An Extra Blessing

What a weekend!  Bright and early Saturday morning my youngest son and my 8-year old grandson set out for a 2 1/2 hour drive to where the mini’s were.  Albeit a little chilly, it was a beautiful morning.

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Arriving at the then-current home of the horses, I noticed they were in a corral without shelter.  They seemed on the skinny side to me.  I had been told they had not seen a vet for over a year and a half and were in desperate need of a farrier.  That became all too obvious, all too soon. But I was in love instantly.  Neither one of them were above my waist in size and while a little timid, were not mean or wild. Luckily the ride home seemed to go quickly.

I got them in the corral and got them some much welcomed water and hay.  I let them out into the pasture to stretch their legs and nibble at some winter grass.  As I watched them, I thought the mare (who I renamed America – the Appaloosa stallion is Legacy) seemed to have a saggy belly and at one time I thought the belly seemed off to one side a little.  I had already arranged for a vet to come Monday so I made a mental note to ask her. I could be wrong.  It could just be a hay belly.

The first night they never did go into the barn at all.  So Sunday morning I gave them their hay in the stall.  America really liked it in there and frequency wanders in there.  Legacy only cares about being in there if there’s food.  With the mini’s the one thing that actually works to keep the corral cleaned out is a large dog pooper scooper! It makes for fast and easy clean up.

Sunday afternoon was warmer and sunny and I spent more time with the horses.  After giving them food, and attention, and water, and attention, and attention, and attention, they started walking up to me on their own.  Legacy got comfortable enough that as I sat on a tree stump watching them, he came over and sat down beside me.

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The vet arrived Monday afternoon.  She game them both their required vaccinations.  Legacy needs to have his teeth floated so she will return tomorrow.  Other than that and needing to eat more than he has had, he was fine.

I told the vet about America and my concern that it might not be a hay belly but a baby bump.  She took time to do several checks and then said, “oh she’s pregnant, it just kicked me!” I put my hands under America’s belly and within a few seconds, a giant kick making it obvious.  I don’t know why I didn’t try that before, other than just thinking that I was probably imagining what I actually suspected. I had no idea! After many questions and calling my husband over to tell him the news (who was equally as shocked), I asked to find out some kind of guestimate at the time frame I’m looking at before she’s ready.  The vet will return tomorrow to do an ultrasound when she also floats Legacy’s teeth.  It won’t be an exact date but will provide a pretty good time frame to go by.  She was in need of more food, but I’ve had to gradually increase it so they don’t get sick.

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They are both so loving and sweet and it breaks my heart they weren’t given the attention they needed.  That will never be their life again.  I thought having two miniature horses was such a blessing.  Now, only two days after having picked them up, I find that I have an extra blessing on the way!

 

The 11th Hour

Tomorrow morning bright and early I’ll be on my way to pick up my two new miniature horses with my youngest son who will drive the horse trailer down!  We’re down to the wire. I couldn’t be more excited.  They both need a little loving and care, but are in good health and condition. My husband is now getting the finishing touches done so we’re all set for their arrival.  Thank goodness for his non-stop efforts or this would not be happening as soon as it is. I know he has done this all for me and I couldn’t be more thankful.  I feel like it’s Christmas every day watching all the progress.

My daughter-in-law (whom I am most appreciative for) and I went shopping for the needed supplies.  While the monthly cost to keep them isn’t bad, the initial cost (as with anything) did jump up there.  Hay, feed, pine shavings, hoof pick, halters, lead ropes, water and feed containers, grooming kit, metal cans to keep feed in (and avoid mice invasion), and okay, maybe a bag of apple horse treats, all add up quickly. Definitely a worthy expense in my book. By far though my most exciting purchase was the halters my daughter-in-law spotted which both say “I Love My Mini” specifically made of course, for the miniature horse!  One blue and one purple which is appropriate for my mare and stallion.

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Sleep tonight might be hit and miss with the anticipation of getting my hands on the new additions to our family. I am so blessed and fortunate to be where I am today.  Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful for it.

Not a surprise that more pictures and stories will be forthcoming.  Stay tuned and encourage others to follow my blog to come along on my journey!

A Little Bit of Paint

My husband and I have been working nonstop, as people in rural America do, on our property.  We’ve recently received compliments from other homes in the area on how we’ve really brought the place to life.  Our property has a bridal trail on the outside property lines, so people ride and walk by.  People love our new fence, which makes us happy because not only do we love it, but we have heard others in the area are considering now building a fence like it!

We recently were given (yes given!) horse panels for our corral.  They were in great shape other than the fact the paint had come off being exposed for a long period of time without maintenance but hadn’t started to rust.  We already a few panels that were on the property that also needed paint and had some rust on it.  After my husband got the panels set up, we went to town with paint, making them look new.  (Well, if you’re up close you can see they’re not brand new – but who cares!)

We pick up the miniature horses this Saturday.  I am chomping at the bit (no pun intended – ok, maybe a little) to get them home and start loving on them.  Next up are the spring chickens, a couple miniature fainting goats, and quite possibly a miniature donkey.  Then it will be a wrap for animals (for now) and waiting until spring planting season.

Things are falling into place.  I love it when a plan comes together; especially when they fall into place better than expected.

Before and After

A very productive weekend on our little farm/ranch.  (We’ll have to think of a name to call our place but as of yet it hasn’t quite jumped out at us.) We took a neglected small barn and completely updated the inside. The smaller stall was converted into a chicken coop and run. The middle stall will be for the miniature horses.  The end stall will be for the miniature goats (Fainting and Nigerian Dwarf). It’s very exciting around our house as we get one more project finished. We are so close to go animal shopping – I can almost smell it!  We still need to put up the corral panels where the horses and goats will be so there isn’t free reign through the pasture all the time. The fence has already been replaced and welded wire was put up around the entire pasture.  That was last weekend.  We’re getting it stained a nice cedar color which we’re getting done but takes a bit.  From the house all the visual boards are done.  We still need to stain the back side of each one.

There were old rusty horse panels that we updated and now looks brand new with a fresh coat of Rustoleum Hunter Green.  Amazing what a little elbow grease and paint can do.  We moved a gate from a section where Ed’s shop will be to the side of the pasture where the animals will be.  The gate will separate the pasture from what we call the “boneyard” and contains scrap metal panels, old posts, tomato cages, etc.

I checked the bird feeders and they don’t need filled again quite yet.  It looks like the sunflower seeds are the first things to go.  It’s nice to see all the finches flying around.  I’m anxious for spring to see all the trees we have leaf out, green up, and brighten everything up.

We live at the end of a road. People apparently drive around and turn at the point when they get to our house.  We’ve actually had people stop and tell us how nice everything is looking.  We realized others in the area are watching every step we make. The property previously hadn’t been utilized at all.  Nothing had been updated.  No garden (can you even imagine!). They had horses and a goat but the set up was far less than adequate in my opinion.  Then again, we’re more likely to go overboard on spoiling our animals than some folks so my previous statement probably would be fine for some people.

As we get closer to finishing the animal pasture, we visually look ahead to planting season.  I’d better get stocked up on canning jars and freezer bags. A new commercial vacuum sealer may not be out of the question either, since the old one is showing signs of inefficiency.

We’re constantly working on the property, which will never end. I love to look ahead and visualize what it will be. I learned from my parents how to take the diamond in the rough and turn it into an amazing property. I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to use those skills now. As much as I love to dream about tomorrow, I am where I want to be at this moment, so I never want to lose out on enjoying today. This late bloomer country girl is where she’s always wanted to be.

 

 

Achy Smiles

fence-building-2017 The weekend was very productive and while the end product is looking good, I smile through achy bones.  Saturday morning my husband and I got up and went right to work.  We had holes augured for the fence which certainly saved a lot of work.  But we still had to go to each hole with a post hole digger to get out all the dirt, measure for the correct depth, and dig out a little more or put back a little dirt with each hole.  Ed and I set 52 holes by ourselves that day, as well as putting in the quikrete and adding water for it to set overnight.  Throughout the day, while temperatures were in the high 40’s until later afternoon, we dealt with the wind.  As we grew closer to finishing up the final posts, dark clouds, heavier winds, and cooler temperatures reminded us very clearly that it’s only February.  Nevertheless, we triumphed and finished it up.

Sunday morning my brother-in-law and youngest son came over to help layout and “stretch” the welded wire and staple it to the posts (and a little grandma time with two of my grandsons who helped me ride the tractor and do some chores).   The top and bottom trim pieces will be put on over the next couple days, thanks to Ed. This weekend I’ll go around and stain all of the boards to give it a nice finished look.

We look at the fence and are amazed how truly good it looks even though it’s not quite done.  At this stage, we’re able to clearly picture the end result and are pleased with the decision on the type of fence we have.  This fence, located in our east pasture, will securely house our miniature horses and miniature fainting goats.  We will at least get the horses this year.  Time and money will dictate the timing on the arrival of the goats.  Until then, it makes for an amazing large exercise run for our German Shorthairs so they can get a break from their usual dog run and stretch their legs a lot more.

Coming to Life

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Colorado weather was very cooperative this past weekend, allowing for some productivity around the homestead.  The 3-stall barn, of which the smaller one has been converted for chickens, looks great!  The dirt floor is evened out, new nesting boxes are built, and the roost is ready too.  Standing at the doorway of the stall, it looks so much better than it did when we first saw it.  Hard work is paying off.  A door will be framed in to allow us to close up the chickens, yet allow me to easily walk in for cleaning and egg gathering.  There will be a small pass through so the chickens can go in and out during the day.  We’ll close it up at night of course to keep the predators away.  Once the paneled fence is up, I’ll be ready for chicks!  Very excited.

There had never been a garden on the property either. So Ed got the tractor and attached the tiller.  I walked out the area I want the garden and he went to town making the first till into the earth.  I was very happy to see the dark soil.  I’ll get some good fertilizer for it and Ed will turn it in to the soil before planting time.  It was very exciting to see the actual layout of the garden.  The question becomes, do we need to put a fence around it?  If there are rabbits, we’ll need one.  But we have seen a couple foxes around so wonder if it’s needed.  Before that goes in though, we’ve got to finish the chicken run, and redo the east pasture where my miniature horses (and possibly a couple miniature goats) will be.  Some minor modifications are needed to the inside stalls, but not to the extent the chickens needed.

The property is slowly coming to life after many years of having a blank canvas. It feels good that we are the artists and can watch this real-life painting come to life.