Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Spring comes to Wildwood Road

It has been a busy few months, which is my only excuse for not posting! We really love this new farm. Because we moved here in November, these warmer months with all the blooming stuff is all new to us. I don’t even know what’s planted in the numerous gardens. That said, things are beginning to come up. As a novice gardener I suspect we have a few day lilies, some peonies, some very thorny rose bushes and several different types of hostas. The miniature lilac bushes and raspberry plants that we transplanted from Stanchfield are in leaf, so they made it through the winter. The lawn is vast and much of it is either dandelions or creeping Charlie. We will try and wrestle it back to grass that we can enjoy in bare feet. Ian needs to tune up the riding lawnmower, which runs for a bit before spitting to a stop. Poor thing, we really have used it for jobs well beyond what the manufacturer intended.

Ian continues working as a consultant with a rural crop insurance company as a client. They are nice people and the projects are very interesting. Ian and trainer Erik both showed our stallion Legacy’s Renoir at the Sahara Sands Spring Classic on Sunday morning, May 2, at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Renoir took a first place with Ian and a third place in the open class with Erik. Ian also showed a 2-year old purebred filly for a friend in Wisconsin. The filly did well too. Our next show stop is in June 10-13 at the AHA Region 10 Championship Show also held at the fairgrounds.

The horses here on the farm all wintered very well. We have no foals coming this year, but we are going to breed mares this year for foals in 2011. In fact, we are going to breed a purebred American Saddlebred foal by crossing Amber's Mayday with Famous Echo SCA for a Saddlebred pinto foal in April 2011. We will breed Legacy’s Renoir to four of our own mares this year; three purebred and one Anglo-Arabian (crossed with our Thoroughbred mare Yukon Miss). We will breed Arabian mare MAF Last Dance ("Mona") to American Saddlebred palomino stallion Goldmount Royal Design (we own him now, but “Roy” stands at stud near Sioux Falls, South Dakota) hoping for another full-bodied, great moving, palomino Half Arabian foal. We are breeding a new Arabian mare, Adieu NR, to Conway Arabians’ champion stallion Noble Way to get a well-bred high stepping purebred.

We still have the three dogs – Lady, Buddy and Tucker – plus the cats Tiger, Tonic and Zeus. There is another cat that shares food with Tonic in the barn, but she’s timid and I’m trying to tame her so I can get her vaccinated and spade. Even though all of our boys are neutered she would no doubt find a roaming Tomcat and then have the kittens here. Uff! We have two chickens, Trixie and her son Rooster. I will order chicks from a hatchery soon. Chickens are marvelous at keeping the ticks down and there is nothing quite like collecting my own farm fresh eggs.

We still have four adult Pilgrim geese (3 white ganders and 1 grey goose) The goose decided out of all our many acres the best place to nest was in the garden on the south side of the house. She sat on 13 eggs for the longest time and hatched 5 female geese. However, this goose is not the best mother, as she lost the three she hatched last year. I left the five hatchlings with her until Ian and I found them huddled sans mother next to our front door. We had been running errands all that day and were too tired to do a proper gosling set up so they spent the night in our bathtub. I did let Ian shower first! LOL The next day Ian brought an empty 100-gallon stock tank into the garage where we lined the bottom with newspaper and wood shavings. I clamped a heat lamp to the side, put in a waterer and a small pile of goose feed and, voila, gosling heaven! It is topped with chicken fencing to prevent them becoming cat snacks! They are happy and growing. As soon as they have some feathers I will transfer them to the chicken coop with its fenced area. I pick them up and cuddle these soft yellow sweeties with the idea they will be friendlier to humans. The adults do protest hiss, but do not run after people and are easy to shoo out of one’s way.

My 85-year-old mother has been at the Minnesota Vet’s Home since the end of February. She has recovered nicely from her mid-February stroke. She really enjoys her life there and the care is very good. We talk almost daily and I try to make the 90-minute drive into Minneapolis about once every 10 days. Mom and I usually enjoy lunch together in the dining room and I check in for brief face-to-face hellos with her care-giving staff. Mom has been asked to participate in the Memorial Day ceremonies at the Vet’s Home, representing women in the armed forces.

Last weekend, Ian traveled to the Canadian Maritimes to attend his daughter’s graduation ceremony from culinary school. Due to being bumped from an overbooked flight, Ian flew to Halifax, Nova Scotia and drove to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island to spend Saturday with Alexandra. She will come to Minnesota from her new digs in Montreal for a much needed vacation in late May. I look forward to seeing her.

Last month we bought a two-horse, slant-load, bumper-pull trailer from friends in Pine City. This allows us such flexibility! We have missed having a trailer. This one is small enough that we can easily pull it with our F-150. This Friday we are taking Mona to South Dakota to be bred to Roy. We will be gone overnight (woo-hoo a night in a hotel with Ian) and will get to visit with some of our horse-loving friends whose paths we usually cross during February at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show in Arizona. We are looking forward to this. After Mona’s confirmed in foal we will go back to collect her. Roy will stay put through the 2010 breeding season. Mayday will soon be ready to bring home from Eau Claire, Wisconsin too.

That’s the latest from the Auld Macdonald Farm.