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.

Monday, November 22, 2010

rat update

I've been very preoccupied lately... not with the impending baby, but with the rat challenge.

If I did not see it or them every once in a while, I would not have such a focused plan of attack on the Rat(s)... but they are big, and so incredibly disgusting, that I will not rest until I believe they are gone, dead... out of the barn. They aren't like mice, they are not as shy, this is bad.

When I first saw the/a rat, I called our fancy exterminators that we have a contract with.  They quickly came over, assured me they would get them, and set me up with several bait boxes.  Poison (lots of it) is placed in a plastic box so that other things, like the dogs, or cats, or people, cannot get to the bait.  There is an opening in the bait box for the rat.  I think our rats are too big for the opening.  I would show you the bait box, but it is under a shelf in the overhang, and I'm afraid to put my hand under there... ew. 

I called around for a cat.  You would be surprised at the cat rescues that think having a cat live in a barn is not nice.  Weirdos.

No matter, I'm persistent, I called the Humane Society, they have several cats suitable as barn cats that they would love to send me away with.  Pregnant ladies (that would be me) cannot get anywhere near cat doo-doo, so this has been a big deal to consider a cat.  But, I have not had time to go get the cat yet.

SO, for the heck of it I got some rat spring/snap traps.  They are cheap, easy to set up, and might work.  I do not think I will eradicate all rats forever with snap traps, but at least I could try and get a couple until I get the cat, or come up with a better solution.

Well my friends... this morning I have a little spring in my step and a big grin from ear to ear.

Because, I caught a rat. 

Yes, I took photos.  Yes, I had to be careful to not barf when getting the rat with trap out of where it was. 
So, if you might barf, be careful, these are photos of a dead rat with a little rat blood.  But YAY!!!!!!

OK, I heard from experienced rat killers that you should tie the trap to something.  This is good advice.  I also heard you should tie the bait to the trap.  I use roasted carrot on one trap, and roasted brussel sprout on the other.  They like carrots better.

Here is the trap and the white string is tied to the stairs.  It was taught this morning, so I hoped we got a rat and not a mouse... I pulled on the string, and based on the weight of the trap, I knew we got a biggie.  I almost wretched, so I left it there and got the camera and got psyched up for the big reveal.

Here is a fortunately blurry photo of dead fat rat.

Two more for positive identification, and because I was fascinated by the size of the thing.  One photo on wood chips, one on gravel, for a better view, because I'm strange like that.

Now, dead rat with trap and all in bag. 

I'm just going to toss this bag over the wall onto the neighbor's perfectly manicured lawn.  Just kidding.  I"ll put this bag into two more bags and take it to the dump... which is not open until Wednesday.  Ha.  Logistics.

Sugar watching me:

Java and her mare friend (new boarder, she and her owner are PERFECT) ignoring my drama:

Mr. Java's Mom was seriously worried about the rat making a screaming or tortured noise once trapped, and that freaking Java out.  I was willing to risk it.  Lucky me, it snapped it's mouth shut, so Java was not traumatized.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

for the one time in my life, I wish it was skunk poop... but it's not

This poor little dog. 
She loves farm life. 
But it does not love her coat.

I took my beloved canine beasties for a quick walk before hoping to fit in a ride with Java.  We went all the way to the pond (the pregnant lady needs to stay active if I want to fit into my breeches next summer), and I'm watching Mackie and Bandy having their usual fun.

As Bandy is running back towards me, I see stuff on her.  I'm thinking, whoa, that's a lot of wildlife animal feces you just rolled in, I'll get the bath ready... but realize, I WISH it was skunk poop... it's BURRS!

Wahhhhhhhhhhh.  Bye bye ride, hello scissors:

The photos don't quite show the severity of this disaster.  Her undercoat is matted, no hope to brush this stuff out.  Poor little girl is sporting a funky haircut for now... I'll make her look less mangy tomorrow.  I'm exhausted now!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

ok ok ok, I'll finally update!

Ok Ok Ok, sorry for not updating.  I've been very preoccupied:

  • Meeting prospective boarders.
  • Tending to the gang.
  • Trying to kill the rat that I have found living in the overhang of the barn.
  • Getting more hay.
  • Procrastinating cleaning the house.
  • Looking at the gorgeous tress glowing with orange, yellow and red against the pretty green grass and blue sky and trying to get one decent photo of it.
  • And being pregnant.  Not Java, me.
yep, I'm in foal.  No, we don't know what it is, or if we will find out before the big day.  Yes, I'm excited and trying to not freak out about how I'm going to muck and do horse chores as I get big-er.  Baby is not due until late April... plenty of time to let this all play out.  Yeah, that's it.  Mr. Java's Mom is really excited.  The animals have been perfect angels and that's about all.

I have been talking about breeding Java for a while.  She will be glad that I am putting myself through this first.  It will make me think long and hard about putting her through this.  It is odd, exciting, but odd, and usually funny.  I might have to start another blog about it.

Monday, September 27, 2010

load of hay

My regular upstate New York hay guys don't deliver to me anymore.
It only took me for what seemed like forever to find the best hay with a great farmer to work with, luckily not too far away.

I told Mr. Java's Mom I was going to get some hay.

Mr. Hay Farmer loads my truck for me in about 5 seconds, and sends me on my way.

It was hysterical because this hay is not tied down.  This guy can magically stack hay.
Yes, I could not see a thing.
No, I will not take 50 (FIFTY) in the back of the pick up again, too hazardous to other poor motorists if it happened to be a windy day.  Luckily it was only a little breezy.

I had to pull over right after leaving the farmers field for this photo, I was in awe and shocked that he just tossed 50 bales on and advised that I drive slow and hope for no strong cross winds on a particular bridge that I had to cross.

Home safely.  It's about a 35 minute drive, windy narrow roads.  This is CT.  It's not common to see this arrangement on the road.  The other motorists, and the occasional pedestrian were terrified.

Mr. Java's Mom got home from work and almost fell over.  I was laughing so hard trying to tell him I somehow got home with that load of 50 bales, not tied down.

After he unloaded the batch with Mackie's supervision, we had another good laugh.

I still have to get more hay, but I'll be more sensible next time.  :)
Oh, and Mr. Hay Farmer called because he wanted to make sure I got home OK and did not lose any bales, and when I'll be back for more (I'll be back soon).

Friday, September 24, 2010


Hi All,
Sorry to be MIA.

We lost poor Stretch.

Whatever was nagging at him inside was bigger and badder than any antibiotic, hug, love, or vet team on the planet.  His owner made the horribly difficult decision to let him go peacefully and comfortably.

He was one tough horse and he tried so hard to beat his condition. 

He was also one very very gorgeous horse.  What a pretty boy.  Java and Sugar somehow understood that Stretch was sick and they are doing fine.  Stretch's owner is still understandably devastated.

We love you Mr. Stretch:

Now that I've dropped that bomb of news you on, I'll be back to regular updates.

Friday, August 13, 2010

the new toy

We bought the trailer! 

We tried to go somewhere... I did not have enough time to practice loading to make it a perfect day... but hoped it would work out (hey, I'm hopelessly optimistic).  It did work out, but Java stayed home.  She is not keen on the butt bar yet (Java: "I don't like being trapped"), and I chickened out on making her keen on the butt bar ("I spoil my horse and let her dictate my life").

My mom snapped this awesome photo right after I decided to give up.  She loaded (she has that part down pat), but she almost exploded when we put up the butt bar. So I said, DONE, here's your treat, I love you but don't want to kill you in your new metal box toy today, so let's put you back in your stall, mom and I are going to watch the show.

We practice trailer loading frequently now... but the big hurdle is getting her to stand when we put up the butt bar.

We are talking: 
Java: "Just ride me there"
Me:  "Java, there is a huge river (the Connecticut River) between here and there, we will never be able to swim it and make it in time for our dressage test time".

more photos of the trailer and the gang shortly...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

You are invited to chime in with your opinion about this trailer

OK, went to see the trailer.

It looks pretty good.  They have used is about 6 times in the last 2 years for things like taking his tractor to a relative's house, and to help someone move a couple of weeks ago.  When they had horses (that they sold 2 years ago) they used it frequently.

It's a 1989 Kingston, model "Brentwood".
It's 7'4 on the inside (Java likes to try to hit her head, she needs all the room she can get).

Mr. Java's Mom will go with me next to look at it.

Here are photos.  It's not perfect, but seems sound.
Floor looks good from the top and under the trailer.
Lights work.
Turn signals work.
Windows and doors work.
The spring to make the ramp stay shut until you latch it works.
Butt and chest bars work.

Ok, photos:

That's the top left door in the trailer, they work, one is on, one is not.

it has imperfectoins, like this pad.
Replacement pads can be found (yes, I already looked).

Floor looks good, I would want to get any and all old bedding away from the flooring as it looks like a little is still in there.  The owner must have washed it out this morning, it was a little wet in places.

Tires may be fine, but have some cracks...
We would probably want to replace them, but Mr. Java's Mom knows about that stuff, he will tell me what we should do.

The jack thing.  It needs a pin (those are easy to find too).
This stuff all worked well.

So........ what do you think?

They are only speaking with us about selling it - meaning it's not advertised, they have not put the word out.
It's because I called their neighbor and asked about it that they are speaking with us to sell it to us.

I got under it (a little) and it looked fine, but Mr. Java's Mom and I will take another look.

I think we would need to get new tires, add butt bar pads, the chest bar pads need repair, the divider at the bottom is not perfect, that would be good to replace with new material, and I think that's about it...
That could add up.  I have no idea what new tires for a horse trailer cost.
It's a steel frame with aluminum "skin"

I called Kingston and new the trailer cost $6702 in 1989 (it's a 1989).
Their asking price is very very reasonable.  I am not sure it leaves room to negotiate.

chock full of events and news

Ok Ok Ok, there has been so much going on!!!

First, Stretch: 
he has been very very sick, since March.  It is not contagious, without airing all of his details (since he's not my horse, I think I should keep it somewhat "private"), he almost left us for horsey heaven a couple of times.  His loving owner, our amazing fabulous incredible vet, and I stuck it out and...  He is all better!  The vet pulled final bloodwork on him this week, and it's normal.  The news brought tears to my eyes, and I actually almost fell out of my chair.  He looks good, feels good, and is putting on weight.  The easiest way to describe it is that he had in infection in his abdomen, surgery was not an option, so we had to find the right antibiotic to kill the infection, (it only took 6 meds to finally land on the right combination) and it looks like there was SUCCESS.  This is huge.  This is just wonderful news. 

Her knee was injected as I think I mentioned.  It's better.  Improved, check that off the list.  Radiographs were taken first and there are no bone chips, good news.
And, she is still chowing copious amounts of Doxy for her Lyme, and she seems fine.  We'll pull blood again in September and see where we land on the titer.

Sugar Bear:  is adorable, and has the most amazing manners.  His lameness rehab/vacation here is going great.

The pens still ROCK.

And... you know how we are nuts about manure/composting/farm management?  Well... we somehow have flies.  I hate flies.  So... I broke down (I'm a horribly frugal yankee) and bought Fly Predators!!!  They arrived, and I spread them yesterday.

Meet my new friends:

Yes, I read the instructions carefully:

Just making sure I have enough:

You are supposed to get 1,000 fly predators per horse.  We have 3 horses here.  Well, I'm not messing around, I ordered 10,000.  With follow up shipments of 5,000 for the next two months.  Then cold weather (wah) will come and the flies will be gone anyway.  The paddocks/pens are 99% free of flies right now.  The flies are IN the BARN.  It's so bright and airy, that the flies made it their house.  You know can understand why I'm pissed, and waging an unfair war against them. 

I always wondered what they look like... and they look like teeny tiny bees/ants with wings
 and appear to be delicate.  Squashable. 

Around and in the barn they went:

Then to the manure cabana.

After I sprinkled them around, I found myself tip toeing around the stalls... hoping to not squash them.

Today, I'm going to look at a used horse trailer for sale.  Can you believe it!?!  It's not listed for sale... the owners live down the street, and if you crane your neck while driving... you can see what I'm pretty sure is an old Kingston horse trailer parked wayyyy off the road at their house.  I know one of their neighbors, called them they gave me their number, and since I asked, they would be interested in selling it.  YES!  They had horses, competed in Dressage (which I consider a plus, since anyone I have ever know that competes in Dressage is a little... um... particular and fussy, this is a compliment), etc, and they don't have the horses anymore and the trailer has been sitting there...   I'm taking photos when I go today.

Of course there is plenty of other stuff going on, but I don't want to make you read too much.  The fence issue is on hold... we are hoping that the DOT forgets about it.  Not likely, but that's the status.  I'll call that "wait and avoid see" status.

Yep, Java doing this again: