Showing posts from May, 2009

In which the long-awaited finally happens: the horses are HOME!!!

My friend Sky reminded me last week to make sure somebody else was holding the camera on the day the horses came home, because she wanted to see me smile.

I am smiling.

At this rate, I may smile continuously for the next 30 years.

The horses are home at last!

We had to get up early this morning and continue the work on fences. I drove the tractor again, with a little more ease this time, and Jim was able to move a little more comfortably--we still didn't let him lift or push much, though.

Finally it was time to go to the old barn. I had one last day of barn chores to complete there, as part of my board payment. I took my time, and said goodbye to all the horses, except the Toad, who refused to be caught and given a cookie. I waved at him.

George, the regular barn manager, came out and helped me finish the chores. Then he made sure that I took everything that was mine, down to the ugly pink bucket I had with me when I moved my old mare Story into this barn 12 years ago. We loaded it all …

In which the fence still isn't quite done yet, and I drive the blue tractor

TOMORROW is the day to bring the horses home.
That's why *I* nearly cried when Jim called me on my cell phone this morning while I was at the old barn doing chores. "I hurt my back again," he said. "It really hurts a lot. I can barely move...." Poor guy!
We were planning to spend the afternoon stringing the remaining wire, and assembling the panels around the sacrifice area. With Jim only able to offer helpful advice, instead of his usual strong arms, Willy and I were daunted. How on earth could we get it done?
The answer will not surprise anybody who knows me well at all: we decided that we WILL get it done, but we just may have to re-engineer some stuff so that smaller and less hefty persons can do it.
First on the agenda: Learn to drive the tractor.
Prior to today, I'd scooted around the pasture a couple of times, and lifted and dropped the bucket a couple of times. Today I learned to start, engage, drive, reverse, lift and drag and place and push.
With Ji…

In which everyone works when they come to visit us here on the farm

Madeline brought some friends to visit us this afternoon, and in true Haiku Farm fashion, we immediately put tools in their hands and put them to work.

Nina and Patrick--both originally from Germany, currently on a road trip through the United States-- discovered the joy of moving hogsfuel with the McLeods.

Madeline kept working with the hand auger even though her phone kept ringing.

Even the bumbles who wandered into the blueberry garden immediately got busy.
Because that's the way we do things here!
There is one member of the faculty here at the Farm who doesn't actually work.

But Puzzle is so cute, we keep him on staff anyhow.
Life is so good.

In which we make more fence, and unearth something very unusual

Another day of fence-building. The perimeter fence posts are in, and all the t-posts are now capped for safety. We still need to attach the web mesh and then run electric fence tape...which sounds like a lot of work, and it is.

Fortunately, the electric part is very quick and easy to install, and I decided tonight that if necessary to make our "move out" deadline at the other barn, I'll run three strands of electric tape around the perimeter as a temporary measure, and we can mount the web mesh as soon as we can.

The mares won't be allowed to be in the entire field at first anyhow, because they have been living in a place where the grass is sparse, and our place is lush, which is a recipe for founder if we are not very careful to ration their exposure to grass at first.

I'm preparing them for the move by grazing them in the grassiest spot at the boarding barn for 2-3 hours each day. When they move home this weekend, we will keep them in the sacrifice area at night a…

In which we attend the local music festival and still work some

We declared today a holiday, and dressed up in our fanciest sunscreen so we could spend the day at a local music festival.

There was sunshine. There were artists.
There was music.
There was dancing. There was cool ethnic food from all over the world, and lots of friendly dogs hoping to help people eat the food.

And there was even more dancing. Oh, yes. Lots of dancing.
Arriving home, Jim and I discovered that, while sitting on the back deck with a bottle of beer and fat book is very pleasant, we are completely incapable of looking out at the farm chores that need to be done without doing some of them! So, we loaded up a bunch of tools (and a couple of helpful dogs) and headed down into the pasture to finish off all the post-planting we did yesterday.
Jim's favorite tool is the McLeod, which can be used for scraping dirt, plants, or whatever.... ...and also for tamping down loose material.
When we finished all this--well, just imagine! There was a half-finished beer sitting beside my ch…

In which a tractor named "Tootles" makes moving heavy posts easier

Jim and Willy really smoothed out the process of planting heavy railroad ties as posts for our new pasture fence. Click on the photos to enlarge them and enjoy the amazing action in breathtaking full color.

The approach: Willy steps on the far end of the post to make it easy for Jim to lift his end with the loader.

The lift: Tootles the tractor hoists the post up so Willy can throw the sling under his end.

The choker setting: Willy attaches the sling and snugs it into position. In the old days of logging in the Swamplands, choker setters would do this task with a gigantic cable around the trunk of a tree. A good choker setter made really good money, because the cable set precisely made it quicker and easier for the booms to lift fallen trees up so they could be limbed and put on sledges to be dragged out of the forest. The choker setter also made good money because they were given "hazard pay"; if the choke slipped or broke under tension, it generally maimed or decapitated the …