Thursday, April 24, 2014

now THIS is dressage

birthdays and beautiful days

We're celebrating two very important birthdays this week. Keil Bay has turned 25 and the Little Man has turned 14. 

We have had horses taking turns grazing down the back yard for me, birthday apples over the back fence, horses literally knocking at the gate wanting to come back in, and big servings of hay last night because the temperature dropped into the 30s!

I stood with Keil Bay yesterday, looking at the sprinkling of white hairs surrounding his eyes and wondering, when did those appear? When did this amazing friend of mine get to be 25 years old? A couple of days ago he galloped full speed up the front hill. I hold my breath and hope with all my best hopes that he lives a long, healthy life. 

Late in the evening, just as dusk fell, I stood with him and when I looked down there was a hawk's feather right at our feet. I picked it up and Keil took in the scent, deeply curious, as if he could still smell the flight left in the feather. He put his nose to mine and we breathed together. Happy birthday, Keil Bay.

The Little Man has been whinnying to me from the pastures, licking my hands, and in lots of other little ways seems to be connecting with me. Does he know his girl is preparing to apply to college? I don't know. I love his attention. He's a happy pony, still young, such a prominent member of our herd. Happy birthday, Little Man.

This morning I hear the cutting machines again. They went until 8 last night and started up at 7 a.m. this morning. But it's a beautiful day so instead of cringing at the sounds of trees being cut and hitting the earth, I went to the garden and harvested a colander full of bok choy. I washed it and sauteed it with a little olive oil, fresh garlic, and salt, then I set it aside in a plate. I made two small (fresh, happy hens, local) eggs over easy and put them on top of the bok choy. A little freshly ground pepper and there was the best breakfast I've had in awhile.

Now on to feed the equines. One of them (like me) "with frosting" as my daughter tells me when she glimpses my silvery hair. 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Andreas Helgstrand's Downward Spiral

And it is way past time.

If you haven't heard, Epona TV has run a series of articles over the past couple of weeks documenting Andreas Helgstrand and his horse Akeem. There are photos of blue tongues and scars from spurs, video footage of Helgstrand spurring the hell out of a sick Akeem who should not have been being ridden, much less in competition.

As a result of the articles and many people writing and commenting and sharing and speaking out, Helgstrand not only received a visit from the Danish animal protection society, he has lost sponsors like crazy. 

Akeem is on ordered rest due to severe pain in his mouth from the cruelty perpetrated by his Olympic-level rider, who made a statement saying the problem was the "poorly fitted bridle."


This is a link to Epona's most recent article, with more photos of another of Helgstrand's horses in a snaffle bridle fit so tightly it makes me sick to look at it.

Read, share, and if you want more, click over to their other articles on Helgstrand. I hope his career is over. It should be.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

March column was delayed but is up now at Talk2TheAnimals

And there's a giveaway for waiting. :)

Saturday, April 12, 2014

farmers' market treasures

Today was our first visit this season to one of several local farmers' markets we have in our community each week. With markets on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, all having different farmers, it's a treasure hunt every single time we go.

One of the farms is close by and I had to stop and tell the story of a day a few weeks ago when I drove past and spotted two of her new sheep propped up on a fence rail straining to reach the leaves on the tree for a green nibble. I wished again I knew how to knit - she had gorgeous yarn from her wool, in my most favorite colors - cobalt blue, fuchsia, emerald. It would make the perfect poncho. One day. It's on my list to learn.

Tonight's meal was left-over roasted chicken sauteed with red and yellow peppers and onion, avocado, and salsa on warm from the pan home-made corn tortillas. Dinner was incredible.

Tomorrow night we'll use the chicken to make stock for risotto and the tender local greens and sausage we picked up at today's market.

We also got parsley, green garlic, salami, lettuce greens, and a few other things I'm forgetting. Ideas for meals line up like dominoes in my mind.

We love knowing where our food comes from, that it is grown and raised with love and care, that animals used for meat are treated with respect, and we love how good everything tastes.

I was in our garden this afternoon, tending spinach, kale, bok choi, brocolli, purple cabbage, sage, and basil. I saw at least 20 tiny seedlings sprouting, volunteers from last year's garden. And I'm starting some seeds inside as well. 

If you don't already grow some of your own food, or visit your local markets, give it a try this year. It makes the meals, and the season, extra special.

Friday, April 11, 2014

it's a Keil Bay day....

I was ready to change the blog decor and since April is Keil's birthday month, and since he will be 25 years old in another week and a half, and since he has taken to following me to the back gate and hanging his head over it, and since he looks so incredibly handsome doing it, you can see that Keil Bay has taken over camera-obscura.

Which is fine with me!

It's April. Along with Keil Bay and the Little Man having birthdays, my husband has one, my daughter has one, and I personally think we should have flourless chocolate cake for all four of them. Have I mentioned here that I have gone (almost totally) gluten-free? I can't tell you how much better I am feeling. I have more energy, my head feels clearer, and I am so much more productive on a daily basis. 

I'm happy that our local farmers' markets are back in business for the season, my garden beds are about half full, and I've expanded the garden area and fenced it away from Corgi gardeners who seem to have different gardening practices than I do. It is easier to eat good food when the markets are going. Tomorrow will be our first farmers' market trip this year.

April also means ticks, culicoide midges, and probably fleas, but I haven't seen the fleas yet, thank goodness. Oh, and fire ants. I got my first fire ant bite of the season on Wednesday. I'm not even mentioning flies - time for the fly predators to start showing up in the mailbox!

In other news, I've started novel number 2 out of 3 that I intend to write in 2014. 

My son found out he was awarded a National Space Grant Scholarship for next year. 

My daughter is prepping for her SAT test and if practice test scores carry through to the test itself, she's going to knock the socks off that thing.

What's going on with you?