Monday, June 16, 2008
Tips & Tidbits
While I go about my barn chores and horsekeeping duties, I keep coming up with little helpful tips that I think some of you might appreciate. Of course, I’ve usually got a muck rake in my hand instead of a pen, so I don’t write them down. As I remember them, I’ll send them along to you in some short posts.
For example: My favorite new barn tool is a fish net. I went to the pet store and bought a long-handled big rectangular net last winter. I used it to fish poor dumb mice out of the heated water bucket when they came to an untimely end trying to take a Jacuzzi. What I’ve discovered is that it also makes an excellent skimmer in these warm bug-ridden months. The water buckets always seem to have drowned bees, moths, spiders and other flotsam floating on top. My horses are princesses, so if the water is dirty, they don’t like to drink it. Each time I pass through the barn and corral during the day, I grab my bight blue fish net that is hanging next to the front gate. One swipe in each bucket leaves the water nice and clear again so the girls can drink without getting a dead bee up their noses.
Also- I learned a new trick about fly predator maintenance. When I come into the corral to clean up, the fresh nuggets are always covered with the tiny fly guys doing their job. I started to think about how dumb it was to clean up everything and dump it in the manure pile, leaving no fly predators left in the corral to continue their efforts. So, in the same way that I “seed” the corral when I first release the fly predators each month from their shipping container, I have started to leave a couple of very small deposits of fresh nuggets that my superstar fly eaters can snack on while waiting for the horses to drop another load. The fly predator population is flourishing right now, and I hope I don’t jinx it by saying that we have almost no flies.
Last tip - Love that clear, 100 percent aloe vera gel that I buy at the health food store! I have been rubbing it into the base of Silk’s mane for about two weeks since the gnats attacked her and almost made her bald. It’s helping her hair grow in again beautifully and soothes her everywhere that the insects have ravaged, especially the center line of her belly.
Late last night, I had to pick up my husband at the airport. We didn’t get home until after midnight. This morning, as I fed the horses, I was pretty fuzzy. For some crazy reason, I decided that I needed to realign my perspective, so before I got a cup of coffee, I stumbled to the top of the hill above the barn and stood in the cedar grove, looking down on my world. I hadn’t been up there for a while, and it helped.
“The eyes experience less stress when they can look upon a wider horizon.”