Thursday, April 10, 2008

Practical Yet Spiritual

Living with horses is a constant balance between the spiritual and the practical. That’s why I want to talk about a little of both here.

First, the practical: I am getting my first shipment of fly predators next week. Last year, I was very successful in keeping the number of flies down to a minimum. My neighbors couldn’t believe how few we had when they would come to visit. So, I thought I’d share my method of dispersing the little buggies.

I always put the plastic bag of un-hatched eggs in a warm place for several days and waited until there were a lot of fly predators crawling around in the bag. Then, I made very small piles of fresh manure in the places where I was going to “seed” the bugs. I put one in the front and back of each stall. I placed other piles in the corrals and at the gate of the pasture. I also made several piles on the edges of the pasture. The fly predators will spread out about 150 feet from where you leave them.

I’d deposit small groups of fly predators at each spot I’d prepared, as well as the compost/dumping heap. After I was done, there were always some left in the bag, so I’d put the bag on the compost heap with a rock on it so it wouldn’t blow away. I’d leave each of these piles for about four days before I cleaned them up. I could see when the fly predators began moving around and doing their job, so I’d wait until they were established. I get double shipments at the end of June and the beginning of August because that’s when the flies seem to really have a party. I also added an extra shipment this year to be delivered at the end of September since it stayed warm into October, and I was wishing I had one more batch last year.

My fly sprays of choice are “Nature’s Defense” and “Equisect”. They are both organic, and I alternate them. I never spray in the stalls because it will kill the fly predators and hurt our nesting birds.

Now, the spiritual: I was sitting at my husband’s desk yesterday, and I noticed a little book that a friend gave him years ago. It was “The Art of Peace” by Morihei Ueshiba. I discovered that Morihei was a legendary Aikido martial artist. This book is a collection of his beliefs. These were a few of the most meaningful for me and my horses:

"To practice properly the Art of Peace, you must:
Calm the spirit and return to the source.
Cleanse the body by removing all malice, selfishness and desire.
Be ever-grateful for the gifts received from the universe,
your family, Mother Nature and your fellow human beings."

"When an opponent comes forward, move in and greet him; if he wants to pull back, send him on his way."

"The techniques of the Way of Peace change constantly; every encounter is unique, and the appropriate response should emerge naturally. Today’s techniques will be different tomorrow. Do not get caught up in the form and appearance of a challenge. The Art of Peace has no form - it is the study of spirit."

Does this remind anyone of Mark Rashid?


Callie said...

Thanks for the Predator advice, as this is the first year I will be using them. The spiritual does kind of go along with it. :)

billie said...

I just put ours out two nights ago. The horses were already up at the barn, and it was just getting dusky out. Everyone else was inside so I had a nice quiet walk around the entire farm with my bag of predators.

The process of putting them out is, for me, its own little exercise in mindfulness.

We just ran out of what was left from last year's Nature's Defense fly spray, so it's time to make some decisions about what I'm going to do - make a batch with the essential oil recipe or buy some concentrate. Yesterday I just let the horses come in to the barn during the afternoon when the flies came out. I thought about turning the fans on but I have to take them down and dust them first - another fall chore I neglected to do and now it's climbed to the top of the list!

Rising Rainbow said...

It's still too cold here for fly predators but I really like them. My guess is my resident population has gotten really killed down after the cold winter we had. I'm probably going to need to double my order.

I have never had the pleasure of encountering Mark Rashid. I wish I had, he sounds like he really understands horses from what I've heard.

Pony Girl said...

Thanks for the Fly Predator advice. We were just talking about trying them this year and I got a brochure for it in the mail. I didn't realize there were so many different kinds of flies. Interesting that some of them are becoming resistant to many pesticides.

LJB said...

I used fly predators before I lived with so many chickens, guineas, and turkeys. They do quite a number on the flies that breed in offal, as they say. *g* In all the research I have done about how to manage/limit/eliminate black flies, ain't yet found a way!

Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba O-Sensei, Mark... oh yes!

I've started ground work with my horses since the footing in the ring is usable once again!

Grey Horse Matters said...

I like the fly predators, they seem to work, we are so far behind we haven't even ordered them yet.
Mark Rashid is one of the best, he is one of my favorites. The book your husband received seems like a good way find your spiritual self.