Saturday, August 16, 2014

This Place is Hard Work

I didn't expect to have a difficult time taking care of the barn chores while Brett was recovering from his knee replacement surgery.  After all, we've done this before -- five years ago when he had the other knee replaced.
Five buckets of supplements for the horses; filled and toted out to the their pastures.
Of course, at that time we lived on 2+ acres; now we have eight.  The animal count was similar although we've added a couple more horses to the mix; they get older; they retire; it happens.  So now there are five horses instead of three.  But, still two miniature donkeys and four goats, chickens and a dog.
The goats need hay and water.

The days are hot; the goats seek the shade and it takes three trips with a bucket to refill their water every evening.
Another difference is the division of labor.  Down in SoCal I telecommuted two to three days per week.  The days that I was home, we shared the feeding and mucking chores.  Even on the days I went into the office, I was able to shift my hours to avoid traffic -- and allow for chore time.  My new job does not involve telecommuting.  I am in the office Mon-Fri from 8-5.  There are occasions when I work from home -- such as when it snows -- but I am normally at the office; a 50 min commute from home.  So, I'm typically gone from 7am until 6pm.  And, typically, Brett does all the chores during the week.  I help on the weekends, of course, but my mucking muscles were not very well developed and hay slinging skills were non-existent.
Hay; they all want hay; horses, donkeys and goats.  
I took on the job of total ranch care on Monday when Brett had his surgery.  Monday and Tuesday, I took vacation days.  The rest of the week, I worked from home so I could assist Brett.  By Wednesday evening, I thought I was going to die from fatigue.  But Thursday, I started hitting my stride; feeling stronger as I slung manure into the cart and pushed it up the compost pile to dump.  For all three pastures.  The smallest pasture is twice the size of the one we had all the horses and donkeys in down south.  It's a lot of ground to cover.  And in the late afternoon/early evening when the temperatures are in the 90s... its pure misery.
The mare's pasture gets a lot of sun; the worst one to muck in the afternoons and evenings.

The donkey pasture; fortunately this one is pretty shady in the afternoon.

The boy's pasture; nice and shady with many oaks and pines but, oh, so dusty.

Friday, Brett was getting around well enough that I was able to go directly outside and start working instead of first getting him settled on the couch with the ice machine.  I even had time to ride!  It was short; just 20 minutes, but it felt great.  And I did all the barn chores afterwards with no trouble.  Next week, its back to regular office hours although I will getting in closer to 9am to give me time to do the chores.  I timed myself on Friday and I think I can do it.  All of it.  I'm feeling very studly and proud of myself.
And don't forget the chickens.  They need to be let out into their run and given any scraps
from last night's dinner.

Even Kersey gets exercise.  I make her leave her comfy crate and come with me.  She dragged herself around the first few days but she's getting more energetic now; sticking her nose down squirrel holes and sniffing along the fence while I work.


  1. kersey cracks me up. she'd much rather laze around with, er, guard her dad. :)

  2. You'll be totally buffed up at the end of Brett's recovery!! And Kersey? Priceless.

  3. Glad it's getting a bit easier - it'd be way beyond me - one of the reasons I don't have my own place at this point.

  4. Woman! What did you do to my nice neat hay stack? Alright, time for me to get back outside and restack the hay and fill the feed buckets. Monday I'll take over completely. You're getting toooooo studly.

  5. Join the club! I've been doing that for 34 years, including getting up at 5:30 to feed and clean stalls before teaching at 7:30. And that was with 7-9 horses over the years. Thank heavens I'm retired now. Horse women are tough! You know you can do it. Keep Brett out of the barn for awhile.

  6. Its VERY hard work! I appreciate my groom especially on monyh ends when he is off for a couple of days. Whe had our first spring rains last night and I so happy the dust will be gone soon. My pet hate about doing chores on the farm is the hay..I have terrible allergies,asthma and the like so I leave it till last, then make a bee line for my pills and the shower! ha ha. You did an awesome job so far and I am sure Brett is all the more appreciated. Send him some love from South Africa!

  7. Oh yes, it's very hard work. Think of it as boot camp. :)

  8. Well, just in case you wondered what Brett did all day while you were at work. hehe I put in 10 hr days with a 45 min commute and I really NEED to be active when I get home, even if it is walking in circles behind a lawn mower. Good to see your goats again. Your place looks really, really nice. I know you work hard at it.


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