Farm life, sporting life

One of my favorite parts of driving through the Florida countryside these days are the thousands of sand cranes hanging out in recently plowed fields. They follow the tractors as they harvest crops or turn over fresh soil, taking advantage of all the creatures the plow reveals. Somehow they have no fear of tractors, but with a single passing vehicle they all take flight. It’s mesmerizing.

While Elise was having her riding lesson today, I watched a rafter of wild turkeys wandering through the paddocks. They are very much at home on the horse farm, climbing one-by-one through the fences and pecking around in the dirt next to the thoroughbreds.

Elise is in love with the chickens, especially now that there are a bunch of adorable chicks bouncing around in the chicken coops. We signed her up for the equestrian program of 4H this year, so she’s now a little Cloverbud. Fortunately, the ag extension office is next door to her stables, so it’s all going to be familiar territory for her.

Elise has another horse show coming up at the end of October. She’s going to be competing in more advanced classes this go around, so that’s exciting.

Taking care of her pony, Chewy.

For those who enjoy hunting and horseback riding, Garden & Gun’s sporting issue is out now and they absolutely knocked it out of the park. There is a wonderful, detailed article on the historical roadblocks to preserving the wilderness in the Everglades and the great work Governor Ron DeSantis and his allies are doing to save the park, including their rebuke of Big Sugar lobbyists. There is a piece on Pat Conroy’s widow’s new memoir of their life together. There is a section on collecting shotguns and quail hunting in Old Florida. I devoured the whole thing. Oh, and they also have a lot of great game recipes to try, including duck, rabbit, and boar, all of which we have in considerable supply here in Florida.

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