Saturday, December 06, 2008

early december

Has come on quietly, with nice days and some chilly nights. The fields each morning are white with frost. I have noticed the last few days that Keil Bay and Cody, in particular, seem to be craving something - Cody was after tree bark and then both of them went at the honeysuckle leaves in the big barnyard.

I did a little research and found something called Barlean's Green Powder, a supplement for humans which has all kinds of good stuff in it. When I saw that Joyce Harman has it listed on her website as well, I decided I might get a few containers of it and rotate it into the horses' mix. Hopefully I can find it at the local food co-op when I make a run into town later today.

I've recently put the pony on Quiessence (a mix of mag ox and chromium) and I believe we're seeing good results. I normally have extra mag ox mixed into my Glanzen but when I started the equine nutrition class I decided to wait on re-ordering the Glanzen in case I needed to customize it even more. So the pony went into autumn without the mag ox and I think his weight gain is a direct result.

On other fronts, we haven't put the Christmas tree up yet. Until last year we have always had live trees, but with all the cats and their sudden habit last year of doing their own version of watering the tree, as well as my concern with the dryness of the live tree in the same room as the wood stove, we bought an artificial tree.

I personally missed the smell of a cut tree, but otoh, it was nice not having needles dropping, and b/c the dryness factor had been removed, we left it up longer. It made the winter a bit brighter and we all enjoyed it.

This year we'll probably reprise the home-made ornaments that can be played with safely (and without regret if broken) by cats, since Mystic is in a phase where he just loves to knock things down. He's the most toy-using cat I've ever seen, and I feel sure he'll view the tree with dangling objects as his own personal playground.

Speaking of Christmas, frost, and trees, this photo from Matthew is one of my favorites:

16 comments:

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh wow. Matthew's photo deseerves a special frame and a place of honor to display it. I just love this photo. The tree looks 'alive' somehow.

My mind kind of spins when you mention all of the interesting supplements that you feed your equine. So far, we've not felt it necessary to give our horse or other critters any kind of supplements beyond pellets, grain, minerals and daily vitamins.
When I type this, though, it does actually sound like we feed quite a few supplements, doesn't it? lol!

We've been using an artificial tree for about 10 years now. The year after my twins were born was the last year for a real tree because I was so scatter-brained with daily twin care that I kept forgetting to water the tree. By the time Christmas arrived, our trees needles easily fell off with just a wiggle of the branches. What a fire hazard, eh?

I miss the evergreen aroma, too, but with our Yankee Candles our house smells like Christmas with the spiciness of evergreen combined.

I'm starting to get excited about the holiday season finally. How about you?

~Lisa
New Mexico

billie said...

Lisa, it sometimes makes my head spin as well. :) The issue I have is that I have such an assortment of metabolisms and ages here.

Salina needs more to keep her weight on, plus with her arthritic knees I add things to keep her comfortable.

Keil Bay and the pony are your standard "easy keepers" - so they will never be able to eat the amounts of processed feed they'd need to eat to get the vits/minerals in. For them, I'm mostly trying to get what they need to thrive in them w/o adding the carbs/sugars.

I'm starting to think the pony is metabolic, and that's behind the mag ox and chromium.

Cody and the donkeys are young and still growing, so they have additional needs.

My overall feeling is that they'd all do "okay" with lots and lots of hay and a few vits/minerals. But I enjoy tailoring their diets to see how much better I can get things for them, on the least amount of money. Oddly enough, the change from processed feed to whole ingredients and rotating the suppls. is costing significantly less.

The main thing I'm going for is excellent health - clear, bright eyes, strong hooves, dapples, good condition, and a strong immune system. Free of parasites, etc. When they get little cuts and scratches, they heal easily and quickly. They have energy and curiosity. They do quite a bit of play.

Funny - when I got to your list I thought "well, that's about what I"m doing except I'm subbing all the stuff that would normally be found in the pellets!"

LOL.

Re: the tree and fire, we had a tradition for years of burning the tree on New Year's Eve. When I saw firsthand how the tree, even when it didn't seem that dry, went up like a torch, I started having second thoughts about the live tree inside. We kept using live trees, but were more careful about watering, and we stopped keeping it up for so long.

I think the artificial tree is here to stay. I thought of getting a small live tree for the front yard, decorated with lights at night but during the day we'd add treats for the birds.

I love the holidays. We are fairly frugal about gifts, and I don't do a lot of shopping. Our favorite tradition is our solstice ritual, and I'm really looking forward to that this year b/c now I have the labyrinth and woodland paths to incorporate. :)

Grey Horse Matters said...

What a beautiful picture,Matthew took of that tree, it is stunning, I hope you have it framed.
We've had to have an artificial tree for years now since my son and husband are allergic to the real ones. I miss the smell of a fresh tree but not the dropping needles. I love Christmas it's my favorite holiday. Especially now that I have two young grandchildren(3 & 4 months), it's so much fun when small babies are around to enjoy Christmas and all the traditions. I'm hoping to put the tree up tomorrow and start wrapping some gifts.
Your little cat sounds like he is going to love the tree and the ornaments. G
Glad all the horses are doing well with their supplements and feed. Stay warm.

billie said...

Arlene, I'm sure Christmas must be wonderful with those two little ones!

Mystic is hilarious - he treks around like he's on patrol, knocking things down and listening to the noise he can make.

We do have some of M's photos in frames, but there is no way we'd ever manage to frame and hang them all. We need a dedicated flat screen large enough to show the detail, and an ongoing slide show. You would not believe how many photos he actually has at this point!

There is a small chance of snow tonight and the wood stove is burning. We don't have the tree up yet and we're all too lazy right now too start - hopefully we can find time for it tomorrow.

the7msn said...

Matthew's photo is stunning. Can't wait to see what he comes up with for the animal portraits, which don't have to be perfect, by the way. (I just finished a piece for my sister based on her totally crappy, low resolution images of her cat, which came out very nice anyway.) I can't wait to get started on yours.

jme said...

the photo is great - it looks like an intricate sketch in pen and ink rather than a photo...

i bought an artificial x-mas tree also last year, but i was going to be lazy and not put it up this year. of course, now i feel a little guilty, so maybe i will after all ;-)

you sound like me with the supplements! i've got a barn full of easy-keepers so i am always experimenting with their mixtures like a mad scientist, hoping to find just the right balance to keep them feeling good. the Quiessence sounds like it might be a good choice for my two pssm patients. at the moment they are all on KalmAid, mostly for the magnesium (and i like the folic acid too), but i think the chromium might do them good. maybe i'll give it a try and see how they do. glad you mentioned it!

billie said...

Linda, the portrait taking is on the list. We have had so many farm chores this weekend that got delayed from the rainy days last week.

I wanted to tell you that we LOVED your elf-yourself video and b/c of how cute it was my daughter has played with the website all weekend. I have been the happy recipient of a host of emailed versions, but my favorite is the disco one. Seeing a pony and donkey doing disco moves and shimmies, and the cats as well, had me near tears I was laughing so hard.

billie said...

jme, I would def. recommend the Quiessence. I had heard good things about it, but since I was having the mag ox added to the Glanzen I didn't want to add yet another product.

I haven't done research on chromium for PSSM/EPSM horses, but the info on the Quiessence says chromium should not be given to them???

So check that out if you haven't already, and if you have other info, let me know. I'm curious about it.

In spite of it being December and cold we do have some winter grass that is coming up. Tender and green and likely full of sugar, since our days have often been warming up to 60.

He was getting very grumpy, which is a sure sign too. With the Quiessence, I've def. seen a shift in weight and attitude.

I put the Barleans Green Powder in this morning and everyone licked the tubs clean. (not a new thing,them licking the tubs, by any means, but they def. did not snub it!)

Victoria Cummings said...

That photo of Matthew's is beautiful. It reminds me of when we lived in Virginia near the Great Dismal Swamp. I'm going to check out Barleans Green Powder. Siete is so fussy about what she eats. You're lucky that your children all clean their plates!

billie said...

Victoria, I should probably be adding the Barleans Green into my daily yogurt berry shakes in addition to feeding to horses - Cody and Keil Bay were snorting around again today, looking for greenery to munch. Hopefully tomorrow when I add in the full amount of Barleans their cravings will be satiated!

jme said...

thanks billie, i did go back over my notes because there was a little voice in the back of my brain saying 'wasn't there something like that that you're NOT supposed to feed?" yup, it's chromium. although, some of the vets say it's ok or even recommended. i'll keep researching it, but since chromium enhances the effect of insulin, i have a feeling it's not what i want; epsm/pssm horses are already too sensitive to insulin and we're trying to keep sugar OUT of their cells, not get it in faster! oh well, i guess i'll just have to find another way to slim down my easy keepers before the grass comes up again :-\

thanks again :-)

billie said...

jme, isn't it the worst when something is both recommended AND warned against?!

Unfortunately, that seems to be the norm for lots of stuff relating to horses. Sigh.

There's definitely room for a big book on various conditions in horses, with an accompanying "review of the best practices", both mainstream and alternative, so that horseowners could have a starting place when trying to decide what to do.

Rising Rainbow said...

What a beautiful photograph! Very impressive.

We have an artificial tree here as well. It's easier on allergies. Also, like you we leave it up longer and it helps cheer things up a bit.

I can't even imagine what it would be like trying to keep up with the supplements like you do.....although my horses would probably be better off if I did.

billie said...

Hi, MiKael - thanks!

Keeping up with the supplements is fun for me. One of my favorite parts of the day is the morning feed, when I get to open up all the bins and use all my scoops and measures. :)

Every tub is a bit different, and I love being able to tweak as needed depending on what I've seen the day before.

Redford the littlest member of the herd stands patiently at the door, ahead of Rafer Johnson and Salina.

Keil Bay does his musical nicker and if I take too long or don't sing to him he begins the very loud knee banging. He will toss halters and twirl lead ropes if I tarry.

Salina often chimes in with her own more intense nicker.

It's a time when they're all in the barn, all focused on one thing, and serving their tubs of warm "stew" and listening to them chew and lick makes me happy.

I love looking around at all the stalls and seeing 4 heads down in tubs!

The donkeys eat theirs in the barn aisle and when they're done they pick up the empty tubs and bring them to me, asking for "more, please!" LOL.

Matthew said...

Thanks everyone, glad you like the tree. Actually it is two trees right next to each other which I did not notice when I took the picture or when I first printed it. It took me about 10 times of looking at the picture until I noticed.

I love it when it snows, because it makes everything beautiful and photogenic. It does make horse care much more difficult, however!

billie said...

Wow, Matthew, I had no idea there were two trees!