Winterizing, Feel Like The Busy Ant!

Seems like we are rushing about to get things in place for winter. I think the huge temp change last week triggered that “Fall is really here!” feeling. Did the final weed spraying last Wed, with the 80F day. Looks to be the last of those in our weather forecasting. Hope it was useful.

Got the last field dragged and put drag away for winter. Brush hog and finish mower are tucked away already. Checking fences so wire is all tight and hot, gate locks oiled and locked shut. Need to move some fill dirt to cover drain tiles and holes the puppies dug! Every rain causes digging!! Good thing he is cute. Need a couple drainage trenches dug so no wet spots in the hayfield come spring. I don’t think they should take long, but I haven’t dug many trenches. However we do have a backhoe, “How hard can it be??” Ha ha I will if husband doesn’t move them up higher on his to-do list! Ha ha

He also has a couple outside lights to install in the barnyard so I can see better in the winter dark. Those LED lights are blinding, give excellent visibility over big areas. Only six field gates left to paint. I hired son for the painting. Amazing how long they take to get cleaned off and covered well! Paint dries faster on hot days. They were pretty rusty so the painted ones look really good now in bright, Ford tractor blue! Seems they are easier to see as well, looking to see if the right ones are open or not.

I believe we have enough hay now. Still on the flatbed trailer in the hoop barn until we feed enough to empty some barn space and unload it. Big t!ractor and hay equipment is clean and tarped in the hoop barn already. So nice we have room to keep it all under cover now!

I need to clip bridlepaths, hairy legs, shorten tails before mud arrives. No ice balls this year! Organize the tack room and carriage shed, put away summer things, so I can find needed winter things! Take down and put fans away.

Starting to feed hay inside. Pastures are growing with the rain, just not fast enough. Horses are fuzzing up nicely so rain doesn’t make them wet and cold. Time to bring home the two horses now at the trainers. Better now on good roads, instead of later on icy roads. They will be pretty lively for a few days with room to run again!

Some garden stuff to finish. Dug up bulbs and plants from the new septic tank installation, which now need planting in new places. Will make a nice show come spring. Trimming foliage off Peonies, Asparagus, dead branches off bushes, haul all that to the burn pile. Dig up giveaway plants in the garden bed reduction process. I just don’t like them anymore, someone else can enjoy them now Too many beds to maintain. Clean out all the summer flower pots and put away. Cut back and rearrange all the porch plants to fit inside in front of the French doors.

It is nice to cross off list items! I might get time to work on some hobbies when winter gets here!


I’m trying— but we’ve had no rain since early July and it’s just too dry to dig iris and redo the big beds. Did spray tansy that escaped the earlier round, started trimming trees that might hit fences, and mowed the few weeds in the dried up fields.

Hay is in but with no grass, I’m feeding it faster than I planned. Got bedding bought and stored. Waiting to shop vac the barn dust since it is still so dry. It was 88 here in Portland today. Can’t cut anything with a chainsaw due to fire danger, so bigger tree cutting projects are on hold.

Pumpkins are nearly ready, dahlias are gorgeous now that nights are cooler and the deer are scrounging for windfall apples— but those are scarce this year.

Hopefully it rains soon so we can get fall chores done.

The changing of seasons always seems so much more pivotal to those of us deeply connected with the outdoors.

Here it’s still high summer temperatures but that’s FL life. For myself the coming of winter is a giant relief. Summer is my heavy chore and challenging climate season; the heat, rain and bugs drive the horses into the barn for relief and then I’m mucking stalls, filling hay feeders and scrubbing water buckets while trying to avoid heat stroke. Winter is more pleasant, the horses stay outside voluntarily so minimal barn chores for me in pleasanter temperatures.

For myself, winter preparations include over-seeding pastures with winter grass, looking over the turnout blankets and burning brush piles. I’ll put up some more hay too. Still baling here. Also finalizing our plans for larger farm projects to be done before it gets hot again next spring; replacing the old back property line fence with something horse safe and dog proof!

@goodhors I’m the grasshopper to your ant :grin:
I’ve reached the stage of giving things that need doing side-eye :unamused:
Veg & flowerbeds need clearing & Winter prep.
I’m considering hiring the Faux Grandson & his landscaping business for those chores.

@Calvincrowe your deer would be thrilled here, my 1 remaining apple tree - Granny Smith - outdid itself this year.
I’ve gathered dozens for the horses & myself, but the tree is still loaded & windfalls are abundant.

Barn is full of hay, so I sleep better.
Horses are still on Summer rations as there’s grass in pastures.
I’ve got about 2mos of bedding, might last longer as horses have been sleeping outside.
No shavings bedheads & zero! piles to pick from stalls in the mornings.
Heated stall buckets stayed plugged in, so they’ll be ready when temps go below 40.
Sinking deicer for the trough outside should last one more Winter :pray:

Chickens are molting, so nary an egg :sob:
I may have to buy a dozen :frowning:
Rooster lost his sicklefeathers, I told him he’s just one of the girls now :grimacing:

House is staying comfy w/o the furnace, but my electric fireplace in the LR has been on when nights got Xtra chilly <50s.
I keep windows open a bit as I love the fresh air, but that has to end pretty soon.

I do like Fall, easier to add a layer than to strip down to a t-shirt & still be hot.

ideal painting temperature range of 50 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

as a note our temperature dropped 31 degrees in 45 minutes yesterday along with about an inch of rain that we were not supposed to get…so much for the billions spent in weather forecasting

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Fans came down and stored last weekend along with the fly misters. Fall veg patch coming along with lettuce, kale, beets and parsnips. Put down a last bit of grass seed (it’s late here but rain was on the way). Still limping along cannas and other annuals in pots, some happy for the cooler weather. Horses looking puffy but not hairy yet. Donkeys in the other hand are ready for real deal cold, already.

We have a little bit more work to do on the converted winter horse barn. Meanwhile, I have mowing to do on the lower pasture, which a is a little scary because it’s hilly. We have a night in the 30s coming up, so I’m getting the afterburners on to finish. Can’t wait for the wasps to die so we can knock down some impressive nests that are too high to get after while they’re active.

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I just finished my anti-mud project in the front turnout paddock. I put Lighthoof panels down in front of the double gates, and filled them with angular crushed rock, then had 7 loads of squeegee, a gravel product, delivered last week and I spread it with my trusty tractor. Then Thursday we had a huge rain storm, and I’m excited to report I have no mud there. So I feel ready for winter here.

I put HoofGrid in the attached runs to their stalls two years ago, so no mud in their runs. I hope this Lighthoof works as well, and holds up.

I have my hay stacked and dry in my big storage shop. Horses are starting to hair up.

This morning it was 55 degrees, but it’s 80 now. The leaves are just starting to turn on the mountains. Now if those dang flies would just DIE!

Fall kind of crept up on me because it was hot, hot, hot… then BOOM, fall arrived. A few cool nights was all it took for the grass growth to come to a screeching halt.

I really want to spray herbicide this fall because I have hemp dogbane trying to take over 2 of my fields. A third field has this weird weed I can’t identify creeping across the ground. But now I’m wondering if I missed my window?

My family moved into this property this time last year and the sellers left sooooooo much trash behind, most which was overgrown in briars and poison Ivy when we got here. We removed a lot last fall, but then the wet winter weather set in, killing our motivation. I thought it would get it cleaned up in the spring, but as soon as the weather got nice it seemed like the vegetation was in full force. So I’m really hoping to get more of it out of here this fall while in that tiny window when the plants die back but it’s not yet too muddy and cold.

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The herd of retirees, cripples and pets are out grazing the first smaller hayfield’s “second cut”. The big hayfield will be where they go next ,and they will be out there until January, with a trace mineral salt block. Everyone goes for a run in the snow to warm up, and gather at the point where the sun first hits in the morning. Coats are thick and warm, no blankets needed. Snow is dry and squeaky, no mud here. No stalls, no bedding, no stall cleaning, no manure trucking away service- we nixed all that stuff when we moved here. Horses live together in a herd, look after themselves. What a novel idea!!! They drink out of the creek, by choice. Nothing like a herd of mostly TBs running together in the snow. Nights recently have been cool, days are warm. “In training” horses haven’t been getting a lot of training, but are still available, in the little field near the arena, on hay. One has been retired from jumping… he’s just not that into it. If he doesn’t enjoy it, neither do I. The other is doing great, better than ever actually. One little jumping clinic coming up in mid October, then they all go out for winter with the old guys. Two greenies out with the “in training” horses have successfully got “green broke”, and I am really happy with both of them- they are both kind, intuitive, and have been easy. We have cantered a bit in the round pen… they understand what I wanted, and do their best to comply, and get a cookie afterwards. They might get a couple more rides before we quit for the year. They don’t mind, one way or the other. They will remember how next spring.

My horse who has really decided that jumping isn’t his thing, went trail riding a few weeks ago. He’s been trail riding before, but not often, and it’s good to have one for this purpose. But on the way home, apparently my “new” trailer had an incident- one of the do ups on the ramp BROKE. My friend, travelling behind me, watched it fall to the road, and stopped and picked the piece up. The other side kept the ramp up, so it did not hit the road. I did not feel the horse kicking, though he was pawing a bit I think. So my trailer is in at the local “trailer doctor” for repairs, welding and modification. So that this sort of crap does not happen again!!! Oh the joys of purchasing a “new (to me)” trailer. I don’t know how much this fix is gonna cost yet, and haven’t heard from the trailer guy. Oh joy. No more trail rides, and that little schooling show I was considering for the other guy is nixed too. Which it was anyway since the horse never got the vaccination he needed earlier this year, and the vet took 2 weeks to call me back about it, and the entries have closed… and I don’t have a functional horse trailer anyway. You get the gist of this. The riding clinic is HERE, so everyone else has to ship in. Other than that, I’m DONE for the year.

We’ve been firewooding. We do this at several times of the year, spring and fall usually. It’s no fun in the summer with bugs and heat, and I’ve demanded that winter firewood collection in SNOW is definately a “NO GO”. IDK why he wanted to do that, just bored in winter I think. We have a huge pile of fir piled already, and still need several loads of pine. DH does the cutting and I’m the mule, for the most part. Our house and hot water is run by the outdoor wood burning boiler, which has to be fed twice a day. It doesn’t eat much in the summer, eats more at -30C. As a result, we live cheap, and stay fit as a bonus. Also remove dead trees from the forest around us, reducing fuel for forest fires. There’s no shortage of dead trees easily available. I just cleared, cut up and brought in one of the dead poplars that was a nuisance in one of the pastures- the DH can’t be bothered with stuff like this, but I do it when there is one. I have a few others on my list calling my name.

We have got to go fishing at some point before winter sets in and all water freezes solid. Got the license, and haven’t been once this year. I don’t really care where, we have lots of options. May go ice fishing later too I guess, for Kokanee…

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Been enjoying the great local weather while being outside. Got my most important winter jobs pretty much completed, but others keep popping up to add to the list.

Sold a couple carriages we didn’t use at the Topeka IN auction. Well that opened up a BIG SPACE in the carriage shed!! We got the shed mostly emptied Thursday and sorted the many small things that have accumulated since the last clean out about a year ago. I got kind of harsh in my choices of Stay or Go sorting. The Go pile is divided into Tack Sale things and ‘sell at auction things.’ With husband ‘helping’ by opening almost every labeled box, the storage cabinet, getting things out from behind each other, there were more “treasures” than I remembered!! He found some things for his 4-horse carriages that he forgot he had! A couple items came into the light after getting put away “in a safe place” that I could not remember! The one was a carriage parasol, sizable, that I bought and planned to recover with new fabric. I was sure I put it with the patio umbrellas, but then never saw it again! The other was smaller, a foot operated bell that is used on taxi carriages on the Islands. Has a nice sound, thought it would be fun to have on one of our carriages. Also had been “put away in a safe place”. Well they are front and center on a carriage right now, won’t lose them again!! Ha ha

I had purchased a couple wire shelf units for the wall and was amazed at how much they hold! Items are still visible, handy and out of the way. Got the spare hoses together on a shelf. Collected my extra iron harness hooks into one box on the shelf. I need to put some up to hang poles on. Stall fans are together, floor fans together and still able to get past them, along with shelving my endless supply of hose menders. A deal gone sideways, “You want one box, you have to buy them all!” Well…the price was right! Ha ha Boxes marked for contents. A huge tote box now has all the big tarps in it, ready to use. Found several new, unopened tarps in odd places as a surprise! Put all the tack sale stuff by the side door for quick access loading and unloading later on. Kept adding to that pile, old, too small, never use, tank heaters a friend gave us after closing her boarding barn down. Those caged glass light fixtures. We use a different kind of tank heaters. Came across a heavy plastic tub the exact size to cover the backhoe seat to keep the sun off and dry. Win for me, no more wet seat!

Have to say we were both worn out when we put everything back away, piled up auction things. Still had space!! Amazing to have open space here.

Hay storage and loading out for pasture feeding plan is working well. We have spent a lot of time out driving the horses, doing ground work with the upcoming driving horse and the mare just home from the trainer. Such nice days are not wasted when you go driving!

Fences are looking good, my newly painted blue gates make me smile every time I open and shut one! Ditches are clear for when we finally get some heavy rain. Drag is stored on the cement slab across the road, out of the way for possible snow plowing. Weed whacking is done, all small gas implements put away in the big horse trailer. Still need to pick up mats, hang on dividers in the small trailer. Just used it to bring the mare home from the trainer.


Thankfully, I have been working on my winterizing for quite some time - little by little - has cut down on the stress and ensured better completion - I’m feeling better heading into winter this year.


Had a big wind event with rain this week, and suddenly much colder temps, so lots of cleanup of branches going on. Finally broke out the sheets for the boys, as they need wet protection here. Got the barn cleaned out now that it rained finally—no more dust! Made sure the barn and house gutters were cleaned, and drainage ditches are functioning.

Time to bring in the geraniums to over winter, cleaned up the flower beds, and just need to dig dahlias to divide and store but is usually do that during thanksgiving break. Expecting a bit of snow later in the week, nothing too serious but cold temps mean making sure the tank heater is working.

I don’t know where you are but here in Tennessee it was 81° yesterday and by next weekend the low is going to be 22 one of the nights!! I cannot believe how fast the temperatures are swinging back and forth it is insane! Sounds like you’ve got a lot done I still need to decobweb parts of my barn for the winter lol. I keep hoping the Hornets will die so I can knock down the nests without risking getting stung!!

I got to see the Topeka Pony Auction a few yrs ago when I had a travel job to work that area. Lucky break! I saw a couple of Amish dads do a bidding war on a kid broke mini. And there was a young driving gelding that I would have taken a chance on … Did you get to see some high points?

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I’m in SW WA state, near Portland. We had 80s here until the second week in October-- very odd for us. I had to wait to clean the barn because the dust just built back up since we had no rain for 3 months. Wanted all the flies to die, which they sure did!

Got 1/2 an inch of wet snow this morning. Also kind of unusual for us-- we just skipped fall: went straight from summer to winter here with heavy rain, cool temperatures, hill/mountain snow, and wind. Yay!

@pony_grandma Not much special to see on Monday. Carriages sold, field items of all sorts. Need a wringer washer? Ha ha New things of tack, forks, shovels, halters, leads, blankets went for low to fair prices. Harness was mostly drafts, various quality, mixed prices. My friend got a couple bargins in light horse, leather driving harnesses. Used saddles, odd things.

Belgians were arriving all day to sell on Tuesday. Clydesdales sold Wed, with your video horse causing lots of conversations! He certainly is something as a sire and individual, very handsome guy!! Then Percherons sold Thursday, with light horses and ponies on Friday. We had to get home on Monday, didn’t see any horses sell.

Temps here in Mid-Michigan were high 60Fs and low 70Fs last week. So nice! We got in some hours of horse driving time. Then Saturday wind blew everything around that was not tied down!! Gracious, it was not a day to go anyplace! The intermittent showers were welcome. I spread heading into the wind, not sure where it landed though! Ha ha