The lawnmower breaking has been fantastic for my mental health. Fencing in the yard and letting the horses graze in lieu of spending $300-$500 on a new mower has been exactly what my treading-water heart needed. I did try to find one locally, but let's be honest. If I had $300-$500 sitting around it would not go to a lawn mower. It would go to hay or piglets or repairs around here. So I just use $24 worth of polyrope and "suggest" a fence line with my horses and they spend a couple hours a day mowing/fertilizing the grass. It's nice having them so close. This morning when I let the horses out of their paddock and into the yard they took off like kids at recess.
It's a gorgeous morning here. I have sweet cup of coffee and sunshine on my face and I am typing from the porch area I built last summer. (Well, by built I mean I hired an Amish neighbor to make a 9x6' platform and then I drove it up the mountain in my truck and he road up on his buggy and together we situated it on a crumbling cement foundation and I planted grass and flowers around it.) So I'm using the term "built" loosely, but it's here because I made it happen and to be out here, among the grazing horses and chicken chatter, my ukulele beside me so I can practice the bridge of You're On Your Own Kid for the thousandth time, I'm telling you - this is worth the hassle.
Mornings like this are worth the last 40 years.
With Merlin aging past 30, Mabel has been on my mind. She's 10-15 years younger than him and has enough attitude for the both of them. Between my last relationship and current injury, the horses took a back step and haven't been ridden as much. For Merlin, that doesn't really matter. He's sometimes stubborn but never unsafe, rarely gives anyone so much as a set-back ear.
But Mabel is a chestnut mare, and the stereotypes are true. She's really taken on her role as boss and I need to start working with her more, first on the ground and then in the saddle. She's been showing signs of starting to seem unmanageable, and it's coming out in how she stands around me, a feigned air kick or turning around on me. It's the kind of thing that can lead a spoiled, unused, horse to turn into something the rider is scared of. And I didn't choose this life to have pet lawn mowers. Someday Merlin will be gone and she'll be my dependable girl, and right now she's more of a loose canon.
So everyday we'll start with the basics, halter and feet, the kind of groundwork that reinforces our roles gently and calmly. We've already started. Every day just slowly adding more minutes and intentionality. In a week or so we'll practice tacking up, especially her bit work, which she always puts up a fuss for. I hope to have her ready to trail ride in a way I feel safe about in a few weeks.
I can say this about her. Despite her attitude and issues, once you sit in the saddle she's an Amish-trained horse again. Takes rein and direction better than Merlin. She's just in need of more experience and time.
We will get there. Patience and work always pays.
Piglets got delivered yesterday, and they are adorable. They are a mix of two heritage breeds, Mulefoot and Mangalitsa, which means they might develop curly hair all over their body and some have solid feet! Pigs generally have cloven (split) feet, but the mulefoot has almost a HOOF! It's really interesting! Anyway, right now they are just settling in and timid as hell. They have a pen in the barn while they are babies. Looks like they made it through their first night fine, sleeping in a pile.
It's so nice to have made it this far. I can not tell you how hard this winter was. Financially it was the most stress I ever felt. Emotionally, it was the worst I ever dealt with. And to have still managed the butcher bills and house payments, to have new lambs and piglets here on a sunny morning, to have something to work towards and fight for - it keeps a woman going. I know making the May mortgage before the end of the month is impossible, but I did make April, and I might earn towards it if sales pick up.
What I do know is this weekend will be like they've been the last year - not spending anything if possible. I head to the river and fish. I explore the streams with the dogs, praying for fossils and garnets. I have archery to practice, music to play, horses to train, babies to coo over... I keep busy. I can make a night special for myself, just being at home, with themed homemade meals and movies. I have been devouring rom coms, which have been so much fun to read or listen to on audiobook - like hot gossip from friends I know so well but never met. There's a lot of ways to stay amped about life without using a credit card.
Today I'm hoping to turn this slow morning into a slow weeding morning. I have gardens to tend and more flowers to plant and transfer. I think everything is in the ground but I want more - more flowers and more light.
Interesting also, to see where these posts go if the experiment keeps going. I haven't been posting daily in forever, and my "news" feels so mundane! But I think we'll get into more vulnerable and interesting waters as the trend continues, if it does. I am grateful to anyone that supports this farm. You might not think a dollar is even worth the time to send, but let me tell you from over here, that it shows me at least 4 people in the world wanted to hear from me today, and my pet can't talk, and that lights a little hope in a woman. So thank you.
Thank you to the four people who sent a small contribution yesterday! Folks, that really makes me feel like writing here is worth it, and as long as this agreement continue I will honor it! Thank you, it was enough to cover a bag of pig feed!
I just wanted to be clear that no one has to pay, I will still write here and it's always available for free. But if anyone wants to volunteer to venmo/paypal at least one dollar, it means I will write a post the next day. If no one does, then I'll update when I feel like it. Might be the next day, might be in a month.
Please understand, that I do not mean a dollar for every post or from every reader! I mean, quite literally, if a single person anywhere in the world sends a single US dollar, and that's all the money I earn that day, I'll write tomorrow.