Sunday, May 10, 2009

And the mystery photo is....

....rainwater in a bucket of loose mineral salt! This is one of those green hang-over-the-fence buckets that had a couple cups of loose salt in it. It used to be in the barn so it didn't get wet, but the horses are currently blocked out of there now that we are getting ready for the new horses. So, this bucket is sitting outside.

There is not enough water in it to dissolve all the salt, so you can see the remaining salt crystals at the bottom. However, there is as much salt as possible dissolved into the water meaning that it has reached it's saturation point. Now, as water molecules leave the surface of the water when they evaporate, the salt in the water at the surface precipitates out because the water is already saturated. The salt precipitates in perfect crystalline squares (look at table salt really close up and you'll see this). And the way that it crystallized is in an inverted square crystal, so the salt crystals are floating on the surface of the water like little square boats. The smaller crystals here are probably only 1/8 inch across, but some of them were up to 3/4 inch across! And in some places the crystals met and grew into a mat.

They are so abstract, that when I first saw it I thought "yuck, junk growing in the wet salt bucket" but then I noticed that it was just salt growing.

Since I've started giving my horses loose salt, I never see them eat it. I used to see them licking on the salt blocks all the time. While it's possible they don't eat it at all, I think that they can actually get all that they need in one lick, so they don't have to worry away at that super hard block for hours at a time. And for a while, they were getting plenty of salt in the free choice minerals, which they've decided they like all except for 4 of the 16 now. I'll elaborate on that more later when I feel like typing more about it.

And I had a great time today. We went to my grandma's, which is the farm where we keep the horses. Since we own the place, my dad usually does all the mowing, but since he's still recovering from shoulder surgery, he can't weed-whack, so he just hasn't gotten around to it. My grandma must have told my aunt, so my aunt, uncle, and my cousin came over today to help her with her lawn. We (my mom, dad, and I) were there too, so it turned into a very fun unplanned afternoon of mowing, tilling up my grandma's garden, cutting down old bushes, setting up a new flower bed, and digging and transplanting lilac bushes. Then, we grilled some brats, and grandma made mashed potatoes and we refilled our energy reserves. My grandma's brother and his wife ended up stopping by too. It was a very productive fun day. I really love yard work and landscaping. It definitley puts my soul in touch with the present. It's also something that I just haven't gotten to do for several years because I haven't been around home and I was renting a place in town.

These pictures aren't very good because I didn't think to take some of them until it was starting to get dark. I'll do more later after we get flowers set up in the new beds. I'm also excited about getting the mustang pens finished soon. I planted grass on the bank behind the rear pen and it is growing in thick!

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