farming, Uncategorized

Late Nights and Pork Chops part 2

Becca and I bundled up again and went to the barn. We brought Zoom, Tug, and the black mare Seeker inside and it began to snow. We brushed Tug and Seeker, debating if we should ride. Zoom was a little cold so we decided against it. Becca help me file Seeker’s front feet and we turned Tug back out to eat hay. Seeker isn’t very tall but she is muscular with a thick mane and tail and a sweet face. In the winter, her coat looks like black velvet. She’s a little jumpy, but she comes from a great line of proven Quarter Horses. A girl about our age came around 3 to look her over.

She checked her feet, her teeth, her ears and her tail, looking her over. I saddled her up and we all went to the round pen. As soon as she sat on her, Seeker bolted, throwing the girl into the fence. She got up and brushed herself off, I lunged Seeker, keeping her at a trot to get the jitters out of her. The snow was falling fast and the ground was completely frozen.

After a little work, she got back in the saddle and rode Seeker like nothing had ever happened. She knew what she was doing, and I was glad I didn’t let the man from yesterday take her. Seeker turned, backed, walked and jogged fine. We went back to the barn and unsaddled, we shook on it and I gave her Seeker’s papers. Becca took a photo of me with the mare, all bundled up, and they loaded her in the trailer and drove off.

Once they cleared our line of sight, I threw my hat in the air. Becca and I jumped around and hugged and hollered. When I moved here after my Uncle died, we had 16 horses. We are now down to Tug, Tyla, Zoom, JJ and the Ginnie Donkey. We keep our neighbors stud horse and donkey, and we still have the colt, but 8 mouths are a lot easier to feed than 16.

Since we were absolutely frozen by then, we ran up the driveway and changed into dry clothes. After the snow stopped falling, Becca and I made a quick trip to Tractor Supply to get shavings for the chicken coop. We browsed the boots, horse tack, Rodeo Magazine’s and Carhartt jackets for a while, then loaded up and came back home. Aunt Melissa stopped by so we visited for a while before eating soup and cornbread.

Sadie got home and we stayed up until 11:30 talking. This morning we sat around the kitchen, watching the rain fall and turn the snow into slush. Becca and I made a last trip to the barn and they loaded up the van. After I scraped off their windshield, I hugged them tightly. Casey, Abbie and I stood in the road watching them go, I waited until the sound of the engine died away, standing in the silence with the dogs.

After a moment, we headed up the hill and I spread the shavings out in the chicken coop. They scratched and pecked happily, chirping to each other in the warm, dry barn. Life goes on, of course, they are oblivious to the one van driving down the road, a faded engine that sounds like all the others. They don’t know how much more that van means than all the others. That I will miss it the most, and will count the days until it returns.


Late Nights and Pork Chops, Part 1

My Mom and my sister just left, we had an amazing weekend on the farm. I miss them. If I don’t write about it now I’m afraid I will forget something.

They arrived around 1:30am Friday, after leaving Jacksonville Florida when Becca got off work. We should have all gone to bed then but no, we wanted to go see Zoom. Out the door we went, bundled up with the dogs in tow. Snow covered the ground and it was cold, we walked around the field looking for him until we found him by the barn. We got back to the house around 2 and sat and talked with Nana for a while, it was so good to see them!

The next day Becca rose bright and early, I did not. After several cups of coffee we ventured out to feed and water the chickens, break ice on the water troughs, and check on Zoomie again. It was cold but the snow was melting, there was a lot of work to do! Mom got started on Nana’s room, which was full of laundry, clean sheets, cleaning supplies, magazines, christmas candles, unhung pictures, a puzzle, an office chair and boxes of dishes.

I hooked the Exploder up to the flat bed trailer and we pulled the old blue leather sofa and recliner out of the shop, which fit nicely on the trailer. I drove back down to the house and we got the mattress and box spring which originally belonged to my uncles MOTHER. That thing was like sleeping on springs itself. We strapped the box spring across the couches, added a broken floor lamp and Nana’s broken closet door, shoved the other mattress in the back of the Exploder and took off, orange Gatorade in the cup holder and country music on the radio.

Halfway to the road we lost the lamp, I tied it to the trailer by it’s cord and we added a few bungie’s to the pile. Once we got to the dump, the coffee had kicked in. We swarmed all over the trailer like ants on a sugar rush. In went the broken blue recliner that smelled faintly of cat pee, the box spring, the sections of couch, the lamp, the door, and the mattress. The giant dumpster crunched it up and it was gone in a flash. We hopped back in the Exploder and headed to the Chop House.

Whenever my Mom comes to town, she eats at the Chop House. It’s good food, reminds me of a Cheddar’s or a Chili’s if they took out the bar and the TV’s. We ordered pork chops, salads, and I caved on a slice of cheesecake. While we waited, we walked over to the liquor store, which happened to be next door.

I was wearing muddy boots, black jeans, a red flannel shirt with barbwire holes in it and a brown beanie. Becca was wearing my Uncle’s rubber boots, jeans, and an olive green jacket made out of some kind of corduroy. Her hair was in a braid, but there was probably hay in it. We walked in like we owned the place, and I asked the lady behind the counter what was the best Tennessee made beverage they had?

I’ve lived here long enough to have known she would have taken us straight to the moonshine. “This one is only 90 proof, but this 112 proof is good too.” Becca and I didn’t have to even look at each other but I knew what she was thinking. We politely browsed the moonshine aisle until she left, then we settled on a 4 pack of beer and left. 112 proof, can you imagine?

We picked up our meal from the Chop House and headed home. Mom had completely cleaned Nana’s room. Everything was neat and tidy, dusted and vacuumed. There were at least 12 garbage bags in the hallway. We made a keep pile, a trash pile, and a giveaway pile. All that clutter didn’t stand a chance.

After enjoying our pork chops, salad and cheesecake, Becca and I returned to the barn. A man came to look at buying Seeker, we saddled her up and he test rode her in the round pen. Long story short, they didn’t feel like a good fit for each other. Seeker was my Uncle’s personal horse, I wanted to make sure she went to a good home.

We turned her back out and returned to the house to help finish Nana’s room. When Sadie got home from work we all sat in Nana’s room, talking and laughing and telling stories. I love living at the farm, but it is so much better to have some of my family there too. Becca and I settled down to watch a film she recommended, Unbranded, a documentary that is currently on Netflix. We made it to about 11pm before deciding to crash.

The next morning, Valentine’s Day, mom brought us each a card. Becca’s had a watercolor on the front and mine came with a bookmark! We stayed in bed and finished Unbranded, which I would highly recommend you to watch. We finally got up and made our rounds with the animals. Mom moved a big dresser and hung some paintings in Nana’s room, which made a huge difference. It really looks beautiful now, she knows what she’s doing. I’d upload pictures if I had any.

That’s all for now, more to come.



Flat Tire

We had an interesting morning today. I woke up to several inches of snow, and it was coming down fast! Absolutely beautiful, and cold. Very cold. With my seal cough, Sadie volunteered to feed up. I took Nana her coffee and opened her curtains so we could watch it fall. I wanted cheese grits for breakfast, turned on the wrong eye, then used the crystallized sea salt instead of the ground up kind. It went to the chickens and we all had cereal.

When Sadie got ready to go to work, she noticed the tire on the Ford Exploder was flat. She brought the air compressor down from the shop and I plugged it in with an extension cord. The motor ran fine, but the output gauge remained at 0. Which is about all we know about air compressors. I called our neighbor, Winston, and he brought a portable tank over. They filled the tire in a few minutes and took a look at the compressor. Something about a release valve coming loose, I couldn’t tell you.

Winston loaded it up to take to his shop, he told us he might be able to take it apart for an easy fix. I helped Sadie out of her coveralls so she could change for work and she headed off down the snowy road. It’s really beautiful out here, there’s snow laying on every branch and it covers the roof of the barn in one, perfect white sheet. The robins and Cardinals stand out bright against the clean background. I hope it sticks through the night!



Out Sick

I’m the type of person who enjoys rest. I like naps, I like sitting on the porch, I like reading by a window. But for an hour, maximum. There’s just too much to DO on a farm, projects, things to fix, new and fun ideas, you can’t stay down for long.

Unless your sick. I have some kind of weird, sinus thing which makes me feel fatigued. What an awful word, who has time for that? Sadie tells me I need to rest, and my mother says I should listen to my body. They are both absolutely right, but how can I rest when the sun is out? When there’s chickens in the yard and horses in the field?

I’m eating soup, I have got tea and orange Gatorade but..gosh it’s kind of boring. I don’t know what to do with myself. I’ve been watching movies and listening to music. The cats love it, they lounge in bed with me, toes curled and eyes closed. They love napping all day. I’ve been down for one day and I’m over it.

There’s not a lot to report, I’m afraid. I ordered a shirt online and the UPS guy was the first person I had seen since Sadie went to work. Other than that I’m just waiting to feel better. It’s very, very cold outside. We had snow yesterday, it’s been in the 20’s. Sadie put hay out this morning and wouldn’t let me outside. I’m definitely not cut out for this!

farming, Uncategorized

Down on the Farm

This is from this weekend and I finally had time to finish it!

Today was a great day.

I’m at my desk in my pajamas, hair still damp from the shower, and my face is just the smallest bit sunburned. I know – sun! The weather today was perfect, as soon as I woke up I knew. The sun popped over the ridge like a cork and the beams shone in through my windows, on the floor and on the wall in long, golden streams. I got a cup of coffee and crawled back under the covers to watch it rise.

The horses were as sun drunk as I was, they gathered near the hay rolls and dozed back off. The donkeys were both laying down, eventually Tyla and Seeker laid down too, the colt was fully stretched out on his side. I got hungry enough to get up again and had a bowl of cereal.

After I got dressed, the dogs followed me up the hill. I let the chickens out to peck and stretched the hose up to fill the duck bath, which had been frozen for quite a while considering we hadn’t seen the sun in a few days. We moved the two studs up to that pasture, they play-fight and run up and down the hill snorting and pawing and carrying on. I grained them and they ended up eating out of the same pan. Boys.

I moved some wood from the shed up to the porch to stack, with the pleasant weather we won’t need it right away but you never know. We also had some trouble with our propane tank, which fuels the furnace for central heating. Apparently the regulator was leaking, they came out and repaired it Wednesday so Sadie and I can keep the house warm in the evenings.

We headed down the driveway to the barn, I gave everyone some grain and let the Jack donkey out of the barn. With the two studs across the road, we took down the fence separating the two pastures. Jack donkey wasn’t a fan of all the company, I led him up the hill and put him with the two studs, who immediately began making a huge fuss and each tried to impress the donkey.

Then I went back to the barn and pulled Mama mare out of the pasture, someone is coming to look at buying her tomorrow. She was covered in mud, which had caked in her wooly coat as it dried. I brought her back up the driveway and gave her a bath – it was a little cold for it, but I knew the sun would dry her. She’s a beautiful reddish color with a blonde mane and tail, I sat in the front yard while she grazed in the sun.

The cats came to keep me company and we watched the stud horses play. When she was dry I put her in the barn with a few flakes of hay. I sat on the block near the tack room and listened to her munching. The wind blew the hay and dirt around in the hallway and I leaned back against the worn barn wood wall and listened to the birds sing.