Monday, December 11, 2017

Preparation

Leaving the farm is always hard for me -- and this winter, we're doing it twice. Our impending Seattle trip is getting closer and closer, so a good portion of this weekend was dedicated to preparation. While we have an excellent farmsitter, I struggle to balance the routine so it isn't too overwhelming for a normal person. It would be a lot easier to leave during the summer, when the horses could be out 24/7 if necessary, but during the winter, I always worry about inclement weather. Last year the day we flew out to Puerto Rico, an ice storm basically shut down the county and it took the farmsitter an extra two (nerve-wracking) hours to get to the house.
So hard to leave all these snuggly babies!
Ruby has a round bale set in her turnout that should last through the duration of the trip, and the other dry lot will get a brand new bale the day before we leave. DH rigged up a water system for the main dry lot that should eliminate the need to drag hoses around in subzero temps. Ruby's water trough is huge, and if we fill it the day before we leave, I think it should last our whole trip as well. Our feed room (with it's EIGHT trash cans of different kinds of grain and feed, haha) will be topped off, as will the chicken's trash can in their coop and dog food in the house. One of yesterday's projects was to pull out enough hay from the shed for the trip -- some bales stacked near the goat's pen, and then an extra-large stack in the barn for the horses when they're stalled. Tank heaters were installed (and tested last week when it got down to single digits, brrrr), and they all work well, so hopefully no ice breaking will be necessary! Let's not talk about the disaster that is my house still, but at least that can be worked on when it's dark outside, which is why we knocked out so many chores this weekend in the daylight hours, haha. I also still haven't pulled out suitcases or started packing..... ughhhhh....
They know I was doing an excessive amount of laundry, so clearly something fishy is going on.
Last Friday was an eventful day that started with a completely dead car battery and only went downhill from there. Luckily, the evening was salvaged at my GMO's Christmas party -- got to hang out with some fabulous people, eat delicious food, and play a silly white elephant gift exchange. I received a lovely bottle of wine from one of the clinic participants who rode Trigger this fall, and then my white elephant gift was a Breyer Christmas ornament, and then some chocolate and peppermints for me and the horses -- always welcome!
Looking forward to sipping this wine in the hot tub one winter evening! (shhhh, don't judge my dachshund pajamas)
Christmas ornament! I don't have a tree at home but I'm going to display it at work I think :)
Saturday was pretty chilly, so I had no qualms about spending most of my day on the couch -- minus the time I spent with my favorite hairdresser freshening up my poor neglected hair. He did some lovely natural-looking (low maintenance!) caramel highlights to end up with a lovely balayage.
It will never be this styled again because my go-to is a ponytail or messy bun -- anything else is #effor haha
Thankfully Sunday was sunny and 50, so aside from the general trip prep we did, I also worked both horses -- go me! I tacked up Ruby first, and took her out on our little baby "trail". She was extremely looky, which is fair, since she's never been on this trail before and I rode her out alone. She spooked pretty hard over both the neighbor's sheep, and our goats (who were out in the church lot -- it probably didn't help that the minute spotty pajama bottoms saw me he started SCREAMING at the top of his little goat lungs, haha).
SPB tolerating some snuggles from DH ;)
She wanted to jig most of the trail, so we spent a lot of time halting and standing every time she broke into a trot. After a stint on the trail, we meandered over to the back pasture, where I did trot and canter sets for a while. She was sticky on that infernal right lead, but we did get it eventually. Left lead was lovely, as usual. We cooled out by hacking down the road, and she didn't bat an eyelash at being passed by several cars (one of which was a jerk in a truck who SPED UP to pass us and throw up gravel dust -- grrr). She broke a slight sweat, so she got a good rub down and then went back out to her turnout to sunbathe.
Checking out our goats in the church lot.
"ZOMG THOSE ARE ALIENS.... Or, sheep?" -- Ruby, probably

On the trail.
Cooling out down the road.
I grabbed Cinna next, and I'll admit to being a little apprehensive. She was wild in her stall Sunday morning, and we actually had to have a brief lesson in manners before I felt comfortable turning her out. So before I hopped on in the afternoon, I decided I would lunge her for a bit. I find a lot of times she needs to expend a bit of energy before she can focus, and it's easier on me to let her expend it on the lunge line, and then climb on when her brain is working. She was a bit of a flaming moron on the lunge line, but I'm a glutton for punishment, so I climbed on afterwards anyway.
One of the five seconds she wasn't bolting or generally being an idiot.
I didn't tell DH I was riding, and he was in the house working on resume things for a job interview, so I figured it would be a good test of her trustworthiness to ride without someone watching and waiting to dial 911 if I needed it ;) I didn't have anything too complicated in mind when I got started, so we worked on riding square turns and working on the quarterline (because the rail drift is real when you're on a baby who is used to working on the rail, haha). On her right lead canter, she decided she could not turn when I asked, so we almost hit the fence. I made her keep cantering after that, so she got hissy and bucked. Poor Cinna, her sad little buck just made me giggle and then she had to canter like an extra six circles so she didn't think her tantrum got her out of work.
Working up a sweat the the arena -- full winter coat + 50 degrees + idiotic running = sweaty horse!
The rest of the work was so good (minus the near miss with the fence and resulting buck) that I decided to get real crazy and head outside the arena -- I opened the arena gate from her back and swung it out, and we walked down the driveway. She spooked hard over the flapping flags and the wagon at the entrance. Both of which she's seen before, but ya know, baby horses. We walked a little down the road, came back, passed the driveway, walked a little bit in the opposite direction, and then headed back to the arena for a few cool down laps. She was even sweatier than Ruby, so I spent longer rubbing her down and then letting her graze a bit before I turned her back out.
Down near the road (I didn't take pics ON the road, because I like living haha)
#sweatysideeye hahaha
After I finished up with the horses, DH and I cleaned out the goat shed and moved a TON of hay bales around. Tragically I didn't get photos of the goat babies helping by jumping in and out of the wheelbarrow, but we successfully stripped all the bedding out of their shed and replaced it with fluffy new straw. We also caught all the adults, trimmed their feet, and checked to see if anyone needed wormer before we fed -- #productivity! We definitely earned our evening meal and subsequent soak in the hot tub!
Extra hay stacked in the barn for the farmsitter.

Freshly bedded goat shed -- it looks foggy from the dust particles, stupid phone.
How did you spend your weekend? Looks like the east coast got some snow -- brrrrr! Hopefully you got to do something productive - whether that was riding, around the house, whatever!

18 comments:

  1. Busy weekend! I know, it's so hard to leave the four leggeds at home, but it's comforting knowing they're in good hands. I'm jealous of your 50 degrees. We got a little snow (thankfully way less than forecasted) so riding wasn't really a thing. I did get on Rio and walked around in the snow for a bit on Sunday though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At least you got less than forecasted, right? Honestly I can't remember the last time we had a good snow. Last winter was wacky. I imagine this one will make up for it!

      Delete
  2. It's always hard to go away - while I don't have the horses "at home", I do self-board so I feel your pain when you have to find someone to house sit and arrange everything so it goes smoothly during your absence. Fingers crossed you guys are able to finish up the rest of the chores and pack :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Still haven't packed or cleaned my house... Maybe tonight? Lol

      Delete
  3. I love my farm sitter but (sigh) sometimes (almost always) happy hour starts before evening chore/feeding time so I don't get to leave the farm very often...

    Spotty pajama bottoms ❤️❤️❤️

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't he presh? I'm gonna be so sad to see him head off to his new home!

      Delete
  4. Still pissed you're going to Seattle without me.

    ReplyDelete
  5. ugh yeah I bet it's hard to leave, things that are second nature to you are probably a lot harder to jot down and have someone else execute. I can imagine how cute those goat babies were tho :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My instruction lists might be lengthy and detailed hahaha. Because I'm neurotic like that 😂

      Delete
  6. Leaving is so hard when you have animals. Looks like you've got it all ready for your sitter though!

    I rode Grif for 40 minutes Friday, worked on my trailer and hiked on Saturday, rode Q and Stan (Lauren on Stan) for 16 miles Sunday, and then finished the trailer. It's only Tuesday and I'm so ready for the weekend already again lololol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You had a jam packed weekend! And next weekend will be here before you know it ;)

      Delete
  7. ugh i get so stressed out just leaving my two useless apartment dwelling cats behind when i leave town (well, and let's just not talk about leaving the horse behind at a barn where the staff is....meh). can't imagine leaving that entire farm! but then again... once i'm gone away, it's usually easy enough to just shrug and trust that we did what we could and that everything will probably be fine. still tho, so much work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely stressful -- I usually totally wig out the weeks leading up to it, then once we're gone it's like "welp, try not to kill yourselves animals!" Haha. We tend to err on the side of over preparing (truck and trailer hooked up and emergency drivers arranged, full generator in case of power outage, full to bursting feed cans, etc.).. But usually that just ensures everything runs like clockwork haha. It'll be fine, I'm just too type a to deal with this without a full scale panic attack 😂

      Delete
  8. It's wintertime - SPOOK - is basically mine, which is funny because it's 100% opposite of what she was like when she got here last year. Probably because winter in Texas felt like summer compared to the freezing tundra in Michigan

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha at least Michigan to Texas winters seems like a nicer transition than the other way around!

      Delete