Back with the horses

I think I’ve blogged before about our friend Jan, whose parents were very sick.  Jan had been at the hospital for weeks.  Allison visited her there often.  Her mum died a week ago.  Her dad’s doing a bit better at present.

Jan has been exhausted, and Allison was pretty tired too.

After some more bad weather, last weekend was lovely.  We convinced Jan to come out to the farm to play with the horses.  They have had no work over winter, and because the weather has been bad we were only able to bring them into work on Sunday.

They were all pretty well behaved. My horse, Paulie, has been really good, and working particularly well for me.  Silvester got a bit bored and wanted to do his dressage stuff instead, so Jan had to manage him closely.  Rocky, normally the most reliable horse, was a bit silly but is now settling down.  Bonnie, Jan’s lovely old mare, hasn’t yet been brought in as she suffers arthritis, but Jan’s thinking about doing something with her as she always enjoys being involved.

Our wwoofers all got to have a ride.  Jan really enjoys working with the horses, so it was a lovely time for everybody.

We worked them again on Monday, and Luca learned to trot.  Timo and Rachel are keen too, but Tuesday was again bad weather.  Hopefully they’ll all get to extend their skills a little more.

We did have a little excitement on Monday: the first snake of the season, a tiger snake.  These are seriously poisonous, but not the most poisonous snakes on the property. They do have a reputation for aggression though, and will chase people.  This one got itself jammed in the fence and somehow died.  It is of course illegal to kill snakes in Australia, being native wildlife and important for local ecology.

I should mention that, on Monday, Jan showed the wwoofers how to use a stockwhip.  These are the really big whips that are great for working with cattle.  Allison and I had a go too — Ally was not too bad, but I kept on flicking myself in the face.

Six ducklings have hatched in the incubator, and are being looked after and loved by the wwoofers.  No action yet with the goose eggs, though they do take a little longer.

The wwoofers are rebuilding one of the chook runs, making a strong fence that can take some kiwifruit vines.

And our soil blocks have sprouted, with all sorts of vegetables growing well.

We have a medieval event coming up this weekend, “On Ilkla Moor”, which is the campfire cooking event.

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