‘A change is as good as a rest!’ Well, there certainly hasn’t been any of the latter since returning from the competition, though I am having a week off training which does feel like a let-up, while Talisman has 10 days as a field ornament before coming back into work to prepare for his third and final 2* of the season. It’s fairly tight as it’s just two months this time, so he’s back on the walker each morning and into his weight-watching routine of a few hours in the turnout arena, half a day in a coral and ad-lib grazing overnight. He has recovered well, is relaxed and looking great.
After unpacking, washing and cleaning for a couple of days, I was braced for a mowing frenzy as the grass had grown relentlessly while I was away. However, the topper gave up after a feeble effort and I struggled to finish just one field that was necessary to move the horses, let alone 10 acres. The wretched machine has let me down every year at the height of the growing season which is beyond exasperating. I have ordered a new part which will hopefully be fitted tomorrow. On the flip side, there are a few areas of ground that I have decided to leave and do just once or twice a year, like the bank the turnout arena sits on and it’s been a joy to watch it continually change, offering a mecca to butterflies, bees and cats who like to play ‘hide and seek’!
Lots of jobs have been done outside in the beautiful weather, including one today which had been on the list since I moved in two and a half years ago and involved ‘intrepid warrior queen’ Clare (occasional groom, gardener and strimmer) and me, armed with a hoover and two ladders, extracting several centuries of cobwebs from the vaulted stables. Yes, a woman’s work is never done! I had had the bright idea of using a leaf blower to blow the huge stables instead of sweeping up with a broom after mucking out. However, a massive amount of dust has attached to the cobwebs, so it wasn’t such a good idea after all.
Being the taller than me, Clare got to wield the hoover pipe at the top of a very large ladder while I stood on a smaller ladder, holding the hoover as high as possible for her. It was a very dirty job done in the heat of the day but a successful conclusion was reached and this particular ‘horse hotel’ has regained its 5 star status. I wish my house was so clean! After a quick coffee and cake (naturally!) we headed off to the local nursery to buy shrubs for the garden, which is yet another project. As a result of cutting down many trees and unattractive bushes, there are now huge gaps to fill. The new acquisitions are watered and awaiting planting.
Having taken every precaution to keep birds out of the buildings this year during the nesting season (there are plenty of adjoining barns for them to occupy), I spotted some droppings outside the wood shed. On closer examination, I found that the one tiny crack in the door which I had failed to fill was all a resourceful pair of House Martins needed to get in and nest. Three cute babies peered down at me but they will be relocated next year!
Another job I started months ago and had to leave, was painting a large wheel discovered in an outbuilding which will eventually adorn the yard. Work resumed this week and I have gone for a multi-coloured approach to offset the traditional look of the place. My work is closely supervised by the cats!
Winding up Horse Hero has involved a lot of administration in the last week which led to clearing out a load of archived paperwork yesterday. Once on a roll, I applied the enthusiasm to my own personal paperwork and had one almighty (and, I have to say, therapeutic) bonfire. I am travelling lighter now!
I have just been outside to check the horses and, once again, am in awe of the ever-changing canvas which surrounds me. Tonight, a full moon glowed orange over a distant hill, under the backdrop of a mottled sky, as the weather cools and rain clouds gather. It’s still light at 10pm, so I am not being treated to full sunsets at the moment, though they are usually spectacular here. But I am increasingly aware that there is nothing more beautiful or wondrous than nature and since I began my ‘re-wilding’ experience, I have felt a connection with her that I had not expected. It shouldn’t be that surprising as, biologically, our DNA comes from the elements which sparked in that perfect moment millions of years ago to give birth to life on our planet, so the expression ‘mother earth’ (heard much and thought of seldom) couldn’t be more true!
Pics: Gutted when the topper packed in; a wild looking bank; spoils from a trip to the nursery; babies; intrepid warrior queen Clare; multi-coloured wheel; approving cats; Talisman in his fly gear; magical sunsets