Showing posts from July, 2009

In which it's still pretty darn warm here, and we have coping strategies

Our weather has cooled somewhat--below 90 degrees most of the day instead of above 100 degrees--and our coping strategies have gotten quite streamlined in the process of surviving a week of heat.

In the house (which we generally AREN'T, but every once in a while you gotta go in there): the swamp cooler. Those "blue ice" packages work really well, combined with a fan, to move cooler air through the stuffy parts of the house. I also learned that elevating the swamp cooler by putting it up on a couple stacks of library books (covered with a towel to protect the pages from drips) helps even more.

Jim came up with this genius idea for keeping the Minervas cool during the day while we're at work enjoying the air conditioning: a little wet-towel tent. He made a little clothes line and hung it with wet dog-towels. It provides shade, moisture, and a little bit of swamp cooling when the wind blows (which it is doing today, hooray!).

The hens are pretty happy about their tent, alt…

In which I share a few new haiku poems about the (sad) garden.

We didn't have time this spring to do all the soil amending that a proper garden requires. There was no addition of well-rotted compost, no manure for extra organic matter, no minerals sprinkled on top to adjust the native Ph of the soil.


Herb next door came over with his tractor, tilled it under, and I stuck in a bunch of seeds.

That's all the time I had for preparing the garden this year, and it really shows.

The weeds aren't too rampant, but then, neither are the vegetables.

I was pretty depressed about the overall patheticness of the garden, until I thought (with the optimism required for any gardener, but most especially a Swampland gardener):

"Just think what a lovely contrast the photos this year will make when I show off the garden photos next year!"

Yes indeed. Not only is my glass half-full, it's half-full of, uhm, fertilizer. But >shrug< , whatever it takes, right? So here's the before garden picture. Notice that the corn is barely sproute…

In which I write a poem (with pictures) especially for Lytha

I really didn't intend to write this poem, but Lytha inspired me. That's why I wrote this poem, and included an old photo that she's probably forgotten entirely.

I apologise in advance to the non-endurance readers, because there are a lot of endurance references in this post that probably won't make sense to normal people. Maybe the poem will make you curious enough to explore endurance riding...that would be awesome.
I've got one more poem in me, but I'll post it tomorrow, and I promise that normal people will be able to understand most of that one.
Where I'm From, part 3

I am from biothane.

I am from Skito and Enduramax, from Easyboots,
from vetwrap and

I am from a two-horse slant decorated with purple flames, pulled by an old pickup, and
filled with fragrant shavings, cool water, aromatic hay.

I am from the sweet slosh of beetpulp, the brisk chop of carrots, the scattering of oats.
I’m from stacks of buckets, and clean leather and dirty boots,
and …

In which I can't sleep, and so now there is a horsaii poem to share

Yup, it's too hot to sleep. Also too hot to build goat fencing, too hot to chop firewood for winter, and too hot to even vacuum the house. It's too. dang. hot. for just about everything...except poetry. Seems that when it's too hot to sleep, it's not too hot to think about yesterday's poem. And to wonder how I could write it again, but focus this time on a different set of origins. Here's the result.
Where I'm From, part 2

I am from boots and breeches and helmets, from beetpulp, Coppertox, and saddle soap.

I am from a hay-sweet shed at the bottom of the hill, from a boarding barn crowded with nickers when the truck is parked, a pasture outside the kitchen window.

I am from the green alfalfa crumbs, the long timothy stalks, the bale-flattened thistles. I am from fresh-chewed grass drooled on a white shirt.
I am from cleaning paddocks by moonlight, building fences in the rain, from a quick trot up the hill and back after work.

I am from Midnight and Tonka, Mariah…

In which I write a poem, and invite friends to write poetry too

Where I'm From I am from JP Patches mornings and old radio show nights.

From Vicks Vapo-Rub winters and Coppertone summers.

I am from a neighborhood of kids, bicycles and muddy sneakers outside each garage door.

I am from blackberry vine, blackberry blossom, blackberry jam, blackberry pie,
blackberry-stained fingers, blackberry thorn-scratches.

I am from the Fourth Corner, from Galen Biery photos, from acres of clams,
from ghost stories that are really love stories, from a town that was once four towns.

I’m from a rowboat, a sailboat, a ski boat,
endless kid-made rafts that would sometimes even float.
I am from trombone and piano in the basement, and tapping out rhythms on the steering wheel.
I am from singing in the car, and making up new words to the song.

I am from yardwork on Saturdays and church on Sundays. I am from cats in the window waiting to be fed.
I am from rain in spring and rain in the fall, and cold rain winter and warm rain in summer.

I'm from salmon on the barbeque and e…

Life on a Southern Farm: Chicken Nest Box Giveaway: what a cool thing!

Life on a Southern Farm: Chicken Nest Box Giveaway

Just a quick note to all my chicken-keeping friends out in the blogosphere: the blog cited above is giving away a nest box. Wouldn't it be cool to win one? Yes, I think so too!

Go to the blog and put in an entry in the "comments" box.

Hey, if you don't need that nest box, send it to me--the Minervas can always use an extra nest!

In which we have two friendly farmers visiting from far : Germany!

Look who came to visit Haiku Farm this evening: it's Lytha and her man from the Horse Crazy American blog!

"The hay smells so good!" she said, and ran to get her husband. He was very dutifully impressed by the good smell. Really, Lytha's man is a good 'un, such a nice fellow.

After a brief tour of the garden (beans! blueberries! tomatoes! and some rather pathetic-looking potato vines!) we went out to the pasture to visit the horses.

I offered to let Lytha hop up and take a ride on Hana, but she's still sore from her long ride last weekend on some borrowed endurance horses. Old Baasha doesn't make her work that hard anymore, and her endurance muscles were surprised by the sudden workout at a CMO in the foothills!

Instead, she wanted to see Fiddle's tricks.

They are cute tricks.

If you scratch Fiddle in all the right locations, she makes monkey-lips. Really big monkey-lips. Not dignified at all. Heh heh heh.
Hana doesn't do many tricks, but she is pretty a…

In which Fiddle learns something new, with carrots to make learning nicer

Fiddle and I will be heading to Oregon in August, to do a week of camping in the backcountry with our human-friend Sky and our horse-friend Cricket.

Before we leave, Fee needs to learn a new skill: hobbling!

I start by leading her out to a nice part of the pasture where the grass is soft. I also bring a big bucket of hay and carrots with me.

Carrots make teaching easier for me, and make learning easier for Fiddle.

I'm a huge supporter of "making things easier" for everyone.

While Fee has her head in the bucket, I attach the hobbles. When each one is secured, I give a little tug on it. That doesn't mean anything to her now, but in later lessons, it will remind her that her feet are hobbled.

Next, I move the bucket a little further away from her nose....

Do you want the carrot, Fiddle?

"YES. Give me the carrot!"

Come here and get it!

Every time she took a step forward, I gave her a piece of carrot. Even a little step, or a tangled-up step. She wanted those carrots so m…

In which we take lessons and learn stuff: an afternoon very well-spent

We Swamplanders think that any temps above 75 degrees is pretty dang hot, and this week it's been above 80 degrees most days. The ground is not only dry, it's actually dusty!

We mostly ride trails during the summer, but with a new rider in the house, riding lessons are a priority for all of us.

My lessons are not just for me (although I certainly need them!), but also for Fiddle, who is a very fancy dressage horse when she (finally) figures out what we're asking her to do.

Fiddle's canter has improved dramatically in the past month--she now offers to canter, even on flat ground. When she gets tired (at the end of a hot, dusty lesson, for example) she would rather throw a fit than cooperate, even though being naughty is harder work!

For our next few lessons, we decided to work on the canter at the beginning of the lesson, and practice familiar stuff when she's starting to get tired.

Her collected trot has improved dramatically, as has my posture. Hmmm. Those things are …