Monday, November 26, 2012

No Hibernation for this Bear

My husband and I are not lazy.  Quite the contrary.  We work our little buttocks off, here on the hill.  We both work full-time jobs, then come home and do farm chores.  Weekends usually bring hours of work on the latest project.   

With that qualifier, I see that, somehow, winter has once again come too soon, with many "get that done before winter" projects still hanging out there. 

Wake up! There's work to do!
I observe the frosty mornings with dismay, as it means the ground will soon freeze, and that will make it really tough to drive T-posts.  I feel the northwest wind howling steadily against my face and ears, and wish I had prepared the upper pasture for the sheep, so we could move them closer to the barn for the winter.  If I don't get that done, I'll be trudging a long way through snow to feed and water them, soon.  I slop through the wet paddock at the bottom of the pasture and realize I missed my opportunity to excavate and improve the footing there this year, since it's now wet and the November sun is simply not hot enough to dry it up between rain and snow showers.

Tonight, I spent a couple hours stumbling along the fence line, examining every connection by flashlight, to figure out why the electric charge wasn't going all the way around the perimeter.  I figured it out and fixed it.  Another check on the checklist, an endless list that, for every check we make, two more tasks appear.

For some crazy reason, this is how we choose to spend our "free" time.   I wonder guiltily how I dragged my husband into this.   At least I have the pleasure of riding the horses, something he does not do.  He does get big toys, like a tractor, a nail gun, etc., but he wouldn't need those things if we were more normal.

On these November mornings when the alarm goes off and it's still dark out, and I hear the wind whistling by the windows, I just know it's going to be cold out there, and I don't want to get out of bed.  But then I picture the hungry horses out in the cold, and I get up, feed the dog, toss a grape to the parrot and bundle up.  I head out the door and look up at the stars, and the cat appears from somewhere, purring loudly around my feet, and the horses nicker when they hear me coming, knowing hay will soon be delivered.  

Then I remember that I love this life, and I'm thankful for it, and I don't even mind the cold and the dark.  I just wish I had a little more daylight and a little more warmth, because there is so darn much to get done!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Events, Nov. 24-25, 2012

Here it is, horse peeps: Our one equine event for the weekend.  But hey, it's a show, so go, to watch or participate, and get your horse fix.  

And have a great time with your pony this weekend!
November 24: Post Oktoberfest Germany -- Passport Horse Shows, Birchtown Stables, Inc., 115 Birchtown Drive, Clifford Township, PA 18421 Great For Beginners and Green Horses! 11:00am Start ~ $10 Class. Judges: TBA; Show Manager : Jessica Polednak, 570-241-5195; Facebook: Birchtown Stables Horse Shows.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thinking about a Saddle

This is not going to be one of those bemoaning-saddle-fit threads, although I could certainly write one with gusto, but one of optimism.  I want to get a good-quality, well-fitting Western saddle for Starlight, so I can get her going on all things cow. 

I heard that Meleta Brown (The Freedom Saddle) is a skilled saddler, and so, contacted her.  She asked for a photo of me in my current Western saddle (an inexpensive and shoulder-pinching Simco), so hubby took a couple of me today on my high-headed and out-of-shape paint pony.  I don't have a decent Western bridle, and so, once again, I managed to be a total mishmash of riding styles, but hopefully it will tell her what she needs to know.  She is good about sending trial saddles, so that will be the next step.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Tidy Poo

Check out the first of what will be a three-bin manuring composting system.  

I told my hubby we had the best-looking manure composting bin on the hill, and he said, "It's the ONLY manure composting bin on the hill."

True, true.  Most farmers just make piles.

Holding one day's worth so far.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Nov. 17 - 18, 2012

Here are this weekend's horse activities.  The trip to Lane Cove Dressage for the clinic and Pony Club Open House will make a fun and educational trip.   Go to Lane Cove's web page for a full run-down of activities.

Otherwise, you can choose from a couple other clinics or a barn sale, all an easy drive for Twin Tiers horse folks. 

Have a great time with your horse! 

Nov. 17-18: Lexi Myers Dressage Clinic and Puddle Jumper Pony Club Open House at Lane Cove Dressage: Clinic rides are available from 8 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday for $88 per ride. For more information on Lexi: Full deposits for all rides are due by November 1st. Day stalls are available for $10 per day, overnight stabling is available for $15 per night. For more information, contact Ashley at

Southern Tier Puddle Jumpers Pony Club Fall Open House and Membership Drive. Everyone is welcome to attend. Great door prizes! Many local vendors! Throughout the day our Pony Clubbers will be hosting a bake sale based on donation. 

Pony Clubbers will be selling lunch for $5 per plate. Hands-on horse demonstrations will be available throughout the day in the lower barn. Please contact our club if you have a horse related service or demonstration that you would like to present. Equine massage demonstration by Corrinne Spaulding at 9:30 a.m. each day. For more information: 

Nov. 16-18: Michael Page Clinic at If Only Farm; Three-time Olympian Michael Page conducts riding clinics at If Only Farm annually for riders at all levels. This is an excellent opportunity to hone your skills and learn from a master. If Only Farm stalls and horses are available for lease for the clinic and riders may participate in one, two or all three days of the program. If Only Farm, Ithaca, NY

Nov. 17: Mothersfield 9th annual BARN SALE - 10 am till 3 pm, 4444 Hogmire Road, Avon, NY. Great bargains on new & used stuff such as blankets, tack, clothes, boots, and other bargaiins for the horse & rider in your family. 10 % commission on stuff dropped off by Thursday (Nov 8) if you want us to sell for you. Please deliver TAGGED items with a complete list, including asking price and lowest accepted price. For more info, call (585) 226-6287

Nov. 17-18: Michelle LaBarre Dressage Clinic - Black Points Farm, Honeoye Falls, NY. For info about Michelle, To ride in the clinic, contact Mary Delton at Auditors welcome.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cow v. Sheep

The cow thugs invaded again today.  The sheep, normally silent, took umbrage and uttered a short "bah."  

I chased the cows back home with my trusty umbrella.

You do not fit in our ewe-gloo.  Away!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Events, Nov. 10 - 11, 2012

It's starting to quiet down in the Tiers, but you will still be able to find a horse activity to attend, if you have a mind to do it.  Here are a couple of possibilities.  It should be a nice weekend for a hunter pace, so go have fun with your horse!

Nov. 10-11: Michael Barisone Dressage Clinic - Park Place Farms, Honeoye Falls, NY. For info about the clinic, download the Flyer

Nov. 11: Irish Draught Horse Society of North America Hunter Pace 10 am to 2 pm at Batzing Farms, 3932 Batzing Road, Caledonia, NY. For more information, call Sarah at 585-303-1888 and download the Flyer.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Goodbye, Stupid Canvas

Regular readers know we have used a canvas tarp, here on the hill, to block the northwest wind.   And they know that it has regularly been torn to shreds by said wind.  

The original canvas.  It lasted maybe a month, with lots emergency stapling
Where we used to live, we had to worry about water, water in the basement, water from the creek.  We once had help from the volunteer fire department to evacuate our horses from the rising waters, leading them to higher ground, through the knee-high water that earlier that morning, had been the Berwick Turnpike.

Here, we don't have to worry about water.  Instead, it's the wind.  While others in the area were thinking, "Hurricane Sandy? Big Deal," I was bracing against waves of wind and rain that stopped me in my tracks, evacuating horses to the protection of our new equipment barn, because that canvas tarp had failed again, and the horses were frantic and, worst of all, shivering.  I cannot tolerate seeing a shivering horse.  To me, it's a situation that needs to be fixed immediately.
Two shredded canvases.

So, we knew this year we had to make a more permanent wind block.  We knew it in the spring, in the summer and in the fall.  And we knew it before the hurricane.  But it wasn't until after Hurricane Sandy kicked me in the butt that we actually put it up.

The former owner left all kinds of crap on this property before he left.  I have spent quite a bit of time collecting said crap and bundling it up, cutting it up, making it transportable in our truck to the junk yard, or better, yet, small enough to throw out in our regular trash.  I transported more than 50 tires to a tire dealer and paid to get rid of them.

Why would anyone have 50 tires in the first place, let alone spread out in all kinds of unlikely places on one's property?  I don't get it, but that's another story.

Yes, that was snow on our roof yesterday.
Back to the point, he also left several, 15-foot, galvenized roof panels.   I didn't get rid of them, because they just seemed so darn handy.  Plus, a neighbor offered to buy them, but never came back for them, so I thought that someone, a farmer who knows more than I, must see value in them.

Yesterday, we saw value in them too, and up they went.  Believe it our not, this was an all-day project for us, but a good one.  It involved only one trip to the hardware store, for the CORRECT supplies (emphasis because we usually have to go back for something forgotten, or something that we didn't get right in the first purchase).  We also learned how darn handy a little four-inch grinder is, as, with the right blade, it cut through the steel roofing like butter.

Here's the result of our work.  Not pretty, but very fit for purpose!
The finished work.


Stormkite and Starlight NOT posing nicely. Starlight's going all alpha on him.

That's better. Thanks, Stormkite.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Twin Tiers Horse Activities, Nov. 3-4, 2012

That rotten Hurricane Sandy didn't rain all over the horse events in the Twin Tiers this weekend. 

Start Christmas shopping (for your horse) at the tack auction, check out the big reining event in Syracuse, audit a clinic, hit the trail or head to a show.  Plenty to do, even as the days grow shorter in the Northeast, so have a great time with you horse this weekend!
Nov. 2: JP’s North Tack Auction, Preview 5 PM Auction 6pm. Blankets, Buckets, Halters, Stall Mats, Round Pen and much, much more…. Best Prices Around !! Refreshments. Webbs Mills Fire Department 18 Firehouse Lane Pine City, NY 14871

Nov. 2-4: CNY Reining Horse Assoc. Fall Classic, NYS Fairgrounds, Syracuse. Three days of Reining Excitement! Holding NRHA classes and an exciting 3yr. old Futurity where exhibitors will compete for over $27,000 in prize money.

November 3 with Rain date November 4 Twin Tiers Trail Riders: PA Grand Canyon Day ride. Meet in the parking lot across from the Maintenance Buildings on West Rim Road. This is the parking lot with the bathrooms at the trail head. Contact Jeanne Root 570-596-3653 or

Nov. 3-4: Bill McMullin Dressage Clinic Deer Hollow Farm, Cazenovia

November 4th - Daylight Savings Show; If Only Farm, Ithaca, NY