Sunday, December 22, 2013

Really on holiday

At last the school year is over and parents groan while teachers sigh with relief. Yes teachers do get a lot of holidays, but I am positive that without them many teachers would find work elsewhere. I would. I am delighted to be able to shut off the constant school thoughts (well sort of - there is planning for next year to consider), and move onto home jobs. 

Firstly, I did think my toms were not contenders in the South Island Family Tomato Ripening Contest. I had a closer look this morning and found this tasty morsel. Not bad. 
The roses are kicking into action again. 
Wont the bumblebees be pleased with this globe artichoke, left just for them to enjoy. 
Look - the first courgettes are ready. 
No hearts in these lettuces. Maybe after Christmas. Then we will have a rapidly rotting glut. 
There are some pretty corners of the garden, bu the weeds have gone mad. Oh, well, that always happens. 
I think of feijoas as our answer to the beautiful New Zealand Christmas tree, the pokutukawa, which is rarely seen down south. The birds are loving these, and they are very indignant when Mr mouse lurks beneath. Hope the birds leave plenty of flowers to turn into fruit. Not everyone likes them, but I do, and I like to give them to passionate feijoa lovers who haven't got their own. 
I will be out to ride Zanny sometime today, and am having a tidy up. So much to do. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Here there and everywhere

Do you see him? You will have to look very hard to see him tucked in among the strawberries. A blackbird told me where to look, crying in fury, warning everyone around. 
A quick visit to the feijoas. 
Zanny's saddle blanket still smells horsey, even after a good wash. 

Up we go. 
King of the world. 
I do love a wee wander around the garden with my Ipad mini. The photos are not as good as my camera, but you can't beat the convenience. 

There he goes again. 
Love this tiny corner. Squashes, grape vine, tomato and some self sown coriander. 
Pretty beans. 
Not sure what these are. Some kind of sprouting broccoli. Not much bang for your buck. 
I feel so happy sitting out here in the back yard with my animal best friends. Wish Zanny was here but she would make short work of the rose bushes, and our pooper scooper is a bit on the small side. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Already on holiday

I've decided to declare myself on holiday - well, in the holiday mood. We have a few more days of school and there will be a lot of fun to be had, so why not lead the way with a summery sparkle? It was certainly the weather for it. 

Darling Zanny and I were delighted to have friends to hack out with today, and we were using our own saddle, so that was pretty special. Zanny loves hanging out with her friend Frank, and he is such a placid boy out and about, so makes me feel lovely and safe. One thing that alarms me when I am on horseback is other horses playing up. The herd mentality can strike and set eveyone off. Zanny was pretty excited about being out and about, but was a lovely girl to ride. My saddle was fantastic. 

We are eating summer foods now, and we were given a lovely box of new potatoes. They are divine. 

Summer stonefruit is in the shops. Today I stocked up on peaches. Tomatoes are so cheap to buy at the moment too. I love the plump, juicy tangelos in the shops at the moment, and The Crafty Neighbour has a lemon tree laden with fruit. 
She also has lots of basil in her tunnel house and is happy to share. 
After some very Grinchy moments when I wanted to cancel Christmas, I am feeling jolly again. 

We are in for another hot day tomorrow. Happy holidays even if you are still working. Make every day a special day. 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dabble in Saddles

It is another lovely day here, so far, but I'm feeling rather grim with a horrible headache. I haven't had one for ages, so wasn't too pleased when it came on late in the afternoon yesterday. We had our street barbeque last night, which was lovely. People make the most delicious salads. I must see if I can find some good recipes over summer. We are so lucky to have wonderful, kind, sweet neighbours who all care about each other. 

Yesterday I put on my new black jods - I can highly recommend the Horze brand full seat self-patch jods for ladies with a bigger derriere. They sit up nice and high on my waist and have the miraculous ability to make me look ok in a tight fitting fabric. I have washed and washed my old pair and they are as comfy as ever. Mrs Zanny is in season again, which means her alter ego "The Tart" is here, instead of my lovely cuddly horsey friend. Anyway, I'm getting to know The Tart's tricks, although she tried a new one yesterday, and pretended she was unable to walk properly, so I had to ask Viv if she was lame. Nope, just pretending to be incapacitated so she could return to the other horses. 

Before we rode in the arena I had to move the delicious Lucy back to her paddock. There is a lot of lovely grass around the arena, so Lucy was enjoying being the arena lawnmower. Isn't she lovely? 
 Lucy is my darling Zanny's daughter. They are very alike, although Lucy is a slightly heavier build and not quite as tall.
 Lucy is for sale at the moment, and I wish I could buy her, but she costs a considerable amount of money (NZ over $10,000), so I'll just be content with one riding horse! She is a quiet girl who is looking forward to a career in showing, dressage and being spoiled thoroughly.

Finally some photos of my babies, as promised. Well, I can only claim ownership over Aria (the darker one), but Fergie is Zanny's baby, so I have a strong interest in her as well. Poor Fergie has a bit of a respiratory infection at the moment. She may have breathed in some chaff and has developed a cough and snotty nose. Poor darling. Anyway, they were both pleased to see me, as always.
 They are classified as yearlings now. I still think of them as foals.
They still have their foal manes on the ends of the more grown up growth, which makes them look scruffy. 
 I couldn't get a photo with both of them with their ears forward because they are so busy, and seem to be constantly on the look-out for danger.
 I think Aria would be classified as black genetically, but unfortunately she has the fading gene, so in sunlight will fade to dark brown. When she is older she can wear a summer sheet to stop her fading as much and she will be a beautiful colour. The non-fading blacks are stunning, with coats like satin. I love Aria's white markings. Fergie is a pretty colour too, and rather a surprise because Zanny usually produces foals the same colour as she is.

 I had another saddle to try. Emily found one for me that she was very impressed with, and thought might suit me. It is a German Kieffer Rhein dressage saddle, and is second hand, but in beautiful condition. According to reviews Kieffer saddles are highly regarded and loved by the majority of people who reviewed them. The Rhein model is older and highly sought after, being quite rare on the market. Probably even rarer here in New Zealand. Kieffer saddles are very expensive new. 

The saddle fits Zanny really well. I always use a "raiser pad" to create a good barrier between Zan's rather prominent spine and wither and the saddle, and Emily got me to use this very special (horribly expensive) one, which raises the back of the saddle a little to help my position. In any other saddle I have been in, I ride with my legs too far forward, and this one naturally puts me in a far better position. It is super comfy, and fits me really well. Em's dressage saddles have huge leg rolls which I find uncomfortable, and this one just has a slight roll under the front of the flap.
After two good rides I am confident that I would be really happy in this saddle, and Emily said she has never seen me looking so balanced in the saddle, or sitting in a better position, even riding "The Tart" who was playing up a bit. Now I just have to negotiate on price, because I should be able to get it significantly cheaper than the ticket price. We will have to work on getting the right girth too, because this one I borrowed from Em rubbed Zanny a bit, and I can't have that. We will probably need a sheepskin girth cover. Em says I can borrow this raiser pad for as long as I need to. She is so generous to me. I'm really lucky.

I would love another ride today, but since Zanny got those wee rubs from the girth, I will probably give it a miss. Plus there is so much to do around here, and my head feels yucky. Riding would probably help, but I hate driving with a headache like this because I can feel a bit spacey and disconnected. I can't complain really, because I can still function fine, it is just a nuisance. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Weekend Poem

A Star Turn

The gentle receding sea
has swirled a starfish
leaving it lying
on a pristine sand stage
a spun Catherine wheel
frozen in time.

The unseen hand
has carefully placed
two small shells
on top.

This little tableau
is stunning
in its simplicity
a magic moment
in the flotsam and jetsam
of our existence.

Joe Bell
from About the Bay

Take time to notice the little, special things around you this weekend.

Sunday, December 1, 2013