Thursday, June 2, 2016

Finding our way around

There's woods all around the property. Much of the property is wooded and it's adjacent to some conservation land.

First ride! 20 December

But most of the neighborhood is residential. Rural. But still residential.

25 December - Christmas Day ride!

Our second trip out we explored some of the neighborhood. L was a rock star! She had never ever seen anything like this before! Houses. Driveways. Mail boxes. Basketball hoops. Sidewalks. Signs. Fire hydrants. Christmas decorations! She was all kinds of "up" but she was on her most perfect behavior. Bright and attentive. All the training delivers huge dividends. She wasn't all kinds of willing - she had more of a "weellll ok if you say so" kind of attitude.

Turns out barn work takes up a lot of time. After getting acquainted with the neighborhood I don't think rode again until...oh had to be the end of March anyway. I didn't really plan on not having time to ride and I'm a little disappointed with that.

Monday, May 30, 2016

We moved!

7 February

Winter wasn't without its challenges! Our barn closed last November. And we were all told to ...get out, get out now. There's never a good time for something like that to happen. But it *is* a risk you take when you rent space. Not only is the weather going to be a problem - here in greater Boston, usually by the middle or the end of October, people who otherwise keep their animals outdoors the rest of the year, they've reserved most (all) of the available space for the winter. Especially any place with an indoor arena.

I have some resources and I could manage. But..the situation ..well, some animals had no place to go. Five horses were homeless. I thought it over. I leased a farm. And took in the homeless animals.

Our Barn. 27 November 2015

What a huge adjustment! For everyone. Of course we had tons of work to do. Putting up sheds and fencing, getting stalls ready and of course moving. I've had horses for many years but I've never run my own farm before. Oh yes I have help. But still scary as all get out.

And this property is very different than where we've been for the past 21 years. Where we'd been in a huge (24 horse) barn surrounded by 1800 acres out in farm country, this is 12 acres in a (rural) residential neighborhood.

Our barn is just off to the left past the flagpole

Settling in just fine

13 December - Still getting organized

All tucked in 13 December

We made it through the winter with only one crisis. Everyone is still in one piece and we've experienced *many* new things. It's been good for the horses. Neighbors. Houses. Lights at night. Traffic. Lawn mowers...leaf blowers. Snow plows. Kids playing basketball. They'd never seen any of this before.


The barn is much smaller than we're used to, but it's cozy and has a certain charm. We're cleaning stalls with muck buckets because there's just so little room to maneuver. It's not permanent and we're making it work for now. And my core strength is pretty good these days!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Winter is here!

And somebody was happy to get out in the snow!

6 February 2016

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Still here!

For the longest time I just didn't have anything to say. And then, when I had something to say I was too busy to say it!

I always keep track of the first and last corn of the season.

12 October 2015 - last of the season

I *love* fresh local corn and I swear I'll have an ear every day.

And I like to keep track of the fall colors. 2015 was a dry year. I think our local rainfall was somewhere around 8 inches below normal..and the fall colors were just *brilliant*. One of the best seasons in recent memory.

11 October 2015

December was mild. Very mild. Warmest greater Boston December on record. It was 70° on Christmas day! So far no real ice to speak of and only one storm with some light snow. The first cold air of the season is forecast for tomorrow...

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A turnip?

I am so very excited. I love radishes. So this year I planted some radishes. Some of the more exotic radishes you don't find in the supermarkets.

Delicious radishes!

I like radishes with butter. Radishes and salt. Radishes roasted and pickled.

Ok, what does this have to do with a turnip? Well...I love turnips too. And a couple of years ago I got a packet of turnip seeds. As it turned out at the time I didn't have any space left for turnips by the time I was done so I put them away and forgot about them. When I was looking for radish seeds I came across my turnip seeds. So I planted turnips with my radishes and look!

My very first turnip!

I never grew a turnip before.

What's even funnier is I planted them next door in a field that isn't planted this year. And not two days later the farmer came by and plowed the field! I didn't know what to expect of it. Well. A week later my radishes were coming but rather than nice straight lines it was just a patch of radishes scattered all over. And turnips! So thick they crowded out all the weeds.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Corn 2015!

The first local corn of the season is in!

18 July 2015

That's from Cooks Farm in Wrentham, MA. You can see that's fresh local corn. Look at the tassel!

It's definitely the early corn.

Bicolor Corn

It's a well developed ear with plump enough kernels but it's still not too flavorful. I like to microwave my corn 1 minute for each ear...but my microwave is broken! I can't be bothered to fix it because, frankly, I hardly ever use it. So I steam my corn in an inch of water for ...oh, a minute and a half to two minutes. That's it.

I was very surprised this year. I got desperate and bought an ear of corn from the supermarket. I'm not sure but I think it was New Jersey corn. And while just a *tiny* bit starchy it was actually quite good. I understand there's hybridized corn today whose sugar converts to starch very slowly.

I've had all kinds of time to blog but..well, I just haven't had anything interesting to say. Of course I always log the first and last of the season's corn. Nothing says "summer" to me more than corn and watermelon.

There are some notable other signs of summer around.

Tomato Plate

The field ripened tomatoes aren't in yet but the greenhouse tomatoes from the farm stands have been just delicious! I like slices or wedges on a plate, with chopped fresh basil and onions. I usually like red onions with this. Sometimes I use yellow. With the *tiniest* splash of red wine vinegar it's just, well, that's summer on a plate! Sometimes I sprinkle just a little bit of Parmesan cheese over that. And sometimes I use balsamic vinegar. And sometimes I just use a nice olive oil. You get the idea.

And of course it's bath season!

This is my G and she *desperately* needed a bath!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Orphans

A lot of orphans land at the barn. Of course it's an animal centric place anyway. But our manager is well known in local circles for wildlife management and rehab.

The latest call was over an abandoned raccoon. For some reason...this little guy got kicked out of his nest when he was a week old. This is very unusual raccoon behavior. You can drop any baby raccoon into a raccoon nest and it will more than likely be taken care of. Well...three weeks later and he's becoming a toddler...

Cutest thing ever!

Raccoons are adorable and they're fun and...they're a whole lot of trouble! Luckily we found a home for this little guy at a wildlife sanctuary up on the Vermont state line.

Over time we've had everything in the barn from woodchucks to flying squirrels and we even had a distressed fawn for a short while. Our most common orphans are squirrels.

Baby squirrels get blown out of their nests. Their mothers get run over by cars or maybe fall prey to coyotes. And they find their way to our barn.

They get nursed for a few weeks from little 10 cc syringes

The nursing syringes get bigger as they get bigger. Their first solid food is usually Cheerio's.

But the funniest thing of all with squirrels is..."release day". Once they've grown and they're able to take care of themselves they get released.

So very exciting!

Did you know it takes 3 days to release a squirrel? It's very funny.

Day 1. Take squirrels out to the woods, turn them loose and have a seat. And for 30 minutes they'll sit your lap and look around. The world is such a scary place!

Day 2. Take squirrels out to the woods, turn them loose and have a seat. They'll start in your lap and after a minute or two will start to wander around and look at stuff. They may travel as far as 12 feet away but frequently come back to your lap for reassurance.

Day 3. Take squirrels out to the woods, turn them loose and have a seat. They'll start in your lap and after a minute or two they'll wander around. They'll look back. Then they hit the trees and you'll never see them again.

Let's just all get along
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