10.9.2012 Lucky and Not

So far, the frost has held off.  It’s been a little murky and I’ve spent the last several days indoors.  I canned my green beans and froze a couple of bags of chopped bell peppers.  Still need to make salsa.

But today was one of “those” days.  While I was mucking out the round pen this morning, the mechanic called with the estimate on the riding lawn mower.  New drive belt, blade sharpening, oil change, grease and lube – $250.  Ouch.  But I really want my mower back.  I could care less about the grass this time of year, however, lugging the wagon of food and water out to the chickens without the mower for the past four days is wearing thin.  (Sure, I could haul it out there with the truck or the tractor, but that just seems like overkill.  Too much horsepower for the job, even though the chickens are about as far away from the barn as I can get them and even though they are at the absolute highest point on the farm.)

Then late this afternoon, the mechanic called again.  When I dropped off the mower, I also left the truck to get an inspection.  It didn’t pass.  Turns out it needs a front end alignment and new rods among other things.  Well, isn’t that special?  I am learning that owning a pickup truck is like owning a boat – just one giant, money-sucking hole.  Major ka-ching!  (Still way cheaper than buying a new one.) Just when I think I’ve got the bleeding stopped. . . Honestly, I paid more for that truck than I paid for both horses and that truck costs more in maintenance than the horses.  If it weren’t for the occasional need to haul loads of gravel and large unwieldy things from the home improvement store, I’d say we’d be better off selling the truck and investing the proceeds in a wagon and harnesses for my two big fat fatties.

Speaking of the fatties, when I went down to the barn this evening to bring them in for the night I was treated to a surprise and a bit of good luck.  I had gone into the barn with the flashlight to gather up pony rations into two mayonnaise jars.  When I walked back down the aisle I found Venus standing in the doorway and Ophelia lurking right behind her.  (Horses won’t walk into a dark barn for some reason.)  Apparently I had left a gate open . . .  all day.  It was pushed closed, but not latched.  While Venus was first in line for vittles, I have no doubt it was Ophelia who pushed her way through the gate.  My horses are happy here and content to remain, fence or no.  Lucky me.  And I gotta say, I prefer horses to pickup trucks.  The dog and the husband though, would beg to differ.


10.9.2012 Lucky and Not — 2 Comments

  1. I was just wondering why you don’t rig up a harness and some kind of wagon for one of the horses to move your chicken gear with. Although that might take longer than just dragging it out there yourself.

    • I’ve often wondered why too. Then I remember, in order for a horse to pull a wagon, you need a wagon that is fit for a horse to pull (you could probably cobble one together for under $1000 – or you could spend $1000 just on wheels. A functional farm wagon new is easily over $5000) Then you need harness for the horse. ($500-$2000) Then you need a horse that is actually trained to pull. (Several hundred dollars for a trainer. Or a couple hundred to find a book that explains how to train the horse – I have several that claim to be THE Handbook, THE manual, etc. but not so much really. Then you have to take the time to do the actual training. Could take a couple of days or a couple of weeks, depending on the horse. Lastly, you have to know how to drive a horse. It’s not as easy as it looks on TV. I’ve tried driving the horses from the ground with long lines. I have yet to get anything approaching a straight line. But one day. Maybe. I’d love to.

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