Monday, April 26, 2010

Spring rains

It finally rained here this weekend! We needed it badly. The pasture had halted growing and my flowers and our new grass seed were just not coming up! But now, everthing should get moving again!

While it rained softly, the horses hung out under some budding maples. They won't leave their green pasture for anything. In fact, when I call them in to their main little pasture to give a taste of grain and check on them, they come in willingly, but as soon as they are finished, they gallop back out to the pasture. They have hay in their feeder, and that main pasture has actually longer grass now than the big new pasture, but they think that the new pasture is the place to be!

I have had major spring fever this year. I think it had to do with the depression I was feeling in March (seasonal depression mixed with morning sickness and major hormone changes!). As soon as the local garden stores started carrying seeds, I bought my whole garden worth and made a schedule for when I could plant each one indoors to get them started.

These are my current seed flats. The biggest guys here are all tomatoes (heirloom varieties, a red bigboy type tomato, and a cherry tomato mix. I'm going to have so many tomatoes! But that's what I want! I LOVE fresh garden tomatoes and I can hardly bring myself to purchase the icky store tomatoes. I want to do a lot of canning this summer and make a lot of salsa. These seed flats also contain peppers (sweet, pepperocini, mixed hot peppers), broccoli and a few sunflowers I wanted to start early. In a few weeks, I'll get my squash and others started. I can't plant the started seedlings in my garden here until the end of May - the danger of last frost is mid-May.

I visit the garden store every week to browse. Just this last week, they got a bunch of vegetables in. I was disheartened to see how big their veggies are, while mine are just tiny tiny little sprouts still. But, I don't have to plant mine for a while, and the big plants would also have to wait till end of May, so it's silly to buy those now. I have plenty started from seed anyway. However, I DID buy a few flowers! I'm still going to wait to plant them out till later, but I couldn't help myself.

And here is my mean rooster, Rusty. Here he shows off his spurs to me. I think I might trim those spurs soon. I don't want him poking my dogs eyes out as he's trying to protect me from the wicked rooster. His eyes are fine - that's just his third eyelid showing because of the flash.

Monday, April 19, 2010

On Sunday morning I caught the horses napping out in the pasture. Chico stood watch over the herd.

I love watching horses laid flat out. They look so awkward!

Later, Cody took over watch so that Chico could lay down and sleep. A herd works like well-oiled machinery.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

baby news

I had my BIG ultrasound today. This is the one they take about mid-way through your pregnancy and measure all sorts of things on baby to make sure they are growing within the proper parameters and that everything else looks normal. Yep, my baby is just fine. All measurements showed the baby to be within normal ranges and the placenta looks to be in a good position. And we were able to find out the baby's sex. We are having a GIRL!

Monday, April 5, 2010

spring grass

We got a lot done this weekend around our place. We planted a bunch of little pine trees, raspberries, blueberries, and a couple flower beds. We plowed and dragged the side yard in preparation for reseeding. We dumped a NICE big pile of well decayed cow manure on our garden spot...and we went to look at a mule! Todd wants to try a guard animal with his cattle in one particular pasture where they've had a problem with coyotes in the past. This last calving season, they didn't lose any calves to coyotes, but one calf did lose his tail. We're not absolutely sure it was a coyote that chewed his tail off, but it's likely. I guess it could have been a hungry fox too. It happened when he was still small enough where he didn't get up and run in response to the tail chewing. But, regardless, they have had a few calves lost to coyotes in the past. I did a bunch of reading up on guard animals and decided of all the species, a donkey would be best for us. I searched rescues (via petfinder), and we found a little mule. These pictures are from petfinder. She's shed out more since these were taken and a cute color for a mule.

She looks promising. She's a pony mule, so just a hair smaller than a standard sized donkey. She's only 3 years old. She chases dogs out of their pasture, and she's super confident and very friendly. She was rescued out of the slaughter pen at an auction. We went to look at her on Saturday and we like her. We are going to give her a try. The other nice thing about her is that she might make a nice kids "pony" by the time our kid is ready to ride. We'll just start working with her now. And we might even look into getting her trained for a cart. So, the pony mule is going to come home to us in a few weeks, most likely. I wanted them to get her feet trimmed first (they were very long and I don't want to mess with trimming an animal I'm not familiar with being pregnant).

The other excited thing that we did this weekend was get our horse fence finished and turned them all loose into it!

While I was working on the fence, the horses watched me with interest...almost as though they knew.

But we were taking to long, so they retreated to nap at one point.

When it was time, I went to get Cody to lead her out. Chico and Catlow saw the open gate and immediately went through ahead of us. The wild ones were a little leary about going through the gate, so I had to lead Cody back to encourage them a few times. The finally went through, everyone was loose, then it was time to RUN!

After the initial burst of energy, the tame guys settled down to graze, but the wild ones had to check out every corner of the pasture before they set to grazing.

Look at this handsome mustang enjoying his first real day of grassy pasture freedom since he was captured in November of '08.

I attempted to approach Kachina at one point, but she wasn't interested in letting me touch her. I figured that would be the case since they'd be all excited and interested in the new stuff, so I didn't push it.

In this shot, you can see our house in the background. I'm excited about having them in this pasture because I'll be able to see them more easily from our house.

They would eat for a while, then "spook" themselves and set off running in a big herd, then slow down to eat again before setting off running a little later.

The red buds on the maples, the warm sunlight backlighting the horses, and the new grass really show that spring has come to WI.

And off again! These next two pictures I took from the deck of our house.

And then, a rainbow to end such a beautiful day.

I only let the piggies graze for a couple of hours before luring them back into their boring pasture. They were quite disgruntled when they realized they couldn't go back out, but soon, they'll be out 24/7.