Thursday, September 8, 2016

Healthy Soils = Healthy Animal Feed

September already!  There is a slight chill at night and the leaves are starting to change.  With these early hints that winter is approaching, my thoughts turn to next year's pasture and browse.  Soils fed in fall have all winter to rest, rebalance and rebuild.

The soil in pastures is alive with various organisms, including the forage or crop growing on/in it. These complex living systems have biological processes very similar to human or animal bodies, right down to the preferred pH.   I find it fascinating that as the soil becomes more mineralized the pH of the soil becomes more alkaline, just as it would in a healthy human body.  The soil has circulation, nutrients, waste products, life cycles - all the functions of a body.  All the components are interconnected, and there are synergistic (enhancing) and antagonistic (supressing) relationships between the components.

If you can view your land as a living organism, you can enhance health and increase production. Please, avoid the conventional N-P-K model.  This approach to soils leads to nitrogen-addicted imbalanced soils and low-nutrient pastures.

There are many ways to make soil healthier.  I have gathered up various tidbits and tips and links to give you some starting points for your research.  I encourage you to muscle test or dowse your possible approaches to find what best suits your land.

If you only invest in one book about soils, I highly recommend Eco Farm by Charles Walters.
If you are going to buy 2 books, add Weeds, Control Without Poisons by Charles Walters.
I also suggest learning all you can about the Albrecht Model of soil fertility.  Here is a simple starting article.  Albrecht's papers and talks are available on Amazon and from Acres USA.

I also encourage you to look into radionics and broadcast towers.  I did a brief summary of both, with related links, here.  The government cracked down on these a few years back, so information can be tricky to find.

Your first step, before applying any fertilizer, is to analyze your soil.
http://www.turfdiag.com/InterpretSoilTestReport.htm How To Interpret A Soil Test by Steve Frack. This is a fairly conventional discussion with good descriptions of the various components of a soil test

An excellent soil test service is Western Laboratories in Idaho.   Contact me please for their phone number.

There are many foods for soils.  In general, I believe fertilizers should be plant-based or contain chelated minerals for the best results.  There are many many sources of healthy fertilizer.

Fertilizers can be made from sea vegetation.   Wachters sells seaweed-based fertilizer that can also be used to bring up sodium and iodine levels in soils.  You can do an internet search to find other sea vegetation fertilizers.

www.seaagri.com has some interesting information about seawater and sea salt fertilizer. There are lots of great links on this website, and information about how seawater works on soil.  Keep in mind that seawater these days can be very polluted, so please muscle test or dowse any product you are considering.
[At Oak Hill, natural trace mineral salt applied at 2 pounds/acre tested well]

http://www.albionplantnutrition.com/  has a lot of information about chelated minerals. Albion and their founder, Ashmead, are the original chelate innovators, and a great place to learn the basics.

Composted manure is another fertilizer option.  Generally, if you are applying composted manure, the best application time is early fall.  You may want to consult The Old Farmer's Almanac for more precise spreading dates.  Check your manure source.  Manure from farms that use chemical wormers or herbicides may contaminate your soil.

Zeolite is a possible addition to a fertilizer program.  It holds moisture and also traps toxins.  Here are some zeolite resources:
http://midwestzeolite.com/AGRICULTURE.html
http://www.bearriverzeolite.com/agricultural_uses.htm

An important note about green (fresh uncomposted) manure:  Green manure is very high in potassium.  If you use green manure you may need to add a bit of sodium (sea salt or mined mineral salt) to your soils to balance the potassium.  Epsom salts/magnesium chloride are commonly suggested as a remedy.  However, magnesium can harden soils.

If your soils test as acidic or low in calcium, you may be told to add lime.  Before adding lime, consider your soil type.  Calcium can be added as dolomitic lime (magnesium carbonate), calcium carbonate, or gypsum (calcium sulfate dihydrate).  Choosing the wrong calcium can harden your soils or create a mineral imbalance.  Gypsum raises calcium and sulfur levels without affecting pH. http://www.gypsoil.com/news-and-events/gypsum-and-lime
http://onpasture.com/2014/06/02/when-to-use-lime-gypsum-and-elemental-sulfur/
[Oak Hill does best with gypsum, as we have low calcium, high iron, high clay soil]

Now that you have a sense of direction for your soil-wellness research, go forth and learn!  Your land will thank you.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Humility & Horses

In my experience, there is no better teacher of humility than a horse.

IF you have a heart open to hearing.

This point was driven home for me the other day by my mare Sugar.

Sugar (Miss Doc Alena) is a wonderful cutting mare who came into my life around the time I was first learning to hear the horses speak to me.  She and I had bonded well, and on the ground, she is very much my friend and companion.

On her back, well, that was another matter.  I just haven't quite been "clicking" with her.  And I was a bit stumped about why.

She has loads of training in her background.  She was super smooth and super sensitive when I rode her before bringing her home.

My first clue that maybe I was missing something, was her reaction to the bitless bridle compared to wearing a bit.  I figured she would enjoy going without a bit.  I mean, after all, who wouldn't, right???
Wrong.

Sugar likes her bit.  Her whole expression softens.  Put a hackamore on her, and she is tense, no matter how padded the nose.  I just wasn't listening, because I had made my mind up that I knew best.


I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that it took me this long to figure out what was wrong.  I was still getting on her with an attitude of "I'm the teacher, you are the student."  Even knowing that Lucky, my Arabian, had already insisted on giving me lessons about how to use my seat, somehow I just didn't stop and think that maybe Lucky was pointing out that my skills aren't quite as good as I thought they were.  

So I was getting on Sugar, and thinking, I'll do some basic bending, and some yields, and start to show her the different types of rein (direct, indirect).  Maybe ask her to yield her hindquarters or open her shoulders.

Sugar was not amused.

So a couple days ago, I had my new-to-me Bob Marshall treeless to try out (this one has the setback stirrups) and my new-to-me SaddleRight pad (I had been using a Skito).  I tacked her up, mounted, and as soon as I started asking for some movement I started to get attitude from her. Nothing mean, nothing strong enough to dump me, just unhappy and cranky.

I started to cue Sugar for a move - maybe it was opening her shoulder? - and suddenly we were spinning. After finding my balance again, I thought, "well gee, she didn't understand" so I changed my cue a bit.  And I got a quick light sidepass.  I almost fell off.  Then I started laughing, and I'm still grinning as I type this.  She was trying to tell me all along, she already knows this stuff, and more.  It's me that needs to learn how to ride her.  
Taken at that moment that I finally understood her message
The instant that thought crossed my mind and settled in my heart, her attitude changed.  She calmed. She softened.  I felt a clear sense of relief from her that finally her person is getting "it".  She's got it covered.  She knows what to do.  My job is to learn to stay with her, and learn to lend her confidence and courage when faced with something scary.

Since that ride, our relationship has deepened.  She comes to me more often.  She comes to me and relaxes and sighs.  And chews.  And falls asleep.

I'm very excited, and perhaps a bit daunted as well, to see what she will teach me about riding a highly-trained sensitive cutting horse.

So, if you are ever feeling a bit overconfident and need a dose of humility, open your heart and listen to your horse.  Amazing things can result!

PS - If you are wondering how we liked the new style of Bob Marshall, for riding her, my more forward-set stirrups on my other Bob Marshall seem to suit us both better.  The SaddleRight pad we both like.






Saturday, May 14, 2016

Fencing at Oak Hill

I'm in the process of updating all the fencing, so this is a great time to revisit the principles and materials.  For those new to this blog, we are fencing in goats and horses and a livestock guardian dog, and fencing out stray dogs and predators.

There are five types of fences at Oak Hill:
The perimeter  fence is permanent and keeps all the animals from leaving the property, and keeps predators from entering.  This fence must be goat and horse proof, and strong.
The fence that divides the runways and pastures  must be horse and goat proof but does not have to contain the livestock dog and keep predators out. The goats are not allowed in the same encloser with the horses, as they could get trampled by a horse by accident.
The third type of fence surrounds the goat pens and must be goat and predator proof.
The fourth type of fence encloses the horse corrals.
The fifth type of fence is used for intensive rotation grazing.  It must be portable and goat proof.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Week 3 of the Chair Challenge from Carolyn Resnick




Third week of Carolyn Resnick's Chair Challenge!

I'm taking an online class with Carolyn Resnick called the Chair Challenge.  I have used her methods before a bit with the herd, and love learning more from her.  She's my favorite conscious horsemanship teacher. When the special offer showed up in my Inbox to do the Chair Challenge, I jumped at the opportunity. Carolyn talks more about the importance of sitting with horses here.  I suggest reading about the weeks in order, starting with week 1.

Day 10 - Day 13
Rather than write each day separately, I'm recording overall impressions, results, and changes.  Both in me and in the horse herd.  Some particular quotes and insights particularly struck me this week.

From Carolyn herself  "I found the formula into the horses' world. It was simple; it was my job to wait for the horses to respond and acknowledge my presence. I had to be in a proper state of bliss..."

Bliss.  How often have I felt bliss?  And when/where/why?  This thought really got me pondering.  I realized that bliss for me is timeless.  It is present time only.  It has happened most often outdoors.  Most often when there were no distractions, just an appreciation for the moment.  And the bliss was ecstatic.  Sometimes just peaceful.  A knowing.  If this is how horses live every moment, wow.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tea time for the goats - bye bye parasites

I am using a new approach to herbal deworming for my goat herd this spring.

We are having a daily tea party.

Kristie Miller at Land of Havilah gave me the idea, as she has been using it successfully with her herd of dairy goats, and sells the herbal blend that can be brewed into goat tea.

You can read more about Kristie's tea here.

I currently have 19 adults plus all the kids, so while I CAN do individual doses at tie stations, having an approach that addresses the entire herd at once is a real time-saver.  Also, I only deworm when they have parasite stress.  In my herd, that is typically once or twice a year at most.   I will add that using a stainless steel or glass container to steep would be even better, and using distilled water is better than spring or tap.  I used what I had on hand.

So, here is how I have been hosting the tea parties at Oak Hill.  I waited until it was 2 days before the full moon to start.  Every morning I bring water almost to a boil, and pour about a teakettle worth of water over 1 cup of the herbal blend.  I let it steep in a small feed bucket while I start my other chores.

Steeping.  
After 15 minutes of steeping I stir it up and divide it evenly between three 5 gallon buckets.  I then add plain cold water to fill each of those buckets.  I put one bucket in the bucks' trough, and 2 buckets in the does' trough. Then I add another 5 gallons of plain water to the bucks, and another 10 to the does.

Doe trough.  20 gallons of water, including the steeped tea slurry.
In the mid afternoon, I check to see that they have drunk most or all of it.  Then I add more cold water right into the trough stirring back up the herbal slurry from that morning.  The next morning, I dump the trough out, and start fresh with that morning's new brew.
Truffle having her tea

After some wrinkled noses and funny faces, everyone seems to have adjusted to the taste.  Some love it, and gulp it right down.  Others are a bit more reluctant.  Everyone is getting a share though, even the very young kids.

Once we finish all 5 days, I will wait a week or so, then muscle test to see if anyone needs some individual dosing to finish the process.  If I do any individual dosing, I will switch to my favorite herbal blend, which is different that the Land Of Havilah tea blend.

Want to learn how to muscle test or dowse for what best addresses parasites in your goats?
Interested in more parasite prevention strategies?




These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.





Friday, April 15, 2016

Week 2 of chair & reed training with Carolyn Resnick




Second week of Carolyn Resnick's Chair Challenge!

I'm taking an online class with Carolyn Resnick called the Chair Challenge.  I have used her methods before a bit with the herd, and love learning more from her.  She's my favorite conscious horsemanship teacher. When the special offer showed up in my Inbox to do the Chair Challenge, I jumped at the opportunity. Carolyn talks more about the importance of sitting with horses here.  I suggest reading about the weeks in order, starting with week 1.

Day 6
Explored their territory from my chair.
Using only the senses I can use while sitting, I tuned in to everything around me while sitting with them.  In my daily chores, I often get so focused on what I'm doing that I forget about "being".  I had forgotten how many sounds and smells there are, the breeze, the birds, the animals, the crunch of the gravel when I move my feet. I found myself feeling more connected with my surroundings.  Later, when I was working, I slowed down and appreciated more.

Day 7
Today I got to read a book.  I planned to read my new purchase about raising and training foals, as Malenna is pregnant.  I ended up catching up on Facebook posts.  I'm curious to experiment and see if they prefer when I read a printed book versus play with an electronic device...  I'll test that out next week.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Train your horse with only a chair and a reed


Doing Carolyn Resnick's Chair Challenge! First week of experiences

I'm taking an online class with Carolyn Resnick called the Chair Challenge.  I have used her methods before a bit with the herd, and love learning more from her.  She's my favorite conscious horsemanship teacher. When the special offer showed up in my Inbox to do the Chair Challenge, I jumped at the opportunity. Carolyn talks more about the importance of sitting with horses here.

Day 1
Explored their territory.
They were curious.  They have seen me do this before so no huge revelations.  I did get almost a sense that they found it reassuring for my to inspect their areas at sunset.  Malenna came over and hung out with me.  T followed me for a bit.  I made sure to stop at manure piles, handle the hay, ruffle the water surface, and get into each corner.  I'm going to make this a nightly routine around dusk whenever possible.

Day 2
Time to introduce reed, make sure they are brave with the reed, and use the reed to move them out of my space.  I am using a very thin, very flexible short branch off a poplar tree for now.  I'd love to find some local willow or wild reeds to harvest.  I'm keeping my eyes open for some.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Kidding season at Oak Hill is underway! Adorable kid video!

Kidding season is partway finished.  9 kids on the ground and another 7 does to kid.  Kid news is posted on the Oak Hill website.

Here is a cute video of the kids enjoying the warm spring weather.


Tuesday, March 8, 2016

FREE lesson! Yoga for your horse!

Some would call this horse yoga.  I consider it part of balancing the body.  Every day, before I work or ride my horses, I go through this routine.  It is fast, sometimes as fast as 15 minutes.  It tells me how my horse is doing physically and emotionally and lays the foundation for a comfortable ride for both of us.

Step 1: Clear polarity

I clear my polarity and then my horse's.
video


Step 2: Bladder meridian
I sweep the bladder meridian on both sides 3 times.
video


Next Step:  Energy Blocks
This is not numbered or in bold.  I feel for energy blocks.  This is impossible to teach in videos or by verbal description.  Skip this step until you can schedule a lesson with me or attend a clinic with Kelley Mills or Regan Golob.

Step 3: Check K27 points
I check my own K27 points and then my horse's.  I make note of any soreness in either of us, and work the point if necessary to clear the pain.  I may use my favorite flower essence blend spray spray on the point.
video


Step 4: Check the bladder meridian tail points
I check the points on either side of the tail.  The tail should lift easily, and in alignment with the spine.  I may use my favorite flower essence blend spray here too.
video


Step 5: Back and neck check
I do the bum tuck/back up/belly lift/neck telescope exercise once.  If it's perfect, I stop at 1.  If there is a block or lack of movement, I do it at least 3 times, and may add my favorite flower essence blend spray topically at the blockage. I seek out and clear all energy and body blocks until I get a full released bascule (engagement or roundness) from tail to nose.  If I cannot get a bascule, I do not get on.

      For this bum tuck or butt tuck, you are looking for the hip angle to increase as the pelvis tucks under. Additionally, you are looking for spinal straightness as you sight from the base of the tail to the withers.  If the butt tucks off to one side, increase the pressure on the side the hips moved away from, to bring the hips back to center.
video

     For the back lift, you are looking for the back to lift.  Additionally, you are looking for spinal straightness as you sight from the base of the tail to the withers.  If the back lifts off to one side, increase the pressure on the side the back curved away from, to bring the back into alignment.  It is very important that you maintain the pelvic tuck during this move.  If the pelvis flattens back out or tips forward, go back to the bum tuck, and make sure you are using your thumbs to hold that tuck in place while lifting the back.  If the horse cocks a leg or ducks down, there are bigger issues going on and you should call your health practitioner or schedule a session with me before proceeding.

video

     For the belly lift, you are looking for the back and withers to lift.  If the horse fails to lift, there are bigger issues going on and you should call your health practitioner or schedule a session with me before proceeding.

video

     For the neck telescope, you are looking for the base of the neck to lift, the muscles at the top of the neck to engage, and then for the neck to telescope forward and down.  Additionally, you are looking for spinal straightness from the poll to the withers.  If the neck curves off to one side, increase the pressure on the side the neck curved away from, to bring the neck into alignment.  If the neck will not telescope, there are bigger issues going on and you should call your health practitioner or schedule a session with me before proceeding.

video


Step 6: Address any issues
If any issues showed up in the steps above, I work through the reflex points and bodywork until everything is cleared.  I skip asking to ride if anything remains an issue.  If you find an issue in your own horse, I'm happy to work with you by phone, video or in person.  Contact me to schedule your preferred option.

Want to add new tools to your horse wellness program? www.carrieeastman.com/Services_2016


Copyright (c) 2015 Carrie Eastman
Video copyright (c) 2015 C. Hair Animal Services

Credits:  The body exercises above were first shown to me by Regan Golob and Kelley Mills (Willow Creek Animal Rehab in Washington state, USA).  Please see Regan's DVD "Where Have All The Horsemen Gone" for the original version of these exercises and check out the classes that they both offer.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration or American Veterinary Medical Association, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always consult your veterinarian about any changes to your animal’s health program.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Penny wise and pound foolish? Why I don't skimp on supplements.



These are interesting times financially.  The prices of many items are going up, including feeds, hay and supplements.  I hear and observe people saving money by cutting back on grains and/or supplements, switching to bargain brands, feeding less than the recommended amounts, etc.

I would offer the thought that this may be penny wise and pound foolish, as the old saying goes.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Managing Dis-ease

dis·ease
dəˈzēz/
noun
  1. a disorder of structure or function in a human, animal, or plant, especially one that produces specific signs or symptoms or that affects a specific location and is not simply a direct result of physical injury.
    "bacterial meningitis is a rare disease"
    synonyms:illnesssickness, ill health;


Let's talk a bit about disease management and health maintenance.  Western medicine sees disease as the problem and looks for ways to manage or cure the symptoms.  

Eastern medicine sees the disease itself as the symptom, and looks for the way to restore balance to the body. Eastern philosophy says that disease cannot exist in a balanced healthy body.  Balance must be in the body, and also in the mind and spirit.  All are connected, as we are all beings of energy.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Goats - The Great Horns versus No Horns Debate


Want to start a heated argument on social media?  Ask whether you should disbud/dehorn your goat or leave horns intact.

Horns on goats are a very touchy subject that impacts everything from management practicalities to human safety to animal welfare.  Just as with my post on vaccines, I will not suggest what your approach should be.  I will share what I have learned, my own experiences, and my own approach.  I encourage you to do your own research.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

All about Iron

Iron is a hot topic these days in certain circles, especially in the horse community.





www.albionnutritionalfacts.com 

Image © 2013 Albion Laboratories, Inc. All rights reserved.
Albion, Creatine MagnaPower and Ferrochel are trademarks of Albion Laboratories, Inc.



Iron is an important ingredient in human prenatals as well as daily vitamins.

Iron is a major mineral listed in the analysis on any supplement label for dogs, cats, goats, horses, other animals and humans.

In order to talk about supplementing animals (or people) with iron, let's first understand what iron is.
Iron is a metal element, important for many functions in the body.
Iron can exist in several forms.
Elemental iron Fe is iron all by itself and very reactive
Iron compounds are iron bonded to other elements, such as iron oxide.
Iron can also bond to protein, making iron proteinate.
Finally, iron can form a chelate with amino acids.  A true amino acid chelate is defined by low molecular weight, one bond ionic and one covalent, and the electrical charge neutralized.  An amino acid chelate has a particle size smaller than 900 daltons.   You can learn more about the science of chelation at http://www.albionnutritionalfacts.com/index.php/knowledge-base/about-knowledge-base/33-knowledge-base/about-chelated-minerals/59-vitamins-minerals-chelates-what-s-the-difference?  Also, research the work of H. DeWayne Ashmead, founder of Albion and a leading researcher into mineral chelation.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Book review - Energy Healing For Animals by Joan Ranquet


What a fantastic resource!  I just finished reading Joan Ranquet book Energy Healing For Animals.

I normally speed-read my way through books.  Her book I made the time to savor and study.  Joan has made energy healing understandable for everyone, and at the same time offered enough depth and science to appeal to more experienced healers.