement, so she’ll be fine–she’s just a little gassy. I figured she and Melody should stay inside so when I go out to check on them later I won’t have to search for them in the dark. By the time I left the barn this evening, Savannah had eaten all her grain and was enjoying her hay. She was still gassy, but she seemed to be getting better.

Again, thanks everyone who helped us out this weekend. It means the world to me that we could get such an amazing amount done on a seemingly enormous project. Every person who helped was instrumental in completing as much of the project as we did. Thank you.

One last note–to cousin Erika, I’m delighted you’re now following the blog. I’m looking forward to having you come up to our barn for a week or two. I hope you’re having a great time at your new barn and are eager to see ours. Come visit soon.

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