This week at OFH

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted anything, for which I apologize. It was time to upgrade my PC and let’s just say it didn’t go well. 600 miles of driving (we live in the middle of nowhere and have to drive to Atlanta for computer parts) and 30 or so hours later, I’m finally up and running again. But it’s not like our little horse farm has been neglected this whole time, so let me catch up.

I (Bill) am a cold-weather sissy, I’ll admit it. I have been complaining for weeks at all the 30 degree days (Fahrenheit) and 18 degree nights, frozen hoses, frozen buckets, poopsicles and multi-layer clothing. I’m tired of it. It seems global warming hasn’t quite made it to east Tennessee because the last month in particular has been very cold. But then a ray of hope appeared in the way of a weather forecast for relatively warm weather for at least the next week. In fact, sitting here I can see the thermometer and it shows the outside temperature as 73 degrees. We did barn work late last night without all the extra coats. This is nice! Come on spring!

East Tennessee Temperature Trends

We’re out of pasture hay. Those round bales I mentioned are long gone and I’m afraid the horses are considering eating the moldy parts they bypassed the first time. We’re tossing out square bales for them to eat, which is dwindling our supply. I’m looking forward to the grass growing again. Someone pointed out that horses are supposed to roam and forage for food and not eat as much in winter. Someone else suggested that the opposite is true, that horses need lots of food in winter to store as heat-generating fat (stored in their rump, I hear). Both make sense to me but we’re probably going to look for another round bale or two to hold us over until the grass starts to grow again.

I briefly saddled Moonshine up and hopped on, mostly to test my new saddle. But it’s been too cold to ride and train until now. If the weather is decent this weekend, perhaps we’ll take our horses for a walk.

As we move ahead towards Spring, we’re starting to make a list of things we need to do to get ready for warmer weather and projects we need to get working on. Our list includes:

  • Replace barbed wire fence near the barn with a wooden fence. We have the wood for this but we’re going to need a hole digger, preferably powered. This Tennessee clay is very difficult to shovel by hand.
  • Come up with a manure management system. I’ve been talking about it for awhile and would like to try the aerated compost approach. More on that soon.
  • Bring in a truckload of sand for the pasture barn entrance. It’s a clay and mud mess back there. In the comments of our post “Turning out two horses by yourself“, Becky and Ryan suggested crushed limestone or sand, claiming good results.
  • Eradicate thorn bushes in the pasture.
  • Test orchard grass in a small section of pasture. I want to temporarily fence off a small section of pasture (about 1/4 acre) to plant some orchard grass. It’ll be a nice treat for the horses when the grass has grown in.
  • Treat the wood on the barn. Our barn is mostly wood and I’m guessing we need to occasionally treat it for protection against the weather.
  • Fix up the old barn. We’re going to purchase 8-10 round bales at the end of summer and this is where we want to store them. I’d rather fix it up now before the snakes wake up.
  • Install more lights in the barn.

I’m sure there will be more projects but that’s a pretty good list for now. What’s on your list? So that’s what’s going on around here this week. More soon!

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