Showing posts from March, 2015

In which our chickens (finally) move into their fancy new townhouse!

There's a lot of weird stuff that rattles around the corners of a farm.

Our farm came with a lot of weird stuff. Much of it has gradually been hauled away, given away, recycled, or, in several cases, upcycled--into something new and useful.

Last fall we decided that we really needed a permanent henhouse in the New Garden.

When not busy growing vegetables, we like the gardens to house chickens, who busily sort through the stall cleanings and kitchen refuse that we throw in. The oldest garden now has soil more than 12" deep, thanks to our hens.

So, beginning with some paper napkin sketches, Santa Jim sorted through various piles of weird stuff to find materials suited to building a chicken house.

We briefly considered buying pre-fab nesting boxes...

...and then I remembered the old mailbox that had been kicking around and had gotten run over by blackberry bushes.

"Do you think we could...?"  I asked Santa Jim.

"I think I can make it work," he told me.


In which Raindrops are falling on our...feet... (and also on the Dragon)

Springtime in the Swampland is usually a pretty soggy thing,  reminiscent of a certain pop song from the late 1960's.

True Swamplanders just pull up our hoods, lace up our boots, and carry on.  But the wet days are good times to learn stuff, and sometimes we do.

Lately, Betsey has been teaching us about the use of essential oils.

Because we always do things this way, we gathered at Haiku Farm, with a dog for every human, ready to learn.

We started with a warm foot bath of epsom salts, lavender and peppermint.  Relaxation and rejuvenation!

Then came the foot therapy.

 We started with Valor, which Betsey introduced to me after my hip surgery.  The website says that Valor is good for increasing feelings of strength, courage, and self-esteem in the face of adversity, and I've gotta say, it really works for that.

 Betsey did Patty's poor toes, while Monica and I did each other.

After all the people (and some of the dogs) were relaxed and feeling energized, we went down to the b…

In which we explore what's different about preparing for longer rides

I've signed up for the 75-miler at our first ride of our regional season.

Fiddle and I were ready to kick up from 50-milers to 75's and 100's in early 2013 when I got suddenly sidelined by extreme pain in my arthritic left hip.

To my astonishment, we went from easily completing 50-milers in late Spring to barely able to leave the parking lot in early Summer.  Recovery hasn't been easy, although it has perhaps seemed quick to those who haven't had to live through it.

Now, it's nearly Spring again.  I'm a tiny bit smarter, and two years older (with the exception of my left hip, which is 50 years younger than the rest of me).  My horse will be 13 years old in April.

It's time.

Blessed by an unusually warmish, dryish winter here in the Swamp, we've spent a lot of time on the trails since the end of the ride season last fall.

I've blogged a lot about our training rides over the years, and I usually log the speed and distance using an app like ViewRang…

In which there is a MONSTER at the end of this blog post (no, really)

When my brother and I were very young, our favorite book was The Monster at the End of This Book  starring lovable furry old Grover.
 I thought of that book this morning as I texted the Suspects:

Be prepared to park creatively, tree felling at trailhead.
The tree workers were very kind and shut down the motors while we mounted and headed out.  But I will warn you in advance:  there really are monsters at the end of this post.

It was a great day for a ride.

We all practiced leading, following, 

and working side-by-side

Almost done!  But first, it's snack time.

Back at the trailhead, the tree guys were having lunch and the machines were quiet.

 In other words:  training opportunity time!