Trotters, Arabians, Donkeys and Other People - Page 35 - The Horse Forum
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post #341 of 2378 Old 03-23-2018, 08:27 PM Thread Starter
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For Swiss Miss: A house update.

In the summer of 2016/17, we finally completed the exterior finish coat, long a lower priority than interior finishing. There was a bit of scaffold work on the east end and the front of our house, which we were glad to be done with, since you have to lift heavy buckets of lime plaster up to those heights instead of being able to plaster straight from the wheelbarrow!



Final Plaster Coat East Wall Day Two – Strawbale House Build in Redmond Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr


Day Three on the Monster Wall – Strawbale House Build in Redmond Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr


Finishing the North Barge Painting – Strawbale House Build in Redmond Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr


So this was the exterior finish plaster all done - though the scaffold is still up at the back to finally attach the TV antenna (never a huge priority, and we'd just hooked it up indoors in the interim).


Owner Build Five Years In – Strawbale House Build in Redmond Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr


This is a common view looking out of the windows first thing in the morning, since our 33-year-old gelding is often an overnight lawnmower in the garden:


Look Who’s There – Red Moon Sanctuary, Redmond, Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr


But then in winter last year, we had a more unusual view:


Garden Scene I – Red Moon Sanctuary, Redmond, Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr

This was due to a hard frost (unusual for this region) killing off much of the perennial grasses - the winter feed - in the low pastures. We had to de-stock all our two-year-old steers, and nurse the yearling heifers through with a lot of tree fodder, some hay and occasional access to the lawn. These are Murray Greys and have dispositions like Bambi, so no trouble and obviously supervised; also quite small still and not a problem for the turf.


We do get visitors:


Surprise Visitor – Red Moon Sanctuary, Redmond, Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr


Are There Any More? – Red Moon Sanctuary, Redmond, Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr


The bird-attracting native garden around the house is looking a treat these days:


Nice Camping Spot – Red Moon Sanctuary, Redmond, Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr

Amazing how that grew in just four years, from cell stock from the rehabilitation nursery. The seedlings were finger-sized and came in trays, and cost us less than $200 to do the whole garden, front and back. I also propagated a lot of rosemary and lavender from cuttings for contrast; the bees love these.

I'll do some interior photos another time, a bit down the track - some are already on our website:

www.redmoonsanctuary.com.au

SueC is time travelling.

Last edited by SueC; 03-23-2018 at 08:32 PM.
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post #342 of 2378 Old 03-24-2018, 01:13 AM
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beautiful!
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post #343 of 2378 Old 03-24-2018, 03:34 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you! We spent five years just with our heads down working, and when we came up for air in the last couple of years, we slowly started to realise that somehow, all this had appeared where previously there was just a mostly boggy cow paddock! It's been unbelievably satisfying to see that it is really possible to make a huge difference to a landscape and to habitat quality, by persistent working with one's own humble hands, one day at a time - and to do so in under a decade. The house is just lovely to live in, and totally off-grid, and so self-managing and sustainable; but even more wonderful is how the ongoing planting of the shelterbelts and other vegetation, and even the permaculture garden of human food plants, has brought on an explosion of birdlife and other wildlife, enthusiastically taking up the new "apartments"!

And the fact that the horses are having such a wonderful life there as well after their previously lonely and confined existences... just lovely.

Oh, and I forgot to mention - we didn't have buckets of money, and did this on a shoestring - on less than half the average Australian property mortgage - which shows how much you can do if you owner build. We could never have afforded to buy something like this, we had to build it up with our own hands, and spend half a decade doing it!
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Last edited by SueC; 03-24-2018 at 03:42 AM.
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post #344 of 2378 Old 03-24-2018, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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High-Tech Dental Care

On Wednesday, we had a visit from our vet Miles to do routine dentals on Chasseur and Sunsmart. (Julian had recently been done and Romeo is past being able to be done.) We switched over to this veterinarian in the past year after our previous good horse vets left the area, and are happy that he is excellent with horses. In the past, our horses had always been done with the old-fashioned hand rasp and mouth gag setup. Not this time!

This was our introduction to high-tech equine dentistry, involving a portable crush, a shot of tranquillizer, power dental tools, water jets for rinsing, and some creative head restraining with an additional overhead halter. Sort of like this:




I wish I could have got a photo. The mobile crush was very impressive, it just hinged off the back of a trailer. The horses, loose in the same yard area, were going, "How did that get here? That wasn't here before!"

I found it interesting to see the power dental tool in use. It was like a cordless drill body with a long attachment, with a smallish oval vibrating rasp at the end. It does a great, quick, very targeted job but you can see why the tranquillizer is an essential partner. The noises are a bit unsettling!

Once the molars were done, even the incisors got a going over to remove hooks. To do this, a large-bore plastic tube was inserted in the mouth sideways in the diastema, to keep the tongue out of harm's way. In the traditional hand-held method, noone had bothered with incisors. This looked like the most uncomfortable bit for the horse.

The two darlings took a while to recover from their temporary intoxication afterwards, but their tooth function and comfort is excellent again. The carrot test is a good indicator - can they handle a whole carrot without dropping bits from their mouths? Chasseur, at age 24.5, had been having trouble with that test, and is now fully functioning again in that department.

The horses love the carrot test.
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post #345 of 2378 Old 03-25-2018, 11:09 PM
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Sue that house is just breathtaking! I had no idea just how beautiful it would be from all the mud pictures before!

I am truly amazed by the design; y'all are truly artists and the house is a testament to your creative and physical talents. Plus off grid? WOW.

Stunning, it is simply stunning!!!

Something that you build with your own labor is 1000x's more satisfying than anything one can just purchase.
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post #346 of 2378 Old 03-25-2018, 11:37 PM
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Looooove the house! And amazing what has changed in the surroundings as well!
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post #347 of 2378 Old 03-26-2018, 01:55 AM Thread Starter
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Anita Anne and Swiss Miss: Thank you! We're very happy with it. And it's so true that what you DIY is much more meaningful and satisfying than what you can buy. It's true in so many ways, including in getting a nice saddle horse!

What have you two been up to? General projects? And horse related?

And speaking of DIY, the sewing machine is on the table, so that I can finally properly hem those curtains that have been hanging there as is for a couple of years... You know what it's like, I'm sure...

But just before that, I did have one thing for the journal. See next post!
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post #348 of 2378 Old 03-26-2018, 02:03 AM Thread Starter
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Birthday Ride

25/3 is my birthday, so I wanted to go for a special early ride deep into the forest. But on my birthday morning, I could not find the key to the back gate through which we access the forest. This is a key that has a red ribbon threaded through it in case it falls to the ground, and it normally resides in my zippered riding pants pocket.

After the last ride into the forest, my riding pants needed washing, and I had to remove the key. I put it on the white mat on top of the chest freezer next to the washing machine, where I always put it in this situation. And on the same day, before the pants were dry, I had to put a whole lot of stewed peaches and plums off our trees into that freezer, so I remember deciding to remove the key to a safe spot

Anyone getting deja vu here?

Come birthday morning, I spent an hour looking for the key while visions of the lovely blue-green lake at the end of my proposed destination floated temptingly before me. Then I had to give up, because it was better to think of an alternative destination than to be delayed even further.

So I decided we would go into Sleeman Creek Nature Reserve, to the north of us. We can see it from our house:


Rural Scenery – Red Moon Sanctuary, Redmond, Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr

The Reserve is the wooded area on the right-hand side, adjacent to our neighbour’s hill pastures. We mostly visit it on foot or by bike, walking the dog. There were three reasons I’d not been there for years on the horse: 1) Lots of fresh riding trails in the forest to the west of us; 2) A dog that has no traffic sense and tries to round up cars; and 3) A whitewater creek in wintertime, too dangerous to cross.

But now it was autumn, so no rushing creek; and I had a ruse for the dog in the form of a spare lead rope. So we set out on a warm-up loop around the back of our own farm, in the opposite direction of the Reserve; and by the time we reached our northeast gate, we were unkinked and ready for adventure.

Our northeast gate is a so-called “cocky gate” - a section of fence you drag around on a post, and attach back to a keeper post to close. Our cocky gate has lots of barbed wire, so it is lovely to have a horse who will stand still without any fuss while I fold back the gate out of harm’s way. That’s such a leap when I think of him fresh off the harness racing track in 2009 – he wouldn’t stand still for a second, not on the lead and not in work, because it had never been taught to him.

As a refresher, this is us. I don’t usually carry a camera when riding, so I will reconstitute this ride with pre-existing photographs.


Sue and Sunsmart - Red Moon Sanctuary, Redmond Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr

It was no hassle to walk the dog and horse together – the horse mostly walks next to me even without having to be led on the reins. When a little way down the access road, I gave Jess her freedom and got back on the horse, and we trotted down the road looking at the interesting views, and sometimes dropped back to a walk to look more intently at particularly interesting things. We both do it.


Hello - Red Moon Sanctuary, Redmond Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr

Pretty soon we crossed the Reserve boundary, which means having to squeeze between two lowish rocks barely more than a foot apart, put there to prevent vehicular entry. From there, we meandered our way down to the dry creek bed. The dog went for a customary bath in one of the low pools while Sunsmart and I crossed the rocks and headed up the hill.

Jess has a talent for finding unspeakable things on outings, usually in the form of old sections of skeleton with various crusty bits still attached. This is her with one of her favourite finds ever, coming up that hill. Enlarge the photo if you dare!


Happy Dog with Snack – Sleeman Creek Nature Reserve, Redmond Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr

This time, the dog was wet but thankfully not carrying any finds as she caught up with us.


Dog in Pretty Rural Scenery – Sleeman Creek Nature Reserve, Redmond Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr

There is a lovely view back over our valley from the hilltop, which we stopped to take in. You can see our house from there too. I really didn’t want to turn around and go home, but there was a birthday lunch to attend. And there’s always next time! I can’t wait to get back there with my horse and explore the back boundaries of the Reserve, where Brett and I have never gone on our hikes. Don’t you love Google Earth? And who knows what we will discover. I love trail riding.


Red Moon Sanctuary from Sleeman Creek Nature Reserve – Redmond Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr

Birthday food photos next time!


PS: Sorry about the font. Had lost this post twice due to various malfunctions and ended up pasting from word processor.
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Last edited by SueC; 03-26-2018 at 02:14 AM. Reason: Trying to find standard HF font!
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post #349 of 2378 Old 03-27-2018, 11:20 AM Thread Starter
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Moonlit Ride

The moon was coming up early this evening and I decided to do a moonlit loop around the back of our place after feeding the horses. It's a whole different feeling to ride by moonlight - and amazing just how much you can see, after your eyes have adjusted. The physiology behind that is fascinating, by the way:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptation_(eye)

Horses do it better than we do, but we're not bad at it ourselves.

The bush track on which I rode out was sand, and reflected wonderfully, throwing light all around. This is nice footing for moonlit night riding. We trotted on that kind of footing, but went back to a walk for the muddy, dark footing on the swamp track. It is a really meditative thing to ride by moonlight. When your vision is compromised, a lot of other senses turn up the volume. (That's why we get more out of music listening in the dark, especially on headphones!) So you really hear the crickets and other insects, and different frog calls, and various birds settling into their perches, and the high-pitched squeaks of the microbats as the come out to hunt. Nature just seems to breathe differently at night. I've liked going for bushwalks in the night since I was fourteen, and now that we're on our own place I've got lots of opportunities to ride at unusual times as well. The horse appeared to enjoy the experience too, and the dog was ecstatic as always. Will have to do it again soon!

Just going to post a shot of emus grazing amongst our horses last week. These guys are regular visitors and have gotten used to us and our daily business.


Emus and Horses I – Red Moon Sanctuary, Redmond, Western Australia
by Brett and Sue Coulstock, on Flickr
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post #350 of 2378 Old 03-27-2018, 11:31 AM
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A belated but very Happy Birthday wish for you. I so love reading through your threads, links and replies. A small strawbale studio for a test run here is still on my bucket list. The humidity makes me nervous but am thinking if I can get high and open I can get around that.
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