July 31, 2009

Winery Tours

Have been meaning to blog about Thursdays winery tours, but things got in the way and I have not been able to get up on the computer! In any event, it is Saturday, Terry and Brandon are in the other side of the state doing a wedding, and I am taking a break from the dreaded "T" word - TAXES. So, here are a few pictures from the two groups we had on Thursday. If you would like to learn more about our winery tours with the neighboring vineyard, click on the title to this blog and it will take you to our web page. Always a joy to be doing winery tours!

Between tours - Terry takes a break in the shade with Danny & Dakota. The last picture in this blog shows Danny & Dakota after a bath - the day was sunny & hot and the cool water felt good!

July 28, 2009

Lincoln & Michael

Sunday we hooked up Lincoln (R) with our friends' horse, Michael (L). Our friend Dale is shown driving a team for the first time, and did a wonderful job!

July 27, 2009

Driving Dolly & Lincoln

Although I spent the first half of the day driving Blue Slope's horses for wagon rides through the farm, Terry and I thought it would be nice to take Dolly & Lincoln into the trails at Blue Slope this afternoon. Blue Slope Country Museum is also a dairy farm consisting of 385 acres of corn fields and woodlands. There are six miles of carriage trails (many of which Terry helped to make) and it is a wonderful place to exercise horses away from street traffic. Could not have asked for a more beautiful summer evening!

Photos: Top: Me driving up through lot 11.
Middle: Ernie, Blue Slope's owner, called Terry on his cell while we were in the woods - his tractor was broke down in the back corn fields and needed parts. We drove the horses back down to the work shop, got what we needed, then climbed the hill and nearly swam through flooded fields to rescue Ernie!
Bottom: Terry, on our way back down again.

July 26, 2009

Cinderella Carriage

One of our favorite types of events is a "Quinceannera", which is a sweet 15 for Hispanic girls. This is a very elaborate ritual, one taken very seriously. It celebrates the girl's transition into womanhood, and we have yet to participate in one that does not rival, let alone surpass, even the most outrageously expensive weddings. When following tradition, the girl has 16 attendants: 7 girls, 7 boys, a very young girl, and a girl in her pubescent years. Each attendant is dressed to the nines, no differently from a wedding party. The procession from the girl's home to the church and/or reception hall is long and noisy - cars blare Spanish music, honking horns, ignoring all traffic laws! For this particular Quince on Saturday in Worcester, MA, we were escorted by a yellow Porsche, with another very fancy, tricked out car of indeterminate lineage speeding into the four-ways to stop traffic, regardless of the traffic lights. It all seemed to work flawlessly, however.

For this Quince we used the pumpkin carriage provided by Magical Affaires, a party planner in Rhode Island. Duke & Diesel pulled it. Although most girls celebrating a Quinceannera wear white like a bride, this girl wore a very ornate blue gown (blue is also a very traditional color for this event) - her attendants wore white instead. The two girls shown in this picture around the birthday girl, one in white & blue the other in red & white, were the traditional two "younger" girls - they represent the birthday girl's past. Click on the pictures in this blog to enlarge them.

Dolly Gets New Shoes

Dolly came back from New Hampshire with very long feet, so Friday we had the farrier, Matt Lewis, shoe her, Danny & Dakota. Because Dolly has such good feet, and she won't be doing heavy road work until the fall, we decided to leave her back feet bare. Monday Dolly & Lincoln will be worked together as a team, in the woods.

With the shoe removed, you can see how long Dolly's feet grew. The notch in the front is where the toe clip goes to help keep the shoe on. This is standard when shoeing working draft horses. The next photo shows the foot after it has been completely shod.

Cedar Knoll Prison Blues

This is what happens when you continually duck under the fence and wander around the yard - lock down! We will make adjustments to the "juice" today so that escaping under the fence becomes less enjoyable to Cyrus!

July 23, 2009


Stepped out of the shower this morning, looked out the window, and saw Cyrus, our biggest horse, eating grass on the back lawn. For the second day in a row he has ducked under the electric fence to cause mischief in our barnyard!

July 22, 2009

Dolly is Back!

Dolly, our black Percheron mare, is back from New Hampshire, where she has been the last month to be bred! She looks fantastic, and she took to her old paddock with Danny & Dakota like she had never left our farm. We are excited to have her back, and we will start working her again tomorrow. Meanwhile, the three horses mentioned in the previous blog have sold to the same farm up in New Hampshire.

We had the chance to see, and photograph, our momma deer and her baby this evening while feeding. (I don't have a CLUE what the blue mark is above the doe's head!)

Speaking of does: our Nigerian goat, the one that ate a poisonous plant and has been sick the last few days, seems to be coming around again. She is eating a little, and looks more alert. She had been bred a few months ago, but I have concerns she may abort. Time will tell, but meanwhile she is by herself in a box stall, staying warm, dry and comfortable.

July 21, 2009

Sale Horses

Terry brought back three riding horses/ponies yesterday for the "sales" page of our website. Each one stands about a hand taller than the next, and each is chestnut in color. Most importantly, they all have very sweet personalities. Seeing them standing side by side in the straight stalls of our barn brings me a certain sense of satisfaction!

July 19, 2009

Filming a Documentary

One of our favorite things about our business is sharing our draft horses with the rest of the world. Today we were given the opportunity to do this by way of film in a documentary that will hopefully appear on PBS about the horse and our relationship with him throughout history. We played our part both by working a team (Duke & Diesel) in the woods logging, and putting them to one of our vis-a-vis carriages for a ride to the vineyard. We are not certain at this point when it will air, but we may be filming more farm related imagery in the future. We will keep you posted.

After returning tonight, we had quite a crowd waiting for us - John & Melissa Lavoie with a Mammoth Jack going to PA in the morning, and Posie and Earl Clements to pick up their peacocks. We, of course, got our new peacocks, too. I hope to get pictures of these sweet little babies in the next couple of days and will post them at that time. Meanwhile, enjoy the pictures from today.

Photo: top: Filmaker Diane Dowling films Terry as he harnesses for the days work.

Middle: Terry in the woods, after logging.

Bottom: Our "film crew" - Mary, Steve & Diane, after a lovely lunch at Heritage Trail Vineyards.

July 18, 2009

Logging with Horses

The afternoon shaped up to be a busy one after the morning chores and the farrier's visit. We took the kids to Buttonwoods to see the "Sunflowers for Wishes" and, in spite of our disappointment that they were developmentally behind in growth this year and not in bloom, enjoyed the ice cream tremendously. When we got back I saddled up Gillette and took him across the street into the woods, to take a look at the condition of the logging road and the logs that were cut for us to move this weekend. Terry later took Duke out bareback, then we harnessed Duke & Diesel and logged with them. Tomorrow will be another very busy day with logging and a winery tour late in the afternoon.

Photos: Top & Middle: Terry moves a long log with Duke & Diesel up to our wood pile behind the house.

Bottom: Danny & Dakota, after a rambunctious gallop, investigate the noisy tree trunk following Duke & Diesel.

Diesel Gets a New Foot

Our best team, Duke & Diesel, have the worst feet. I once heard a very well known Percheron breeder say, "If I could only get a horse with Percheron legs and Belgian feet, I would have a perfect horse" - and he was so right. Percherons are notorious for bad feet, and Duke & Diesel, half brothers, are the perfect example of imperfect genetics.

It seems the older they get, the worse it gets. Diesel just had his shoes done but a few weeks ago, and already the epoxy on his back feet has fallen off, leaving him with barely half a hoof. Both Duke & Diesel have such brittle feet, that our farrier regularly needs to add acrylic to the walls of their feet to build them up. Although this is a common trait in Percherons, Duke & Diesel are an extreme case.

What else do we do to help prevent further damage to their feet? In the summer months, when flies are bad, they are stabled in the day, heavily fly-sprayed. This keeps them from stomping all day from the insects. They are then turned out at night in the back pasture, where the ground is soft and there aren't as many rocks. We apply a hoof dressing each day, particularly to the coronet band, to promote healthy growth (naturally, a year must go by for the hoof to grow out completely). We tried a supplement called "Farrier's Formula" for the last year, but it has been a waste of money (at $165/40lb bucket, you bet we have stopped giving them that).

Matt Lewis, our farrier, agrees that the best thing to do is be vigilant and not let them go too long between shoeing.

Photos: Top: Terry and Matt preparing the epoxy to go on Diesel's hind foot.

Middle: Once the epoxy dries, Matt rasps the foot as if it was natural horn.

Bottom: The final result. The tan color area of Diesel's foot is the epoxy.

July 17, 2009

Schooling for Alice the Donkey

We had the chance to stop by and visit our friends at Blue Hill Heritage Farm today. The donkey we sold them, Alice, is doing very, very well! She obviously feels right at home with the many other donkeys at the farm, and is even being taught to "coon jump"! John & Melissa, the owners of the farm, will be training her to harness soon. We are so happy that Alice is with them, as we know she is happy and will live up to her full potential there!

Earlier today we drove Blue Slope's girls to the 4-H camp down the road. We needed to test their response to a very large and noisy water fountain in the camp's pond. We will be doing a "mock" wedding with them next Wednesday and didn't want any unpleasant surprises. We have confidence they will be good girls.

This weekend a film crew will come to Cedar Knoll Farm to film us working our horses for a documentary. We will be sure to let our followers know how things go afterward.

John from Blue Hill Heritage farm is shown here with one of his very well behaved driving donkeys.

Pictured below: Alice has befriended the farm's youngest donkey, a 4 month old jack.

July 16, 2009

Brandon, Jackie & Gillette

Brandon with his girlfriend Jackie riding Gillette last Saturday. Finally, he sends me the picture...

July 15, 2009

Busy Day for Cedar Knoll Horses!

Some times, you just have to sit back and remember why it is that you got into an equine profession to begin with - it is the time spent with horses! Today was no exception for us, both doing a job and taking pleasure in being around our horses and other people with theirs.

The winery tour was for us, as usual, a very pleasant ride with very pleasant customers. It is, without doubt, one of our favorite offerings.

Sometimes, though, taking a much needed break from the "usual" is both refreshing physically, as well as for the soul. Such was the nature of our trail ride this morning with friends Darlene, Ashley, Mary Jane & Mike. Pachaug, the state forest in Voluntown that is very horse friendly, simply sparkled in the sunlight. All the horses were well behaved (well, "water hazards" were a bit of a challenge) and very tolerant of each other. These are the days that leave us with "remember when?...".
The view from Gillette's back - I am learning that he prefers to follow the crowd, rather than lead.

The riding party: Darlene on Q, Terry on Cyrus, Ashley on Charlie, Mike and Mary Jane on their horses.

Terry with Gillette & Cyrus, just resting.

July 13, 2009

Heading for the Back Pasture

The trek to the back pasture every morning and night to move horses can be tiring, especially now that we are having to bring water and hay each time. To make life easier, we are implementing our 40 hp New Holland tractor to move, well, a two horse power team. Duke & Diesel willingly follow me in this picture, and are later seen devouring their second cut alfalfa/grass bale in the already baron pasture. Soon enough, if we don't continually rotate between the three paddocks, the back pasture, which is about two acres, will look like the top paddocks, such as Danny & Dakota's.

July 12, 2009

Riding on a Sunny Day

Another sunny day and we took advantage of it by riding Gillette. It was Brandon's idea, as he wanted to take pictures of his girlfriend, Jackie, riding. After riding him bareback through the pasture, I saddled him and went down the street. We have plans to do more riding with Gillette and Cyrus during our "down time". Gillette sure is a good riding horse! We are considering using him in "Barat" weddings under saddle as well as in harness.

July 10, 2009

A Tearfull "Farewell" to Norman Blessing

It is with deep regret that we inform all you faithful friends and followers that we made the decision to put Norman down today. Both front coffin bones had come through and our vet, Dr. Sanchez from Tufts, agreed there was very little that could be done. We want to thank Dr. Sanchez and his assistants for their thorough, kind and humane way in which they handled this terrible situation. These photos should speak for themselves. Norman, we will miss you terribly.

Alice the Donkey

Yesterday Alice, our grey roan standard donkey, went to our friend's at Heritage Farm in Franklin. They have LOTS of donkeys, including mammoths. We know Alice will be very, very happy there, and we look forward to seeing her romp in their vast fields each day!

This farm also has rare and beautiful chickens and birds, including Peacocks. We will be bringing home some of the new babies next week. We look forward to having a gorgeous display of color next year!

July 8, 2009

Terry Cultivating with Horses

Terry spent the last three days in PA. These photos show him cultivating a menonite friend's pumpkin patch (five acres worth!). The horses are a Percheron gelding (off) and a Belgian mare (near). The Percheron is his friend's steady - the Belgian is a sale horse. Call us if interested!

Norman the foundered horse is the same, which means he gives the appearance of doing pretty good. He has a hardy appetite, drinks well, looks for carrots every morning, and nibbles on my pony tail when I muck his stall. Mike & Beth from Lisbon Country Stables visit him every day, treating his sores. They have donated some shavings for his stall, too. They have become very dedicated to Norman, which is wonderful to see. I continue to hope that the vet will utter the sounds of a miracle from his lips on Friday.