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Monday, 18 October 2010

The Latest Arrival!!!

Jessica finally calved just a couple of hours ago. I've been very worried about her ever since I was certain that she was in calf as I didn't really intend to breed from her again, She hasn't had a calf for several years and was supposed to be retired but I didn't have anywhere away from the bull to keep her so I just hoped that she was too old to conceive.

When I realised that she was in calf I was very worried about whether she was still up to doing a calf well, whether carrying it would be too much for her and whether it would even survive, or be really malnourished when it was born.

Well, I needn't have worried!! The calf is huge and beautiful, and looks as strong as an ox (no pun intended!) and was up and suckling in no time flat! Jessica is a very proud mum and looks pleased as punch about the whole thing.

And the best part of all is that the calf is a heifer (female), so hopefully I can keep both calves to breed from in future.

She's never been the world's best milker so I'll try and get both the calves on creep feed (supplementary concentrates - ie calf mix!) as soon as possible. I also want to make sure they grow up quiet and easy to handle, so I've got a busy winter ahead!

Here she is, about two hours old. You might just be able to see that Jessica only has one eye due to being very ill when she was a calf, which was why I had to hand rear her and has meant she's so tame she's just a big pet really!!

Clover thinking "At last, someone to play with"!

Sunday, 17 October 2010

About Love.

Winston Churchill said "If you're going through hell, keep going" which seems like very good advice!

I read somewhere, about bereavement, that "Pain doesn't equal love, only love equals love" which I find comforting and reassuring that I'm on the right track - trying not to feel guilty for being keen and eager to move on with my life.

I also read that all the messages sent by the trapped and doomed people who knew they were going to die as the World Trade Center collapsed, were all messages of love and thanks to their loved ones - not one message was about money or possessions or any of the other trivia that we clutter our lives and thoughts with.

Having people to love - that's the secret of happiness as far as I'm concerned. And having an open and trusting heart.

My relationship with David wasn't always perfect (whose is?) and sometimes he drove me mad (and I him!) but, whenever I went out for the day I couldn't wait to get back to him. It was always his company I sort out above all others and I always told him everything and never had any secrets from him.

It sometimes seemed a bit one sided though. He was very 'old school' and couldn't talk about his feelings very easily. He never did like my writing style, saying it was "Too emotional". I knew how much I needed him but was never sure he really needed me and sometimes felt more of a burden than an asset to him.

All of that changed in hospital. In that last week in high dependency and then in intensive care I was the only person who could explain things to him in ways he could understand, and keep him cheerful and hopeful. The nurses kept telling me he was calm and reassured only when I was there with him, which was constantly in the last few days. I was his only source of comfort and normality and sense of home.

One of the last things I remember him saying is that he "wouldn't have lasted five minutes without me" and those words have been such a comfort to me since.

We were unbelievably close when he died. He became quite childlike as death grew closer and, losing him, it felt as though I was losing not only the person who was always meant to be my partner through life but also the child I never had.

But I refuse to let any of the memories become a monument to pain. "Pain isn't love, only love is love", and that's the only part of all of this I want to remain.

And, at the risk of sounding concieted, I think I'm doing a pretty good job of it, on the whole!!! Plus my juvenile sense fun and eternal longing to find plenty to laugh about has grown rather than diminished!

And that's almost exclusively due to all the love, patience, concern and compassion I've been shown by everyone ever since.

David when I first met him, looking a little smarter than usual!!!:

Taken about fifteen years ago.

And about two years ago. Not a great photo but the only recent one I have:

And this, because he'd have loved it!

This post is a final goodbye, as much as you ever really do say goodbye, and I feel much better for having written it.

I also feel much better for having started doing my accounts and seeing in black and white that I do have a viable and sustainable business going here, all of my own!

Time to move forward with purpose and resolve!!!!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010


I've finally got around to backing Merlin, the 6 year old ex stallion Fell Pony. He's been absolutely brilliant and hasn't worried about it at all. I sat on him bareback and got off and on half a dozen times, clicking and treating him for standing still, on Sunday, then yesterday I put a saddle on him (he has worn a saddle and been led around in it a couple of times before, plus worn a roller in his stable a few times) and did the same.

I even dismount normally now (instead of very carefully as dismounting is what often unnerves them to begin with) and he stands like a rock! He is almost unrecognisable from the scared and spooky pony that he was when he arrived here just over six months ago.

I want to work towards doing something for cancer research with my ponies. I don't know what yet but it has to be something I can work on getting myself and them fit and ready for - something that will be hard work for me and give me a real sense of pride and achievement to complete. I read on the blog of some cyclists that some people choose to turn over in bed and go back to sleep but they choose to get up cycle to train for cancer research. I want that to be me but I think it should include my ponies somehow too but without over stretching them too much as this is my crusade really, not theirs!

Any ideas would be very gratefully received!!!

Here is Merlin yesterday:

Merlin gets very excited at the thought of being ridden!!!

What he has to put up with - geese underfoot and a goat hogging the camera!! Nothing like making sure everything's quiet with no distractions when working with a youngster!!!

Proof that he's backed!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Getting Back to Horses!!!

I've decided that I'm trying much too hard and investing too much time and energy into trying to find another partner through life.

I had a date a few weeks ago, exactly the same age as me and in the midst of a mid-life crisis. I tried to help him but after the umpteenth earnest discussion about the meaning of life I told him as kindly as I could that I couldn't help him with his mid-life crisis as I'm only just emerging from my own!!!

I had another first date today who I've spent quite a few hours on the phone to and he sounded ideal. He told me he was laid back and cheerful with a "wicked sense of humour." Today, before we even left the premises, he'd told me about the time he put a man in hospital for 2 weeks, and he told me about a second man he'd done the same to before our afternoon together was over!

Now call me old fashioned if you like but I don't believe violence is the way to solve anything. He also seemed to have a fairly low opinion of women on the whole and the alarm bells in my head were deafening!!! I spent most of the afternoon thinking that I could be doing something useful back here instead and the distance I kept between us kept getting greater the more time I spent with him!

He wants to see me again but there's no point as far as I can see. He told me that it was great that, after all I've been through lately, I'm still laughing all the time. It sprang into my mind that if I spent too much time with him that might change rather fast!!!

He did have a very nice dog though!!!

When I returned one of my friends was here with her mother who lost her husband at about the same age as I am now, after 32 years of marriage. I asked her, after so many years of feeling comfortable together, whether she had decided that trying to find someone else was just too much hassle.

She said that she had had other relationships but the trouble was that she and her husband had spent so much time laughing together and she couldn't find the same with anyone else.

I have a horrible feeling that I will be saying the same when I get to her age in 20 years time. David and I were always laughing about something and had so many private jokes going all the time.

It was a useful experience really as I'm starting to realise that another man would give me a whole new set of problems and demands on my time, so I'd have to be pretty certain he was worth the effort!!!

We went to a game and country show and it occurred to me, not for the first time, that Bella doing a liberty display would be one of the most engaging things there!

I have my pony, trained and ready, and my slogan "Dales Dare To Be Different" I'd be much better concentrating on working towards achieving my goals in that area.

A friend told me that a relationship with a man should be "the icing on the cake but not THE cake." I believe that's the right way for me to look at it and I haven't found the right icing yet by a long way!!!


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I am a clicker training addict and there is no cure - thank goodness!!!