Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Wacky Weeds

The last few days have been work days in my pony's pasture. Why is it that when you are not working (as in a paying job) you still end up working? Why am I not sitting in a lawn chair in the sun, fanning myself, drinking lemonade and reading the latest best seller?

Because when you have a horse, there is always something to be cleaned, mended, exercised, unloaded, bought, fed, fixed, washed, organized, dusted, longed, raked......I could go on and on, but I'm running out of verbs.

First, I wanted to tackle these weeds growing in My Boy's pasture. I have no idea what kind of plant or weed they are. But they sprout up pretty fast and tall in the early summer.

Does anyone out there know? {click on photos to enlarge details}

My horse doesn't eat them. Last summer when we took the horses on a trip for five days, the goats roamed all the pastures and they munched down some of them. I offered a goat one last weekend, and he scoffed his nose at it.

Luckily, their root systems aren't too deep and I was able to pull most of them right out of the ground.

A few were more stubborn then others and I think I broke them off at the base of the root. Hopefully I got the majority of them, as they are about to seed and continue their intensive takeover.

Next up- cleaning the dusty old shavings out of My Boy's turnout shed. Luckily, he hasn't been using it as his toilet much lately, so the shavings were unsoiled, just coated in a heavy dirt.

Paint Girl had a helpful solution for this task, she used her riding lawnmower to pull the little cart into the pasture. We unloaded the new shavings.

And then I loaded the dirty ones in the cart. And Paint Girl hauled them up to the arena, where we spread them out over the harder ground to soften the footing.

And My Boy got a fluffy, cozy turnout shed. NOW he will start using it as his toilet again, I guarantee it!

It was good, hard work. It's such a good feeling to be productive. And I'll let you in on a little secret. To me, horsey work is never really work. I never mind making things better for my horse. Right now, his "home" is cleaner than my own home!

After cleaning up (I rinsed about 3 lbs of dirt out of my hair) I rushed off to a friend's for dinner. My friend let me sit and relax while she grilled pizza (yes, grilled pizza on the BBQ, flat bread style~ let me tell you, it was delish!) and homemade chocolate chip cookies. I ate like I hadn't eaten in weeks.

Fresh air, a little (a lot) of dirt, and horsey work will do that to ya!


  1. Looks like it might be Curly Dock, but I'm not sure - good thing you like hard work - that sort of goes with horses!

  2. I'm agreeing with you - I'm just starting to dig into the horsey work more around here, and I do love it. I gave all 3 a good fresh dose of fly spray today (I love gittin' those flies when they're on the horse - die, you sucker!) and swatted some of the big green-eyed flies off them. And even though it was 95 and I was sweatin' like a pig, I enjoyed every minute of it!

    Esp with our paint horse, as he's very skittish around the fly spray. Today is the 1st day of my efforts to get him used to it. I sprayed it on an old dishrag and wiped it on him, then let him see and hear me spraying it on the rag (he was ok with that), then tried 4 or 5 times to very gently spray him - of course he wasn't standing still for that! I think I'm going to work with him over the next week or so with just a water bottle. I love a challenge! :)

    I love you and your sister's blogs. I have officially anointed both of you my new horsey friends. ;) Hope you don't mind my obnoxiousness. LOL

  3. Sounds like a productive day. I know what you mean about the horsey work. I really like physical labor so much more than my regular job sitting in front of a computer. At least you feel like you accomplished something and you get to be outside.

  4. Funny what comes out of good horse poop! :) good fertlizer to grow those weeds!

  5. funny ,I knew it as soon as I saw it , but the name went right out of my head ! Russian something?
    good idea to pull it as if its the same stuff I am thinking of it takes off in a big way!
    I hear you on the working harder for the "non paying job" the horses and here the cattle take up most of my down time. I wouldn't do it if it wasn't worth it!

  6. It is curly or yellow dock, its not harmful and has herbal medicinal properties.

    Your horse shelter sure looks cozy now, hopefully not to be used for a bathroom anytime soon.

  7. We don't have the shelter to clean, but lots of poo to shovel. I like involving my kiddos though - teaches them to be hard workers and responsibility. I have no idea what kind of plant that is. Although, we have other types of weeds that I feel the same way about.

  8. {Oz Girl}~ You are not obnoxious at all! Wish you lived closer, Paint Girl and I would take you riding with us! :)

    {Kate}~ I Googled Curly Dock and yep, it looks VERY similar, but the leaves are a little different. Also, curly dock appears to grow in the Midwest, and we are in the Northwest, although this could be a different variety?

  9. I have to agree with you, horse chores just don't seem like as much work as *work* does.

  10. Funny, I never noticed you pulled the weeds out of your boys pasture, next weeding job, arena! Since we really only use one side, we need to weed the other side!
    I am sure your boy will leave you presents in the new shavings, you will be shoveling poo all weekend! I love my trailer for the lawnmower, but I still wish I had a "Doozer". LOL!

  11. thanks for the reminder that it is time to cut back the curly dock around our pen. It is good for people but I don't think it is so good for horses.

  12. {One Red Horse}~ That was a great list, thanks! Interestingly, at the bottom it said no potatoes? I did not know those were toxic to horses?

    From the picture of Curly Dock on that link, I am thinking it is not what was in my horse's pasture. It just doesn't quite look like that at the top, although it is similar. Now I'm on a mission to figure it out! ;)

  13. I don't mind horsey work either. I'm with you on the weeds, but we have so many, I'd have to hire someone with an applicator's license to get rid of them. I'm afraid if the weeds are gone, I wouldn't have much. Better living thru chemistry. Maybe next year — after all the grass seed I bought this year, I'm tapped out.

  14. For the first 2 years we had our horse I'd spend hours and hours helping to clean stalls, paddocks, pastures, put up hay, bring in feed, etc. And hired a cleaning lady to do my house! Unfortunately I can't afford the cleaning lady any more but I'd still much prefer doing the horse chores than the house chores!

    While that weed might not be curly dock don't be surprised if its non-native to your area. I know folks in southern PA that got some hay from Canada that brought in weed seeds of the like they'd never seen before. Passing birds can do some interesting planting for us too.

  15. Why is it that all the best jobs come with no salary?

  16. Oh yeah, our animals get better treatment than we give ourselves, that is for sure!
    We recently had a dinner at friends' and had the grilled flatbread pizza, are right, totally awesome. I want to make it soon.

  17. I love to get horse dirty!! There is just something about cleaning a stall that cleanses the soul!! Love it!! You are so good to go out and pull the weeds in the pasture!! Girl, I have 20 acres you can do here next!! LOL!!! Glad you had a productive day!!!

  18. I love my horsey chores! In fact, I'm so looking forward to the time when all my other projects are done and I can *just* have maintenance. ;) I love having something to do...I'm usually out 'till dark. The other night, though, I was in 2 hours before dark to do my sister's hair and it felt WEIRD! ;)

    Sounds like a fun, hard-workin' day for you two. And to follow it up with BBQ pizza afterwards...perfect day! My neighbors make that sometimes and invite me over...I get to do the same thing. Kick back with a glass of wine, enjoy the sunset...can't get much better. Hope you have a GREAT Fourth! :)

  19. Hey there!
    We sometimes have those weeds in our paddocks as well, and I have been told that they are non-native "dock" plants, that most likely took seed from non-local hay.

    Not sure if I have been properly informed or not, but I believe that they are fairly harmless to horses. Our's ignore them as well.....

  20. {TCavanaugh}~ The best jobs have no salary because the benefits are so great!

    Garlic Man

    PS to all you single horse gals:

    Read how Oz Girl met her man at

  21. There's no doubt that horses are a lot of work any time of year. If I never see a weed again I would be a very happy person.
    I love your picture banner up top, what a handsome guy.

  22. I am always working when I am not at work! The good news is that I am probably burning calories and preventing my bum from getting too big.
    I love those pictures you have of the weeds (the goats scoffing at it cracked me up), and of paint Girl zooming around on her riding lawn mower! You have a little slice of paradise there.

  23. {Paint Crazy & Melanie}~ I think you are right. Come to think of it, those weeds, bizarrely, are not growing elsewhere on the farm! And I don't recall seeing them in the native logging land that we ride in. They are not as common as the local bracken fern, horsetail, or foxtail. So my guess they are some kind of import from hay. Oddy though, the area they are growing in, is the one area we never feed hay. But like you said, seeds get "moved around." Also, the ground is pretty fertile there!

    {Andrea}~ There is still the buttercup weed in his pasture, but I'm thinking that would take a professional to manage. It is everywhere! My horse won't touch it, there will be a small plant of it it in a patch of clover and he'll eat his way around it. But I don't like it there! I am going to work on pulling some of the smaller plants this weekend.

    {Garlic Man}~ I read about Oz Girl's adventures in online dating! ;) I think Oprah recommended Equestrian Well if Oprah says it's good...

  24. The pizza and cookies sound great right about now, it's lunchtime! A little tip on the weeding work, it takes a lot longer if you have to take pictures of EVERYTHING Pony Girl! They are fun to look at and see how you spent your day though. I know I still owe you an email response, I've been lazy. I hope you have a great 4th if I don't talk to you before the weekend!

  25. I agree... I kind of like doing horse work. That reminds me... I've got poop to scoop!

  26. That turn out looks very comfy. Who wouldn't poop in it?


    Great work!

  27. Love the new banner of your beautiful boy!!! Such a handsome guy he is!! :-)
    The weed looks like curly dock that is all over the place around here along with bur dock! Bur dock is nasty, Gilly and Pokey are full of burs come fall. Those weeds have roots that go to China, you can't pull them out, digging, lots of digging!
    I too love horse work not house work, more fun to be outside with my horse then inside with the vacuum cleaner! :-(
    ~Jane and Gilly~

  28. That's a good day of work you put in. My Boy's shelter looks very comfy. Those are big gnarly lookin' weeds you've got. Nice that they came out so easily.

  29. The only time the horsey chores are a bit 'chorey' are when it is about 100 degrees and humidity so thick you can eat it. But I love spending time with them. When I bought my first gelding 4 years ago after a 30 yr period without horses I spent hours and hours with him. In the barn, in his stall, just smelling that wonderful horsey smell.

  30. Whew, it's a good thing your boy doesn't eat these unknown weeds!! Typically most horses won't eat weeds that can be bad for them... Now having said that my SIL's 24 yr old gelding got into some bad weeds a couple of years ago and he colicked...BIG TIME!!! It was almost a full 24 hrs of hell to get him through it... Good luck on the weed search! Let us know what you figure out, could be very interesting...

  31. Oh, I loved your stories and photos. No, taking care of horses is never really work although it is hard work.
    We've got to mow down weeds to cause they are taking over.

  32. Good to hear from you, thanks for paying a visit! Funny you said I looked a little like Goldie Hawn, I have not heard that for years! The other day someone just said Farrah Fawcett...probably because she's so fresh in the mind right now with her passing or they need new glasses! LOL Heard that when I was REALLY young! Sorry, I have some of the same weeds sprouting, not much help! The new shed wonderful! Be prepared to pick off horse tail hairs from that one nice post in the middle and we even have a few nibbles out of ours here and there! LOL! Yup, I go every Sat. and scoop poop from our shed in the paddock! Guess it reminds them of their stall eh? Have a wonderful 4th! Luanne

  33. Oz Girl, if you don't mind doing a tango with your horse....keep spraying him until he stops moving his feet, then give him the release as soon as he does. He'll soon get the idea to stand still. Love what you said about those darned flies...hate it when they fly into their eyes and the horses roll their eyes back! Or into mine! Die suckers indeed....oh I'm a little nasty in my old age! LOL! Luanne

  34. I so agree! To me working in the barns or with the cows and horses is therapy! Dirty...but it wouldnt be fun if you didnt get a little dirt under the nails when doing it all for those big 4-legged friends of ours now would it?! :-)

  35. I'm pretty sure it's cury dock or bitter dock. Both are prevalant in the NW. Don't put too much credit into on line pics of weeds; there are so many variables that a 100% ID based on pictures is near impossible. Compare desriptions to your plant, and use a reputable source like USDA Plants database.

    Get as much detail as you can to compare; i.e. root type, leaf arrangement, leaf shape/size, flower arrangement, seed type, stem coloring and shape, special characteristics (latex, waxy coating, odor etc) etc. The more detail, the better chance of positive ID.

  36. Good job! I bet your boy loves you so much!

    Food sounds intriguing and delish!

  37. Whooeee! Yes, you have been busy. Sounds like you earned that pizza and those cookies. What a dear friend to wait on you like that, too.
    And now you deserve a relaxing fun ride, too.....My Boy payment for making his home so comfie :)



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