In the meantime, the garden is going to town, despite our almost total lack of rain. We have had exactly two twenty minute thundershowers since the first of May. My well is struggling and the grass is getting crispy. As a result, I'm resorting to recycling water. When I twice daily refresh and clean Val's water bucket, instead of throwing out the old water - I transfer it to a big bucket placed in my wheelbarrow, wheel it up to the garden and small bucket it onto the plants. Can you imagine what life is like for women who must daily carry all the water for their household for many miles? Sometimes on their heads?! I believe that I didn't take water for granted before - but I know I don't now.
A milestone... I harvested my first tomato - a sweet little cherry(!) Bigger milestone - last Monday I sold my first produce to the local farmer's market. Nearly two pounds of organically grown basil. Grown with organic practices - I'm not interested in becoming officially organic. I feel that designation has been co-opted. No chemical pesticides, no chemical fertilizer. Hand weeding and removing pests by hand as well. There has already been an attack of some voracious tiny caterpillars. Total eradication isn't possible, but I've kept the numbers within what the plants can tolerate. As I scouted out and picked the little buggers, pictures of my tobacco farming grandmother came to me. As she patrolled her garden, she would dispatch (smear) caterpillars between her thumb and forefinger, quite handily. Especially those fat pale ones that hide in the mushy places on corn cobs... I remember how repulsive that was to me as a child. Now I see the practicality and economy of motion. But I still can't go there - I just leave them out in the hot sun to sizzle :)
I'm calling my mini farming venture Pie in the Sky Produce Co. This year is just exploratory, but next year the plan is to increase the amount and type of produce... hopefully contracting with a wonderful local restaurant as well as selling to the market.
The wind switched this afternoon bringing cooler temperatures, so Val and I had a very pleasant evening ride. My focus was to continue the work we had done at my trainer's - keeping my body relaxed and free while using light but persistent aids. Val is not at all interested in exerting himself in the deep sand of our arena at the moment, but I remained neutral in my seat and my emotions (so hard!) while insisting that my reasonable requests were answered, followed by lots of praise. I got him listening to me, moving off of my leg with some nice turns on the forehand. I was very pleased with our simple work.
Side note: My trainer had mentioned at my lessons that she was wearing plain cotton (not full seat) riding pants now and found her seat was much improved. Not the first time I've heard that sticky seat riding pants aren't necessarily helpful. So I rode in my plain cotton riding pants this evening and I concur. So much more mobility and freedom in my legs. And bonus - I don't need a shoehorn to pull them on when I'm sweaty and it's totally humid in my burning hot tack room - a serious struggle some days ;)
Any big plans for the longest day of the year?!