Monday, March 26, 2012

Ride Photos

My friend Lisa sent me some of the ride photos I talked about earlier in my "Wonderful Weekend" post. The first photo shows Dream running through the water. At first she didn't want to go into the river and then all of a sudden she took a mighty leap and tried to gallop through the water then she settled down as you can see in this progression of photos. It's a really neat progression on the photos.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Uses for all that horse poop

Friday the local news had an article about a Poop powered vehicle that the Denver Zoo is currently "parading" around the country.  The vehicle is called Tuk-Tuk and here are several articles about it.

That same day I got my most recent Mother Earth News Magazine and there is a big article about a guy who is running several of his farm trucks on "Wood Gas". 

It is quite interesting that these two different articles popped up about the same time when Rising gas prices are making people feel the "pain at the pump".  Well I started doing some research and wondered if I could find a way to use my horses manure in a system like this.  So I did more research and found this article about a guy who was making horse manure bricks and using them in his wood stove. After burning them, he then used the poop ashes in his garden as a fertilizer.

So it appears that you can make poop bricks and burn them. It does seem like a labor intensive project, but since I have a wood burning stove, anything short of buying already cut and split wood is also labor intensive. I have 5 equine that I'm shoveling in grass hay in one end and they are processing and dumping out pounds of it at the other end. If I'm going to have to pay those ever increasing costs to feed these horses, I might as well try and get something back out if them. I looked at several options. The first was making pellets like the Denver zoo does, but a pellet machine costs a lot of money and I don't have a pellet burning stove.

This poop brick idea is a much better solution for my wood burning stove, but the problem is that the article had directions for a single brick mold.  So I went on the hunt again for a plan or pre-made mold that would make more than one brick at a time.  I finally found this Four log paper brick maker. 

The interesting thing is you can use either paper or poop to make the bricks. and If you have access to both then you can mix them. So I'm considering attempting to make some horse poop bricks this year and see how it all turns out. Once I see how well it does in the home fireplace, I just might consider converting my really old, bad gas mileage truck into a poop burner similar to the Denver Zoo's poop powered vehicle.  That would be an interesting experiment.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sprouting experiment

A little while back, I posted about how I wanted to start sprouting seeds to feed my chickens and eventually my horses as well.  Once I got back from my last ACTHA ride, I started  my experiments. I started by buying several seed starting trays with clear domes like these shown below.

I had some left over Indian Corn that I had grown 2 years ago. I had been grinding it up to add to the Chickens diet, but with the amount I had left over It was the right amount to try 4 days of sprouting experiments with.  I also got a bag of whole oats to try and grow oat grass. So I thought I'd mix the oats and the corn.  Well that's not working so well. The 2 year old Indian corn is sprouting within 24-48 hours but none of the oats over the last 4 days have sprouted. If I continue this, the Corn will have to be separate from the oats.  Additionally next week I'll be able to pick up some whole wheat and some whole barley to try.  More on the experiment when I actually feed it to the chickens.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

ACTHA Newspaper Article

My mom sent me this newspaper article about one of the ACTHA rides I went on back in February. It was neat and had a great photo to it so I scanned it in to show it off.  If you want to read more about that ride, you can check out my past post here

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back From Another ACTHA Ride

Dream and I went on another ACTHA ride this weekend. It was actually two different days of competition.  On the first day we didn't place in the top 6, but we placed third on the second day.  On the first day we started out with the first obstacle being a stop and pause for a count of 5 before moving on. Then we had a down an embankment obstacle. This photo is us near the bottom of the embankment as we are headed to the flags at the end of the obstacle.

Here we are headed on down the trail after that embankment obstacle.
After the embankment obstacle, we headed out to the back around the bushes obstacle. We were supposed to back a figure 8 around two bushes. However I think they misjudged the time it would take to navigate the obstacle. Only two individuals in my division were able to navigate that obstacle within the time limit they set. Dream and I also timed out and got a zero score for it.  We then headed out to the trot weave obstacle. Dream did pretty well on it but she almost missed one of the cones.  Then we came to the bridge obstacle. Dream did well on that one as she's used to a similar bridge here at the house. Finally the ride is nearly over and our last obstacle is called the Snake Pit. It was a box of logs filled with sticks and swimming noodles.  As you can see in the photo below, Dream walked right on across.
 Finally back at the horse trailer at the end of the ride. It was a nice day and lots of fun.  If you are wondering about the outfit, well it was St. Patrick's day and I had to dress like a Leprechaun.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Wonderful weekend

Well I'm back from my rides. I had a wonderful weekend. Saturday we all got together and had a "fun ride" which turned into a really great training opportunity for Dream. The first big thing we had to do was cross the river. That was quite interesting. Dream will go across water, but this water was deeper than we normally have in my area and much wider. The river was about 50-75 ft wide I'm guessing and had quite a strong current. Dream at first didn't want to go in, but finally took a major LEAP!! She then tried to gallop across the river, but after a couple strides she realized that it was to much work. So she settled down into a walk.  The rest of the ride was just a bunch of hill work and wonderful views until the last water crossing at the end to get back to camp. Dream did great on the second water crossing going home. I didn't get any photos I completely forgot my camera I'm hoping some of my friends send me a few photos of the rides.

(And just after I posted this, my friend Cindy R. sent me this photo of Dream and I just before we headed out for the competition. )

 Sunday was the competition and we had to go back across the water crossing as the very first obstacle. Dream did much better then since she'd already seen it the day before. I've already forgotten what order they all came in, but all the obstacles were pretty neat and all natural.  We were judged on going downhill, Backing up a slight incline, going through a natural tunnel, going into a "cave" and standing still, and stepping or jumping off a drop down.  The tunnel was really neat because it was literally "carved" out of a thicket of trees.  They cut the tunnel so that you could see the other side, but you were completely covered sides and top by tree limbs. The "cave" wasn't a full cave but more like a small box canyon. It was fairly narrow and a dead end. There wasn't a roof to the cave but Dream didn't want to go in. That was the only obstacle she didn't complete on this ride.  The step down was about a 2 ft drop off basically a mini cliff. It would be similar to a horse walking out of the horse trailer or maybe just slightly taller.   And finally the way back to camp presented us with the last river crossing headed back home. I think Dream got a lot of good water crossing training between the last two ACTHA rides and my fun ride. Dream and I have crossed the Rio Grande 6 times in the past month.  We will be headed out to one more ACTHA ride next weekend and then we have 4 weeks of being home before the next ACTHA ride in April. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Check out the new pages

While I'm off for the weekend on one of my ACTHA rides, I thought I'd mention that I've posted new pages. One page for each of the horses. Just check out the tabs at the top of the page and when I get back, I'll update some of the photos and information on my horses. Have a good weekend.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Growing sprouts to feed the critters.

I've been doing some research on feeding the horses and the poultry (especially the ducks and geese) sprouted grains. The websites are calling it "fodder" but it is really just different grains sprouted into grasses. You can use barley, wheat, oats, and many other grains or a combination of some or all of them. I'm starting my experiment on a small scale to make some sprouted grasses for the ducks and geese. I've purchased some sprouting trays. As soon as those come in I'm going to start growing some fodder for the poultry and I'll report back on how that's going.  If you want to read more about growing your own "sprouts" for your critters, you might be interested in some of the following web links.

There is even this neat youtube video from a poultry farmer working with a system for his chickens.  The system he's using is one that I'm thinking about purchasing if my cheapo experimental system works out for me. 

I'd still have to buy some of my hay for the horses, but the chickens and other poultry could live exclusively on the fodder as they don't require long stem dry matter to aid in digestion. It appears that the fodder systems have been in use in other parts of the world for a while now. Australia and the middle east each have documented use of this type of feed system for 2 to 3 years now. The benefits of the system is that you can provide fresh feed to your animals all year round. the downside is you need a place that is warm enough to grow the fodder all year round. I'm currently working on getting a green house so hopefully I'll be able to make this whole thing work.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Spring is coming!

So I went out to the garden on Sunday and checked out what needed to be done before spring creeps up on me. I found this.

These are my parsnips that are starting to re-sprout. That means I needed to dig up the parsnips because I don't want them growing and reseeding this year.  So I got busy and dug and dug and ended up with this.

That is a box with 20 LBS of parsnips. So I'm now busy cleaning and scrubbing and preparing to freeze a LOT of parsnips.  We already had our first meal last night with wonderful maple roasted parsnips. I've also got a nice parsnip bread recipe that I want to try.

In addition to checking out the garden, I decided to try a few milk jug mini green house starts. I want to see how they work out so I only set out 4 at the moment.  

Sunday's weather was wonderful, but I was still to sick to feel like riding. I ended up lunging Dream for a little while just to get her back into shape for the coming ride season. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bye Bye Facebook

Well while everyone else is busy being hooked up to Facebook I decided to completely deactivate my account. I hate the new Facebook timeline profile and instead of just complaining like most people, I did something about it. I refuse to keep a profile on Facebook as long as that timeline profile is in effect. If more people who complain would actually do something about it then Facebook would get the message. Or I could just be sitting out here in lala land while every one else connects on Facebook. My opinion is that I'm always the independent sort so I'll be independent out here alone if that's what it takes.