Friday, June 25, 2010

Manure and Farm Keeping Recognition

We strive for excellence in farm and manure management.
We pick our paddocks every other day, at least.
We use straw bedding to break down faster.
We turn our manure.
We cover our manure with special covers to keep the right level of moisture and let it breathe.
We take the temperature of our manure to make sure it is decomposing and killing bacteria and fly larvae.
We rotate our grass paddocks.
We have sacrifice paddocks.
We are solar.
We collect rain water off the roof and filter it and use it for drinking water.
We sweat a lot and go through a lot of pairs of gloves, this is a lot of hard work.

Well, lucky us:  the state of Connecticut recognizes farms like ours with an award!!!

I took three inspectors on tour.  One from the DEP, one from UConn, one from some water awareness soemthingorother.  They apparently liked the place and today I was presented with our award!!

You can apply for this award every year, which we will be doing.

It is an awesome program.  They will come out to your farm, recognize good practices, and make recommendations if they see things that they don't like.  If they really like your practices, they give you an award.  It is a great support for us to be able to call and ask questions, find out things or check to see if we are doing things correctly. And we are.  YAY!!!

Here is the "turning bin".  The freshest stuff goes here, gets covered, then moved and turned to another bin.

170*  Nice and hot.  This means that any bad stuff is killed.

We take out a scoop... steamy... like a smelly sauna.
Mmmmm... look at all that composting goodness.

This is me moving some of the stuff from one of the other bins and putting it on a windrow where it is covered and will wait for us to spread.  It is a nice fluffy compost.  Apparently that is very good.

Me on top of the windrow shaping it. 
We like a certain shape and uniformity to our windrows.
OK, I don't care so much, but Mr. Java's Mom is particular.

And finally:
Being presented with our award. 
It's the Horse Farm of Environmental Distinction award, which is part of the Horse Environmental Awareness Program, or HEAP program..  Get it HEAP.  catchy.
That's me on the left and Carol Donzella on the right who is head of the heap program.
This is exciting and really an honor.  Thank you!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

a few photos

Java and Lucie (aka Moosie) were out in the top paddock yesterday morning and all was well... until one of them got running confused with grazing.  So I separated them. 
The one that does not run stayed on the grass... that would be Java.
Playing, feeling good, getting a little fun in between grazing, that's fine.  Running like a dope and looking for attention warrants a demotion.
We got a nice rain mid-day yesterday, then they went back out.  Yes, I bring them in when we get a good hard rain.  :)

Java back out after the rain.  It's close enough to dinner time that she is staying near the barn.  She does not get dinner, or breakfast, but she likes being with her peeps for their meals.

Stretch holding down the fort (that's his head in the window on the right).  He ends stall rest this Saturday.
We are counting down the days, I am so happy for him that he will be out and get to be a horse again.  He has been a very good boy.  At times a crazy horse, but that's understandable. 

Java still grazing...

Mr Java's Mom and I put a little splash tub in the paddock for Java (to the left of her head in this photo).
She likes to paw the water and splash herself.  SPOILED.  She has a separate bucket for drinking.

This is taken from the far side of the paddock... the side Java should graze more often, the grass is nicer back here.  She is in the background in the middle of the photo looking at me wondering what I'm up to.  We were checking fence.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Hey mom, does this grass make my butt look fat?
Stretch, what do you think (he's looking out the window, he's still on stall rest)?

OK mom, what about this angle.  Do I still look fat?

I'll eat while you think about that...

Does this angle still make me look fat?
Yum!  This is good stuff. 
Oops, Stretch, did you hear that?  Its actually really not tasty.  Too long to taste good.

What did you say, I can't hear you with my head in the grass like this:

OK, I think I look less fat from this angle.

Java and I had a great ride yesterday.  And, we're heading out for another ride now.  Mr. Java's Mom mowed this paddock the day after these pics.  Java did a test graze for me,  the grass is not established enough for grazing full time yet.  So it's mowed and resting more.  Good thing, she does not exactly need any  more weight on her.  :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

paw issue mostly resolved

Bandy has taken the paw problem into her own... hands? and is mostly better.  Front paw: all fixed.  She licked it better.  Back paw... not lame on it, but it is irritated.  I would categorize the issue somewhere close to athlete's foot.  She got a hair cut around the paw and it is being treated successfully.

Bandy says: I feel good.  Back to business.

Java and Moosie (that name! Lucie would be so much nicer...) out this morning.

Java yesterday came in for a nap.

We are going for a ride this morning... I hope!

Friday, June 11, 2010

paw problem

Lame.  Bandy is lame.  Poor little girl is sitting on the sidelines instead of patrolling around and keeping everyone in line.

While Mackie is licking buckets and eating grass... poor Bandy rests.  Her front right paw has some irritation.  I have examined it thoroughly.  I'm going to try an oatmeal foot bath, dry her out well between the toes and see how it goes.  I've called our awesome dog vets and they are ready to see her when I give up trying to fix her myself.  For such a tough little dog, she is taking this badly.  She will be OK.  :)

Same ol' here with the horses.  Moosie chowing, Java mowing and Stretch unfortunately fretting in his stall.  He can see the girls, but he is reaching his limit for stall rest.  It's been 4 weeks.  Two more to go, but he's done with it. 

News Flash:  Stretch has worked part of the catheter in his neck out.  Yuck, and inconvenient, and expensive.  Since he gets meds 4x a day, this puts a crimp in any plans I had for the day and fixing his catheter is a top priority.  I don't mind seeing the vets, but we almost made it to his next appointment on Tuesday when a new one would be installed (for lack of a better word, like stitched). 

Java and I have actually gotten out for some awesome rides lately.  Hope to keep up that trend!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Java first thing in the morning:  This is her, "hi mom, please take me out to the grass now" look.  She gets no grain right now.  She has become a very easy keeper, so she gets to be out on the grass all day, and comes in at night to rest and eat a little hay.  Since she does not get much hay either, just enough to keep her busy when in the barn, by morning, she is done with this stall/barn stuff and ready to go back out.

Just a few minutes later, she is where she wants to be.

Moosie pretends that she is starving, inhales her grain and supplements, and then stuffs as much hay into her mouth as possible... even though she eats more hay than Java... and Stretch actually.  It is strange, but she does not like being out on the grass for more than an hour.  After about an hour, she runs and runs and runs.  SO... dirt lot with hay for you.  Maybe she will adjust eventually.

What I really see in this picture is the steam coming out of the manure cabana behind her.

Poor pretty Stretch is on stall rest.  He is fighting an infection in his abdomen and is only responding to one med.  The one med that is administered safest via catheter.  He did not respond to any other meds, we tried them all... and this is the ONE med.  He has been on stall rest for 3 weeks, and has 3 more to go.  Actually 16 days, but who's counting.  He has handled stall rest incredibly well.  But, sometimes, he really really wants to go out.  He gets hand grazed and walked by me, but it's not the same as getting to go out, roll inthe dirt and be a horse.  Sometimes he wants to kill me, but since he has not succeeded yet, we take this day by day.  He is a wonderful horse, I don't get mad at him, even when he gets a little feisty.

Stretch's Feisty Look:

Stretch with a more sane look:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

finally a post

OK, finally getting a blog post out. I wrote one yesterday, but deleted it, on purpose.  The brief version: I mentioned my dislike for the neighbor, one horse and it's bizarre choices, and my concern that I am going insane.  Not certifiably insane, just a little nutz.  With a z.

Things are fine here, the horses are good.  But when it comes time to post here, it is hard to just hit the sunshine pretty sky la la land details and not mention the neighbor, manure, and other things that sometimes drag you down.

So, good point: the trees are growing quickly between the neighbor and us.
Bad point: I went to the store with 3 things on the list, and forgot one.  How???

Mackie and all of his beautifulness with the koi:

Bandy with hair tied up so that she can see and swimming obviously with a large stick:

Bandy terrorizing anyone with her stick.  Practicing her ninja moves:

My excellent photo skills hard at work...
I know you are not supposed to take a photo into the sun, but I did anyway. 

Java is in the corner in the shade in this photo. 

We rotated the horses off this paddock, mowed it even and let it rest for 3 weeks.  It recovered nicely and now Java is back on it grazing while the other paddock is resting.  We are installing fencing around one more space for 4 total grass paddocks.