Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas! Holiday Photo Dump!

 Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, filled with happiness, time spent with family, and love.

it is truly stunning here today.

epic photobomb by Ozzy

I love everything about this photo.

following the trail of the unknown!

Ozzy got a Jolly ball for Christmas....he is a happy boy!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Ice Ice Baby

  Well, we survived the ice storm that ripped through Ontario for the last few days.  We were really lucky and didn't lose power once (knock on wood).  Some people in Toronto and Kingston are still without power and may not be up and running until after Christmas.  I am hoping everyone can stay safe and keep their spirits high during this trying time.

  We were pretty well prepared should anything have happened.  Lots of extra water for us and the horses.  Gas in the cars and extra in the garage.  Plenty of candles and flashlights, batteries.  I had the heat cranked the night before the storm in case we lost least we would have had a head start on staying warm!

  We were lucky, no downed trees, no downed hydro lines, just a whole lotta ice.  We spent the last two days clearing ice and snow from our property.  It took about 3 hours just to plough the driveway. Since I was pretty much housebound for two days, I took some time to finish wrapping gifts and getting the house ready for Christmas.  I also got to have some fun out in the icey snow with the dogs.

  We are only 2 days from Christmas now, and I have a few days off work which is much needed.  To my excitement last week I received my Secret Santa gift from our horse blogger gift exchange; a beautiful OTTB brush!  I have been coveting these for some time so needless to say I was pretty excited!  I also received my gift for the pet blogger exchange a few weeks ago, but it has been tucked under the tree for Broo, Bentley and Ozzy waiting for Christmas day.  I sent off my packages last week so hopefully they make it to their people and pets before the big night!


xmas mail!

  The incoming mail has been really fun to open....many beautiful cards and some new blogs to check out and follow in the new year.  There is something about the blogging community during the holidays that makes me feel all warm inside.  Hoping everyone is relaxed and prepped for the next few days.  I'm going to have a few glasses of wine this evening to make sure I am extra relaxed ;)

Mia the border.

Little Sugarfoot

Mya and Liam

Friday, December 20, 2013

Farm Girl Fridays ✫ #6 - Bedding a Stall with Straw

  I have a confession to make.  This winter I am trying something different.  I have switched all of my horses to straw bedding.  This came about by chance.  My mom had a couple of bales of straw at her place and had bed two of her spare stalls with them.  When my horses moved in they were in the straw stalls.  I found them easier to clean, and of course straw is known to be much warmer in the winter.  I was enjoying my new discovery of straw bedding.  I decided I would try something new and give straw a try.

  I found a local selling large squares (about 600lbs) on Kijiji for $32 a bale.  I had a few e-mails offering small squares at $2.50 a bale.  I weighed my choices and thought I would be better off with a big square.  I picked it up about a week ago and so far I am enjoying the change.

  So, what are the benefits of using straw bedding?

 First, let me explain what straw is.  From Wikipedia; "Straw is an agricultural by-product, the dry stalks of cereal plants, after the grain and chaff have been removed. Straw makes up about half of the yield of cereal crops such as barleyoatsricerye andwheat. It has many uses, including fuel, livestock bedding and fodder, thatching and basket-making. It is usually gathered and stored in a straw bale, which is a bundle of straw tightly bound with twine or wire. Bales may be square, rectangular, or round, depending on the type of baler used."

 Affordability - Straw is very cheap in North America.  I can't comment on prices in the UK or Europe but I imagine it is much the same.  Since straw is a by-product, it is cheap to produce and usually in abundance.  I posted an ad online and within an hour I had about 6 people within 20 minutes of me who had lots of straw available.  Compared to shavings at average $5.25 a bag, and pellets about $5.50 a bag.  With my guys I use about a bag a week per horse.  I deep bed my shavings and pick them out twice daily, I waste very little.  Cost for shavings approximately $100 a month for my guys, estimating on the cheap side.  So far with my $32 large square bale, I am bedding 6 stalls (3 at my moms and 3 st home).  I have used under a quarter of bale in a week.  If I use a bale a month I am saving approximately $70 a month. Score.

 Mobility - Straw is extremely light.  Even when packed tight, it is about a third of the weight of a bag of shavings or a bag of pellets.  I can easily carry a bale or a large flake.  Easy peasy - no back pain.  Your wheelbarrow will also be easier to take to the manure pile.

 Warmth - Straw is known for it's warmth in the winter.  It conducts heat extremely well.  When a horse (or any other furry creature) curls up in a bed of straw their body heat carries through the straw to form a type of insulation.  Since straw puffs up and there is an abundance of it, you can easily bank the stalls and create a nice little nest for your horses.

  Manure removal - I know it's not something most people think about, but it can be difficult to find someone to remove your manure pile.  Most farmers who want to use your manure for fertilizing, want manure that is mixed with straw only, as it acts as a great insulator and protector to the crops.  Mushroom and strawberry farmers especially want manure mixed with straw, and will often take your manure pile for free.  It's a win win.

  Ease of cleaning - This may just be my opinion, but I have found straw easier to clean.  It has cut my stall cleaning time down by about 15 minutes, which is a lot when you are on a schedule and have to still work all day after morning chores.  There can be more waste than shavings, but there is still a large cost savings.

  Dust free - Assuming you have purchased quality straw, there is less dust and airborne particles from straw then there are from shavings and pellets.  This can be especially helpful if you have a horse that has breathing issues or has heaves.

  Like anything, there are pros and cons.  The down side to bedding with straw is the poor absorption rate compared to shavings or pellets.  This is why I still use a base layer of shavings under my straw.  I may use a bag a week, if that.  

 To properly bed a stall with straw, I start with a base of shavings.  This was easy for me since my stalls were already bed with shavings.  Use half to a whole small bale or one or two flakes off a large square bale for an average size stall.  Loosen the straw with a pitch fork or apple picker by shaking it and separating any tight bundles.  Bank the walls about 2' from the base of the stall, along the back, and side walls.  Spread the remaining straw evenly to lay flat in the centre of the stall.  

 To clean the stall, remove the poop piles first.  Push the clean straw back to the wall and remove any wet spots in the shavings.  Bring the straw back of the wall and continue to bed the stall normally.  

There you have it, my take on bedding with straw.  I know straw bedding is not very common these days, but it's a good option for those who are looking for something different or perhaps something more affordable.

 Thanks for stopping by Farm Girl Friday!


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Why Chestnuts are the Most Underrated Horses - and Why They Shouldn't Be

  I was just like everyone else at one time.  I didn't particularly like Chestnuts, but I didn't particularly dislike them either.  They weren't exactly on my radar, but I would never have turned down a good horse because it was chestnut.  I've always loved Bays and of course Appaloosas.  The spots really get me, but I also have a horse crush on a nice Buckskin or Palomino.  I now own three Chestnuts (if you include the Appy), and they are really growing on me.

  Chestnuts have a seriously bad rap.  Make it a Chestnut mare and then you are really in trouble. If that is a Trakehner/Thoroughbred Chestnut mare then you might as well just give up on life (just kidding mom) I've got one of those mixes too but in the gelding model.  What is it about Chestnuts that makes people turn away, or give you that "ugh a Chestnut" look?  We all know the look, most of us have probably given that look at one time or another.

  I'm about to explore why I think Chestnuts are the most underrated horses, and why they shouldn't be.

Dark red William

Copper Penny

Liver Liam

  Chestnuts come in a variety of awesome colours; red, liver, orange, copper, sorrel, flaxen, light, dark, and everything in between.  Not only is there a beautiful array of colours, the colour shade changes slightly throughout the year just to liven things up a bit for you.  However, they will always stay that colour Chestnut, unlike a grey who will start out dappled and end up flea bitten to many horse owners dismay.  They won't bleach out in the sun like a bay or black.      

  Chestnuts are easy to name.  Red, Big Red, Red Lips, Rusty, Penny, Copper, Fire, Chilli, Tang, Cheezie, Sunny, Sundance, Fire, Rouge....the list goes on and on.  That took me less than a minute to come up with!

  Chestnuts look better with chrome than any other colour.  Ok, this is my opinion, but it's hard to disagree.  A Chestnut with four white socks and a blaze is hard to beat in the chrome factor.  Maybe a horse like Redwine could rival it, but black just doesn't do it for me personally.  

Ace chromed out.

  Chestnuts are more affordable.  For some reason Chestnuts are harder to sell.  They are less appealing to some, especially if they are a mare and you add in that "crazy Chestnut mare" factor.  This is a bonus for those horse shopping.  You can score an amazing horse for less simply because it is a Chestnut.  Think about how many people missed out on good horses because of such a silly decision.  This could be seen as a downside if you are looking to sell your horse, but let's be honest here.  Once you own a Chestnut, you are not going to be selling it!

  Chestnuts stay and look cleaner than any other colour.  Do I even have to explain the greys?  Have you ever seen a grey the morning of a show?  Covered in manure stains, needing three baths just to make it presentable.  Bays stay pretty clean but that layer of dirt and dander always seems to find it's way above the hair.  Black horses show manure, coloured horses too - much like greys.  I have found the Chestnuts always look the cleanest.

Taken straight out of the field.

  Hunter judges love Chestnuts.  I don't know why, I don't have any research other than personal experiences, but I swear hunter judges prefer Chestnuts.  That is my theory, I'm going with it.

Not totally deserved...but kicked ass.

  Chestnuts look great in cross country colours.  Blue, green, yellow, white, black, purple, teal....they look smashing in them all.

  Ready Teddy, Teddy O'Connor, Big Ben, and Rusty were Chestnuts.  Nuff' said.

  Manoir de Carnevelle, Shiraz, Toy Town and Sapphire are Chestnuts.  Nuff' said.

  Maybe I'm a bit biased.  I mean, I do have three Chestnuts now....but I really truly love them.  Would Chestnut have been the colour of choice if I built my dream horse? No, probably not....but it is now ;)

**This post is strictly tongue in cheek, although, I do not understand the colour bias some people have, afterall, a horses greatness is not determined by it's colour.**

Go blue or go home.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Meet the Blogger Blog Hop!


Things have been relatively boring around the farm this week.  It's been way too cold (-25C) to ride so I took a few nights off.  I actually was able to sit down and watch a couple of movies for once which was nice, and also get wrapping presents and preparing packages for mailing.

 Today for something different, I thought I would join in on the pet blogger "Meet the Blogger" blog hop.  Basically, pet bloggers from around the net are outing themselves from behind their computer screens and putting themselves front and center for a little introduction to who they are, what they love, and to prove once and for all - just how awesome they all are (was there any doubt?)

 The Meet the Blogger blog hop is hosted by the following blogs.  Be sure to stop by each of those blogs, and the members who have joined into the blog hop to learn a little bit about them too!

Jodi from Kol's Notes
Amy from Go Pet Friendly
Mel from No Dog About It
Julie from The Daily Dog Blog
Kim from CindyLu's Muse
Leslie from Bringing Up Bella
Kristine from Rescued Insanity
Peggy from Peggy's Pet Place
Dawn from NEPA Pets
Jodi from Heart Like A Dog
- See more at: Life With Desmond

Now to meet the blogger...

First you must post a recent picture of yourself.  This is one I took this weekend on the way to see Drake in concert :)

Next I will answer some random questions provided;

What's your favorite non-animal related book? 

 Best of Times by Penny Vincenzi...I love all her work really.

What's your favorite non-animal related movie? 

  I have so many favorite movies, it's hard to pick.  I will list a few; Say Anything, Moulin Rouge, The Girl Next Door, Cocktail, Casablanca, any 80's teen or romance film~

What's your favorite non-animal related food? guilty pleasure.

Who's your favorite actor? 

 Ewan McGregor, Jim Sturgess, David Duchovny

What's one thing you have to do every day? 

 See my horses!

What makes you feel fabulous? 

 A good ride, a glass of wine, and having a nice tan :)

What do you wish you were more skilled at? 


What's your favorite holiday?  


What's your favorite meal?  

Curry and cashew dishes

What do you like to do in your free time? 

Ride, blog, wine....rinse, repeat.

What one word would people who know you use to describe you?  


If your pets could talk, what one word would THEY use to describe you?  


What is one thing you've done that you're most proud of?  

Turned my life around, bought a farm.

How is your pet most like you?  

I have so many pets so this will be vague...the dogs are like me because they love getting up and doing stuff.  Always up for an adventure.  The horses are like me because they like burn through money like no other being.

What can your body do for you that makes you most proud?  

 Keep me on my horse should they decide to attempt to dislodge me from their back.  I have mad stay on skills thanks to my body.

If you could change one thing about your life what would it be? 

I would make more money and work less (dreamer) and Canada would stop being so freaking cold in the winter.

Other than blogging, what are three things you do that bring you joy? 

Horses (riding, care, competing), devoting my life to my animals, and have good talks while drinking wine with friends and family. 

What's one thing you could do to be more kind to yourself? 

Eat better.

What drives you nuts about your pets? 

Barking, dog hair, and the cost associated with horse ownership.

What melts your heart? 

A good friend. A good laugh.

If you didn't have your current pets, what pets would you choose to have? - 

If I didn't have dogs or horses, I would probably have a parrot. A talking one!

Thanks for stopping by the meet the blogger blog hop!

Meet the Pet Bloggers Hop

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...