Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Rain, mud and other annoying things

Seems you can't get away from Mother Nature's intrusion when you're trying to enjoy life outdoors. Normally, I respect Mother Nature. I love Mother Nature in all her forms. This summer, I'm kind of thinking my relationship with Mother Nature is like my relationship with my own mother. You know, love, hate, love, hate, but you don't really hate, you just get frustrated that your mother isn't really listening to your needs at the moment.

Last summer, here in S. Ohio, we had a drought which in turn caused a hay shortage. People started hoarding their hay. I had trouble finding hay to buy for the winter. Then, the price of a bale of hay went from $2.50 to the highest I've ever paid, $7 per bale. OUCH! Fortunately, I only have two horses to feed. I really feel for the people who were trying to find hay for a larger herd. I heard on the radio one day last winter that a horse rescue facility in the region was appealing for hay. I never found out if they got what they needed, I sure hope they did.

Well, this summer is completely opposite. Rain. Lots of it. I can't complain because I remind myself of last year's predicament. However, I am really beginning to detest mud. Every day I have to change into my mud boots to take the hay out to the field. We've had a water run-off problem right at the edge of their run-in stall so there has been hoof covering mud there. The horses don't even like to keep walking through it. They try to get a drier path. Bless his heart, my husband spent yesterday evening trying to fix the problem. Naturally, we had heavy rains last night. I thought for sure the waters would have run off the hills and over his work, right into the stall. I can be an eternal glass is half full kind of person. I was pleasantly surprised this morning to see, no mud in that spot! The horses seemed a little happier about it too, especially Spirit, since he's the one always getting pushed out into the muddy area by Big Bossy Bo. Bo tends to be bossy toward his little brother. Yeah, I call them brothers. They're not really brother. Completely different "parents". But, we adopted them, so in my eyes, they are brothers.

Along with the wet season, now, instead of no hay, I am finding the hay I am buying has the beginning of mold. I have read loads of material on whether this dust flying out from the flakes of hay is mold or dust and my conclusion, hoping it was farm dust, is that it's indeed mold spores. So, now, I have yet another problem to concern myself with. Will all the hay I purchase in the coming months contain the beginnings of mold? Will this be a problem for my horses? Will I be able to quit thinking about this and just deal with it?

I'm guessing the problem is coming from the hay being baled while it is damp, since spring and summer have been that way for us this year. Part of the bales will give me that poof of smoke, some of them won't. It's really distressing to a point. I try to divide and use the best stuff. Actually, I feel bad giving the horses any of it, but, it's not as if you can spend $64 on 16 bales and just continue to toss it on the side of the hill as unusable. It smells fine so far. Looked good when we were buying it. My husband and I both checked the bales before we loaded them. We even commented they seemed to be better than the 12 bales we'd bought the month before from a different farm. That bunch, I ended up losing about 3 bales of $5 hay. Those bales did turn black before I got to them.

Another problem with this wet weather we've had is more bugs. I use Fly Predators, fly spray on the horses, and some other fly catch things around the barn area. I think the Fly Predators are overwhelmed this year. I've seen more little black flies this year than in the past 3 summers. Not sure I can give the Fly Predators a rave review this year when they send me the "how was your summer" survey. Soon, those blasted horse flies will break out. Oh, how I really do HATE those nasties!

Time to remind myself that even with all these annoying, frustrating things to deal with, that's just part of having a farm, having horses, living in the country. I've lived out here for 26 years now, but we just got the farm part really going when I decided it was time for horses. My sons are grown, moving on with their lives. The oldest at 25 is getting married next month. The younger, at 22, graduated from Ohio University in June and is looking to move on, if he can find a job to move to. So, my husband and I are making our farm life our life for the next............oh, however many years it lasts. Mother Nature has her bad days I guess, and just like my husband is patient with me on "those days" I should be patient with Mother Nature, and my own mother too!

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