Sunday, February 27, 2011

Just horsing around

This weekend we went to a schooling show.  That means it was a small show run fairly casual, kind of a practice run for what is yet to come this summer.  A year ago I brought Glenn to Fieldstone Farm to learn a bit more about riding.  I have always enjoyed horses in my back yard, trail riding and buggying with my kids is a great pass time.  We have even taken our horse and buggy all the way across our state twice.  That is a history lesson like no other.

I know that it seems like a waste of time, and too expensive.  "I can afford it and still pay my bills" has always been my defense to my hobby.  Now I have discovered an entirely new defense.

Last year Glenn was afraid to trot on a horse.  Last summer he learned to canter over jumps 18 inches high.  He did so well (better than me) that he won his way out of my division.  This year he is jumping 2 foot jumps.  Glenn is a bit of a runt, and because of his fused back he really can't run correctly.  We have found a sport that takes patients, a steady mind, and dedication to win, not speed, strength, or height.  A sport he can compete at without a disadvantage.

Then there is Sadie who struggles with pretty severe autism.  She was bad tempered, easily frustrated, and struggled to communicate.  A year of consistent riding, every week, not just when I have time and the weather is good, and she has blossomed.  Sadie can still have her tempered moments, but they are so much milder and growing farther apart all the time.  But more than anything, she can speak in full sentences, she can actually carry on a conversation!  Unless you know someone who can't communicate, you can not imagine how frustrating it is for that person as well as the people around them.

I am so grateful to God for leading us in yet another most unlikely direction.  And, yes it was most unlikely, because I had the mind set that people who show horses mistreat them.  I thought that for good reason, I know some who do.  So here we are, in a show barn with a great riding coach, Laura Steenrod of Fieldstone Farm. My kids are learning great life skills: patients, responsibility, and good sportsmanship, just to name a couple.  Obviously there are many other benefits as Sadie is demonstrating.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quality Milk Award

Yesterday was the anual award meeting for our milk co-op, NFO.  Lots of talk about the crazy grain prices, the hopes for milk prices, and what the government might do to put quotas on dairy farms.  That's the way they do it in Europe and Canada.

But the end of the meeting was for handing out awards.  I was quick to point out that we were not due for one.  I ride the guys pretty hard about all the improvements that I'd like to see.  Then, to my suprise and delight, we heard our name called for an award.  We recieved a plack in honor of our high quality milk.

Our average somatic cell count for the year 2010 was less than 220,000.  That really makes me happy, considering we only had the farm for 7 months.  Our employees have been a great help in reaching new levels of quality on the farm.