Energy

After a couple cooler days in the mid 90’s last week, we’re back to normal three digit temperatures. I was planning on just doing the minimum required in the garden, and with the horses today. I was going to get a great work-out, and lift some weights in my comfortable air-conditioned house. Afterwards I was planning on spending the afternoon reading. Well….it was so much fun outside that I ended up working with both horses, and spending six hours working in the garden. A concerned neighbor actually told me that I shouldn’t work outside more today. LOL.

Well inside I didn’t exactly feel a need to work-out, or lift weights anymore, but my book is still tempting. BTW, don’t Ghost look amazing? The break in his training have done him good, and he have matured some. The heat doesn’t bother him at all. Just looking at him you could never guess that it is over 100 today. If he ever trust me enough to become an endurance horse, we’re going to be dangerous out there. He rarely even break a sweat. I kind of had hoped that the heat of the summer would make him slightly less energetic, making it easier to start him under saddle. That did not happen…

I hope you’re having an awesome day!

Love,

Ms Zen

 

Weekend Coffee Share; Equine Dentist, Hiking King Creek Fall Trail & Fig Harvest

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Imagine …how thankful you would be for great air-condition when the temperatures are in the three digits! LOL. I have been very thankful for that. Some ice coffee today maybe? We have another hot weekend ahead, with estimated temperatures ranging between 104-110 F.

We attempted to beat the heat by hiking to King Creek Fall, in Lassen Volcanic National Park, last weekend.

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It was nice and cool, with a high of 68 on the trail. One hour away, and 30 degrees cooler!

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I had done this hike before, and seen the waterfall, but not with this much water. That was a happy surprise!

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On the way back you can choose a short cut that follows King Creek. It’s a one way trail. You’re only allowed to hike it uphill. King Creek also had remarkably more water than the first time I did the hike. It was magnificent, and the scent of fresh water, combined with pine trees. So refreshing!

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I’ve been getting up around 4am every morning this week. That way I’ve done all the things I desire to do outside before the temperature reach 100. I’ve been working with my horses, and my garden, before going to my new part time job (that I told you about last weekend, taking care of horses at a nearby estate.) I still love my new job. The horses are getting to know me, and I them. 

Fancy saw our barefoot trimmer on Tuesday. Her hooves are starting to look better, compared to a couple months ago. Later that very same day, a well known equine dentist came to my new job, and we trailered Fancy there, to have her teeth done. She’s been really pampered this week. Her teeth had some sharp hooks, that got taken cared of. Now her teeth are even, and in great shape. That is definitely going to help her overall health. The biggest shock was seeing her tongue. I knew that the story I got about her wasn’t 100% true. I also knew that she had been worked hard as a cutting horse. The shock was that she at some point, a couple years ago, almost had her tongue completely cut off, likely from a bit. It is well healed now, but the dentist had not seen anything like it. Her tongue is shaped like an hour-glass, very thin in the middle, with a horrible, twisted scar. She definitely did not see a veterinarian when the accident happened. I have seen something almost identical, on Trigger, that I bought 3 miles from where I got Fancy. . I’m still in a little bit of a shock, but so grateful that Fancy walked into our life. Poor girl’s been through so much. It’s rather peaceful in the pasture now, not too much bossing around from Ghost (my other horse.) They both seem happy. I’m working my way around Ghost slowly, but surely. I did try the dressage saddle on Fancy, like I wrote about a couple weekends ago. It fits her perfectly 🙂 She seemed very happy when I rode her in it. I doubt that she has any previous experience as an English riding horse. My dressage saddle is about 50 lbs lighter than my ranch saddle, she appreciated that! 

The garden is growing like crazy. We’ve been eating, and giving away a lot of squash. The cherry tomatoes are close to ripe. The corn is higher than me, I’m 5’10. Both of the mature fig trees; LSU Purple Fig (25+ft) had their first ripe figs yesterday, that we could reach with a 10ft ladder, that is. I still see new baby figs coming every day, so that harvest season is going to be long. There’s a lot of figs higher up, out of reach, that have an amazing deep purple color. I’m debating wether to get a higher ladder, or donate them to the birds. I believe the birds are going to be the lucky ones. The LSU Purple Fig is a highly productive tree, resistant to pests, and fast growing. They start to bear fruit as 1-2 year old. Which is super fast for a fruit tree. With most fruit trees you have to wait 3-5 year before your first harvest. As you may have guessed, these are the fig trees we used for our experiment this spring. The baby fig trees are doing amazing, and I believe it is realistic to think that I may see some fruit next summer, or at the latest the summer of 2020. LSU Purple Fig is an excellent choice for your container garden. That’s where my baby fig trees is destined to live. 

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The figs are so juicy. My daughter started eating before climbing down. I’ve lost count on how many I’ve had. The first fruit/vegetables of any harvest is so special. It almost feels like a holy moment.

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How was your week? Any fun plans for the weekend? Thank you for having some ice coffee with me. Care for some more coffee? Eat figs to your hearts content. I’m going to stay right here in the shade, under the fig tree, sipping my cold magical brew. Feel free to join the Weekend Coffee Share with your own post.

Have an amazing weekend!

Love,

Ms Zen

Weekend Coffee Share

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Imagine. You’re sipping coffee under the big fig tree, in the center of my back yard. The birds are singing away. The last of the roses in the rose garden are still smelling as lovely as ever. The horses are neighing their welcome, as they see you walk in. My dog gets up from her regular place next to me, to give you a greeting suitable for a most important celebrity. Why don’t you come on in? Take a 15 min break out of you busy day, and have that amazing dark liquid rejuvenate your soul. I have all sorts of tea as well, if that’s sound more appealing. Sitting down for a while sounds pretty good, don’t it? You know you’re dying to tell me about your week. 

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Pomegranate trees in my container garden.

How is you week? Spring is in full bloom? My favorite time of the year. I think I might say that about every season, depending on where I am, but it is true every time I say it. I usually feel like it is the best day ever (one of my daughter’s favorite phrases right now,) every day when I wake up. The weather is perfect right now, around 85 degrees. We’re having a high of 103 later today. yeah..it’s here, the heat. We had the first three digit day earlier this week. I’ve been spending  a lot of time organizing in my vegetable garden since that first really hot day. My garden has two fenced in areas/rooms. I prepared the container part of the garden with extra mulching, so that my plans and trees will be able to handle the heat better. They all got a layer of used tree shavings, from the barn. The container garden area, is closest to the house ( and closest in the photo.)

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The area furthest away, has plants planted directly in the ground. With one small exception, of kitchen herbs in containers. This is what the garden looked like 6 weeks ago, when I moved in to this place. I’ve done all the work by myself, by hand, with help of my 5 year old daughter.

My garden is organized by the amount of sun hours that each plant needs, and by age. Have you tried succession planting your garden? In my area, the gardening season is long, and I hugely benefit from succession planting. It helps keeping my garden in harvest, and producing all through the growing seasons. I’m sure there’s as many ways of doing this as there are gardeners. I practice three varieties of succession planting;

1. Crops that only harvest one time, gets completely cleaned out after harvest, and replaced with a new type of plant. The space will not remain empty.

2. Some crops like different types of salad greens, I plant a few seeds every two weeks. In that way I have fresh greens longer. (Until it gets too hot to grow them here.)

3. The third method is similar to the second method, but more extended. I use it for plants like tomatoes. I start all my tomato seed indoor in March/April. (I only grow my vegetables from seeds. I never buy seedlings to plant.) During April-June I plant the seedlings I raised outside, with a few weeks intervals. My upper garden contains the tomatoes that I transplanted first. They are planted directly in the ground, and will produce the first harvest. This is the biggest harvest, of around 30 tomato plants. Planted within three weeks of each other. In my lower garden, I have big containers with tomatoes (among other vegetables.) The containers are just planted this week, and are tiny at the moment. When my harvest in the upper garden is finished, they will start producing. I mainly apply the third method to tomatoes, and squash.

If you have a garden, do you have a method to maximize your harvest? As silly as it may sound, the harvest is not my only priority. I know that there’s things that I could do to work less, like install a drip system for watering my garden. I have done that in some gardens I’ve built. However, when I don’t hand water every day, I miss so much of what’s going on. I enjoy the process, even if it’s not the most efficient. Our weather is extreme and changes fast. I’m more in control when I water my garden every day. I notice the little sign of distress, or need of one thing, or another. I don’t use any chemicals, or pesticides, which forces me to be on top of the game with pests. I need to notice all the little bugs before they get to established. What’s your thoughts? Do you enjoy the convenience of having your garden irrigated? Or do you prefer watering by hand? I definitely see pro’s and con’s with both methods. 

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Mini corn field, with tomato plants in the background.

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The fig tree cuttings I planted  almost a month ago, got repotted in bigger pots earlier this week. 

There’s a wonderful peace settling in between my horses, Fancy, and Ghost. From time to time Ghost is a little rascal, and chases Fancy around, but for the most part it’s very peaceful. I couldn’t be happier. They both have glossy summer coats. I’d like Fancy to gain a little more weight, and muscle up, but that’s going to take time. Her hooves can only take light work at the moment. Slowly she’s tapping in to her potential. Fancy is showing more and more of her personality. She is a highly intelligent horse. More so than I thought in the beginning. I’m starting to see a more powerful horse. A horse that still chooses to be gentle with my daughter. This new discovery only makes her more valuable in my eyes.

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This is a close-up photo of Fancy’s face. Fancy has two swirls/whorls/cowlicks close together, placed high up in her face, far above her eyes.

Many knowledgeable horsemen, along with several recent studies, show a connection between a horse’s personality and the pattern/number/placement of the swirls in their face. I do believe there’s something to it, and have compared all the horses I’ve been in contact with for the past 7 years, after I first heard of this. I’ve also studies photos of my favorite horses prior to the date I read about this, for the first time. All my favorite horses throughout the years (30+,) all had two swirls a little above their eyes. Interesting, don’t you think? One swirl in the middle between the eyes is much more common, and indicates a stabile, kind, predictable horse. Swirls that are higher up in the face usually belongs to high energy horses. Up until now Fancy have been the fist exception to the rule, or rather, I have not seen her personality in full light until now. Which makes perfect sense, since she wasn’t herself when I first got her, due to prior neglect/abuse/starvation.

Many Grand Prix horses in both dressage and jumping, and successful eventers have very high, side-by-side double swirls. This type of double swirl seems to give the ability to hyper focus. These horses are challenging and gritty, like most double swirl horses, but the ability to hyper focus and not back down from a challenge can be an asset in professional hands. The side-by-side swirls do give the horse access to both sides of its brain in a flash, ‘wickedly fast thinker’ is a description often given to them.

– Charlotte Cannon, multi-World Champion trainer, who learned the study of Swirlology from NSBA Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Stanford.

Fancy has that kind of hyper focus, is a fast thinker, and is gritty.  I see more and more of this every day, as she is gaining strength, and health. If you’d like to read Charlotte Cannon’s study, I recommend this link. It’s a very interesting read.

Ghost and I take it slow, but we’re going forward. He seeks my company more and more, and I have been successful in letting go of my expectations. He is growing a lot. Arabians, and mustangs mature later, and it’s not unusual that they keep growing until they are 8 years old. He’s a cross of those breeds. I’m thinking that with the quality feed he gets now, he might make up for some growth he missed earlier in his life. Most of all, it is a pleasure to enter the pasture every time. I was going to finish this post with a flying photo I took this morning. That is rather spectacular, if I may say so. However, a bird sang in my ear that tomorrow’s Sunday Stillsis going to be Fur and Feathers, so you’ll have to check in tomorrow to see it 😉 LOL. Or (hint..) you might be able to catch a sneak peak on Instagram.  

Any fun plans for the weekend? I’d love to hear about them! Would you like another cup of coffee?

Love,

Ms Zen