We are hoping that our young Goblin Child will share our love of gardening. So far she seems interested. It may be a little soon to tell. I am anticipating summer and hoping that I will be able to set her in the garden to play in the dirt while I weed and such. We theorize that good clean dirt with a few bugs thrown in for protein builds a healthy constitution.
One warm early March day I brought her along as I dabbled a little in the flowerbed. The Daffodils are well on their way Hyacinth are coming and the chickens are eating off the Crocuses. I hoped to weed and little Goblin Child of course had to help.
We grow the most beautiful purple carrots. We have very nice orange ones to, but there’s just something about the purple carrots. They are dark, brilliantly jewel toned. We dug some of both colors the other day. They are storing nicely in the ground of the green house. I added some to the stew and decided to try making baby food with the others.
It seemed like such a good idea.
Think how pretty purple baby food would be. I could make two batches. The other could be boring orange. So I chopped and boiled the purple carrots until they were soft and pureed them. As my hand began to turn purple I remembered how badly they stained. This baby food so purple it is near black suddenly didn’t seem like a very good thing. I began to think of how she eats with food smeared from top to bottom, covering clothes, hair even eyeballs. I imagined a purple baby.
I finished the baby food anyway. I’m no quitter. A purple baby wouldn’t be all bad, it’s a pretty color.
The long awaited day has finally arrived! After waiting patiently all winter we received a nice warm spring day and the Small Goblin Child got her first pony ride.
I was saddling good old Coyote for one of those rare and treasured times when the stars align and I manage to squeeze in a ride. As preparations were nearing completion her father stepped out the door with her to show her the horses and enjoy some of the beautiful weather. I saw my chance and had him hand her up. We took a brief stroll about the yard.
I don’t know that she loved it but she didn’t cry. She seemed rather happy. It was a little harder than I had imagined it would be to carry her. Instead of sitting nicely in front of me in the saddle she kept sliding deeper into a hole I had not known existed. The room between my stomach and the horn also seemed to have gotten less. I hope we can get it worked out I have great plans for the two of us to go ridding this summer.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.