Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Catching Up and Checking In-Late Summer


I'm on a semi-blogging break right now as I finish projects, tend the horses, prepare for winter and get the kids back to school. I'll be back around a little more when I get everything settled.

Here are some updates:

1.) Red's ear has healed and is doing well now. The biting flies are still out there, however, and continue to bite him in other areas of his body. I was told our local ranch store sold out of fly spray. Although, I don't know how effective the fly spray actually is with these buggars.

2.) Cowboy's head-shaking comes and goes, but is still very much there. His foot is also getting worse. My farrier told me I'd know when it was going down hill because he'd start holding it out more. He holds it out an awful lot now. Soon, it will be time to start considering my options, but not yet.

3.) We got our hay for the winter, beautiful alfalfa. We always store about fifteen tons of alfalfa in the barn because it gives us more for less space. There were a couple of winters that the snow was so bad, we couldn't get round bales delivered. The alfalfa is available in case of an emergency like that and to supplement their grass hay through winter and spring.

A word about alfalfa. I always buy second cutting. Farmers will try to sell me first cutting, but I insist on waiting for second. The first cutting usually has heavier stalks from having to wait for dry spells to harvest it (few and far between in the spring) and it often has mold from being rained on after being cut. The second cutting has more leaf, thinner stalks, less weed, and less moisture.

A testament to the fact that it is, indeed, higher quality, is that the same farmers who tell me they're both just as good (and all the farmers I know do this--I don't fault them since they need to get rid of the first cutting) will raise the prices of their second cutting at least $20 a ton. You can open a bale and see the difference. Stalky alfalfa is little better than straw. Give it to your horses, and they'll give you even further proof of which is better quality. They'll go to the second cutting every time. I will gladly pay the extra $20 a ton for the difference in quality--it's like night and day.

While we finish up our projects around here, I'll be largely AWOL from the blogging world, but know that I am checking in from time to time at your blogs and will be back soon.

Happy Trails.

10 comments:

  1. Glad to have you post whenever you can; enjoy finishing projects. Can you really do that? Finish projects? Wow.

    If our rancher friend who boards our horses doesn't quit selling off land, we will have to start considering keeping our herd up here in the winter again. It's good to know about the different alfalfa cuttings. We've been pretty spoiled the last 7 years, with being able to just let our guys run loose. We don't even have the space to store a winter's worth of hay; we have to work between storms.
    Juanita

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  2. It's so nice to have hay put up for the winter.

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  3. When you have time, there is a website you may want to check out;
    http://www.safergrass.org/ click in the link for articles, there is a wealth of information there.

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  4. Poor Cowboy :( Maybe his foot is bothering him more because he's been stomping at flies?

    Yeah, I know that's probably not the case- I'm grasping at straws for you that he's not sliding downhill.

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  5. Juanita--Did I say finish? haha.

    I hope your friend doesn't sell off anymore land. You have a good thing going with winter turnout. I would prefer that to hay any day.

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  6. OUAE--It is nice. It feels like insurance.

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  7. Thanks for the link, Shirley.

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  8. Smazourek--You're funny. The good news is, though, that he only does it when he's standing at rest. He still walks on it fine and does still put it under him for long periods at rest, too. Every year with Cowboy post-fracture has been a blessing and more than anyone expected.

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  9. I have really strong feelings about the quality of hay I feed as well. I'd rather pay more and feel good every time I open a bale than get cheap hay and feel guilty every time I pitched it. Fortunately I live in the middle of hay country so I have a lot to pick from. Good luck on getting your projects done.

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  10. Sounds like you're busy and could use a break.

    We're also in the process of trying to find good hay for the winter.

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Please feel welcome to join our discussion--tell us about your own thoughts and experiences.