First Day at School
It slowly became apparent to me that I lacked the time and place to start riding Nevel. Once I accepted this sad realization I began looking for someone that I would be willing to have do it for me. I was not interested in letting him be “cowboyed”. I wanted someone gentle and knowledgeable in training, not someone who would buck him out and break him. Out here that is a lot to ask for.
I was thrilled when the first person I asked knew of a woman who might be willing. I know it is prejudiced but I would so much rather have a woman train my horse than a man. I would be so offended if I heard that said in reverse.
Anyway, she agreed to take him with some reservation being a four year old stud and all. I understand her doubts, when people told me their horses were ready to ride it usually meant they were spoiled rotten and needed twice the work. She even, very nicely, stopped and picked him up. Now that is service. I was very proud of my boy he walked right into the trailer. It’s a little thing but so embarrassing when they wont load.
She even allowed me to come watch today when she worked him for the first time. It always surprised me how seldom people ever, never, came to see their horses in training. I have seen good trainers and I have seen and heard of horrible things done in the name of breaking horses. So we, the Goblin Child and I, watched as she put him through his paces. She asked him to yield his hind quarters and longed him asking him to turn and stop. Then she saddled him, his first time with a rear cinch. After a little ground driving she decided to get on.
I couldn’t believe it, it was so exciting. She called Allen in to hold the long line and hopped on. His first step was a bit unsteady but then he moved right out. All in all it was very uneventful, they walked and trotted in both directions then got off. I couldn’t have hoped for a better first ride. I can’t wait to see what they do tomorrow
My Flower Garden, As Such
I inherited a once beautiful flower garden that has long since grown over with weeds and grass, mostly grass. It is full of bulbs Hyacinth, Daffodils, Iris (not technically a bulb) and a fall blooming flower that looks like a Crocus. Then there are the Hollyhocks, tons of them around here they are considered a weed, infested with colonies of earwigs. Nasty little creatures, the earwigs not the Hollyhocks. I for one like Hollyhocks.
I have slaved over the small bed of flowers until I have blisters and don’t seem to make a dent. Last year I dug grass and mint all summer. This year you can’t tell that any was missing. It might be easier to dig the whole thing up and start fresh but I just can’t bring myself to do it.
A friend gave me some wild flower seed packets last winter and come spring I spread them through out. They are fighting their way up through the thick carpet of grass and some have even managed to bloom.
Then there are the flower pots and hanging baskets. It has been so fun to watch the petunias blossom from such tiny seeds. I got some surprises. Mostly the huge double blossoms in pink and purple, I really don’t remember ordering anything like that. I have a new favorite color. I always loved the dark magenta, and still do, but the heirloom in purple with a faintly pink center and distinctly star shaped petals is stealing the show. It helps that it smells heavenly. Kind of like a Lilly but with out the cloying sickly sweetness.
A couple of weeks ago Karen at Lil’ Ladybug told me how to start Osteospurmum from cuttings. After visiting with her I continued my search for a big beautiful orange Osteospurmum in vain. Finally as we visited the last greenhouse in town we found a huge orange Osteo beautifully potted and marked sold.
The lady working there said that they had quite a few of the orange ones earlier in the year but yes this was their last one. I persuaded her to allow me to pinch two tiny starts that surely nobody would ever notice. I stuck them into the dirt of our other purchase thinking they would be well dead by the time we got home many hours later.
Despite the miserably hot day they looked down right perky when I put them in the greenhouse. Immediately after putting each one in its own pot they looked mostly dead. But in a Princess Bride moment they were truly only mostly dead and without even feeding them any chocolate covered magic pills they came back to life.
Now we wait and see what happens.
And This One Time, it Rained
It’s a little late in coming this year. I have been told that every thing is a good three weeks behind. I believe it because the lilacs are just now blooming and they usually try to bloom in early may. We have been run ragged trying to get every thing done at once. The garden needs planted, the planter needed filled with seed every couple of hours and the pairs need sorted and worked.
All the corn is planted at least, finally. The poor neglected garden gets a little attention in our spare time, haha. Now the main course of business is the sorting of pairs. This year they are sorting in the corrals and I get to ride my horses for once. Coyote and Jerry have been brought out of retirement, hooray for me but they aren’t very happy about it. I can’t decide which one of them work better for it. Coyote gets the job done quickly, very quickly, some times to quickly. He is always in a hurry and now rather worried about it all since a cow took him last weekend. His nerves are quite delicate.
Jerry is very precise, and slow we could say deliberate or out of shape but she has never been a fast mover when not cutting cattle. As well behaved as she was, especially compared to Coyote, I’m not sure I have the patience to wait for her to arrive at our destination.
Last weekend we began to work the calves. The pairs are sorted into bunches of twenty five because the vaccines come in bottles with twenty five doses each. The calves are sorted off of their mothers then ran through the calf table for shots, an ear tag and the bulls become steers. Then they are loaded in the stock trailer and their moms into the semi for the trip to pasture.
With the uninspiring job of loading calves into the chute my easily bored husband and I need something to keep us entertained. We usually think of names for the calves as they go through. This year we noticed that we had nearly the same number of calves as letters in the alphabet. So starting at Abigail we continued through Delmer, Eugene, Ichabod, Karl, Niel, Percy, Reginald, Thomas, and Xersis until we reached Zulu.
Standing in what I thought was a safe spot outside if the chute a small rotten calf stuck its leg though an opening and kicked me hard in the shin. My cattle pushing husband was in what I would have thought to be the dangerous spot and he didn’t even get his foot stepped on. My mother-in-law tells me that this is exciting work. Although I suppose there is some excitement in trying to avoid agonizingly sharp little calf hooves mostly it seems dirty, sweaty and painful. I guess it depends on your point of view.
All The Pretty Flowers
For Mothers Day, my first ever, I got flowers.
Not the cut kind that die in a few days, the growing kind that will last all summer. Longer even if I do it right. Mostly Osteospurmum. What a long fancy name for such a pretty little flower. I wanted orange, I have a bit of a thing for orange and purple. Nobody had any though. Not to complain mind you what I got was just as good, maybe better. I got a beautiful pale orange fading to pink and purple, dark purple, rusty red and a pale strangely shaped purple. What fun. Plus a few other random pretty flowers.
I brought them home and gradually, as time permitted, began combining them with my gorgeous Petunias. Finally yesterday I got every thing into baskets. Some of my poor Petunias were getting pretty root-bound. Others haven’t grown hardly at all. I think they were in desperate need of repotting.
I stopped into our excellent local greenhouse earlier to see what they had and pursue my search for a orange Osteospurmum only to find that they had suffered a power outage during the blizzard. The heaters in their greenhouses were kept running through most of it by their generator. Then at four thirty in the morning they ran out of diesel fuel. They searched long and hard finding a neighbor with out an electric pump on their fuel tank but not until hours later when most of their plants had already frozen. It was incredibly sad for me I can only imagine how they felt. The Lil’ Ladybug is a very small family owned nursery and I wish them so much luck getting through this.
Even with all of her problems Karen was, although unable to help me with an orange Osteospurmum, willing to instruct me in the propagation of one once I found it. It was fascinating. Apparently all these years instead of letting them freeze I should have been taking cuttings. She says if I just stick them in dirt they will root and I will have next years plants.
Don’t believe their signs they are really open. The stock is some what limited but still worth stopping by.
Last year, and the year before that for that matter, it was Lady Bugs. This year I put in my vote for a change and my adventuress gardener husband complied. We decided to order Lacewings.
They are a beautiful bright green insect with translucent wings and to quote Wiki “they are voracious predators, attacking most insects of suitable size, especially soft-bodied ones (aphids, caterpillars and other insect larvae, insect eggs, and at high population densities also each other). Therefore, the larvae are colloquially known as “aphid lions” (also spelled “aphidlions”) or “aphid wolves”, similar to the related antlions.”
In other words we got them to help control the aphids that get so bad on the peppers in the greenhouse.
They are shipped as eggs and larva when they don’t arrive fast enough. The eggs are spread about the greenhouse to hatch into larva then eventually into the Lacewing insect.
My Favoite Part of Gardening
We got the sweet corn started last weekend and will follow with a later planting in June. We planted Mirai, Vision F1, Xtra Tender, and Wildas pride, an ornamental. That is my sweet corn loving husbands favorite part now I am working on mine. I may have mentioned it before but I love pumpkins. They make me happy. Thinking about them makes me giddy.
I have fifteen varieties of squash to plant this year. Last year we planted sixteen rows on purpose plus the volunteers. I know I only want to plant one of the Speckled Hound they are amazingly prolific. I suppose I could get by with one of the Baby Bear, Big Max (although it makes me sad) and Wee Be Little. Definitely one Acorn Squash and if there was a way to do half of a Spaghetti Squash they are both astonishingly good producers. The Mini Harvest Blend and Small Ornamental Gourd blend might offer the desired variety if I let two seeds go from the same hill. The others though I don’t know how I will limit myself to one plant of each.
They are so beautiful. Even their names are enchanting: Rouge Vif d’Etampes, Marina Di Chiogga, Jarrahdale, Queensland Blue and Lumina. They are my favorites flat and deep orange, round smooth and blue, big warty and grey. My new experiments for this year: Connecticut Field, Nothing fancy an old heirloom variety plain smooth orange, I suppose the early settlers made many a meal of them carving there niche out of the wilderness. Bushel Gourd, I am fantasising about spending next winter carving and decorating many a bird house next winter.
But one hill of each it will be. Already myriad volunteers are popping up across last years pumpkin patch. There is great excitement in seeing what they will be. We will transfer them into the open space and wait to see what we get. Probably twenty spaghetti squashes like last year.