Friday, June 30, 2006

One year anniversary

We have been in the States one year today, and my, how the time has flown. Look at all the things we’ve done! Goodness, gracious!

Ian has been working on the kitchen. He has insulated the exterior wall, added the vapor barrier and readied it for the concrete board. The drywall in the kitchen is green because it is water resistant. Concrete board will be installed where the ceramic wall tile will be put up, which is in the wet areas around the sink (which will be under the south-facing window), the refrigerator and freezer units on the east wall and the dishwasher opposite on the west wall. We will have the gas cooktop in the corner with a vent mounted above it with a restaurant-quality exhaust blower taking smells outdoors.

Once the concrete board is installed on the entire kitchen floor we can begin laying the ceramic tile. On the north-facing wall, which has an archway into the living area, we will have an eat-in area and across from it a square-shaped wine rack built into the wall that will sit above cupboard that will match what is installed in the working kitchen area. We’re planning on putting in ceramic countertops as well, although we’ve not settled on a color. The floor is terracotta colored and the wall ceramic will be small slate squares of various hues. The rest of the kitchen walls will be painted a soft mint green, which should coordinate well with all the other earth tones.

Frankly, when we started this project I hadn’t envisioned doing so much of this ourselves, but it’s actually quite fun and certainly rewarding to see things come together. I guess that’s why DIY (Do It Yourself) programs are so popular; people are tackling these types of things themselves. OK, well, maybe not everyone is as crazy as we are, but you get my meaning.

Of course this is a big holiday weekend and I will have to find out where we can see 4th of July fireworks on Tuesday. The weather has turned very warm and a bit muggy, but we’re having fun on the farm.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Kiss, Julia Child and a gaggle

This morning while Windy was busy eating in another part of the paddock Kiss went to the fence and met his half brother Cairo (Windy is also Cairo’s mother), Trouble and Whisper. Usually Windy lays her ears back and puts herself between Kiss and other horses.

The “Julia Child” rosebush, named by the chef herself for its buttery yellow color, has begun to bloom. Yesterday, I planted carrots, beets, and radishes to accompany the raspberry bushes, strawberries and tomatoes. I’ll plant butternut squash, cucumber, zucchini and yellow crookneck squash seeds this afternoon or tomorrow. We have a small herb garden too with sweet basil, rosemary, dill and lavender.

The weeder geese are getting bigger. The gaggle of the two now adult grey Toulouse survivors (see May 14 "Goslings meet bad end" post) and the 11 five-week-old white weeder goslings travel around the property together and are very friendly with lots of honking conversation. Recently a neighborhood dog came into the yard and the gander ran at him wings flapping and bit him in the butt. The dog cowered and left.

When we can we spend time outside making improvements to the farm. Ian’s been removing old barbed wire fence and I’ve been using the brush mower to tame overgrown areas. We’ve cleared away all the undergrowth in the stand of pine trees next to the house and plan to till the area and plant hostas.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

An even six pack

Kiss the Wind (Windy) and her month-old colt Xtreme Kiss (Kiss) arrived on the Auld Macdonald Farm this morning. They came from Genesis Training Center and were delivered by trainer Tony Steiner. We put them in the side paddock where Windy is happily enjoying grass and Kiss is running around exercising his long legs. Windy is a purebred Arabian mare and Kiss is a National Show Horse; a new breed that comes from crossbreeding an American Saddlebred and Arabian. These two bring us to six horses.

Windy is pregnant bred to purebred Arabian stallion Troublesome, half brother to our gelding Looking For Trouble. She is due May 9, 2007. Kiss will remain with her until he is four months old. When he is weaned we will begin his halter training.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Quarter horse love

Yesterday afternoon Ian and I went horseback riding. We took turns riding our 8-year-old Quarter horse mare Nutmeg. She is a wonderful horse to ride, although she does not always want to stand as quietly as she should when we want to get on. Of course I can understand her position, but nevertheless!!

Ian rode around the yard and up the road apiece, then I rode from our place to Donna’s and to my delight she decided to saddle up her 3-year-old Quarter horse gelding Beau. The two of us rode for about 45 minutes and really enjoyed ourselves. I’m still becoming accustomed to Nutmeg and as we ride more often the time in the saddle should increase. I am happy to report that I am not saddle sore today! Ian and I may take Beau and Nutmeg out together in the next few days. That should be fun.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Gash, geese, graft and grass

Whisper our two-year-old part Arabian stud colt slid into a coral panel and sliced his right rear leg between hock and fetlock. This happened after normal business hours for the vet (of course!) and she came to us after treating a horse that was going into seizures. Vet Emily cleaned the cut as well as possible while a very sedated and still uncooperative Whisper fought her every step. She had wanted to suture the wound but only got in one before giving up. She gooped the cut with lots of antibiotic ointment and wrapped it with cotton batting and vet wrap. Ian and I administer three injections of antibiotics a day – one in the morning, two at night – plus a painkiller given as an oral paste. The injections continue through Monday and then he goes on oral meds. We wash and re-dress the wound each evening. Last night I was able to wash it quite well and it looks like its healing. Whisper is putting weight on this leg and he does not have any signs of infection (we monitor his temperature too). Poor little guy, I think it will be a month until he can leave his box stall and return to his pasture.

The other day when I was outside with the new baby goslings Donna noted there are 11 rather than 10. I guess the packers were working fast and sent us a bonus. They are growing quickly but are still web-footed packages of peeping yellow fuzz. At night they share an enclosure with the two grey Toulouse geese, which are very adult looking in both sized and feathers. Both sets of geese respond to my saying “hello, geese” with the younger ones following me around the property.

We still have one puppy of Lady’s seven left. Bruiser is getting bigger by the day. He will soon stand taller than his mother and he is only 11 weeks old! He’s a happy one but like most youngsters if left to his own designs he gets in trouble. We're not advertising him but may run another ad later this month. He's well on his way to being housebroken and crate trained. Surely that will make him more valuable.

Ian is working on the ceiling in the kitchen installing water resistant drywall using a drywall lifter we rented in Cambridge. The kitchen walls that we will tile will have cement board installed, the others will have this water resistant stuff hung. The kitchen floor will also have the cement board screwed down and then we can install the mud set for laying the ceramic tiles, which are stacked in the garage. What a luxury to have a working kitchen. I wonder how fast I can give up washing dishes in the bathtub?

We’ve planted roses, calla lilies, sweet basil and rosemary in a plot near the garage. The new tiller machine we bought stretched its belt and we’re waiting for a replacement before we plant our vegetable garden. Week before last I spent the better part of two days mowing the horse pasture and now the horses are eating it more evenly. The lawn needs mowing again so I’ll be doing that in an hour or so. Riding on that John Deere mower is a lot of fun. I refuse to cut the lawn in straight rows – how boring. I go in circles from outer edges toward the middle and it seems to look just fine.