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.