Snow Ponies 2021

February 10, 2021

Just a few obligatory ponies in the snow photos.

Neville’s feathers

Broken Buckets

February 8, 2021

I have a collection of the flexible sided buckets with handles for feeding. I put the ponies food in them everyday and pop them out to them in the field and remove the previous days buckets. I have had the majority of these buckets for probably about two years, give or take, and they have held up pretty well, until recently.

I have noticed when picking up buckets that a few of the handles have been busted. One bucket was even ripped part way down the side. I thought, well they are a few years old.

Then one morning I was leaving later in the morning than usual and the sun was out so I could actually see the ponies, and I saw how the buckets were being damaged. Neville had the bucket in his mouth and was hitting Simon with it. Simon grabbed the other side of the bucket and they tugged on it. Then Simon had the bucket and was hitting Neville with it. And then back to tugging the bucket between them. I managed to catch a little of it on vide, which is from a distance and a bit grainy.

Paint Dipping

February 5, 2021

I am a hobby crafter, always have been. I even ran my own craft/sewing business for about 20 years. And then I burned out. I closed by business, liquidated my stock, and mostly stopped crafting. Its been a few years and I have dabbled a little. I stitched up some horse blankets, repaired holes in clothes, made a few helmet covers, crocheted, and I have been working on these two t-shirt quilts for several years running now. But all in all I have been very un-crafty.

Some craft videos and finished projects have sparked me here and there, not never really came to much. But one craft technique kept catching my eye and this past fall I decided it was time to get messy.

I decided to try paint dipping.

I love color, and I love combining colors. I loved working with dyes, and getting matchy matchy, and clashy clashy with all crafts I have done. I also love paint, although I have very little experience with it. Colors and paint are what caught my eye. So I watched a bunch of videos and read a bunch of instructions and how-tos and decided to give it a go.

To start I selected my canvas, metal water bottles. Next I selected my colors, dark and light blue, purple, pink, and silver, plus primer. I was careful to select the type of paint sold locally that several of the more reputable videos and instructions recommended. I also picked up a resin solution to seal it all in when it was done and a few disposable sponge brushes. I used painters tape and covered the areas I did not want painted, to include the bottom and the lid/opening.

Next I set up my work station. I popped a craft table up in the yard and covered it in trash bags. I grabbed a bucket and lined it with a trash bag. and I brought my bottles and paint outside. I then used my work station to finish prepping the bottles by snapping on gloves and applying primer to them, and allowing them to dry.

Later I filled the bucket with warm water and snapped on a fresh pair of gloves. I intermittently sprayed the selected colors into the water, moving quickly since it was chilly outside and I didn’t want to allow things to cool and set before I finished the application. Then I dipped the bottles and set them aside to dry.

I was immediately happy with how things were looking. As soon as it was dry enough I removed the painters tape, and then allowed them to sit and the paint to fully set. Two days later I applied the resin. Waited two more days and then applied a second layer of resin.

Done.

I did learn a few things and already know how I would alter my process a little to have a better completed project. I am excited to try it again, making the modifications. But all in all, its not bad for my first try.

Trail Report: Vepco 1/9/21 / Turner Run 1/10/21

February 4, 2021

I managed two solo rides over this weekend.

Saturday 1/9 I took both ponies out to Vepco Rd. I planned a short ride, parking at the first right hand fire road turn. Kitchie Mountain. I noted that there was a a crumpled up metal covert in the parking circle. I didn’t think too much of it at the time. We headed off through the fire gate, and bared left at the split. We wound down and around for a while and then came to where that covert must have been dug out of the trail. A new covert was not put in and the ditch was too big to pass, nor did I see a way around it safely. This is when I remembered riding Possum back here over a year ago and finding the ditch in place at that time.

It was a nice ride and I enjoyed it, although it was rather quick, maybe 45 minutes at best.

Sunday 1/10 I headed to Turner Run and parked at my normal spot. I quickly noticed the gate was still open, which is not usual during the winter. I went ahead and rode in which would allow me to verify that the road was still in passable condition. I found that it was actually in improved condition and if it is open the next time I go there I will drive in farther.

I also spotted a pile of tires dumped near the gate. This is not out of the ordinary for National Forest. But what was unusual is that the pile was crowned with a motorcylce tire. And not just any motorcycle tire, but one that looked just about spot on for mounted games standards. This is not the easiest and most typical size tire and has proven to be a little tricky, and often not inexpensive to secure. I snatched it up on the ride back out of the forest and tried it out. The weight and size felt just about right so I popped it in the trailer and have added it to my games practice equipment. Score.

Coming up on the first right hand side fire road, off the top of my head I want to call it Dave’s Camp, but I am not sure what it is labeled as, I could hear an engine being zipped around. As I got closer I took in a 2 door, home painted black, early 90s model Nissan spinning around in the mud and then heading my way. Oddly, when the driver saw me he threw it into reverse and backed up into the side of the road, nose out. I noted he had no front plate, but when he floored it on out of there I caught a glimpse of his VA rear tag.

This encounter reminded me that I want to start wearing a GoPro device when I ride on my own or on roads. It did encourage me enough to purchase a used older model one on Market Place that night for future use.

On previous rides ponying Neville, I have let him sort of do his thing as long as he kept with me and was not annoying. I even have let him off lead a few times for a short span to follow along, and lead the ride as he pleases. For the most part he has been good at staying with me and not being obnoxious to lead but he has been nippy and has irritated Simon. On this ride I decided it was time to work on leading properly. So I worked to keep his head near my knee. If he fell behind or got ahead I bopped his lead until he was back in place. If he tried to nip at Simon I bopped him again. There was a lot of licking and chewing. And it didn’t take long for him to start walking in heal position. We finished the day with very strong and consistent walking but his trotting was a bit hit or miss. Sometimes he maintained it well and other trot stretches he got behind and struggled to catch up and then maintain his position. I am looking forward to continuing this exercise with him.

It was a nice ride over lasting just over two hours with plenty of walking and nice sessions of trotting and a little cantering.

The Chicken Massacre of Winter 2021

February 2, 2021

Two weeks ago I released my chickens to peck around the yard during the farrier visit. While he was trimming and resetting Simon’s shoes I watched the chickens peck around, eating grass, bugs, and hoof shavings. The ladies were happily enjoying the day when the two roosters came wondering into the area like two narcissistic dick-heads, swaggering into a ladies brunch. They immediately began freely having their way with the hens. Dislike.

The next day I noticed a couple of the hens were not going back in the coop at night and were trying to sleep on the horse porch. I picked them up, one at at time, and put them in the coop. They kept running past me back to the porch. I took note that these were the hens that seemed to avoid the roosters as much as possible. This went on for several days until I stopped letting them out of the coop for the day. After all, no one needs chicken poo on the porch.

A few days later I noticed the “groupie” hens, these are the ones that follow the roosters around like they are 1980’s hair-band rock stars, were looking pretty rough from all the abuse. Their necks and backs were getting torn up, and their cloacas (egg/butt hole) were looking a bit raw. And this is not even the season that the roosters get extra hormonal. If they were looking so rough now, how bad is it going to be in the spring?

Enough. I posted “Two FREE Bared Rock Roosters” on Craigslist. Saturday afternoon I met someone in town and handed them over.

Done. No more roosters. I drove home smiling.

Sunday morning I woke up and said to Rich, “ah no crowing” with a pleased sigh. I went outside a bit later and let the ladies out. They happily ran past me to go scratch about the yard. I went in and made breakfast, puttered around, and then got dressed to go ride ponies in the cold. At 10:40 I was about to head out the door when Rich yelled, “there is a fox on the porch!”

I ran outside and found my first body. A headless Buff Orpington. I called to my hens and none came, I ran around some more and found the Cockoo Maran hiding on the horse porch. I grabbed Simon out and tacked him up and went hunting for hens. We covered the property, and the height advantage allowed me to spot several feather strewn areas. Daisy found a Salmon Faverolle hiding in some tall grass in a field and ushered her back to the coop. My older resident Ameraucana came running up and followed Simon and I back to the coop. And later the younger Ameraucana was spotted wondering slowly across the killing yard looking around like “WTF!”. I also noticed a few areas with some older feathers sprawled about that would only match the no-longer-resident roosters leading me to believe they had been in a few tosses with a predators that I was unaware of. I eventually found the headless body of the Welsummer hen, and another pile of bloody feathers but no more live hens. With my due diligence done, I put Simon up and headed into the house.

We reviewed the video from the porch cam. Annoyingly the horse porch cam which faces the chicken coop/run was offline and not working. But the other porch camera did catch a panicked chicken shrieking at 10:19, and you can just make out in the very bottom corner where the time stamp is, some flailing wings, and then a still chicken body being dragged off camera. We really do not know what happened but we surmise that the fox was not the sole predator and was more likely coming late to the game to grab some left overs. Do we have some weasels we are unaware of? Would raccoons have done this at 10 in the morning? Is it possible that the absence to the roosters left the gate open for a multi predator hunger games event?

Investigative skills exhausted, I pulled up Craigslist and scrolled for a new rooster. I found an ad for a two year old Ameraucana rooster for $10 and made arrangements to head out immediately. Before we had the two thug Bared Rock roosters, we had a lovely Ameraucana rooster named Roger that we adored. He came in the mail included in a box of pullet peeps, having been sexed incorrectly. He was eventually taken out by a predator during the great chicken massacre of summer 2019 while I was out of the country. We believe that massacre was perpetrated by a pack of coyotes, but that is a different story. Our new rooster, not ironically named Roger #2, was living at a gorgeous hobby farm, tended by a friendly lady who helped me pop him into the carrier and away we went.

Shortly before dusk I tucked him into the coop with the four of twelve remaining hens who were standing around looking quite traumatized. He quietly walked in, tested the water and food and then strolled around the run. I left them to settle and when I checked back they were all climbing up the ramp to the coop together. In the morning when I left for work I left them all locked in (duh), and could hear happy clucking noses coming from the coop as they were waking up.

Two of the thugs before they had grown into full thug-dom.
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