Farmtastic Tips

Extra, Extra

Like a lot of the country, we’ve been riding the weather roller coaster here at the farm.  We had yet another bout of ice, frozen gates, and frozen water troughs this week.  One lesson Cowboy and I have learned on the farm is, like the Boy Scouts, you always have to be prepared.

Now one of the beautiful things about farm life is that it is peaceful and quiet, but that also means the farm and ranch supply store is not around the corner.  Since moving to the farm, we’ve become the masters of list making.  We’ve got grocery lists, Tractor Supply lists, and giant super store lists going all the time.  Cowboy refers to it as “going to town lists.”

Which brings me to the handy dandy list of the extras that Cowboy and I have found that we need to keep at the farm, because let’s face it, the time when you need it the stores will be closed, the roads will be bad, or it will be the middle of the night.

  • Hoses and hose couplings – Horses need water, dogs needs washed off, and plants need watered.  And let’s face it, hoses bust.  But don’t throw out those old hoses. We keep them around for smaller jobs, hence the couplings to create new connections.
  • Plumbing supplies – Sort of like hoses, but a bit more complicated.  When you’ve got water lines running here and there across the farm, you just never know what you’ll need.  Especially if you have one nosey horse like Ranger who found a way to bust the spigot to one trough twice in one week.  (Lucky for Ranger he is my baby, because he was certainly not Cowboy’s that week.)
  • Water trough fills – We’ve always got a minimum of four water troughs running here at the farm.  And unless you want to run around constantly checking to make sure they are full or heaven forbid overflowing, fills are a must.
  • Water trough heaters – Let me say I’ve learned to bust through the ice, but on days when 32 is just a mirage, you want something that is going to have some staying power.
  • Pet food – With the herd of critters at the farm, we’ve got horse food (regular and senior), horse hay (round and square bales), dog food, and cat food.  Oh, we might as well throw in the never ending supply that’s need for kitty litter as well. Cowboy says we can’t get any more kinds of animals because he doesn’t want to have to keep track of one more bin of food.
  • Stocked pantry – Let’s face it, most of the time I’m worried about making sure the critters are happy, but the two-leggeds have to eat too.  We’ve mastered the art of one to use and one in reserve, we call it the extra shelf in the pantry.  No one wants to be in the middle of making dinner and run out of that one key ingredient and make the one-hour round-trip effort to go to the store. By then, you might as well grab something in town.

I learned this extra business from my grandpa.  He was a city boy and could practically walk to the grocery store, but he lived through the Great Depression and was the king of the extras.  I remember when we moved him and my grandma, and it was my job to unpack their bathroom stuff. Never in my life have I seen so many rolls of toilet paper!  I used to think he was crazy, now I realize he was a genius.  (I can hear him laughing up in heaven seeing me put those words in print!)

Farm life has simply reinforced something I learned when I was young.  Trust me, no one wants to go hunting for that farm life must have at midnight and praying the 24-hour wally world has you covered (just ask Cowboy)!

Farm Life · Farmtastic Stories

Pete and Repeat

I’ve always been a Daddy’s girl, and some times the crazy, corny jokes that he told me as a kid just get stuck in my head.  Lately, this is the one that is parked on my brain:

Dad: Pete and Repeat sitting on the fence.  Pete fell off and who was left?
Me: Repeat.
Dad: Pete and Repeat sitting on the fence.  Pete fell off and who was left?

You can imagine the little girl giggles this created, as this could go on and on.  But the reason it’s been on my mind lately is that I think it is the perfect description of the crazy Texas weather and the farm antics that ensue when we are frozen in.

Just a few short winters ago we were stuck in the snow in a major way, at least for Texas. This winter we were iced in yet again, and let’s just be honest here,  winter is certainly not over.  While I have still not mastered the ability to be graceful on ice, and my hopes for this are waning each year, the farm chores still have to get done.  As Sweet Suzy Q will tell you, it might be cold and she may have fresh hay, but she is most definitely positive that she still needs to have her feed twice a day or she very well may wilt.

I’m happy to report that with each winter here at the farm, Cowboy and I learn something new and feel like we make little improvements. For example the mud boots required for this weather are in place and in multiples!

The big “yehaw” this year is that we (and by we I mean Cowboy) were able to install underground waterlines to all of the stalls.  This means we were not dealing with miles of frozen hose.  Can I get an amen!  We did still have some frozen spigots and at times were relegated to one water trough, but everyone had access and we were able to keep it refreshed and heated for all our equine kids.

What do we still need to work on?  Well there was the matter of the ice on the roof shifting and ripping loose the gutters, which resulted in me skittering outside across the ice only to shuffle back inside and tell Cowboy, “I think we have a problem.”  Cowboy investigated and concurred, always frightening since I’m the worrier.  After bracing things with the tractor, shoveling, heating, and fiddling, he had us back in business.  Thank goodness Cowboy is so handy, or I’m not sure how this farmtastic life would work.

Things on the wish list for next winter? Water heaters for all the horse troughs that are “play proof,” especially for my curious fellows.  (It seems the female persuasion around here can leave well enough alone.)

So bring it on winter. Pete and Repeat sitting on the fence.  Pete fell off and who was left?

P.S.  Cowboy and I have a dream that one winter we will have it all nailed down before hand.  I’m not so sure that will happen, but we are giving it one farmtastic try.