Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Walking in Xenia

I drove two days from Saint Paul to a hotel in Beavercreek, Ohio in order to do a walk in Xenia, Ohio. I only had X left in my Walking the USA from A-Z. By the rules of this I could have substituted any other walk for X, but really wanted to do the X. I really wanted to do this walk in April when the weather was cooler, but those days got away from me. Instead I found myself in Ohio in the midst of a heat wave in that part of the US.

Sunday morning was to be in the low 80s so I set out by 9 AM or so to do the last few miles to Xenia. I found the hotel where the walk box was held and was graciously helped. However, I was so very glad I did not stay there as the hotel smelled badly of cigarette smoke.

In reading before the walk I found out Xenia got its name at the suggestion of an early visitor/settler who said he felt the people there were very hospitable and Xenia is the Greek word for that.


Other reading I had done revealed that the Shawnee Indians called this area "the land of crazy winds." In fact, I learned that Xenia has been hit by tornadoes  29 times. The most devastating on occurred in 1974, the most recent in 1970. Thus I was surprised to find a historic district early in the walk.

I liked the above one very much.

And down the street I found these houses.


It was clear that the combination of the heat and arthritis was not a good one. I was grateful to find Xenia is a city of rocks. I could sit down frequently and relieve the discomfort in my back.

Along the main street of Xenia I came upon a couple of store fronts that now had new businesses.

I am sure readers can figure out what now is sold in this building.

And a bit further up the street I discovered a cat.

The cat was curious about a pedestrian but otherwise appeared to be very comfortable. Obviously the building was air conditioned.

I had to cut the walk short, but found that is legal as long as I am honest about the distance I walked. After returning to my car I drove the route to get the exact kilometers figured out.

Glad I did this. It was an interesting drive back and forth between Minnesota and Ohio.





Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Visit to the Janow Podlasie Stud Farm

My blog has been silent for a long time. When I got to the place where I would teaching English my computer stopped working. I tried to turn it on for two days without success. Then I had it taken to good computer shop and they thought perhaps the part that mediates between the electrical charge entering the computer and the battery was faulty. They decided not to try to fix it because they thought doing anything with it might void the warranty on my computer. I didn't try the computer again until I was ready to pack it up. It worked just fine then. I wonder if something became loose and taking the back off the computer and then putting it back on jiggled something back in place.

So now I'm back in Minnesota and thus far the computer has been working OK.

Now to get the horse stud farm. I had no idea what this might be like. I expected to walk through barns of horses, but instead we did most of our walking outdoors, which was fine, because the weather was lovely. I used my cane for this walk.

As soon as we parked I saw this group of horses grazing in a pasture in front of us. In a little bit a guide from the farm joined us and we walked to another pasture to see horses. First I learned a bit of history here.

I learned this horse farm will be 200 years old next year. It was started after the Napoleonic wars. These wars were so hard on horses that horse numbers were very low and declining. This part of Poland was under Russian government at this time and permission had to come from Russia.

In 1863 after the Uprising, Russia removed all the horses to Russia. Another tragedy for the horses here was World War 2. The Nazi army had moved all the horses to Dresden. There only 8 lived after the bombing of Dresden. Recently there have been some political problems here after the new government took control in Poland is late 2015. I decided if the horse farm could withstand these other tragedies the farm can handle political problems, too.

Horses here can be all Arabian, all English, or a cross between the two.

These horses are about one year old and are being considered for entry into championship contests. I was surprised to see a white horse. I thought the Arabian horses were black or brown. The guide said the color didn't manner. What would be judged is how they hold their head and neck, how they walk and run, and how they carry their tail. I am sorry this picture doesn't show it very well, but I learned that Arabian horses carry their tails different than any other horse breed. This is because they have some extra bones in their spine.

Next the guide wanted us to see the mares come back from a pasture with their colts. This day was the first time they had been out to a pasture for this spring season.

video
 If you look carefully at this video you may notice how the horses carry their tail. Each colt stays very near its Mama.

In the photo above you can see how the colts stay very close to their Mama. You may able to see too how the Arabians carry their tail with a curve at the top.


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Some were highly curious about the people along the fence.

Here we learned that when the colt is old enough to separated from the mare is branded with a number on one side. It is branded  on the other side with the coat of arms for the stud farm. It is also given a name. By tradition the name begins with the first letter of its mother's name.

The photo below shows coat of arms for the Janow Podlasie Stud Farm. It is shown under the center window.

  We also walked by stones that remember horses that have died. According to EU regulations a large animal such a horse cannot be buried, but rather must be cremated. Thus a brass plate is fastened to large rocks found on the property, left there by long ago glaciers.



Walking down the road towards the car we passed this memorial to a previous farm director.

This man arrived at the horse farm as a stable boy and spent his entire life there, rising to be the farm director for many years.

I am so very glad that I got to visit the horse farm. It truly is a Polish treasure.