A Day on The Farm: Nostalgia

three baby goats, one standing in the aisle way two on a cart. All goats are in an aisle way in a barn.

It’s already 2022! How did it get to be 2022? 2021 seems to have gone by in a blur but it left its mark on me. I am a person that struggles with mental health issues. I’ve learned to deal with those issues by putting things in a mental box and saying I will deal with the issue another day. I am pretty sure I have an entire warehouse of boxes that I need to go through.

In 2021 I said good bye to my very first baby goat. If you follow my instagram or Facebook page I made a few posts saying I had to put Aladdin to sleep on December 6th, 2021. In the above photo Aladdin is the baby goat on the ground with big ears. I miss that adorable goat every single day. In the above photo two other animals are gone. The horse nose sticking out between the barns of the stall is that of my old mare Julie (she was put down December 19, 2020). The third goat that is missing is Bear. The baby goat on the cart looking down at the ground. Bear is hopefully, still alive and living on a farm with a bunch of other goats in Massachusetts. I sold Bear in a fit of ‘I need to reduce the number of goats that I have’. I regret selling Bear every single day. Since I’ve put Aladdin down I regret selling Bear all the more.

I’ve got through a period of loss and with loss I have to face my inner doubts and the sadness that comes with having to say goodbye. Saying goodbye is something happens, it’s not easy. It never is but as a livestock owner I have to make the decision for what is best for the animal and the herd.

I digress, my main reason for writing this post was to address the loss of animals that I’ve experienced however, it was also to write about how I miss the old days. The days before Tik Tok and Special Effect filters, the days before snapchat and smart phones and all of the tech that we have now. I am tired of technology always needing to update. I am tired of being overwhelmed by trying to create an online presence.

An example, I created this website from scratch. I signed up for a WordPress domain and name. I paid for the upgrades to have more features and bells and whistles but now, I am overwhelmed by the website. I need to do a rebuild from scratch. I want streamline the website, make it one or two pages. It’ll take several days to do that but I am so out of touch with working on a computer. I’ve used my phone for so much lately and it is hard using a laptop. I am hard on laptops I type quickly and the processing speed of the computer always lags behind what I am trying to write. The proverbial hare running too fast for the tortoise. With handwriting you have to physically form every letter. With a computer you can create more with a few strokes of the fingers. I write this even as my laptop is driving me bonkers because it can’t keep up with my typing speed.

A Day on the Farm: Rest

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on the blog. I can’t believe how the year has flown by. I’d love to say it was a walk in the park but it wasn’t. Running a business is incredibly hard. Having a one person, labor intensive business is extremely demanding. I’ve had to come face to face with some truths that I don’t like. However, I must admit to the those truths in order for my business to grow.

Things are going to change. I won’t be offering all of the services I used to offer but I am excited for what is to come. I know that my customers have certain expectations and they’ve come to enjoy my little farm. It always amazes me how my farm takes on a life of its own. It really does become more that what I offer. It becomes a sanctuary for many people. A safe haven, a place where people can rest and just be. A place that doesn’t judge. A place a little crooked and in need of repair. A place people can relate to. My farm isn’t for everyone, but for those that need it, my farm is there. As I sit writing this I can feel my farm’s pull on me, the desire to go back there and be near the animals; it is a feeling that keeps me centered.

Ivy, Evan and Evie enjoying hay

The summer months were tough for me. I worked seven days a week teaching, planning and caring for the animals. This coming summer things will change. I will not be offering the summer programs that I offered last year. I will have some options but not as many as I had for 2021.

Stay tuned for the changes. Pricing for lessons increased and are reflected on the riding lesson page. If you see a drastically different website, don’t be startled. It just means I wanted to try something different. Until next time!

New things are coming! New hours!

Please be aware that the website is in the midst of some upgrades. One thing we will be adding is an online store for merchandise! We will offer clothing and more!

Our summer on the farm is/was very busy! So busy that I don’t know if I am coming or going! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everyone I’ve met and had a blast teaching. It is great to see so many kids wanting to get outside and enjoy the sunshine/fresh air.

Starting September 1st hours for teaching are changing. Previously, I’ve taught seven days a week while running the farm. The pace I set is a pace I cannot keep up with so I am going back to teaching four days a week. As of September 1st I will offer lessons Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays. I haven’t spent as much time with my family as I would like to and I know they would like to see me more than once or twice a year.

In addition to that the farm no longer offers boarding to new/outside people. We are keeping our existing boarders but I am putting a cap as to how many horses we will have on site. In addition to that I will be reducing the number of goats on the farm. Stay tuned for more information.

This year has taught me so much about myself and about what I am able to do. I am excited for the next stage of the farm and hope you all enjoy seeing us grow.

By taking three days off of teaching lessons I plan on taking that time to work and train my horses. My horses need more time than I can currently give them and I need to work with them to get them to the point of either integrating into my lesson program or training them so that I can rehome them.

For all of my efforts I also want/hope/need to start writing and generating income through that area of my life. Earlier this year I made the conscious decision to stop taking medication I’ve been on since I was a teenager. I may go back on that medication at some point, there are things in my life that are worse now that I am living without medication but at the same time I missed my creative side. Right now, I can function and enjoy life without “modification”. There are many thoughts that are trying to hit the page, so to speak, but I want to make sure people understand that I am not against medication, infact, I think medication to help balance anxiety, depression and sleep disorders is very important and often needed. However, the older I get the better I am able to balance my emotions and reactions. I still have ways to go but isn’t that true for most people?

Chapter Five: The First Lesson

“Mom, what time is it? Is it time to go?” I waited while mom looked at her phone, then at me and then at her computer screen “It is exactly two minutes later than when you last asked me what time it was. You know how to read a clock. I need to finish this […]

Chapter Five: The First Lesson

Summer Programs 2021- payment Due

Good Day All!

While you are enjoying this rainy weather, please know that June summer programs are now full and registration for them is closed. If you have not paid for your summer program, please do so now. As we will not accept students if the week they signed up for is not prepaid.

Please note we have some availability for July and August but our weeks are filling up quickly. We require payment at time of registration. Should you have any questions please reach out to us.

A Day On The Farm- If Only

Suri & crew

The farm is starting to get busy. I am excited but also tired. For those of you that don’t know- I, Felicia, have a sleep disorder call narcolepsy. At it’s very basic form narcolepsy is a disorder/disease that makes it hard for my body to sleep/rest properly. I like to tell people imagine a car with a gas leak- you can still drive it, still use it but you are going to have to fill it up more often and you won’t get as far. Most days I feel like that- as though I fill up my tank but barely make it out of the parking lot. When I get exhausted I start to think “if only this, or if only that”. I’ve been diagnosed with narcolepsy since 2009. I’ve had narcolepsy since 2005. I honestly cannot remember life without being tired. That is probably because I’ve had many concussions from riding.

I do remember being able to do a lot more. I remember looking around at life and thinking the world is at my fingertips and also feeling as though the world was a big place. It still is a big place but I’ve found my spot in it. I love what I do. Now, I think if only I had more time, if only I had more resources, if only I was able to better focus.

I started a blog called a Sleepy Equestrian. I wanted to write on it daily to chronolog my struggles living with this disorder. Recently, I tested my ability for longer car rides. I got to teach/judge my first clinic/show. I had a lot of fun! I learned a lot and I hope everyone else learned a lot as well! I know that it was a whirlwind weekend. I drank about 8 energy drinks and multiple cups of coffee to get through it. By Sunday afternoon I was so happy to be back home to my herd.

Aladdin’s belly seemed to do well for the most part. He is such a unique goat. He has a Fistulation in his belly. It seems to be healing and I want him to be whole to be a goat without having goo spew out his belly randomly. I feel his stress because he needs to eat and drink more to keep his energy up. His belly leaks nutrients everywhere. I am sure it isn’t fun for him when his belly starts to leak.

Maybe there is a fistulation in my brain, leaking energy out. Who knows. Anything is possible. If you happen to find a wealthy person who is interested in helping me set up a place for teens and adults to get to better know the animals, please keep me in mind!

A Day on the Farm- Learning to Lead

Lark looking at the camera

Well, it’s the end of the day here and I am taking the time to write this blog post before I grain. Yes, I know I am going to be graining late but the horses will have something to eat later on in the evening.

Today was a HUGE day for miss Lark. She was led all the way out to the paddock and led almost all the way in. Lark is a case of needing to wait and hold on (figuratively, not literally). One of the biggest things I learned from Dude and then used on her was the thought process that if they feel the need to bolt, let them. Haltering I got down pretty well. I have method for getting a halter on a horse but now, I have a method for leading. This method might change and it probably doesn’t work for every horse but it did work for Dude and it seems to be working for Lark.

Lark wanted to do a sleep over. Dusti and I said no.

Lark is starting to get the idea of the haltering process, she still doesn’t like it, doesn’t quite understand why she needs to wear one but she is getting better about trusting me and allowing me to do things. Around the two year mark Lark finally allowed me to go on her right side and touch it. She now watches me with both eyes instead of one.

Lark has such an interesting personality. It is both cute and annoying. There are time when I say “really???” Because she takes forever to put things together.  I.e. if she follows me she gets treats. She also forgot she had feet when I starting working with her giving to pressure last night. I asked her to move sideways, she was so focused on trying to do what I asked while keeping her feet still that she actually stepped on her right front foot with her left front.  She then had a mini panic/reaction moment but settled down and stopped to think.

The Lark from a year ago would have bolted and ran around the paddock like and idiot. Lark of today did a mini rear to get off her foot, went back a few steps but let me catch her halter and repeat the process of teaching her to yield to pressure. Lark has grown by leaps and bounds. We have had a bumpy journey, one that many people have helped with. I am thankful for those people. I hope Lark will continue to progress.

The biggest thing that Lark has developed is the ability to think before she reacts. If she reacts she is better able to stop and assess the situation before going into full panic mode. I believe that she will get better about not freaking out over things. What I’ve noticed is that she will panic over more things after she’s gone through a flight response.

This afternoon she almost led into her stall on the lead rope but she panicked and needed to bolt, so I let her blast through the rope. I let go and she had her freak out. I fixed what caused her panic and then I went to collect her. She was a little confused as to what happened but didn’t go into full blown melt down mode.

I was able to bring her back and we were almost in the aisleway when she stepped on a piece of paper bag. The crinkly noise freaks her out. I could tell she was tired and really wanted to use the paper bag as an excuse to bolt. She didn’t though. She took a step back and started thinking. So I picked up the piece of paper and showed her I wasn’t going to hurt her. Then we did a little more baby steps while on the lead line. At that point I realized mentally, she was done. She needed to go back to something she felt confident in. Working with Lark is confounding, she really tries but they way she processes how things happen is so strange. I wish I could figure out why she acts the way she does but at the end of the day, she and I are learning to go in steps and small chunks.

I would love to write more but I need to feed the animals and go to sleep. There were many times throughout the day that I wanted to write this post but I got distracted by the animals. Rest easy everyone and stay tuned for more!

A Day on the Farm- The Grind

Welcome to Spring! Today it is raining but that is good for the soil and good for the grass! This will hopefully set us up for an early first cut of hay which would help reduce costs of the farm. Growing up I never really paid attention to how much the weather impacted the agricultural world. If it was raining I would ride in the indoor. I never really thought about how grass is hayor the labor involved with harvesting the hay and then stacking it inside. To me, it was squares of  green yellow fiber that horses needed to eat. Much like people thinking chocolate milk comes from chocolate cows, I just that hay appeared as it did. I never helped stack hay in a hot hay loft. I wish I had, it might have better prepared me for how much it costs.

A person thinking- stock photo

Now, I am wishing I had gone about business a bit differently. I wish (and hindsight is 20/20) that I figured out how to buy a small tractor and a small round baler. Yes, the costs probably wouldn’t add up for a while but I could at least have some control over having and I would rely on hay suppliers so much .

There are many things that I didn’t realize about running a business and farm. One of my goals with these posts is to hopefully better prepare other people who are wanting the same career I have. Stay tuned for more!

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.
%d bloggers like this: