Musings of an everyday woman . . .

Reflections on living and loving life . . .

Update on “Baby Belle” February 16, 2010

Filed under: Baby!,Farm,Workhorses — everydaywomanusa @ 2:54 pm
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Our dear filly, Isabelle, sure has grown up in the last few months!  Here she is, at 7-1/2 months old, catching up quickly in size to her mother, Annabelle.

Remember her as a newborn in June, just a few short months ago?

Mom Annabelle has decided that baby Isabelle has nursed just about long enough and now pushes her away when she attempts to nurse.  Baby Belle is quite happy to gorge herself on grain and hay and really enjoys romping in the pasture with her Mom, and our Dapple-Gray Percheron, Vinny.

She was definitely “feeling her oats” on a recent, brisk day when we turned her out after too many snowed-in days in her barn, alongside Mom.  Isabelle was quite happy to kick up her heels in the snow, as you can see in this video . . .


The Big, The Little, and The “In-Between” July 27, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Farm,Workhorses — everydaywomanusa @ 9:04 am
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Another photo in the “cute” department . . .

Our baby filly, Isabelle, is now officially taller than our 18-year-old miniature horse, Whinny.  Although, actually, I think Baby Belle was actually already bigger than Whinny on the day she was born!

Although “petite,” (can you say that for an animal that’s as big around as she is tall?  I guess so b/c we do for people!), Whinny has the BIGGEST attitude and has been known to boss the huge workhorses around!

Do you have animals with an attitude?  Do share . . .


How Cute is This? July 26, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Family,Farm,Workhorses — everydaywomanusa @ 10:35 am
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My guy and “our baby” Isabelle, now four weeks old.  She just LOVES to have her neck scratched . . .


Obviously, they’re still “bonding,” aka “imprinting.”


“Are you taking pictures, again?” they both seem to say.


Isabelle’s main source of nutrition is still her mother, Annabelle, but as she ventures into new tastes, like grass in the pasture, or grain, she is so cute . . .


Baby Belle’s legs are still disproportionately long to her growing body and neck and she has to do this weird stance, bending her legs, to reach the ground.  She reminds me of a giraffe!

Do you have animals in your life who give you joy?


“Imprinting” AKA “Bonding” June 30, 2009

Filed under: Adventures,Animals,Family,Farm,Reflections,Workhorses — everydaywomanusa @ 3:58 pm
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I guess you could say  that everything people know they learned from animals–about bonding with newborns, that is.

I’ve always appreciated the importance of “bonding” with our newborn children and I felt the same way about “being there” with our newborn baby filly as soon as she was born.  Instinctively, I felt the need for my husband and me to bond with that filly, even though we aren’t the biological parents.  After all, her mother, Annabelle, gets all the credit for all the hard work she’s done with carrying and delivering her baby, and with what lies ahead for this single mother (as the father is in Michigan and never got to meet his offspring.)

Anyway, back to the bonding. . . I knew it was important, I didn’t know until just recently that there’s an actual word for it in the “horse world.”  It’s called “imprinting” and it’s vital to the newborn foal’s future relationship with people.  I admit we humans are only surrogate parents here, but we do want to do our part.  By the time we greeted our baby foal (still yet to be named, as we continue to seek the perfect fit!), she was already licked clean by her dear mother, nursed, and was walking around the stall. 

My husband, Al, bonding with our new filly.

My husband, Al, bonding with our new filly.

Horse experts say  that imprinting in the first days after birth is crucial.  This includes handling the foal, while always being cognizant of the mother horse’s anxiety level of those around her.  Using soft tones, you must hold the baby in an embrace, while it’s laying down, and stroke its ears  and handle its feet and gums, so that it’s comfortable later on when you need to clean and attend to these areas.  Horse people even say you should blow gently into the baby’s nostrils, so that it recognizes your breath and smell and feels comfortable with you.  If the mare is comfortable with you and how you handle her and her baby, then the baby also generalizes that people are good.

I’ve so enjoyed being a part of this process, although I’ll be the first to say that Annabelle and her new baby respond first and foremost to my dear husband and our children, who have always been directly involved in their care.  I must admit that sometimes I feel like a “third wheel,” more of someone who documents this incredible phase of life through pictures and words.  They’re the ones who actually do it.

I’m happy to say that all this imprinting is working.  Annabelle’s baby is adjusting to her new home so well and Annabelle is such an accomplished mother.  She is somewhat of an expert, as she’s delivered and cared for two previous foals before she came to live with us.   Annabelle came to us as an expectant mother and as already an expert in the matter!

"The fam" walks Annabelle and her baby out to the pasture.

"The fam" walks Annabelle and her baby out to the pasture.

Annabelle’s baby walks nicely with us, in her halter now, as long as dear Mom is nearby.  Annabelle also makes sure that she is always the one in charge, knowing where her baby is at all times.  When the baby is sleeping, Annabelle stands guard over her.  When people approach to visit, the baby will come up to the fence to greet them, and as I found yesterday, will even suck on your fingers in her effort to appease this oral stage.  She gets the idea that people are good.  We’re just protecting her from too much visiting by closely monitoring the time she spends–always with Mom–in public view.  But we’re all adjusting nicely, this new family of ours!

Annabelle stands guard over her sleeping baby.

Annabelle stands guard over her sleeping baby.

Our new filly, exercising her sucking reflex, on my fingers!

Our new filly, exercising her sucking reflex, on my fingers!


My Handsome Guys! May 17, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Family,Farm — everydaywomanusa @ 4:38 pm
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Just couldn’t resist snapping these pix the other day as my guys were taking care of our workhorses and new calf.


Jonathan’s leading our pair of Dapple Gray Percherons to the barn after they enjoyed a day of romping in the pasture.  Our original team were brothers,  named Bob and Duke.  These guys go by the names of Bill and Vinny, but I find myself reverting often to the names of our two orignals, who were truly the best.  In homage to then, I still call the new team, “Bob and Duke.”  That way, I don’t have to break the sad news of the of the original team’s passing, one by one, to the hordes of little ones who visit the farm daily.  As they age, Percherons change from a dappled gray to almost pure white.  Aren’t these guys handsome?


Here’s Nathaniel lovingly carrying a new Brown Swiss calf from his truck to make its home on our farm.  This little bull comes to us from a neighboring farm and we’re still looking for just the right name for him.   Any ideas for a fitting name for this cutey?

Oh, by the way, to all the twenty-somethings out there, the handsome guys with two legs are single—at least presently!


Annabelle Arrives!!! February 28, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Family,Farm — everydaywomanusa @ 9:12 pm
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It was dark and rainy when Annabelle finally arrived last night around 9:30 pm.  It was more than 15 hours for her to be trailered here from Michigan, but she arrived in great spirits and seemed none-the-worse for wear!


She is a beautiful Shire and she is HUGE!  She stand 18 Hands tall and has the longest “horse face” I’ve ever seen!


Here she is getting “tucked in” her stall late last night.  I didn’t want to startle her, so I took this without a flash.


See what I mean about a HUGE head?  She loves being brushed and devoured buckets of grain.  After all, she’s eating for TWO!
Dukie, Annabelle and Dad by Farmer's Daughter

Today, she enjoyed a stroll outside with my DH and Duke.

I guess we can be friends... by Farmer's Daughter

We introduced her to our Dapple-Grey Percherons, which went pretty well.

Annabelle and me by Farmer's Daughter

Our daughter, Abbie, led Annabelle, too . . . but I’m really not sure who was  leading who.

Annabelle and Nate by Farmer's Daughter

Our son, Nathaniel, took  ‘Belle for a spin, too.  They’re a good match.  Nate is 6’5″ and I think Annabelle may have a few inches on him!

Nathaniel and Annabelle by Farmer's Daughter

If all goes well, we’re planning on welcoming Annabelle’s baby in August, the first baby workhorse to be born on our farm.  Right now, she’s getting lots of pampering and whatever she wants as a new mamma-to-be.  Someone asked yesterday who would be making late-night runs for pizza, pickles, and ice cream, or whatever she desires and I’d have to say . . . anyone she wants!


We’re Having a Baby! February 26, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Family,Farm — everydaywomanusa @ 6:16 am
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. . . Baby Workhorse, that is!

OK, this may be a bit “premature,” but we’re pretty excited!  The mare in the above picture, who is a beautiful Shire Workhorse and stands 18 Hands tall, will be joining our farm family tomorrow!  Here, she’s pictured with a foal she had previously, on the day he was born.  Isn’t he cute?

Here’s another picture of this beautiful female Shire, showing her true black color in the winter, at her current home in Michigan.  Looks like she doesn’t mind the snow with that nice, thick coat.  Well, the good news is, she’s pregnant again, due to foal this summer . . . on our farm!

Here’s the “Daddy” . . . . .


He’s a magnificent, registered Premium Spotted Draft, who stands 18.2 Hands tall.  Can you imagine how beautiful–and big– their baby will be?

So, we’re eagerly awaiting “Mom’s” arrival on our farm tomorrow, and hoping she has a comfortable ride here, which is about a 12-hour drive.  Then, of course, we’re hoping for a very healthy, happy pregnancy.  We’re also thinking baby names, but, yes, that is a bit premature!!!  It’s always been my husband’s dream to raise a workshorse from the baby stage, here on our farm.  Although we’ve had two teams of Percherons (a triple-team at one time!), we’ve always gotten them as adults.  Kind of like always getting a grown dog, never a puppy.  You know how cute puppies are!!!

We also need to decide if we should keep the mare’s current name or adapt it in some way.  We really have to meet her first!  She’ll be welcomed by our current team of dapple-grey Percherons . . .

. . . as well as  Duke, our Golden Retriever . . .


and our mini-horse, Whinny . . .

I’ll keep you “posted!”


Favorite Superbowl Commercials February 1, 2009

Filed under: Entertainment,Family,Humor — everydaywomanusa @ 7:15 am
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My favorite “super” scenes always center around the Budweiser Clydesdales, more for the wondrous horses and much less for the beer!

That’s probably because they remind me so much of our own Percheron workhorses,  Bob and Duke, now in their retirement years.

One of my all-time favorites is when the dalmation puts Clydesdale  “Hank” through training to become a member of the coveted team, to the theme of “Rocky” music.  You can view that at:

What’s your favorite Superbowl commercial?  Will you be watching this year?  I’ll be watching–I hate to say–mostly for the newly released commercials and to see what “our horses” are up to this year!  Food is always a big part of the game, too.  I’ll be preparing a veritable smorgasbord for my family this year as usual.

Please leave a comment on your fave scene and check back post-game, too, to leave a comment on your new favorites!