Work Wednesday—Mustang Saga Part Two


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Besides cutting wood and feeding the furnace and all the holiday hoopla, I have, of course, been working with the horses. Chestnut is much happier since we removed her too-tight halter, although she’s still pretty bossy in the pasture and bitchy about food. She follows me around like a puppy, but she’s still tossing her head a little too much for my taste. She really hates being alone too, without the others, when I move her into the south section of the pasture. Now that she’s finally with horses, instead of cows, she doesn’t want to be away from them!

Cody is proving to be a tough nut to crack. I can approach within a few feet before she starts to step away; sometimes, especially when I’m carrying hay, she’ll come to me—again, within a few feet. She’s taken hay from my hand once or twice, but we’re both really stretching!

She’s sniffed at feed buckets a little, but isn’t really interested in grain. Or treats. When she’s in the south section, with more pasture, she eats constantly. She listens to me, whinnies when I whistle in the morning, and pays attention to everything. Nothing much seems to faze her, except my getting too close.

Still, she truly isn’t crazy. I haven’t seen any bucks or kicks or testing the fence. She doesn’t chase or nip or flatten her ears. I can herd all of them, at the same time, from one section to the other without any trouble.

Cav, on the other hand, is a constant source of entertainment. When I first brought out the buckets a few days ago, he promptly stuck his nose in one; followed by a foot. Naturally, it tipped over within seconds, and he wandered away.

The next day, nose went in, foot stayed out, and he’s becoming quite the little grain hog. Cody keeps checking it out, but moves on pretty quickly to the hay.

He’s come “this close” to taking a treat from me. One day, I sneakily tossed an apple chunk his direction. It landed smack in between his front feet, and those front feet went straight up in the air to avoid, and then kill, that terrifying apple.

He bucks now and then too, when running around the pasture with Chestnut or his mom. And he and Cody both give me that same side-eye . . .

I’ve been able to touch his soft little nose, and barely his face, but that’s it so far. His fuzzy forelock and ears keep calling me, and it’s hard to resist!

The immediate goal is to get Cody to take grain, to put on some weight, and to start she and Cav on de-wormer. And we’ll keep working on touching and scratching.

It’s a slow process, but much better than “breaking” them.

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ETA: I DID touch that fuzzy little forelock, but with gloves on. It’s 14 degrees here this morning!

Prep Monday—Cold and Rain


Argh, I’m so tired of this—already! I can deal with cold. Wind, not so much. Cloudy days one right after the other, not at all! Yes, I know it’s only November . . .

Super hard to get motivated to do much of anything.

This makes me think of the pioneers and the isolated farmers back in the day. What did they do all winter?

Well, they still had chores of course. Around here, we start up the fire first thing in the morning and heat water for coffee, then feed the animals. Not so different, really.

Of course, we have meals to cook and clean up, and housework and laundry don’t stop in the winter. The biggest difference now is that we have it a lot easier—electric ovens and propane stoves and a hot water heater. Now, when SHTF, we’ll be using other methods; think about it, when you go camping, how much time it takes to build a fire and cook and clean up afterwards.

We do have to make sure we have a good supply of firewood; most of that was done earlier in the fall, but since this is our first year heating with wood, we’re still in the trial-and-error stage as to quantity. Just like the pioneers, though, we generally let it burn down overnight and start with coals in the morning. It sure helps to have a nice, thick comforter on the bed!

Back in the old days, besides all this, winter was also a time to relax and do indoor activities like playing games, craft projects, making music, and so forth. I’m sure we all remember Pa Ingalls and his fiddle, amiright? Well, I don’t have a fiddle, but I do have a guitar, an organ, and a drum . . . and books. And leather working tools and one of these days I’ll get beyond the second stitch on those damn knitting needles that I’ve carted around for 20 years . . .

Of course, the old folks didn’t have TV and Internet, either. 😉

Winter is a good time to plan your garden, or work in the greenhouse, or start projects, and you don’t have to feel guilty about slowing down during this time. After all, when you’re homesteading or farming, you more than make up for that during the rest of the year!