March 31, 2020

Project Anti-mud-Phase 1

We've been wanting to do it forever and I finally decided yes, let's start phase 1 at least of the anti mud project. Mud season is the worst!  I ordered 10 cubic yards of gravel, it's called Chapel Hill gravel and is a great substrate that packs down a little and also drains well.  We use it in our bee yard and it's been a a great product.

The ground was hardened up after being so rainy for weeks and then now pretty dry.  The problem is that clay hardens up hoof prints and then the potholes are a danger as much as the mud is a health and function issue.  The aisle of the barn had areas that were washed away so it made some areas of the aisle very narrow.  I had my farrier often have issues trying to trim since she would be several inches lower than the ground my horse was on!

One big washed out area right where I have the cross ties

So what we did was dig a trench from up the slope down to where the water collects naturally by our shed.  Phase two will be taking that area and making a french drain out towards a lower part of the property.  Currently this is a dip in the property and water just sits with no where to drain.

The area in the picture below was always the worst area to push a wheel barrow through.  The mud would be nearly 8 inches deep at the end of the barn and filled with hoof holes that deep.  In the winter if we got a freeze those would turn into holes that were ungiving and could easily twist an ankle or worse.  I would have to close gates to keep the horses off that area until the ground unfroze and was a little safer.

So once the trench was dug and all the mucky mess moved out, I dumped all the substrate into the low areas, in the aisle, into the trench and into the mud pit area at the end of the barn.  The aisle is now one level for the most part, all the potholes and gullys are filled in and packed down.  The trench is happily filled and today...being a rainy day, we have seen that the water has indeed flowed down this trench unseen; it's working as planned!

I will certainly have to get some more of this substrate as it will get more packed down over time and we wanted to have more area in the barn yard covered with it.  I also have other boggy areas that I will get to in time as well.  The next big project will be a french drain to move the water that drains into the shed area.  It's a process but I'm glad we are finally one step closer and there will be that much less mud for the horses to stand in.

The standing water is away from my horses precious hooves....and Dani approves!

March 23, 2020


I hope this post finds you all well.  It's a different world right now with Covid-19 everywhere you look online.  Life continues to trudge on though and I don't want to add to the feeds about pandemic preparation, lack of toilet paper and hand washing protocols.  All in all we are doing good.  Steve and I are working from home; for me that is challenging being a laboratory Research Associate.  I'm trying to brush up on data analysis skills and what not and anxiously awaiting a time when we can start projects that have been on the bench for a while now.

Going out to the barn each day is a glimmer of happiness, even more so now.  It's nice to still have our normal routine and hear the gentle nickers and feel the soft whiskers of pony lips as I am greed each morning and evening. Dani and Chance are both healthy aside from some allergies that are making Chance cough and then fart real loudly.  With just the right amount of hills around our place that fart sure does echo! Medicine seems to have been helping the poor boy! I can't help but laugh....mean pony mom.

The horses aren't affected by the pandemic one bit it seems (I honestly think they don't even know about, they don't like watching the news).  They are still demanding food, pooping regularly and rotating to their next field as the grass begins to green up.  Their coats are shedding like crazy.  It's most noticeable on Chance since he grows a really long winter coat.  He's gone through phases where it looks like he has mange as he's shed out areas that haven't quite grown in their new summer hairs yet. 

It's glorious to see peeks at the shiny summer hair as I anticipate future grooming sessions where I make him and Dani glisten.  I find it funny that horses shed out different areas in different orders.  The belly area seems to be the last body area to let go of the long winter coat.  It makes sense I guess; keep the core warm for the occasional winter-like day.  I'll be getting out there soon to trim up their woolly legs and goat like throat will be nice to have the horses back vs. these neighing Wookie like creatures.  Hahahaha!

January 05, 2020

2010-2019 Decade End Blog Challenge

 The end of 2019 does not just mark the end of a year but a decade.  So a year end review makes sense but then there is also the decade end challenge.  From May As Well Event you are supposed to use one photo per year and describe the significance of said photo.  Here goes!

Willy was a sweet 20 year old Arabian gelding I leased for a time.  I had access to ride him each Saturday and enjoyed going out and having some fun time outside of my horseback riding lessons.  I grew a lot with him!

I tried a new horse for a period of time in 2011, Missy.  She was a nice mare but we never really clicked and I didn't have access to an indoor area to ride so was often rained out.  I continued lessons with Laurie and her Arabian horses.

My first ride on Dani (Daenerys).  This was when I was horse shopping and when I met Dani I knew she was the one.  I was so excited.  She was a great mare that was calm and sweet.  After all the checks, exams and contracts were done I moved her to a boarding facility where we could begin our life together.

Dani has a fun personality.  She is actually holding onto this sign with her photoshop here.  I was entering a contest to win something from Julie Goodnight and this was the ticket!  Already Dani and I were bonding and I was learning she had a great sense of humor!

I moved Dani to her third boarding facility that had lots of nice pasture out east in Peyton, CO.  We had lots of area to ride out there and met a great riding buddy who also was a Morgan.  

In 2015 my hubby and I moved from CO to NC.  Dani followed two weeks later via a professional horse shipping company.  I finally had a pony in my backyard!  We then found Chance, a nice Arabian gelding only one year older than Dani.  They have become good friends as long as Chance does everything Dani tells him to!

This year was full of rides some lessons and getting used to the new property.  We had a lot of work cut out for us like painting the barn and getting fencing removed and repaired.  It's been a great property and only gets better for us as time goes on.

More riding around the neighborhood.  Still not getting Steve on a horse as much as I would like so I often rode Chance to keep him up to speed.

Not horse related I had a spinal surgery due to herniated disks.  I was off riding for over a year and needed help from friends while I recovered.  It was scary but my husband got me through it, and Bernie my snuggle-saurus.  Yes I'm 39 years old as I'm writing this and I still love my stuffed animals!

This year has flown by.  I got on Dani after over a year off from riding.  Both of us a little fatter but we are still alive and kicking!  I didn't have the comeback I really wanted.  A really hot summer and other things got in the way. more! 2020 will not keep me off my horse.  I will get back to riding regularly and get Chance ridden some too and maybe even get Steve up on his horse at some point.

It's been an interesting decade and as I face my 40th birthday in February I realize that life is short.  I'm only getting older.  I have a lot of projects I want to do but I need to take the time to say hell with it and kick my (and Dani's heels) up with glee and leave the worries behind.  

It's the new roaring 20's ya'll!!

January 04, 2020

The Mud Season

This time of year we don't have a lot of snow.  I don't mind that so much since snow causes a lot of issues in the south!  What we do get is rain.  Rain means mud at my barn.  The drainage is still an issue with the barn area and this year is the year I will finally tackle it.  I will take one step at a time. 

I'd had one person come out to assess the drainage and they were not hired obviously since they were thinking that we should drain one direction (aka into our leach field) while I was saying we needed it to drain the other direction....though it would mean more work of course.  For those not familiar with leach fields they are an underground system that the effluent from a septic tank (on-site wastewater system) drips.  The septic tank fills with all the waste water from the house.  Solids fall out of the water and have to be pumped out of the tank once every couple years.  The liquid then trickles under ground in a series of pipes (or other devices) to percolate over the dirt where good bacteria will break down the waste and thereby clean the water so when it enters the ground further down there are no bad bacteria.  Having extra water from your house or some other area drain into this leach field is a bad idea.  It needs to stay as dry as possible to only deal with the water from the house and of course rain etc.  I tried to explain it to the excavator guy but he didn't get it.

I worked in public health for 8 years and one of the things I did was inspect leach fields, so I know what I'm talking about and know that I don't want to make a really expensive system fail if I can prevent it!  So I'm working out the detail myself.  My first task will be an area where I normally like to hang the horses hay bags.  It's a muddy mess.  That will just need some scraping and sloping using our front loader and then the addition of good draining substrate.  That will hopefully be done in the next couple of months.  The next step will be at the end of the barn where the horses enter the aisleway.  It just sits muddy most of the year from November until May.  Again that will be scraping and moving in better substrate.  

Look at this old pic from before painting the barn! 
Shows the "pond" in the low area
Later I will try to make the aisle more even and dig a trench where the water naturally goes and pools and back-fill with good draining substrate as well.  The final step will be in between the barn and the storage shed, I'll need to construct a type of French drain to move the pond that forms there.  I literally have standing water there for weeks until it finally dries up. If I can get all of this done this year that will be great.  I will be happy with getting a couple parts of it done.

One section of our fencing has poly rope fence...something we want to move to for the rest of the electric fencing.  I was noticing a weird bump on one part of the rope and upon closer inspection I saw lichen.  Oh my goodness, you can't stop anything from growing in North Carolina it seems!  I wonder if that will degrade the fence in time if I should treat with vinegar or something?  How funny!

December 23, 2019

End of Year Reflections

It’s coming to the end of the year and of course I wish to reflect on the past year. This has been a great year for me related to my career. I’ve finally found a position that I feel I can grow with and a company, Novozymes, with which I feel I could stay long term. Been a while since I felt I was in a good place career wise. That’s part of why we moved to NC! I’m pretty content and excited for what the future hold!

This year has been busy with our work around the property and finally getting around to putting a shower back into our master bath. We have been in the guest bathroom for a year now. Time just gets away and I’ve spent very little of it riding or being with the horses. I feel terrible not having done much pony stuff but sometimes the part of taking care of them…aka the land that sustains them takes over my life. Our other projects have taken a front seat but I’m tired of that and I miss my horses.

I don’t need to ride much but I want to ride regularly. I have pie in the sky dreams of trail riding and going to clinics but we need to take some baby steps. Dani hasn't been on a trailer in years and my trailer may need some work after sitting in the NC moisture. The paint job is coming undone and I am concerned the rust is coming up again. The frame may still be good but I have a conversation started with a trailer repair person that can perhaps come out and see the trailer to make a final determination. None the less, Steve and I could ride nearby off our property and that is where we should start.

We should be finishing the bathroom here soon and then we can commit to riding some each weekend. We must! I know it's not a bother to my horses, not being ridden, but I know it causes them to lapse in their manners for sure!

Steve and I have been active with our bee club and helped with getting the county fair booth organized and set up. I entered a cute miniature honey bee farm stand in the fair with Steve. He made the hive and the stand and I did all the tiny wares on the stand (actual honey jars and mini wax candles) and the display for it. We didn't win anything with the entry but I think "Decorative Item" may not have been the best category. There were some nice things entered too like a bee related stained glass lamp!

Other news around the barn is that I am determined to start working on some of the muddy areas in the wormhole (aka sacrifice paddock). It's way too wet in areas and I end up not feeding my horses in their hanging slow feeder bags because of it. That shouldn't be too hard of a task and only take a little time, I'm going to just do one section at a time and not try to take on a huge project that overwhelms.

I hope the new year finds everyone doing well!

May 21, 2019

Getting in Gear

So it's been a long while since I've been on my blog and even longer since I've ridden Daenerys.  She and Chance have been doing fine at pasture.  We've been keeping up with the pastures.  Getting new bees since our didn't make it through the winter and I've been continuing with our garden.  I have a 4 x 4 patch of strawberry plants and have been able to make several strawberry shortcakes! 

Our grass is doing good for now but we are in a dry spell which is weird and things are beginning to look crispy.  Still, Ms. Mare is in her grazing muzzle religiously, much to her chagrin.  We had tons of rain earlier this year thus preventing me from riding so now we have the opposite.  Goodness, what's up with this?  I started a new job in April and I actually have Saturday and Sunday off now so I get to spend time with my hubby.  I'm hoping to get him more involved with his horse, aka riding.

I had Erin the area trainer out to freshen up both horses for riding since it'd been so long.  She did about 4-5 sessions with them and then they were ready for me to get on.  Guess who had the most attitude getting back into Daenerys of course.  I just recently hopped on Dani  for the first time and walked around the property.  It felt great!  Steve was having issues with adjusting his Aussie saddle on Chance so I'll have to stay on the ground next time and get him going this week but at least we took a step in the right direction.
I was very happy being back in the saddle even for a small amount of time.  I want to take it slow and gain my courage again.  After having spinal surgery I do worry what will happen if I fall but my fusions are good and I have the doctors ok so I should just go live my life right?  I'm still not a speed person but I see slow trail rides in the future! 

January 04, 2019

2019 and Ponies

2019 was a bust for riding with my neck surgery but I'm hoping this year things will go a little smoother.  Currently it's been raining cats and dogs for weeks straight it seems and the barn area is a complete swamp.  I need to get both horses with my riding instructor for some tune ups maybe so I can feel confident about getting back in the saddle after so much time off.

Health wise though, they are doing well and so am I.  Hubby and I have continual projects around the house and the New Year has started out with getting things organized in the house plus getting quotes for things we want done in the house or around the property.

Here's too 2019!

September 06, 2018

Summertime....and the living is BUSY, don't care what Ella says!

Summertime is about mowing, heat, gardens, sweaty ponies and evil horseflies!  We've had lots of heat and then lots of rain at times.  It's been hard to keep up with the pastures.  We mow one a week and rotate the horses off the one we just mowed.  The pastures have been looking great though!  Even the wormhole area is green and the horses are getting good grazing there too!  The fans in the barn are keeping them cool and away from the horseflies.  Some of these flies I've mistaken for hummingbirds!  They are huge!

Our garden got attacked by a vine borer so I only had 3 zucchini before the plants wilted.  Ugh.  My tomatoes have been okay, had a tomato horn worm issue but got the caterpillars and fed them to a neighbors chickens and left the ones with parasitic wasp eggs.  That's actually pretty satisfying.   Still contemplating chickens for Geek Acres but I'm afraid my border/aussie mix will kill them.  He never has learned that horses kick...

My neck has mostly healed but still not signed off to ride yet.  The horses are doing fine with that though, lol.  I'll have a lot of work when the weather cools I'm sure getting them back into the habit of riding.  I went to a sleep study and have sleep whole family has it so I was encouraged to go.  Sleeping with a cpap now, only been about a week and getting used to it.  Feeling overly tired with that adjustment but it's slowly improving and certainly quieter for the husband!  Plus it's good to know I'm taking action to prevent future health issues and of course not dying by stopping breathing is a big deal.  I apparently did that 98 times as hour!

My bees have been good, had to split one large hive and make another so now we have three hives we are getting prepared for winter.  Hoping things keep going well.  Treating for mites and all seem pretty healthy.  

It's been a busy summer of just work with mowing and bees it seems.  No riding, no scuba diving.....sad.  But now that I'm healed up I'm back to getting in the water and should be able to mount up again soon, at least the weather will cool down and those dreaded horseflies will die!

Got a new haircut and liking having slightly shorter hair.  Sorry this blog post is boring.  Just haven't been able to do much pony stuff to write about.

July 18, 2018

I'm still here! Ponies, Garden and Stuff

Everything has been good, I had a 6 week recuperation, 3 with a silly collar around my neck but I have no pain anymore.  I only have my left pointer finger that sometimes feels off.  Not numb or tingling but just different.  Can't complain since my entire arm was having issues before the surgery.  I'm off riding until my vertebrae fuse so possibly this fall but maybe longer.  Bummer.

The ponies are doing well though hanging out and I can groom now and do chores again.  That was hard for a while when I couldn't even pick up poop.  Not that it's my favorite thing to do but it has to be done and often!  Oiy.  I have a good husband and great friends that were staying with us and mucking out.

We started a garden and have been harvesting a decent amount.  Now it's almost overgrown, not like the picture below.  Been battling some bugs and hoping I get tomatoes though.  We also have potatoes and then Steve is growing cucumbers and pickling them.

Bees are doing good too but that would be a whole other post.  Just been so busy and having some challenges at work with a change in schedule which is better for my health but harder to regulate my off time without just getting lazy and watching TV.  I hope this post finds everyone well.  Just wanted to say I'm back from outerspace!

April 15, 2018

Herniated disk

Well I have to have surgery this Friday on my c5 and c6 vertebrae where there is a herniated disk and bulge pressing on my nerves, making my arm tingle and losing strength.  Not very happy about it but don't want to play around with treatments the doc thinks will not work due to my lack of response to a week of steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs.  

We have so much to do and so many started projects!  One of our hives, the Roman hive, lost their queen but luckily a couple club members who know that I'm disabled from lifting came over with some brood and a capped queen to install in that hive with hopes it will set the babies right in a week or so.  The other hive, the Gothic Hive, seems strong.

Lesson 1: don't use a rubber band to secure the queen cage, it isn't secure and the extra panic of finding the cage and putting the queen on top of the bars made for the hive to start building comb inside the lid instead of on the frames.  When we opened it up the combs fell down and could have very well killed our queen.

Lesson 2: A miller feeder is less invasive feeder for beehives than the Ultimate Hive feeder 
and doesn't allow for that extra room where bees can build comb willy nilly.  We have two arriving on Monday and hoping a club member can help me switch this out and both hives will continue strong and happy.

The comb we took out was so pretty with nectar stored and pollen.  We also saw eggs so are pretty sure the queen was on these combs and most likely perished when they fell down.  If the cage had stayed down in the frames I'm sure the bees would have built comb where they should have since they follow the queen.

Our horses are doing well.  They need a good grooming but other than that are content and happy.  Grass is coming in, we already spread manure and seed in one field and in patches in the other field plus strayed for weeds just in the fields.  We are allowing all sorts of flowers and such where the horses don't need have their food grown.  We still have plenty of hay so are slowing getting the ponies on the field.  Obviously it will be a while before I can ride again.  So bummed.

We have seedlings starting for some gardening in a fenced of area for our garden.  Steve is building us some raised beds in a little bit for us to transfer them.  It will be awesome to just go outside and pick my salad!  For now that's the drama at Geek Acres.  I have the best husband ever, who is helping out so much.  I hate we can't divide the chores like we normally do but such is life, if the tables were turned I'd be doing the same!  Happy spring wishes to everyone!