Saturday, July 1, 2017

Lambs and First Trails!

A trio of beautiful Romney/Dorset lambs were brought to the farm today by the lovely Nathan. Here he is with one of the ram lambs he delivered this morning between the storms. They are up on the hill in their own small pen and shelter while they get used to their new home. I'm really happy with them, and ever more happy I was able to work out a partial barter for a logo design for his farm just south of Cold Antler. I never knew in art school just how handy being a graphic designer would be on a homestead. Life's kinda neat when you can plait together skills and dreams to keep a place inhaling and exhaling.

In other good news, I had my first trail ride alone with Mabel this morning. She did so well. Or rather, she did so well on the trail but was a little bossy on the ground before. I took her out for half an hour of the Natural Horsemanship training I learned from Dave, my farrier. We worked with a stick and flag and long line. After she was doing what she was asked on the ground, lining up with me on stops, and no longer crowding me I felt better about putting on the saddle. She balked a little at the bit, but it didn't take long to be tacked up and ready for an adventure.

I was a little nervous. I had never ridden this horse on trails alone before, and the one time I did ride her was in an arena with other horses and places she knew. Taking a mare just introduced to a whole new farm, pasture, companion, and life the day after she arrived was a lot to take in. But I knew this mare was trailered and ridden on trails all over New York and was used to new places and new work. The real nerves weren't hers, they were mine. So I took the plunge, found an egg crate to stand on as a mounting block, and got onto Mabel and asked her to head up the mountain. She obliged.

A new horse means a very attentive ride and being prepared for anything. We don't know each other. I smiled when she gave me small challenges along the way, like wanting to stop and eat or go left when I wanted to go right. When she realized I wasn't going to be pushed around it went from a game of mental tag into a nice morning walk in the woods.

We reached the mountain top view and I took it in. It looked a little different from a higher saddle. Not better, just different. I pet her neck and told her to enjoy a few bites of grass. She did and I watched the western storm clouds come closer. The sun was still out but knew it was being chased.

I rode her home. I'm so glad to report she is settling in well. The new lambs are as well. Big storms are hitting the farm all day, but as of right now the AM chores are long behind me and the saddle and tack are back inside hanging on the walls. New goat cheese is curing on the stovetop and I just had a fine lunch of warm sourdough bread from my neighbor's oven - a barter for a dozen eggs.

Things are really good right now, guys. And I am spending the rest of the day making soap to order (Thank you, Bonita and Ida and readers who email to buy soap and books!) and working on illustrations and logo designs. I have a list of 4 clients (a light workload but it is a Saturday and Holiday weekend!) and after all that I hope to enjoy this Fourth of July with my good friend Sara, visiting from Ontario. We are going to visit Hildene this week, thanks to tickets scored by Mark (Patty's Husband) who was the main architect on some of the remodeling and work on that museum. How cool is that? A new trail horse and a trip to Robert Todd Lincoln's home in Manchester to take in the beauty of Vermont, history, and a good friend to laugh with along the way.

Enjoy your weekend, and make time for good things you enjoy!