Flora is nearly three months old now and turning into a strong (some would say chubby...) little Madam. After some protests the first time around, she now stays behind in the field with dad Henry without much complaining when Winnie goes to work for a little while.
Flora's coat is changing colour now and I wonder will she turn out like Henry one day, or even darker? The odd thing is that she changes colour starting from her behind - as you can see an unusual sight.....
The first time at work again, Winnie gave us a hand (or hoof?) weeding the sugar beet. What would have taken me and hour or more by hand she scuffled in about 5 minutes!
Today, Winnie had a go with the cart again, which she didn't work with since about March. She was curious and slightly anxious but soon settle into pulling the rattling cart across the field. Only that she does not really fit comfortably between the shafts! So this has to be abandoned as a long-term vehicle for her, as it would be rather complicated to try to bend the shafts to fit her shape. Or would a diet be an option? She doesn't eat anything but grass, and it's just her maternal shape more than fat that makes her rather round in certain places. Oh dear, but how would we fit another cart into the shed???!
Grey clouds are pushing in from the Southwest and it is starting to rain just now. How reassuring that we finished our ploughing job just in time!
We were busy in the field the last three mornings for about an hour each, to pace ourselves, but mostly to give the horses an opportunity to chew things over for the following day. And they did - their confidence and skill had grown a lot by the third day, and they pulled the big Norwegian walking plough almost routinely, working as a team side by side.
Hard to believe that a few weeks ago, these two would not work together at all - Winnie turned and kicked out as soon as Henry only looked at her. But now that she is out of season and most liklely in foal, they are back to calm happy relaxed family life again.
Flora the foal followed along as far as the fence, but for the actual ploughing she had to stay on the other side, showing her protest by running up and down the fence as fast as she could, only stopping ocassionally to snack on the sweet clover and try to talk to Bob the dog.
So, the purpose of the operation was to turn under the oat grass and kale that I had planted a few weeks ago, to add organic matter to the soil. We will be doing this another round or two until Autumn, hoping to improve the soil that way.
Unfortunately, we were too busy ploughing and did not manage to take any photos, but here is one of us getting ready for the job:
The potatoes are catching up and looking well - the first flowers are out. We've just finished the last round of earthing up with Henry, and hopefully the last round of hand-weeding as well, and I've just come in from spraying the plants again with horse tail tea - a treatment I try for the first time this year. There's no sign of blight so far, so maybe it does the trick.
But then what made us think recently was that somehow a potato made it from the barn into the mulch we put around the fruit trees...and there was a sturdy healthy potato plant growing at the foot of an apple tree - with wonderful big potatoes underneath, as we discovered. Why planting them in rows at all? Earthing, weeding, spraying? It could be as simple as putting a seed potato at the bottom of each tree in the orchard, lots of mulch on top, and in mid-summer....lovely tasty potatoes! I came very close to understanding what permaculture is all about!
Well, but then there is pleasure in looking at neat rows of potato plants in the field - and what would Henry do without one of the most satisfying jobs he gets every summer?