Sunday, May 15, 2016

Amish Girl / Horse Whisperer

Horse whisperer, is a title we give to people who have an amazing ability to communicate with horses. My friend, Annie, has this gift.

 Amish children grow up around horses and seem to understand how to work with them from an early age. Some just deal with it because that is part of the life they were born into... others thrive in the Amish world because they have a special bond with horses. Obviously, Annie is one of those.

I can still remember how excited Annie was, two years ago when this little filly was born, and she named her Angel. Yes, that's right, this horse is only a two year old! Angel has turned out to fit her name perfectly.
Annie tells me that Angel is just really smart. I have another theory, which I share throughout the Amish Horses Book Series: Horses thrive when they feel loved and understood by their handler.
In the photo below, Annie takes her first cart ride with Angel.
Angel is not only smart but she is growing up to be quite a beautiful horse.

I especially like this photo below. It was taken last summer when Angel was only a yearling. Annie wanted her young horse to be part of the fun, but Angel was too young to be ridden. They let her run along with the other horses while going over some jumps.

No wonder this horse is thriving!!!

Annie read my first book, Under the Heavens, and really enjoyed it. I used a photo of her going over a jump, with her older horse Copper, for a drawing that appears in my second book, Catbird Singing. The picture is at the beginning of a chapter named Dog and Pony; all about a young girl much like Annie. A horse whisperer.

There is a drawing of Annie and her boyfriend in Amish Horses Book III, English River.  I'm not gonna share that photo, yet. Book III will be out this summer and you can look for the picture yourself.
By the way, some of you will say, "I thought Amish don't want to be in photos." That is true with many Amish. Some Amish do have cameras and take their own pictures. I asked for permission to use these photos. My rule for myself is to not take any photo of an Amish person without asking permission, unless it does not show their face, or is from a distance. Most Amish don't mind photos taken of children who have not yet, "Joined Church."

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Organic Farm

Aunt Bethany holding Isaac. Big sisters Lyla and Kinley close by.

Just down the road from the home-place, our Mennonite neighbor has an organic farm. He puts a lot of effort into raising livestock in a healthy, natural way.

My 2nd daughter recently had her 4th child, a new baby boy. My 3rd daughter gave a helping hand by taking her nieces and nephew on a field trip to the organic farm. Aunt Bethany asked if I wanted to come along.
Grandpa and the new baby boy, Leo. (middle name, Thomas)

Our neighbor raises a type of sheep that shed their own wool. They are a meat type and don't need to be sheered like most sheep. He also raises cattle and chickens.
 Yes, there is a lama in with the sheep. Lamas are very aggressive and are often kept with sheep as a "watch dog." They will chase off coyotes and dogs that may otherwise chase or kill sheep.
 In the picture below you can see a portable chicken shed. If you look really close you can see free range chickens near their portable home.
 We had fun visiting our neighbor's organic farm and bought a few frozen chickens and a couple of steaks. My grandchildren said good-bye to the cattle and we headed to a nearby Amish farm to pick up more fresh farm products. My grandchildren enjoyed talking with the Amish children. However, out of respect for Amish beliefs, we didn't take any pictures there. I stopped near the barn, where my Amish friend was milking a goat. We had a short chat while his children crowded around, visiting with Aunt Bethany and my grandchildren. This Amish family has a Chihuahua farm dog that was holding the other goats at bay, while one was being milked. He seemed so bold and confidant for his size. My Amish buddy finished milking and we were heading over toward the children, but we heard a terrible, "Yelp!" My friend said, "Oops, our little dog got too close to the geese!" I looked back just in time to see the poor little Chihuahua running away from a flock of geese.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Big Day at the Sale

 Amish horses came trotting into town early on the morning of the big Draft Horse Sale in Kalona. Spring field work is underway, and this sale is a good place to pick up some extra horse-power to help finish the job.

 Nice looking horses were slicked up, dressed in harness, matched with a compatible teammate, and made ready for their new homes.

A horse is a living, breathing, tractor with a big heart and bright eyes. They nicker when you walk into the barn, work for hours in sweltering heat, and nudge you with a soft mussel as you brush them in the evening.

Yes, there are some horse wrecks, but there are mechanical accidents as well. I've heard stories of a good horse sensing a problem and saving their handler's life. I've never heard of a tractor doing that!

This sale is a great place to pick up a new plow. (a very, very old one, but new to the person buying it) If you farm with horses, you may be looking for new or used harness. That's here too!

All you have to do is lift a hand and waive one more time than the next guy, and you earn the right to take home a horse that weighs around a ton.