Monday, March 26, 2012

The cycle of fish life

Well, our old catfish died a couple days ago.  That was sad.  I think he was just overwhelmed by having all the new fish.  And our old Tetra (who had outlived her brothers and sisters by about four years) died just before him.  It was interesting to me that she swam over and stayed right next to him when she died, and then right after she died he went over to her old spot where she hung out and stayed there till he died. I thought fish were not supposed to get attached to each other because they did not have that level of consciousness? Hmmm ...

Meanwhile one of the Platys apparently had a couple babies at some point because every now and then a tiny little orange fish will dart out from under a rock, eat something and dart back under again.  There are two of them, a darker one and an almost transluscent one.  My daughter has named then Fin-Fin and Flipper.

Yesterday during my daughter's riding lesson I took Toad out to a back pasture to get outside for a bit.  I also tried to walk her around a little and she was all sorts of freaked out.  She can definitely be a bit agoraphobic because in open spaces she acts like any minute a monster is going to appear from out of nowhere.  So, now that the weather is getting a little nicer and the ground isn't all frozen I'm going to have to take her out for more walks to get her used to places other than the barn, the arena and her outdoor paddock.   Walking around yesterday she was so freaked out and when a gust of wind came by and she jumped and tried to turn in a circle I told her to stand still and tried to get her attention on me so she'd focus and relax - but she was too panicky and couldn't focus so I said we would just walk.  I'm learning to recognize when she gets to the point where she is so all-consumed with panic that the only thing that brings her down is to move around and have "a job" - even if that job is to just focus on following me (or in the case of yesterday staying behind and following me instead of just running off like a looney-tune with her spinny, scared head taking her in circles).  She'll come along.  She's still just a kid - and emotionally more of a kid than her chronological six years old because of that almost two years she did nothing but live in her stall unless she was dragging her previous teenage owner around, and just be all sort of freaked out because she had no herd leader to protect and guide her. 

My daughter did really well in her lesson.  She's working on the same thing that I'm working on in my lessons with Misty - which is balance and strength in our legs.  Although she made it all the way around the arena standing up balanced in the stirrups and I have yet to do that.  I wish there was some way to practice that at home.  I think it's really just all about lack of strength in my legs now that I'm old because no matter how hard I try I keep falling back.  This is standing up in the stirrups without using my hands for support or balance.  I know that probably sounds really easy to someone who doesn't ride horses, but it's a whole different story when the horse is moving.  I can stand up and balance just fine when the horse is standing still, but it's the movement that automatically throws my butt back down in the sitting position because I'm not balancing properly.  I can stand up and then after two steps, thwack! I keel over back into sitting position.  It is really frustrating!  And it's no easier at the trot either.  Although my daughter couldn't stay standing up at the trot yet either for very long.  I try to console myself that she has short little eight year old legs and only fifty pounds to hold up, whereas I have three times that amount of weight being pulled down by gravity.  Sigh.  My pilates for dressage riders will help too, I hope.

Also - it is time to start gardening! I'm getting a really late start this year on getting my seedlings planted but it's also been so unusually cold so late this year I figure I won't be able to put them outside until mid-June at least.  I had managed to forget how truly horrible the "soil" (or lack thereof) is in our yard.  I bought some lavender and rosemary to fill in an empty space by our house and when I went to dig the hole for the rosemary I once again hit the construction waste, huge rocks, chunks of concrete all piled up in hard, gray clay - all underneath a couple inches of mulch.  So, I spent a long time trying to slam my shovel through the clay to dig out the rocks and chunks of concrete and construction debris to make a big enough hole to put in actual soil to plant my rosemary.  I succeeded but not without the price of my hands and forearms hurting horribly the last couple days.  So, I'm trying to be gentle with my hands for the first part of this week and not do much with them other than what I have to.

I had an idea that my husband is on board with (thankfully - because with this horrible ground I can't do it myself) and I'll need to get another couple guys in the neighborhood to help with it.  There is a couple who live next door who are really nice and we only recently started to get to know them.  Then they got the most horrendous news - the husband had been moody, forgetful and "not himself" for awhile and he figured it was depression.  The wife's instincts told her it was something more and urged him to go to a neurologist and they discovered he has stage 4 brain cancer and they give him only months to live.  It's just horrendous news and there's nothing I can do to make it better for them.  Their yard is like our yard was when we moved in - mulch over the construction debris crap and three what I call "developer plants" - boring, hard to kill, big old plants that just keep growing like weeds.  The wife had aspirations to make a really pretty garden but now it's just not a priority.  So, I said I wanted to clear out some of those plants and plant a tree for them and it would be her husband's tree.  Even if she eventually doesn't live there, everyone in the neighborhood will know "This is J.'s tree."  They said they would like an Oak, so I need to rally the neighborhood dad troops to help me dig out the old developer plants and dig a big enough hole to plant an Oak tree.

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