The Day Penny Came Home

Tango and ErinSeptember 24, 2016 was the day. It was the day that our new filly, Penny, would be coming home to live on the farm with us. It was a day I will never forget.

Penny was pulled from the livestock auction by owner of Equine Rescue Network (ERN), Janine. Janine had seen this little filly at a previous auction house and knew this was her time to give this filly a new chance at life. She “saved” her on May 26, 2016 and loaded her up on a trailer and made the trip back to her home in MA.

Penny was sick and needed to be quarantined but was finally ready to make her trip even more north to Chester, NH. There she was, waiting for her big chance and that day finally came on September 24th 2016.

I had visited with Penny a few times before the big move. I brought Jared to meet her and we both felt a special bond to this little girl. She was very curious and seemed to like to follow us around. We had about a month and a half to prepare her paddock, run-in shed and invest in everything she would need.

We had nothing to start with. Her paddock was previously a dense pine Forrest that we had cut. We had stumps, roots and rocks to move around. We agreed on the placement of her run-in shed and started working on the fence. It was a lot of work in a short time but the motivation to bring her home gave us momentum.

Since Penny was my first horse I had to consider what I needed to buy. Halters, lead ropes, brushes, grain, water buckets, etc. With winter approaching we needed a jacket, heaters for the water trough, etc. It was a big list to consider but we took our time and pushed through.

Finally, the morning of 9/24/2016. I couldn’t sleep that night. I was dreaming about Penny and the excitement was uncontrollable. I wanted Jared to come with me but he had to stay behind to do some last minute things with the fencing. I drove to Chester alone, about an hour drive from my house. My mind was racing. This was the day I was waiting for all of my life.

When I got there no one was around. The barn manager wasn’t there, my horse transporter was still on her way. I decided to get Penny’s halter and get her on a lead rope and put her in the empty paddock so we can load her up quickly. I had to find her halter and lead rope first. Once I located them I opened the gate and was quickly rushed by a herd of mares, geldings, colts, and filly’s. They all were sniffing, snorting and crowding around me. Then this enormous lead mare comes in to the circle and for a moment I got scared. She started kicking and rearing warning the herd to back off and let her investigate. I found my escape and jumped through the fence and was out of there. Penny was busy eating hay in the corner and she was just too far me to go in there and get her without the hassle of the herd.

I stood patiently by the gate and started calling to Penny. She finally picked up her head and started walking towards me. Oddly enough none of the other horses followed, just Penny. I left her have a sniff on my hand and opened the gate and she walked right through the gate. Just like that! I was in shock. This little filly was coming home with me and she made that easy. It was like she knew.

Once the horse transporter showed up I let her have the lead rope and up Penny went into the trailer and just like that we were on the road home. We walked her into her new paddock and dropped some hay on the ground for her to forage through. It was the day our home became a farm.

Penny in her new paddock

Penny meeting Wayah for the first time
Penny meeting Wayah for the first time

Penny with her new leather halter

Getting Back in the Saddle

Erin on her new horseI got thrown off a spooked horse in a full run back to barn. I was trying to slow him down and he decided he needed to dump me and went into a bronc and I went flying. I landed on my head (wearing a helmet) but smacked my chin to my chest, pulled a muscle in the front of my neck and sustained some bruising and landed on my lower back. I laid on the ground unable to feel my legs and waited for some pain to kick in so I knew I was ok but hurt. I was ok! A very bruised tailbone, lower back pain and bruising for weeks and unable to comfortably walk, bend over, and move my head for a few days.

This all happened about 1 week before my wedding day. My now husband was not thrilled and forbid me from riding again before the wedding, like I could anyways.

The accident was not on my horse. It was was my friends horse. So I tried to get “back in the saddle” with my trusted steed. I got up and just sat there for about 2 minutes waiting for my heart rate to slow down. I was terrified!!! She felt taller than I remember, she could bolt at any moment, I felt vulnerable and I had to get down.

I did a fun 8 mile ride with her and we had a great time. But every time I went to get back on I felt scared.

One ride, my horse just didn’t trust me going down that trail. I had to get off. I didn’t have the ability to push her forward like I used to. In my mind she would bolt and run off to the house (a good 2 miles away) and I would be dumped off and injured again. The thought consumed me and I walked her instead.

I finally decided to get a trainer with a lesson horse in an arena and start all over again. I have had two lessons and each time I get stronger. Having someone on the ground to watch me and remind me to relax is important right now. I feel safe, I feel comfortable and I feel that I am learning to be a better rider. And not just for me but for my horse as well.

Every rider will fall eventually and some can just get right back on (I used to be that person) but when you have so much to lose and the pain was too great, you have to decide when YOU are ready.

I will be ready again soon and my horse will be waiting for me.

Horses, horses, and more horses…

Was another nice horsey day (we just love this nice weather!)

Tango and I went for a long walk/jog again. She is getting used to our trails. Her head is lower and lower and she is staying at a safe distance and pace at my side. We walked up the driveway as Jared drove in. She was not a fan of a moving car behind her. We survived and never stopped moving. Im thinking a little walk on the road is our next adventure so we can get used to cars. I deliberately took her to the edge of the woods when the dogs were running through there. She was spooked by that on our first walk and now it “ain’t no thang.”

So Penny, my adorable filly, is super jealous that Tango is getting all of this attention so I decided to take her out for a walk. I just love her. She is such a baby compared to Tango so we do everything in baby steps. Smaller circles, smaller spaces. Then she gets lots of love since she deserves it.

Then there is Sancho, the trouble making pony! So this guy “knows it all” and has a little ‘tude about everything. I have been reading a lot about clicker trick-training and “at will” training for these super smarty pants. So, just me and Sancho and a short crop for safe distance and we “cluck” (my mouth sounds) … “walk-on” and there he is, strutting himself like a pro. I take a 90 degree turn to the right and boom… there he is. Never missed a step. I turn to look at him and he waits and follows my lead at every step. I think we are on to something here. Could he be a true “trick pony”!!!????

I am adding a Go-Pro to my list of needs at the farm so I can video our sessions. I would love to share the progress all of us are making.

Almost 3 hours of horse play time and I only came in because it was getting too dark outside.

Tango, the Buckskin Mare, on the farm

I took Tango for a long walk/jog last night. We are working on our verbal cues to prepare her for her Dr. Cooks bitless bridle.

She got to try on her new bareback saddle as we lunged around in circles in various parts of the yard. We both worked up a sweat so I would say it was a good work out.

All of this was going on with us while my other two ponies were whinnying and running around in circles, dogs barking and running around, Jared driving up the driveway… you name it. Not once did I loose her attention.

It’s not everyday you get to have such a well trained horse land in your paddock but I am forever grateful to have her. Soon we will be riding the trails around my house and maybe be able to pony Penny and take her out with us 🙂

We ended our night with a pedicure and some apple treats. I got a little whinny from her with a mouthful of hay… she was a happy little lady. I cant wait to take her out again tonight!

Farming for the Holidays

Nothing makes me feel more like a “farmer” than making homemade gifts for the holidays. I have a special Texas BBQ sauce recipe that everyone loves. This Christmas I made a huge batch and gave them away as gifts.

Nothing makes me feel more like a “farmer” than making homemade gifts for the holidays. I have a special Texas BBQ sauce recipe that everyone loves. This Christmas I made a huge batch and gave them away as gifts.

Late summer 2017 we picked several pounds of blueberries from local fields. I love a fresh batch of lump blueberry sauce. I love my sauce when the blueberries stay nice and round. Of course, you can only achieve this with “Low Bush” blueberries since they are much smaller. High Bush plants produce berries that are delicious but way too big for spreading and dipping.

Lastly, the homemade soap bars. Sometimes made from rendered pork or beef fat but this batch was a lye based mixed with clean and soft mixtures of oils. Though I don’t mind the lumpy lard based soaps, I know many people are not fond of the idea. Rendering lard can be cumbersome and a lot of work too.

All in all, another year of creative farm projects that I can share with those I love the most. I love what I do. I love sharing what I do. I can’t wait until Christmas!

South Facing Front Door

A front door facing south benefits politicians, religious beads and industrialists. Historically, Chinese emperors built their palaces overlooking their subjects to the south.

Reading about the formal front door of the house pointing south:

– A front door facing south benefits politicians, religious beads and industrialists. Historically, Chinese emperors built their palaces overlooking their subjects to the south.

– A south facing door ensure the home gets the most amount of light and radiant heat.

Elderberry Tree

With the help of my dad, I also discovered that our front yard has a cluster of mature and young Elderberry (black berry) Trees. Some are being choked out by some other bushes and trees but I will be sure to open these right up again.

Elderberry BushWith the help of my dad, I also discovered that our front yard has a cluster of mature and young Elderberry (black berry) Trees. Some are being choked out by some other bushes and trees but I will be sure to open these right up again.

Elderberry have a very long history and value to our current and past customs. St Germain liquor is made from the flowers (my favorite), berries can be cooked and eaten or made in to jams, the wood is used to make hard wood tools, pipes and flutes.
The tree is claimed to be to spirit of the Elder Mother witch:

“The Elder Mother is thought to be the guardian of the elder trees, and it was said, until recent times in various parts of England and Scandinavia that to take wood from the elder tree one would have to ask the Elder Mother first, or else ill luck would befall the woodsman. The woodsman would have to ask the Elder Mother like so:

“Old girl, give me some of thy wood and I will give thee some of mine when I grow into a tree.”