by Laura Crum
Its been raining a lot lately, and I haven’t gotten to do much (make that any) riding for a couple of weeks. I also haven’t been able to get out in my garden much. We had such good weather throughout January and early February (when I wrote about riding the trails and the beach) that I am really spoiled and am now whining about what is very normal spring conditions here. Anyway, I wanted to do a post about things I love about my horses and garden—just to cheer myself up.
Many of us have written on this blog about not being able to ride as much as we want (or at all) for various reasons. A bad back or other injuries, too busy, the weather, fear issues, lame horses…etc. I have been subject to all these things from time to time, and even though I love my trail rides and have written about them often, I have to say that it’s the day to day living with horses that means the most to me. Horses as part of my garden, as it were. I like feeding and doing the chores, I like watching my horses turned loose to graze on the property, and I also like puttering around on their backs, sometimes with camera in hand, snapping things that look appealing in the garden. This is something I hope I can do even when I’m old—it doesn’t take much skill or athletic ability and its lots of fun.
I know I’ve mentioned here before that I love my garden, but perhaps I haven’t happened to confess that I’m pretty obsessive about roses. My passion for old garden roses is right up there with my passion for horses. I grow over a hundred varieties of roses here in this tangled, wild garden, as well as many native Californian plants, Mediterranean plants and bulbs—just to name the main players.
So here are some photos taken before the rain started, showing my garden in early spring.
My son’s horse, Henry, grazing in our riding ring at 23 years of age. For those who have started reading this blog recently, I bought Henry when hewas 19 and he remains perfectly sound and a wonderful, bombproof riding horse for my kid. He had colic surgery right as he turned 21 to remove an enterolith that was as big as a cantalope (its on my mantel—the ten thousand dollar rock), and has been as good as ever since he came back from this. Henry is the sort of horse that is almost impossible to find. Sound, absolutely gentle and reliable, confident trail horse, with good smooth gaits. We love him to death.
My trail horse, Sunny, grazing—this is his early spring color. He’s much darker gold when he sheds out. As you can see, neither of my trail horses are anything fancy, and should probably not be spoken of in the same breath as the sort of horses that Jami, Francesca and Terri are looking at buying. Mine are just a couple of hairy, sturdy little yaks who are great on the trails. They are both quite happy to have turn out time on grass instead of being ridden, thank you very much. But when I don’t have time or the inclination for a long ride, I often climb on them and walk and jog around the place, enjoying spring in the garden. That is, when its not pouring (which it is now).
So here are a couple of my early roses, shot from Sunny’s back.
Rose “Belle Story” by my front porch. Flowers very early in the spring—every year .
Rose “Mutabilus” reaches for the sky over my back porch. This one blooms all year round here.
The pond in early spring. The water iris will bloom later. The water lilies later still.
Laura and Sunny—note the sandals and halter. This is how unprofessional I am. Just puttering around on my horse in the sunshine. It takes me right back to my teenage years, when I loved to ride bareback in shorts and a bathing suit and sandals. Of course, I don’t look quite the same. But its all in how you feel, right? My husband insisted on taking this picture because he thought I looked silly riding in sandals. Thus my somewhat sulky expression. And yes, I do realize that it is not PC attire or gear, but this is the beauty of owning a couple of truly reliable riding horses. They may not be fancy, but they are highly unlikely to dump me—even bareback and with the halter and sandals.
Are there any other rose lovers out there? And do some of you, like me, like to putter around the garden on your horses? It’s a sedate, old lady pleasure in reality, I guess. I’m not galloping along as I would have at sixteen. Still, I’m having fun. Anybody else do this?
Also, do you guys enjoy these posts that are mostly photos? I have enjoyed seeing your photos on your blogs, but haven’t posted many photos myself in the past, mostly because my old computer wasn’t up to the task. Now I have a new computer (new to me) that will post photos. (Though as you can see by the placement of Henry's photo, I still haven't quite got this process down.) So, I’m curious—are posts with photos, or posts that are mostly photos, preferred, or do you like the “writing” posts better? And if you do like photos, what sort of things do you enjoy seeing photos of? Mainly horses? Or other things, too? I know I have very much enjoyed seeing photos that showed the landscape and gave the “feeling” of the various places that people and their horses call home. But maybe I’m the only one that has this thing for looking at roses? (I confess that I go to old rose websites and browse—so I’m kind of obsessed.) Any thoughts?