We had a very lovely week of spring-like weather last week. It whet our appetites up here in the northwoods. Those of us who garden are just itching
to get our hands into the soil! And then there are the horsemen – quite a few in our area, actually, who are chomping at the bit to get back into riding, training, or gees, even just cleaning out the barn!
Here at Aspendale Farm we are finally pulling together our seed order! Don’t ask why it’s taken until the end of February to get our order ready. Usually we start somewhere around Christmas time and are so eager to get everything together. Maybe we hadn’t renewed our “gardening gumption” by then because we spent such concentrated effort in the fall renovating the garden.
Whatever it was, we’ve finally gotten the order together. And I’m genuinely surprised. Seems like every year we start with a moderate list of flower and vegetable varieties we intend to put in… and then, and then… well, we go a little overboard and end up spending some ridiculous three-digit sum on just *seeds* for goodness sakes! Well, not this year. We managed, somehow, to really keep our list to exactly what we said we’d order, and actually, dropped a couple items off our lists. I do know how it happened, but I still can’t quite grasp that I didn’t go overboard anyway. Cecily even said she decided she has “other priorities” than starting and selling bedding plants this year. I’ll fill you in if you can hang with me for a minute.
We are going to plant a lot more potatoes than we usually do, and earlier. We will plant the potatoes five weeks before last frost, which puts us at the last week in April. Our last frost is June 1. Makes for quite a short growing season. First frost is mid- to late- August. I love to plant and harvest potatoes, and we certainly eat enough of them to merit it.
Enough about the garden for now. In case you wondered, we get the bulk of our garden seeds from Johnny’s Selected seeds, with most of the remainder from Burpee. Johnny’s has more short-season crops, and I believe, more variety in general, that suits us in our climate.
So instead of starting plants for sale, so saith Cecily, and instead of having a big garden, so saith Mama (that’s me), Cecily and I are both antsy to be back in the saddle, teaching our old dogs new tricks. Okay, old horses. Old dogs sounds better. I am surely not the first farmer (and I am only what they call a “mini-farm” farmer) to struggle with balancing the demands that come when the weather eases and the warm season begins.
And the horses are calling. There are already such limitations on our time that we’ve both decided to clear the schedule just enough to make sure we spend more time training. Now if only our arena were some bigger, it would make things easier. But we can’t have everything, now, can we? I’ve just sold two extra saddles and put the money toward a nice, used basket stamped Big Horn pleasure saddle. I think it would not matter what saddle I bought, except maybe Clinton Anderson’s muy, muy expensivo (but impressive) cross-over aussie/western saddle. But then I’d forever regret spending that much money. So you can’t win ’em all, I guess. But these Big Horns I know are comfortable, and the one I have fits Saxton well. But… I also realized rather late in the saddle shopping game, that his current saddle is a barrel saddle. Wow. So I can only wait and see if the length of the skirt on the new, bigger one is okay. (He’s a bit on the short-backed side.) I had really wanted to go with a lighter colored saddle. This one is a very dark walnut, but it has 7 out of 8 of the other qualities I was looking for in a saddle, and I think that’s as close as I’m going to get. So I will be happy with it. I did find a dark oil futurity knot bridle with bling on it! Just need to figure out what kind of reins I’m going to go with. Haven’t made that decision yet.
So there you have it. Spring is on its way. This morning I just about shrieked in excitement to see Saxton and Lacy are starting to shed out their winter coats. That is the surefire sign to a horse owner. If they still needed those coats for too long, they’d hold on tight to ’em. Of course, Squirt doesn’t need fuzzy coat in June or August, but being a Miniature Horse, he keeps his coat for all but about 6-8 weeks during mid-summer. Amazing. I’m going to try giving him a lot of Omega Horseshine (ground flax seed) and see if it helps him shed any earlier.