Friday, August 13, 2010

Pinching Pennies To Keep The Horses We Love

I keep five horses, well three horses, one pony and one donkey to be precise. I have kept horses non stop for fifteen years now. I love, love, love them. I see myself keeping horses the rest of my life. I am a true cowgirl at heart.
I have six close cowgirl friends that I ride with regularly. It's so much fun. My cabin is the club house for our ridding club "The chick posse" that's what I call us. We all tack up and take off from here, giddy up!!
We spend a lot of time talking about what we are doing to pinch pennies to keep our horses now that times are tough. The two most expensive regular expenditures are of course, feed, which includes hay, and hoof trims.
I taught myself, through reading books and working with the farrier how to properly trim and shoe a horse. I have been doing it myself now for thirteen or so years, with no problems. I can happily say I have never had even one problem. All my horses have perfect feet and don't need shoes, but even shoes are cheep when you do it yourself.
People around here are getting rid of horses like crazy. They can't afford to care for them. I would like to encourage people out there who are looking for a way to try and pinch pennies to keep their nice horses. I have made a DVD on how to do a simple balanced trim yourself when times are tough. That will cut way down on the cost of keeping a healthy useable horse or pony.
Some of my friends who I have taught only do it them selves when they "have to", when they have the money they call the farrier. Others do it them selves all the time. It's a really useful skill to have if you love to keep horses. I made my DVD "Be Your Own Farrier" so a person who never even thought about trimming them selves can go out and do a decent trim. The nice thing about owning a DVD is that you can watch it ten times and really get it in your head. That's what I do.
I know sometimes the thought of having to get a few tools when your already pinching pennies is scary, but people have given them to me, I have found them cheep at horsey yard sales and feed stores that were going out of business. Pluss you can always buy the cheapest ones just to get started. They will pay for them selves in four months. From then on out for years and years you will be saving, saving, saving. Then you can spend that money on feed and hay. I have only been paying for feed and hay for thirteen years now. No farrier bills. That's a big help!! Happy Homesteading Becky

Monday, August 9, 2010

Summer Garden Getting Improved

I don't want to use any chemical fertilizers or bug sprays in my garden, but that has caused a problem. I only get a very small amount of produce every year. Not nearly as much as I want and need. So, here I am limping along for the third year now with another small yield. I enjoy what I do get, but I definitely need to increase it.
Along comes Peter from Australia, nice, nice Peter, and he tells me about permaculture. What is permaculture I ask?? Permaculture embraces self reliance and self sufficiency in food production from your garden. That's right up my alley because my goal has always been to raise as much of my own food as I can.
OK, Step one, ( I like steps ) build healthy productive soil. I will be doing that through sheet mulching. I have always used mulch, but not nearly enough. I will be putting down 8 to 12 inches of mulch. WOW, that's a lot, but it's easy enough and my soil needs HELP! Things I will be layering as mulch are cardboard first, then dead leaves, boan meal, wood chips, pasture scraps,(dead) green scraps, (live) and straw. Water well after each layer.
Here is a list of benefits for using permaculture. Totally chemical free food and soil, YAY!! Uses less water. Produces more food in a smaller garden. ALL GOOD. I'm sold. Stay tuned. and I will let you know how it goes. Happy Homesteading Becky