Archive for November, 2007

Pictures as Promised

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

Neil & Big Max Neil &Max (look a the size of the head; Max’s not Neil’s)

imgp1021.JPG Max & new friend Mikey; after the beef cattle sold, Max made it known he was lonely and wreaked havoc in the barn.

The rest of the family; Kim, Derek and Darah The rest of the family: Neil’s wife Kim, Derek, Darah, and Mikey

I was out to Hitchmaster’s on Monday and am going again. I got to drive Amy; after a rough start, with a new driver she drove beautifully. But that rough start earned her “around the block”, or 6 miles, all the time under the watchful eye of Neil’s working student, Mary. Mary is from Germany and originally came to Neil as a “WWOOFER”, (Willing Worker On Organic Farms program). She was looking for a place where she could ride but after spending time with Neil, Kim and family decided she liked the big drafters and working the farm with horses. She came last summer for her vacation and now has plans to stay until June, with a little intermission to go home for the birth of her first niece; her best friend is married to her brother. Six miles gives you a lot of time to talk.

I’ll be heading out there again today and as much as possible, over the next week in preparation to bring Amy home. Speaking of home, we are really getting things together here. We’ve moved the sheds and windbreaks into approximately their final positions. Most of the posts are in, the waterers are in ready to go and with a little fencing, we will soon be ready to bring all the horses home.

Speaking of waterers, we got to know our neighbor, Jeremy Hutchings. I had heard about them as his wife Tessa frequents my brother’s greenhouse and we do have a mutual aquaintence. They really are an amazing family, although I haven’t met the rest of them. Jeremy, at the age of 50 packed the family up and moved to the “colonies”. He is a very interesting and handy kind of guy. He has set up sporting clays on his property, fixes flat tires, and is “jack of all trades” in some of the most interesting settings. The Hutchings family just recently won Leduc County’s Environmental Farm Stewardship Award. Anyway, Jeremy is the one who put the waterers in and somehow all that blue air that comes with a difficult job is not that hard to take if it’s not from your spouse; he probably saved our marriage. We’ve asked Jeremy to work on the composter too; for the same reasons {I can say that, as I doubt Glen will read my blogs).

I will post pictures of the composter with my next post, but right now, I’m pretty proud of myself for figuring out how to get these on. It’s a beautiful morning. I’m going to feed my horses, introduce Texas to the bridle, check the colts and then be off for another afternoon of driving. If not for the dryness, fall is why we love western Canada so much.

Mad Rush into November!

Friday, November 9th, 2007

I can’t believe it’s November already. We’ve been so busy trying to get our groundwork done and our posts in towards completing all of our CAFSP projects. The last two weeks have been a roller coaster ride. I’ll share some of the highlights. At Al Oeming’s Fall Auction of antique horse drawn vehicles, I was the winning bidder on a lovely Benoit & Fils pony cart that M. Benoit made for his grandchildren in the ’50’s to drive their Shetland ponies with; it is in new condition. It will become Talib’s show cart. Talib came home yesterday, after spending a week in therapeutic rehab at Stone Raven Ranch with Dr. Dan and Linda Martin. They took great care of him. He looks greatly improved in terms of his muscular and skeletal structure; although not quite ready for a photo shoot. I’m supporting him with Omega Alpha’s Sinew X and Vantiox.

On Tuesday, I spent the day at Hitchmasters’ with Neil Dimmock who is teaching Amore to drive. He is a phenomenal horseman and I learn a lot from him, as well as receive down home hospitality from his family. I got to drive Wyatt, a former Percheron stallion, as Neil didn’t want to have to fix any errors I might make on “Amy”. It was wonderful, I’ve been waiting 52 years to lead this life. I couldn’t believe how this huge animal could be so light on his feet and so responsive in the bridle. After lunch, Mary, his working student from Germany, took me for a wagon ride with “Amy”, so I could see her progress. Then I was introduced to “Big Max”, a 19 hand Holstein Ox. He is so massive and gentle, he simply takes your breath away. I can’t wait until next week, when I will have 2 lessons. I’ll be sure to take some pictures, but I still haven’t figured out how to get them on this blog.

The picture thing is getting important, as I would love to share pictures of our composter construction. It is coming along nicely now and I can’t wait until it is finished. We got all the waterers going this week. So things are happening.

The fall migration has been spectacular this fall and there have been so many Kodak moments. One thing I noticed about Trumpeter Swans, is the precision and demand of their flying lines. If they are flying strong and evenly spaced as they fly over our place from the lake, they are soon out of sight. However, if they come over the house in ragged formation, 2 or 3 will swoop around in a circle, returning to the lake. The whole line seems to fly slower and you can continue to see birds fall out of formation and head for larger water bodies to the south. Are there any birders out there than can confirm or explain my observations?

Well, I took in Farm Fair last Friday, and I want to get to Dodge City before it closes tonight, so just a reminder to everyone: take some time out of your day on Sunday to support our troops in Afghanistan and remember the fallen, from this war back to the Great War.