Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Life got derailed, total derailment - off kilter, etc... several times.

Here are the bullet points:
  • Barn help left unannounced, the month I was due with the baby, and left a trail of destruction and drama behind.  No joke.  More on that to later.
  • Had the baby.  Emergency c-section, Doctor saves lives, we all are OK.
  • Baby comes home and turns life upside down (they do not sleep as much as I thought they did!)
  • Mackie passed away.  We are devastated.  It was unexpected, I thought I had years before I had to say goodbye to him.
  • We got a puppy, another black lab, same breeder, she looks like a mini-Mackie, her name is Blair.  :)
  • Java tried to back out of the trailer with the butt bar UP.
  • We hire a dude named Bud to ship Java to a show in a stock trailer, I squeeze into my breeches, and we have a blast and get a ribbon.
This is life.  Now that you're all caught up, I can get back to posting regularly!

And, our baby is pretty cute if I may say so myself.  :)

The puppy, Blair:

Blair and Bandy get along great, and they run around like terrors and play a tremendous amount.
This is down at the pond, Bandy is partially wet, Blair is terrorizing her to try to get the bone from her mouth.

I miss you Mackie:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

And it's not 9:00 am yet

Java fed, out, mucked, etc.
Then I'm waddling around, taking photos of the brown early spring.

I look around at the brown, knowing it will be green very soon and I take these photos...

Then Bandy and I walk around some more, and Mackie catches a whiff of something and dives into the top paddock to explore and investigate.

Bandy, as usual is at my side and I take these photos... but Bandy is saying something to me, I just don't know it yet:
 Bandy is saying something like:  Um, HELLO, Mackie is quite interested in something right now in the top paddock.  Why are you looking at me, go stop him before he does something stupid!

 You're not listening are you?

I carry on, what a nice morning, la la la la la, lets go to the house and get biscuits!

And Mackie bursts out of the top paddock, very proud of something...

Oh, neat, it's a branch that looks just like a horn?!
No, that IS a horn.
I don't have livestock, neither do my close neighbors.
But now I have a horn. 
 It's shedding or something.
Lucky me, I have an awesome sense of smell being pregnant, and I can verify that thing used to be attached to an animal.

Mackie was very proud of his find and let me take it from him before he went into the house.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

the new addition

The new baby, it's not our human baby, he's hopefully going to wait a few more weeks to arrive, but we had to get this new addition, now.

I used to have hay guys that delivered and loaded the loft.  When I got small loads or 50 bales or less to fill in between larger loads, I walked the bales up the loft stairs one by one.  My hay guys went out of busines.

Now that I'm pregnant, I cannot load 50 bales into the loft by walking up the stairs.  Mr. Java's Mom does not want to walk 50 bales up the stairs either, but it's not because he does not want to go in to labor.  It's because walking bales of hay into the loft is not nearly as much fun as using a hay elevator!

So, we did some thinking, planning and finally got this.  Our new baby.

Hello beautiful hay elevator:

This little beauty ran like a charm.  We tried to find a used one (for over a year), and finally bit the bullet and got a newborn hay elevator.

We went and go two loads of this:

We got a load of first and second cut.  Java likes both, but of course she does, she's my girl!  She is counting the days until she can spend all day out on the grass, and until then, picking through first cut is OK, as long as the neighbors are doing something entertaining.  She's hoping for some landscaping or home improvement projects to start with the neighbors.  But so far it's just been UPS deliveries.  Boring.

Monday, March 21, 2011

silly time

We have had the most gorgeous early spring weather lately... sun, chirping birds, the grass is eeking (let's pretend that's a word because I'm not totally sure right now) out some green color...

and then... this.  It's snowing.

Don't worry, the horses were already out for hours this morning.  Java clearly made her preference clear when the snow started that should would rather be inside for a little, so they are in the barn with the back windows open, eating hay and hanging their heads out to observe from their comfy stalls.  When the snow stops, they will go back out, to roll in the wet ground and enjoy the afternoon.  Tomorrow it will be sunny.

The horses also have a little spring fever.  This translates into silly time.  Luckily the boarder who's horse was on permanent silly time left last week.  Yes it was dramatic.  Not the actual departure, but leading up to it.  But nobody got short changed so it all ended well.  Java even seems to like this.  She has her little chestnut pony (boarder) all to herself.

I'm huge pregnant.  The help I hired has not been here for 3 days, so needless to say, I'm staying quite active.  Getting on the tractor is a tough one though.  Bending in general is pretty awkward.  The rest is all pretty good. 

So, as I'm looking for back-up barn help, a new boarder and organizing taxes, I'm trying to prepare for the human addition that is on his way!  Sounds hectic, but surprisingly it's not.  I think this is all going to work out just fine.  Pregnancy hormones are magic, it's the only explanation.

Oh, and the snow won't last.  It's OK.  :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

time flies

Time flies when you are reduced to a waddle through 3 feet of snow.

I has been forever since I've posted.  Sorry.  Sincerely.

Yes, by now we all know it's been a wild winter for a lot of us.  We got a lot of snow, then a lot of snow on top of that snow, and a lot more snow on top of that snow.  We are finally experiencing some melting... not beautiful warm breezes and little trickles of water as the snow receding and birds chirping... but the snow is now only about 18 inches deep.

I took a lot of photos, and they just don't show the depth.  But we personally were spared any tragedy, emergencies or major inconvenience.  Mr. Java's Mom spent days and days and days plowing, shoveling, and clearing the roof with each additional snowfall, and he did a great job.  That made all the difference in dealing with the snow. 

Snow photos:

This must be after the first big snow, because aside from this one day, we have not been able to get out to this particular paddock until yesterday. 

we got more snow since this photo, but the snow was very pretty, and kept everything so quiet as it absorbed the sound (the only sound being the neighbor's dog...barking... all the time... at nothing...)

This lucky bush experienced enough thaw to be exposed to the real world again.  Then we got a really neat and beautiful frost.  Not a bad icy kind, like a covering of frost on everything.

We got rain on top of the snow, and very cold temps.  As time went on, the snow got denser, and finally Bandy and Mackie could walk on top of it without falling through to their necks.  Bandy took this opportunity to perch herself on top of a snow covered stone wall as we waited for Mackie to finish sniffing around during a recent walk.  The only drawback of this, is now we can hear the neighbors dog loud and clear without the fluffy snow.


Le Tundra.

phase 1 or 2 of snow, but not phase 3 yet, because you could not see the bushes at all a couple of days later.

Mackie tried to romp through, and got totally stuck.  He ended up resting his head on the snow and closed his eyes to take a nap!  We got him out, no labbies were harmed in this fun.  Bandy tried too, and inhaled snow, she's shorter than Mackie.

mountains of snow everywhere...

One particular storm was a little windy.

Java does not mind, actually all the horses have been great about it all.  They have been only able to go out to the small pens, but they have not missed a day of turnout.

 Little Shorty (new guy since Sugar left for Mississippi to join his owner) is in pretty deep.

There is a pile of snow out a door in our kitchen (not pictured).  Mr. Java's Mom and I were to bet if it would melt by the time the baby is born.  No bets, since we both think there will be snow there when our son is born (due date April 23).  At least the snow is pretty! This has been an anything but drab winter.  A little cumbersome, and a lot of work for Mr. Java's Mom, but we're all safe.  :)

Monday, January 10, 2011


Drat.  I can't seem to catch rats in the zapper.  The bait slowly disappears, with no stiff rat reward inside.

So I brought back the pros and we placed additional bait boxes.  The bait is secure inside the box, the opening into the box is small enough that only a rodent can get to the bait that is secured in place with a pin in the box.  I have not seen any more rats, although, I think the big ones are too smart for this bait box stuff, the smaller ones prove to be very easy to catch with snap traps.

I was having exciting yet revolting luck with the snap traps.  I took photos but it's not worth hurting your eyes, or brain.  All I can say is that rats are more disgusting and strange than I imagined.  Think a mix of blood, mystery, creativity and my strong will to protect Java's Barn from rat life.  Mr. Java's Mom has not assisted with any rodent issues, but he can barely tolerate the updates, so I'll spare you too.  Oh, and for the record, the rodents are not in the grain bin.  They prefer the first floor apparently (grain bin is in the loft).

Sugar healed from his injury that he came here to heal from.  He was a wonderful lameness rehab patient, and of course we became completely attached to the little guy.  But, the day finally came for him to join his owner in Mississippi and he left last week.  His replacement arrives this coming weekend.  The replacement belongs to someone who will help me at the barn and with the baby when it arrives.   So the herd will consist of Java, T and Shorty, all sound and healthy.  Sugar left with a nice horse transportation professional and a day or two later, we got a beautiful blanket of snow.

Java clearly excited about the snow outside.  Time to play and roll! 
(that is one of the bait boxes under her blanket rack)

Sugar... are you in the barn, come out and play! 
He has been gone for days now, but she still looks for him. 
Totally heartbreaking.  She has never missed a buddy like she misses Sugar.  T is in the next paddock, she likes T's company, but not like she appreciated Sugar.

looking for goodies

Panoramic shot that looks mini because it does not fit on the page.

next post coming soon...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Doctors are very smart but sometimes annoying, and the rodent update:

Many of the readers of Java's Barn blog are probably horse ladies... horsey women usually don't like talking about babies, pregnancy, etc.  I am one of those.  Especially since I am 5 months into this pregnancy and have found out that the worst symptoms and conditions of pregnancy are not talked about... until you are pregnant.  This is a trick to make us think we can have babies and not go insane.

Either way, I think horsey ladies need our own doctors.  Or we should be allowed to be treated by our vets.

Case in point:
I'm a the baby doctor's office (OBGYN) this past week.  You are scolded if you are not eating anything home made from your own organic garden, and put on a plate while singing nursery rhymes.  I've promptly and unfortunately gained 20 lbs, am constantly hungry, but have not skimped one bit on the barn work, upkeep or dog walking.  I just do it a little slower than normal.  But I am not miserable, but getting used to being perpetually uncomfortable unless I'm wearing size XL fleece pants, but smiling and happy.
The baby doctor informs me that I should watch my weight, eat more vegetables, fruit, beans and exercise.   I explain to this doctor what activity I do on a daily basis and she looks at me like, yeah right, sure you take care of 3 horses and their millions of pounds of manure daily and walk the dogs through the woods in all weather for acres and acres.
Mr. Java's Mom and I agree that these monthly check ups are not fun.  I will get back into my britches by next July, so the less weight I have to lose the better, but good greif! 

No matter, I will take this angst and use it to finish eradicating the rodent population on the property. 

The head count:
No mice in traps or zapper.
No rats in zapper.
Lots of dead rodent smells throughout the property from rodents eating poison and going somewhere discreet to die.
One horse (explained below).
Two dogs (also explained below).

Java and Zapper: I had the zapper in an corner of Java's stall under her food bucket, but she decided it was a toy.  I'm lucky it still works.
Mackie and Zapper:  Then Mackie found it, thank god it was off, and it took more abuse and I'm even luckier it still works.
Note to self, keep zapper away from dogs and horses, but near rodent places.
Bandy and mouse snap trap:
Bandy was spotted carrying a set mouse trap in her mouth, and thank god dropped it when i said her name in a confused, bewildered, and shocked way... "bbbbbandyyyyyy?????"  She gently set it down.  No wonder the trap has not caught anything, if the dog could get it out of it's hiding spot, start to carry it in her mouth and put it down without it going off, i probably won't when a mouse touches it.

Bandy the mouse trap inspector:

Mackie the Rat Zapper inspector:

That's OK, I walk the dogs 3,289 times a day, and as I come along a spot where dead rodent smell fills the air, I gladly relish the moment for a nanosecond and appreciate that they are killing themselves conveniently.

And, as for the baby doctor, I will hone my selective hearing skills.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Compost cooking and rodent body count:

Every weekend, Mr. Java's Mom heads over to what we call the farmyard area of the property and takes the manure from the "turning bin" and puts it into one of the 3 other bins of the Manure Cabana.  I'm pretty good in the kitchen, but I make good compost too.  You can tell by the steam.  We bed with straw, so it cooks down fast.

Nice and steamy:

Making sure he gets a good bucket full:

and, into the other bin for more cooking:

other compost shots:

I turn around, and see that everything is under control, we are being supervised:

The rodent count:
Rat Zapper has caught 3 mice, one of which got blasted out of the zapper.  Zero rats.  This means that I have many less rodents than I thought, they are eating the poison and dying politely somewhere else, or I have very smart rats and mice and they avoid the zapper.

Java has a confirmed abscess in her front right hoof.  It is a doosey (this does not spell check but you know what I mean).  Her heel bulb is bulging as the abscess is working it's way out of her hoof.  Yikes.  She is tolerating her prescribed veterinary treatment well (OK that's a small lie, she will not tolerate having her hoof soaked, but will let me wrap it in anything I want 24x7), and I hope we're done with this in a few days.  I'm not complaining, I'd rather an abscess any day over most other lameness possibilities.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Rat strategy and general Java update

If you are lucky enough to not need to know about rats, this is an important fact:  They are smart.  If you have tried ever to kill rats, you are saying to yourself, "duh! they are not easy to trap".

I have not caught one since the wonderful snap trap kill.  I know there is at least one more.  Darn thing doesn't even bother to be shy, GRRrrrrrrrrrrrrr.   

So... I bought a "Rat Zapper".

This thing is supposed to kill rats and mice with an efficient zap of electrocution.  Nice and easy.  Then a light goes on in the box indicating that something dead is inside, you slide the dead thing out (or over the wall, he he, just kidding) and re-set for more wonderful moments of dead-ness. (nevermind that this section of text for some reason is highlighted).

BUT.  I have not caught a thing since getting it on Friday.  This is disappointing for a few reasons, including that I was going to measure the rats for bigness (fun!).  Bait is supposed to be dry.  So the bait currently is a dried date and some dry dog food.

These rats are smart.  I will get them though.  Because I don't want to get a cat, I'm motivated to get the Zapper going in high gear.  Tonight I'm going to try some left over stuffing... dry, but barely moist at this point.  And I have plenty left over in case it works.

Meanwhile, Java is painfully lame.  Her right front is the problem.  I'm hoping abscess.  The vet arrives tomorrow.  She's tough as nails, bright, and weight bearing, but I can see it hurts her.  She does not soak, but will leave a bandage on, so she is getting her hoof packed and today is on stall rest today (it's raining like crazy anyway).  Well, at least I don't have to worry about riding.

Yesterday Java and Sugar were very interested in something across the neighbors chemically green lawn and into the woods.  I'm guessing a trail rider.  Sugar was sure it was a monster, before the pics he had his little arab tail up and was snorting.  I took the opportunity to take some photos of the two of them, even though they are dirty.  The third horse "T" was actually spooking at something in the opposite direction, so she did not make it into the photos.

OH, and Bandy's haircut.  The one she got after getting into the burrs (a couple of posts ago).  Poor thing, she likes it, but it's not exactly the best haircut I've given her.  It's her long haired Jack Russel mixed with I-don't-know-what look.