Archive for April, 2013

Driving From the Left Hand

amywink April 20th, 2013

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I have returned to driving lessons in an attempt to get myself unstuck from the mire I’ve been in for several weeks. Last Saturday, I had my first lesson with Francine since December and it went spectacularly well. To improve my whip-handling, I am learning to drive from the left hand, while using the whip in my right hand as the horse bends in the corners. It is a very exciting step in my driving and is adding a great deal of finesse to the “steering”. Last Saturday was my first try at it and this Saturday we worked on it again. I felt a great improvement in my corner steering and in the straight lines. The subtlety of movement in my wrist and fingers–mostly my wrist rotating from flat to upright, like the turning of a key– makes a much more finely tuned directional movement of the horse and it’s a complete “Wow” moment. I know that Blessing is going to love it.

In addition to the new stage in my driving training, I have been really enjoying driving the new carriage Francine has. It’s a De Lemerij made by Dominiak and during the last two weeks (since I saw the carriage in early April), I’ve distracted myself with carriage research–and it was very very helpful this last week. This carriage (pictured above) is the Karo and it drives very smoothly and has the kind of floor that Lily would completely love–she did hop up happily up and spread out “frog-legged” comfy when we tried it unhooked a few weeks ago. I liked the ride and how it looks hooked as well! Here it is hooked to a friend’s Welsh Cob mare who is about the same size as my horses.

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So now I am dreaming of my own and thinking how I’ll save and save for the purchase.

It rained this week and I caught these drops on the Hello, Darkness iris.

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And Thursday was Lily’s first birthday. We celebrated with a lovely cookie from Groovy Dog Bakery.

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Happy Birthday, Lily.

Plant Something, Grow Something

amywink April 17th, 2013

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Last year, I placed a daring and expensive order with White Flower Farm for 3 different varieties of “black” Bearded Irises in an effort to memorialize my black cat Fox and my black dog, Lady, in the garden. It was a risky move because they were not rated for this zone, Zone 8/9. And yet, I have plenty of bearded Irises in the yard and had no reason I could understand that the black ones should be any different. I took the risk, ignored the invalidated warranty, and ordered 6 iris tubers: 2 “Hello, Darkness”, 2 “Before the Storm”, and 2 “Study in Black.” I planted them in the fall and caged them because Lily proved that she was Not A Gardening Dog as I planted them and I didn’t want them to go racing around the yard in her mouth. I watched the leaves come up and grow all winter and this month, the buds appeared on “Hello, Darkness”–buds that were indeed a very inky black!!

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Now the plants are in full bloom and the gorgeous darkest purple bloom is gracing the garden, along with the Victoria Falls bearded irises I planted to remember my blue-eyed cat, Victoria.

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Also in bloom this time of year, the antique Maggie rose, in honor of my wirehaired Dachshund Maggie:
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The Kronprincess Viktoria rose for Victoria (a well remembered cat)dsc_1335.JPG

The Blithe Spirit rose, for my last dog Tristan: dsc_1265.JPG

And the St. Joseph’s Lilies (or amaryllis) transplanted from my grandfather’s garden.
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All reminders, even in the face of grief, to plant something, to grow something and to remember beauty.