A Belly Ache and Snoopy Critters

A belly ache, who likes them?  This is rather a silly question.  For horses it can be dangerous, very dangerous and painful.  In the horse world it is called colic, and it can kill a horse in a most painful way.  Unlike humans, horses cannot regurgitate,  which only compounds this dreadful equine illness.  Causes for colic are many;  too cold of water in winter water troughs (keep heaters in troughs), sand colic, feed colic, plants can cause troubles as well.  The hardest type is the one that cannot be figured out.  What did the horse get into?   This was the question here at Blue Rock Horses & Farm a couple days ago.

One of the best things about being on the farm all day everyday is that an eye can be kept on the animals.  Big windows beg being looked out throughout the day, and this is how this PFO knew Duke was not well.  He was lying down.  Horses lie down so that was not the red flag.  Rather, it was who was down that caused the second glance.  This horse has not ever been seen lying down, and not only that, he looked uncomfortable even from the distance.



He nibbled the hay put in front of him.  The mud on his face came from rubbing his head back and forth while down on the ground.


Being quiet and observant with animals is a huge plus in many ways.  Their mannerisms, dispositions, and way of going are as different for them as with people.  It was easy to see this horse was not well.  First thought?  What did he get into?  A times this question is never answered.   He roused himself up, but only briefly.  Then, the telltale sign of colic—he kicked at his belly, took a couple steps,  and down he went again.


These are the times I miss my mother the most.  Straining to hear her voice giving advice on how to manage a sick horse.  “Hay, give the horse hay and let him rest, watch carefully.  Would not hurt to give him some Pepto-Bismal after awhile if you feel he needs it.”


Two hours of non-stop watch brought a sigh of relief.

Two hours later of non-stop watch brought a sigh of relief over the farm.  He had eaten all his hay and looking far more his normal self.  Though it took the whole day to recover.  Upon going out the fourth time to listen to his belly, check his breathing and temperature a couple other snoopy critters were very interested in how he was feeling.  All is well that ends well.  True, so true!


Is Duke feeling better?  Raggedy seems to be asking me.


How can I help?  (Whoopsie always wants to help!)









We have Crossed Over to the Dark Side

Yes, it is true.  We have crossed over to the dark side.  It was not our choice.  Situations sometimes forces one to do things that are not particularly desirous. This PFO is hopeful, and sure it will work out for the best.  Here is a photo of our dark side:


We have crossed over to the dark side.

It is not all that bad.  Our new batch of steers are very good looking — for Angus!  No hate mail please!  They come from a beautiful farm in Broadway, Virginia,  Bryan Hill Farms.  They raise both mini Herefords and Lowlines, or mini Angus. We did not get our ‘order’ in early enough this spring.  The Herefords were all gone, making this year our year for Lowlines.  We picked them up this past Wednesday.



They spend their first day in the round pen.


We keep the steers in our round pen for twenty-four hours to have them acclimate to the new smells, sights, and sounds of our farm.  This also gives the horses and dogs a chance to meet the cows quietly without running them.  The next morning they carefully leave the round pen to begin their day checking out the place.  Cows are curious, they go over the periphery of both fields, and all around the pond.  They check out the shade under the cedar trees and woods, watch the horses, and stick close together.  It will not be long before they learn the rhythms of this farm.


It will also take a bit of time for them to hang with the horses.  Horses rule, and the cows will learn their place.  The horses are not rude, they just like their position of dominance.  It is funny to watch High Hope just toss her head with her ears pinned back and the cow yield!




It is good having cattle on the property.  They are just part of the farm and land, and they make things seem comfortable and right.  It is hard knowing they are being raised for beef, but it is good at the same time.  This PFO is at an age now where that makes a lot of sense.


They checked out all around the pond, while taking time for a cool drink.

I Love My Truck

Anyone  familiar with the music of Glen Campbell knows this fun song, “I Love My Truck.”  It came out in the early 80’s, and this PFO (Primary Farm Operator) has thought of the lyrics off and on many times over the years.  The words still ring true and gives the listener a smile at the cleverness of them.  It is easy to imagine the fun Glen Campbell must have had singing it.


Glenn Campbell’s song, “I Love My Truck”, came out in the early 80’s

At Endless Caverns where this PFO grew up, we had a big red Ford F250.  It was a stick, 4 on the floor, with a glass pack on the exhaust.  The coolest, toughest truck in town, and we girls drove it!   It was so tall that jumping into the cab was almost as fun as jumping on the horses!  Sure wish there was a picture to share.  Driving through town always required the windows be down, so an elbow could proudly perch on the driver’s sill, indicating the prowess of the girl driving it.


Things have not changed too much over the years in regards to the love of pick-up trucks, though the truck working here at Blue Rock Horses & Farm is not the one of years ago.  This old truck cleans up right nice, pulls the trailer to get horses (and cattle) where they need to go, hauls lots of hay and feed, and best of all, it has lights on the cab.  Now that is a real truck!


Best of all, it has cab lights!



It cleans up right nice for an old truck.


Some of that ‘love’ is a big appreciation of a good tool that works well, and some of it is because they are big and exciting to handle (ever tried parallel parking one?).  We work to keep it clean and in good repair.  For we know that when we are out in town, it makes a statement of how we look at and treat those things we are a steward of.  Be them inanimate or not.



A big truck is fun to handle.  Ever try parallel parking one?









What is in Your Larder?

A what?  Never heard of it?  Rather sounds like something full of fat and calories, doesn’t it?  In a way it is!  Had Peter Rabbit ever been read to you as a child or by you as a parent, this old Middle English word may be familiar.  Peter Rabbit had a larder, and so does this PFO.  The question is do you?


What is a larder?  It is a storeroom where food is kept.  Perhaps the word pantry has taken it’s place in our vocabulary.  But doesn’t the word larder sound much more fun and intriguing?  It rather seems that the grocery store is everyones’ ‘larder’ anymore.  After all, there is so much food there.  But think about that for a moment.  It does seem like an endless supply.  However, it has been said that local grocery stores supplies would last only three days in a crisis!  Think about how quickly milk, eggs, and bread empty with a forecast of inclement weather.  Everyone is at the grocery store shopping then.


 Home-grown, home-made  products for the larder.

It is true this PFO shops at the grocery store.  However, she also has her own larder filled with homegrown, home-canned goods that are not only pretty to look at but they are a comfort as well. Canning can be hard work.  No, canning is hard work!  But once the learning curve is conquered, the ‘bigness’ of it is manageable.   Also, canning some foods is downright simple and fun.  Good tools, as always, makes for a good job.  Some of our canning tools belonged to our grandparents.  Jars and collars are recyclable.


What a gift! A home-canned product!

Another big plus of canning is all the ingredients are in your control.  You know  what is in your food, and where it came from.  There are no unpronounceables  in those pretty little glass jars.  They are real food with real value.


Some canning is downright fun and easy.  

Should you ever be fortunate enough to receive a home-canned product, a couple things to bear in mind:  Home-canning is safe, however, because it is not laden with preservatives,  it will not stand in refrigeration weeks upon weeks.  One last timely tip—if you liked the yummy gift, clean the jar (and the collar), and return both back to giver.  You may just end up with another fresh goody next season!   Yum, yum!



We rounded these old tools up from our grandparents!







The Drag Queens are Out

Must be the mild weather and sunshine that has brought them out in force today.  After all who does not like to be out in this lovely, pleasant weather?

Every farm has a drag queen, and the weather is the dictator of just when one will see them out.  Not only weather, but field conditions must be good for the queen to be out as well.  A field cannot be properly dragged if the ground is too soggy, or full of snow.

Today was the day and this PFO was the first queen out on the fields this morning.  At this moment there are two others out working their fields.  It is a perfect day for dragging fields.  It is also a necessary job here on the farm.  The land benefits from dragging.  Cow and horse manure is broken up and spread over the ground and nourishes it.  This in turn brings blessings to both man and beast.  When the land is loved and well cared for everyone reaps.


Was a perfect day for dragging fields.


Spread horse and cow manure is very nutritious for the land.



This day began with a sprinkling of rain, which called for a change of plans in the work order of the day.  Scratch off dragging the fields.  An hour or so later a gentle breeze blew softly over the land , the sun smiled through the clouds, and this PFO decided to get a goin’ outside while the getting was good.  Job done, checked off.  Yes.

It is hard to see the result so close to the ground.  But step up on a rise in the land and look.  The fields are beautifully cleaned.  They surely look as if they have been brushed with a giant soft hairbrush.  Love the land and it will love you back.


Before the drag queen worked.





After the drag queen worked.


Love the land and it will love you back.

The Chuckles

This is what we call our chickens—our chuckles.  The name came about because of no glasses.  Texting my Colorado sister a couple weeks ago without glasses caused this new lexicon to our farm life vocabulary.  The blurry text surely looked like the word ‘chickens’ and thus a new word is born—our chuckles!


It has turned out to be a wonderful name.  These girls surely make this PFO laugh everyday.  Laughter is a good, powerful antidote for life.  It is simply too hard to stay grouchy around these girls.  They will not have any of that.  They are expressive, talkative, social critters.  Their names are perfect chicken names:  Beatrice, Doris, Henrietta, and Tabitha.


It is too hard to stay grouchy around these girls.


The dogs are most interested in them.  We are training the dogs to ‘leave it!’.  One is learning better than the other.  It can be done though.  The horse farm where Duke was purchased had hens, peeps, FIVE dogs, cats, and a herd horses all living happily around one another.  One of the dogs had recently been adopted, and was still learning what was and what was not his.  There was actually a chicken nest in the corner of one of the horse stalls with 8 eggs in it!   That PFO (also a gal) sure impressed this one!



The farm where our horse, Duke, came from had a chicken nest in the horse stall with eggs in it!



This is the goal here at Blue Rock Horses & Farm.  To have the chuckles busy eating grubs all around the stable.  It is good Duke is so accustomed to them.  He will help us train the other horses, who act as if they have seen the boogie man.  You are invited to come out, spend some time with the girls, and let them brighten your day!



Duke will help train the other horses not to be chicken of the chickens!

Shop Class-Let there be Light

It was required.  The girls had to take one semester of Shop Class, and the boys had to take one semester of Home Economics.  That was a LONG time ago.  There is probably no such thing now in high school requirements.  This is too bad also, for every home that this PFO has been in since those days all have lamps (ok, except for the Old Order Mennonites).  Repairs still need to be made.


Years ago in high school Shop Class was required for girls.

There was good thinking behind those old requirements too.  After all, not every guy or gal got married or they lived alone before getting married. Guys should know how to cook and keep a house, and gals should know how to do simple repairs and use basic tools.  The internet offers instructional videos on virtually everything know to man, and this is a big help. One cannot ask it questions though as it runs, which many times leads to additional learning.


We learned how to change sockets on lamps.

Oh well, c’est la via.   This old PFO was happy to stir up old shop class memories to do this simple repair on a lamp.  The joy of success!  By-the-way, was it mentioned an instructional u-tube video also helped with this little project?  Ha!  Thank goodness for both.  Let there be light!


Let there be light…