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*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘green grass

Fresh Grass

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The horses have had a few days of brief visits to the back pasture now and it just makes them yearn for more. On the first day, they only got 15 minutes to munch. We increase it by 15 minutes each day for about two weeks, after which we can leave the gate open and they can come and go as they please.

Judging by their poop, none of them appear to be having any digestion issues upon the change in their diet, but it’s early yet. Hopefully, they will adjust without a problem, but it’s something that deserves our attention and we’d rather be over-cautious than have them suffer any ill effects.

When I opened the gate that first day, Mia was again the first to notice. She cautiously eased her way through the opening and quietly grazed just a short distance inside the back pasture.

Curious about whether they would stampede their way out into the field, I started recording a video when Light and the other two finally showed awareness that Mia was out there without them.

Their entry was actually rather tame but it is still fun to watch them make their way through the gate for the first time this spring. The audio is marred a bit by the sound of the breeze but after the view changes direction, you can hear all four of them snorting, which is kind of endearing.

When I went out to move them back into the paddock on Saturday after an hour, Mix and Swings had already come back on their own. I always like to see the horses making good choices that free me from needing to force them into the desired behavior.

A horse that limits its own time on green grass is a real convenience.

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Written by johnwhays

May 9, 2022 at 6:00 am

Wanting Green

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The horses are starting to seem a little hangry with the amount of grass surrounding the paddock that is turning deliciously green.

I’m wondering if they will be so excited when we open the gate to the back pasture that they will take off running as if they were in a race like they did last year. The other option, which I’ve witnessed more often than not, is that they will take one step through the gate and start munching grass like they may never get another chance.

At present, they are twisting their necks to reach under the bottom boards of the fence to nibble any blades they can reach and then they look at me like I must be thick-headed not to understand they want out.

I tried cleaning up manure before the next series of predicted rainy days and made it about halfway through the paddock before the wheelbarrow was full and I was out of time. I see again more evidence proving an off-handed comment our fence installer made about the ground being high along old fence lines.

My mind tried to imagine why there would be a build-up of earth along a fence over the years but now, having heavy animals, I see they compress the dirt everywhere except under the fence, leaving that as the higher ground.

The horses pack the ground so densely that it’s hard for the grass to grow. Never mind that grass seems perfectly able to grow through our asphalt driveway.

Even when an odd tuft of grass does overcome the compacted soil and start to grow, the horses kill it by munching it down to a nub.

Given enough evolutionary time, I wonder if horses could learn to leave enough grass growth that it doesn’t all die so that they always have some fresh green blades to eat.

I suspect they’d prefer to not be confined to a paddock or any fenced boundaries so they wouldn’t have to worry about overeating in one limited space.

Won’t be too much longer before we can open up the pasture for them. I offered to drive Cyndie down along the path around the back pasture so she could watch them in case they take off in a gallop again. Even though she is making good progress a week and two days after her knee replacement surgery, she isn’t ready to walk the uneven surfaces of our property yet.

Her first physical therapy appointment was last Tuesday and the therapist gave her permission to take a stroll outdoors on our driveway with her walker as soon as the weather takes a turn toward warm and dry. It was a pretty safe grant to make since Cyndie is healing well and the weather shows little sign of improving for quite some time.

She’s going to get a little hangry herself, waiting to get out of her post-surgery confinement so she can walk outdoors again.

Soon, I say.

Relatively, that is.

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Written by johnwhays

April 28, 2022 at 6:00 am

Sky Colors

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We enter our third day of the current weather trend where rain is expected all day but comes in bands that are separated by reasonably agreeable conditions that don’t last long and end without warning. One minute it is actually a rather nice day and then, nope, it’s raining like crazy for a second but now it’s just a spattering drizzle.

During the week when I am occupied with the day-job, I rely heavily on the always interesting images that Cyndie captures while she is out walking Delilah or tending to the chickens. News is that our Rocky the Roo has become pretty frequent with his challenges to see if Momma is still at the top of the pecking order.

Cyndie has needed to conjure up her “bigger-rooster-than-you” posture and gestures to convince Rocky that he doesn’t want to mess with the humans in charge. I sure hope our lessons will translate to include all other humans who come to visit, as well.

I wonder if Rocky let out a hearty morning crow for this sunrise Cyndie captured.

The rain has quickly transformed the color palette of our landscape toward a much greener hue. In addition to the burgeoning buds on branches, the areas of mowed grass are looking almost summer-like.

The real feature of this last shot, though, isn’t the green grass. It’s the fabulous light from above Cyndie captured highlighting that billowing cloud.

I really, really hope we get a few breaks in the rain this morning like the ones in these pictures because my Ritchie® automatic waterer installer told me last night that he would stop by in the morning and that’s the closest I’ve come yet to getting him to commit to an actual day and approximate block of time since I first requested his assistance two or three weeks ago.

When the source of skills and knowledge desired is also a really like-able guy, it is easier to endure the anguish of waiting for him to eventually get around to it, but it sure tests a patient man’s patience. I will be exceedingly happy when (and admittedly, if) he shows up.

Maybe I’ll have time to take pictures of an interesting sky while I’m down there eagerly waiting in a couple of hours.

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Written by johnwhays

April 9, 2021 at 6:00 am

New Green

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There is no hesitating when it comes to nature. First, we had heavy snow, then a flash flood, followed by a little bit of sunshine. The grass responded in a blink. Yesterday, it turned a very summer-like green.

I spotted a thorny thistle already looking established along the path we call the north loop. I’m sure mosquitos won’t be far behind.

On the way home from work yesterday, I stopped to buy some supplies for a couple of projects that I have planned for the warm sunshine we are expected to enjoy this weekend. Knowing in advance that the panel I needed wouldn’t fit in my car, I brought along a battery-powered circular saw, in case Menard’s staff couldn’t cut it for me.

I also included a tape measure, pencils, a straight edge, and my two portable sawhorses. But I forgot clamps. Having been advised by a sales assistant that such behavior in the parking lot might not be approved, I attempted to work swiftly. Obviously, they weren’t set up to do the cutting for me.

It wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. I needed to cut a 4 x 8 foot panel into three pieces. Bing, bang, boom. In a flash, I was folding up sawhorses and returning everything back inside the car so I could slip away mostly unnoticed.

Next time, I will remember clamps, to hold the panel down for cutting.

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Written by johnwhays

April 19, 2019 at 6:00 am

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Herd Reunited

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I am very happy to be able to report that Dezirea has made enough progress toward good health that Cyndie decided to allow her back with our other horses. In fact, to celebrate the milestone, Cyndie let all 4 of them step out onto the green grass for their first brief taste of the spring.

We have now arrived at the difficult period when we meter out their minutes of grazing on the lush spring growth. In years past, the strict constraints on the time we allowed them were merely applied to ease their digestive systems into the change. Then we came to realize that they don’t work hard enough to justify the rich diet full-time.

We have to limit their grazing most of the year in order to keep them from becoming overweight.

Cyndie has purchased some muzzles in hope of giving the horses a chance to roam the pasture without over-eating. They can eat through the muzzle, but it takes a bit more time and effort. It will slow down their intake.

Since they are not out on the pasture full-time, they’ve been eating hay longer into the warm months. Last night we visited a new local source of small bales that Cyndie found through an ad. We filled the back of the pickup with as much as it would hold and hustled back to the ranch, quickly serving up a few test bites to the horses.

They loved it! That was a relief.

Hauling hay at the end of the day was a lot of work, because we were already fatigued from continued sprucing of the labyrinth, mowing the lawn, re-hanging the vines across the path out of the back yard, spending time with chickens out of the coop, and turning the composting manure piles.

Today will be a much more leisurely day. It’s World Labyrinth Day! We are expecting visitors around noon, so after a few small chores of preparation in the morning, we will be lounging, snacking, visiting, and walking for peace throughout the afternoon.

I’m looking forward to having the afternoon off.

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Going Slow

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We are in a bit of a rush this morning. After staying out late last night at Gary’s for dinner and music, we are hosting brunch for Cyndie’s family in a couple of hours. Although we started preparations early yesterday, there is much to be done right down to the last minute.

Care for our animals does not get postponed, so we end up feeling like we are trying to do two things at once. The natural result of that is, we try to rush everything we do.

I gotta say, rushing things tends not to be my favorite mode. I definitely prefer going slow, especially when it comes to being with our horses. Even when there is more to be done than there is time for, I can’t help pausing in the morning sun, breathing in the spring air, and just being quiet around the herd for a few moments.

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I ponder over the incredible saturation of soil we are currently in the middle of, amplified right now by the 4.5 inches of rain that has fallen over the last two days. I marvel at how quickly –overnight!– the rain greened up the grass. I smile at the new buds popping open throughout our woods.

It definitely feels like spring has sprung.

Growing things obviously aren’t going slow now, so my pauses to enjoy will become squeezed between frantic efforts to keep up with the mowing and trimming that is already on the verge of demanding attention in some spots.

Life can be a delicate balance of hurrying up and slowing down all at the same time.

See? Opposites attract!

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Written by johnwhays

April 16, 2017 at 10:02 am