Saturday, November 24, 2018

To Walk Where Ashley Was and to Stand Where Ashley Is

At the conclusion of this year I will stop writing this blog. I will also radically reduce any posting on social media and will be posting just enough to advise of events coming up in our program.

My life will be taking a new and important turn over at least the next year.  My youngest daughter, Ashley Edwards, and I will be writing a book together. She has already begun writing and the first piece that she sent me was breath taking in the quality of the writing and the horror of what she described.

Ashley is unique--brilliant, multi talented ,filled with insight, and the survivor of the most horrible case that I ever prosecuted. Unfortunately, Ashley's story is not unique. I have been prosecuting crimes against kids and sexual assault cases for over twenty years. Unfortunately, my story is not unique.

But our story together is unique and it can be of unique benefit to survivors of sexual assault, their family members, law enforcement, prosecutors, social workers, and everyone who works with or cares about a person who has been through severe trauma. At the end of this post I will set out links to two news paper and TV news stories about Ashley for anyone who does not know about my amazing young daughter.

My first book was written at break neck speed. I was working furiously to try to have it written so that my mother could read it before she died. This book will not be written at a break neck speed. Ashley has already found that she can write best only small parts at a time. I am going to take my time shaping this work in the hope that it will help bring life to some who may have already felt what it is like to die inside.

Along the way I will have to learn a great deal about presenting our experience in the most effective way to reach the most people. Being an adult is an exercise in setting priorities. What could possibly be a higher priority than using our experiences to help others claw their way out of Hell the way Ashley has?

So I will set many things, like writing of this blog aside.

Here are links to some media stories about my daughter Ashley:

Monday, November 12, 2018

An Educational Institution: Learning At Mill Swamp

Pictured above are a group of homeschoolers learning about the roles of fungus and bacteria in converting a pine forest to a viable pasture. Saturday a group from the local Women's club came out to spend the morning learning about our soil and water conservation projects and were introduced to microbial farming.

They learned the answer to two of the most important secrets to the ecological benefits of our program--why the soil is so soft and cushiony over so much of our pastures and why our hog pen produces nearly no odor.

Several days earlier I spoke at a meeting of a local Ruritan Club on all aspects of our program. Everyone is amazed at how much our program does but few people are aware of how much our program teaches.

As spring comes around we will be available for educational tours and programs on our soil and water conservation projects and we are alway available to provide speakers on all aspects of our program to area civic, religious, and youth oriented organizations.

Has Mounting a Horse Become Insurmountable?

Riding is a sport. Sports require some level of conditioning. Specific sports require the conditioning of specific muscles. Riding, particularly riding great distances. requires strong core muscles and a certain degree of aerobic fitness.

Problem #1----Conditioning one's body is time consuming and results come so slowly that progress seems non-existent.

Solution #1-----Use solid sports physiology to achieve your goal. Planking is something that I have found very helpful and most especially the isometrics that are created from wall sitting. Tabata Protocol sessions last only four minutes of intense working out. Progress comes faster than one could ever imagine. In a month one's level of aerobic fitness goes through the roof.  (I am not going to take the time to explain Tabata Protocol. The internet is loaded with information on this technique).

Problem#2-----Conditioning is unpleasant.

Solution #2----Find  exercises that are riding specific and learn to enjoy them. Pounding a heavy bag is something that I enjoy and the strength and balance that it has given me has kept me in the saddle scores of times when I would otherwise have been on the ground. Barefoot jogging develops the quadriceps in ways that make riding great distances possible. Posting on an inflatable ball strengthens legs and increases the aerobic capacity of these muscles.

Of course, don't do any exercise program without the prior approval of your doctor. The exercise suggestions above are not substitutes for medical advice and should not be attempted without receipt of sound, qualified medical advice.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Ending the Week With An Ossabaw--Life As a Livestock Preservationist

I sat down last night. I sat down by the fire last night. I sat down with two of my grandchildren last night. I sat down and played music last night. I sat down and ate barbecue from an Ossabaw boar last night.

Yes, last night I sat down.

Monday was a rather ordinary day at the office--preparation for slews of prosecutions on the horizon--from murder to making annoying phone calls. Monday night we had music practice for those in the music program here at Mill Swamp  Indian Horses--a handful of adults and a roomful of kids learning to play and perform Americana, blues, old time, gospel and roots music. Tuesday was office work and then out to work on fences.

The remainder of the week involved a field trip of fifty kids and parents,  several visits by families interested in seeing the horses. cutting down trees for poles for the fence around the New Land, riding lessons for two new riders, and group riding lessons for other program participants, feeding mares with foals dailey, getting kids together for a musical performance, having a visit  from another group of students on another day, getting things ready for fall barbecue, giving several  tours of our soil and water conservation projects, setting up round pen demo, hoof trimming demo, microbial farming demo, and confidence building in horses demo.

We introduced well over 100 visitors to Ossabaw hogs, Hog Island Sheep, Colonial Spanish horses, Syfan, San  Clemente and Baylis Spanish Goats, and Bourbon Red and Blue Slate turkeys.

And we did all of this with no paid staff. Everyone who participates in our program is a volunteer.

And here is what I did not do last week. I did not spend time arguing over the proper name for our various strains of Colonial Spanish horses. I did not spend anytime lamenting the fact that we do not do enough to earn the good graces of the established horse world by participating in their silly rituals of equine competition.

None of what I write here is remotely designed to give our program a pat on the back. I write to give an answer to a question that we are constantly asked--"How do you all find time to do all of this?"

A big part of that answer is that we take the time and energy that would be spent arguing about things that do not matter and put that time and energy into building something that matters.