I’ve Got A Lovely Bunch…

Of eggs!  The girls are starting to produce.  It is about time they pull their weight around here.  I’ve been feeding these moochers since June and finally they are giving back.  Isn’t this a lovely looking basket?  egg-basket

5 hens producing 3 eggs a day.  Somebody is still slacking, or maybe I really have 5 layers and they all are lazy only giving one every now and then.  Can’t figure it out, but I expect more per day as they days get longer.  AND the rooster, Smokey Robinson, is clearly doing his job.  Every egg we crack looks like it is fertile.  How can you tell you may ask?  Well, the spot on the yellow looks like it has a halo around it.  I would like to try to hatch some, but hubby doesn’t want to use an incubator, so I guess we  will have to wait until someone gets broody.  Imagine letting them do it naturally.  What has this world come to?

I have also been knitting some more.  I went to a Fiber Festival this past weekend.  Wow, talk about inspiration.  I bought all kinds of stuff and came home ready to hit the wheel and the needles.  If I only didn’t have a life.  I wonder if you can knit while you ride horses?  Anyway, I did make this neat cowl.  I think it is artsy and if you close one eye and squint, it is kind of pretty.  Made with trash silk yarn.  Don’t know where I will wear it.  I seem to have an over abundance of cowls.

art-cowl

But, I have gotten inspired to try my hand at socks again.  I pulled out my half-finished $50 hot pink sock and am going to try using the toe up method with circular needles.  Looks much easier if I can figure out how to master the Turkish cast on and switching up needles without getting confused.  More to come on that one.  If anyone has any words of wisdom, please pass them along.

And finally, the biggest news of all around here is the birth of our newest grandson.  Should have led with that one, right?  Surprise!  Max was born on February 10th.  A few days early; he was supposed to be a valentine.  Just a cutie pie!  Maybe he needs some socks from grandmom.  max

That’s it!  I can’t top that one.

mvb

Oh Mercy, Mercy Me

Wow, it has been a full month since I last posted.  And I recall indicating that I would be more diligent about posting.  Well evidently I lie!  What a strange month it has been…

I don’t know if I posted that I broke my knee.  Broke, cracked, whatever, the knee doesn’t work as well as it used to.  This is also the same knee that I had surgery on in December.  Ouch!  So the doctor told me to take it easy, not do anything that would put any pressure on my knee.  “Can I ride?” I asked.  “Well, I would rather you didn’t,” he replied, “but if you must, take an easy stroll and don’t go crazy”.  Ok I can do that.  At 58, I am not that much of a dare devil anymore.

imageTwo weeks later I went camping with my peeps.  We set up camp, had the horses in their fences, life was good.  “Lets go riding”  OK, that was what we were there for.  I got my trusty steed Cisco (the love of my life, mind you) and started to get ready.  He didn’t want to stand still to be tacked.  He spit the bit out several times, and was generally a brat.  Got him ready, put on my helmet (usually I don’t ride with one), and the three of us set out for a nice stroll in the fields.

Cisco evidently didn’t understand what the doc told me.  He was jiggy from the start.  If you ride, you know what I mean.  So around the trees we went, trying to calm him down.  I should have taken him to the ring, but friends were waiting so one I went.  Surely he would settle.  As we rounded the field to go up a slight incline, he decided he was done with walking and started a very animated trot.  I tried to pull him back. Felt things were starting to get out of hand and sat really deep in my saddle, and quietly put my hand on the horn.  Next thing I know we are doing a full out gallop up the hill with him doing his best impression of the bucking bronco.  I was on such a loose rein I could not even do a one rein stop.  I remember saying, well this is it, good bye life….took my foot out of the stirrup and went flying out of the saddle.  However, I would have won that silver buckle! My riding buddies said I had great form and stayed in the saddle well past anything they would have expected.

When I came to, I was staring into Cisco’s nose.  He had a look on his face that was asking what the heck was I doing down on the ground.  My friend was talking to me but my ears were ringing.  I think she was telling me to lay still, but up I went.  Wow did the earth start to spin.  I told them I would walk back to camp, but they called someone who came out into the field and drove me back to camp.  I don’t remember much from that night except that my ribs, neck and back hurt like crazy!  Needless to say, I didn’t stay the weekend.  Left early the next morning.  Crying all the way home.  How could he hurt me like that!  Since I couldn’t stop crying, my husband thought I was really hurt and insisted I go to the urgent care to get checked out.  After 20 x-rays, we were assured nothing was broken, just very very bruised.

This incident was a real eye opener for me.  I know I am getting old, but it never really impacted me.  It sure has now.  I have only been on Cisco once since then.  I am afraid of getting hurt.  It I had osteoporosis, I would be a bag of broken bones!  But I can’t give up riding, it is my only outlet.  So what do to do?

imageBUY A SMALLER HORSE!   Meet Robley…he came to our house Sunday and will be my new riding partner.  A full hand shorter with only one speed, he is going to help me gain my confidence and get back to riding without much fuss.  The vet comes today to check him out.  I sure hope he is the age they told me, and not a horse ready for retirement.  More on him next time.

mvb

Times They Are A Changin’

You may have noticed that I made a slight change to the name of my blog.  It used to read Knitting Socks:  Musings on Life and Death   It now reads Knitting Socks: Life, Love and Adventures at Flamingo Farms.  Why?  Well originally I started writing my blog as a way to help me deal with the sudden death of my older sister.  We had her memorial a few weeks ago after putting it off for several months.  Immediately after the memorial, I spent some time with my middle sister; a very accomplished woman who always looks on the positive side.  Those few days with her have changed my life.

I have a tendency to dwell on my past.  Not a good thing to do.  You can’t change it and  you can’t make it go away.  But what you can do is reduce or eliminate it’s ability to ruin your future.  When I was with my sister, I realized that the difference in our outlook on life were how we processed the past.  She, of course, has regrets, but she has not let those regrets paralyze her ability to positively move forward.  No, that has been my job.  SO, effectively immediately, I am moving on with mindful purpose and  positive outlook.  Maybe easier said than done, but I have a great support system and a wonderful and wise adviser.  And besides, how can you be negative when you get to wake up to the simple (?) life on a Hobby Farm!

The other day, it actually stopped raining.  I went down to the barn at 6:45 as I have been doing for the past 6 years.  But this time, I took my morning cup of coffee with me.   My mare, Va. Tech Gina Leigh is on stall rest.  She has a hole in her flexor tendon and has been in a stall since mid February.  Needless to say, she is not a happy camper at all.  After I gave both of the horses their breakfast, I sat in the barn and drank my coffee.

imageTiger Lily, my lovable feral cat jumped into my lap; kneading and purring in happiness to be there.  Gina was munching quietly on her hay.  The birds were starting to wake up, and were chirping and singing good morning to one another.  There were no other noises, no other distractions to the peace that was Flamingo Farms in the morning.  It was just breath taking.  I sat there so long, my husband came looking for me.  He saw that I was communing with my animals and left without saying a word.

How could you possibly dwell on the negative when you get to start your day like that?  The universe was sending me a message…Life is good, embrace what you have and move forward with confidence and conviction.  Do you think my sister was really the one sending me the message?

mvb
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Camping Weekend

imageI had knee surgery in December.  It was not as successful as I had hoped.  Evidently I do not have any cartilage left in my right knee.  I am a candidate for knee replacement, but the Doctor, in his infinite wisdom, wants me to wait.  The replacement only has a thirty year shelf life and he doesn’t want me to have to have it replaced a second time.  Come on!  By then I will be 87 years old; who cares if my knee works at that age.

My biggest fear is that I will not be able to ride my horses for more than a few minutes at a time.  I have spent lots of time on the ground teaching Cisco to drop me off at the mounting block and to stand quietly while I get everything situated.  I’ve lengthened my stirrups to relieve some of the pressure.  Other than an hour or so around the house, I haven’t done much.  I believe in the old adage, what you don’t know doesn’t exist!

This past Friday I loaded my trusty steed and headed out for a weekend of camping with horses and friends.  I thought “Ok, if it hurts, I’ll just stay at the camp and that’s ok”.  Well, let me tell you, it was the MOST wonderful weekend imaginable.  Sure my knee hurt after two hours in the saddle, but then again, so did my butt!  We logged a total of ten hours on the trails.  Which is approximately 20 miles.  I can’t move today, but I also can’t get the smile off my face.image

My new trailer is great!  I sleep in the goose-neck and live in the dressing room.  We have it down pat and set up quite the site.  My hubby decided he would “cater” my food and packed me the most wonderful cooler imaginable.  Who else gets to dine on crab cakes, stone crab claws and cold baked spaghetti.  He even packed me a pancake wrap of peanut butter and bananas.  Each container was neatly labeled with which meal it was.  I even had happy hour containers!  It is difficult to stay mad at that man.  My peeps want to hire him for their meals as well.image

Cisco was great.  He and I do not have a smooth history on the trails.  We both grew up in the English Ring, going around and around.  Nothing to jump out at you when you do that.  This weekend he discovered that playing in a stream is much more fun than shying away from the mud.  He moved some trees, earning the name Dozier.  (I still have leaves and branches in my saddle) and he walked quietly no matter where he was in the conga line.  He does not like grapes.image

All in all a wonderful and restorative weekend.  I am so excited about the next trip!

mvb

And So It Goes

I picked up my sock knitting this weekend.  Not at all excited to work on it.  I have gotten to the point where I have turned the heel and am now just knitting, and knitting, and knitting until I have the required amount of foot.  Around and around I go.  But I keep at it because at some point I know it will be time for more excitement when I knit the toe and finish the sock.

I guess that is what I have been doing.  I’ve been going through my daily routine. With an injured horse on stall rest,  that now includes cleaning stalls and changing bandages daily.  She isn’t very pleased to be in the stall and will clack her teeth at me.  CLACK, CLACK, CLACK!  It is her way of conveying her displeasure with her circumstances.  Much like the scowl or raised eyebrow of an unhappy parent.  Yet, in she stays, and on I scoop.  But today, today felt different.

I threw open the barn doors and breathed in that lovely horsey smell.  My mid sis, by the way, claims it to be the most disgusting smell she has ever encounted.  I can think of way smellier smells.  To mucking I went.  Pick and toss, scrape and spread until I had two clean stalls.  I let my gelding in at night so she can have some company.  The price I pay for being a softy.  Pleased with my labor, I brought my gelding in from the field and fed them both.  Barn kitty got her food too and off I went to the chicken coop.

I haven’t been very pleased with my chickens lately.  They don’t mind eating, but they sure aren’t laying much.  I am only getting two eggs a day where last year I was getting six this time of year.  I gave them a stern talking to.  Freshened up their nesting boxes, food and water and closed them in for the night.

I was walking away from the coop with my two eggs and glanced up towards the house.  And that was when I saw it; my grand ol Camelia (I call her Camy for short) has started to bloom.  She came with the house and stands about 9 feet tall.  Hubby keeps threatening to chop her down because she is too close to the foundation.  But I stand in his way and champion her right to be there.  Looking at her, I realized that while the boring stuff was happening, life was moving on, changing and evolving.  I have been so caught up in the drama of my grief, I was missing what was happening literally in my own back yard.  And so today, I put aside my daily thoughts, and bask in the knowledge that it won’t always feel so bad.  I know it may turn dark  again tomorrow, but I’ll take the sun where I can find it.

mvbimage

Love Child 🎼🎤

Like I have said, I have (had) two sisters.  I am the youngest.  The child mom was not supposed to have.  On a regular basis she reminded me that she almost died giving birth to me.   Talk about Jewish guilt (yep I am one of the tribe).   My sisters resemble each other and they resemble my mom.  Me not so much.  They are/were fair skinned, with blondish hair and very blue eyes.  Physically their facial features are the same…same nose, shape of the face etc.  again, me not so much.  I look like my dad.  I have his facial features; his straight nose, clef in my chin and my favorite feature the uni-brow.  In addition, I have dark brown hair, hazel to grey eyes and very dark skin.  I tan something fierce!

From a very young age, I was told that I was adopted.   Born in Philadelphia, we moved to Florida when I was 3, so the teasing was that I was a Seminole Indian child.   But even more disturbing is the story that I was left, in my stroller, in front of the monkey cage at the Philadelphia Zoo.   Evidently mom and the entire family forgot I was with them!   Again, another reason for my trust issues….🐒.  As a teen, my oldest sister told me I was Dad’s love child.  The Diana Ross song was popular in our house for a while.

Physical feature aside, I am just different from my siblings.  Maybe it is because I am the youngest, I don’t know.  I have different interests.  For one thing I was the athlete (what a hoot!) in the family.  I rode a bike at the age of four, ran around with the boys in my neighborhood and was constantly dirty.  I showed up so dirty one evening that my mom turned the hose on me before letting me in the house.  I was on a swim team, learned to snow ski first and aspired to be part of the “in crowd” at school.  But the biggest difference was my attraction to horses.  Where does something like that come from?   Nobody in my very clean family ever exposed me to them, took me to see them or wanted anything to do with them.  But I came out into the world craving that horsey smell…you know the sweet smell of their breath.
This is Cisco and Gina.  My resident equines.  I took me a long time to become a horse owner.  When I was in first grade my mom and grandmom picked me up from school on my birthday and said we were going to a farm.  Surely I was getting a horse!  We drove and drove and I got so excited I may have wet my pants.  When we got there, it turned out to be a dog breeder.  I got a beagle that year.  Loved her to death, but she was NOT a horse.

I did the lesson route starting at age 10.  By then we lived in Virginia where everyone rode English.  So English it was.  I took lessons off and on until high school where I discovered that I really like boys too.  I put my riding on hold, but still craved their touch and smell.  It wasn’t until after I was divorced that I went back to riding.  When I met my husband, he encouraged me to own my first.  Now he has built me a lovely paddock and barn and I have these two beauties.  My barn is my happy place, my solace.  I have spent hours in there since my sister died.  Trying to understand how life happens.  All I know is that for me, life is better with these magnificent animals in it.  I don’t think I will ever be without them again.

My family never did understand me.  My middle sis, the only remaining member of my immediate family is trying hard.  I love her dearly for trying.  In my last conversation with my mother, she asked if I had gotten tired of my horses yet, and when was I going to sell my farm; move back to the city.  She never did get it, or me for that matter.  I spent my life trying to be what she wanted, but now I just want to be me.  Dirty, with hay in my hair and horsey drool on my shoulder!

mvb