Where Did The Year Go

2022 – Year-End Recap

I was starting to write a “goals for next year” post and was feeling a bit disheartened by all the things I had wanted to get done this year but haven’t gotten to yet and decided that it would be good for my mental health to take some time to reflect on the many things we did accomplish this year.

Just the decision to bring Leeloo home without having the full barn setup that I had been dreaming of was a big deal. There were many conversations with many people, and a lot of thinking about goals for myself and for Leeloo, before we even got to the starting gate. That process was the main focus of these posts:

Then there was putting the fence up and electrifying it, which took the whole summer. I understand now why people are willing to pay an extra $30,000+ to have a fence installed. The entire fence process is detailed in these posts: (Fence Part 1, Fence Part 2, Fence Part 3, Fence Part 4, Fence Part 5, Fence Part 6, Fence Part 7, Fence Part 8) and I need to remind myself how much work that was or I start feeling like we should have gotten more done over the summer.

Getting the first two shelters, anchoring them, starting to build the third shelter, then deciding that building it just wasn’t going to happen, was also more work and stress than I imagined. It is obvious now that we never could have built them ourselves, we just don’t have those skills yet, but that wasn’t always easy for me to accept. I am very happy now that we opted to buy them already constructed and that for the third one we went with the company that anchors them for you. The drama around the shelters was discussed in these posts: Give Me Shelter – Part 1 and Part 2, Second Interlude, So Much to Do, Mish Mash, Know When to Fold ThemHayshed – Delivered.

Finding and installing the round pen wasn’t part of the original plan but I am so glad we have it! We haven’t gotten to use it for its intended purpose very often but, it was so very helpful when we brought the girls home and has been very handy many times since then; including helping to separate Leeloo and Juniper each morning during feeding time. Though we are currently having some issues with Juniper turning into a picky eater; if it isn’t one thing it’s another. We discuss the round pen in Gate Expectations and the Fifth Interlude.

HAY! I had been a little worried about getting decent hay for a price we could afford. One of my long-term goals is to have our own hay field and I still feel that way, finding quality hay has been a challenge particularly since we also need it delivered. Luckily we were able to find a variety of hay for this year, including several different people who would deliver, though the quality has been all over the place. The girls like the most expensive hay best (of course) but now that we finally have some hay nets and some haybox lids they at least can’t toss it all over the ground and waste it (I’m looking at you Leeloo).  Hay post – Fourth Interlude.

Then there was finding Juniper – I didn’t talk much about that process on the website but it took a while for us to find the right pony, even when her only job is to keep Leeloo company, well and be cute of course. Finding that next mare, who will be the cornerstone of whatever comes next for us, is going to take much, much longer (Looking For a Baby Maker) – but now we’re starting to get into future goals and that is for the next post.

The ultimate goal of all of this work was to bring Leeloo and Juniper (once we found her) home, which we did! I sometimes forget what an accomplishment that is – it is the culmination of decades of dreaming. Here are the posts about bringing them home and the fun that has been: Coming Home, First Two Weeks, Sugar is Evil, Copy Paste, She’s Lucky She’s Cute, First Real Snow, Work Harder Not Smarter, Winter Woe-nderland.

One of the things I feel the biggest sense of accomplishment about (now that it is over) was something that we hadn’t planned for at all; dealing with Juniper’s eye infection. That was a huge, huge deal, both in terms of time and money, and I am so very, very, happy we were able to heal it (First Two Weeks, The Joys of Medicating Ponies, Mish Mash, Copy Paste, Juniper Eye Update). There was a very real chance she could have lost that eye and we saved it!

Though we weren’t able to build any shelters, we did get several building projects done including the six hay boxes (First Two Weeks, Projects Galore, Hay Contained) and the three compost bays (How to Make Compost Bays). The lids for the hay boxes are so close to being all done and hopefully we’ll get a chance to finish installing them during this “warm” period.

We’re once again getting into future goals but taking time to look back over this year has done what I had hoped, reset my perspective on what we all accomplished in the last few months and made me feel better. We got a ton done, pushed ourselves way, WAY, out of our comfort zones, and, more often than not, accomplished what we set out to do (even if it almost always took longer and cost more than expected).

One other huge accomplishment that I haven’t written about was getting this website up and running. I have never done anything even remotely like this and every aspect of this website has been a learning experience and has been the cause of a lot of swearing and a lot of crying, mostly in the beginning – the website hasn’t made me cry in weeks. I am very happy with how it has turned out and am really proud of myself.

Looking forward to another year of adventures. And of course Leeloo will be there to help:


Merry Christmas

We had hoped to get a holiday card out this year but that didn’t happen (unsurprisingly). So instead enjoy the card from a few years ago. The photo was taken at Leeloo’s previous boarding barn by our friend.

Hopefully we’ll have enough spare time next year to get a card done.

We did however get some videos of Leeloo and Juniper enjoying their Christmas presents. 

Here is Leeloo playing with hers:


The treat ball toy was a recommendation from a friend. It took a little practice to figure out what treats she could actually get to come out but we came up with a combination that seems to be working. A mix of oats (to fill in the space around the opening where everything was getting stuck), timothy grass pellets, alfalfa pellets, and cut up apples and/or carrots. This thing keeps Leeloo very occupied for at least a little while every day, which is great.

Here is Juniper enjoying her Christmas present:


Juniper’s present is Leeloo being occupied for at least a little while every day.

Winter Woe-nderland

at least there are no bugs

The weather this week has not been fun. Look at this drift – that is a five-foot-tall fence!

Luckily most of our upgrades have been working well:

  • New boots – awesome!
  • Sled – very happy.
  • Carhart overalls (which are not new but were brought out for the weather) – wonderful, as always.
  • Make-shift hay nets – working marginally well, though they managed to put a hole in one of my seams already and the twine I use to shut them is a pain to loosen and tighten every time. Waiting with eager anticipation for the real ones to get here.
  • Poop fork handle upgrades – mixed. The extra length has been nice, but the second handle was a total flop, literally; it will not stay fixed in place. This is most likely because it is primarily designed to be used with a snow shovel and you usually scoop snow directly away from you, but when your picking up poop and putting it in a cart you tend to tip it to the side (or at least I have to or I misjudge and most of the poop just winds up on the other side of the cart) and the second handle is not able to, well, handle that twisting motion. While trying to figure out if I could make that second handle work for me I realized the biggest issue is the angles between the basket portion of the poop fork and the actual handle. To get the basket to lay flat on the ground (which one needs to do to pick up the poop) it forces the handle into a really high and awkward angle that it terrible on my wrists and shoulders. Anyone else notice this or am I just special? When I have some time and the roads aren’t extra stupid, I’m going to drive to some other places that carry horse supplies and see if other brands have the same issue.

The one thing we still really need to find a decent solution for is goggles. The pair we got claim to be antifog but that is an outright lie! Within 20 minutes I can’t see anything and wind up taking them off, which defeats the purpose. Still searching for a decent solution for that.

We were still feeding them primarily out of the hay boxes when it was relatively “warm” and not particularly windy.

But now that it is truly terrible out there, we are feeding them everything out of the shelters and bringing down additional warm water to them so they don’t have to make the trek to the water tank. Apparently, our tap water tastes funny (this is according to Juniper who refused to touch it the first two times) but I added some molasses and now she’ll drink it.

Leeloo of course thinks everything, even the water, is a toy.


They are both still blanket-less but I have been checking them both obsessively for any sign of being too cold. At one point Juniper was shivering a little bit, but I was just about to put out more hay and figured finishing that up quickly would help warm her up and then I could deal with getting towels to dry her off with and her blanket. By the time I finished putting out the hay however she wasn’t shivering any more so I finished up the rest of my chores, checking her every few minutes, and she never shivered again. I was already feeding a flake of the really good hay on the ground in each shelter bay as well as a flake of the good stuff and some of the only so-so hay (in Leeloo and Juniper’s opinion, since they now only grudgingly eat the other hay and only after every morsel of the good hay is gone) in each net. But after Juniper’s short shiver episode I decided to double the amount of the good hay I was feeding them lose on the ground. It has meant a little bit of wasted good hay (when it was only the one flake per bay they ate every piece that was on the ground!), but in this weather it is worth it.

I know some people have very strong feelings about blanketing versus not. I’m trying to let the girls tell me what they want. Though this cold snap makes me want to try this experiment on them! Here is a shorter summary of what they did.

Bunny Problems

why did it have to be bunnies?

As some of you may know, the first pet Nate and I had as a couple was our rabbit Zoey, pictured below.

Zoey’s favorite pastime was hanging out under the coffee table passing judgement on all, as seen in the second photo. She had a permanent hutch and play area that was tucked behind a couch and then when we were home, we would let her out to run around the house. She categorically refused to take even one hop onto the wood floors which meant she kept herself contained to the carpeted living room. If she knew Nate and I were home but hadn’t let her out of her permanent area yet she would rattle her cage (she would grab one of the horizontal pieces with her mouth and shake that thing for all she was worth) until we would open it up – at which point she would continue to hangout right in the threshold of her permanent area making it clear that she was there by her choice, not ours. She was a bunny after my own heart.

I tell you this because we currently have a rabbit living in our hay shed. Which wouldn’t bother me except that it likes to hop up, and on, and over, all the bales and seems to be using all of them as one giant litter box. There is bunny poop, and I can only assume pee, on almost every bale that has an exposed top and I want it to stop.

Though I’m not one of those people who cannot handle the though of killing an animal I don’t like doing it. I felt really bad every time one of our water traps took out a thirteen-lined ground squirrel and I hated them. I’m not sure I can make myself kill a bunny. There’s also the issue of not knowing how to go about doing it. As outlined in this post I am unwilling to use poison and if we use a live trap what am I going to do once we catch it?

I know cats can be a deterrent (or end) to things like the ground squirrels and rabbits, but my concern with outdoor cats is they also kill a lot of birds, and birds eat the bugs which I hate even more than the rodents. If we had the time for a dog, I would be tempted to get one and train it to hunt nuisance animals but that isn’t a project I have the energy for right now.

Any other suggestions for discouraging the bunny from using all of the hay as a giant litter box?

Work Harder, Not Smarter

wait, that’s not right

The inch of rain on one day followed by wet heavy snow for two days has not been fun to deal with, but we have made several upgrades over the past week or so and they have made chores slightly less awful.

First upgrade – sled for hay.

We found this sled at Fleet Farm and in addition to the 20% employee discount (the only reason I have that job) it was also on sale! It’s been working really well though it did play a role in our first ever loose horse incident.

Because we live in the north and they make us get rid of daylight savings time it gets dark at 4:00 PM, which means we are doing evening chores in the dark and we don’t have any lights anywhere near the girls. We did get two LED headlamps (also from Fleet Farm) that have made chores do-able but they aren’t the same as having lights. I had checked to make sure Juniper and Leeloo weren’t around before opening the gate and I didn’t see anybody. I’m pulling the sled through and realizing I need to pull it just a bit farther in to get the gate to swing shut when I catch motion out of the corner of my eye and turn to look. My headlamp reflects off of these two large glowing eyes coming at me and I let out an undignified shriek which of course startled Leeloo, the owner of said large glowing eyes, and she jumped forward. I realize that if she keeps going forward her only option would be to go right out the gate since the gate itself, the sled, and my own body were blocking any other route she’d have. I tried to lunge forward into her path but the sled was also partially in my way so the slight delay meant I literally chased her out the gate. GREAT. Thankfully Leeloo’s first reaction to anything, including things she is somewhat afraid of, is “Can I eat this?” So after a few strides of a snorting, tail-flagging, prancing trot she realized there was a lot of uneaten (and unmowed because we had better things to do this fall) grass just below the snow and she stopped and started eating her head off. The challenge was then getting her to actually stop eating long enough that I could get her halter on to lead her back. She has been very much AT THE GATE every day since then, so Nate is very worried another escape attempt is imminent, and it probably is.  But now that she knows there’s grass I also know she won’t go very far so I’m not as worried about her running on the road or trying to bolt back to her old home. Still a heart stopping few moments, though the sled is still worth it.


Second upgrade – actual winter boots!

I’ve been using Nate’s boots for a while, which sort of, kind of, fit, but not well. Boots that actually fit make lumbering through the snow easier. I went with Muck boots because (you guessed it!) they were on sale at Fleet Farm plus 20% employee discount. Working retail during the holiday season isn’t fun but I am loving that discount!


Third upgrade – poop fork handle.

As mentioned in this post we got a piece of copper pipe and a dowel to use to extend the handle of the poop fork to make it easier on both my back and wrists. It has not been as resounding of a success as I had hoped. I apparently had a definite poop picking up technique and I’m having to figure out a new one with the longer handle. We also added this extra second handle to shift where I have to grip it with my other hand. I’m hopeful that once I get over the learning curve and have a new technique figured out it will be better for my back and my wrists (which still feel like electric currents are going through them pretty much all the time – probably should be doing something about that).


Fourth upgrade – hay net for shelter hay.

Rain when the temperatures are in the 30s sucks so hard! Despite the paddock paradise rule of keeping all needs spread out in different areas we are not making the girls stand in the rain while its in the 30s so we’re feeding them hay in the shelters. The problem is they are picky about said hay and have been wasting quite a bit of it. I had a miss-cut hay-net piece from an early hay-box lid attempt that I wove shut along two sides to turn into a hay net and that has been working pretty well and helping the hay stay clean and dry in at least one of the shelter bays, which has been lovely. We purchased a few more hay nets from Hay Chix during their 12-days of Christmas Sale so looking forward to even less wasted hay once they get here.

Still sometimes questioning why the heck I wanted to do all this work – but then I get to watch moments like Juniper looking for grass under the snow and I remember why.



Hay – Contained


We have our first new lid!

We got four pieces of pipe (yes one of them is shorter, that is a stand-in for the actual piece of pipe which I had already started weaving through the hay net) and four of these new SIMPush push to install conduit fittings. They need a special piece to detach them, seen in the bag, but otherwise you need no tools to put them together. We also got two loop clamps to use as hinges. 

The always helpful employees at LeVahn Brothers were kind enough to cut the pipe down to size for us. We had to make the one dimension a little longer than planned so the corners would fit into the haybox since they jut out on the ends and aren’t perfectly square.

The pipe was way more expensive than the wood was, since the wood lid was made of those cut-off pieces, but it doesn’t matter how cheap something is if it doesn’t work. These lids went together so much faster. So. Much. Faster. Weaving the hay-net onto the rough-cut lumber was a tedious and splinter causing headache that took forever and literally hurt sometimes. The hay-net just slipped onto the metal without any effort. Cutting down the wood corners to get them to fit together snuggly took forever and even then they weren’t very strong. These metal corners literally just snap in place with no tools and no effort. Putting together this lid was so easy!

As for attachment, the little metal loop clamps with rubber inside just snap around the pipe and then you screw them into the side of the haybox. We didn’t screw them in all the way tight allowing the pipe to still turn easily, thus they act as hinges.

On the side that moves we looped a single bucket strap around the pipe and then it’s latch part hooks into a tie ring plate (supposed to be used to tie horses to) that we screwed onto the bottom of the box.

There are a few refinements we’ll be making. I now know how much to compensate for the hay net width and the corner pieces so my measurements for the other lids should be more accurate.  We will also be adding a second bucket strap on the side that opens, and the bucket strap was the perfect length so we can get a different loop (i.e. cheaper) to attach them to on the bottom of the haybox. Overall, very happy; though I’m going to give Leeloo a few days to try and destroy it before we make more – I do eventually learn.

Here are some videos of the lid in use:


AND! The lid was still in place the next morning and almost all the hay inside the box was eaten!

Course Work Completed

And Done Early!

Once again most of my writing energy has been tapped out writing papers and presentations for the classes I am taking so this will be a short blog post. Though I did get both the paper and the presentation done and turned in with two full days to spare; perhaps there is hope for me yet!

As for the farm, we do have several horse/farm projects that are in progress:

Hay net lids for the hay boxes. Someone (Leeloo) managed to break our first attempt at a hay-net lid within an hour.

It looked so nice; the joints at the corner just weren’t strong enough though.

If I have to watch Leeloo put her head in the box and push out all the hay onto the ground one more time, I am going to lose it.

Juniper also does it, but she doesn’t look directly at me from across the field, push out all the hay, then look right back at me like “What are you going to do about it?!” the way Leeloo does. I did stop by LeVahn Brothers (still the best hardware store on the planet) and we think we have a solution for the frame and for attaching it, but they had to order in two more corner pieces for me. I will be picking them up soon so we can hopefully get a prototype made this weekend.

Longer handles for yard tools. My physical therapist has been on me to figure out how to make the handle of the poop fork longer and/or get a second handle on it so that I can stop making my back/shoulders/neck/wrists worse every day I do chores, which is almost every day. LeVahn Brothers again came through with a great solution, however pipe only comes in so many sizes and the handle of the fork itself was either going to be a bit too wide or way too small and we thought it would be easier to sand the handle down a bit and get a really tight fit than try to pad it out and have a fatter pipe. I thought that sanding it down just a tiny bit would be quick; it has not been. We will also hopefully be working on that this weekend. My body would really like me to prioritize this project.

Enrichment ideas for Leeloo. Leeloo has been bored and in need of some more enrichment, particularly since she has started wood chewing again in their shelters (are there any sprays/paints that actually stop a horse from chewing on wood?). We know it is Leeloo and not Juniper because most of the marks are way too high for Juniper to reach.

We did put up a new “toy” and Leeloo once again demonstrated that she is far braver than your average horse. Most horses hear a strange sound and spook, Leeloo hears a strange sound and gets intrigued. I will be looking for some additional options over the weekend – ideas?

Looking forward to a hopefully very productive weekend.

Home Brewed Kombucha

Eleven Years of Home Brewing Kombucha

This weekend has been mostly focused on getting my two final papers completed for the two classes I am taking. I did however have a chance to experiment with some more kombucha varieties.

I have been making my own kombucha since 2011. This is the recipe I was given during a kombucha making “class” (it was just me and the “teacher” at her house in Uptown Minneapolis, at one point I had to go meet her daughter as she got off the bus because the lady was getting ready for a dinner party, whole experience was a bit of a trip – anyway, on to the recipe).

Home Brewed Kombucha

You will need:

  • A kombucha scoby/mother/colony (hence forth called the scoby). You can get a scoby from anyone making their own kombucha because the scoby keeps on growing, or you can order one online, or you can buy PLAIN kombucha from the store and let it sit a while in your fridge and a baby scoby will form and you can make mini-batches that slowly increase in size as your scoby grows.
  • 2.5 gallon glass container (these used to be easy to find, but I broke one a few years ago and really struggled to find a replacement anywhere other than Amazon and I hate giving Jeff Bezos my money).
  • 2 gallons of high-quality water (I am not a fan of our well water and if you have treated city water you cannot use that; I have two 1-gallon refillable water containers and I get good water from the grocery store).
  • 1/3 cup of loose tea leaves (black, white, or green tea – must have caffeine because the scoby consumes the caffeine during the fermentation process – no herb teas, they can mess up your scoby). The final kombucha may have some caffeine in it but it depends heavily on what kind of tea you use and how long you let the kombucha ferment. I let my kombucha ferment much longer than most recipes so there is very little caffeine left in my final kombucha.
  • 2 ¾ cup of cane sugar also sometimes called turbinado, demerara, or muscovado sugar.  The scoby will consume most of the sugar as it produces the kombucha, there should be very, very little sugar left in what you drink, if it tastes sweet you bottled it too soon. The longer you let it ferment the less sugar will be in the final batch and as stated above I tend to ferment mine much longer than most. You can also cut down on the sugar a bit in the beginning, possibly as low as 1 ¾ cups but that will impact the final product and you may need to adjust the amount of tea you are using accordingly. I prefer to go with the longer ferment route.

To make the kombucha:

  • Brew the tea using 1 gallon of your good water following whatever the directions are for your specific tea (I always steep mine about double the time the directions of the particular tea I’m using tells me to).
  • Combine the tea with the sugar in your large glass jar and stir to dissolve; then add the other gallon of water.
  • When the tea mixture has cooled to room temperature (or close to it) add the scoby and one cup of already made PLAIN kombucha (your own from a previous batch or store bought, though finding plain kombucha at a grocery store is getting hard).
  • Cover with a flour sack dishcloth (something thin) and a rubber band so that air can move in and out but dust and debris cannot, then let sit for anywhere from three to six weeks. Mine has never been ready in less than four weeks, usually it takes five or six weeks. I start tasting it for doneness around week four or when I walk in to the kitchen and think, hmmm.. smells like kombucha. When it no longer tastes like tea or sugar it is ready to be bottled for the second ferment. 
  • Remove the scoby and set it aside along with 1 cup of the finished kombucha for the next batch in a glass container of some sort.
  • Bottle your remaining kombucha and let sit on your counter in the closed bottles for 1 to 3 days (this is the second ferment). Once or twice a day during this second ferment phase you must open all the caps to let out any built-up pressure (they can literally explode during this phase if you don’t “burp” them, which happened to my nephew and his friend).
  • Once the second ferment is done (whenever you want it to be, sometimes mine gets fizzy and sometimes it doesn’t but I don’t worry about it) put the finished bottles in the refrigerator.
  • You have made kombucha!

That is the basic recipe I was given, though I have seen lots of variations online. Mine seems to have more sugar and tea than most, but I also let it ferment much longer than most recipes. Generally I like to drink my kombucha plain, no extra bells and whistles, however I have recently started playing around with some additional flavoring agents and have been really happy with some of the results.

Kombucha Flavoring Options

Some of these I do glass by glass as I drink it, some I add to the kombucha during the second ferment and either strain whatever it is out before putting in the fridge or more often just keep in the jars and strain it out as I drink it.

  • Ginger (I keep a chunk of ginger in the freezer and use a microplane to grate some in glass by glass if I want an extra zip)
  • Lime (I’ll add about ¼ to ½ a lime to a glass as I drink it – very tasty)
  • Ginger + Lime – (historically my favorite option if I wanted something special)
  • Ginger + raw honey + water + REALLY strong kombucha that I accidentally waited too long to bottle so it turned into vinegar – oops
  • Cranberry (add a few frozen cranberries to your jars during the second ferment, you can strain them out before putting the bottles in the fridge or be lazy and leave them in there. You can also mush up the cranberries or just leave them whole.)
  • Elderberry (sometimes I’ll make actual elderberry syrup and add that to my kombucha as I drink it glass-by-glass and sometimes I just put the dried elderberries in during the second ferment. Strain out or leave in once you put the kombucha in the fridge.)
  • Hibiscus (this is now in the running for possible favorite – while searching the bulk herb area at the co-op for kefir lime leaves (which I didn’t find) I saw dried hibiscus blossoms and remembered reading an article about how hibiscus was a traditional ingredient in Red Drink or Sorrel and I wondered if I could add it to kombucha, the answer was YES. Just put in a few blossoms during the second ferment and then strain or again be lazy and leave them in there. Super tasty!)
  • Rosehips (when getting more hibiscus blossoms because it was so good, I noticed the co-op also had dried rosehips and I decided to try that too. Same thing, add the dried rosehips to the kombucha during the second ferment; strain out or leave them in. Rosehip kombucha is good, but I like the hibiscus better.)
  • Hibiscus + Lime is also really good combination .
  • Hibiscus + Lime + Ginger haven’t actually tried this yet but I’m guessing it will be my favorite flavor – other than plain, because I really do like my plain kombucha.

rosehips on the left, hibiscus in the middle, elderberries on the right.

If you live near me and want to try making your own kombucha I’m happy to give you a scoby to start with. If you choose to experiment with the sugar and tea amounts I would also like to hear how that goes.

Now for another glass of kombucha while I finish these stupid papers.

First Real Snow

At least the bugs are GOne

We had our first real snow of the year this week and we were definitely not prepared. The morning of the snowy day itself we opted to do all the feeding, both their breakfasts and their hay for the day, inside the shelter bays because Leeloo still does not have her winter coat and I didn’t want her to get too wet. Unfortunately, Juniper decided that morning that she didn’t want to eat any of her breakfast until she had some new hay and Leeloo of course wants nothing to do with hay until she has had her breakfast. Feeding them in the shelters however means I can’t actually separate them so this added even more of a challenge on a morning when I was already rushed because I had to be in to work by 9:15 AM and had to stop and get treats first and do all that driving in the snow. In the end Juniper didn’t get much of her actual breakfast and I felt guilty and more determined than ever to get that “barn” shed set up as soon as possible.

When we did chores that night we also discovered that the shelters themselves aren’t quite the wind and snow break we had hoped they would be.

I cleaned out as much of the snow from the left most shelter bay as I could but had to leave the deepest stuff on the edge.

The next day however was way worse. Our location is very windy. VERY WINDY. I never understood how windy a place could be until we moved here. Here are some pictures that hopefully help illustrate what it is like:

This is less than twenty-four hours later and there was no melting happening, only the wind.

All that snow just got blown everywhere – including giant drifts across our driveway that we just paid to have plowed out the night before (yay!).

This kind of shows the drifts as well as the new drift patterns created by the hay boxes that we hadn’t dealt with before. Winter is so much fun.

In addition to the drifts across the driveway we also had drifts on both sides of the gate to the shelters which meant I couldn’t open it enough to get the poop cart or, more importantly, the hay cart through. The wind was too ridiculous to even consider feeding them their breakfasts up front by the roundpen where we normally do so I can separate Juniper and Leeloo. Juniper once again wasn’t interested in her food and wanted hay but this time I was a bit smarter and dumped Leeloo’s food out on one of the mats in the farthest right shelter bay so it would take her longer to eat and then snuck out some fresh hay for Juniper to eat and then brought Juniper her breakfast, after she had a chance to eat some hay for a bit. This worked pretty well until Leeloo finished her breakfast and came to see what Juniper and I were up to, fortunately Juniper had eaten most of her breakfast by then so I said good enough and moved on to trying to clean poop out of the shelter bays when there was no cart to put it in. It didn’t go well.

This of course is why I want to have that middle shelter set up as a makeshift barn with a stall on either end; so I can bring both Leeloo and Juniper in someplace out of the elements and into separate areas. Then Juniper can have as much time as she needs to eat her hay and all of her breakfast and they can both be dry and out of the elements for a while. It will also be invaluable when the farrier comes out next time because I really don’t want to be standing out in the snow and the wind while he’s trimming. I also really need to figure out how to block off the “stall” ends of the barn shelter since the snow and wind demonstrated how easily they can make their way around the edges.

Nate was kind enough to shovel out the gate later that day so we can at least open it wide enough to get a cart in and out. Of course getting the hay cart through the snow and the various drifts within the paddock itself was another matter. We absolutely must find another solution to that because I’m not hauling that cart through two foot (or higher) drifts all winter! I’m thinking a sled? Or can I convert a wheeled cart to a sled cart by locking the wheels onto skis of some sort?! Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Also discovered that I really, really, need some actual winter boots: