Synchronicity Tea at the Scarab Cafe/My Professional Services

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

*November* Hill

We're a few days out from the beginning of my favorite month and also the month that inspired the name of our little farm, November Hill.

A decade ago we moved Keil Bay and the Little Man and the Corgis to our new home. It was a dream come true for me. As October passed and we began to learn the whisperings of this piece of land, I waited for the right name to come to me. And  then November arrived, and our farm burst into color around us. 

The name November Hill popped into my head and stuck there. And so our farm was christened.

Months later I was looking through Keil Bay's papers and discovered that he grew up on a farm in Virginia. That farm's name was November Hill.

We love it as much today as we did the first year. After a hot, buggy summer and a busy and stressful August and September, I'm looking forward to being here, fully present, enjoying and relishing every single day of November Hill's namesake month.

In celebration, I'm offering a couple of freebies from my published books.

From October 30th through November 3rd you will find these two titles free on Amazon:

Don't Miss The Magic -  a book of essays on the writing (and creative) process

Search For Fox Hunting Red (Little Shoppe of Colors, 1) - a delightful picture book about two little donkeys who own and operate a shop that sells paints 

You can go here for easy "purchase" and download of the ebooks. You are welcome to gift to as many friends as you like during this free period!


Thursday, October 02, 2014

even when you think you're straight, you're crooked

In one of my recent rides with Keil Bay I noted that he was counter-bending to the outside of the arena as we went down the long sides. For a few moments I thought, well, he's just looking at stuff. Then I thought, oh, no, it's not that, it's that he's just moving crooked.

A few more moments and I got to the place where I always try to get to, which is this: what am *I* doing with MY body?

Suddenly it was clear. I thought I was straight but I was crooked. I was bringing my outside shoulder forward and inward slightly. It was subtle. Not a visible thing but when I focused in I realized I was holding it that way and the tension was definitely there. 

So instead of being looky or crooked, Keil Bay was actually compensating for MY crookedness. 

I breathed in deep and softly let it out, allowing my entire outside shoulder to relax as I did so. He  instantly straightened and suddenly we were moving along much more fluidly, with a nice big swing.

This is just the most recent example of this notion that seems to pop into our heads as riders - we need to FIX THE HORSE. When really all we need to do is FIX OURSELVES and the horse follows suit.

We've been having very lovely rides. We're still doing mostly walk with a little bit of trot, and I'm aiming to just be, without any kind of training agenda or real goals other than to make my body as straight as I can and watch and notice and feel how Keil Bay responds to that.

He's 25 years old and he has always known more than me about dressage and about harmony and schwung and gorgeous movement. I've made it a point to listen to him and celebrate what he teaches me, but I've also thrown in some exercises and done my share of trying to get him to do things in ways I thought were "right."

Finally, I am giving up that pursuit of moving up the levels or even thinking in terms of levels. I am just looking at my own body and trying to make it as relaxed and as straight and as quiet as possible. When I do that Keil Bay matches me and then he takes me further than I could ever take him even if I rode every day for the rest of my life. In truth, he's been there all the time, if I just get out of his way.

I've been wondering why we humans tend to think we need to fix things outside of ourselves instead of simply focusing on ourselves. I'm not sure. I suspect it's because we've become so caught up in thinking and doing and fixing that we've lost touch with our own body parts. It's nothing short of amazing to focus in and find a tightness you didn't even know was there. And when you breathe it out and let that tension go, wow. The whole world (and the horse you're riding) makes a huge and wonderful shift.

In otther news, we have a third cat sick with cytauxzoonosis. River, our rescue kit-meow who has had chronic health issues all of her young life, is now on the treatment protocol but here at home instead at the vet school. She''s fighting and hanging in there but I would so appreciate any healing thoughts and  prayers you might send her way.

I wrote my September column at Talk2TheAnimals about healing circles and the power they have. Go read it here and tell me YOUR story about healing circles!!  http://talk2theanimals.net/at-the-vets-office-healing-circles/


Monday, September 22, 2014

autumn equinox 2014

This morning I rode Keil Bay in the newly-cleared arena. My husband cut and moved all the pokeberry bushes that I had elected to let grow along the arena fence this year, and after that he took the chainsaw and trimmed the oak and pine branches that were hanging low.

Today my ride was completely clear - no ducking and no finding fuchsia stains on my legs after the ride. Keil and I rode with donkeys in tow. We stopped and chatted with Salina, who I feel is always with us out there. We trotted the entire arena today. I am loving being back in the saddle, feeling the breeze, enjoying the lack of sweat.

There was one horse fly out there but it was easily deterred. Somehow once it starts to get cooler they lose their intensity.

I came in and did a few chores and then glanced out at my garden. My summer lunches have been built around whatever was growing. Today I picked the next-to-last watermelon, which turned out to be slightly overripe, so I cut it into quarters and Bear went out and chewed the melon from the rind while I picked a bowl of tiny cherry tomatoes. These are smaller than the ones you buy in the grocery store and they have an intense and lovely flavor. They're perfect for mixing in with chickpeas and feta and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Just the right size for eating without slicing.

The corn is done and the melons are done and the okra is finally slowing down some. We're still getting peppers of all kinds and basil and parsley and the tomatoes. This weekend I'll be clearing out some beds and planting some fall things: lettuces and spinach and chard and brussel sprouts and collards.

I'm waiting on the figs now.

It's been a wonderfully abundant growing season and now we're on to the next.

Pumpkins! And the lovely fall mums. I love this season. Happy equinox to all!

Friday, September 19, 2014

eagerly awaiting the first day of fall

It's been crazy here the past few weeks. A logging truck hit my parked truck (thankfully I was not in it!) and the next day two of our cats were diagnosed with cytauxzoonosis, which is a tick-borne disease that originates in the bobcat. Thankfully the protozoa don't infect other animals or humans, but the survival rate for the disease is less than 60% and the only treatment that works is done by our local vet school ICU, so off Pixie and Mystic went for 7 and 5 days each.

We visited daily and when they got well enough to finish their 10 days of treatment at home, we gratefully took over the every 8 hour medication schedule including heparin injections. 

They are finished now and doing really well. The whole cat and Corgi crew are now wearing Seresto collars in spite of my concern over the chemicals. Cytauxzoonosis is truly scary - very quick onset and it goes downhill very very fast. Just so you know, if you have bobcats around, the first symptoms are lethargy and loss of appetite, very sudden high fever, and jaundice, which tends to be a later symptom. 

We are so relieved our two sweet cats did so well with their treatments, and grateful our local vet worked us in on a busy Saturday morning and nailed the diagnosis so very quickly. 

Today was the first day in two weeks that I didn't have a long list of things to do. So I marched out to the barn and tacked up Keil Bay and we got back to our riding, which has been off the schedule for several months now, mostly because of heat and biting insects. But our days are cooler, the horse flies are getting sluggish, and it was time.

We walked and walked and the donkeys tagged along behind us. We finished up with a very little bit of trotting to make sure everything was working well, and it was, so we'll build things back slowly and hopefully by first frost we'll be fully back in gear. 

I do not know what to make of the fact that Keil Bay is 25 years old, still. He had his chiropractor here a couple of weeks ago and she said he was almost totally clear. He enjoyed what she did, but it wasn't much! I felt so happy to swing my leg over his back this morning and settle into the saddle. We rode in his bitless bridle and the wind blew his long mane and all the years we share between us melted away. I could be 15 and he could be 5. 

But we're both glad we're not, I think. :)

I hope everyone is happy and healthy and ready for a new season!