Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Making It To First Cutting

The hay supply was getting low. A count of the bales and simple math told us we would need about 50 more to safely get to 1st cutting, which around here is somewhere between late May and mid-June depending on rain.

We were told about a farmer with hay in LaCrosse, about a half hour drive from us, so we set off on a rainy Saturday morning to pick it up. We took the horse trailer, praying that 50 bales would fit. We don't ever pick up our own hay -- the farmer we usually buy it from delivers it on a flatbed trailer. But he did not have any extra, so we got the lead on the LaCrosse farmer from someone I work with.

Using the GPS and directions from my friend at work, we still managed to pass up the turn to his house, and had to take the long way around. He was a really nice guy and helped us load the hay into the trailer. All 50 bales fit, even though it took John and the farmer both leaning on the door to get it shut. I know John was glad he did not have to put any in the bed of his new truck...

I thought I took some photos of the horse trailer all loaded up, but evidently I didn't.... I wish I had.

It has been raining so much here lately, that we could not pull the horse trailer into the pasture. We had to park in the driveway as close to the barn as possible and carry the bales in. They are stacked up in our tack area in the picture above.

Since we only had 50 bales, and had to bring it up to the loft from the tack area, we could not use our electric hoist. So it had to be done the hard way.....

Yes, that is John up there, pulling the bales up by hand. I am in the tack area and attach the hook to the bales, and then he hoists them up. For 55 he is in great shape....

He got all 50 bales up into the loft and stacked them, though I did help with some of the stacking.
The cats were there to keep us company. Here is our boy cat, Simo....

And "The Princess," Sonya

So now our critters will be fed until more hay is harvested....

Time to take a break.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Critter Walk

Lately we have taken to going for walks with the goats and horses. It always proves to be quite an experience.

We have the horses on halters and lead ropes, and the goats are just free. They don't wander off -- they are truly of the heard mentality. But they always keep things interesting.

A lesson was learned on this walk -- keep the lead rope short! At one point we had both goats tangled up in lead ropes and two nervous horses! It dawned on us that a few years ago, we would have panicked at this situation, and it could have been disastrous. I guess that we have learned something after all over all these years. We got everyone untangled and the situation did not get out of hand. Thank Heavens for these small miracles!

We went thru the woods on our property and over to a nearby house that is vacant right now. The grass there has its spring growth happening, and no one there to mow it. So we took all four of our critters down there for a treat.

It is a nice way for all six of us to get some exercise, for John and I to spend time with the animals, and for them to get a little change of scenery. We plan to do this more in the future.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

2 Rides in 2 Days

On Saturday morning, I sent a text to my Cowgirl friends: "Going 2 the Dunes 2 day 2 ride..."

Got a text back from Cowgirl Dee: "Who is this??" Ego deflated (evidently I am not in her "Contacts" list...), I texted back "Zdravich" and began preparations for going to the Dunes. By the time we got there, Dee and Dolly were already on the trail. As we were grooming "The Girls" (by the way, filthy from shedding and laying in the muddy pasture), two riders came in off the trail. We had been looking at their trailer with intense curiosity the entire time. So I decided to ask them about the trailer. As it turns out, it became one of those classic parking lot encounters at the Indiana Dunes....we got to talking about horse trailers, rides, escapades, horse issues. etc... and the time just flew!! We were still there talking when Dee and Dolly got back from their trail ride. The conversation continued with all 6 of us, and it was so much fun!!

The unique trailer was from Belgium (you can see a bit of it on the far right of the above photo) -- it was called "Brendarup" (or something very similar). It is made from fiberglass, and therefore very light. She could pull it with a minivan!!! Expensive though, about $12K!!! Maybe less expensive than getting a trailer and truck strong enough to pull it.... Dolly, Dee and I all have the same cowgirl hat -- John bought this hat for me as a gift, and Dee and Dolly liked it so much that they got one, too! So now we are triplets! Unfortunately, Dee did not have hers with her on this day, so here is Dolly and I modeling our matching hats. Look how beautiful Dolly is...

So after we all sufficiently socialized, they all left, and John and I took our trail ride. As always, the Dunes are a wonderful place to be....

The look and the trails change from season to season. In the Spring, it can be flooded and just beautiful with water and budding plants...

Because it is a sort of wet ecosystem, there are a series of bridges to cross on the trails.... We had a great ride! The Girls just loved having a chance to get out and explore the Dunes again. (Here is a photo of an acutal "dune" on the trail). Believe me, the photo does not do it justice...

On Sunday (today) we rode the abandonded railroad line near our house, and through the woods of our property. It was the warmest day so far this year for us -- close to 70 degrees!! It was one of those days when everything falls together -- the horses are into it, the weather is great, you feel good in the saddle...it is all working for you! We are so thankful and so fortunate to have such great riding opportunities so close to home!!