Pasture pics 10/24/2012

Our gypsy cob stallion, The Executive, with a few of our mares (don’t forget if you click on a photo you can see a larger version).

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Choosing a purely Cob Pony

Decided to take some photos today, it has been raining fairly often this past week and the horses have nothing but mud in their feed area, thankfully the cement lot is there to feed them treats!  They were sorely disappointed I did not offer anything tasty but only took pictures.  Remember, you can click on a photo to bring up the big size for viewing.

The big riding horses come first for attention but in the series of photos I want you to end up focusing on the cob ponies.  Everything under 14 hands is nothing but cob breeding….two black mares, weanling filly you can’t see much of, and two 2 year olds under 12 hands.

Which one appeals to you the most?

A Visit to the Farm

http://haley-farms.com/blog/2011/11/30/visitors-on-the-farm-oh-my/

http://haley-farms.com/blog/2011/09/20/an-open-letter-to-america/

I want to share these two blog entries from Mike who was a kind leader at the AgChat Foundation seminar that I attended this past August.

In the old days when people were closer to the land, you at least had an aunt/uncle or grandparents who still lived on the farm and likely had the old fashioned now iconic farmyard life with the garden that Gramma was chasing chickens out of, while gramps slopped a couple hogs and the cow was standing nearby chewing it’s cud waiting to be relieved of it’s milk-swollen udder pressure.  And the horses were still around even though gramps was trying to figure out how to keep that new iron horse contraption running.

Anyway, people had opportunities to touch the rural hands that were at work trying to feed the nation.  I am in my 50’s now and I know that from my generation, we have lost that contact and our grandchildren are growing up not even knowing what animals look like sometimes, and certainly no connection to how their chicken nugget came into being.

So, we ponder the ways to connect with the urban masses again….there are lots of risks to be considered with inviting the general public onto your property.  General ignorance of farm life can create little accidents within minutes because there might be things that are part of your operation that people don’t understand.  We use electric fencing to contain our animals; that is frequently the first thing that we have to stop and educate people about, and hope to make sure that the human is aware of the obstacle before the obstacle makes itself known. 

I could go thru a whole list of things that are rather routine on farms and to an outsider, considered high risk for injury (which they are, but we exist with them because, well, because that’s just how farmers get along….making due with risks daily).  So, perhaps virtual farm tours are the answer.

I hope to see you passing by the neighborhood and I’ll give you a yell; ya’ll come up on the porch and visit a spell……

 

HAY! again

I’m not getting along with wordpress very well it seems.  We are not resolving very well incorporating pictures and text.  But we’ll try again.
The previous hay pictures shared show so-called “Big Round Bales” which are mixed alfalfa/grass usually, and mostly in this area of the country are from the first cutting of the field.  First cutting in the midwest is the most growthy, and becomes stemmy and coarse when it cannot be harvested in May, as has been the case in the last two springs, when most people could not get into the fields between rain showers until late June.  I plan to talk about the process of hay making and variations of baling next season.  I know that the process and quality of hay varies quite a bit around this big country.

We carry our round bales on the rear fork attachment of our little tractor, down the lane to one of our two groups of ponies (separated by size to make competition for feed more equal).   The round bales are stored outside by most people, and are wrapped by the hay equipment during the baling process, with plastic netting that helps shed rain/moisture as well as maintain the strength and shape of the bale for transport.  The bottom of the bale setting on the ground does get a layer of decay, but the animals simply avoid eating that part.  Some people “serve” the bale as it sits stored, so that the decayed part stays on the ground, but that can also cause concern depending on the group of animals and how they eat at the bale, because the core of the bale is the sweetest and best preserved, and some groups tend to eat the core first which can leave a shell that will collapse.  So we tip the bales up on end and get all the plastic off at the onset and this seems to work well for us.  It actually helps with the mini horse group to have a taller pony in the 13 hand range, to eat away from the top part and tear it apart for them.  But with about ten ponies chewing on a round bale, it lasts only about a week.  If you had only a couple horses it might not be very efficient to feed a big round bale because the weather could make much of it deteriorate once it was opened, before they could consume it.  With our group of bigger horses/ponies, also about 10 head, they finish off these round bales in just 3-4 days.

In the previous “HAY!” post the pictures showed our stallion, The Executive, in riding training.  I believe this was his 3rd ride, and we were very pleased that he accepted the scarey tractor and big bale monster going by without much fuss, heading on out to ride in the pasture.

HAY!

The winter supply of hay for the ponies is all ready for the winter cold and snow to set in.

Eggciting News

Just wondering how many of my friends buy ‘free range’ eggs? At some points in time when we did not have hens in the barnyard, I have bought them… but i really didn’t see much difference than regular store bought. After enjoying my farm fresh eggs I began wondering what “free range” meant… I figured mine must be free range… they spend most of the day scratching and pecking in the yard… makes sense right? WRONG… the federal guidelines say to be free range they must not be caged… OK that makes sense… and they must each have 1 1/2 sq ft per hen… WHAT??? a hen sitting takes up nearly a square foot on her own… So you put hens in these huge chicken houses, where they can “free range” (and peck on each other which is what confined chickens do, that is why they developed the cage system)… that just doesn’t make sense!!! what is “free” about living in a chicken house with thousands of other chickens??? If you must buy eggs in the store, look for “pasture raised” these hens actually live OUTSIDE…they have grass and bugs to eat and SUNSHINE! Pasture raised hens lay eggs with as much as 6 times the vitamin D compared to “free range” they are lower in fat, and higher in Omega3s… You can literally see the difference in Pasture raised eggs, the yolks are ORANGE, not pale yellow, and the taste and texture are worlds apart. Did you know that the eggs from the store can already be a MONTH old before they hit the shelves???? So if you get the chance, go to your local farmer and try some real farm fresh eggs, you wont believe the difference!