Spring is here and with it comes the itching and scratching of the horses. My little minis are ready to be scraped clean of the thick heavy coat that protected them all winter. My chicken run is alongside the barnyard for the horses and donkeys. Last night as I walked to the house from putting them away from the pasture, I heard something. I look back and see Legacy literally leaning against the chicken run and walking along to scratch his itches. I have Scratch-n-alls at the stalls, which they use frequently already – and I highly recommend. So I walked back and grabbed the brushes and blocks. I was removing layers of hair from him and he stood absolutely still for a while, enjoying the feeling of my attention and the removal of hair. After a while though he stomped his foot, letting me know he’s had enough for now. I think I removed a quarter of the hair he had. I get as much enjoyment out of grooming them as they do, I’m sure. It gives me a content feeling that makes me truly happy. I’ll be brushing him down for a while now to remove the old hair, each time giving him a sense of relief as the warmer temperatures move in. I’ll work on America as well.
When my husband and I made the decision to buy a home on property, it was so we could each pursue our dream. We both wanted a home on property. He wanted a shop he could work on his car in, weld, other projects, or whatever he wanted to in it. Me, I wanted the animals. We now have Mini S Ranch complete with horses, donkeys, and goats (all miniatures) plus chickens and ducks.
We get people who will see our place with the animals out in the pasture and stop to watch them for a bit. Others will walk down our long driveway and ask if they can take pictures. We’ve had friends and neighbors stop in to bring their kids. It makes me very heart happy seeing a kid smile while they’re petting a goat or feeding a donkey and enjoying themselves.
Last night we had a neighbor from down the road bring her visiting daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter Emery down. Emery wanted to see the animals. I gave her some chicken feed to give the chickens and ducks and she got to pet one of the chickens. She helped give treats to the horses and donkeys with the help of her mom. Legacy, the mini Appaloosa let her pet him. Emery got to pet the goats and give them treats too. Afterwards, I gave her a sticker that says Mini S Ranch on it along with a little rubber duck, and a small set of crayons with a Chicken Life Cycle coloring book.
It’s paying it forward in cases like this that makes my heart very happy. It’s truly living the dream.
Last year when we moved to our property, we started right off the bat, in December, working on the outside. The fence was old and splitting, and definitely had no style or stability to keep in our miniature horses, donkeys, goats, plus the chickens and ducks. We got the east side done where the barn is first so the animals were set. Over the summer we got the west side perimeter of our property done all the way around. (I have a lot of staining to do this spring!) I take the horses and donkeys to the west side to graze to offset the east side grazing. The orchard we planted is fully fenced. Now, we also have the garden area fenced in. Because of the winds, and wanting to put in quality soil, we’ll build several 4×8 planter boxes. A small garden shed will set in on one side to house all the garden tools, planting supplies, etc.. I bought solar accent lights in January to put around to add some ambiance to it. (I may like the homestead aspect but I love adding modern decorative touches!) Gravel will finish it off so there’s no mud to walk through after a rain when it’s best to weed. I have it all visualized in my mind. I’ll keep you all posted on progress.
The weather was cold and snowy. I had my list of things I wanted to accomplish. Taking half a day off on Friday, I jumped right in by frost seeding the top section of the east pasture. Hopefully that gets worked in well and come spring the sun and rain will bring out beautiful new pasture grass which the mini horses and mini donkeys will enjoy.
The wood stove got started first thing in the morning and stayed going until bedtime. We have a regular heat source, but the wood stove saves money and is very comfortable to watch.
Over the weekend I got some detailed cleaning done along with the basic daily cleaning. I baked some Amish sugar cookies. I love those because they have a sweetness to them without being too much so. They are amazing with my morning and afternoon tea!
Having so many duck eggs, I decided to put 16 of them to use and made several packages of egg noodles then packaged those up for the freezer. That always makes me feel good to have stuff put up that I’ve made myself. (You can imagine how I feel during harvest season!)
Someone at work gave me a chicken calendar from last year. Most people would look at it, laugh at it, and throw it away. Me? I take each month’s picture and staple it to the inside of the chicken coop for some décor in there!
Spring gets closer every day and I’m chomping at the bit to get here. In the meantime, I’m enjoying the fact that evening chores are not done in the dark now since it stays lighter a little later and allows chores to be done after work while there’s still some light left. It’s getting there!
About this time each year, my mind starts to think about spring flowers and planting. When we moved to our property last year, so much of what we did was upgrades and improvements that were needed to the tired place. Now it looks so much more vibrant and needs pops of color! This year, I get to concentrate on the “pretty” part of it all. I have that vision in my head of what will look good. When I close my eyes and think about it, I can almost smell the flowers now. I have a little fairy garden my sister gave me a few years ago with a bird bath, white picket fence, etc. I didn’t know where to put it at the other house. Even though I’m not big into the fairy garden idea, a little area dedicated to it will be charming as you stroll through what eventually will be the garden walk.
I am so at peace at home. This will put it over the top! Not everyone finds their dream home in a log home on 3 acres. I have.
When I bought my two miniature horses, they were underfed and neglected. It wasn’t until I got them home I noticed the mare looked pregnant. The vet confirmed it during her check up of them and a few months later Jumpin Jaxx was born. He’s now 8 months old and after going back and forth of whether to keep him or not, I made the decision to sell him. He, as of Sunday, is with a very nice family with three little girls who shower him with attention, all of which he eats up. There was another horse who was alone until Jaxx arrived and couldn’t have been happier now having someone with him. He followed Jaxx everywhere which was good for Jaxx to have someone ready to be with him as he transitions.
Upon returning home from delivery, America (the mare) was standing at the gate watching for him. She whinnied all afternoon and evening. She stood at the gate waiting halfway through the night when typically she would be in the barn. Yesterday was better but last night she stood at the gate waiting again. I know she’ll be okay in time, but in the meantime this is very stressful for her – and me.
Unless Legacy (the previous stallion who is now a gelding) got to her before he went sterile, there will be no more foals to worry about. On the off chance she were to be pregnant, we’ll work it out to accommodate three versus our current set up which works well for two. I won’t put her through that again, nor do I want to watch her go through it. Maybe I’m not the rancher I should be, but each one of my animals are my babies. I don’t regret my decision. I made it and I stand by it. Having said that, there will not be a repeat performance.
With all the subzero temperatures here in Colorado and around the nation, a couple days here finally getting above freezing conditions during the day is spent with horses and donkeys basking in the sun and grazing on winter’s dormant pasture. The mini donkeys (Ella and Emma) and one of the mini horses (Jaxx) were born last May and June. They love to lie down and take in the sunshine. After a nap, they run around and kick their heels up in happiness. Winter’s not over yet, but a day of sunshine here and there sure helps to build up some solar energy. I’d have to include myself in that. Too many cloudy days has a tendency to bring me down. So it’s a great feeling to see them running and grazing and being happy.
When I bought America and Legacy, and rescued them from neglect, it wasn’t until I got them home I realized she was pregnant. The vet confirmed it and estimated a matter of months. Two and a half months later, little Jumpin Jaxx was born. Such a beautiful experience to go through.
Within 30 minutes of birth – it’s a boy!
Little America and her foal, Jumpin Jaxx.
Now he’s almost eight months old. The plan was always to do everything in twos. The set up is perfect for two horses (the donkeys have a separate area – also set up for two). So after going back and forth in my head and heart, I decided it was best to sell him. Having said that, it’s my every intention to make sure he goes to a good home. I’m in the process of getting it all set up to go to a family with three young girls. The family has a couple quarter horses that are too big for them. By having the mini (and a pony as well to keep him company), they can get used to taking care of, grooming, walking, etc. a miniature version of the bigger horses. Jaxx loves attention and is very cuddly. The girls were petting and scratching him. He ate up every bit of it too. It made me feel good. Will I be sad? Absolutely. I know it’s the right decision. He will have 35 acres to run around on versus our 3. He loves to run and kick up his heels when he plays. I love him and I’ll miss him. I will enjoy the remaining time I have with him until he does leave!
Oh boy, has it ever been cold! Temperatures hanging out below zero, wind, and snow. Now that Christmas is over I’m already waiting for spring! Hopefully everyone made it through without any major mishaps.
The animals are sure happy the sun in shining and slightly warmer. They all seemed to be moving a little faster this morning. Goats, chickens, ducks, horses, and donkeys – all making noise when they heard me walking out this morning. It’s a beautiful sound that makes me smile every morning. Admittedly, the donkeys braying get me the most with the background sounds of the goats wanting out of the barn and into their outside yard. How can you not smile and be happy with all of that!
I’ve decided to sell Jaxx. He’s only 7 months old and as cute as any baby out there. My set up is ideal for 2 on the horse side. My heart says otherwise because I adore him. Practically speaking it feels like the right thing. Our space is not unlimited and I want to make sure that each animal has their space and comfort. I will make sure he goes to a good home.
May your new year bring everything you’ve worked towards and more. Nothing seems to come easy or cheap. So when we do finally reach the goals, they are very satisfying. Personally, I’m grateful every day and thank God for my blessings.
With all the presents bought and wrapped and the decorations up, we have a small window to enjoy it all before the hustle bustle of unwrapping all the gifts. I know once all the gifts are under the tree it will look a little over the top. With all that I buy for, it’s not a surprise for it to look like that. I’m fortunate in so many ways, the best of which is my family.
From our country home to wherever you call home, we wish you all the best. May all your dreams become blessings. Have a very safe and Merry Christmas. Let the New Year present opportunities you never imagined were possible. God Bless.
Time seems to get away from me this time of year. No, that’s not really true. It’s always getting away from me! We’ve officially been at our ranch a year now. Busy is just part of the package with property and animals. I suppose I have neglected this blog and all of you in the process. My 2018 goal will be to do a better job of keeping everyone updated.
Having 3 mini horses, 2 mini donkeys, 2 mini fainting goats, 12 chickens and 2 ducks (plus our long-time four dogs), has been a learning experience and I am constantly learning. I tend to question everything and look to solve all the great complications along the way. Without electricity, how do I keep water from freezing? That is a question I hear from several people in the same predicament. There are a lot of so-called remedies for that. So far I haven’t found one that truly works. I have an invention I’ve been kicking around. I am an idea person however, and have no clue how to take my idea and have someone else turn it into an actual product. Everything takes money too, so I have to pick and choose where it all goes.
Now we’re settling into Christmas. I have everything bought and wrapped, except for stocking stuffers, which literally get stuffed into the stocking unwrapped. I buy for a dozen people for our house which includes kids and grandkids. That does not include parents and siblings. When all the gifts are under the tree waiting for them to show up, it’s a sight to see!
May all the joys of the Christmas season bring smiles, laughter, and blessings galore!