Thursday, April 05, 2007

Spring unsprung

Not too many weeks ago we were enjoying 70 and 80-degree weather here on the farm. Today, April 5, it is minus 2 degrees below zero Fahrenheit with the wind chill with actual temps in the teens. The wind has been briskly blowing from the north most of this week. The weather report predicts this spring deep freeze will continue through Easter Sunday.

Yesterday, was the coldest April 4th in Minnesota in 86 years! I feel sorry for the robins that recently returned from their winter holidays. Last week they were happily pecking for worms and this week the red-breasted ones, who eat bugs, earthworms and berries, are trying to figure out the birdseed feeders. This is the second day in a row that it’s too cold for the horses that spend the night in stalls to go out. We’re supposed to have even colder temps tomorrow!

We’re into our second year here on the farm. Ian’s had some interesting things happen with clients, he’s added a stockbrokerage firm to the mix and is helping them to build an on-line system to train brokers. I’m getting ready to launch Newsletter Lady, which I’ve created to meet the needs of small or medium-sized businesses that have little or no staff to design newsletters and websites.

Recently, the fourth anniversary of the start of the current Iraq war passed. We remember watching the initial salvos from an apartment in Fort Collins, Colorado. At the time we were away from home in Spain for six-weeks worth of HP meetings. I remember how all of the various network expert commentators consumed our television-watching hours. When the U.S. attacked Iraq under the first President Bush, my sons and I stood with many others looking at a wall of televisions in a local Target store. That U.S. and European-armed forces are still there and are even more mired is frustrating. One interview I read while we were in Colorado was entitled, “Iraq: the 51st State.” Its author contended that if we attacked Iraq and overthrew Hussein, we would be so involved in that country for so long that it would feel (and cost) as if it were added to the union.

The local horse show season begins for us at the end of the month with a show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Ian will be showing more this year than I will. In fact, on Sunday, Trouble and Kiss came home from the training center. They are going to just be horses for a while. They will run in the pasture, see blue sky, eat grass, and socialize with others finding their place in the herd’s pecking order. Kiss is for sale and there are interested buyers in the UK and Canada’s British Columbia.

This show season Ian will be showing our most recent horse purchase, a five-year-old purebred Arabian breeding stallion named Legacy’s Renoir. Renoir lives at the Genesis Training Center where Kiss and Trouble were for a good portion of last year. He is a handsome chestnut with flaxen mane and tail. Renoir will also begin breeding mares this year, albeit via artificial insemination. His foals will begin arriving in April next year. Both Ian and our trainer Tony will show Renoir in halter classes. Renoir is not broke to ride, but we hope to show him under saddle next season.

We are expecting two foals to be born here on the farm early next month. Windy is carrying a purebred Arabian and Missy a purebred Thoroughbred. Ian and I have never “foaled out” any mares, but both are seasoned broodmares and should not have any complications.

In May and June we will be breeding as many as eight mares for babies in April and May 2008. Some will be bred to Renoir; others will be bred to stallions whose breeding we bought via different programs to promote the Arabian breed. Windy will be bred to a pinto American Saddlebred named Famous Echo SCA and we’ll see if we can get another fabulous foal like Kiss.

Meanwhile we await the warmer weather so we can continue to work on various projects inside and out.