Weekend Coffee Share; STAYING BUSY

This morning I really need my coffee. I’ve been awake half the night thinking. How about you? How was your week?

I’ve been keeping myself busy, even busier than usual this week. Trying to not think about the fact that my daughter is not with me. However happy I am for her. It is hard! There’s a thousand thoughts running around in my head. I’m as far from the worrying kind as one could be. I know by experience that the only thing in life that is constant, is change. I can handle her being away for a visit with her dad, no problem, but there is even talk about more. I’m not really sure how I am going to handle that. He has offered to let her start school in his town, in another state. She is happy, and thrilled about finally getting some dad time. All I know is that I would do anything for that little girl. I love her to death. Since I found out that I was pregnant with her I’ve been showering her with love, reading to her, and had educational conversation with her every single day she’s been with me. I’ve happily tailored my life around her, only accepting jobs where I have been able to bring her with me. Just to spend as much precious time as possible with my daughter. (Imagine how easy that have been, to find/create jobs where you can bring a small child.) The few days now and then she haven’t been with me, have been an exception to the rule, and very few in between.

I want her to have a relationship with her dad, that is why I gave up my life in my home country. (I love America, and it’s my home now, but in the beginning it wasn’t as easy as I showed family and friends.) So far, I’ve felt that we have not been a priority. In the end I guess one could say that we have different survival strategies for hard times, that I read as not being a priority. That is why I left her father (but not the country,) when she was a baby/toddler. We’ve been able to stay friends, and I think highly of him. For the most part we’ve been living within a few hours from each other, and when he’s been able to make time, I’ve been driving her to him. For her sake. I want her to know her dad. I feel that I have been going out of my way, a lot, to make it happen. Now he lives an 11 hour drive away, without traffic. In reality it takes two days to drive safely with a kid, one way. All of a sudden he wants to see her more. So far it’s been very easy to cooperate around her. I am so hoping that it will stay that way. I think it is. I hope it will. It’s been heavily on my mind this week. My daughter is my number one priority. Her well being, and her education is more important than anything to me. You get the idea, lots of things to think about. What is in her best interest? That’s all I really care about. But how do one know what’s in her best interest? My gut feeling want to keep her close, always, but a little voice tells me that’s selfish. How could I deny her spending more time her dad, that she adores? I’m sure the universe have a solution for this as well. Please just make your solution known in time before the new school year! The uncertainty is killing me. I can work with a definite decision, and make the best of it. Not knowing is challenging.

In the beginning of the week it was easy to think of other things, as my cousin and her boyfriend from Sweden, and my aunt from Washington was visiting. I wrote about our visit to Lassen Volcanic National Park, and McCloud Falls earlier this week. Having them here was wonderful. To say the least.

We had a visit from our amazing barefoot trimmer Donna on Tuesday. Fancy’s hooves were very neglected when I bought her in April. They were cracked, too short on most places, with long parts sticking out on other. Her heals were kind of pushed up into her hooves, and her toes were partly too long, and flared. She was walking on her toes. She had an untreated abscess on her left front hoof. After a first trim, Donna’s been balancing her hooves once a month. They are growing out nicely, and her heals are starting to take a more normal position. (You can see the progress in the photos below. There is still a way to go, but it is going in the right direction.) She is moving more freely by the day. She is making great progress. This week Donna told me that Fancy will not have any lasting injuries on her hooves, from the neglect. It’s such great news! The new growth is straight, and looks very healthy. Nutrition, and TLC goes a long way. Right now Fancy is on alfa alfa (hay), Stable Mix, and California Trace.

I ordered a new bitless bridle for her last week, that came this week. It’s handmade with her measurements, made out of biothane.

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Doesn’t she look beautiful in it? You’ll have more control if you put the noseband a little further down, compared to where I placed it on Fancy. (She has an old injury in her mouth. Healed, but she has a bad deformation on her tongue. Her tongue was almost cut off at some point, and left untreated.) I have only used the headstall for work-in-hand (on the ground) so far. It seems like she really like it. I’ve successfully started, and restarted, different horses in this type of halter. Including wild mustangs. It’s soft, but the signals to your horse is very clear, and easy for them to understand. I order them from Moss Rock Endurance (they are having problems with their website right now, but they are working on it.) They also have great customer service. If you’re interested in one for your horse, contact the owner, Lisa. She has been very helpful to me throughout the years.  

Do you need a refill on that coffee? Do you have a  garden this year? How is it doing now? Is it at is peak? Or have you already harvested the majority of your bounty? I’d love to hear what garden zone you are in, and about the plants that thrives there. 

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I’ve planted three different varieties of smaller tomatoes; grape, cherry, and cocktail. When I pick them, I just pick the ripe ones, all together. The different tastes makes for great salads. Speaking of which, I tried this recipe the other day, it was amazing.

I’ve harvested at least 10 lbs of cherry tomatoes this week, some squash, cucumber, salad, and corn. To the benefit of friends and family. I’ve also added one Meyer Lemon tree, and one Navel Orange tree, to my container garden. I’ve been wanting to add citrus trees for a while, so this is exciting 🙂 It’s a start. There will be more. I’ve also done a lot of mulching. We’ve had three digit temperatures the whole week, most days more than 110. (The new saltwater pool is even more awesome than I imagined. I’ve spent a lot of time there this week.) I’ve started to clean out plants that I already finished harvesting from, some squash, and corn. Those beds I’ve started to prepare for my fall garden. The fall garden is still weeks away, but I will keep feeding those beds until it’s time. I spent time planning my fall garden this week, and ordered the heirloom seed I need from RareSeeds.Com. I will have eggplant, carrots, lettuce, kale, Chinese meat radish, and two tomato varieties in my fall garden. I will start those seeds indoors as soon as they arrive. When the temperatures are cool enough, I will plant them outdoors. 

I have not been able to write anything on my book this week. Maybe next week? LOL. On an interesting note, I’ve had three hawks visiting me for hours every day. There’s a hummingbird feeder hanging from a tree, a few feet outside the living room window. Someone placed a beautiful bird bath made out of stone underneath. There’s never any humming birds there. Now these three hawk, have started to hang out there (maybe that’s why there are no hummingbirds there..) Sometimes it’s just one, or two hawks, but most of the time three. I’m far from a bird expert, but I believe it’s two males, and one female. They are just a few feet from the window, and I’ve enjoyed watching them very much. If I’m sitting very still on a chair outside, or in the pool, they come. If I make any moves, they are gone. I have not yet been able to take their picture. I’ll work on that. I don’t know what kind of hawks they are. They are on the smaller side. 

I hope you’re having an amazing week! Don’t get me wrong, despite my thoughts about my daughter in the beginning, I am having a good week, just more to think about than usual. My dog Gretchen is working wonders on my happiness levels. She always does. I’m working a little harder than normal to keep my zen balanced this week. I’d love to hear about your week! Help yourself to another cup of coffee, and tell me about it 🙂 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

PS. I am NOT an affiliate to any of the links I share. I just enjoy sharing things I like, and appreciate.

Ghost

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If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know my horse Ghost. The four-year old, half Arabian gelding, that I purchased in January. He lived the first years of his life in a big pasture, with limited contact with people. Of all the horses I’ve met throughout my life (hundreds,) he is the biggest challenge, including the wild mustangs I’ve gentled. Ghost is a gentle, very kind soul, with a high level of flight instinct in him. If he get scared, he will be out of sight in a blink of an eye. (Motion footage of him. To give you an idea of how fast he is.) Then you have nothing to work with, which makes things a little complicated. No method, or technique in the world can be successful if there’s no horse in sight (partly why I named him Ghost.) It’s all feel with him. It is both extremely frustrating, and rewarding, at the same time. I need to be 100% grounded, otherwise I have no horse to work with, period. 

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Ghost is very sensitive to pressure, and I’m not talking about physical contact, I mean the pressure of your eyes on his body, or your intention of doing something. That said, if he’s relaxed, he is very social. Loves to hang out, and he often showers me with kisses. As a bonding exercise with him I spend time every day hanging out in his pasture, doing nothing, or doing something, that isn’t work. I often bring a chair, and a book. One of his favorite things is to stand behind me, while I’m reading, with his muzzle gently resting on my cheek, or shoulder. He can fall asleep standing there. If I’m in the pasture doing something (cleaning up, fixing fences, cleaning water troughs etc.) he always grazes nearby. If I’m in my garden, next to the pasture, I can feel his eyes on me, at all times. If I’m in my bedroom, in the house, I often see him standing in the pasture looking at me. He is a very special horse. Some days he is scared of everything, and certainly don’t want to have his halter on. Especially those days, he looks for reassurance, a lot. He is a very verbal horse, he calls me out to the pasture, just to have me sit with him for a while, stroke his neck, and speak softly. After a few minutes, he draws a deep breath, sighs, and all is well in his world. Some days he need reassurance many times. I’ve noticed that if I don’t pay attention to this, he takes it out on my mare Fancy. That is when we get these problems of him biting her, that I’ve mentioned my concerns about a few times.

 

His beautiful summer coat have revealed some unique, twisted, spiderweb like, markings on his legs.

Ghost had lots of changes in his life this year, and I’ve realized that he wants me to slow down on my expectations. We may, or may not go riding this summer. I’ve told him over and over that it is not that important to me how fast things go. As long as he can be reasonably happy, and not hurt Fancy. For a while I felt that he distanced himself from me. I took it as a sign that he was jealous of my time with Fancy. That might be the case. I don’t know. Or maybe he felt too much pressure. I’ve limited our sessions in the round-pen, and increased time we play together at liberty, and just spend time grooming, hanging out. We spend a lot of time together every day, and I can see that he gets more comfortable by the day. That makes me incredibly happy.

Yesterday I had a barefoot trimmer out to work on Fancy’s hooves. Ghost have never had his hooves done in his whole life, since he haven’t been handled enough to be comfortable with that. He pretty much grew up like a wild horse. However his hooves are of excellent quality, some of the strongest I’ve ever seen. His Dam (mother) is an Arabian, and his Sire (father) a Mustang. Both breeds known for good hooves, endurance, and a wild spirit. Ghost is usually very reserved around people he never met, even people he met several times can usually not get close enough to touch him. That’s how flighty he is. Yesterday he approached Donna, the barefoot trimmer several times. He closely watched her work on Fancy, checked out her tools, smelled Donna’s hair, and even let her pet him. It was wonderful to see. Donna is a very soft, kind, and knowledgeable horse person. My smart boy surely realized that. It’s great news, because it’s going to make his first trim so much easier. His hooves are getting a little (not terribly) long, and he is going to have them trimmed, as soon as we can do it without him getting to upset about it.

Earlier this week I found Heather Binns amazing blog, Horse Magic. I don’t remember exactly how I stumbled upon it, but I am so glad I did. It was soon obvious that I’ve started to read in the middle of a long, interesting story, about Heather’s experience with a horse trainer, that I’ve admired for many years. I even went to a demonstration he had in Europe. I’ve read all his books. This was interesting! I quickly found my way to the first post of this story, and I read post after post, I just couldn’t stop. I made a few comments here and there. I really appreciated the honest story. Heather is an animal communicator, and I asked her if she wanted to see if she could pick something up about my horse Ghost, if I sent her a photo of him (the first photo in this post.) She was willing to try. With her permission I’m sharing what she picked up from him. Thank you Heather for allowing me to share this.

The first thing I pick up about this horse is there was something amiss in early developmental stages –  something he missed out on – or some trauma that happened. He can become confused and get frightened if something isn’t quite right.  He likes a good routine.  If things go smoothly all is okay.  If something upsets him it can take a long time for him to feel right again.  I think lots of understanding and going very slowly is the way to go!!!  He knows you understand! 

– Heather Binns, Animal Communicator 

This made a lot of sense to me. He did have a trauma as a very young colt, being part of a bad hoarding case. I do feel that he isn’t as mature as your average four year old horse, he often acts more like a yearling. He does thrives on routine. It makes him feel safe. If he feels like I break his trust, it takes forever before I can touch him again. It makes me feel good to know that he knows that I understand him. I do love this horse so much.

Right now we’re being together in the moment. No pressure at all. Just being. Enjoying. Breathing together. Feeling good together. 

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

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Photos my 5year old took today

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Today we had photography on the schedule. If you’ve been following this blog for a while you probably know that I was a teacher, before I was blessed with a daughter, and now I’m her teacher. We let school evolve around her interest, and work in projects, having all the subjects within the frame of the current project. Some projects covers a week, while others can be a month, and sometimes they are even longer. It’s about learning useful skills for life. Making learning fun, and interesting for my daughter is a high priority in my life. We have photography a couple times a week, since she is very interested in photography. (I wonder where she got that from..)

Since we just moved, and also moved our two horses, to live with us, the current project evolves around horsemanship. It’s very easy to involve; history, math, language (we have English, Swedish, and Spanish on our schedule,) art, reading, writing, science, and nature around this subject. We’re having lots of fun!

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I usually give a couple basic instructions in the beginning of every photography class, trying to add some new knowledge (it can be about lighting, framing a picture, or camera techniques.) My daughter is only 5 years old, and a lot of  instructions makes it boring for her, and she looses interest.  Sometimes I decide what we’re going to photograph, sometimes I let her decide. Today she decided. She wanted to photograph Ghost, my young half Arabian. He’s one of my favorite models, so I can definitely understand her desire to photograph him. I agreed to clean him up for her. Naturally he had rolled in mud just minutes before..

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To make it interesting, I asked her to document the process of making a young horse comfortable with a training session. To use a few photos to show different steps, that shows that the horse is OK with what’s going on. We have been talking about different ways of documenting events lately, so this was in line what we had discussed earlier. Even at this young age, having been around horses since before she was born, she knows what to look for! I think the photos in this post, are the five best photos of Ghost, that she took today.

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I hope you enjoyed the photos, I enjoyed them very much when I saw them. It’s a wonderful thing seeing the world through the eyes of your child. Every photography lesson leads to interesting conversations with my daughter, and I learn a little more about what’s truly in her heart, and how she views the world. It’s usually easy to speak your mind about a photo you took. I can highly recommend encouraging your children to document their world with a camera. Thank you for sharing our experience!

How was your day? We had a very comfortable 65 degrees today. I managed to finish fencing in the garden area. Tomorrow we’re planting our seedlings. I can’t wait!

I’ve spent lots of time with my new horse Fancy since I brought her home two days ago. She is a total sweetheart. I knew she was, but she is just wonderful. The more time I spend with her the more I understand about her past, and it have made me cry a couplet times so far. She has scars on her body, and other signs of abuse, that no-one should have to experience. Despite her rough background, she is so eager to become friends. If I open the round pen she comes trotting up, trying to get in. It took her no time at all to understand that the round pen is a pleasurable place, where she gets undivided attention. I like that she figured that out by herself. I LOVE having two horses that competes about being the first one to get a halter on.

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OK, I’m giving you a 6th photo that my daughter took, Fancy watching Ghost and me play in the round pen. You can see her watching through the fence in some of the other photos as well.

I hope you had a wonderful day. My heart is filled with gratitude as this day goes towards its end.

 

Love,

Ms Zen