Friday, November 4, 2011

Bramble challenges? We have the answer...

Running east-west along our north property line is a spectacular stand of thorny blackberries. While this might be considered the neighbour's problem, in fact, this bramble patch has made my goats very, very happy.
Not so very far from the troublesome bramble patch is the neighbour's ornamental garden, young apple tree, etc., none of which are meant for goat nibbles, so we installed a brilliantly designed portable electrified goat fence.

I had read about fences like these being used by commercial goat-aided-brush-removal services in the USA (apparently there are goat herders down there who have contracts with places like national parks and highway maintenance departments) but had never seen one until one showed up at our local Buckerfield's feed store.

Easily installed, amazingly tangle-free, we hooked the goat barricade into my electric horse fencing and, voila - the goats were contained and happily set to work.

All four goats have been gobbling away at this project. Not only are they steadily removing the pesky blackberries, they are also pruning the row of cedars along the property line and merrily fertilizing the newly revealed grass as they go. Our goats are browsers rather than grazers, so though they might have a taste of grass every now and then, their preference is to munch on the bushes, shrubs, and prickly things that had created a complete wilderness thicket.

Goats are happy. Neighbours are happy. I am happy.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A classic from the archives

I've spent the last couple of hours searching for any photos of mountains in winter that I might have lurking on my hard drive (needed for a project I'm working on)... Because my filing system leaves something to be desired, this means I've been scrolling through about 50,000 or so images - my head is about to explode! But along the way, I've stumbled on a few random photos I'd totally forgotten about including this one of me in a cupcake pink dress and bonnet (!!) reading one of my books to the lovely Miss Emma. Emma is no longer with us, alas, but I have quite a charming set of photos of the pony reading various horsey books...
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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Love My Power Tools!!!

I must say that using a power grinder is much, much easier than filing a hunk of steel by hand! Toryn (a most helpful friend of Dani's) and I modified the brown horse trailer so the dividers from the blue horse trailer would fit. At least, we've accomplished most of what we need to do. The bottom pins are only temporarily anchored. Toryn (I'm not kidding when I say he's helpful) is going to make a pair of mounting brackets into which the lower pins will slip. Meanwhile, though, we can comfortably load three horses and keep them all safely separated while on the road! Most excellent!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New use for old horseshoes

About a year ago Dani and I visited Bainbridge Island in Washington. Outside a coffee shop we stumbled upon this fabulous dragon made of old horseshoes. I think this fellow would look great lurking somewhere in the garden, maybe tucked into the bamboo forest on the island in our pond... Perhaps I'll have a word with our wonderful farrier, Mitch (seen below making friends with a future client) to see if he can start saving his cast-offs. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Critters in the Snow

I have no idea what my ponies enjoy about standing around outside when the snow starts flying. Even though they have access to shelters, their thick double coats seem to provide enough protection that they often prefer to brave the elements than stay sensibly inside. That's Bonny to the right and Brio closer to the camera. Note that Brio has inherited her mother's glorious broad rump.

Frances, on the other hand, has it all figured out. She burrows into her deep pile of hay, makes a nest, and snoozes until either a) more food arrives or b) the weather improves.

Nosmo and King (the Kashmir goats) have such a thick layer of soft insulation that the snow takes forever to melt even after they come inside the barn. Mind you, the goats are far less likely to venture outside in inclement weather. This afternoon, they saw me coming with the hay and decided to trot out into the blizzard to meet me at the gate.

Pippi is just confused by the snow. She thinks it should be fun to eat, play with, roll in, dive into - and then she's shocked when she winds up chilled to the bone. This, however, leads to a very entertaining reunion with the couch after she gets back to the house. She digs furiously at the blanket, fluffs up the pillows, dives under the pillows, spins around in place six times, wipes her face on the blanket and then repeats the whole process a couple of times before flaking out with a huge sigh.

Friday, January 7, 2011

What Were We Thinking??

And in the 'only fools tread here' department, we bring you the Great Koko Head Stepmaster Marathon in which Dani, Nikki, and Hitomi decide to go for a stroll up the outside of Koko Crater.

Posted by PicasaIt didn't look too bad down at the bottom - wide-ish, flattish 'stairs' which were really railway ties left over from a crazy military installation that ran a supply train up and down the mountain. We were raring to go and feeling frisky down at the bottom...

Then we started to climb....

... and climb. At this point, poor Dani was starting to feel a tad green around the gills. She had a bizarre reaction to something - the heat? not enough water to drink? the endless stairs? We're not sure, but it seemed like she was going to lose her lunch about half way up...

Having come so far, Dani decided to tough it out and keep going... Hitomi and I figure this is a once-is-plenty kind of hike, so we tried our best to enjoy every moment and take lots of photos for evidence...
 One of the good things about the stair configuration of the expedition was that there were always plenty of places to sit and rest. Which we did often.

 One of the not-so-good aspects of the stair configuration was that the steepest part of the climb was at the top, right about at the point where we were seriously wondering whether the huge effort was going to be worth it. The friendly people coming down were so encouraging 'you're nearly there!' and 'one step at a time - you'll make it!' that we had to keep going.

 Whew! We made it! Dani took a little breather at the top of the stairs...
... all 1048 of them... 
Then we set off to explore the rim of Koko Crater. The views from up top were spectacular - and, once we were up there, it didn't seem like such a bad climb after all.
 Looking down on Hanauma Bay.

The rim of Koko Crater. An insanely fit young man and his German shepherd hiked along the narrow lip of the crater rim while we stood around and took photos...

After a pleasant interlude up at the top (during which we spotted whales spouting!) we headed back down. While this was certainly not as gruelling as climbing up, it was harder than you'd think not to trip and fall headlong off the side of the mountain! Knees, hips, and back were all complaining by the time we'd descended halfway and by the bottom, our legs were quivering blobs of jelly.

We were mightily happy to head off to Jamba Juice for well-deserved smoothies after our expedition!