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Happy Christmas

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Wishing you, your families and your fur babies a very happy Christmas. We had a farm family Christmas party last weekend. See if you can find Axel, Riley, and Piper in the family photo.

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The last few days before I left for my Christmas holiday were completely crazy but I made it through and am now relaxing in the sun and warmth.

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On Sunday, I had to get Casey and Cuervo up to the barn to eat their breakfast. They were in the back hanging out in the pasture paradise track. They whole farm is a muddy mess from snow melt and the rain. So instead of walking them up they gave me a ride. I am lucky to have such great horses.

As I was wrapping up the day, I noticed Apple tossing his head and pawing. I finished up the shed and by the time I went to get him he was laying down.  I am not sure what he ate, but he had colic and his muzzle was stained green. I ended up walking him around the riding ring for 2 hours. Luckily it was a mild case and by 10:30 that night he was allowed to eat some hay. The next morning he was up to his usual tricks because he let himself out of the stall and ate the remainder of his hay.

On Monday I noticed the only faucet in the barn was leaking. My plumber friend was able to stop by to tell me the whole thing needed to be replaced.  This happened only hours before I was to take the train to Philadelphia. Luckily he was able to get it done and I was on my way.  Then on the train I missed my stop and had to wait an hour for the next train to get back.  I finally made it to the hotel to sleep and get shuttle for the plane early the next morning.

I get to Miami to find out the barn is flooding due to the screens on the new drains clogging it up.  I am lucky to have friends watching over the farm. So he fixed them and now things are flowing again.

Thanks to everyone who helps me keep things ticking. It takes a village.

Leaving you with some pictures of holiday decorations.

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There is only now. And you may as well do it now.

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It’s a terrible thing, I think, in life to wait until you’re ready. I have this feeling now that actually no one is ever ready to do anything. There is almost no such thing as ready. There is only now. And you may as well do it now. Generally speaking, NOW is as good a time as any.— Hugh Laurie

Wait till your ready

Winter is in full swing here at the farm but I am still doing lessons with my “troopers”.  A select few that stick with me through the winter.  We get bundled up in our 7 layers to go out there and have some fun.  Stay frosty my friends!

Winter…It is much more complicated than you think

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Read this article about how horses handle the winter weather.

A day in the life.

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What a crazy long day. I can handle snow. I can handle rain. But one right after the other is a recipe for disaster. So today started with flooding. The barn flooded and the shed in front of the barn that holds all their feed flooded. It was right at the point of touching feed bags. Here is the good part, my wonderful BF was home and able to save the day. He had been working since 3 am plowing but was done early so we borrowed the neighbors skid steer and started moving snow water and slush from in front of the barn. Crisis averted no feed was lost and water is no longer rising.

But tonight down to 12 degrees,  the next day we had an ice skating rink.

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All the stores were out of rock salt, so I found out a good alternative is water softener salt.  Just don’t use it on paved surfaces.  Put down the rock salt, now the horses can go out to the pasture with out fear of slipping on ice.
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Day part 2. This one too has a ended well. So with the freezing rain, the whole neighborhood’s electricity goes out around 6pm. I start panicking. How will the horses have water in the morning? All their water will freeze over night. So I was envisioning boiling water on the wood burning stove and bringing it out to the barn. But the water would only last a day. My only recourse I could think of was to buy a generator. Which luckily Lowes just received a large shipment of. We get it home and an electrician friend comes by to help out. He makes sure it is set up and shows me the separate electrical panel and switch (between generator and main power). Then low and behold the electricity comes back on. All of that a for 3 hours with out power. Well luckily we are prepared now.

Winter is not over yet

The Beauty of Winter

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 This week we had about 8 more inches of snow.  Sure it is pretty to look at and the horses love to play in it but it makes everything more difficult:  Walking out to the barn, opening doors, gloved hands can’t do anything.  Enough complaining, because it also make for some very pretty pictures.

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A couple of days after the snow storm we found ourselves in the the midst of Frozen Rain and slightly Warmer temperatures.  A layer of ice coated everything.  I had some fun with these pictures, as it is really quite beautiful.

Weekend Warm Up – What a Tease!

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Last weekend was great.  It was in the 40’s (which now feels like a heat wave) and there was lots of activity on the farm.  Starting with a trail ride with Cuervo and Nash at 10 am Saturday.  Nash decided to be a freak and was bouncing around like a rabbit.  Everything was scary when I was on him, but when I walked him things were fine. Cuervo enjoyed the ride and even had a spring to his step.

WP_20140201_10_52_12_ProThen we had a lesson. My girls are troopers and have stuck with me the whole winter.  It is fun riding in the snow bareback because the horse keeps you warmer.

Then the ferrier  came to give everyone mani/pedi’s.  While he was there the girl scouts came over to lend a hand for their volunteer hours.  They cleaned all the cob webs out of the whole barn and goat house.  Thanks Girl Scouts!

WP_20140201_13_48_45_ProFinally the day ended with one more lesson with one of the Girl Scouts.  Her mom even posed for a picture while I was photographing from a top of Nash.  Yes Bareback to keep me warm.

On Sunday GSF’s favorite photographer Judy Reinford brought out her client for a photo shoot with Nash.  Now my horse has been in more photo shoots than me!  Again it was a great afternoon for it the weather was warm, but there was still snow on the ground for the picturesque winter couple photos.

While we were waiting on the wardrobe change we had role reversal and I snapped a shot of Nash and Judy.

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Winter Write up

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Today I received a request for to answer some questions about this winter for a human interest story for PSU Extension Equine newsletter.  So I figured I would share with you.

Name and location in state: Golden Spike Farm; Quakertown, PA

How many horses are you caring for? 10 horses and 2 mini donkeys

What challenges has the harsh winter conditions in January 2014 caused for you?

  • Frozen water buckets in the stalls
  • Frozen water hose
  • Barn doors frozen shut
  • So cold your hands and feet hurt so you minimize your time outside (horses not receiving as much attention)
  • Horses not being brushed as much so a wound was missed.  I am now dealing with the abscess.  Twice daily wound care plus antibiotics (topical, oral, intramuscular injection)

What changes have you had to make this year that are different from past years to manage and care your farm and/or horses? 

Personal Comment on Winter of 2014: 

Everything takes longer starting with getting ready to go outside.  I usually can be found wearing 3 layers on the bottom and 5 layers on top, hat, gloves, and my Columbia cold weather boots.  Luckily I have help; all my boarders share the work load.  I am originally from Miami, so I have jumped into this the hard way but we are getting through it and I am looking forward to warmer temperatures this weekend.

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