Saturday, September 30, 2017

Integrated and on New Pasture

Since getting Draper last November she has been in fields by herself or with cattle.  Then this summer she has been with Otoelene.  I finally decided to go ahead and put all the horses together.  I started by adding Brother to the field with Draper and Otoelene.  Then after a few days I added Hank and Jessica.
 Then yesterday, I took Draper and walked her around the new field that had Little Girl and Pep left in it.  I let the others back in and there was a tremendous amount of running around.  No pictures of that because I was trying to keep hold of Draper.  Once things settled down some I let her loose.  She was really good about trying to stay with Otoelene.
 Little Girl had to assert her dominance several times.
 There was a little more running around
 but nothing to scary.
Then the excitement was over.  It won't be as convenient to catch and work with her now, but they won't be in the way of the gates at the barn or house anymore either.  Always some pros and cons.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Yet Another Outing

Looks like we are making up for lost time.  I didn't get to do much riding this summer.  But after the farrier was here Monday and I got shoes on Otoelene again, I suggested to J that we go trail riding Tuesday.  And guess what, he agreed. 
 We drove about 30 minutes to a local camp site and headed out with Brother and Otoelene.
 Brother was on good behavior to start with.
 Then we met two riders that didn't seem to know where they were.  They were back tracking because the trail stopped at a gate and they didn't know they could go through.  This is still part of the trail system and is about 1500 open acres referred to as The Range Lands.  We told them if they wanted to ride with us we were going the way they were wanting to go.   They were very thankful to be able to make a loop instead of back tracking the way they had come.   One was from New York and the other from Vermont.  They had both lived here about a year but as far as I could tell only ridden this trail system once with someone else guiding.
 The only problem was Brother didn't seem to appreciate the company.  He got pretty worked up over the situation but J was able to ride him through it.  Otoelene, on the other hand, was a super star.
J wanted to take my picture at the end of the 3 1/2 hour ride.  I think I might change my Facebook profile picture now.  (In all fairness, there was a better one but it wouldn't be as funny)

Monday, September 25, 2017

New Trail Partner

V said she hadn't been trail riding in a long time and wanted to go on one Sunday.  Looking back at old pictures, it was April, 2014 when she last rode on a trail with me.  
 Sunday, only Hank and Jessica had shoes on so they were the lucky two.
 V was a ray of sunshine to ride with.  Jessica bowed up and started bucking some when V first got on but she was so unconcerned that she just though Jessica was kicking at a fly.  (Jessica was V's hunter show pony back when she was in 4-H)
 Jessica took her usual position out front for most of the ride.
 Sometimes she was way out front.  Hank didn't seem to mind lagging behind.
Since J didn't have a horse to ride he just dropped us off and came back 3 hours later to pick us back up.  It was a very nice afternoon with beautiful weather and wonderful company.
By the way, I will have to share that V was promoted to loan officer at the bank where she works, with a nice raise and an extra week of vacation.  We are very proud of all her accomplishments.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Wild Pony Sale

J and I went to the Grayson Highland Festival on Saturday.
 There was bluegrass music,
 arts and crafts vendors,
 and Hobo pies. (apple butter between two slices of bread then fried over a fire)
 But the main attraction is always the "wild" pony sale.  These are ponies that live in the park and are rounded up each year and the offspring sold as a fund raiser to help continue to care for the herd.  I say "wild" because hikers are always feeding and petting them.
 And despite signs posted all around the sale pens,
 people just acted like it was a big petting zoo.  I don't think the ponies minded at all.
Anyway, it was a gorgeous day and a large turnout for the sale.  I think they averaged well over $400 each and they had 22 to sell.  The high seller went for $875.  To keep me from getting caught up and bidding, J reminded me that was much more than I paid for Draper. So sadly, no little new pony at the 4R's.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Saddling Draper

Draper has had a pretty easy summer.  I've done some grooming, lunging, hoof care, and I even ponied her off of Otoelene, but nothing too taxing for a yearling.  I decided yesterday to see if she was big enough to wear my cheap old hunter saddle.  And guess what, she was.  
 I was afraid the girth would be too long but with it on the higher notches and with the saddle pad it was fine.  She really acted like it was no big deal.  Of course, with Sweetwater as a comparison, Draper is a dream.  I'm pretty sure the saddle hit the ground at least 30 times when I was trying to get Sweetwater use to it.  So far zero times after 2 days with  Draper.
 Yesterday, when I asked her to trot she did throw in a couple of bucks but they weren't much and she stopped and went on with no more drama.
Today, I asked her to canter and she threw in another buck for good measure.  I couldn't ask for a better 1 1/2 year old.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Fencing Crew

J has started keeping a list of things to do when Mike and V come to visit. 
This weekend it was fixing the fence around the bale lot next to  the creek at JJ"S.  
There were several broken posts and the fence was sagging down along a long stretch.  
J and Mike made quick work of digging post holes, and pounding in metal posts.  I think they put in 7 wooden and 8 metal posts.  V and I worked on clipping the fence back to the new metal posts and removing the broken wooden ones.  We love having good help. 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Official Count

I have finished straining and bottling the honey.
 It looks a nice light color this year.  Still plenty of sticky clean up to do.
But the total volume was just a little over 3 3/4 gallons. Yay!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Making Up For Last Year

The bees did it!  We have honey this year.  I don't know what is going on in that first hive, no honey there. 
 They didn't make us any last year either.  They are very calm bees but I am disappointed in their work ethic.
 Now the second hive was one J was able to capture last year when a friend found a swarm in their cow pasture.   These are very aggressive bees.  J got 2 stings through the leather gloves and I had to retreat to inside the house.   The horses that were very curious up to this point even left when J was working on this hive.
 But they made some beautiful honey.  The third hive was a swarm from this spring and they had honey too.  They must have swarmed from the first hive because they were on the mean side too.
J had to retreat to the trees for a bit to get them off of him.  We did learn that you should not leave the super out for very long after transferring the frames.  The bees got right back on it even with it being out in the yard.  We ended up having to put them in the back of the truck and I drove up and down the driveway until the majority of the bees gave up.  We then carried the supers to the garage where over the next hour or so the bees started collecting at the windows so we could let them out.  Then this morning they were still flying around just outside the garage.  I haven't finished straining the honey yet but this is our biggest haul yet.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Blazing Weekend

I had collected a large pile of limbs last year down in an area that was hard to drive the 4-wheeler through because of all the debris.  I had also been waiting until I had company and smore stuff before burning it.  Well, I had company but sadly no smores but we burned it anyway. 
 M and V came Sunday to hang out and watch the VA Tech, WV football game, (Go Hokies!)  We had a little time to kill so we decided to burn the pile.  It was a short hike from the house.  There is no gate near that location so we always just get up on the tire trough and climb over the fence.  J is still pretty limber.
 The cattle in the field took notice and came running.  These will be heading out west tomorrow for the feedlot.
 I think they spooked a little bit as V climbed the fence.
 J had the pile blazing in short order.  I had plenty of old cardboard stuff I had been saving to recycle.  It got put to use though as the fire starter.
 It was probably a good thing that I didn't try to make smores.  It was so hot we couldn't get within 20 feet.
There are still plenty of sticks and brush in other areas if anyone is interested in another bonfire.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Weekend Ride

Well, last weekend anyway.  Brother had thrown a shoe but luckily Hank and Jessica still had theirs and they were both in good health.  J had not ridden Jessica in quite awhile.  She did wonderful, so I think J really enjoyed the brief change from Brother. 
 The weather was perfect, in the low 70's so the horses didn't have to work too hard.  Hank is 20 and Jessica 16 and not quite 100% after her bout with Lyme disease.  Therefore, we try to take it pretty easy on them.
 I use to not let my horses eat on the trail. That is until my first endurance ride several years ago.  At the half way point Jessica had slightly decreased gut sounds and the vet recommended letting her eat along the trail on the way back.  It was difficult to do because I had never let her eat while riding so she wasn't really trying to.  I ended up leading her for a bit and pulling leaves off and handing back to her until she figured out it was ok.  Since then I decided that if they aren't doing it in an annoying way, what's the harm of letting them snatch a few leaves along the way.
 Anyway, Hank was a superstar and a pleasure to spend 3 hours with.
J thought Jessica looked prettier than usual and wanted to commemorate it with a picture.
The forecast is for rain for the next couple of days but maybe we will get another ride in before the long weekend is over.
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