Friendship

Horse Farm Labor is Our Second Job, Finding the help you Need.

     Tom and I  travel to so many farms during the year that we hear some of the same complaints at every stop. Frist there are not enough well-trained Farriers and second that finding farm workers, caretakers and horse handlers is almost impossible. Thiers reasons for both of these problems and some of it has to do with economics. Frist, Low pay for the hard work  sends many into town and second, farmers are not  good at  letting people know that they need or want help. 

Tom leading horse to pasture

Tom leading horse to pasture

Tom putting shoes on Oat

Tom putting shoes on Oat

 If you have a problem on a horse farm the best two things you can do is let your farm community know what kind of  help you are looking for. Farm stores have bulletin boards, clubs have news letters, and friends have kids these are all great ways to get the word out the you need a helping hand around the farm.  Pay well and often, everyone loves payday and even the kid who cleans out the barn needs paid before he leaves for the day.  

 Over the years of showing, raising and training horse I have worked for several farms in my area. Yes, I shoveled horse poop for a living. Not glamorous work but it beat the rat race any day. I received fair pay, always about double what minimum wage was at the time.  Farm work is hard, dirty and at times stressful. To modern kids Micky D’s is a lot easier and pays better than most farm jobs. Keep this in mind when you are looking to put up hay in 90 degree weather with a 5 am in starting time and that kid at Micky D’s is making 9 dollars and hour.If you want them you will have to pay them.

      This also is true for your Farrier, if you own a horse part of owning that animal is occasional foot care. Most farriers charge a standard rate for trims/ shoe/or resets. Pay your bill promptly and you will have a good relationship with him, wait to long or try to haggle the price and you will be looking for a new one very quickly. If you are not able to afford to pay everyone cash remember that some people are open to barter for services. I have  mucked stalls for riding lessons and Tom has trimmed horses  for hay. Just be clear about what you need and what you have to offer. We have always been happen when we worked out a deal.

 I also do sitting for several horse farms. We all need a vacation now and then. Sometimes families  just go to the fair and other times families need to head out for an emergency, it is this short periods of time that I help out on the farm.

Squaw and dancer

Squaw and dancer

I find that there is a real need for farm families to leave  a few head of horses, a couple of dogs and cat alone for a few days. The horses really need people who understand them if you are going watch them and the time to care for them is pretty labor intensive. I find the best way to find some one who can help, is asking your other horse friends, farriers and farm stores. I get asked all the time because my husbands farrier business. We both are willing  and able to help with animal care. The rate that we get  to come to your farm and care for your horses is not  much less then you would pay to a stable them while you are away. So with each additional horse we charge an additional fee. I find this the fairest way to charge for my time and gas. This way I can keep my rate the same from farm to farm. This makes everyone pay the same and no one gets up set over changes in pricing. The biggest difference is that the horses are at home in their own stalls with their feed and water and no hauling needed. It’s to the advantage of my clients that they do not have to stress the animal while they are away. 

  No matter what type of labor you need for  your farm, remember to just get the word out that you need a farrier, a farm sitter, a person to help string fence. They are their and if you pay them fairly they will be willing to come back and work for you over and over. It is worth building these kinds of relationships because over time you never know who it will be to help out. I never thought that Tom being a farrier would over flow to farm sitting and that I would be working with some many wonderful families and their animals.

Farm that I sit for while the owners are out of town and one of their walking horses

Farm that I sit for while the owners are out-of-town and one of their walking horses

 I hope that my friends Ron and Marylyn have had a great trip and that they feel confident that their horses were in good care while they were away. It is always fun to spend time on their farm and we love doing it.

Categories: Farm work, Farming, Farrier work., Friendship, horse health, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Farm Familes Pull Together in Hard Times

  One reason I find rural life so wonderful is how  farm families support each other. You hear about it everyday in my community. It is not a passing trend or a story of past generations. It is  here and now,  alive and thriving in West Virginia.

Ed WaltZ riding Jasper down main street

Ed Waltz riding Jasper down main street

   Currently a family friend is in the hospital and sadly not recovering from surgery the way we all hoped. Ed is a fighter,strong and stubborn, so as I write this I am sure that he is fighting to recover totally from this long process.Yet,  his wife travels back and forth from Ruby Memorial hospital in Morgantown to their home in Weston daily. The drive is around a 2 hour round trip and is long and expensive to do every day. She is also now the sole worker on their small farm. But, they have a hidden support system,  those in the back ground who keep the farm running. 

   Today, Ed and Dottie’s farm animals need fed and watered, horses need put out to pasture, grass needs mowing. The farm has over a dozen animals that need daily care and someone has to do it while Ed is unable to. This is a night mare that every animal owner fears…If some thing happens to me ,who will care for my horse, dog, cattle or goats?  Most of us have at least have some family that can help out, but what happens when they can’t or don’t really understand the care of large animals like horses? This is when what I call “Farm Family” comes in.

    “Farm Family” are the neighbors, the trail ridding friends, the Vet. techs, the Farrier and the boys from the next farm that step in. They all have been their, they understand that a farm is not just a pasture full of cows grazing in a field.  At times it is an over whelming burden, because the animals need tended, huge gardens need worked, hay need mowing, tractors need fixed, fence needs mended, and at times children who need supervision.

   As a member of this “Farm Family” group I have both the given and received from this unsaid promise. The promise that” I was not alone, no matter what!” Their was always someone who answered the phone at 1 am and would listen to my story of a sick or dying animal. That other “Farm Family” member was their to give advice, share medication, tools or just give me a shoulder to cry on, when I could not call my mother. It is an understanding that I have never found anywhere else.

    So when I found out that my friend was sick and the extreme nature of the situation Tom and I asked if their was anything that we could do? What did hey need? The answer was not money, food or laundry it was a simple request… “Could you all come and put  a round bail out for the horses? The breaks are bad on the tractor and I don’t  use it. The boy next door is feeding the dogs,ducks and horses every morning, but he is not able to get hay out into the pasture”..Our responce was a united “Oh course”. This gesture may mean nothing to someone on the outside of farming. But, for anyone who has had 6 head of horses and no way to get hay to them, they will understand that we just gave Dottie a huge gift.

Ed and Dottie

Ed and Dottie

Tom and Ed have been friends for almost 8 years now and Tom has been Ed’s Farrier for about as long. We have helped them get horses and trailers, we have followed their grandchildren through school and shared a nip of moonshine with on the front porch. We are more to them then some hired contractor who shows up to work and the horses and they are more than a costumer base to us… they are ‘Farm Family’.

I  am  richer, because “when the  Cow Pie hits the fan” I know that I can count on having another “Farm Family” member there to help clean up the mess. Here in my town we still care about our neighbors. We try hard to share what we have, and do what we can to relive the suffering of people and animals all around us.We all realise that one day it will be our turn  having trouble getting things done on the farm. But, we will be able count on others to help us get through the hard times. No money is ever exchanged, nothing but a heart-felt “thank you” is ever given. There is no price on kindness, friendship, or understanding. You reap what you sow …. and “Farm Families” know that if you sow the very best of yourself then when it is your darkest hour, you will reap more kindness then you can ever image. 

With this post I add my best wishes to Ed Waltz’s recovery and support to Dottie Waltz… We are here for you any time  and we will see you when you are feeling better, Gods speed.

               Yours always, Jolynn

Categories: Friendship, health, West Virginia | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Five Random In Door Facts Friday

When ever I have time I love blog hopping with Nancy Claeys,

“A Rural Journal”    five facts friday.http://www.nancyclaeys.com/blog

 Today I am a home body with a Virus. Yea, just when the weather is nice I can’t go out side… so here are my                 five indoor facts friday.

1. I love to take photos of old buildings and while my husband is working hard on customers horses, I am always looking around to take photos on their farms or near by property. Today while inside I am going to learn some more creative editing tools from Nancy’s pages.

snowy hunting shack

snowy hunting shack

2.  Another of my favorite  indoor activities is baking.I can cook, but find that making cakes, pies, muffins and cookies is much more satisfying for me.  Today I will be lucky to make toast… but you get the idea.

old fahion stack cake.. appircote and orange

old fashion stack cake.. apricots and orange

3. Another favorite in-door activity is going to my local library for a monthly book club meeting.. I wish I had more to read these days but joining with other people who like to read has kept me  motivated. I also love this building and it is a pleasure to see it all the time.

Louise Bennett Memorial Library

Louise Bennett Memorial Library

4. I also love to have company and visit with friends … we do an open door sunday dinner almost every weekend where any one who is free can stop by and eat. So times that means just a couple and sometimes that means ten… love it!

Grandbaby Paige and I making dinner for the crrew

Grandbaby Paige and I making dinner for the crew

5. But my favorite in-door or out-door activity is spending time with my best friend Natalie…

love spending time with my best friend Natalie

love spending time with my best friend Natalie

 
http://www.nancyclaeys.com/blog

Categories: cakes and family deserts, family fun, Five Facts Friday, Friendship, Louis Bennett Library, Photos | Tags: , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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