To all ye who want to paint with light ...

I should have started this blog many moons ago as I started experiencing the joys of rediscovering the art of photography. But as the saying goes - it's better late, than never!
So, here I am, in the hopes of recording what I learn as I progress from ignorance to enlightenment; about what my eyes can see that my camera can capture; and, what my mind imagines and my camera paints with its capabilities.

Please feel free to add any comments and share your wisdom (tips or tricks) that you have picked up along the way.

And do check out my How-To and Birding pages as well.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Natural Horsemanship @ Punkin Patch Farm

Natural horsemanship is the philosophy of working with horses by appealing to their instincts and herd instincts. It involves communication techniques derived from wild horse observation in order to build a partnership that closely resembles the relationships that exist between horses. - Wikipedia

Last Sunday, my friends and I had the opportunity to visit my colleague Wolfgang and his partner Kathy's farm in Rigaud, QC.  And the farm has the cutest name ever - Punkin Patch Farm.  It's only an hour away from Montreal and 1 hr and 15 mins from Ottawa.

You must visit, if you are in this region, or even if you aren't, make the time to do so.  Please check out their website for more information on schedules.  The owners are very happy to show you around, time permitting, although it's best to call ahead and make an appointment if you don't want to be disappointed.  They're extremely busy caring for their own and others' pets, so do call ahead.

If you're just looking around and not taking riding lessons, please leave a small donation towards the upkeep of the farm.  All the animals are given treats for the little tricks they perform, and it would be a nice gesture if you did that.

The Barn at Punkin Patch Farm
The barn at Punkin Patch Farm

It was a gorgeous day when we visited, and I was accompanied by my son and some friends who drove with me from Montreal, and others who drove in from Ottawa.  So, to start with, the company was great.

The greatest thing was however, the experience we had at the farm.  Let me introduce you to Wolfgang & Kathy!

Kathy & Wolfgang
Kathy & Wolfgang in front of the barn

Kathy is the owner and the head trainer of the horses and has spent decades working with these gentle and beautiful animals.  And it's not surprising that she does this with a passion - she's one of the most patient, gentle and kind persons I've met!  And her passion for her beloved horses, shines in her eyes when she's with them, or merely talking about them.

She spent hours regaling us with stories about the horses she has or has had on her farm, stories about how she trains them or cares for them.  My friend's kids listened to her with rapt attention and I wasn't surprised when they lovingly brushed the horses down when Kathy and Wolfgang let them do so - they'd already built a bond with Punkin, who's the star of the farm, and Toby, the shiny black horse.

Punkin Getting a Brush Down
Kathy brushes Punkin down before the ride

Since they believe in raising and growing everything organically, Kathy & Wolfgang don't believe in using chemicals.  Therefore, to prevent mosquitoes and flies from harassing or biting the horses, she likes to have a fly mask on them (instead of using bug repellant), which are removed only when those pests are absent.  We, unfortunately, didn't get to see the beautiful eyes of the horses, but I'm definitely planning to go back to visit them at a time when the fly masks can be removed - maybe when it's cooler?

Besides the horses, there were chickens and a couple of roosters, cats, and Roland, the wolf.  I had mostly wanted to visit the farm for the new chicks that were born recently, and I had gone with the impression they would be running around being cute and fluffy.  They were definitely cute and fluffy, but were nowhere near running around.  They had to be kept warm under a heat lamp.  (Us, city folks, are pretty ignorant about farm life, aren't we?!  tsk tsk)  As a result, I couldn't get good photos of them because the coop was only illuminated by the red light coming from the lamp.

New Chicks
Little chicks keeping warm

The batch of chicks that were older were milling around each other in another enclosure, but it was way too dark again for a good photo.

We were told that Roland was a cross between a wolf and a husky, because it's against the law to keep a wolf as pet.  Roland had incredible eyes - one brown and the other one blue!  And what a handsome guy he was!  I wish I were brave enough to get behind the mesh to get a clear shot of his eyes.  :(

Roland the Wolf

Kathy and Wolfgang grow their own vegetables and if they have some leftovers, they are happy to sell them to you.  Every summer, Wolfgang brings fresh veggies and eggs from his farm, and I have to say that I really wait for the eggs!  I absolutely love eggs and they are extremely fresh, being less than a week old, and they taste and look great on your plate.  I'm already looking forward to this summer's supply! :)

I have tried my best to summarize my experience, but no amount of summarizing does justice to the real experience of spending a day at their farm!

I have uploaded a lot of pictures to my Flickr stream, so please feel free to go and take a look.  And I highly recommend that you go and visit the farm and help support local farmers by buying their produce.  During times when we are all concerned about global warming, Nature conservation, eating organically grown food amongst other things, you can help immensely by supporting your local economy!

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