Beautiful May

Rock art

No time of year is more beautiful than May. No joy is greater than the first May in a new house, watching the flowerbeds and wondering what’s going to turn out to be in them. So far I am not disappointed. It’s picture day!

Dandelions under the cherry tree

No flower is closer to my heart than the humble dandelion. Together with the tiny white daisies they sum up everything I love about May. The sunshine, the freshness, the cool nights and hot days, the beginning of a new year. The earth awakens, explosively.

Those chilly May nights that soon enough become warm. They tend to be starry and clear blue, and my camera is not at all sophisticated enough to properly capture those colours.

And speaking of colours. Turns out we have a large rhododendron patch and not two shrubs are the same colour. Every shade from bright white over hot pink to blood red is represented. My favourites are the small purples and the large crimsons.

They’re there, the small purples.

Out in front we have poppies. Gazillion of poppies. They’re large and bright red and contrast gorgeously with the bright blue scillas.

And of course there’s a corner for self-planted more or less wild flowers as well.

But the strangest flower of them all is the hairy lawnflower.

May Pretties

The husband bonds with animals on a level I can never match. No fuss, no big deal, they just fall in love with him as easily as he falls in love with them. And sometimes, I swear, they’re talking about me.

“And then she said …”

We’ve had two weeks of blazing summer-before-summer; in fact, one of the hottest May months in a century. After the meteorological disaster that was 2017 I can’t say I am complaining. I don’t do well with heat, but it’s pretty to look at, and no one yells at me for sitting in the shade.

The heat means I have to braid Emilie’s mane or she’ll sweat buckets. She wasn’t too fond of this notion last year, but something must have clicked: Now she stands perfectly still and seems to even enjoy the treatment. Of course she also picks half the braids out in an hour once released into the pasture. Oh well.

Barbecue on Thursdays, carrots optional.
Barbecue on Thursdays, carrots optional.

I love how expressive Emilie is. She talks. All the time. Some of it is vocalized, little grunts and snorts (in a surprisingly deep tone). Most is her eyes and ears, though. I always pull her forelock aside so I can watch her eyes when we’re together. Her eyes are so remarkably talkative, and so are those big draft horse ears.

"No, seriously, then she said ..."
“No, seriously, then she said …”

Pony Sez #34

Pony Sez #34

The Boss takes charge. The Boss wants to work, but you got to ask nicely and you better not forget to praise and reward. The Boss knows that there is a job that needs doin’, so you better roll up those sleeves, put that hard hat on, and get to doin’ it, mate.

Each horse I have owned has had its own unique personality. Some have been pleasers; one was aggressive, and my current Jutland draft is very much the boss of me.

I don’t mean that in a bad way. Emilie is better at being a horse than I am. She’s cool with changes and loves exploring new things. Whenever I curl up in anxiety or pain, she’s the one telling me to breathe and chill. I may point the direction we’re going, but Emilie is very much the one who gets us there. Together.

Back in the saddle!

Back in the saddle!
Emilie is infinitely more at ease and in control of the situation than I am.


I’m proud of husband and horse this week. The credit for me finally getting on Emilie’s back is theirs, completely and utterly theirs.

I have not been riding regularly since November 2016. My Friesian, Pilar, fell lame, and then she fell sick and eventually, she died. We bought Emilie in February 2017, and a week later, she came down with a volvulus. In July she was finally over her surgery but something had gone wrong in her back: She’d be lame in a completely random leg every other day. After another hospital visit and a move to a farm with far more acreage for her to roam, she was finally declared healthy in late March 2018.

During all that time, I sat on my fat ass. It didn’t get any less fat.

Therein lies the problem. I can barely walk. I do yoga, but after more than a year of not riding, my legs are weak and useless. Last time I tried to get on a horse my knee flat out refused to push off the ground. I fell down, and I hurt my leg enough that I couldn’t walk at all for two weeks.

They make me so proud

I got into water gymnastics to strengthen that weak knee, and the husband built me an 80 cm stepping stair. I can slide from it to Emilie’s back and not have to push off at all. Together, we introduced Emilie to the stepping chair and explained to her that all she needs to do is stand there and open her mouth. Then I’ll fumble around and climb on board while all she needs to worry about is how fast she can eat carrots. Emilie thinks this is a pretty good deal.

My timing is less than ideal, as usual. I can barely cling to her back – forget proper riding! – due to weakened muscles and chronic pain. Emilie is barely saddle broke and has no idea what the signals and cues actually mean. It’s like that old joke – for inexperienced riders we have inexperienced horses.

For now we rely on the things we taught her from the ground while she recovered. Follow the husband. Walk shoulder by shoulder. Listen to verbal cues, they don’t change whether they come from the ground or on your back.

We’ll take the long road together. She’ll help me get my ability to move back, and I’ll teach her what she’s supposed to do. She’s cool with this. She loves solving problems and figuring out cues, and getting rewarded. It doesn’t seem to matter to her whether I’m sitting on her back or on a chair next to her, as long as I keep talking and explaining to her what I want.

The only thing Emilie doesn’t like is the saddle girth. She tenses when the saddle is put on her back and tells us she’s worried about it being tightened. But as long as we just tighten it a few holes at a time and give her time to wait and relax between holes, everything is fine.

The Murderkittenz meet the sun room

This past week was kind enough to sport a few days of bright sunshine and high temperatures. We promptly took the chance to introduce the terrible two, the murderkittenz Miv & Piv, to the sun room of our new house here in Pjedsted.

The sun room has been closed off since we moved in in November last year. It’s essentially ‘just’ an outdoor area fenced in with tall glass windows and a roof, with no insulation or heat of its own. But now April is here, and it’s time to start enjoying it!

Piv loves high places. The higher up she gets, the better. It didn’t take five minutes before she jumped around and explored the rafters.

But of course she also needed to explore on the ground level.

The previous owners of the house left various pieces of oldfashioned tea sets sitting around the rafters for decorative purposes. I think it looks rather neat so I didn’t remove them. Piv has not disappointed me: Of course the littlest murderkitten is too dainty to push things off shelves.

Miv, on the other hand, is keenly aware of his own eight kilos, and has not even made the attempt to get up into the rafters. He explored ground level carefully instead.

The kitchen window opens up out into the sun room. The kitchen window is now cordially known as Miv’s personal cat door.

This is how Piv gets up there. Sproing!

Even the top rafter, with almost no crawl space, was thoroughly explored. Many flies were caught. The sun room is also now guaranteed spider free.

Cats aren’t the only people who love basking in the spring sun. The husband and I took lunch out there while the kittenz explored.

Gotta admit it. Miv may not be small and elegant like his sister, but in his own steamroller fashion, he’s a handsome cat.

Piv remains the porcelain doll of the house, though.

That window really is fascinating. You can be outside in the sun and at the same time keep an eye on everything in the kitchen. This means you can sunbathe and beg for treats at the same time. Awesome!

Pictures by me, myself, and I.