Archive for » February, 2013 «

Three Days

Apparently it’s our magic number.

After planting our garden seeds it took three days for the first shoots to appear. One tomato shot up like crazy and when we looked real close we could see teeny little petunia starts. I guess the seeds weren’t to small to ever do anything.

I don’t see how it could be true but…. we did plant in the right phase of the moon. I’ve always scoffed at those who check their farmers almanac to make sure they are planting, castrating calves or what ever else with the proper moon cycle. How ever, the seeds are supposed to take approximately a week to germinate. We could experiment, start a few of the same seeds when the almanac says not to.

The Nev is also doing things in threes. On our third day of working on it he had the tap on shoulder move leg thing down. Today on what I believe is day six (hey, it’s divisible by three) we took a walk and he used it to dig a hole in a pile of much. I hope nobody had plans for it. He thought that it was so much fun that it was a reward in its self. And he took three consecutive steps with some forward movement and lots of big leg swinging. I would almost go so far as to call it a Spanish walk.

On our walk in the snow we enjoyed lots of training opportunities. A farm yard is full of things that need desensitizing  to and I am going to have to ride him through here one day so how better to start than on the ground? We played around semis and grain bins, piles of stuff on the ground. In the distance we saw cows partially hidden behind trees. So many things, so little spooking, I can’t wait to start riding him.

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Planting the Seeds

We poured over the catalogs. We chose the seeds with great care. We waited patiently for them all to arrive. Now the time has come.

My garden expert husband gathered the tomato and pepper seeds. I sorted out the various assorted petunias. We sat down at the kitchen table with a Jiffy seventy-two hole peat pellet plant starter and began to plant.

Nocturne-

We soaked the pellets in hot water and waited for them to expand.  When fully expanded, we used nut picks to scratch away the top layer of soil.  Then we carefully placed the seeds in the pellets and lightly covered them with the soil again.  As we placed them in the try, we kept a careful map of which variety was planted in which cell.  Among the varieties of tomatoes we planted are: Black Krim, Fresh Salsa, Heriloom Cherry Blend(multi-colored!), Jetstar, Roma, Solar Fire, Speckled Roman, Supersauce, and Sweet Tangerine.  As for peppers, we started: Garden Salsa, Goliath Griller, Highlander, Purple Bell, Purple Jalapeno, Orange Blaze, Sweet Goliath Hybrid, and Yummy.

Me again!-

The flower seeds are a new thing for both of us. I have seen petunia seeds before when I don’t get every thing dead-headed. Somehow the tininess of them still took me by surprise.  It was nerve wracking trying not to lose the microscopic seeds. It is hard to believe that something will grow from those little things but “from the tiny acorn the mighty oak does grow”.

Our full tray of seeds is sitting on the heat mat as we wait for the first show of green. Spring is getting closer.

First Foods

Working With Never

I’ve been doing it. I’ve been getting out there and working him, often. I love the Goblin Child’s long morning nap. He has no problems with the saddle. The first time I put it on him in a long time was on a cold windy winter day, he could not have cared less. I’m not going to start riding him yet, not until it gets warm and the ground thaws and dries so I decided to work on other things.

If he is going to play at being a stud, a Morgan stud, he should know how to park out. Is that even the proper terminology? And Coyote has so many extra buttons and levers I thought it would be nice to install some of them on Nev. And I’ve always wanted to teach a horse a proper Spanish walk and maybe to bow. Not knowing a thing about trick training it seems to me that most of these start at the same approximate spot, the ability to move the feet.

Years ago when I taught Mom’s horse smoke do a pitiful bit of a Spanish walk I started by teaching him to paw on command. It sounds stupid, like asking them to have a bad habit, but ever since Coyote taught me to do it years ago it has been the greatest command. (Excluding stepping over to the fence so I can get on, that really is handy.) Way back in the day when I was using Coyote to calve out a couple hundred head of very grouchy cows we had to pair them out and move the cows with calves to a different pasture. After spending quite a while trying to get a new born calf to its feet to travel with his mom Coyote got tired of it and stepped in to help. I couldn’t get off to pick it up or its mom would of eaten me so I had been slapping it with my reins. Coyote carefully reached out his front hoof, placed it on the calf and shook it. The calf leaped to its feet and took off. With a little encouragement and lots of reward we came up with a cue for this and I am now so lost working calves without this handy little extra. It can be used to move calves when they are up too, I ask for him to paw and he whacks, um pushes, them in the butt with his hoof.

On Smoke who is much more willing to be goofy it transformed into a makeshift Spanish walk. Rider cues the paw he steps one front foot forward with a “little” flourish. I think he is still doing it? Mom? Coyote says no, not with out a good reason. I taught them both from on their backs with Nev I’m trying a whole new approach. So I decided to teach Never to step his front feet forward individually on command. It has been great for him I found a couple of holes I had overlooked by repeating the same round pen, saddle work over and over and he is progressing beautifully.

I tap him on the desired shoulder with my crop and then hook a foot behind that ankle and pull his hoof forward. The first day I didn’t feel that we made much progress but when I played with him today he remembered every thing and then some. At the first tap he picked up his hoof. Yay! He was doing so well, stepping forward at a tap with out any extra help, I decided to add a Target. Using what was handy I found a piece of two by eight and laid it on the ground in front of him. It was a great toy. On command he pawed it, stood on it, side passed over it and simply walked across it. We also worked briefly on parking out, bowing and staying, otherwise known as ground tieing. By spring he will be a regular trick horse.

I’m allowed some wishful thinking.

The Quonset

2012-07-13_18-42-50_54

Pet Spider

After feeding one day my father-in-law asked me if I could help him with one little thing. Of course I said yes, his request seemed simple enough on the surface.

All he wanted was for me to go to the back of the Quonset and grab an extension cord when he pushed it in through a hole in the wall then plug it in. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. He took the cord hopped on his four-wheeler and buzzed around to the back of the building. It took him a bit to get there, that’s how long this building is. I began my trek through the inside of the building. At first I traveled unimpeded winding my way through farm implements parked with a masters skill. As I reached the last row of equipment, seldom used and covered with years worth of dust I had less luck. There was a clear path between a tall straight truck and the sloping wall, pitch black in the shadows cast by a single dim bulb somewhere near the entrance.

Remembering my ventures into the Quonset last summer I thought of the large brown barn spiders whose webs made a net across every undisturbed surface, I was unable to force my self into that black tunnel.  Now I like Spiders, especially the barn spiders, we have one every summer that we keep as a pet over our front door. I also realize that it is the middle of winter, the spiders are dead. The thought of walking face first into unseen webs at eye level, knowing that they had been there, imagining gigantic spider skeletons, was more than I could handle. I backtracked in the dim light looking for an alternate rout. Across the width of the building dusty implements were stacked with in inches of each other. From out side I heard him calling asking if I was ready. I told him no, not yet.

I was growing frantic no one was capable of parking so many vehicles and balers that close there had to be somewhere I could fit through. He hollered again was I there yet and again I was forced to tell him no not yet.

Back and forth I paced in desperation,  I was not going to crawl through that dark narrow path, but I wasn’t finding any other options. Again still surprisingly patient he asked, was I there yet? He really thought there was a path along the side of the Quonset. Again I replied no not yet.

I gave up I was going to have to venture down that terrifying path but I was not going unarmed. My search began anew. This time for something to carry in front of me. A weapon with which to clear my path. I finally found what I sought clear back by the doors, a broom, a large shop broom. From the back of the building I heard the familiar cry, are you there, can you see the cord? I didn’t bother to reply he wouldn’t hear me any way.

Frantically waving the broom in front of my I dove into the depths. Spider webs fell left and right until I could see thin beams of light coming through the wall. There it dangled the bright orange extension cord. I could finally reply that yes I was there.

“Good” he said “I think there’s a plug in somewhere back along that wall.”

I turned to look behind me filled my dread refreshed. Not only was I going to have to go back in, I would have to grope blindly along the wall for a plug in? I had come this far. I drew upon my scant remaining shreds of courage and dove in.

I escaped from the ordeal physically unscathed. Mentally I’m not so sure. I do know now what I am capable of and the endless depths of my father-in-laws patience.

2013-02-13 09.03.06

To The Best Husband Ever

Happy Birthday.

I know you don’t want any fuss made, no parties or presents, you don’t think it’s important but I do. You keep telling me that you are old, I say you are perfectly aged, like fine wine. Or maybe cheese.

So we wont do any thing to special, I got you a couple of presents but you know that because I gave them to you already. Patience never was my strong point. We will have supper and maybe make a toast with sparkling cider and wish for many more birthdays to come.

I love you.

Still Ordering Garden Seeds

imagesI said I was cutting back on pumpkins this year and while that may be technically true I also ordered a gourd and a different squash, grey surprisingly. I was going to say that instead of unusual pumpkins I decided to try growing my own flowers but I guess I have to say as well as.

I thought it would save money this year if we started our own Petunias and the like instead of buying started plants, I’m staying home with the Goblin and saving money is a priority. I was flipping through the catalogs totally baffled by the selection of beautiful magenta colored Wave Petunias, so I called my mom. While I suppose that’s what most daughters might do I had better reason. As a professional plant waterer she added to her credentials by working in a green house a couple of summers ago, besides she’s my mom she knows every thing. The conversation was quickly side tracked by good smelling heirloom petunias.

We both sat at our respective computers as we talked googleing flowers. We found many reminiscent of her child hood, years and years ago, that were scented unlike modern varieties and reseeded themselves. I was sold. The descriptions were quaint and sounded charming. I was enchanted by promises of “heavenly clouds of fragrant flowers”. Another had seeds from a plant found growing in an abandoned farmstead. One particularly frilly variety was only available from a supplier in England.They all quote adds from catalogs published in the eighteen hundreds.

I ordered a sweet pea because it has been sold commercially since 1724. I have a hard time imagining that, I don’t know why. Selling flowers isn’t a new thing. I found (but didn’t buy) violets that were sold as a promising cash crop at a time when they were fashionable to wear in a button hole.

I also indulged my self with some Johnny Jump Up’s, other wise known as Violas. They promise that this cheery, fully edible flower will become semi invasive filling my flower beds with it’s colorful blooms.

A Good Week for Horses

And it’s still early. So far this week, all two days of it, I got to move calves on Coyote and I worked Nevel! Life is good.

Some of the calves in the feed lot were off to the sale barn. So bare back in a, well in a bridle for once he gets a little excited working cattle, we helped bring them in. He works so nice in the alleyways and his encouraging nips are better than any hot shot.

Today during nap time I snuck out with my faithful baby monitor in hand. To many times this winter I have thought about working Nevel but decided it would be a wasted effort. I kept telling myself that I would get him worked once and then he would sit for a month or two. If I had just messed with him every time I thought that he would have been worked about once a week.

Today, in forty degree weather, I brought him in. We went through the basic paces. picked up his feet and banged on them. I’m not pregnant any more, I’m going to start trimming my horses feet again dang it, and I want them to be well behaved. Sacked him out a little, asked him to move his feet and step away from pressure he was great. He acted as though I had worked him yesterday instead of, wow when was that, I hope some time since July.