Calm, Forward, Straight

Calm, Forward, Straight

Sunday, December 25, 2016

On the twelfth day of Christmas...

♫♪♬ On the twelfth day of Christmas... ♫♪♬


Saturday, December 24, 2016

On the eleventh day of Christmas...

♫♪♬ On the eleventh day of Christmas... ♫♪♬


Friday, December 23, 2016

On the tenth day of Christmas...

♫♪♬ On the tenth day of Christmas... ♫♪♬

Thursday, December 22, 2016

On the ninth day of Christmas...

♫♪♬ On the ninth day of Christmas... ♫♪♬


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

On the eighth day of Christmas...

♫♪♬ On the eighth day of Christmas... ♫♪♬


On the seventh day of Chrisrmas...

♫♪♬ On the seventh day of Christmas... ♫♪♬


Monday, December 19, 2016

On the sixth day of Christmas...

♫♪♬ On the sixth day of Christmas... ♫♪♬


Sunday, December 18, 2016

Saturday, December 17, 2016

On the fourth day of Christmas + Garden State

2016 brought promising progress in the garden department of Edgewood Farm.

A whole new wing with three more raised beds was added + a drip irrigation system. Val contributed the soil as per usual.

We had 21 inches of rain in one thirty day period at the start of the summer. That totally justified raising all the beds (but not the new irrigation lol).

There was a healthy first try harvest of fall planted garlic.

All the winter crops do well in our climate. This basket is full of Tuscan kale and beet goodness.

Tried to grow squash, with moderate success - it is notoriously hard to grow in our high humidity. I test drove row covers for the new crops. If the humidity doesn't get the squash, the dreaded vine borers will. Timing is everything, but at least now I can identify the moth. Hoping for better luck next year.

My hen Margie (named after a great aunt) became my bug hunting buddy. She would race to the garden gate when I called her, and follow me around as I picked pests off the plants. Her favorites were the tomato horn worms.

Not all bugs are bad...

Happy harvest :D


  ♫♪♬ On the fourth day of Christmas... ♫♪♬


Friday, December 16, 2016

On the third day of Christmas...

♫♪♬ On the first third of Christmas... ♫♪♬

Words don't do them justice...
Enjoy :D 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

On the second day of Christmas...

♫♪♬ On the second day of Christmas... ♫♪♬

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

On the first day of Christmas + Cluck Yeah!

2016 brought a good deal of chicken drama.

The girls have generated enough in egg sales to help save a decent down payment towards a new truck. I did some calculating, and looking ahead, figured out the optimal number of eggs needed for weekly delivery to the local restaurant I supply.

extra large

Over the winter I ordered additional chicks. This year's crop arrived in April. I raised them up to pullet size, and moved them outside - from the brooder next door to the big girls. The very first night they were slaughtered - I mean bits and pieces strewn about - by a junior raccoon. Bad, bad junior raccoon was trapped and relocated immediately, because he would never stop coming back to the coop.

Yep - relocate all coons
 (a sibling of the slaughterer)

Started over with another batch in July. They made it safely to adulthood, but unfortunately I was blessed with not one, but two roosters. *sigh* Roosters can be a pain in the ass, and I would have no problem dispatching one if he ever came at me aggressively. Thank goodness, these two were reasonable as well as handsome. All was not well however. After a few tense days of chest bumping, feather pulling and comb-biting, our first man-chicken was beheaded overnight by #1 hen Beulah Montelle, who apparently couldn't tolerate competition.

later dude...

Beulah Montelle leads the charge

Rooster #2 exhibits better coping skills, and has safely slid into the leadership role. He has a rather unique crow, earning him the name Tarzan. He does a good job of protecting the hens, already having alerted me with a predator call, in time for me to run off a Cooper's Hawk.


Thankfully everyone made it through the hurricane. They have finally started laying again, and there is peace in the barnyard.


Hoping these 12 days of holiday posts can help to balance out what has been a very overwhelming year, personally and globally.  

     ♫♪♬ On the first day of Christmas... ♫♪♬


Sunday, December 11, 2016

Location Location Location: ASSFS Blog Hop

Well - we've been out of commission so long, most of our readers have probably forgotten all about us. I've been struggling for a while with how to make the transition back to posting. A Soft Spot for Stars blog hop seems like a handy way to "get back on the horse" so to speak. Thanks so much to those of you who checked in.

Always hogs the frame

Equestrian life is challenging here on the Outer Banks. Land is hard to come by, we're very remote, and the climate can be harsh, so overall even basic horse-keeping is an expensive endeavor.

• Hay / Feed

The nearest decent hay source is a 7 hour round trip to SE VA. Nice square bales of second cutting orchard grass are $10 - $12 each, usually weighing around 50 lbs. Val consumes 150 bales a year. I can store 100 bales if I cram the two hay barns to the rafters. Best to do this by December to have all the same crop. (to do otherwise invariably leads to frustrating hay strikes when switching to the new flavor) That will usually last until hay is harvested again in the summer.

To find the true cost, I have to figure in fuel and travel time. This adds another $200 to the truckload - usually fifty bales, making the per bale cost more like $16. (multiplied by three or four trips a year)

Luckily, the local Ace Hardware carries Southern States, so feed is just a twenty mile drive. They are great about special ordering, and give rewards on all purchases. TC senior is $25 a bag, beet pulp $20, and my ration balancer $35.

[A slight digression: This fall I had stocked all the winter hay by October and was super psyched about my stockpile. Then there were two hurricanes in one month. The second storm (Matthew) brought the worst flooding in at least a hundred years. My property has never flooded before, and I had three feet of salt water covering the entire farmette. Both of the hay barns and the tack room flooded.

Less than 24 hours after the flood waters receded, the wet hay was almost too hot to touch, and had to be un-stacked to avoid the barns spontaneously combusting, sorted to salvage what I could, and disposed of - about half of the hay. I didn't even document this part because I was in shock and then utterly demoralized. I lost all the animal feed, many tools and machines, the entire garden, and my tack room was an utter disaster area.

Biggest bummer: the bottle of hoof dressing tipped over in the tack room. While floating around it covered everything touched by the water in sticky black oil. (which was everything)

SO very lucky: I had taken all my tack out to clean and it was stored in the one building that didn't get water.

Still unclear on the state of the Brenderup... haven't been able to face that situation yet, beyond obsessively rinsing and spraying anti-corrosive on all parts that got under salt water. *heavy sigh*]


Starting to recede finally. Val was unimpressed...

• Boarding

There is only one barn that boards, and they advertise full board at $450, "scheduled feedings twice daily along with free range of hay and turnout, stall cleaning twice daily, bedding, parking for your trailer on the premises." Turnout is in the riding ring, which doesn't meet my safety standards due to fencing issues and debris. There is no pasture or grazing here.

• Property

Real estate here is expensive. My nearly three acres was initially $250k, which I eventually got for $110k. This was basically raw land. Still saving towards house building...

Last week. It took months of work to get back to this.

• Lessons / Equestrian Scene

The nearest quality dressage instruction is 3.5 hours away in SE VA. When my trainer was still teaching, lessons were $50 for an hour. She generously let me come up for a weekend to get two or three lessons at a time, and I traded barn work occasionally. It was an ideal situation for me. I was lessoning regularly, progressing as a rider. I miss her terribly. Sadly, I haven't had a lesson in years, with none on the horizon unless something can be worked out with remote technology.

Most of the local riders are trail riders - a pretty spectacular proposition with 70 miles of beach to explore. There are thriving dressage and eventing scenes mid-state - a round trip of 10+ hours. The nearest showing (I've flat out given up on this possibility) is also either SE VA or mid state. I'm contemplating Working Equitation at the moment, and with a more well suited horse in the future I'd like to try endurance.

Nearest tack stores are also SE VA, and are expensive. With all the online options this isn't an issue.

I pay $40 for a trim. Not sure what shoes cost as we've been barefoot for about six years. For the last several cycles my farrier has just done a few corrections. I am taking over the trimming responsibilities. I've done this out of necessity because our farrier situation is always tenuous. He travels over 3 hours to get here and generally has to stay overnight to get all the horses without rushing. I don't think he makes much on his trips here.  I arrange the schedule for him and make sure all the horse owners "show up".

I'm searching for a natural balance dentist at the moment. My former dentist doesn't want to come this far out of her way - she was traveling from MD. With her, Val had his teeth done standing in his run in, un-sedated and at liberty. The nearest dental practices in Va are vet connected, and will probably insist on sedation. I'm leery of trailering that far and having to withhold hay on the return ride because of sedation. If anyone in SE VA or eastern NC reading this has a dentist recommendation please share. :D

The nearest equine vet is also 3.5 hours away in VA. They do not come to the island. I give all the vaccinations (excepting rabies) myself, and the small animal vet kindly pulls a coggins and gives Val a once over at the same time. He actually removed a melanoma from Val's anus (tmi) over the summer, saving me time and money. I assisted for the surgery - it was pretty cool actually. Val is a super cheap drunk - he had half-rations of anesthesia and proceeded to cut major zzzzs while the cross ties barely held his big 'ol head off the ground.  

• Climate

Summers are hot and humid - generally in the mid 80's with 80% - 90% humidity being the norm. This is hard on Val and me. (landscaper) Thank goodness a jump in the ocean is never far away.

Fall and winter can often be very mild and comfortable, with less humidity and mosquitoes. This is the best time for riding, with average temps of 40's to 50's and the occasional nighttime dip into the 30's. A hard winter here would be several weeks of sub-freezing temps. It rarely snows, but is almost always windy, so big wind chills are common. Spring can be beautiful, but it is often stormy and unsettled.

Basically - life on this island swings between insanely beautiful and ruggedly inconvenient. It's not for the faint of heart, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Monday, January 11, 2016

❊Sound and Vision❊

now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare...

"I do not believe it is a wild exaggeration to say that there are on this earth today, many people, who would not be here without David Bowie - either because their parents procreated to his music, or because (and this is perhaps the more important group) he gave them a reason to stay alive when perhaps they did not want to. He was the patron saint of freaks, fags, dykes, queers, weirdos of all stripes - and that most dangerous creature of all - the artist. He was the crown prince(ss) of the unusual. He was marvelously, spectacularly weird, and he gave so many oddballs hope." (cannot find attribution)

Friday, January 8, 2016


Friday, January 1, 2016

Welcome 2016!!

This post will have to count for days of Christmas 9-12, since I have regretfully been out of commission while recovering from some unhealthy bacteria encountered via oysters + unseasonably warm water. Blaming it on el nino. Consider my weight loss goals jump-started. Enough said on that subject.

Thanks to my AWESOME SECRET SANTA Erin and her pony Tucker from The Story So Far Equestrian, the festive Christmas posts are now covered, and then some. I came home Wednesday from the post office very excited to open a stout package postmarked from Toronto.

On top was this precious card -

followed by a selection of lovely, thoughtful gifts wrapped in sparkly paper. I know I didn't give Erin much to go on (because - surprises), yet she chose things we both want and need.

For Val there was a Likit candy bar, some groovy new (to us) peppermint treats, and a bar of delicious smelling organic whitening soap, which I'm planning to test out on his (could be a lot brighter) tail until we hit bath season again.

For me, two pairs of plush cozy socks, a set of hand warmers, and a darling grey winged pony ornament which may take up residence hanging from my rear view mirror year round. Last but not least - I would never have bought this for myself - a gorgeous bridle charm.

Best of all is a new blogger and her horse to enjoy getting to know. Thank you so much Erin! (And P.S. Tracy from Fly On Over Secret Santa Master of Ceremonies - you rock lady!)

Wishing a happy, healthy New Year to you all!!
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