Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Driving Miss Sadie

Big excitement at Papa Johns Farm. We have a new addition to the menagerie. Meet Sadie the Amish cart pony.

We met Sadie in early September on a trip up to Ohio. She lived on a farm with goats, sheep, and just about every size equine, from the tiniest miniature horses to Percherons. Now those are some gigantic horses. Last weekend, we traveled back to Ohio to her farm to pick her and her rig up. Here she is hitched to her cart. She is very good on the roads, even 18 wheelers do not phase her.

Ponies are measured in inches. Horses are measured in "hands". Sadie stands 48 inches tall at the withers. In horse measurements, that makes her technically 12 hands. There are 4 inches for every "hand", for anyone who is wondering. Any equine under 14 hands is considered a pony. I've always wanted a horse. I also know I can't handle a horse. So a well trained pony is exactly what I needed.

At her farm, Sadie was in a dry lot with six other ponies. They had all the hay they wanted, water, and grain twice a day, but they were on dirt. One of the ways horses cope with flies is to roll in the dust. If your coat is thick with dust the flies can't bite you. While we were loading her, it rained, so she had a coat of mud. On the way home we had more rain. So by the time she got home, she was good and dirty. Of course as she began to feel at home, she had herself another good roll in the dirt. I've spent a lot of time in the past couple of days brushing dirt out of her hide, but today I decided it was time for a good bath. Sadie really enjoys grooming, but I was not sure how she was going to do. Turns out, once you get past the fact that it is cold water, it's all good. We used "Mane, Tail, and Body" Shampoo. Worked up a good lather, rinsed and scraped her, and she looked great. I took her out to the front yard for a little grazing, and then I spent some time combing out her mane and tail.

Here is a short video of me driving her in the front yard. We have actually had her out on back roads during the day, and we are having such a good time with her. She is so well trained it is a pleasure to have her out on the road.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Winston-Salem Airshow - Our Helicopter Ride

Last weekend we went to the Winston-Salem Airshow at the Smith-Reynolds Airport. Andy, Karol, and I got to do something we'd never done before! Ride in a HELICOPTER! We had a top notch camera crew, so movies are available for your viewing pleasure, THANKS to PAPA JOHN! While we were waiting for our flight to be called, we watched a Harrier Jet take off. Now that's an amazing aircraft. We also watched a ton of stunt pilots in little planes doing absolutely crazy stuff. At one point we watched an F-18 scream by. Karol reported that it seemed to startle Holly, because she started kicking around after that big noise. The F-18 actually went by, and then the sound caught up with it -- man they are loud!

Here we are at the briefing station. Recieving instructions for pre-flight, flight, and post-flight behavior. Pre-flight instructions -- which side of the aircraft each of us were going to sit, how to duck and hold your hat. Flight instructions --DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING! Post-flight instructions -- Wait for the flight crew to open the doors. Per the FAA, passengers are not allowed to open any door. Our briefing guy told us his son is 14 and has been flying helicopters for 2 years. So I guess they let 12 yr olds fly these things?

Takeoff -- This is the first time I have ever been in a helicopter. It's amazingly smooth, sort of like floating as you take off. We gained altitude quickly, and I could see my office and where it is in the surrounding neighborhood. The city of Winson-Salem was spread out right there in front of us. We headed for Winston Tower, the RJR Building, and the Wachovia Building, which we call the Chapstick Building, because it's rounded top makes it looks like a giant lip balm.

After skirting downtown, we circled and headed back for the airfield. I watched cars moving along Liberty Street. In a helicopter you have the opportunity to really watch what is going on down on the ground. Off in the distance we could see the runways on the airfield. We could see still more planes doing stunts. We landed around 4:00, and the airshow was over shortly after that.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

We need more hay to make sure we get through the winter with the additional goats we have acquired. The barn, we think, can hold 150 bales in the loft we built. This does not take into account the area Papa John built with the hay slide. So maybe now 130-140 bales. We just purchased an additional 50bales a couple of nights ago, so today we load them into the barn. We could not do this without the help of our son Andy, who mans the hay loft, stacking the bales as they are pulled up into the loft. Or with the help of Karol, our daughter-in-law, who mans the tractor, pulling the bales up into the loft. Here she is on the John Deere.
We are all in this together --Goat FARMERS ALL!

Friday, September 11, 2009

The New Feeding Trough

We've been trying to find a good way to make sure all goats have equal access to their grain ration. I think in the past some goats have been slighted. The new feeding trough solves the problem.

Here's the whole gang lined up for breakfast. We sure do have some pretty goats!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


One of my fall projects this year is to rework the gardens around our log cabin. The evergreens that were there were hard for me to figure out how to trim, and basically they have just gone wild. We've been selectively yanking them out and will be replacing some of them. Other areas we will be seeding with grass. I wanted to put some new borders in, instead of just cutting in with a weedeater, but wanted something very natural. What better material than rocks from our own property!
Don't they look great? The farmer and I went out on the tractor with a carry-all attached and picked up some great rocks. After I got them all placed I was really happy with the effect.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Cool Weather

It's been nice and cool this week, we've even turned off the air!