Monday, July 30, 2012

The answer is no and it was good

Each time I finish my ridding lesson it takes a good while to come back down to earth and get back into the swing of the day. Yes I’ve made my list but I’m wandering around in a daze trying to find it so I figured the best way to ground myself is to write. So here I am, this already hot July morning finding my legs.
So the big dilemma: Last week, Red, the horse I have been learning on was offered to me to buy. Red and I get along very well, and the lesson today on red was splendid.  We do work well together, there is no doubt, but after much thought I decided no. It broke my heart but I know it was the right thing to do. Farming is a hard way to make a living and even though this has been the best year I’ve ever had, I still count my nickels and dimes.  I’ve had some really hard winters and this might be the first one I that I’ll have just enough to get by without the normal high anxiety of late bills. This would be quite the achievement.
So Yes I decided no. My instructor totally understood and told me she hated to sell her anyway, she’s such a good horse. And an excellent teaching horse… and when I was ready to buy we would go horse shopping together. You can’t imagine the relief I felt and the gratitude of being understood instead of shunned for my lack of hard cold cash or credit. This is Grace. So Red and I can continue to ride together. I feel a great sense of relief but also a sense of peace of the realization that I can’t have everything I want and let me tell you the gratitude I feel for the things in my life I do have has doubled. Last Friday I turned 46 and I feel like I made a real grown up decision here, so I can also say, I’m proud of myself too. But let there be no doubt, one day when the time is right I will own my own horse!
I’ve had a few days off from the farm and getting back into the swing of things has been challenging especially with this stifling heat.  I spent a couple of days at the Osage Forest of Peace a monastery/ashram/spiritual retreat center. They are CSA members so it feels like a home away from home, it’s a beautiful place for reflection and meditation. After two days I felt completely regenerated and back on tract so to say. Linda kept an eye on the farm yet another gift to be grateful of, having a partner who is invested and supportive of me taking good care of myself.
So I’ll sign off for now and try to get some work done that doesn’t include working outside. Canning more tomatoes and cheese making will be the order of the day.

Monday, July 23, 2012


Not once did I ever imagine I would be living the life I have. Waking up before dawn to the sounds of mocking bird songs and cicadas. Sipping morning coffee from a soft bed in my yurt nestled in the shade of trees and  a stones throw from my goats. How lucky can a girl get. When the heat of these summer days gets me bitchy I remember how amazingly lucky I am.

Things have been hot around here. I'm pushing through it, for the most part with a good attitude but I'll be the first of my creed to admit I am looking forward to winter. I love the sun and I love warm humid days and evenings, up to a certain point. Then I kinda melt and forget simple things like how to hold a fork or turn on a light switch. (perhaps its all the cold beer I've been drinking). What gets me through the 109 degrees is knowing there will indeed, in the very near future be 40 degree days and warm cozy nights by the fire sipping hot goat milk with honey. Just thinking about it makes me feel good. In the cold of the winter I remember the warm summer sun. I cherish it all but....working outside for any length of time is much easier when its not over 100.

August is almost here and that means preparing the fall seedlings; broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage, and hopefully preparing beds for carrots which I hope to plant by the end of August. everything else will get planted in September, beets, turnips, greens. I love this kind of stuff. Each season
is so exciting! So I'm seed shopping and that always makes me very happy.

I'm taking August off from our farm table dinners so I can get fall plantings ready and start filling the larder, plus its just too darn hot. September will be beautiful and dinners are close to being sold out. Our CSA is still going strong tomatoes have been insane! strangely just now starting to harvest Okra on a regular basis. Hmmm??

On another note.... So after my wonderful ride today my instructor told me she would like sell Red the horse I've been riding. I have first option, we get along beautifully. But..... am I ready? I hate to pass up an opportunity to buy a horse like this. I'm struggling with making a decision and I need to make it fast. These are horse traders and they raise and train horses for serious horsewomen and men. I am serious about learning and being able to compete.

In my dreams I'm riding at a gallop, and tying knots well.  Could this dream be coming true?

Monday, July 16, 2012

the days

Things on the farm are so very bus right now. Harvesting needs to be done daily, along with weeding and watering. Just that alone on one acre is a full time job for one person. Weeding makes it last on the priority list but I think about it constantly and even dream about the tall menacing grasses and weeds choking out my valuable food. The food in which most of my entire livelihood is dependent on. The other is milk and cheese, and eggs and what apothecary I can create out of these things to nourish and nurture all that is in and around me. 

Its difficult to keep the monastic attitude when your running from one tomato vine to the next. Watching things grow out of control. But that's the real issue here isn't it? control. And this my fight with nature. trying to make things grow as I need or want them. Nature has me running to keep up with her, to head her off at the pass. Its a futile battle in this case. Conditions are favorable for the growing and the grower.  I throw my arms up and laugh smelling of sweat and vine fermented tomatoes.

The cool evenings and early mornings have made this life bliss. Yurt living is pure heaven. The hot days are offset by the pool I bought and keeping a 5 gallon thermos of ice water in the field with me. I had a tent up for shade but two nights ago a rainless storm blew through and in five minutes that tent was tossed over the fence and spread apart into unrecognizable pieces. Oklahoma.

So, as usual there is too much work in a day. Tasks are chosen out of necessity. Today canning has risen to the top of the list. Beautiful tomatoes wait in the cool room to become staples for months ahead. I'll value these in the deep months of winter. garlic pickles, are nice to have around too, soups and sauces from eggplant, squash and the likes.  Today will be cheese making and preserving. Tomorrow there will be harvesting and weeding. In between there will be good meals and restful sleep.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

these boots

A couple of days before my first ridding lesson with my new instructor, I purchased a pair of rugged ridding boots. The kind of boot you jump on a horse with, unload hay and muck stalls. They are pretty boots in craftsmanship but meant for shit kickin'. These are not going to town boots, except if its the feed store or the gas station for a coke.

There is something about how I felt when I put them on for the first time to ride. I felt light footed, confident. It almost felt that these boots removed any separation I had felt from my horse and the instructor like some how we were on the same page finally. I felt at home and and some how normal, even though I know to some folks around here I'm anything but normal. By the end of the day my boots were dirty and I was happy. They had done a fabulous  job!

What is about these boots? I think what makes them so special is a simple confirmation (no pun intended) that I'm taking steps forward to the dream I have of having my own horse. Small steps, that's good, I'm taking steps to be the horseman I see in my dreams as I gallop effortlessly across prairies and through woods.

The lesson went great, I had remembered more than I thought I would and I was happy with the horse my instructor put me on. Little red, beautiful six year old quarter horse 15 hands, lots of pep and very very patient as I made my way back in the saddle. We did figure eights, turns, stops, trotted. We went up hills and down, it was absolutely fabulous. I breathed in as deep as I could that wonderful grassy smell of horse and hay. I love the the smell of horses (horse shit is anther matter and I've smelled plenty of that) anyway... it was just the best time ever.

Later after the lesson was over I stayed in my boots and unloaded hay from the back of my truck. It was remarkable how natural they felt and how comfortable. Now I understand why they are the preferred choice of foot ware  in my "neighborhood". Oh what joy!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Getting back on

So, Monday I start up horse back ridding lessons again. Its been a couple of years, wow time flies! but I think about it too often to ignore so I'm back at it, this time close to home. I found a ranch close by so that will make long term lessons easier to commit to.

My goal of course is to some day own my own horse. I think about it every day. I could have had one by now seven times over again but for some reason horse ownership seems like a really big deal for me. I want to be with the right horse, and that horse just hasn't come along yet. Plus I have to admit I'm conserned about the financial responsibility. I've heard a broad spectrum of opinions on the subject to very little cost to you need to have an 80K a year salary to support a horse. Which is it? So until I know for sure I proceed with the utmost caution.

I purposely try to live well below my means. My goals are simple, no debt and live frugally with passion and meaning. But.... I want a horse, and that some how seems almost glutenous for my lifestyle, to have something just for pleasure. In my younger years, not so long ago if I wanted something I would just go get it and work out the details later. There are some bloggers I read regularly that do just that. They grab everything they want, they make it happen. And I suppose I could say I've done that much of my life and I don't necessarily believe there is anything wrong with that way of thinking, lord knows I wouldn't be here right now if not for that....but...maybe... its age? I'm a few weeks away from 46 years old and I tend to walk more cautiously, plan a little more and worry about the future. I think this is caused by 45 years of going for it. I don't regret any of my go for it moments, most ended up okay or even better but the failures have stuck with me and the wounds are still tender. So I think about things more. weighing out calamity with harmony.

I know the time will come when I can saddle up and ride anytime I want. I am making that happen, I am going for it, I'm just taking a different path to get there.