Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Life at Conewago Stables

         Today, I was sitting in my room, making a nice blanket for winter (I just started that, by the way) when I had the idea to share a day in my life with all of you. Also, happy Fourth of July!
          As soon as I wake up, I get dressed and go out to feed the horses. Yesterday, our wheelbarrow broke down, so I cleaned the stalls and put the manure in Dad's new tractor cart. Anyways, once they're in I feed the barn cats and play with them for a while. While I'm outside, I water my potted mint and oregano, and my garden (if it hasn't rained in a while.)
           Breakfast comes next, usually made up of fruit, a grain (bagels, cereal, English muffin, pancakes, waffles, or cornbread), and maybe scrambled or fried eggs and vegetarian bacon. Sometimes, however, I just have leftovers from dinner or some homemade no-bake rice pudding (a.k.a rice, milk, honey, cinnamon and vanilla, mixed.) Then, I water my indoor plants and do a craft, like my infinity scarf (still working on it) and my blanket. Following that, I write something or browse for homesteading ideas. If it's cool enough outside, I can garden.
            Lunch is usually a hodgepodge of any leftovers, maybe a grilled cheese sandwich or some salad. We take as we go, having an afternoon snack to boot.
             After lunch I go back to whatever craft, blog post or other project I was working on until it's either time for dinner or for horse care. Dinner is usually home-cooked, with a salad or vegetable as a side, some rice, pasta or cornbread, and protein (sometimes meat, sometimes something else, as my sister is a vegetarian and has to have separate no-meat meals every day.) Afternoon horse care sometimes comes with a quick ride on Sophie or Poppy, but usually is just for feeding everyone, letting the horses into the pasture, and mucking.
           Sometimes we have dessert, once in a while we'll go do something, but usually we shower and then go to sleep. A well-deserved rest is necessary at the end of a long day.
          Life on the farm is sometimes hard, but it always turns out happily. I wouldn't trade my animals or lifestyle for the world.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Homesteading with Horses?

          As anyone who reads my blog will know, we own a menagerie. What my blog readers don't know (until now) is that we also have vegetable and herb gardens, dabble in seed saving and herbal medicines, and are proficient to advanced with sewing. (Mom and I, anyway.) Homesteading always seemed like something within reach. However, our Husky was diagnosed with liver problems and is senior, and my younger brother has two severe syndromes. For these reasons, we never bothered to live only on what we already had.
        Things change rather quickly around here. When the new President took office, I wasn't sure how he would deal with livestock and medical care. I'm still waiting to see about the livestock regulations, but his method of dealing with medical support is devastating. Now, both of my parents have jobs. We can afford to keep everyone in the family (animals included) fed, safe and healthy.
        Many recent events have inspired me to take action. We can all afford to use less energy. No matter what our government says, climate change has been proven. Food waste is another problem most people can help to deal with. Compost extra food, grow a garden, and preserve any overly abundant foods. (Curse you, mint and oregano, conquering my garden!)
        Regardless of how passionate I am, I still have two animals that aren't quite pulling their weight, so to speak. I love my horses dearly, but they can be used for more than just showing. Poppy can go where vehicles and mowers can't, helping me to inspect the whole property. Sophie would be excellent for rounding up animals, should we ever purchase sheep or goats.
         Homesteading requires more than animals and gardening, however. I'm already writing my Impractical Guide to Homesteading. (I will find a way to publish that, someday.) Herbal headache medicine is downright easy to make. (Just mix torn mint, rosemary, sage, and catnip leaves together, then add hot water. Once it's cooled, strain it. Pour the liquid into a mason jar, add honey, and refrigerate for up to one week.)
       Bartering would be a wonderful solution to the problem of what to do with excess produce. If I can find someone willing to trade honey, milk, or fruit (peaches, cherries, and apples please!), I will gladly give them some seeds, cucumbers, eggs (once we get our chickens), and a substantial amount of mint and oregano.
       If you have any homesteading or clothes-making tips, don't hesitate to share them. Thank you for reading!

Rose Windfire

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Crafting and Cats

         As any reader of my blog may know, I have two cats. Autumn and Ghost are still enjoying life in the barn, along with River the feral cat, Sophie, Poppy, and any visiting humans.
         Looking back, I have some pictures of all the animals that I'd like to show you:

 This is when I went crazy and put nail polish on Poppy's hooves. She didn't mind the nail makeover one bit.
Love :)
This is from the first day I had Poppy at my house. She was whinnying for a few hours because she missed her friends at Saw Horse Farm. Luckily, Sophie came and provided a friend. We had a slight mouse problem before the barn cats arrived, but otherwise everything was fine.
            On to the "Crafting" part of the post. I'm making my first cat collars following another blogger's tutorial. The kitties had worn store-bought ones, but lost them. They went collarless for a little while, but I felt like Autumn and Ghost were too valuable to myself and to the barn to be lost. The two haven't really left the property yet but it's a safety precaution. Plus, they'll look fabulous!
              I haven't gotten the supplies in the mail, but I made some ID tags. Because the cats didn't like the jingling metal ones, these are just laminated paper ones.
 Thanks for reading!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Hair Styling: Part 1

          So, recently I decided to pull Sophie's mane. It was an absolute nightmare. Her mane is longer than that of any other horse I've ridden. Washing her is nearly impossible (hoses, sponges, and cold water all scare her, and we don't have hot water), so I had to comb the dust out first. My sister didn't like that I was shortening her mane, so I barely took away an inch of mane. Also, the metal comb was missing and I had to use a lesser-quality one.
           Perfect little Sophie stayed still and calm the entire time. Champagne Sophie, who freaks out when I try to saddle her up, stood perfectly still as I pulled out the unruly hair. The area under her mane was sweaty. At the end of the ordeal, not much hair had been removed, but it was a start. Her mane and forelock were soft and silky, and showed off a light cream color.
           Mane braiding and banding seem too far away, but I must prepare myself. If I want to show, I must practice until it looks perfect. I hope you enjoyed listening to my rant. Happy very early Fourth of July!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Barn Bullying: What to Do

            As a rider for around 7 years (wow!) I am thankful to have encountered very few bullies, both at the barn and in school. However, I understand that they do exist and feel the need to address this problem personally.
            I was recently reading a blog about an adult rider whose horse had a severe back problem. For a horse and rider pair going through medical treatments along with regular barn life and work, it seems understandably hard. Her warmblood, however, seemed quite happy and content.
           My menagerie and I are blessed to have a beautiful farm that is quite close to my house. I will know almost immediately if anything goes wrong, and I can ride, groom, spoil, or play with Poppy and Sophie to my heart's content. However, there was a time when I had to board Poppy. The facility was relatively close to my house. Boarding and care was better than I could have hoped for. Knowing I wouldn't see her every day until the following May, only twice a week, I entrusted my mare to the care of the barn.
           The aforementioned blogger once posted how she wanted to apologize to her horse for having to board him. Social media's response was:
"You don't love your horse!"
"I feel sorry for your horse!"...
and the like. Her horse's medical condition also prompted hurtful comments.
           She should not have to take the blame for leaving her horse at a facility that could care for him. Even if she could not see him every day, he was treated well. She had a job and responsibilities, and the boarding stable was not very close to her house. These factors were out of her control: she still loved and cared about her gelding.
           Riders should not have to endure bullying for any reason. The barn is one of the places I feel the safest at. If someone were to threaten that, I would continue to ride until I could not bear it anymore. For any riders being bullied by other barn members, know that there is always support. The horses still love you, and they will continue to do so. To riders who have committed bullying behaviors, would you like if someone tried to invade your safe place, the barn? Exactly.
           With love,
Sophie, Poppy, Autumn, Ghost, River the Food Thief, and Rose Windfire

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Barn Cats?

Ok, I know this is supposed to be about horses. However, there is another issue I need to address. I have two barn cats named Autumn and Ghost. They are "fixed", Autumn got a collar today, and are well cared for and borderline spoiled. Browsing the Internet, I found that many people insist cats must be kept indoors. Why? Cats are born to be outdoors! People might say I treat my cats "cruelly" just because I don't want my dog, Maybelle, chasing them through the house and like that they eliminate mice. Neither Ghost or Autumn has touched a songbird since they were kittens. Both sleep in a heated cat house inside the barn, enjoying the horses' antics or playing with their toys. If you think that's "cruel", then how about those cats who never get a taste of fresh air? Or those feral cats (I sort of care for a tiny colony) who get dumped at shelters and killed almost immediately? That's cruelty. For anyone who is able, I suggest looking into caring for a TNR colony. Thanks from me, Autumn, Ghost, Sophie, Poppy, and new ferals River and Stormwillow!
 P.S: I've owned Poppy for 1 year now!! This photo is from the day I first rode her. Thank you Poppy for an amazing year! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Showing with a Green Horse

As I previously stated, I own a registered National Foundation Quarter Horse. Sophie and I are working on trying to find our place in the show ring.  Since she and I connect especially through groundwork, I'd like to try showmanship and maybe halter. A horsey friend competes at barrel shows and I had the pleasure of joining her when she showed Sophie off for me. She and Poppy are just pasture pets that don't get ridden too often during the winter. However with the great weather I would love to get back to riding. Dressage is also something I want to try, so if a Quarter horse can do that I'd be happy to try. Unrelated, but the reason I'm posting at 4:15 is because I woke up with a headache and can't go back to sleep. Happy Valentine's Day from me, Sophie, Poppy, Autumn, and Ghost!💖