In which we never stop gathering wood...and we never stop riding
A dear friend bought a wonderful house last year.
It's a huge, rambling house (she has a big family--a big house is important) with several fireplaces and a woodstove. When they moved in, the intent was to cut down the alder trees that had invaded the back yard under the former regime, and keep the huge house toasty-warm all winter with this home-grown fuel.
|green alder logs|
After a month of shivering in a huge cold house, my friend's husband fired up the oil-burning furnace, and they have been living warmly and happily ever since.
The backyard forest was a hinderence to their plans, but not a problem to MY family!
|My friend's family and the Haiku Farm family, knocking down backyard alder trees|
There's nothing as nice as seasoned alder wood for a fire. It's easy to split and stack, and (after sitting in a dry place for 6 months to a year) it burns beautifully. Around here, alder trees grow like weeds. The trees in my friend's yard were about 6 to 8 years old, the perfect size for harvest.
|Jim and me doing the chainsaw stuff, the kids pulling and stacking logs.|
Willy got a lesson in chain-replacement.
Green alder logs are WET, and they dull the chain blades really fast. We used 4 chains on half-a-cord of wood; Jim sharpened the chains at home, and they were good for the next work-day.
With wood in the shed, I feel free to ride. We're "seriously" conditioning now, with the first ride of the season less than 3 weeks away. (It's hard to believe that this much fun is considered serious).
|Fiddle shows off her physique: lots of engine muscles, and enough fat to fuel them.|
We do most of our conditioning in a group, because Fiddle needs so much practice working in a group.
Fee is a coward at heart, and she is the equine equivalent of a "fear biter" : she is convinced that every other horse in the world is waiting for a convenient time to beat the stuffing out of her. Coming within kick-range of other horses has usually resulted in Fiddle trying to kick the other horse in a desperate attempt to get away. She also tries to bite other horses. When I got her, she tried to bite and kick people for the same reasons--I wrote about fixing that badness HERE.
|Major progress has been made in the "Dragon in a group" catagory!|
It's taken a long time and a lot of effort and constant vigilence and she still isn't completely trustworthy. She has made a lot of visible progress.
Some days, it's good to just head off into the woods to have fun, just her and me. Not a training day, not working on distance or speed or form or anything: just celebrating that she is a mostly-good horse
|Solo on the trail with Fiddle. |
Photo taken while trotting 14.2 mph (I checked the GPS)
and that I think she's pretty danged neat.