History and Hooves

What a week on the farm!

So, really quickly, Sunday night we had a crazy windstorm and let me tell you, no one on the farm slept that night. The horses were cranky, the dogs were cranky, the humans were definitely cranky. So, that set up the tone of the week, despite best efforts, we were all tired and frustrated this week. This is also my excuse for the rambling, incoherent post that you are about to read.
I had a decent amount of Easter prep to do this week, as we are holding a socially distanced Easter celebration at the farm so that we can still participate in my family’s favorite holiday. I have about two hundred eggs that I filled with chocolate, and deviled eggs and ham in progress, plus a couple desserts, at the final writing of this post. Everyone also brings their favorite dish, and we picnic in the back garden. The kiddos hunt eggs, and the adults sneak the extra candy, and it’s a ton of fun.

The restocked outside toy box, not to be confused with the inside toy box, all ready for Easter. No, I don’t have kiddos, I just have wee ones in my extended family

The next super cool thing that happened this week requires some context. Since moving to this little plot of land, on a semi-regular basis we have had people stop by the farm, or notice the address on my license, and mention that they used to stay on my property, or lived on my property, or worked there. It was crazy, and a little worrying, when one man came by and asked if he could bury his grandmother in my horse pasture because she grew up there. We said no… for obvious reasons.
But, with that context, somewhere around a couple weeks ago a little old couple came by, the little grandmother said her family homesteaded the property and she was hoping to walk around and reminisce. She walked around for a while telling stories and sharing facts, it was really interesting. She almost cried when we let her take home one of the foundation stones from the original 1906 stone home that no longer exists on the property (We found out about it when the garden wall initially fell over, and my neighbor let me know that wall was built out of the old home). She promised she would send us some history when she got home.

The original house that sat on my property. Each stone was about 2’x2’x1′

Tuesday evening, she delivered. We learned so much about my tiny slice of the valley and that it has quite the storied history. Originally homesteaded by a woman named Christina in 1888, it became the property of her husband shortly thereafter because she was both a woman and an immigrant, and thus could not hold land. But how cool that she originally decided to take the matters into her own hands as a single woman in the late 1800s? After they settled into the stone home that originally sat on the property, it became quite the hub of activity. They raised race horses and hosted races, weddings, funerals, picnics, and all sorts of clubs in the parlors of the house, and never turned away anyone needing a place to stay for the night. Hence just about everyone having some connection to the land. In 1945 their grandchildren built the house I live in how (admittedly, it was a little smaller, the previous owners added on in the 90s).
So, best we can figure, based on the articles and our new friend’s stories, the garage is mostly original, new siding and roof, but the timber is the same. The pastures were set up a little differently back then, but what I have now turned into a riding ring, probably was also a riding ring back then. There was a lot more property, most likely in orchards, but that land was sold off around the 40s.
My favorite part of this tale is two-fold, one, when the original family sold this property, those who were still working actually went to work on my great-great-granddad’s place, so there’s a connection there. Two, it’s well within circumstantial evidence to conclude that my great-great-grandparents attended parties and events on the land I now live on. I loved this little farm before, but now I feel so much more connected to it.
In other news, Ro had her first saddled ride back since autumn, due in part to a back injury, followed by a severe set of allergies, followed by a gross, wet winter. I rode her bareback lots, but we tried to keep things as low key as possible and just bailed on tacking up, ditching the headstall and saddle for bridleless rides. Coming back into work though, we wanted to get back to some serious work, and hopefully more trail riding, and a saddle is a necessary part of that training.

Fixing up some tack for our ride, photo courtesy of Christopher

I had pretty much assumed she was going to have a fit since it had been so long, but she was amazing. I don’t know why I always underestimate this mare, she’s a treasure.
Nellie was very brave several times this week, choosing to stay out in the pasture by herself during Work Time (she’s allowed to somewhat dictate if she wants to work because of her leg injury) and letting me hang dangly bits to her halter while we worked on her ground manners. Both of those things would have sent her into complete and utter meltdown this time last year. She was so proud of herself yesterday for walking along with her sister while we cooled out, that she’s a little impossible to deal with now. I also think it’s time I find her a new halter, as she’s gotten so healthy and grown into her size recently, that her halter is verging on too small.
We started the process of burning the winter weeds, and they’ve burned some of the canal banks now to clear the brush, which means we are officially in fire danger season but also officially in prep for planting which is always a fun and busy time of the year. The days are getting longer and longer and it’s so hard to be a responsible human and go to bed now. But I love how early the sun comes up. It’s been cloudy this week, so I haven’t gotten many sunset pictures, but stay tuned for that!
I hope your weekend is lovely,
Until we chat again, my friends!

BONUS! Was playing with the hyperlapse feature, so here’s me cleaning up after a ride, and desperately wishing I had a groom

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