“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
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.
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!
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 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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 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 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!