Greetings to all. Sorry it has been a while, but I have been flat out with school and other stuff, and haven't found much inspiration for blogging. The school year is racing along, with the usual challenges and fun. I was very tired getting back into it again, but am getting into my stride now.
Today was a very happy day indeed. It was two weeks without horse cuddles, and I was overjoyed to have a date with the gorgeous Chief White Cloud at Scarlett Oak. He has only been a riding school horse for a wee while, and I am one of the select few who get to ride him. Chief was quite strong and restless the first time I groomed and rode him. He has been in a paddock waiting for a rider since coming off the race track. Celine has leased him. Today he was so mellow and relaxed. I felt fantastic riding him. He is positively enormous at about 17 hands high, and just getting up there is a challenge. He didn't seem to mind my scramble to board, and didn't put a hoof wrong the whole lesson. There wasn't even a twitch of a shy or spook at any point. Instead of feeling all nervy about things like birds appearing out of nowhere, and the children moving around, he seemed to be very interested and happy. We worked on my position and his flexibility, doing transitions up and down, spiraling in and out and leg yields. I loved every minute of it.
After riding, Johnny and I took a trip out to Viv's place. Unfortunately she was out, but I had some fun horse hugs and scratches with Lewis, Ben and Lucy. Plus Oscar gave me a good sniff and looked pleased to see me. Then I met a delightful new pony who is there to be broken in. She was wearing a cover, so I didn't get to see her colouring, which is apparently very unusual indeed. Grey with skewbald patches and a white face and beautiful blue eyes. She was a friendly sweetie with me. I rang Viv tonight and had a big chat. She had a nasty fall off Ben last weekend (he bucked her off at an event because he wasn't at all happy). She has damaged her sciatic nerve and has some very impressive bruising. She was full of interesting news. I was full of sympathy for the fall injuries.
I harvested some cherry tomatoes and froze them today. I find them very useful to throw into soup etc. I also blanched and skinned 1.5kg of big fat ones to make into relish tomorrow. I am using the Alison Holst recipe which requires skinned and chopped tomatoes and onions to be salted and left overnight before spicing and boiling up with vinegar etc. I'll be banished to the barbecue, so I'm hoping for fine weather! My greenhouse has made tomato growing a real pleasure. I've still got the oxheart outdoor ones to ripen. They look like they will be good sauce toms. I've harvested my brown onions and am drying them, plus I spent some time plaiting the garlic. Tomorrow I'll have to take a wee bike ride down to check the apples on a local side-of-the-road tree. Oh, I've got a new bike too! She is called Aggie (because she is a mountain bike with Aggressor written on her crisp white frame). Johnny thinks I've taken the sting out of her tail calling her Aggie. I'm thinking he won't be amused if I get her a basket for foraging trips. I know you can get modern wicker ones from the bike shop. They are gorgeous, and I want one!
I've got some things to show you, so I'll take some photos tomorrow. I think I'll head for bed. I'm reading Te Radar's excellent account of his time living off the land "Off the Radar."