“Become dust - & they will throw thee in the air; Become stone - & they will throw thee on glass." Muhammad Iqbal *Beyond the bushes, boiling with dust, is 4Shoes West boundary road.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Being Canadian Means...

1. Real winters.
Snow started overnight & there was 3-4" by 8am; Mr Shoes & Kubby got right on that. I would say Mr Shoes was quite gleeful about the snowfall, actually. He was rubbing his hands together & whistling while looking out the window with a big grin on his mug; he practically launched into his Carhartts.
 2. Cranky mare talk first thing in the AM.
Thanks for the heads-up (not) Mr. Weatherman.
"Oh, for the love of God... Will you just please FEED us already?"   
3. A little extra padding may be required to stay warm outdoors.
*I like big butts & I cannot lie...*
"If you just wait over here by the feeders, Ladies, she will bring it right to us, y'know."     
4. Stalls to clean tomorrow. 
Love the smell of good hay & the sounds of happy horses settling in for the night.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Start Your Day Differently

"If you don't get outside every day, even for a minute, you have not appreciated what God has done. It makes you grateful for your surroundings, & it starts your day differently."  ~- Johnny Cash 

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Year of the Monkey? Buckbuck, BUCK off!

According to the Chinese calendar, 2016 is the Year of the Monkey. But the 4Shoes runs on the Canadian calendar &, in our little corner of the Great White North,  it is the Year of the Chicken. We have been making plans for building a coop since quite a while back; this is my (likely somewhat skewed, but enthusiastic), original vision:
Happy Chickens set up inside the barnyard, next to the Porker Palace. *Notice the almost lifelike chickens I have drawn?
Since my original vision has been nixed by Mr. Shoes as impractical & poorly placed, I've had to  rethink. Mr. Shoes vision has the chickens housed in slightly less upscale quarters & placed back behind the hayshed (seen here in the background) with a long run that would encompass the compost pile. Since he's the one wielding the hammer, he gets a pretty big say in all manners related to building. More on that later this Spring; in the meantime, I've been researching coops & came upon a design I would never have come up with!

Despite the obvious desecration of a HORSE trailer that could have been refurbished to it's intended function (shout out to Can I Have a Pony's fabulous & complete trailer restoration), the truth is that I think this ChickenLady (who rents her place) is rather ingenious to have created a portable coop that she can haul along to her next place. I thought you might also like to have a little peek at her truly sacrilegious inventive creation.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Trading a Shetland for a Shire

The 4Shoes has been in need of a tractor since we moved onto the place; hard to believe that we have actually gotten by using a 4-wheeler as a workhorse. Following that analogy, we've had a Shetland pony doing the work of a team of Shire draft horses for a lot of years.
Shire horse, Jake, meets Truffles the Shetland Pony packing his friend Max.

BigBear has hauled the manure wagon, pulled logs out of the bush & stumps out of the ground, plowed snow (& many more things that it was never built to do), in addition to fulfilling all the duties that a recreation vehicle is meant to do.
What in THE hell? was my question. Answer: Boys will be boys. Just like his smile, some days live on forever. 
Everyone who comes out to the 4Shoes wants to play with BigBear -- the 4 wheeler fun factor has been immeasurable no matter what time of the year, & we have definitely gotten every penny's worth of value & delight out of that quad!
Another unforgettable day featuring a snow ramp, an inner tube, a tow rope, & BigBear's pony power.
As of yesterday, BigBear is retired from Shire horse wanna-be to full time Shetland pony-quad who has honestly earned his place in the equipment shed for the rest of his days. I really hope that we get to enjoy BigBear for a long time yet; there are many more adventure loving great-nephews & nieces wanting to make their own treasured memories of 4Shoes Farm family fun in the years to come.
Notice Manic supervising the job. DeliveryMan said, "What is she?" I told him, "She's my doorbell."

Introducing Kubby, the new Shire horse of the 4Shoes. Yes, I hung that big bow on him before Mr. Shoes laid eyes on his birthday present. That was the biggest cheque I've ever written, & I think I'm safe to say that this will count as covering more than one birthday. In fact, this one probably covers all the rest of both of our birthdays combined. Worth it.
The smile on his face is the same as Boot sported above; guess you'll have to take my word for it.

Mr. Shoes has been busy reading his new owners manual & already today announced his intention to co-opt the unused part of our barn for his new equipment shed. He plans to rip out my 2 empty stalls, possibly build a floor to ceiling wall to "keep the dust off his Kubby", & he'll definitely pour a cement parking pad in there.
God love him, because I sure do. Just ask the dealership.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Muffs Required Attire

You can talk El Nino to me all you wish, but we are definitely in the middle of a cold snap @ the 4Shoes. By about 9pm the nights have gotten down around -28 celsius (that's about -18F) & the thermometer still stuck there when I get up. I sure am glad we have a barn for the horses. 
"I am thinking WE are even MORE glad than you are, Mrs. Shoes."
Daytimes have been cold too, only -18C (just below 0F) this afternoon, & when the wind is blowing it seems to cut like a knife straight through into my (slightly older) bones. You know that kind of cold that makes your eyes squint up to keep them from freezing solid right there in their sockets & gets your nose running like a tap not tightened? Nice, right?
I prefer to muck out winter stalls after lunchtime, when the apples are frozen & the pee pops up off the rubber mats in chunks when I scratch at the edge of an icy puddle. I am also glad to have a cheery little woodstove in the house to welcome me back inside after cleaning the barn.
One of our great-nephews asked me once if 'frozen horse apples' would be good for making cider... Umm, no kinda cider that -I- would want to drink, I told him.
In 4Shoes country, 'bundling' has exactly squat to do with your TV & internet service.
Wherever you are, here's hoping that you're staying warm & dry.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Sunday Prayer

Help me be strong enough to Forgive when forgiveness is not asked of me.  Amen.

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Change is Constant

"We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person."  ~ W. Somerset Maugham

Monday, 4 January 2016

Alberta Is Horse Country

At the west end of Hanna, AB, a traveler stops in at the Canada Grey lounge to enjoy some bar snacks and beer.  Suddenly Prime Minister Trudeau appears on the TV.  The man gazes at the large screen for a minute & says in no uncertain terms, 
Justin Trudeau is a horse’s ass.”   
Out of nowhere, a local guy jumps-up, punches him in the kisser hard enough to knock him off the stool & angrily stomps out the bar.
The man gets up, slowly rubs his cheek & orders a new mug of beer.  All of a sudden Justin’s mother appears on the TV screen, bragging-up her son’s recent success. The man pounds the bar and yells, 

 “Margaret Trudeau is a horse’s ass, too.”  
 Suddenly another local is standing next to him, punches the other side of his face & knocks him on the floor, again.
When he climbs back on the stool, he asks the bartender, 

“I take it this must be Trudeau country.”
“Nope,” replies the bartender, “…horse country.” 

*As a misplaced Albertan & a proud Canadian, I reserve the right to laugh my ass off. You are free to join me; don't worry, both Justin & Margaret have the thick skins of lifetime politicians.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

2016 Goals

Love more fiercely.
Live more gently.
Let go more easily.
Ride whenever the mood strikes me.