Wednesday, January 20, 2021

YES! We can all breathe again.

 So very relieved, happy, and ready to get to work now that President Biden and VP Harris are at the helm. Not to mention a Democrat-led House and Senate.

It’s time to clean house, both the WH and all houses of law enforcement. Time to clean up the planet. Time to clean up how we do business on every level of government.

As our inaugural poet laureate Amanda Gorman said today: 

There is always light. 

Only if we are brave enough to see it. 

There is always light. 

Only if we are brave enough to be it.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Dream Journal, 1

 I’m starting a new series today in honor of a dream I had last night about Salina. I often have vivid, unusual dreams and this is one place I can put them. One Jungian take on dream work is that different characters in our dreams represent different parts of ourselves. I always think from that perspective first and then consider other ways of interpreting meaning. Though I also feel strongly that many of our dreams are not so much things we need to interpret, but glimpses of feeling and mood that, on reflection, can help us let go of something we may be holding onto unconsciously. 

I’m not posting these dreams to find meaning necessarily, but mostly so I do not forget them. The act of writing them down helps keep them in mind, and this is one I do not want to forget.

In the dream Salina, our black German Hannoverian mare, was still with us. She had the arthritic knees she had in real life, but it wasn’t clear in the dream if she had just the one eye from her real life or both eyes. I was with my husband in the paddock behind our barn doing some mucking, and in the dream we had a covered arena that connected to one end of the barn. Salina was meandering around keeping an eye on things, as she so often did when she was with us in her body.

The fascinating thing about the dream is that in addition to Salina’s equine self, she also had a miniature person self who was also meandering around. This petite human girl part of Salina was dressed in riding attire and at one point when I got distracted and then eventually looked back at her, she had tacked Salina the horse self up in beautiful dressage tack and was mounting for a ride!

I immediately directed my husband to look - Salina is riding herself! I said to him. It was, in the dream, a beautiful merging of two parts of Salina. (Jung might say two parts of the Self - maybe self and Self)

When the miniature person Salina was riding the horse Salina, all the effects of the arthritis was gone. It was as if merging made them both complete and perfectly mobile. They trotted, cantered, did dressage movements, and I watched, transfixed, until the human Salina took them to a window in the arena and dismounted onto its sill. I was worried she would injure herself jumping down to the ground, but she was fine, and their ride was over.

I’m not sure what this “means,” but the mood of the dream was luminous and wondrous. It was pure joy to see Salina moving so beautifully, it was mesmerizing to see this miniature human part of her come to life in my dream world. And I woke up still feeling the joy. I’m sure there is deeper meaning. In one totally superficial way, I feel the dream is saying to me: RIDE! 

In any case, it was a lovely dream and I hope never to forget it. The way I felt while watching it unfold. 

Saturday, January 16, 2021

November Hill farm journal, 117

 So, this week has been back and forth between sunshine and rain, and whoa is it mucky out there where the horses and dogs roam! Our barn roof repair keeps getting pushed back because the ground is not getting completely dry between the rain days, and some other projects too, as bringing trucks in just makes a big mess.

Oh, well. It’s winter, after all, and I am continuing my push to notch my expectations back and just go with the flow of the earth. Easy to type, less easy to do.

Last weekend was my writing weekend via Zoom, and I’ve started the new session of Writing in the Dark, so I have lots to work on, even more to read, and the garret is always a warm, dry place to be. I’ll be reviewing a forthcoming book soon, but if you want a quick heads up ahead of that, order Jeannine Ouellette’s The Part That Burns. It’s a memoir written in fragments, almost like a broken mirror that she puts back together as you read, and it’s a really beautiful piece of writing in its fragments and as a whole. 

Today the rain is supposed to be gone but the sunshine is playing hide and seek with the clouds right now. I’ve turned the herd out because they want to be out there, and I hope I don’t go out later to find they’ve all rolled in the mud. The pony rolled right in front of my face after his breakfast tub and blanket removal, so he’s a mess already. 

Keil Bay had his acupuncture and Legend injection yesterday. He’s had a minor relapse this past week but it’s minor, and after yesterday’s treatment he was soft-eyed and so very content. I’m content too. 

We’re all hanging in there. I’m signed up for a flurry of native plant classes this spring - most are via Zoom but a few have some outside instruction and yesterday was the first meeting in my winter flora course. We walked through the botanical gardens all masked up, mostly in the rain, with umbrellas and rain gear, identifying trees by twigs and shrubs by shape and sometimes looking on the ground beneath for clues. It was super fun. But cold! 

This week I’m starting the taxonomy class I’ve tried to take twice - once had to cancel because of my own schedule and once canceled due to Covid, but it’s on Zoom now so I hope I get through it this time!

On November Hill it’s still a winter landscape, very beautiful in its muted colors and seeing the bones of things. Today I’ve ordered fly predators and beneficial nematodes for spring and summer into fall, and the idea of flies and gnats seems foreign (a nice place to be, for horse people). 

This week we had warm enough weather to check on the bee girls. Hegemone continues to thrive. We added more sugar patties and watched them through the glass. Very busy girls, and lots of them. Artemis is hanging in there, taking the sugar patties, so we replenished them as well, but there are just not that many at this point. I’ve heard that a cluster the size of a grapefruit can make it through til spring, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for this colony!

Clementine was spayed last week and is nearing the end of her recuperation period - she’s going to be so happy to get out and explore the farm again. We’re glad this is over and done now! Before the spay day, in the rain but oh so sweet:

Thursday, January 07, 2021

November Hill farm journal, 116

 Me, front and center, stumping for the party when I was very young. 

In the larger world outside of my little microcosm here, I am disgusted today. I grew up in a southern NC county that was riddled with racists and klansmen and much of my childhood was spent both worrying about the Black people I loved and making my introverted and then later bolder actions against the racists who threatened them.

My mother worked for Governor Terry Sanford when he and his staff strove to rid our state of this hatred, so I also grew up seeing firsthand ethical, honorable action being taken by our leaders in government. 

It has been obvious to me since I first became aware of Donald Trump (in the 1980s when I went to NYC a few times a year and hung out at clubs including Studio 54) that he was an ignorant, arrogant, misogynistic jerk. When he entered the presidential race, I thought he was a joke. When he won, I thought our country had lost its mind. Yesterday I was absolutely disgusted, angry, and reminded in a potent way how I sometimes felt when I was in high school, how I felt the day I was pulled over by two small town cops because I was transporting Black members of our state championship basketball team to the downtown soda shop to celebrate. How I was personally threatened by teenaged KKK members. Seeing the faces in the photos and video footage taken yesterday, as a group of ignorant grinning terrorists breached our nation’s capitol and threatened harm. 

I understand to some degree the psychology of this kind of behavior. In some cases, they were taught to hate. In many cases there is low intelligence. Put arrogance, ignorance, and hatred together in a mob and you get what we saw yesterday. 

All I can say today is that I will never again tolerate anyone saying they support Donald Trump, these terrorist beliefs and actions, or any kind of racism, period. I will say that outright to anyone who crosses my path espousing these beliefs or acting on them. It’s past time for this hatred to be treated as criminal behavior in our country. No, you do not get to line up along small town sidewalks draping confederate flags and carrying assault rifles. No, you do not get to march around calling for the eradication of a race of people. No, you do not get to, as a law enforcement officer entrusted to maintaining peace and rule of law, perform violence against the citizens you are bound to protect. Doing these things should, and must, land you in jail with serious incarceration consequences.

How can it be that in my 60 years this is not already true?

Today on November Hill I will do the things I always do: muck some manure, clean some floors, do dishes and laundry, feed horses, dogs, and cats, and beloved donkey boys. I will write some and read some and stay in touch with friends. I will look at garden beds and ponder projects in home and barn and farm. 

And I will make time to call my senators and representatives and demand that they take action against Trump, his accomplices, and his rioting terrorist mob. It is time for change. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

November Hill farm journal, 115

 While Christmas was nice for me, I’m relieved to have it past us, as that means all my close beloveds are home, moved and settling in, and we are in the process of staying quarantined for the most part as we tighten our pod. Little Will joining us outside the womb is a huge incentive to doing that. 

I’m thinking of a pod of whales, maybe orcas, and love the idea of swimming out at sea, diving deep, breaching the water, and staying safe until we all move past Covid, a slow but hopefully steady progression back toward the way our lives were before it started. 

November Hill is for me like the ocean. I can putter for weeks here without even the thought of venturing out, and I personally do not feel alone at all, thanks to my human and animal family, my friends and writing colleagues I see via Zoom, and iphone messages that have become ongoing conversations. Technology sometimes drives me crazy, but this year it has been a blessing.

It’s winter in all the ways we mark it in NC. While we have some warm days, the foliage is gone on many trees and plants, the pasture is mostly dormant now, and after rainy days I always look at the ground and think that nothing will ever grow there again. It always does, come spring. 

My pollinator gardens are also mostly dormant, except for the birds, who are devouring seeds left over on the brown plants which I’ve left to overwinter. The bees are taking sugar patties and holding their own. Artemis hive is lower in population than Hegemone, who seem to be a very solid colony. My hope is that we can get a swarm trap up in the early spring and lure a swarm from them to replenish the Echo hive and capture Hegemone’s good genetics. 

We purchased inner covers for these two hives that have screened mesh openings in a row and the rest of the cover is glass. This is amazing - we can take the tops off the hives and see right through the glass into the top box of frames. We can put small sugar patties in the mesh circles during the winter months, and in other months if we need to feed syrup, we can invert mason jars there. I’m very happy we discovered these. I need to get photographs but for whatever reason, I just don’t seem to be focused on photos lately.

Cody destroyed a second blanket, but to be fair, these were two old ones whose straps had dry rotted. His new one is arriving today. This has effectively cleaned out my blanket stash - the pony has his new sheet and a serviceable mid-weight blanket that fit well. Keil has his new mid-weight and a nice fleece, and Cody as of today will have a new mid-weight. I need two new sheets for the big boys to round out their wardrobe. 

Keil Bay has finished his third month of Marquis and we’re giving him a couple of days before moving on to the Rebalance we have on hand. He is holding his own - and I feel like we will get through this with some more time for neuro-regeneration. EPM is a terrible disease and I wish there was more active research focusing on prevention for horse owners and their horses.

Dogs and cats are happy and healthy. Clementine is scheduled for her spaying early in January, and her Penn Hip testing. She’s so grown up. 

A large part of what happens here is me writing, or trying to (I need 36-hour days), and I’m sad to report that my 8-week ms clinic via Zoom wraps up tonight. It’s been such a pleasure to work with the instructor and the 5 other women who are in the class. Next week I’ll start the next incarnation of the Writing In The Dark course, which I’ve done through most of this year, also on Zoom. These six-week sessions focusing on short work have really been a silver thread running through this year. 

It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of it, and if you’ve never seen Chris Guillebeau’s outline for doing an annual review for yourself, google it and rejoice. It’s a great way to assess the year and how it’s gone, and to think about how you want to create the new year in terms of time, energy, focus, and yes, goals. But really, his format is more than just goal setting. I’ve been doing it for a number of years now and highly recommend it.

In case I don’t get another post in before January, happy new year to all. This is definitely a year I think most of us will be happy to leave behind, but I also know that the difficulties we’ve been through, and continue to go through, have also offered us a new and very sharp lens through which to look at our days, our country, and our flaws. Sometimes that can be a good thing. We can move forward with new perspectives and hopefully, solutions.