Finish what you start

By Prosperity Acres On October 20th, 2016

img_4345I heard that phrase over and over as a child.  “You have to finish what you start”.  I didn’t really ponder what that meant until I was an adult.

Now that I’m a Mom of 4 and Grandmother of 3 I have thought about what does that mean in my life.  Sometimes it feels like failure because it didn’t turn out how I had hoped or planned it would turn out.  Sometimes if feels extremely rewarding to breathe deep and say that’s a job well done.

As we are preparing for the final leg of Jacqueline and Pollard’s Image journey to Kentucky Horse Park this phrase once again has been ringing in my head.  I would like to add as a Mother I know that none of your children are just alike and that goes for horses as well.

I have had many horses over the years and none of them are the same.  The horse I have now really could go on a 20 mile competitive trail ride and never miss a beat but do I really want to go on a 20 mile trail ride, I don’t know I ponder that as well.  I bought him for competitive trail riding not for becoming a yard ornament.  So to that I say Finish what I started.

Yesterday was Jacqueline’s final lesson before Kentucky.  They are not the same pair as they were in March at the first horse show.  Although he was a bold racehorse riding him for competition was another story, his brain wasn’t getting it.

When asked why did we buy him the person said oh because he is beautiful I get it.  I chuckled to myself thinking but this person doesn’t know the GRIT that Jacqueline has.  The lessons began immediately and the first horse show came and went without a hitch.  But what happened in April?  Pollard had decided he didn’t like jumping nor did he like being told what to do.  He decided that he liked bucking and refusing to go over jumps.  Jacqueline went backwards in a big way.  She didn’t even go back to the beginning she went back to the basics of teaching him that he is safe and how to trust even though he wanted to explode.  With each lesson and horse show we saw regression beyond where he was already at, Pollard was refusing every jump that he approached and wanted to take off running as if on the track.  Little did Pollard know I’ve seen that look of GRIT on Jacqueline’s face on more than one occasion, actually I’ve seen it a lot when it comes to working with her OTTB’s.

The more Jacqueline dug her heels in per se the more Pollard would take a baby step forward.  But would it be enough to get them to Kentucky to the Retired Racehorse Project Symposium in October?  The entire reason Pollard even came to our farm was because of this project.  Jacqueline wanted to expand her knowledge in the horse industry and advance her career as a junior trainer of the breed she so loves, the OTTB.  A long discussion was had about Pollard’s progress in August with only 12 weeks to go to the competition.  Jacqueline and her coach decided to add the discipline of Dressage as their second ride to help with getting Pollard more exposure and more of the basics.  Jacqueline and I couldn’t imagine not going to Kentucky to compete, that wasn’t on our radar.  I booked our reservations anyway.  I had to give this up to a higher power and ask for the best.  When I’ve said to my children finish what you start I really mean it.  Most of the time it takes GRIT to do that, you have to hold your head up and march forward in the face of great diversity.  Each week since August we can see the light bulb in Pollard’s head getting brighter, I thought one day, he is actually starting to enjoy this.

I think keeping the end result in sight is a part of having that GRIT.  It is a sense of I can do this, it seems so far away and yet it really isn’t.  Pollard is now consistently jumping 2.6 fences and doing training level dressage tests.  In less than one week Jacqueline and Pollard’s Image will compete against 302 other horses to show the horse industry that Thoroughbred’s truly are the King of Sport.  When we were told maybe they should not go to Kentucky to compete he won’t be ready I knew that wasn’t in Jacqueline’s vocabulary.  She decided when she started this she would “finish what she started”.  Along the way she has found that she has what it takes in the Equine industry to train an OTTB for a second career.  We are wishing them the very best and hope you will also.

 

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The big question

By Prosperity Acres On September 20th, 2016

Each year at the fair I’m asked the exact same question.  How can you eat that cow after you have raised it?  I’ve pondered that question over the years.  I was not born into a cattle family, I would have to say it was just a calling that happened.

I have grown up with dogs, cats and horses my entire life.  I call them pets, although the horse lives in the pasture with a barn.  I didn’t start raising cattle until I was an adult in my early 20’s.  We bought cattle to raise and feed our family but not to feed the public.  I didn’t start raising goats until 10 years ago when we bought a whether for Amanda to show as a 4H project.  What I have found is that no matter what animal I raise I care for them the same.  I give them all my time and attention.  But I know that the Bovine and Caprine have a purpose and that is to feed people.

In 2009 I expanded the herd to start selling meat (beef and goat) to the public.  They deserve a good life not one of living in fear.  The cattle and goats are able to walk around in the pastures and nap whenever they want to.  We check them twice a day when being fed to make sure nothing out of the ordinary happened to them during the day or night.  They are only provided antibiotics when medically necessary.  But I do believe in providing antibiotics when medically necessary.  If an animal is raised organic and gets sick it has to be culled from the herd and sent to slaughter because it can not be given an antibiotic.  Medically necessary means just that, the veterinarian has said the animal is sick and needs medical attention.  I think that is being a good steward when you care for your herd in that manner.

The cattle and goats are raised on the farm until they are ready for processing.  I explain each year at the fair that I have chosen this life and am the best steward of the cattle and goats I can be.  They are treated with love and care each day in a stress free environment.  I know exactly what that animal has eaten since it was born.  In reading A Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, it says we are each called to be of service to God.  I think being a farmer is a calling from God, you are chosen.  It is a hard life meaning that no matter the weather you are outside caring for the animals (rain, sun, snow, hurricane).  You care for them when the are healthy and care for them when they are sick.  You rejoice when you have a healthy one born and you cry when you have a loss at birth.  You met wonderful people along the way that share your passion which is a plus.

The fairgoers that say they could never do it are right.  But that is okay they weren’t meant to raise animals for the food chain.  Not everyone is.  There will always be farmers that raise animals for food production and that is a privilege to care for that animal from beginning to end.  When I explain my story in this way the fairgoers seem to be more accepting to learn about where their food comes from and how it is raised.  It is a responsibility we all have to know where our food comes from and to know the difference in what a sheep is, a pig is, a cow is, and what a goat is.

I always thank the animals when I take them to be processed for feeding all the people they will feed.  But in the end I always take a moment and thank God for choosing me to be a steward of his flock.  I call it being of service to God and doing what is asked of me.

 

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The long haul

By Prosperity Acres On September 14th, 2016
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Pink Hybrid Tea Mother’s Sweetness in memory of my Mom.

 

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Peppermint Dahlia

 

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Red Hybrid Tea Mr. Lincoln. It smells heavenly.

 

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Yellow Floribunda

 

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First Place

 

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First Place

 

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First Place

 

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First Place

When I was a little girl my Grandfather had two beautiful rose bushes that I watched him tend to all the time.  As a child I didn’t think about how much time he spent with his roses or how much work it took to care for his roses.  I just wanted to be like my Grandfather and have beautiful roses.

My Grandfather was the kindest person I know.  He cared for those roses as if they were his children.  I can remember how much joy they brought him.  Little did I know how much work goes into caring for roses.

When I grew up I knew I wanted roses like Gran.  I started out with the Peace Hybrid Tea rose that he had, his was huge and that is what I wanted.  All I saw was the after effects of that rose bush.  I didn’t know anything about taking care of roses, because by the time I was old enough to have roses of my own Gran had passed away.  But I wanted to make him proud.  I bought my first Peace rose.  It had beautiful blooms on it when I bought it.  I planted that rose bush with love and care.  As soon as I saw a weed near my rose I would pull it.  I began reading about how to care for roses I had no idea how many opinions there are on how to care for roses.

Then the next thing I knew my rose leaves turned yellow with brown spots.  What was this, I never saw anything like that on Gran’s rose bush I thought.  How could this be, what did I do?  I read online that I had disease on my bush.  Ugh, I thought “I’ve killed my bush”.

I learned how to overcome disease on my roses naturally with insecticidal soap and for the japanese beetles I planted marigolds.  I was happy to plant the marigolds because I love marigolds, I think they are beautiful.  But what I found is the smell of marigolds keep away japanese beetles.  I found that with all the work on disease I still needed to feed my rose a fertilizer because as it grew new stems they were weak and didn’t hold up to new rose buds.  Again I thought Gran didn’t have this problem or did he?  I was only seeing the results through the eyes of a child.

What I soon realized was this rose bush was teaching me a lot of things about my life.  Slow and steady always wins the race.  I was not able to have a rose bush that looked like Gran’s rose bush in one season when his had been growing for years from his love and care.  Then the day came when I saw my first flower competition at the fair.  I thought I can do that.  Anyone close to me knows how competitive I can be.  It is just my nature to want to succeed in something that I’m passionate about.  I enjoyed cutting my roses and taking them to Gran at the cemetery but now I could possibly win a ribbon with my rose.  I read up on how to present roses in a show.  It isn’t just sticking it in a jar and calling it a day.  You have to clip off the thorns and pull off the leaves on the stem.  The stem has to look strong and your petals have to open at just the right time.  I talked and talked to my roses all growing season knowing I had until the middle of September for them to grow blooms exactly when I needed to cut them.  I now have ten rose bushes of different variety.  I’ve learned when to fertilize and what to fertilize for the soil I have to grow strong stems, beautiful blooms and large foliage.

This year I’m happy to say that I took 3 varieties of roses to the competition.  I found the right vase and took extra care to display them beautifully.  Jacqueline and I headed to the fair.  I filled out the paperwork and wishes my roses the best.  I said to them let’s make Gran proud.  Thirty six hours later I saw the results of years of learning how to grow roses.  I received a first place for each variety I took and a first place for my Dahlia which is another of my favorite flowers that I have seven varieties of.

What I’ve learned over the years is that nothing happens over night.  Especially this spring when I thought my Peace rose had died during the brutal winter.  Consistent steady work at anything is what gets you the results that you are looking for.  But most of all having a passion for what you are doing without passion it is just work.  I now realize why Gran had such beautiful roses and that it wasn’t work to him.  He had passion for what he was doing.

Live life passionately.

 

 

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Invasive species are a problem

By Prosperity Acres On May 24th, 2016

What are invasive species? Invasive species means the plants are not native to the area you live in or that coastal region. An invasive species is a plant, fungus, or animal species that is not native to a specific location (an introduced species), and which has a tendency to spread to a degree believed to cause damage to the environment, human economy or human health.

One particular invasive species in Maryland is Kudzu. Kudzu is extremely invasive and is native to Asia; therefore the east coast in the United States is not native. The weight of kudzu vines can actually uproot trees, elevating the plant from a mere annoyance to an actual source of danger. The Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) recently added kudzu to the Global Invasive Species database and they’ve named it one of the 100 worst alien invasive species on Earth. Kudzu is so invasive and damaging to the environment that Federal, State and Local Agencies offer grants to assist with eradicating it.

One such means of eradicating invasive species is goats; it looks grand from every angle. A herd of goats can be turned loose on a neglected field, overgrown with invasive exotic plants whose fun names – such as Kudzu – belie the damage it inflicts on native ecosystems.

The goats browse away happily, completely defoliating these unwanted plants. They destroy the seeds inside their digestive tracts that are made up of four chambers and then scatter droppings everywhere, fertilizing the ground as they go. They come back another time or two for subsequent passes, and voilà, a piece of land overrun by invasive plants has been reclaimed and improved in a non-chemical and non-fossil fuel-burning way.

Hire goats to eat the unwanted vegetation in an environmentally friendly way.

For more information about Kudzu damage and browsing goats visit www.browsinggreengoats.com

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Eco-friendly goats and Celebrate Maryland Flower Show

By Prosperity Acres On March 7th, 2015

 

Have you thought about hiring goats to clean up your unwanted vegetation but haven’t quite made the decision to move forward.  Come see Green Goats and meet the staff at the 2015 Celebrate Maryland Flower Show at Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville, MD March 14-15 and March 21-22 from 11-4 each day.  Speak with our friendly and knowledgeable staff to learn how hiring our eco-friendly landscapers could be the right choice for your property.

Green Goats love poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, multi-flora rose and various other invasive plants that are hard for you to get to.  They are extremely efficient and fun to watch.

Visit our page Green Goats to learn more about our goats and how to hire them. To get all the details about the Celebrate Maryland Flower Show walking through Maryland Agriculture from the Eastern Shore to the Western Shore visit Homestead Gardens.

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