December 29, 2016
I've been absent from the blog for a while but certainly not from the barn and Geek Acres itself. Been busy. I work 4 days a week, 10 hours a day or more so am tired at the end of the day and don't blog. When I am off I'm always running errands or doing projects around the farm it seems. I hope things slow down soon now that the holidays have passed.
Near the end of the summer when there were some pretty humid weeks I noticed some mold on my lovely saddles!!! OMG! I read up really quickly on what to do. First things first is get the tack out of the tack room to clean so you don't spread the spores. I sprayed them with a vinegar/water mix and let them dry in the sun. Then I ordered Leather Therapy wash and Restorer. This product is one of the few that lacks glycerin that mold will feed on and has a fungal preventative.
I sprayed the crap out of the saddles, mainly the western saddle stirrup leathers where most of the mold was but I got the entire leather of each saddle. The Aussie saddle only had a bit of mold on the flaps and I suspect it was mainly on the dust not so much the leather.
Then I took apart the saddles and rubbed in the therapy conditioner. This stuff is good! I sure hope it prevents issues in the future but I also plan on sealing up the tack room better and then using those desiccant products to absorb moisture. It's so humid and hot out here that the tiny window in the tack room doesn't do much for ventilation so I need to work on getting the tack room dry without buying a dehumidifier....though I could do that too. I have to make sure to seal up the room or I will be trying to dehumidify the entire outdoors and I doubt that will work. A barn that I would have built would have a larger tack room with much more ventilation and light as that is the key to prevent mold growth....oh and cleaning tack more regularly in this environment apparently!
I wish I'd thought to take pictures of the moldy tack but honestly was so horrified and panicked that I was rushing to remedy the problem instead. Never had to deal with that in dry Colorado!!
Thanks all for still read this blog! I guess I shouldn't be surprised that having a mini farm/stable means I have less time to blog but you know. Shout out to Mrs Shoes!!
Please review the video below and share if you can, this child Kaydance was abducted, please read story here and we would like to share in case there is someone it reaches that can help or knows any information. You never know.
October 26, 2016
Yeah, not that kind of apple..... :-(
The horses are now going to be kept in the Wormhole and The Shire for the winter while we work on the rejuvenating other two pastures (post to follow). Since we cannot rotate pastures because of that nor let manure dry out for a couple weeks after being harrowed (dragged) we have to resort to picking the field again to prevent parasite issues in our ponies.
This means we get to pick the field every week! We've gone a couple weeks without doing such and it took us a while to get The Shire cleaned up today. It was a gorgeous breezy fall day so I can't complain. We need to do a final mow too so it will be easier to rake the piles and spot treat any weeds until we can let this pasture rest and reseed next spring.
Unfortunately our apple trees are still too little to get edible apples so we must be satisfied with pony apples. We are going in two weeks to get four more apple trees and a couple pear trees! Can't wait to have our little orchard fully mature!! I'm sure the ponies will benefit from it as well!
It's been a few nice weeks of fall-ish weather here in NC, some hotter than others and many trees are starting to change. We luckily avoided the flooding and other issues further south and east of us. The grass is becoming dormant despite the rains and I'm switching to hay...which means I am now able to get back into the feed room. Two weeks ago the hay was right up to the door so the ponies had the task of eating our way back into the feed room.
It seems our house and property are unending with projects. We have discovered mushrooms in our house windowsills so we need to replace our wooden windows, NOW. The same company is going to put gutters on the barn so we will finally get working on our drainage project. The shed still needs to be finished too. We are in it for the long haul so it's good to get all this work done now and we can enjoy it sooner. Being this is the second house we've owned with wooden and difficult windows to open I'm really excited about vinyl energy saving windows!!! The ponies are happy and healthy and don't seem to care about any changes we make to our house or property. Fall is a busy time (like summer wasn't?)
I am happy with the weather being much more tolerable for outdoor work, fall has always been my favorite season. Next summer I will have to just bite the bullet and arise early to avoid riding or working in the heat of midday. Even though I wish I had more time for the ponies I love having a property where they can be in my backyard and I can love on them whenever I desire. Nickers in the morning is the best way to start my day!
October 21, 2016
We received some hay for the fall and winter months. It's amazing how fast the grass goes brown even though it's been pretty warm. I still had a lot of hay left from the spring so when we had 100 bales arrive it was tough arranging it in our hay area. With two doors you can't stack the hay in as tightly so it's been a big of an issue.
We stack a lot of it under the tool shed overhang on pallets and wood beams.
Then several busted bales were stored in the tack room or in the shed and were fed first. I've gotten it so I can enter the feed room again but am working on the hay under the overhang first. Dani doesn't seem to know where to stand in order to pester me for food. First she was at the feed room, then realized okay...tack room area was the place. Now she had to hang at the gate and nicker while I load up the hay. Chance just stays by his stall like he normally does and wickers softly. Such a sweet boy.
Better to have too much hay to store than not enough! We got a good deal on this hay as well so very happy on the pocketbook!
October 16, 2016
October 15, 2016
We've been very busy with mowing of course and random projects. We still need to finish the run-in shed, and some fencing projects but honestly with the stifling heat we've had this summer it was hard to want to go outside. Thankfully it is starting to cool down a bit and fall will start to set in giving us some crisp days to enjoy. We already are feeling some nice crisp days. Luckily the Hurricane didn't cause us too much rain or flooding in our area, that's more southeast of us.
I think this summer was a little overwelming for us, all the work that goes into owning more land and maintaining it for horses is a lot. It's even more when you don't have the right equipment to accomplish the tasks! We are slowly getting the equipment we need with a big purchase of a tractor in the plans for next spring.
Our manure bins are overflowing and having grasses growing in from the sides of the pallets. We will be creating a better set up in the next year that will be more easily rotated since we'll also have a tractor! In the meantime though I have a small spreader that I purchased for lime and seed and will hopefully be able to make it work for dry composted manure. I'm not willing to pay $1,000 for a manure spreader at this time!
One project we'll be working on starting this weekend is pasture rejuvenation. Two of our pastures have a decent amount of clovers growing in them. We have a couple different species and apparently they are infected with the fungus Rhizoctonia leguminicola, from what I've read it appears in humid regions and will often induce heavy slobbering in horses. My horses seem to really enjoy the sweet taste of the clover and then I get to enjoy buckets full of slobber and dodging splashes as I greet my horses in the stable yard.
On really hot days Dani and Chance hang out at the barn to keep cool by the fan. There they stand the drool. Dani will have puddles in her stall that my husband often mistakes for urine on the ground. She will fill up her feed bin with several cups of drool as well. It's so disgusting that I often can't help but retch when dumping it. I can't stand saliva in such quantities. At least they drink well and there is no harm eating the clover but I want that plant gone!
October 14, 2016
Steve and I headed to Carolina Beach at the beginning of September but after labor day weekend. It was a ncie serene weekend and much needed. We have done too much mowing with a tiny mower this year, a weekend doing nothing but sitting on the beach was a necessary getaway.
Our hotel was right on the beach and we rented an umbrella and two chairs. It was nice to sit, drink and play in the water. We got a boogie board and rode the waves into the shore. So much fun! Having been land locked for a long time it's nice to live only a couple hours from some lovely beaches!
Steve was sexy and silly as always...
I got to try out my new star trek cover-up and pretended we were on Risa, the tropical vacation planet of the Alpha quadrant.
And of course the obligatory picture above.....
Live long and prosper!
August 29, 2016
I knew moving back to the east was going to be an adjustment to hot and humid summers. It surely has been rough. We go outside and barely walk around and we are already covered in sweat dripping off us. Humidity has been in the 80% range lately with lots of temperatures in the 90s, dewpoint has been in the high 70 degrees as well so it is quite sticky. The horses have been sweating a lot.
They choose to stay in the barn during the day since it's shaded and cooler. They go for short trips to the pasture to graze but then wander back to cool off. They are both great drinkers so I'm happy with that! Since the barn has a fairly solid stall divider we decided to remove a few boards to allow for more airflow. A barn fan we purchased was just the ticket for making their haven even more cooling. Unfortunatly there wasn't a great place to hang it to hit both of them equally but taking down some wood allows wind to blow to Chances stall. Sometimes though it seems the horses switch it up and Dani is in his stall and vice versa.
I stood in his stall and made sure there was good wind coming that way. For now, that is the best location. We will maybe get another fan at some point to point in the other stall but this seems to work nicely. Needless to say not much riding has happened this summer. It's been too hot and humid and then with our pathetic mower it seems all we do is yard work.
We have ideas for reducing our mowing....one of those plans includes buying a good tractor with a front loader. Only question is what size? Under deck mower or is a bush hog better for pasture mowing? Too many choices but these are expensive choices!
The other plan is related to our future want for bees and other pollinators.
In other plans I do have a contact for a riding instructor and think that when it starts to get less miserable I can get back into regular lessons for a bit on both the ponies. They don't seem to mind just chilling on the pasture and getting groomed now and again but I do miss riding! I ride the mower more than Dani!
In other news...flies suck. We haven't had a ton which is great but we do have the handful of large horseflies. They are mean little assholes and no fly repellent seems to work. My poor babies.
August 13, 2016
We knew the run-in shed already had some termite damage in some of the wood. When I noticed a new little termite tunnel though, it moved our rebuilding of the shed to the forefront. Termites build little mud tubes so they don't dry out, that's always something to look for.
The main supports were most likely treated wood and had no termite damage at all so we just have to remove the surround and then the boards that contact the ground. Most likely it was no treated wood.
If I scraped the mud off the boards you could see some of the tunnels.
Some of the boards had years of extensive damage. You need to catch it right away! Many boards we took out weighed nothing and sounded like rain sticks! At least they weren't the support beams.
As we began to set up for the demolition the ponies of course wanted to help.
What's dad doing? I certainly didn't want them stepping on the nails or being in the way of falling wood so I herded them in to on the of the fields and filled some buckets of water since they didn't have access to the trough being locked the pasture.
Leading Dani through the gate and clopped in a mud puddle and it went all up my leg! LOL. I never stay clean around here. It's just not possible.
It wasn't too bad to tear it apart, building it back up will take more time.
We pilled all the wood up and then were able to haul it away in the truck. Steve later dug a trench and sprayed for termites around all the supports. We had professionals come do the prevention spray around the barn, storage shed and house. They found some indications of termites in our garage....guess the darn inspector missed that when we bought the house. I don't think there is extensive damage like the shed since there were also indications that the house had received termite treatment by drilling into the floor of the garage. At least we know we have prevention in place and will keep up with that.
We also will paint the shed and barn with a insect repellent mixed into the paint and use pressure treated wood.
Now we just have the skeleton of the shed, eventually we'll get to rebuilding it but there are always continual projects going on and mowing....oh the mowing!!!
August 03, 2016
July 21, 2016
Right on the edge of our property is a little grove of trees. It's nice and shady most of the time and a perfect relaxing hammock location. At our house in CO I hung a hammock between our little apple trees and would love just chilling out listening to the wind and birds. Here it's even more serene being in the country with less traffic noise.
It was over grown with underbrush so Steve got his handy chain saw out and went to work while I helped and hauled some mulch.
It was a lot to trim up and haul away but it's wonderful being all open now!
It's funny our little snake friend came out from the woods to inspect it and curl up on the edge of the shade when we were done. I didn't want to disturb him so I didn't get a picture, plus we were ready to leave and go shower inside our cool house.
The next weekend after our mulch was layed down we hung up our hammocks. Steve has a camping one that hugs you and I have a classic woven lounger with wooden ends. It was very peaceful and well deserved to take a break on afternoon. Seems all we've done with summer so far is mow and do another project....soon to be posted.
Steve even made hammocks for our beers! We brought a cooler full of drinks and spent a couple hours napping in "The Oasis". I'll have to bring a book sometime too. The horses were in Westeros, the pasture closest to the grove, and were very interested in watching us hammocking. Chance was also a little curious and worried about Spencer who happened to have a cone on his head because of stitches.
You know what the coolest thing is? If you build something awesome in your yard...gnomes always seem to find a way to enjoy it with you!
July 09, 2016
We decided to expand the fencing around the run-in shed. Chance has been kicked in the chest in the past and I think this is one area where he can easily get cornered so I wanted to have a full circle of open space around the run-in shed available. We will be eventually redoing all the fencing (except the wooden fences) to an electric rope.
It looks really nice I think and I may even paint the t posts white so we have a nicer, uniform look. It was a several hour project so not too difficult. We still need to build a section of wooden fence and then have a plan for expanding the wormhole. I'll post on that soon. We should get some of these little projects done by the end of summer but the next post.....that next one is a doozy though....
I'll leave you hanging with anticipation about that project!!