Thursday, March 3, 2011

news that didn't happen

Liset, I think, I hope, is doing much better. It's getting harder to catch her to give her the prescripted dosage of Glycol. That first day I could walk right up to her grab her. Now we play an eye-locked game of chance trying to hold her still long enough to inject the goo into her mouth. But now she's excited to eat her grain and hay and seems to more a part of the flock now. She's still lean but "with it" Keep her in your thoughts. I depend on each of these girls to help produce the future of my flock.

Good news: Murray McMurray is sending replacements for ALL the birds I lost. All 27 will be here next week. And everyone coming to the workshop will have their pick of the current healthy birds in the brooder now. I'll sell some started pullets later this summer for side cash. It will work out. Chickens make a lot of sense now, folks will scoop them up in pairs and trios.

I have some news (that never happened) to share with you all. I came across the perfect pony this week. A small 37" gelding named Rebel. He was a fully trained 6-year-old, road-ready, drafting pony down in Sharon Springs. Small enough to share my sheeps' sheds and hay and large enough to pull a small plow. He could cart, pack, and help spread manure around the farm. I dreamed of this pony. He was perfect. I went so far as to make plans to have him delivered. I told friends at 28: my dream of finally having a pony was coming true. My new ATV was just a few hoofprints away...

I emailed the trainer to apologize. I can't take him. With lambing, a new truck, a chimney, and so much ahead: a pony isn't a wise choice. I was justifying it because it was so perfect and priced so well, and who knows when a bombproof working horse could be delivered to the farm again? but I need to know what this farmer can handle. Maybe I could have welcomed Rebel into my life without a hitch? But I prefer to not find out the hard way anymore.

Some day I will have a working horse on this farm. This year I'll focus on a working chimney and used 4x4 truck.

36 Comments:

Blogger ladybughomer said...

That was a difficult decision. I am 57 and whilst walking in a canyon adjacent to our big city, a pair of fine horses trotted by. A girl never quite gets over this wish for a pony. It is tough sometimes, yes? But good on you for making the hard choice.

March 3, 2011 at 9:35 PM  
Blogger Rosie said...

A wise move. This is not the time for a pony. Get the farm set up and going. Horses take up a tremendous amount of time and resources. This from someone who has raised and trained horses all my life. I am moving to a 300 cattle acre ranch soon from the city and will be taking my cutting horse with me but I am not fooling myself thinking the time and money to keep him makes any sense. He is my extravagance and a way to meet people at the local cuttings. He is a cow horse but I can work faster on the ATV.

March 3, 2011 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

That was a hard decision to make, but you did the right thing.

March 3, 2011 at 10:12 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I think you made a wise decision, Jenna. If you overwhelm yourself with new additions before getting comfortable the the existing ones then you will be overwhelmed all the time and your farm life wont be as fun.

As for Liset, we use to pour a little molasses into the ewes water buckets to give them a little extra energy. Also, gave COB (corn, oats, barley) mixed with molasses about 30 days before lambing.

Sounds like she's bouncing back though.

March 3, 2011 at 10:24 PM  
Blogger Mrs. Bee said...

Good to hear Liset is better.
I think it was a wise decision on your part to pass on the pony. It shows great maturity on your part and that itself will take you far on your farm ;)
Your pony time will come...I'm sure of it :)

March 3, 2011 at 10:53 PM  
Blogger Lauren said...

I was born horse crazy (almost)... the madness started at 18 months. I finally got a chance to own a horse when I was in my late twenties. I worked HARD to have that horse and I owned her at first with another person... we co-owned. I finally ended up with full ownership and worked hard at the stable I boarded her to help offset the cost...

I appreciate and value that time because it was mostly magical but I had to sell the dream horse. I wanted to start working towards being a stay at home mom (even though I didn't have a baby for another two years). It was hard letting go of the dream. She was so perfect. But I know I made the right choice... someday there will be another dream horse (or draft pony!)... for both of us. :)

I am really really thrilled that Liset is doing better. She sure sounds like she is bouncing back. I wish you luck with medicating her that sounds like a challenge.

March 3, 2011 at 11:18 PM  
Blogger Greentwinsmummy said...

Jenna I learnt the long hard way that theres not much chance of trying to *catch a sheep*
Once I stopped trying lol! and simply brought the flock in,isolated the one I needed with a bit of shimmying around with hurdles, it was all in all alot alot quicker that way.
I have 10 ewes here all due from april 27th onwards,I started feeding ewe pencils, or nuts some call them a few days ago alongside hay that they have been on all winter.Lambing can be hard on them,ha as a twin mummy I know that myself hahaha.
I also dont lift anything other than a lamb to turn it, my back is too precious, I am trying all the time to perfect the turning method of leaning against them, head up and round and pressing on tail,sort of in with the right knee to unbalance, but so far have only got one sheep that obliges me with that method hahahah, the rest I do farried style to do their feet,get them up against a hurdled corner and lean into them to hold them there,there often is a poo covered pair of hoof trimmers clenched between my teeth ugh but I dont get sickness bugs so it must be ok hahaha!!
Glad she is on the mend.
I have no experiance with horses other than I what I see with others around me,and that is that they are a terrific amount of expense and work.
GTM xx x

March 4, 2011 at 1:58 AM  
Blogger Greentwinsmummy said...

I meant farrier style,not farried, damned spelling lol!
I lift their feet that way.
GTM x

March 4, 2011 at 1:59 AM  
OpenID clemscritters said...

There is just something about a girl and her horse..... equines will clean your pasture if they follow sheep in the pasture rotation as well. All good justification when the time is right.

March 4, 2011 at 3:22 AM  
Blogger Janet said...

A hard decision, but better before than after the fact - wait until your flock is established and some of the other sidelines. A horse/pony requires a lot of time and determination at the best of times (I know from experience!) and is a learning curve all the way.
A chimney, a 4x4 and the establishment of your flock come first, and any extra time you have is better off developing side sources of cashflow.
Again - a great but very tough decision.

March 4, 2011 at 7:00 AM  
Blogger CJ said...

I have found that the cheapest part on owning a horse is the purchase price, especially with the bottom dropping out of the horse market. It's the vet, dental, hay, fence, and related equipment that drains your wallet.

Having said that, once you get setup and plan financially for the vet, keeping horse isn't that bad.

Ponies are notorious trouble makers and I highly recommend a small horse over a pony. My Belgian draft's days are getting few due to bad knees. I don't need a full on draft for my small property and have been looking at haflinger's as a replacement.

Just a suggestion.

March 4, 2011 at 7:28 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

Hi Jenna.

Since you ride, it might make more sense to have a dual purpose horse-one that you can both ride and use for farm jobs. You could practice in between riding lessons, which is a big plus, and still use the horse to help you around the farm. And hey, that is a little pony at 37"-my Irish Wolfhound is 36" at the shoulder!
Lisa

March 4, 2011 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

Damn...being a responsible adult is such a bummer sometimes, isn't it?

March 4, 2011 at 8:35 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Very wise to hold off for now, with all you have going on. Having now had: horses, llamas, goats and sheep, I can say from experience that horses are more work than the rest combined. I have always loved them, but ponies are even more mischievous than horses, and when I had an elderly horse and a younger horse at my farm, I spent a couple of hours every week repairing gates and fences that the horses destroyed simply for the amusement of it. Best to wait on the pony until you're sure you have sturdy enough gates and fences to withstand being pony-treated.

March 4, 2011 at 8:48 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

I am glad that Liset is doing much better and I think you made the right call with the pony!

March 4, 2011 at 9:03 AM  
Blogger ~*Jenn*~ said...

You are so awesome Jenna, many people wouldn't be able to make that choice (me being one of them for sure!) but you know what you can handle, or atleast don't want to find out what you can't handle the hard way. Thank you for posting the chick video my kids watch it over and over, it's really stoked them for our chicks arriving at the end of April!

March 4, 2011 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

I think coming up to your first lambing season, and with a full time job to boot, you've made the right (though very hard) decision. Striking a balance is always hard.

March 4, 2011 at 9:15 AM  
Blogger Penny said...

You made the right choice. Sometimes, most of the time, it is hard to be a "grownup".

March 4, 2011 at 9:31 AM  
OpenID gileadgoats said...

Good decision Jenna. It's hard to chase that dream, but you're wise to focus on the top priorities first. When you're ready for a pony, one will find you. In fact, keep me posted, my sister is a pony magnet, and often takes in horses that need some rehabilitation, and then rehomes them once they are healthy. She's very active on the Northeast Animal Power network, whose founders live next door to me.

March 4, 2011 at 9:48 AM  
OpenID gileadgoats said...

Good decision Jenna, though I'm sure not an easy one. You're wise to focus on one or two top priorities this spring though. When you're ready for your pony, one will find you. Or you can let me know, my sister often rehabs working ponies, Percherons etc, and she may have one ready to go when you are. Also, check out the Northeast Draft Animal-Power Network for tons of resources. http://animalpowerfielddays.org/

March 4, 2011 at 9:59 AM  
Blogger Lilly said...

Hi Jenna,

Long time reader, but I'm a first-time commenter. As someone who has ridden, shown, and worked with horses for over twenty years, you absolutely made the right decision to not bring a pony into your life right now. Horses can be surprisingly delicate, injury prone, and are, in general, far more high-strung and require more specialized skill than other farm animals. I will say that smaller ponies tend to be hardier and tougher than horses, but they are also a lot more mischievious in general and bringing a horse or pony onto your farm means investing in high-quality fencing, horse-safe stall facilities, and expensive farrier and vet care. The purchase price is the cheapest part of owning a horse.

March 4, 2011 at 10:14 AM  
Blogger chesapeake said...

Joel Salatin would be proud.

That's the highest compliment I can give you, Jenna. Delayed gratification is difficult but so, so wise financially. There will always be another horse.

By the way, I live in an apartment in the seventh largest city in the US, and thanks to you, Joel, and Youtube, I now know how to humanely slaughter a chicken. Why do I need this info? I have no idea. Also thanks to you, I've been inspired over the last week. I have now made my own yogurt, two loaves of bread, granola bars, and whole wheat pancakes, all from scratch. :-)

March 4, 2011 at 10:26 AM  
Blogger Lilly said...

Forgot to mention that you may also want to consider getting something larger and stouter (but still in the smallish range) like a Haflinger or a Welsh Cob. Something as small as you're talking about is probably (and I'm being really frank here) going to be pretty useless. Get something sturdier that you can actually ride and enjoy instead of a trouble-making weensy pony that will probably be more of a hay and grain consuming pet than anything.

March 4, 2011 at 10:30 AM  
Blogger MilkMaid09 said...

Boy - you're stronger than I am! I'd have totally ignored that little voice in my head, especially when things seemed so "perfect"!
But you're a smart girl - you know your limits and that's a very good thing to know when starting out in farming (I'm still learning mine. . .)

March 4, 2011 at 10:55 AM  
OpenID sissyjane said...

Chimney? What's wrong with your chimney? I must have been knitting, and missed something...

March 4, 2011 at 11:03 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

I agree with the advice to get a large pony or smaller horse that can be used for mutiple purposes. It's nice to have an animal that can ride, drive, and plow, pull logs out of the woods, etc. I've got three horses and am working on getting at least two of them to do all these things. Don't laugh, but have you considered a mule? They are used a lot down here in the South and are very sturdy, don't eat as much as a horse, and fun to ride and drive. Just a thought...

March 4, 2011 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger E said...

Common sense prevails!
It's better to err on the side of caution when lives are involved.

March 4, 2011 at 1:35 PM  
Blogger Allie said...

Best decision you could have made. With all the extra work a pony would entail it wouldn't just be: new truck, lambing, chimney and poney; it would have been new truck, lambing, chimney, pony's gone lame, pony needs shots, pony's off feed etc. etc. I'd love to have working horses, but as an equine vet tech, I see all the work and money going into them and I try to make do on my own.

March 4, 2011 at 1:46 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

good call, although i'm unsure why you'd consider bringing a pony to the property at this point. horses are huge money pits with generally very little to no financial return. what breed?

remember that wide guage galvanized fencing is generally considered unsuitable for horses and that's its always a good idea to get a potential equine purchase vetted before making any formal decisions. sometimes even sellers with the best intentions aren't aware of soundess issues in their animals.

i do feel your pain though...i recently took in a foster dog that turned out to be my absolute dream dog in EVERY way. unfortunately i already have 4 of my own, 2 are unadoptable fosters. as i renter with one income it would be unrealistic to keep him. he won't only be the one that got away but the one i gave away.

lifes a biotch at times but hopefully another pony for you and dream dog for me will come around when the timing is right.

March 4, 2011 at 2:09 PM  
Blogger Eleanor said...

Wise decision!!

March 4, 2011 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Eleanor said...

Wise decision!

March 4, 2011 at 7:38 PM  
Blogger Chicky said...

Not an easy decision, but for the time in your life, probably the right decision. Not more than a few weeks ago you were describing just how very overwhelmed you were from the harsh winter. Months ago, you were sadly trying to find a new home for Finn because he was just too much. Now is not the time to take on a new mouth to feed, let alone pay for their high priority care.

I'm also agreeing with others that suggest a more stout horse that can be utilized for work & for riding.

Looking forward to hearing about lambing!

March 4, 2011 at 9:58 PM  
Blogger Donna said...

I'm so glad you passed on the pony. You think Finn was a mischief maker a pony wouldn't have been much better. Plus you are going to be really busy this spring with lambing because it will be a new thing for you. Not only that but you have a list of things you need this year already plus there may be other things that crop up the farm that as homeowner you now have to pay for. On top of all that you still have training to do with Gibson. You just don't need to wear yourself down again before next winter. Probably one new big project a year would be best it would allow you to fairly judge how it's working and give you a chance to fit it into your schedule. You are only human and you have plenty of time ;).

March 4, 2011 at 10:48 PM  
Blogger Helena said...

I'm proud of you for making a good decision. I know it couldn't have been easy, but you're right--now is not the time, with all you have going on. Someday, your horse will come. :)

March 5, 2011 at 12:16 AM  
Blogger Reason's Whore said...

Horses are expensive. You really made the wisest choice. Another expense, even one that is productive, is probably beyond your means at this point.

Another horse will come along later. They always do.

March 5, 2011 at 1:55 PM  
Blogger Reason's Whore said...

Also, if Liset is eating, sounds as if she is fine. Doesn't hurt to keep giving her some Glycol but the return of appetite is the main thing you needed to see. Glad she pulled through okay. I think these primitive breeds bounce back better.

March 5, 2011 at 1:56 PM  

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