We are back down to three horses here at Aspendale Farm. Danny sold his mini, Squirt, at a profit last week. For such a little guy (10 y.o.), he did a remarkable job of keeping his chin up. It was certainly sad for him. But he’d done what he set out to do… he put some training on a green horse and sold him at a profit.
So we no longer have four horses, and I really did enjoy Squirt most of the time (he could be a bit of a bugger now and then, particularly when he got out). He was mischievous and full of personality. But I do like having only three horses. Granted, Squirts additions to the manure pile were minimal, but there is less to scoop, and the sedate larger horses allow to let my guard down more at the barn. Squirt was always picking up tools and buckets, and nosing people to see what they had. He’d worm his way in between Saxton and the wall – or me – when I was trying to groom or tack him up.
But now Danny is ready to take on another project horse (a mini most likely) and I’m not. He *is* after all, only 10. And although he successfully taught Squirt some modicum of ground manners and how to accept a saddle, bridle, and rider, I think Squirt was rather exceptional in responding to Danny’s sporadic work. And I don’t care to “babysit” a child and “make” them go do work they’ve chosen on their own. I remember at least one instance of tears when he didn’t want to work with Squirt because it would take too long … and it didn’t take him more than 10 or 15 minutes. He figured two hours, I knew the reality. And there were many, many days I would ask if he was going to work with Squirt and he’d reply with a maybe that often didn’t materialize into a yes. Then there were the worming issues. That horse was so susceptible to picking up a worm load – he liked to sniff everybody’s piles – that we were repeatedly battling bouts of diarhhea in him with yet another dose of wormer. And his body did not respond to the homeopathic wormer, so it had to be conventional wormer, every couple months (in repeat doses if he’d gone much longer), which I detest. It wreaks havoc on horses’ systems, and I’d invariably follow up with a dose of probiotics to try to keep his intestinal tract healthy.
So… babysitting my own son’s ambitions and the added work and care needed to take on another project horse make that an unattractive option to me right now. What I would prefer would be to see him continue lessons at Wendy’s, and learn some good riding skills and just enjoy the riding over there. They apparently really did enjoy those lessons, as both children have asked when they could have another. We do need to get out on our own horses here, soon. It’s the end of April. Time to be bold and do it. They won’t build up muscle standing around in their stalls and paddock.
But today I will plant a few lettuce seeds in the garden, and maybe see if the ground is soft enough to dig post holes for the gates. Those are some seriously big poles!!! So I’ll have to expend some work to make proper holes … but I really need to get the gates installed. I could also stand to work a little more on fencing in my garden so we can let the chickens out, and maybe do a little weeding around the place. That would make a nice day of working outside after entirely too much time indoors yesterday sorting through dressers and closets. Bleh. I should have tackled that project in 15 minute snippets, but I’m afraid I detest the mess and confusion so much I wasn’t willing to spread it out. So instead we suffered through it with several small breaks – mostly out of doors. Then we followed it with a campfire, boasting hotdogs and s’mores, and accented by the wild foods my kids hunted up from the various corners of Aspendale Farm. They dug up some cattail rhizomes, crushed them and made a quite tasty breading batter for some dandelion roots they’d dug and boiled in a couple changes of water to reduce the bitterness. They also harvested a mass of dandelion greens which didn’t make it to the dinner table. So we will eat them today as part of our salad for lunch or dinner.
I am mighty proud of my children. JJ is unique among them, as he desires to be. He is not interested in the things the rest of us are, and he always finds something to complain against about the things we do enjoy or the way we do things. But he is growing into manhood in a fine way. I know he has a character issue or two to make his own (hopefully good) decisions about, but the course he is taking now seems to be largely a fine one, and we are so enjoying watching him as he explores possibilities and options for his future. If he can learn to lead with gentleness and persuasion instead of furrowed brows and threats, he will do tremendous, amazing things!
The other three are more like me in many ways. Not necessarily their personalities. I don’t mean that. In fact, JJ is probably more like me in many ways… impatient with those slower than himself, bossy… lol! That’s me. But by the grace of God, by my salvation and changes God has wrought in me, I am so much more the person God intended me to be than I was ten years ago! That is a life I am so glad He has taken away. This new life is ever so much better! But Cecily, while very quiet, keeping most things to herself (I can’t not talk without forcing myself to be quiet!) is as much interested in nature, wildlife, farming, gardening, and horses as I could be. That is a delight. And Danny … ha ha. He is a child unto himself. I wish I knew how to channel his genius. He is still so naive and immature, yet I would not wish to squash his creativity and inventiveness in any manner. I hope he cultivates it. He will be an astounding man! And finally, our beloved Betsy. The pet of the family. Perfect? Not nearly. She is messy, bossy like me, always trying to mother Danny – who is not interested in being mothered by someone two and a half years his junior. But her heart is made of something better and more pure than solid gold. She jumps to please and comfort whomever she can, and her ministrations, cheerful smile and willingness to pitch in and help with whatever needs doing is a blessing everywhere. She has been truly gifted by God in this respect, with an absolutely heart-stirring generosity of soul.