Saturday, November 18, 2017

Thought provocation...

I often think we're rather arrogant these days. We collectively as a species think we're highly evolved and pretty advanced. That this is the age of miracles. All the knowledge of humankind is at our fingertips. Surely the end times must be near - we're so advanced there's no place left to go.

Of course I don't agree.

When I was a kid ...haha...when I was a kid, we thought cars would fly by now. We thought electricity would be free because it was just so cheap to produce. We'd have 3 hour work days and leisure activities would dominate our lives. We were so naive.

I really think there have only been a couple of grand achievements in my lifetime. Space. Definitely. Not just the moon landing but satellites. I still remember watching the 1964 Olympic Games "live via satellite". It was a miracle! The picture sucked. Black and white. Not much more than shadow puppets but we watched the games...live!

Deciphering the genetic code.

Truly grand scientific achievements. Otherwise. Well, technology and engineering have dominated our lives much more than science. Science brings us new and wondrous things. Snatching voices from thin air is science. Replacing tubes with transistors is engineering. Making it lighter. Smaller. That's engineering. Making jet engines more efficient. Air frames lighter. Airfoils with greater lift. All engineering. In the first 50 years of the last century we went from Wright Brothers first flight to the F-86 Sabre. In the last 50 years of the last century ...we made jet engines that use less fuel.

My point being. I don't think this is the age of miracles that we'd like to think.

So what got me on this? I live down the street from an old cemetery. And I thought this put it in better perspective:


I walk around looking at the markers and can't help but wonder what kind of miracles some of these people must have seen. Here's this guy George Scott.

He was born into a world where America had just declared war on Mexico. The Alamo was a recent event. The war of 1812 was within living memory. Indoor plumbing was almost unknown. As was refrigeration. And central heating. People lit their homes with lard lamps. There may have been steam ships but there was no regular steam ship service.

He was 5 years old when the Civil War broke out. Nine years old when Lincoln was assassinated.

And think for a minute the things he saw come to pass in his lifetime. Electric lights. Airplanes. Radio. Automobiles. This guy. Almost 175 years ago. Living into his 90s in 1942(!) he saw countless miracles of science and engineering. Really transformative things. Not just MS Word making typewriters obsolete. Seriously. Just think for a minute how electricity changed people's lives in most profound ways. This guy saw things on a scale and scope we can barely imagine.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fall colors

Much to my surprise we had some brilliant fall colors this year. Our Norway Maple trees suffered from tar spot fungus during the wet summer and most of them just turned black and all the leaves dropped off before the first of September.

Beyond that there just seemed to be a lot of sad looking brown trees around and more leaves on the ground in September than I can ever remember having. So I just didn't expect much fall color.

But I was mistaken! By third week of October we had plenty of brilliant color to be seen.

City Mills Pond, Franklin, MA, 21 October

Tucker St., Norfolk, MA, 21 October

Federated Church, downtown Norfolk, MA, 22 October

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Forever gone..

My previous barn. The property was sold a couple of years ago and we had to move on. Of course this was expected. Makes me sad anyway.

Then:

Sometime in 2003

And now:

21 October 2017

I boarded there for over 20 years. It was such a thriving, vibrant place at one time. We'd had countless hours of fun. People complained their faces hurt from smiling so hard for so long. Animals everywhere all the time. Horses. Dogs. Cats. Deer. Rats. Mice. Raccoons. Woodchucks.

There was packing for shows at the crack of dawn. Getting back at the end of the day completely exhausted and getting pizzas or KFC.

There was freezing cold and howling wind. And our legendary hot humid summer afternoons. We even had a tornado come across the south side of the property in August 2004. I was out working L and I could see the weather coming from across the field. I didn't see any funnel - it was just all cloud and debris. We ran for the barn and no sooner had I run L into her stall the tornado passed about 125 yards south of the barn. We all stood in the doorway watching with "uh-oh" faces.

All nighters with sick horses. I can still remember waiting on a vet one February morning. 14 below 0 at 4:00 am. Oh how that sucked!

I buried two horses there.

It was a great property. Big barn with a quarter mile training track surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of acres of fields and woods. There were actually two barns there, one of which had been an equine rehab center at one time. It was a well known place. They had trained race horses there 50 years ago.

12 July 2009

It was spacious and comfortable. At least until the roof started to leak. Always full of light.

23 January 2011

I can't even make a guess at the hundreds and hundreds of hours there. Of course I miss it and it's so sad to finally see it's gone.

Edited to add:

I thought about it while doing stalls today. All the training time and riding time and just "horse care". 16 or 18 hours a week at the peek of show season to 6 or 8 hours in the dead of winter. I wouldn't be surprised at all if I had 7 or 8000 hours at that barn!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Corn! 2017

Of course I didn't forget corn this year.  I just *love* fresh corn.  I'll have an ear of corn at least 5 days a week during corn season.

My first ear this season:

16 July

Actually the first local corn this year was 14 July. A few days later than usual. Oh I was paying attention but the farm stand signs were late going up.

And..my last ear this season:

17 October

Last season's corn was a little better. I'd had a few ears last year so fresh and sweet I didn't even bother cooking them.
Jane and Paul's Farm in Norfolk, MA had the first corn of the season. It was reliably good. Tangerini's Farm in Millis was a reliable source of excellent corn. And Wenger's Farm in Bellingham might have had the very best this year.

And the surprise of the season?

Saturn peach

I'd seen Saturn peaches at the supermarket on occasion for some years now but they're always hard as rocks. This year Jane and Paul's Farm had their own Saturn peaches so I tried one. I was instantly hooked! They were actually a little sweet for my liking, sweeter than a peach. But there's some other kind of flavor thing going on there I can't quite pin down. And I like their size. I don't have the appetite I used to!

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Picture of summer

Winter wasn't too bad. Bad enough.

Spring was just *awful*.   I don't know that it was the worst ever but I'm sure it was close.  Cold and wet.  I was still wearing mittens driving to work in May!   Everything is late.  The daisies came up a week or two late.  Not at all impressive.  They didn't last long.

The Black Eyed Susans started coming up and I found a new variant I've never seen before.  Apparently these are called "Irish Eyes" and they're very pretty.

There. The solid yellow ones.

I'm sure the corn will be late this year too.

This summer however has been just...stunning.  Dry.  Breezy.  Abundant sunshine.  In the 80s with an occasional thunderstorm.  This is New England at its very best!

Sunday 25 June. First weekend of the summer.

And this just says it all right here.  This is quintessential "summertime horse".

She's *very* good at this!  Sometimes I just want to run over and rub her belly!

Followed by a good shake. Ha now I have to clean that up!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Raised by dogs?

My cat. When he sees me grab my shoes he runs to the door. Trying to block my exit.


But it wasn't until he was playing with his tennis ball I realized he had to have been raised by dogs...

Really. What kind of cat plays with tennis balls?!

Friday, June 2, 2017

Easy keeper?

Um.  Not so much.  "Easy Keeper" is an expression describing horses that don't need a lot of food.  And Canadian Horses are well known for being easy keepers.  Air ferns actually.

This presents some challenges however.

My fat girl

L has become seriously overweight.  I'd say...maybe...2 or 300 pounds overweight.

When we were competing we'd work a couple of hours every single day.  And in peak shape she'll take your breath away.  Sometimes we'd ride 6 or 8 miles just warming up.  L has a very large capacity for work.  She'll just go and go.  And go.  We were going to start endurance riding at one time.  But that's another story.

She barely gets a third of a cup of grain for breakfast and dinner.  We have no pasture so the rest of her diet is hay.

It's hard to keep her fit and I certainly don't have the stones anymore to do it under saddle.

So I'm putting her on a program.  She'll get some more disciplined ground work.  I'm talking about my discipline here.  I need to more actively supervise her exercise.

And I got this:

Tough-1 Hay Hoops slow feed haynet

Product review: So far it's just perfect! She's been eating too fast. And that's why she's getting as much hay as she's been getting. So I got that slow feed hay net a week or so ago and I'm just thrilled. She figured it out easily enough. It's slowed her way down so I can give her less hay and not only does it keep her busy she's also spending less time with an empty stomach. All kinds of wins. I have read that the net will break down and tear apart in 6 months to a year so I'll have to get a spare net to keep around.
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