A Day on The Farm-Rest

Goats every where

I have come to the conclusion that the farm is becoming a goat farm with horses, instead of a horse farm with goats. Spring is when I get busy with lessons and farm visits and the like. This year is no exception. What managed to do was increase my goat numbers to over 20 in a short amount of time. My ideal number of goats is under 12. I was down to nine goats and that such a nice number. They all seemed to get along and the status quo was found.

Now, with ten babies and a few more on the way I wonder why I decided to increase the herd size. I am starting to forget names! However, one of my goals with the farm is to increase awareness about agriculture and animals. I enjoy goats and it seems they are a great animal for people to start with. Goats are calm and relaxing. They jump around but as long as you respect them and treat them with kindness they do the same to you.

Goats won’t charge or bully you unless you set the “stage” so to speak, for them to feel like they need to act defensively. Goats are naturally curious and they enjoy exploring. As I sit outside with them they stay around me munching on brush and investigating. What I’ve learned with goats is if you have an older doe and she knows the “rules” she will make sure all of the other goats follow those rules.

Goats are smaller than horses and are both more difficult and easier to catch than horses. It takes a certain amount of out of the box thinking to get them to do what you want. At times, I have to restrain them and I am working on how to better work around them. I like working with goats because they are still fairly new to me. They see the world in such an interesting way. It’s hard to describe how to interact with the world. Videos don’t accurately depict it. At the same time videos are great at giving glimpses into the world of goats.

These creatures are under valued and I hope to change that, at least, a little bit. Stay tuned for more photos, videos & musings.

Book Blog

Writing on this blog has been to help me clear the clutter in my mind and to get back into the practice of writing.

As such, I’ve decided to create a new website/blog for a series of books I am about to write. I hope to publish the books/ find an agent for the books as I would love to be an author. I grew up devouring books and I hope to create stories that help kids enjoy the written word. See link below. I have just started this process, please forgive me while I get it up and going.

DANDELWIND EQUESTRIAN BOOKS

Horses grazing as the sun is setting. Stock photo.

A Day On The Farm- Weekends

First off, let me just say that when I write these posts it is as though I am spinning cotton candy onto a stick. Have you ever seen cotton candy spun from the machine and onto a stick? If not see video below.

Cotton candy

The video is rather short and those images set up for this post (well, sort of) when I write these posts I approach them as I approach life, without any definite plan. I sort of have an idea about what I am going to do or accomplish but the actual plan isn’t formed. Planning is a nebulous thing and I am not very good at it. I am too impatient to plan which creates an oh, so interesting path for me.

Please note my tone in most of my posts is at least a little bit tongue in cheek.

In all seriousness though I have things I need to work on. The weekends are not when I can work on self development as I teach riding on the weekends and with the better weather I am very busy. Yesterday (meaning Saturday), was gorgeous and instead of going out and riding my horse I taught lessons and made sure all of the barn stuff got done. Most days I am the barn help in addition to the person who manages the farm.

Here is a photo of a very round Evie. Evie is from my first set of babies born on the farm and she is pregnant. I am awaiting her babies to see what she has in there. Of course, I bought bottle baby goats as well. Some might say (and there is a little bit of truth to this) I bought the bottle babies because Evie & Maddie (my other pregnant goat) were taking too long with theirs! I get nervous and stressed that something bad will happen to my two does. I’ve talked a lot about Evie and Maddie having kids and everyone is waiting for the kids, and I don’t want to disappoint, which is why we have bottle babies 🤣🤣 I have to say there is a quirky logic in there.

As discussed in my post about decisions I am in the middle of a bout of making them. My path is at a crossroads so to speak, at least that is what it feels like. We will see what happens. Yesterday (meaning Sunday), I was able to brush Fae & Daisy. I am so glad I spent time with them. It gives me a reminder as to where my focus needs to be. Now, onto the final random thought for today (Monday) I am going to try my hand at writing some preteen fiction. I will be posting my first draft to this website. Stay tuned for some stories!

The Old Mare

Julie at the end of a riding lesson

Over the years I’ve had blogs and I’ve written countless posts about horses and life. I have many posts about what horses mean to me. They aren’t on this website but they are out there stored somewhere in the internet of things. My focus in those posts was Julie. Julie is the matriarch of this farm. Without Julie there would be no Hidden Meadow. I don’t like admitting that I’ve put Julie on the sidelines. I don’t like that she is only one of my focuses but at the same time her story is bland compared to some of the other horses here.

Julie and Fae when Fae was about a month old.

Julie will be 28 years old on March 22nd. Her body is starting to slow down. Her mind is starting to slow down as well. It is hard for me to see her slow down and struggle with routines. Julie used to be able to pick up on changes quickly, now it takes her a while to figure things out. I’ll admit I don’t have patience she needs. Often she will do something and I correct whatever she did. Half the time she does those things because she has forgotten the routine and the expected response to a stimuli. I have to remind myself to stop rushing about with her. Instead, I need to cherish her. The time is coming when I will have to say good bye. I am hoping it won’t be soon but life is short and I just don’t know.

She is getting older. Her face has so much gray on it. Her eyes ask for more affection and attention. I am always in a rush and I need to stop and pay more attention to her.

UPDATE: Julie passed away on December 19th 2020, this post was originally written March 3rd, 2020. I can’t believe that she is gone. If only I had paid attention to the words in the above paragraph.

A Day On The Farm- Commitments

A day in the life is an every day thing for me. It is easy to get stuck in the rewind of introspection! I don’t mean to write posts that are all doom and gloom. It seems that I just tend to go down a rabbit hole when I start writing about the farm. Today, I will try to be more light hearted! We have new additions to the farm. I decided to pick up some baby goats. Last year, they were a hit! I ended up selling all of the babies from last year and I wanted to raise a few more. As well as give people a reason to come out and spend time on the farm. Baby goats are fun to be around! They are so full of life and try to jump on everything. They are ready for anything. I think that is why they are so full of joy. The mentality of why not! Something, I find myself thinking so very often but, I must pump the brakes and reflect. Stay tuned for more photos and words! Go outside and breathe in fresh air!

A Day On The Farm-Waiting

I am impatient by nature. It seems I’ve become both more and less patient since owning a farm. It’s funny, because do I actually own a farm or do I run the farm? I lease the land but own the business. What is the correct term for this situation? As I sit here on a container full of concrete (used as a door jam to keep my goats out the tool closet) I am being “bothered” by Chip, one of my original babies, for attention. He is the one that is the most skittish of the babies. You’ll have to forgive me, my ADD is pretty bad. I made the decision after Julie was sent over the Rainbow Bridge to try life without antidepressants and without medical grade stimulants. I was on antidepressants for over 15 years and I needed them throughout my teens and 20s but for the past year or so I’ve found that I was still dealing with anxiety, agoraphobia and depression. It seemed that the medicine wasn’t doing anything. So, I am letting everything leave my system. I am trying to live life without additives not because I don’t need them but because I grew resistant to them and sometimes, a person needs to hit reset on their body chemistry.

I also don’t like that with WordPress (the company I use for the backend structure for my website) when I am in blog editing mode, or any editing mode, if I want to create a new paragraph it creates a new “block” or subsection of movable information. Sometimes, I want to have several “blocks”/paragraphs together, I want to to be able to hit return without having a new block created. This simple, small issue is one of the reasons why I don’t write as much as I want to. The other reason being is that I use my phone to blog and typing on my phone is cumbersome. I keep waiting for my situation to magically change. I keep waiting for magically to reappear in this world. I keep waiting on the ability to snap my fingers and have what I need, when I need it. I grew up watching too any Disney movies and reading too many books. I wrote too many starts to too many books and I didn’t finish any of them.

Which brings me back to waiting. I keep waiting for something to happen. To win something; to be found. However, I am happy with my life, or at least with the trajectory, if I could but adjust one or two strands on the tapestry of my life. It seems, maybe, the fates have made a mistake. I am waiting for them to see it and adjust it, but does that mean they will unravel everything I’ve developed? Will I have to start over? Will I lose the people, the animals, the friends, the family in my life? Part of me says oh well, but most of me says, no way. I am building something here. I have had to make a lot of adjustments and many sacrifices to arrive at this point. I still have weird dreams where I am back in college or sometimes even in high school. Oftentimes, I am in the lunch room. I was cruel at times. Defensive. I had so much I felt I had to prove, to protect. Yet, I wore myself out that way. Now, I feel hollow, as though I am a ghost. Haunted by things I cannot remember, cruelty I wore without realizing it. Maybe, my dreams are trying to get me to remember the cruelty I wore like armor. Maybe, my mind had been waiting for me to wake up from the “slumber” of my feeling & emotions. I am easily angered and I have to hold on to my humanity in those dark moments because when I forget my humanity I forget who I am and what I dream of.

I feel close to my goats because the general public’s opinion of them is close to how I view myself. It’s funny that I gravitate towards these animals when at one time, I thought they were gross, unfriendly creatures. Now, I adore them. I adore how clever they are. I adore how obnoxious they can be. I adore what they’ve taught me. Maybe, they are waiting for me to figure out who I am.

A Day on the Farm- Awake

At this very moment on this rather blustery Friday morning I feel oddly awake. Let my preface that with a quick admission, I have a sleep disorder called narcolepsy. This sleep disorder often leaves me groggy and exhausted both physically and mentally. I live in a near constant state of sleep deprivation. There have been studies on the effects of sleep deprivation and those studies show rather unpleasant realities. I was diagnosed with my disorder in 2009 but I started showing signs of my sleep disorder in 2006.  I have a love/hate relationship with sleep. It drives me nuts that I have to sleep so much and yet I never feel rested.

I often feel like Evie, let me sleep right here.

Of course while I was writing the above paragraph I was multi tasking and doing water for the horses. The hose slipped and sprayed me from my waist to my boot. There I stood with 2 layers of pants soaking wet. I finished filling up the water troughs and am now sitting in the barn aisle with the goats. I have Julie’s cooler on my legs, if a cooler can pull water from a horse’s fur then it must be able to pull water from leggings?? Today would be a lovely day if it weren’t for the wind.

Julie on her 27th birthday wearing the cooler

Today marks the three months since I had to say good by to Julie. Her birthday is March 22nd. She would have turned 29. I remember telling her when I first got her that she had to live until she was 32; that way I would have owned her (or she would have owned me? I would have been her human?) For half of her life. Julie did her best. She stayed for as long as she could but in the end time and genetics got the best of her. I know I am struggling with grief in my own way. I often feel robotic or run down. I know that I will find an even keel. At times I feel like I should be more distraught over losing her. However, I know that Julie wouldn’t want me bemoaning her death for too long. It is a bit confusing navigating this path of loss. I wonder why I feel her death so keenly when the death of my father I avoided acknowledging. Will I be the same way when I lose other family members? Have I told my family how much they mean to me? I guess I assume they know but in case they don’t- dear family, please know I love you all so much and I am so thankful to call you all my family. Thank you, for being there for me.

Evie says thank you
Aladdin says thank you
Aladdin & I say thank you

A Day On the Farm- Experiences

This crazy weather is driving me batty. One day it is lovely, the next it is down right cold and windy. I am still relatively young but I have to say, that I find with each passing year it gets harder and harder for my body and mind to adjust to the weather changes. I would love to have some time to just enjoy the animals I care for but, lately, I get to enjoy how much poop they produce. See below photos of the goats munching on hay which gets turned into manure.

Goats working on turning hay to poo
Aladdin & Igor working on turning hay to poop
Evie walking looking left
Another photo of goats turning hay into poop.

I always start out with a grand idea to write something important, interesting and engaging but what happens is a whole lot of nothing. I experience this perpetual sense of writer’s block. It is as though my mind is trapped in an endless loop.

Maybe my mind is trapped in the loop. As I write this post I am wondering about all the things I want to write about, however the moment I want to write things down my idea all flee from me. It is similar to how my mustangs act. They love people because people bring food but actually working with people is a no go.

A Day At The Farm- Intentions

Isn’t it funny that I started this blog post yesterday with the intention to write it yesterday. It is hard to write a post about intentions when my mind can barely focus on everything that is going on.

So, this post will be a whole bunch of photos. Because I want to write; I have this intention to write about the animals at the farm but photos are easier to share.

I wanted to mention that I am starting/developing a new blog. It is called A Sleepy Equestrian. I will have to link the blog in at some point.

Stay safe everyone, thank you for taking a gander at the photos.

A Day on the farm-exhaustion

Bear sleeping in the hay

It’s been two days since I wrote a post. I meant to write one yesterday but I was busy. It started off with a new horse busting a fence board and having to chase him around and get him in a paddock. I’ll post about him in the next few days. Then a neighbor stopped by to see the new little one. I still haven’t posted about her either. After the neighbor left I had about an hour to feed the animals and take a moment or two to myself.

Broken board, horses in a ring

At 9 am I had a student come, he does a morning program on Wednesdays from 9 to 12. He is a great kid but requires a lot of focus. He helped me with finishing turning horses out & watering the horses. We also threw hay to a few of the horses. After that we got the trash cans & replacement boards for the damaged paddock. I also had to do a quick look at Pixie, one of the goats, because she had projectile diarrhea. After all that was sorted my 11 o clock lesson showed up. So, I taught a double header riding lesson while trying to keep track of my student. Luckily, one of the community members came and helped pick out paddocks and my student helped with that.

Horses sleeping

My day just started! After my lesson and my student leaving I had an intern come and help with picking out more paddocks. During that time I tried to eat lunch while taking a chill pill and prepping for my afternoon. I am a solitary person and so chatting about life when I just need quiet is draining. I like just being around the animals. Fast forward to 2 pm and my afternoon students arrive. I dive in and start teaching them how to clean stalls and work with the animals and pay attention to the world around them. More students come and we are working on riding and brushing and I am doing my best to get horses’ stalls done and not fall asleep.

The day was a long one and by the end of it I wanted to crash. Students were at the barn until 6 pm. I was on doing triple duty until about 6:30 pm. While the kids were at the farm I was also trying to answer emails about summer programs and riding lessons.

Igor & Aladdin sleeping

The day before I got the chance to ride my spoiled horse, Fae. I made the mistake of trying my hunt seat saddle on Fae. She didn’t like that one bit. So, I had to do some ground driving on her and then a saddle switch. We did our first attempt at a dressage test which we sort of figured out. Fae needs to be ridden more consistently and I need to be better about riding her.

Fae getting ready for work

My mind just gets so overwhelmed with everything that needs doing. I often think I need to reduce my animal numbers. The question is what is the magic number? Where is my carrying capacity? Is it 2 goats and 4 horses or 4 goats and 2 horses? How do I balance wanting to teach and work with animals with keeping my energy levels even? Oh. Did I mention my allergies are kicking in. Well. Stay tuned. I’ll be back!

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