Leary of the Weather


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“I will ride when it cools off later”. How many times have we said those words?  Sure, it often starts getting cooler as the sun starts getting swallowed up by the impending night, but not tonight.  Even as the sun is melting into the horizon I don’t feel any forgiveness in the heat or humidity. In fact, it might even be getting worse.

While I’m waiting to “ride later”, I am keeping Father Time company by trimming tree branches. From a 12 foot ladder. That I continually have to climb up and down after moving said ladder a few feet (or yards) at a time.  Yes, it’s definitely hotter. And sweatier. And buggier. They say that heat rises but does 12 feet really make that much of a difference?

So with no energy left to ride and piles of dismembered oak limbs scattered all over the yard, I feel like the sun melting away;  stinky and sticky with bug spray and sweat I just feel . . . gross.  Yes – if you looked up “gross” in the dictionary right now there would be a picture of me. A big picture.  In color. With words in bold print. Ask me how I feel and I will say “Gross! Haven’t you seen my picture?”  I’m melting so fast my picture might on the side of the milk carton soon too.  If you read these words as fast as I am thinking them, you might have a slight flashback of Dennis Leary. That’s how crazy gross I feel right now – like a crazy Dennis Leary skit. (Coffee-flavored coffee, anyone?)

Not that Dennis Leary was gross (well, sometimes, maybe, but in a different way, haha); if you remember him I bet you have a sly smile on your face or a chuckle in your head.  Anyway, back to the weather.  The horses will get a reprieve tonight and I will get a shower.  I bet you will be Googling some old stand-up routines….



Don’t Fence Me In


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The never-ending chores on a farm are a given, and some are more physically demanding than others. One grunt-worthy sweat-inducing chore is raking (or scooping, shoveling, kicking, cursing at….) old trampled down muddy hay. I try to keep up on it by at least moving it from where the horses eat to a consolidated pile consisting primarily of thick clayish mud and hay that has escaped the feeders from the jowls of the horses, only to find themselves sucked into an abyss of sticky almost quicksand-like muck thick enough to suck the boots right off your feet. Obviously, this is not optimal to the animal’s health – and is also quite difficult for 2 and 4-legged creatures alike to navigate through. With time constraints looming, I am happy most days to get the slop away from the feeding zones. When more time allows, it is loaded into the wheelbarrow and dumped into the back woods lining the trail.

This most recent time, to keep the growth of vegetation from taking over the fencing, I tried to sling the heavy soppy concoction over the 5 foot perimeter fence to cover the weeds. There was definitely a learning curve to the precision of my mud-slinging, but got quite good after adjusting my angle and stance a few times. (Note to self and others: be aware of heavy branches playing defense that will catapult it back at you. Ew.)

Getting further down the pile to the stuff that had been sitting there the longest, I couldn’t help but notice that it was starting to resemble an elementary school science project. Bugs and worms that had infiltrated into the heap working like they were on commission to decay and break down the hay, bits of wood and pieces of manure mixed into the mud. From the size of the worms, they were doing a top-notch job. I almost felt bad flinging the unexpected creatures into the vast beyond, landing confused and writhing. Maybe it was my innate empathy that I told them that the other side of the fence is much better than being squashed underneath a hoof; outside the fence is unlimited grass and dirt, and more protection from birds under the trees. Maybe it was physical fatigue; maybe it was early morning delirium, but as I continued dismantling and hurling the ecosystem over the fence, I couldn’t help but wonder . . .

worm         .  .  .  do worms get motion sickness?











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Ahh, autumn. Crisp cool weather, falling leaves, shorter days. Less daylight means doing some barn chores in the dark. As the sun was starting to slumber under the trees and my energy and concentration almost as low, I tired to muster what I had left in the day to clean the paddock. Methodically scooping and tossing manure in the calm dusk was interrupted by a sudden hallucination. No, it was my imagination. The manure balls can’t move on their own; it must have fallen off the pitchfork and rolled. Continuing . . . with a little apprehension – wait,it did move! Kind of jumped. I know Halloween is coming, but horse poop cannot be demonically possessed!

Leaning down to get a better look, squinting in the last glow of light, cringing, expecting some creature to latch onto my face like Alien, I HAD to have an answer. With adrenaline now spiking, I slowly leaned forward to the small figure holding the pitchfork as if about to fend off a mass murderer. My eyes adjusted to the fading light as the demon poop ball moved again! . . . . . and looked at me.

A fat little toad!!  I laughed with relief that an alien poop wasn’t going to hurl itself at my face, then became amazed that the little critter was so smart as to park itself right next to the manure pile. What an easy way to get a meal!  Why go hunting for food when you can just hang out and wait for it to come to you?  With my fears faced, I gently caught my dusky nemesis and placed him near a pile at the fence line so he wouldn’t get stepped on by the horses.  From fear of the unknown to amusement and respect; it’s amazing how fast life can change when you try to understand a situation with an open mind. A pitchfork in hand doesn’t hurt either.

Out of Hibernation


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The days are getting longer, the sun is slowly getting warmer, he trees and plants are budding, and the horses are shedding – it’s Spring!  Time to crawl out from under the covers, dust off the tack, and do some yoga stretching; the snow has melted and the warm sun is a great motivator to get in gear and be outside as much s possible.

Of course, the spring comes with a lot of work – raking up old hay that was buried in the snow and mud, currying off endless piles of fur from your 1,000 pound friend, etc.  But even with a dusty bridle and muddy tail, it’s that exhilerating feeling to swing your leg over the saddle after a few months of being “grounded”by snow, ice, and mud.  Just walking down the road and back, feeling the horses’s anticipation of what adventures we will go on today… it’s always a great feeling; and  one that’s worth all the work.

Flying Solo


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Hello Blog,                     xsillouette

It’s way too long since we spoke.  I take full responsibility. The past several months have been a tremendous whirlwind of sorts.  No, more like a tornado – tearing apart everything that I knew.  My husband filed for divorce because he didn’t like the farm life anymore.  I can’t hold that against him – it is definitely not a lifestyle for everyone.  Or for most people, for that fact.  Living on a farm is a huge commitment of long hours, endless hard work, and few vacations (unless you have a huge fancy barn with staff that work for you – which I don’t).  This is how he saw it.  While this is true, I see it as my little piece of paradise, the “work” keeps me in shape, and I love living here.

The past few months has been lawyers, tears, and dealing with banks trying to find one willing to help me refinance a farm on my own because I needed to take his name off).  More tears.  Anger, frustration, rejection, confusion; loss, heartache . . . .  feeling like I went from my dream life in every way – to being kicked down an endless dark hole.  Helplessly falling in the cold dark, trying to find some reason to grasp onto and not knowing where the bottom was or how hard I would hit.  And once I do, how will I get back up?

Dealing with not only losing my husband, but my best friend of 13 years; my rock, my trust, my past memories, the future plans and dreams that we had.  Not only the emotional issues involved, but in worked 7 days a week between the farm and 2 other jobs to try to keep the farm.  Ironically, the reason he left was the one thing that kept me afloat – the horses.  Same as when I was a child and through growing up.  No matter what happened, there were there for you.  Horses don’t lie. They don’t judge. They don’t pretend. They don’t suddenly decide “that farm in the next town looks interesting – I’m gonna leave and go there instead. Have a good life”.

While I’m slowly climbing out of my dark abyss, the horses are my only rope giving me reason to try.  They need me.  My 24 year old Arabian, my first horse, has her forever home. I made that promise and it’s one I will keep.  If not for me, for her.  Because she deserves nothing less.  It’s been difficult to write lately because I did not want to inflict my farm blog with all my stresses and heartaches the past several months.  I actually created a separate blog about my divorce called “7 Letter Words” to vent and try to cope (if you are familiar with WordPress, you will notice that the blogs are in reverse chronological order; if you read my 7 Letter Words blog, best to scroll to the bottom and start from the beginning). I feel like I am mourning the death of my life as I knew it; and as I thought it was going to be.  Except this is harder because death is final; with divorce, you are forced to live the loss and heartache over and over and over all of the time.   Besides horses, I also like doing photo/video projects and made this compilation of songs and photos to try to find some closure. (“Closure”). I don’t know that it helped, but at least gave me something to focus on for a while.

So, hoping the worst is over, now is about picking up the pieces of my shattered life and reality as I once knew it; now it’s holding onto my rock – my horses – my one solid place to stand on and feel safe in life’s sea of toxic storms.

Like they say, “even above the storm clouds, the sun is still shining”.


The Sweet Spot


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People look at me like I have an extra arm and 3 extra toes, and maybe a tail, when I tell them that I actually like getting up early.  Sure, it’s hard to actually get out of bed and find that initial boost of energy, but once outside and welcoming whinnies are coming my way, it’s worth it.

I love these first summer days when it’s early enough that the darkness has not fully crept out of site; when the air is still cool and crisp, almost to the point where you consider putting a light jacket on.  But without fail, the sun starts sneaking up over the treetops with bursts of warm light.  That is the best feeling of irony with the cool air combined with the hot sun; you have to savor it because it’s only a short time (perhaps minutes) until the sun chases away the delicate crisp air reminding me that summer is sitting on the throne for the next few months.  I will concede and bow to summer, but always send a wink to the cool dawn air.

Experiment in Cryogenics


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One of the hardest things about having your own farm is having to do the barn chores when it is sub-freezing temperatures outside.  When it’s so cold that it hurts your lungs to breathe; when you don’t even need tissues because the snot freezes in your nose before it can even drip out. Yeah – I’m talking THAT kind of cold.

The first part of winter was fairly mild.  The last couple weeks have been brutal.  I love having my horses at my house.  As much as people think I’m crazy because it is so much work, I love it.  But I won’t lie –  it kind of sucks when you can’t feel your face anymore.  Or your fingers.  Or toes.  I put a heater in the chicken coop and they don’t even stay in there; they like to beeline for the barn and root around for any tidbits of seeds left over from the hay in the stalls; but I leave it on anyway. Mostly so I can go in every 10 minutes or so and warm up a bit.  I’m sure the neighbors must think I am casting some kind of dark spell – out there in the coop, my shadow hopping around (trying to warm up) while huddled around this little red lamp; and sometimes I’m talking or singing to myself whether out of habit, or a distraction from the cold, or to make sure my lungs haven’t completely crystallized.

Yes, I’m pretty sure my neighbors have some good rumors going on about me.  As I’m making the horses warm oatmeal and pretending to keep the chicken warm with the heat lamp (you know – the ones already in the barn…), I will keep doing my warming dance; maybe tomorrow I’ll put on tinfoil hat and really let ’em talk.    😉



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It’s been cold lately.  Being the end of December in Connecticut, that’s not surprising.  As I walk out to the barn, my breath hanging in clouds in the dense air and feet feeling the rock hard ground, it seems like I time-warped into an arctic tundra of a foreign world.

The I admit my focus and concentration was not on par with the bad cold I have had lately, so it’s not surprising that my mind didn’t finished sending the entire signal to my hands to latch the gate, not just close it.  Horses are very perceptive, though.  A little nudge of the nose and they were out that gate like a rodeo act.

“Well, the ground is frozen, so at least they won’t dig up the yard.”  It was dark out, but not dark enough to mask the clods of dirt flying through the air like hockey pucks as the small herd happily galloped in circles around the yard as if to say  “See mom? The ground isn’t frozen!”

So, this morning with the yard looking reminiscent of crop circle formations, I spent extra time outside with the not-so-frozen ground trying to patch divots back together; making sure the artists are on the other side of the fence this time, of course.



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It’s that time of year again – the leaves have fallen off the trees and are brown and crunchy on the ground like over-cooked potato chips.  Jackets, gloves, warm boots, and the like are broken out of their summer hibernation and re-acquainted into familiar outfits.

It always amazes me how the horses don’t really seem to notice the change, certainly don’t seem miserable and offended by it; they actually seem to like it – running around, tossing heads, and doing some winter welcome dance they have secretly been rehearsing.  I am especially glad that Stella, being on a new arthritis medication, has more happy pep.

Begrudgingly, I dragged out the ladder this morning to take down the fans in the run-in.  I continued my “goodbye to summer” ritual by running the extension cords under the mats for the trough heater and hanging up extra hay feeders.

I suppose it’s not all bad; the nice weather sometimes pushes us to “go, go, go”; in the cold winter, it is natures way of telling us to take a little break; slow down and little and take some deep breaths.  Perhaps sleep a bit more, snuggle a bit more, and recharge for the springtime ahead.

Hot cocoa in front of the fireplace, anyone?!

(See video of the horses frolicking in the first snow fall this year, on Thanksgiving Day!  “Turkeys in the Snow”)

Invisible Cape


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As I was showing a colleague a horse video I had made, I wonder how many people just watch out of kindness/respect while thinking “ugh, when is this going to be over?”. But horse people would watch videos like it for hours on end.  There is just something that changes you when you get infected with the “horse bug”.

Like, when the movie character gets bit by the laboratory spider – part of the spider becomes part of him; he cant escape it.  Horses are like that. They get in your blood, change who you are, how you think, the person you become.  Although, unlike the superhero comic icons, us humble horse people aren’t flying around on webs and capes rescuing the world.  But in our own world we are rescuing people; the basic barn owner who lets the shy kids hang around after school because they know that sometimes a horse can be the only friend who can relate to them, who won’t make fun of or criticize them; the program owner who uses horses as tools to help “juvenile delinquents” and inmates develop trust, responsibility, empathy, etc. There are endless examples.

We know that our invisible capes aren’t publicly known to most.  But our secret society knows that we change lives. Even if it’s giving children wonderful memories; molding how they think and who they are for the better.  But I guess it’s really about the horses.  No matter if it’s a backyard barn, a high-end training stable, or a therapeutic program – the horses are the common factor who are making the difference.

Us humans would be the ones running the laboratory, but the horses are really the ones with the special powers wearing the capes.