Friday, July 22, 2011

HHHH - Hot Hazy Humid & Horses

It's the middle of summer. Seems like only a few weeks ago we were wondering where to pile the latest snow. Today, it's threatening to hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the relative humidity / dew point level is categorized as "Oppressive" by the meterologists, and we have hazy skies from the weather AND thanks to smoke drifting in from forest fires in Ontario, Canada. It's not the most pleasant weather New England has to offer. Especially if you work outdoors.

Yesterday - another blazingly hot day - and today, our morning staff arrived earlier than usual. Instead of keeping the horses in their stalls for their leisurely breakfasts, we put them straight out to grass. The horses were out of the barn early, making their own decisions about sun vs shade, in the shed vs out of the shed, to roll or not to roll.

Meanwhile, the staff accomplished their work in record time. This morning, the barn was spotlessly clean before 10 am and our employees were able to go off and make their own decisions about how to cope with the building heat.

Today, the horses will probably all have the day off. Tonight, if things cool down, some may get ridden. But for now, man and beast simply need to ride out the day, and the HHH weather, in their own ways.

Dare I say it..... Yes, I miss snow.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Summer Chorses

Now that summer is here, the outdoor chores are stacked up like incoming jet aircraft approaching LAX International. These include mowing, and not just the little front lawn. I'm talking about riding trails, paths to and several meters clearance around the outdoor arena, and grass parking areas. From start to finish, a full mowing job takes 4 to 5 hours. In addition to that, brush hogging of the eight pastures, to keep weeds at bay and allow the grass to dominate, is another form of mowing which consumes many long hours.

Then there is the gardening work. A small part time job in itself. The veggies are growing well, the bittering hop vines are currently growing out of control, and the four year old Cabernet Franc wine grapes are thriving. I was not 100% convinced they would survive our cold climate, but they did. Thanks go to Vintage Nurseries in California for excellent quality vines!

And of course, as we do every year, summer is when we get our baby turkey poults and start raising them with an eye on Thanksgiving dinners for ourselves and several turkey sponsors.

And then there is building maintenance and paintwork that needs attention! While the old Colonial house and big attached barn were painted a few years ago, the huge indoor arena & stabling building was only painted on one side last fall. Three more sides to go. It looks totally overwhelming until remembering... How does one eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

With the summer weather, more of the horses are being ridden, both indoors and out. And with that, more time is spent grooming the indoor and outdoor arenas. That's a fun little task that results in beautifully smooth surfaces.

While chores are being tended to, the horses are reaping the benefits, happily grazing on safe dry grass pastures. Their summer coats are in full bloom, some are nicely dappled, and without exception, all of the horses' hooves are hard and sound. It's great to see all of the horses healthy and happy.

With all the work involved in maintaining a working horse farm, it's hard to believe we, the owners, find time to fish or ride motorcycles or spent time with family or BBQ or..... Thanks to all of our great employees, we do.