Sunday, August 16, 2015

The Rhythm of the Day

Yesterday morning, a white haired man and his wife were walking their dog up the dirt road behind the pasture where I was picking up manure.  The man says to me: " Do you pick up manure every day?"
I replied, "Twice a day."
"Really? That seems like a lot of work."
I explained that it controls the flies.  He noted the funny masks the horses were wearing -- "those are fly masks; they keep the flies out of the horse's eyes."
He asked if we rode the horses often.  I laughed.  "Not as much as we would like."

During the late summer, we start chores at 6:30 when the sun comes up.  By the time we finish, it is too hot to ride.  We could ride first, but by the time we finished riding, it would be beyond miserably hot doing chores.  This is not an uncommon temperature during the summer here -- and we hadn't even hit our high for the day yet when I took this picture.

The first priority of the day is barn chores.  Together, we can knock them out in about an hour in the morning and again in the evening.  Alone, it takes much longer.

In the morning, we open the henhouse and feed the chickens scraps.  We add a scoop of chicken feed to the hanging feeder and check their water.  Right now, I am also shoveling out 10-20 scoops of bedding from the henhouse.  Once it is cleaned out, I will add in fresh shavings for the winter.  Cleaning out the henhouse is a hot, dusty, stinky job.

Next, Kersey is fed her breakfast and we make up the horses' vitamin bins, with a few carrots on top.
The trash can contains vitamin pellets.  On the table: a foil bag with Lucy's joint supplement and a small container of her thyroid meds, Flash's arthritis pain supplement, Psyllium to prevent sand colic, Buggzo for the flies, and syrup to mix with bute and other nasty tasting meds.  (not required for Lucy but appreciated by Flash and a must for Jackson)

Lucy gets a joint supplement and Thyroid medication

All the horses get the bug supplement

I carry three out to the oak pasture while Brett loads up the hay cart and heads to the boys' pasture.  Lucy is waiting for me at the gate with Jackson standing close behind.  Pistol stands further back and waits until Lucy is busy eating her bucket before coming over to get hers.  While the horses eat their buckets, I put on their fly masks, and then grab the muck cart and rake.

While I am getting the girls set up and mucking their pasture, Brett does the same with Mufasa and Flash.  He also feeds hay to all the horses, the donkeys and the goats.
Horse hay to the left; donkey and goat hay (not as rich) to the right.

After finishing up in the oak pasture -- a full wheelbarrow of manure twice a day -- I go back to the barn and wash the horses' vitamin buckets.

Then we have breakfast.  Today and yesterday, the sun was already beating down before we finished. With triple digit heat in the forecast, we won't be riding today.

In the evening, we repeat the same process minus the vitamin buckets.  We do not grain our horses; we feed just hay and vitamins.  They are all either retired or in light work, and are all easy keepers.


  1. Your routine sounds very similar to mine. It was almost 90 here today...can't imagine a hundred. I'm with you...picking pastures and fly masks make a big difference. How is Brett doing? Has he been on Pistol yet?

  2. That's a lot of chores all done right. Soon enough fall will be here but be careful what you wish for concerning the weather.

  3. You guys have a great system going. We have the same issue with time spent on chores every day eroding the sparse time cool enough to ride. I usually just X out August. Let's hope for a pleasant Autumn.


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