Sad Mare

Jaxx last day 1-14-2018When 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.

 

A Day of Sunshine

Horses Donkeys in west pastureWith 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.

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!

Temporary Thaw

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.

 

Coasting until Christmas

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.

Cmas Tree from Loft 2017

Catching Up from Falling Behind

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.

house with welcome sign  Horses at fence  Donkeys and America west pasture Me and goats 8-14-17

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!

christmas tree with chelseaMay all the joys of the Christmas season bring smiles, laughter, and blessings galore!

 

 

Yes, It’s a Special Place

WoodpeckerYesterday while outside enjoying a beautiful Colorado fall day, a beautiful little bird flew to the fence and was as happy with the weather as I was.  Now, unless I’m mistaken, this pretty little bird is a woodpecker.  As long as this woodpecker does his thing in one of our trees or even on a fence post, that’s fine.  But we have a long home.  He and I will be having words if I hear the pecking on the house!

We had several kids over yesterday to enjoy the animals we have on the ranch.  It’s a great feeling being able to share what we’ve created with others after all the hard work we’ve put into it.  I am blessed and thank God for it every night.  For others to experience what we have every day, even if only for a couple hours, makes it all worth it.  When we see the faces of children running around having a great time gathering eggs, chasing and petting chickens, petting the goats and donkeys, walking the horses, etc., that when we know that yes, it is a special place.

Mini Donkeys Come Home

Ella and Emma first day homeAfter months of waiting, even before they were actually born, my two miniature donkeys are home.  An hour and a half drive up to just before the area goes off grid, sits a chunk of property where the owners raise them.  Ella and Emma’s previous home was mountainous terrain with a barn that isn’t set up for laying down in.  Fast forward to their now flat pasture home with a barnyard and their own stall to go in and out of as they want, which is covered in shavings for their comfort.  Oh how I love them!  Honestly, had I gotten them before the miniature horses, I may have thought twice about getting the horses at all.  Ella and Emma are calm and laid back, easy to train, adorable, and smart.

Donkeys and Horses east pasture

It took a bit for them to get used to the horses and vice-versa.  In the pasture everything is fine.  In the barnyard with the stalls though, the horses, more like one horse, didn’t like having to share one stall with them.  So unexpectedly, my husband and I had to separate the barnyard to give both the horses and donkeys their own yard and stalls.  Everything worked out great and it’s a happy place.  It’s also a very special place.

Donkeys and America west pastureHome from west pasture

 

Hello Fall!

It’s been a spell since I’ve had a chance to update you all.  I got rid of my two male ducks who were very aggressive towards the females.  They were both stressed out and one had even been hurt when the two males ganged up on her, pulled her top hair out (she is crested) and temporarily hurt her eye.  Luckily she recovered.  Once I got rid of them, the females have done well.  I’m now getting eggs from one of them and even made pasta noodles to put up for winter with them.

We pick up the two female donkeys on Saturday.  I’ve been anxious to get them.  Now that it’s so close I am very excited and ready to bring them home.  Then the miniature petting zoo will be complete.  For now. Ha!

The colors haven’t changed too much here yet but the smell of fall is in the air and so is the moisture.  I don’t mind the rain though.  Our spring planted orchard loves these long drinks of water before the ground goes dormant for the winter.

Our big projects are pretty much done outside and neither of us are complaining about that.  It’s been a crazy busy summer but looking around there’s a lot to show for it.  Next year we’ll undoubtedly have projects.  Hopefully not to the extent of this year.

More to come and be seen when Ella and Emma find their way home to us!

Ella and Emma 8-6-17

Labor Day Weekend

I know that Labor Day is celebrated because it honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of our great country.  On our property, Labor Day weekend was a weekend of labor as well, but on things we wanted to accomplish, not the looming projects we’ve had since we moved in nine months ago.

I got all the carrots pulled, peeled, sliced, blanched and packaged for winter.  It feels good seeing all the vegetables in the freezer now.  The grocery store had a sale on blueberries so I bought a bunch to get them into the freezer too.  I have green tomatoes and I am going to try my hand at making and canning some green tomato salsa.  We’ll see how that goes!  Now I need to find someone who has apple trees so I can put those up for winter later in the fall. Getting apples done up for the winter is my favorite of all the canning and freezing I do.

Now that the west pasture is completely enclosed, the horses can graze on that side and give the east side a break.  This will be especially important when our mini donkeys come home next month! I got all three horses over there.  Jaxx, the foal, is still getting used to his halter and was for some reason resistant to having it put on him yesterday.  Once we finally got that taken care of, it was working with him to lead.  It took a bit but he’s starting to understand.  He doesn’t like me dictating which direction he goes.  But by the time they were ready to go back to the barn yesterday afternoon, and I had them all on leads taking them back over, Jaxx pretty much followed behind me in between Legacy and America.  I haven’t been able to spend as much time as I would like with him, so this weekend was wonderful for it.

Horses at fenceI looked out the front porch checking on them at one point and saw them right at the fence line near the porch.  My heart melted at the site, feeling like a little girl with her first pony.  Life is pretty good around our place.

Winding Down

house with welcome signIt’s so nice to come home and take a walk around the place and admire what we’ve accomplished in a short time.  I love where we live and I couldn’t be happier being there.

Fewer projects these days than what we’ve had going since we moved in last December…thankfully.  As we come down off the heat of the summer, and July and August being my least favorite months because of it, we have been finishing up fencing on the pastures.  Now the horses and even the dogs can run on the west side of the pasture.  The horses were having a great time running around.  There is more space on the west side than the east side pasture they’ve had before.  More grazing options, which is important.

The garden has run its course.  Zucchini was a huge bumper crop as it typically is.  Zucchini fries have become one of my favorite things to make fresh out of the garden too.  Very addicting!  This weekend we’ll dig up the carrots and I’ll get those done up for the winter, adding cut carrots to the freezer for cooking.  I’ll also keep some fresh ones around and cut up so the little dogs can snack on those.  They love them!

So much of what I do with the animals has been a learning experience.  No matter how much you try and prepare or how much you think you already know, something comes up you don’t know about.  For example, bumblefoot.  Never heard of it…until it happened to me.  Thanks to Facebook and one of its Ag groups I’m with, I was able to ask the question.  Apparently if the chicken gets something stuck in their foot or get cut, or their foot has trauma somehow, it swells up kind of like a blister look.  It can become or is a staph infection.  So I hit the store buying antibiotic ointment and spray, gloves, bandages, etc.  The chickens don’t like bandages so that didn’t work and was off right away.  I’m not one to do surgery on a chicken but I’ll certainly take care of them.  I was able to pull the scab off on the bottom, get everything squeezed out and applied antibiotic ointment.  I do it every night.  It’s working well and so far the response has been favorable.  I tell you what though, even though I wear gloves during the process, I sanitize my hands, then wash and scrub them good, and make sure I haven’t touched anything or anyone until I do.  I have a nice little set up now in the barn.  I had pea gravel and sand to their run to keep the mud down.  It was the little pea gravel that had worked in to a few of the chickens’ feet.  So more sand went down and the gravel was pushed along the sides of the run.  That seems to have solved that.  I felt bad for a few days.  Now I’m just trying to get them all back.  All part of the learning curve I suppose.

bumblefoot pic

With September here now, we turn our thoughts to getting all the logs we have cut up.  We have a wood shed that had wood to last through the winter last year.  We’ve got it all built up again but cutting, splitting, and stacking is still needed.  Because we tend to like things organized, we’ll clean it all out first then proceed to get it all organized in areas for kindling, small wood chunks, and larger wood chunks.  It won’t be long and we’ll be feeling cooler temperatures with snow behind it at some point.  We’ll be ready!