Thursday, December 10, 2020

November Hill farm journal, 114


Earlier this week I was filling the water trough in the back pasture when I glanced up and noticed the golden hour light near sunset had hit my favorite oak tree. As I watched, two handsome donkeys climbed through the arena fencing and illuminated themselves. What a sight. 

We’ve had some cold nights the past week, a couple of which also had rain, so both Keil and Cody were in  blankets so that if they wandered out of stalls and shelter they wouldn’t get wet. I wanted to do the same for the pony, but he hates being blanketed and his fur is so very thick. I left him as he was and he did get wet, but also had plenty of hay and shelter, and is fine.

The blanket we first put on Cody lasted two nights and then one of the belly straps broke away where it was stitched to the blanket. It’s years old and possibly dry rot was behind this, so I’m shopping for a new blanket for him. We had Salina’s newest blanket that fits Cody, so he moved into that, but his QH neck and chest make it snugger than I’d like it to be, so once I get his new one in, I’ll donate these two. 

The pony has a sheet and a blanket and both are old, so I’m going to need to get him something new as well. In the past I always had two for each horse, a sheet and a medium weight, so we could use as appropriate to temps but also have a spare to switch into if we had many days of cold/wet conditions. Even the most waterproof of blankets will get soggy if we have days and days of cold rain. It’s not a common event here, but good to be prepared.

Right now Keil has updated to a medium weight and a really nice fleece stable blanket. He still has an older Schneider sheet but it’s quite heavy and I may try that on Cody to see if it fits him well enough to be a spare for him. 

What I really need right now is a blanket rack so I can hang them up in the tack room. If you’re reading and have one you like, I’d love to know where you got it.

The plan to repair the deck had to be postponed due to materials not arriving, so we pivoted to some barn repairs. FINALLY! I had the top “windows” to the exterior stall doors pulled down to replace the old and in some cases very rickety lower doors. For whatever reason, when this barn was originally built, the windows were made much longer than the doors, so they are heavy and honestly we almost never have closed them, so they are in near pristine condition. I bought new hinges and stall latches and they look quite nice, though taller when closed than “normal.” Since we rarely close horses in, this isn’t an issue. Keil and Cody are fine since they’re tall, but the pony and donkeys won’t be able to see out with their back door closed. It’s almost a non-event that we ever do close them in, though, so we’ll get some years of use out of these and when they need replacing, I’m going to go with some nicer Dutch door/window sets I found online. 

We also had all the doors and windows in the barn worked on to insure that all of them open and close easily. There were two that were super “sticky” and now they are easy as pie. The new stall latches are on all the doors, the tie backs for the exterior doors are all replaced and work perfectly, and I also have window latches that will go on next week. We had a couple of windows that need more work, and a couple of interior stall doors need some work, so these things are on the slate for next week. There are a few more sprucing up details that had never been done in the barn aisle that are getting done next week as well. I’m happy to see this stuff coming off my list. It was too cold to do any painting this week, but when we have a nice dry, warmish day, I’ll do the touch up trim painting that will brighten everything up again. 

It’s definitely a winter landscape here now, and the birds are searching out every seed that remains in our pollinator beds. We also had a small group of crows who are eating into one of the leftover pumpkins. They’ve made a perfect circle and are pulling the seeds out of the middle!

There’s one farm task that I’m saving as a surprise reveal. I should be able to do a show and tell sometime this month! 


Calm, Forward, Straight said...

The light in that picture is exquisite :D

Feeling surprisingly okay with this transition to winter. Most years colder temperatures and the waning light get me down. Perhaps I'm looking forward to a clean slate and leaving behind (almost) everything from the dumpster fire that was/is 2020 ...

billie said...

Thank you - I totally know what you mean about looking forward to a clean slate and leaving 2020 behind. I’m having a similar feeling. I want to savor the season but until Biden is inaugurated I can’t completely relax!

Grey Horse Matters said...

That's a great picture. Could be a greeting card or a calendar picture.

You've been busy and gotten a lot done. We have too. Just fixed some hinges on windows in the back run in shed and some molding on the indoor and painted some things. I'd have to ask J. or take pictures and send them to you but we use metal blanket racks that swing open for hanging blankets and swing closed when not in use. They're very handy and strong.

Well, it does my heart good that he just got shot down yet again but I'm still not comfortable until Jan. 20th.

billie said...

Oh, do take a quick photo if you get a chance. I think I might know the style you have but wasn’t sure if they work as well as they look like in the ads.

Me too re: him getting shot down again. And ditto Jan. 20th.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I'll take a picture this coming weekend when I'm at the farm. I've had a miserable cold all week so I didn't go up this week.

And tomorrow should finish his nonsense off. If I never hear that name again my brain will be happy again!

billie said...

No rush and hope you are feeling better! Agree totally - ready to move on to when he is a bad memory that fades quickly!