In which a sort of average day is described in vivid detail

This is the first thing I see, most mornings. Puzzle is big on telepathy. He believes that he can force me to get up and feed him, purely by staring at me.

It works pretty well, actually. He is always the first family member to get some breakfast. Hmmmm.

The first person to leave the bed is *always* supplanted by a Sheltie. Usually Jim gets up earlier than me, but today he got to sleep in a little later. When it's me left behind in the bed, there are usually TWO Shelties there when I wake the cat, of course.

I grab a cup of tea on my way to the door, and head out to feed....


The Minerva Louises are always happy to see me.

First I refill the water tank, and then

move their tractor a few feet to the side. You can see the rectangle where the tractor was yesterday. In a day or two, the grass will spring back Very Greenly from all the nitrogen (aka chicken poop) that the hens have left on the ground.

Then, I dump food into the cage, and there are many clucks and feathers grabbing up every morsel of the corn scratch and kitchen scraps.

Next stop: horses.

There's no rushing around or whinnying as they urge me to hurry-the-heck-up and let them out into the field, but Hana does fling her head around to make me hurry. Hurry! HURRY!

And Fiddle always digs a little hole to make me hurry-hurry-hurry.

These strategies are EXACTLY as effective as pressing the elevator button repeatedly works to make the elevator move faster. But hey, it gives them something to do while they wait for me.

Finally, they are out in the pasture, and ready to settle in for some serious all-day eating.

It cracks me up to clean the two paddocks every morning, because for almost 12 years, I've been cleaning 12 or 13 stalls a few times a week, which could take 2-3 hours (not including the time spent driving to the barn and driving home) each time.

Here, I can usually feed all the animals AND clean the paddocks before my first cup of tea gets cold. >giggle< href="">

After breakfast, Puzzle plays a game. His favorite is "red bug" with the laser pointer...

...but he also likes to practice WWF moves on Luna. These two will play together for hours.

Today we tried something new with the horses: a little bit of separation.

At their old barn, each horse was assigned a "day in", when they would be kept in the stall and not put out in the pasture. They'd be given an extra ration of hay, and just generally given a day of quietness. That made it really easy when a horse had to be kept in for the farrier, or a lesson...or if one was sick or injured and had to be kept off of the pasture. They get so they accept being left behind when everyone else went outside, clearly thinking "this must be my day in," so it was not a traumatic change of routine for them.

Jim and I have always liked this concept, so we decided to try it. Today was Hana's first "day in" at the new farm.

She doesn't have a stall here (yet), just a paddock, where she has a clear view of our pasture, and also most of the neighbor's pasture with her three horses.

We didn't count on Fiddle's brattiness!

Fiddle decided that it was wonderful fun to tease Hana by going into the woods. Then, when Hana was in full-voice (never truly panicked, but clearly angry with Fiddle for "disappearing") ...

...Fee would jump out of the woods to say, "here I am!

did you miss me?"

Sigh. Other girls have normal pets....

My task today was painting the bathroom.

You can see why: the before picture shows the ugly industrial-white paint and shabby patches in the drywall.

Fashion: clearly not a priority on painting days.

The after photo, showing the pretty walls and also some flower paintings done by my mom!

I just want to say that saddle racks work really nicely as towel racks. Just in case somebody ever asks.

Jim and Willy made ice cream.

I could only have a little bit (I have to avoid sugar) but I had a big bowl of strawberries so I didn't feel left out.

Willy got to lick the beaters. We didn't tell him for several minutes that he had a blop of ice cream on his nose. Hee hee.

In the evening, it's feeding time again.

The dogs must wait for the "release" word before they can have their food. They are eager to hear the word! Now? Please now?

Horses get a small bucket of beetpulp at night, mostly to wash down their vitamins. The grass in the pasture is so good that I don't dare feed them much right now--they'll explode from fatness! (They've both gained weight since they moved home, eek).

Chickens get another "tractor move" and another scoop of scratch. They are always happy to see me, because I feed them!

It's been unseasonably warm this year so far--so I water the garden almost every evening. Usually in June we Swamplanders are still wearing mud boots, or at least a jacket, but this year has been warm and dry! (I'm not complaining, either).

Last of all, we all take a walk with the dogs in the pasture.

Life is good.


  1. homemade ice cream? can we make some when we visit? i haven't had it since i was a kid, and i'll never forget it.

    your yellow isn't bad, i was expecting something much less pleasant!

    puzzle is beautiful. i love that pattern on a cat.

    looking forward,


  2. What a nice post about your day - you've got almost as many animals as I do (not counting the chickens)! Got to love that mare head fling! The "in day" concept is a good one.

  3. Ha! I like the line about pushing the elevator button repeatedly.

    We should compare notes. I just got the Boyz back and they look so good. On the one hand, I like to give them grazing and free choice hay in the hopes they'll leave the trees alone. On the other hand, I don't want them to get that fat again. I bought grazing muzzles, which they aren't going to like AT ALL. I haven't even started them back on daily wormer and supplements, mostly because I don't want to give them even a little grain.

  4. I am shocked - shocked I tell you - to hear of your blatant cruelty to dogs. Do you mean your poor dears have to sleep on the floor at night?

  5. Your days are about the same as mine, except that I write my thesis instead of painting (bathroom looks great). Tonka doesn't go anywhere near the pasture without a grazing muzzle on and he couldn't care less. I cut the hole a little bigger than it original size, and I put a fly mask on overtop so that he can't slip it over his ears. They are a great solution to a tough dilemmma.

  6. HEE HEE! Yes, I too get routinely stared at face to face until I wake up to feed my VERY fat, almost ready to explode, cat Piper. I have two others, but he is truly obsessed with food!!!! I loved seeing your day... Bathroom looks WONDERFUL and I love the saddle rack idea! Fabulous!
    Pick my brain about SA email is
    I can even help you figure out where to go, stay, restauraunts, etc. if you want. Just let me know what they want out of their vacation and a ballpark budget. Ritzy or middle class or super budgeted...My friend has been an event planner in SA so she is IN THE KNOW and I am certain I can help you out!! Drop me an email or leave a comment, depending on how much info. you want me to send you!

  7. Lytha: I'm pretty sure we can schedule "ice cream making" for your visit!

    Kate (and everyone else): I'd love to see a "my day" post from all my favorite bloggers! How 'bout it, y'all?

    Leah F: We keep the mares off the pasture at night, for the health of both the mares AND the pasture. Other than exercise or duct-taping their snouts shut, I don't know any other way to keep horses slender! (or people either, sigh....)

    Funder: OF COURSE they don't sleep on the floor. They sleep in their beds, or on the chairs, or on the cat, or even (if they are verrrrrrry stealthy) on the bed after I've gone to sleep. However, Shelties change from a 25-lb 16" tall dog to a 200-lb 5-foot-wide dog when they go to sleep, so there really isn't enough room for everybody on the bed at night. Besides, Mimsy SNORES!

    dp: we may have to try grazing muzzles. sigh. do they make one that would fit over MY face? except I'd still probably figure out a way to fit peanut butter through the muzzle hole....

    jacksongirl: I'll email you about SA, it sounds like you are the Source of Information that my mom was hoping I could find!

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  9. Yeah Aarene! It is so fun to see your farm and your animals!!!! Alaina showed me your blog - I love it!! We would love to come and see your beautiful place!

  10. Hey Kim (and other Swampland readers):

    If you are available this Sunday and want to come to the party/open house at Haiku Farm, send me an email privately at aarenex at haikufarm dot net and I'll send you details and directions.

    And for you folks who are far away: eat a strawberry on Sunday and think of us! I'll take lots of pix, I promise!


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