June 2, 2013

Wrapping up Week One


Sunset over Chickamauga Lake near our home
 This has been a busy busy week! One thing about these longer summer days is that they are longer in literal daylight hours, but in other respects they are shorter.
I like to come inside in the evenings, get cleaned up, and relax for a while. But on these longer summer days we tend to utilize every minute of sunlight, which takes us up to pretty late. And by the time we've gotten cleaned up and eaten a little something, it's time for bed, because tomorrow will be an early morning! Not much time for winding down and relaxing.

But man is it (still) good to be home!

Number one job on the list for this week was the hay. As I told you before, Malcolm got it all cut by Saturday. We had a family reunion last Sunday and hoped the hay would be dry enough by Monday. But things are just a lot more moist down here than they were in Montana. And on Tuesday it was dry on top, but still just as green and wet as the day we cut it underneath.

And so we have now acquired a new piece of farm machinery! This is a tedder!
Down here, everyone tedders their hay before raking. Basically it takes all those neat tidy rows your cut and throws them to kingdom come! It looks like a twister on wheels going through your hay field slinging hay every which way! But by golly! It does the trick! Malcolm teddered in the morning and by that afternoon it was dry enough to rake! (which I forgot to photograph)

The next day, after the dew had dried, we got busy baling.
And like all old (and sometimes new) farm machinery, it was being persnickety. It hasn't been used in a few years, and had some rust. Required some grease and WD 40. But then that got the twine slick, and so all the knots were coming undone. So till we got the kinks worked out, I did some baling...
...while Malcolm walked behind, tying off the bales that didn't want to stay tied.
Eventually he got it to cooperate and function like it's designed to do. And so he got back on the tractor and finished the field real quick. That was a really pretty and proud sight!
The next morning we were out there after the dew had dried to get them loaded up. Picking up square bales is not a fun job. I didn't actually pick them up. Not strong enough to lift and hoist, so I got to drive the pick up around pulling the trailer. But I can tell it's not a fun job!
Dad showed up a little after we had gotten started and between the two men, we had the bales picked up by early afternoon and loaded in the barn.
 We had been real nervous that morning because we woke up to ominous skies and a strong breeze. There was a threat of afternoon thunderstorms and we were dreading that we'd done all this work just to have our bales rained on!
 But as it turned out, God had sent the clouds and breeze to make it cooler. And just about literally as the last bale was tossed into the barn loft for stacking, the clouds broke and the sun and heat and humidity returned. Kind of cool timing!
It was still a hot and itchy and tiring job! We were really appreciative that Dad was able to come help! We ended up with 201 bales. We'll be gone on the road when everyone else is doing their second and third and however many cuttings they do this year. But we'll get one more in before the end of summer. And that should be enough to meet our needs! And we might even sell some. We will see.

 Not much has gone on between haying. I did take some time one day while Malcolm went to pick up the tedder, to cut some bottles for my candle making.

 I'm looking forward to trying out some of my new scent oils.

We've also enjoyed taking note of some of our other farm residents that we didn't know about. We have seen this turkey hen a couple times lurking around the fruit trees behind the house and also in the tree row back in the hay field.
And yesterday we discovered there's a family of ground hogs apparently living in the brush pile by the little hay field behind the house. Two adults and three juniors. And we know ground hogs can be bad news, but for now we're enjoying them. They are funny and now that we've noticed them, we actually seeing them quite often. They are not very skittish!

 And then there's this little guy!
We have been getting a kick out of watching him scamper around the bird feeders, leaping from the ground to the bird bath for a drink, and this afternoon, he actually was on the porch with us. Malcolm was sitting right next to that wood pile and our chipmunk was just sitting there watching. He eventually left for more interesting company.

The girls have been enjoying their trips out onto the porch and patio. Paris especially. It's hard to get her off into the grass to take care of business because pretty much as soon as she hits the porch or patio she flops down in the sun to bake.
The clothes are because the AC inside makes her cold.

We got the pool uncovered so we could get pictures with intentions to sell it on Craigslist. But Malcolm has enjoyed jumping in every evening to cool off after haying, and it's kind of tempting to keep it now. I even got in one evening, though it really was too cold for my taste.
Speaking of pool, we have been spending some fun time with those nieces at the pool. Only they are the ones in it. We just watch from the sidelines and Uncle Malcolm shoots them with squirt guns.

And Saturday was Kenslee's birthday party at the park. She turned three. I didn't get a picture of her because she was here, there, and everywhere! Talk about a wound up little girl! But Ava Grace is still slow enough I can keep up with her! So I did get a fun picture of her discovering the joys of slides!

And between all these things, I've been making regular trips to the pasture to check on the girls.
Fancy continues to grow and is clearly really uncomfortable.
We had a bit of a scare last night. She had developed a bad limp on her rear leg and so I was watching her, figuring it to be a strain or something from climbing the hill, and aggravated by her extra burden. But last night I went out to check and she was laid out flat in the pasture, and showing no signs of interest in getting up. There were other suspicious signs, so I went home to get Malcolm. Of course when we got back to the pasture she was up grazing, but we decided to bring her in anyway to get her on level ground and closer to the house.

She was sweaty around the flanks and breathing hard and kept laying down and straining like she was pushing. I sat out in the barn practically all night. Every time I convinced myself I could probably go in, she would start something new. It was a long night.

I did eventually go in, going back out to check her periodically. This morning there was no change, and since myself and a couple of good horse friends felt like she was giving lots of indications of labor but seemed to be getting know where, Malcolm and I decided to go ahead an call the vet.

At first he didn't give us much hope, but I think he just wanted us to be prepared for the worst. After a more in depth examination, he determined that she wasn't dilated at all and that basically, she's super uncomfortable and wants to have the baby because she's done this and knows that helps. So she was going through the motions in hopes, but her body wasn't ready. Still isn't.

So we continue to wait. But thank God the foal and Fancy are both ok! I was worried sick, literally!

He did discover that her front foot has an abscess on it, even though it wasn't bothering her at all till this morning. But it has ruptured and we have instructions to soak it everyday.

Which we all kind of enjoyed in this humid heat.
It was a stressful morning, so after the vet left, and after lunch with family that came over with carry out, and after soaking her in the creek for a while, I put my pajamas on and have been puttering around in the house. So has Malcolm. He needed the break.

I guess there will be a lot of trips to the barn in the days to come, throughout the day and night. I'm just so relieved that everything checked out ok, but also dreading the days to come of stress and tiredness and not knowing WHEN!

Tomorrow starts another week. We have to work on the truck, pick up Sky from the trainer, and a couple of my girl friends from high school are coming over for lunch one day. It's shaping up to be busy, but in a good way! And hopefully Fancy won't give me more worry and stress than is normal. Because the normal amount is more than enough for me!


small farm girl said...

I just HATE the waiting game!!!!!

Shirley said...

A lot going on indeed! Nice timing on the hay, so nice to be able to put up your own hay instead of buying it.
I'm glad your mare is doing better, that must have been a very stressful night for you. I hope that now that Fancy has some relief from the pain that she will settle down and let baby decide when it's time.

Muffy's Marks said...

Just looking at all that hay, makes me itchy!!! Good luck that little mama!!! It sure sounds like you are enjoying your down time!!!

Dreaming said...

I'm exhausted just reading your post! The work involved with the hay is incredible. I've always watched someone else do the cutting, turning, raking and baling... but I've been on the worker end of hauling and stacking. It is really hard work - but yes, there is great satisfaction in seeing (and smelling) all of that hay.
Love your critters. I'm glad you have had some time to sit back and enjoy them.
Poor Fancy... she does look uncomfortable.
I am praying for a speedy delivery!

Kellie said...

That is some great looking hay. The pool is definitely the place to be after a long hot day bringing the hay in.

Glad to hear your Fancy will be alright with the abscess and all. Nothing like a good scare to make you worry more.

Tina Marie the Willow Witch said...

Welcome home, I love your new place. enjoyed catching up.