Archive for October, 2010

Fixing up the farm

October 21, 2010

We were finally able to actually purchase the property in April after the county had extracted it’s pound of flesh (actually $15,000) in fees for our friend to subdivide the two 10 acre parcels. Then of course our first task was to take down all the rotten unsafe fencing which was mostly about 30 years old (draft horses and old fencing is not a good mix). We spent weeks replacing posts and rails, making a new corral, closing in pens, building new shelters, and generally making the stables, corrals, arena and fencing safe and draft proof. Mike recycled every nail – some of which have to be 80 years old!

So now we have a safe environment for the horses, a place to shut them in if necessary, a round pen to work them, and are finally secure in the knowledge that they can’t get out into the road. Gates are our life……

And its already fall so winter is fast approaching. Next spring our project is to dig another pond in the wetland and try to drain it some. We have already cleared the front part of the pasture of russian olives and had some spectacular bonfires – pyromaniacs unite! Next spring we will tackle the back part to clear the brush out, but I think we are about done for the year.

We are planning to start building a new shop in the spring, and will probably build a temporary apartment in there so we can move out of and sell Chez Taquie the mobile home, which will give us funds to start building the actual house.

So lots to do around here. I am now working as a bureaucrat – who would have thought – as a Program Manager for the Health Care Licensing Bureau, and Mike has a job with a local RV dealer, and hoping that once our utility increases its budget next year for energy audits he can get back to what he really likes. In the meantime the doggies are loving living in the country and we are hunkering down for winter. One thing we loved last winter was going out in the pasture on our x-country skis, though at first it totally freaked the horses. But we have to find positive things about winter here because it sure does last a long time!

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Peeps

October 21, 2010

We received our first shipment of 15 day old chicks from (and I am not making this up) the Cackle Hatchery in Missouri, on April 21st. They arrived at 3.12 am, announced by a phone call from Tony at the post office with instructions to pick them up as soon as possible, they were very noisy. So off I went, and when I got back Mike took each of them gently out of the box, welcomed her to Montana, gave her a drink and assured her she would be very happy here. If I hadn’t been half asleep I would have gone for the video camera and recorded this. Unfortunately when the second shipment arrived on July 1st I was just as zonked and forgot to record the same performance.

The first bunch are laying, and the second should be giving eggs in a month or so, so its been three months since we have had to buy eggs.

They are probably the most entertaining animals you could have in your back yard. When I get home from work I open the gate and they come tumbling out talking up a storm and go off into the garden rootling around for goodies. Lucy unfortunately thinks they are sheep and tries to herd them, luckily they pretty much ignore her.

Mike built the Coope de Ville – well insulated and very elegant coop for the first peeps, and then another the same for the second bunch which are Buff Orpingtons, New Hampshire Reds and Black Australorps, all of which were chosen for their alleged ability to lay eggs all year long in a cold climate as well as in the summer. We shall see….

Tosca’s first ride

October 21, 2010

This young lady who works with me has grown up around horses and is loving coming out on the weekends to work with them. She sweet talked Tosca and then worked her butt off in the round pen. So then we saddled her and Jen lunged her some more, and Mike figured it was time to climb up (he has been longing for this for three years) and they gingerly walked around the round pen. No one fell off, and we think we are on the way to having a great riding horse.

Huge horses….

October 21, 2010

Samson turned two on June 14th, and now is almost as tall as Mama Carmen, though still pretty slim. Like most Belgians he has an awesome thick white tail, but a mingy mane which is also white.

He is a totally bullet proof horse, proven by the fact that a couple of weeks ago we were working with him a bit and I thought I would try a saddle. Total yawn. So Mike climbed up on a fence and leaned on him a bit and then slid on to the saddle. Still total yawn. The next weekend with the help of a young friend who grew up with horses, Mike rode him around in the corral.

Summer is almost over

October 21, 2010

And its been a long time since I added to the blog.

We have had a sort of successful summer with the garden, haven’t had to buy any veggies for almost 4 months, and still have lots of potatoes, carrots, leeks, parsnips, beets, onions and shallots. In other words, root veggies did really well. Other stuff not so much because we had a terrible summer here in Montana.