Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekend with Mum and Dad

We had a lovely weekend because Mum and Dad came to stay. We visited my girls out at the farm, and had a visit to my gorgeous cousin's house, and saw her ponies. 
Look at this dear little lady!
 Three legs and a mini squirrel tail. Funny girl. Aria is very friendly and cuddly now.
 And Fergie is changing colour and wanted lots of kisses when we visited her.
 Zanny is looking so well and has that lovely calm air about her, as always. Dear girl.

Meet Birdie. She is pregnant to John Brodie, a handsome Gypsy Cobb stallion. Naturally, she hasn't met her husband, but had a successful visit with the horse equivalent of a turkey baster. I wonder if she made this face when the business was going on at the back end!
 She reminds me so much of Tara.
 I met Mary, who is this young man's mother (below). She is a darling and enjoyed a cuddle. Sorry, photos were only from a distance because she is very wary of people. Sometimes being a brood mare means no cuddles and people mean being poked and prodded. Now she lives at Em's house she is learning that people can be very friendly indeed. Cloud is a huge fan of a good bum scratch. He contorted his body to get the right spots scratched and stood in an extraordinary position with his hind legs apart.
 He is so beautiful, and just needs a horn to look just like a unicorn.
He has a wavy mane and tail which is just beautiful. He's a Welsh Cobb.

We've loved having Mum and Dad to stay and hope that make many more visits down to see us (hint hint).

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Around the garden

Things are looking healthy in the garden. This week I'm intending to include masses of veges in our evening meals. The rainbow chard is big enough to plunder, and the beetroot tops can be used in the same ways.
 This has been a good year for basil. I have a big bag from The Crafty Neighbour, plus some of my own. I am planning to make pesto this week, although mine won't have expensive pine nuts. I might use hazelnuts as I have lots of those and they need to be used.
 Look at the glorious red tomato I found among the rampant foliage on the bush tomatoes.
 I'm afraid even scallopini, aka pattypan squashes, turn into marrows. I discovered that thinly sliced into big wheels, they make a fantastic layer in lasagna, and could even replace the pasta altogether.
 Mouse is lurking wherever I go when I'm gardening.
 This is cavolo nero, or Tuscan black kale. It is fantastic in minestrone soup.
 I've grown the best celery ever this year. It is better than supermarket stuff, but with no nasty chemicals.
 Can you spot the four leafed clover?
 These sweet, starry dahlias seem to appear one at a time. I'm looking forward to the tubers multiplying so that they come out as a mass.
 This pretty clump of colour appears each autumn.
 The vege plot is beautiful at this time of the year. I love it.
 Mr Mouse loves the garden too. He was a bit surprised when I pulled out the old woody lavenders from the  raised feijoa beds. Now I've got the pleasure of considering what to plant to replace them.
 Here is my harvest of shallots. They don't look like the supermarket shallots, which is a bit odd. I'm sad because the red onions are starting to go to seed, and I still have lots of them to eat. They don't store like brown onions.
 I love these bright petunias in a pot.
 Sadly I didn't go out the the farm this weekend, but this fellow was grazing on the back lawn. He is my new Friesian stallion.

I'm very fond of Friesians, with their long wavy manes and elegant carriage. I'm sure I will never have one of my own (although Zanny's mane is getting pretty long), so this gentleman will have to do.

By the way, Aria is currently "gunmetal" in colour, which means she is going to be black! I am thrilled.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

More horses!

A few pictures from my visit to see the girls today. I managed to give Aria a good scratch today, which she loved.

 Zanny was delighted with her carrots. I had to give her back legs a good brush because she has so much milk that it pours out when Fergie is feeding.
 Fergie is turning into a perfect little horse.
The first days of school with the students have been excellent. I was thrilled with how everyone worked. Long may it continue.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Farm Girl

Sorry, I've been a bit slack in posting, but school has started again, and there was a lot of preparation and organisation to take care of. I also had a very busy weekend because I was farm sitting out at the horse farm. I also had to help a mother mare feed her foal. That required me to learn the extraordinarily unusual skill of horse milking, which is very much like milking a cow, but with a smaller udder to deal with. I was going to feed the foal all weekend, but ended up only having to do Friday evening. The rest of the weekend I had 16 horses to look after. They had individual feeds twice a day, plus water troughs for each horse to keep topped up. It was very hot, so the horses and I were drinking so much water. There was also poo to keep under control, and horses do remarkable amounts of poo in 24 hours. Some horses can produce a wheelbarrow load in a day. 

While I was farm sitting I also had a flock of gorgeous hens to feed. I loved their enthusiastic welcome, and the way they scrambled over my boots as I poured their food into their tray, chatting away to each other. The warm brown eggs were a treasure to collect daily. The farm hens have a wonderful big area to free range in, and I wouldn't want to have hens unless I had enough land to have an equally expansive area for them to live in. 

Our little filly is going home tomorrow morning, so that will be her first big adventure. Here she is, one day old. 
 You can see her front legs look a little bent. She had contracted front legs following delivery, and required some treatment to straighten out the tendons.
 She was still very wobbly because her legs were more bent on her second day, and had an injection into her leg. Poor wee thing- it must have hurt. Tara wasn't at all pleased about having her foal abducted briefly.
 Here she is a few days old.
 Her markings are absolutely beautiful. We still have no idea what colour she will be eventually.
 Look how straight her front legs are after treatment. She showed me her canter when she was playing. There is still some debate about her name, but it is Aria at the moment (Centaria as her show name). We don't have 100% agreement as yet.
 Now here's my other little friend, not so wee any more! Zanny's filly foal called Fergie. She's a delightful, inquisitive creature.
 Take a look at Fergie's chest. She has patches like this where her first baby coat is coming out in patches, showing her next colour. These dark patches are very much like Zanny's colour, but Fergie's face is still red bay colour, and she has a bit of a browny tinge coming through the dark fur in some places. So I still have no idea what her exact adult colour will be, although I'm guessing she will be bay, and not as dark as Zanny.
 Fergie seems to love the taste of sunblock. She got a bit rough with her licking and when I told her to back off she reared up at  me, so I had to tell her off. You can't let them boss you around at any age, even if they are cute as anything.
 Look how fantastic my girl Zanny looks. Her coat is actually dappled!
 I am so fortunate to have these two divine ladies in my life.