In which it's still December and it's still dark and we are still riding

Fiddle let me know, at my last lesson, that we needed some trail time.

Lessons this season are concentrating on me, on improving my form and on teaching me to canter properly.   For the "canter" lessons I borrow a horse:  Fiddle and I have too much shared bad baggage for either of us to make progress together.  That, combined with her 2016 stifle injury, has led me to say "enough"--Fee and I do not need to canter together in the arena.  It's just not worth the possibility (probability) of injury for either (or both) of us.

Lately, I've been working on basic equitation issues in lessons, and the weather has been so hideous (frozen cold, mostly, but at least no sn*w so far) that the covered arena has been the only place to be.

Until today.

"OUTSIDE!" demanded the Dragon today, and despite the very short day (8 hours, 27 minutes of actual daylight, assuming that because the sun is above the horizon you can call it "light") and the dumping rai…

In which we can't avoid December, and we activate Coping Skills

The month began with sad stuff, as December often does. It's really my least favorite time of year.

It's possible to survive the Big Dark.  I have strategies, and I'm going to share a few of them.
1.  RIDE
The trails are sloppy and horrible from more than a month of heavy rainfall.  I'm not complaining about the rain--we need it.  BUT there's no need to risk tendon injuries by slopping around out there.  
I've been heading over to Fish Creek Farm to take lessons from Dory (under the roof!  A covered arena is a godsend!) for the last few weeks.
We've mostly been working on my (lack of) cantering skills on borrowed horses, but I really want to ride MY horse too, so today's lesson was all about posture and balance and riding without my reins at the trot.  My (artificial) hip joints are capable of so much more than my hip flexor tendons will allow, so we work a lot on increasing mobility there. 
A strenuous workout is an excellent Coping Skill in December.

In which he didn't stay nearly long enough: Puzzle, the best, best cat

No matter how long they live, it's never long enough.

(I've stolen most of this post from Jim's Facebook page because writing isn't happening for me right now.)
Puzzle had a wonderful final day:  he snuck outside for a few minutes, then asked Monica to let him back into the house. 

When he came in, he finished off some salmon and had a little tuna water and a few kibble treats.

He spent the rest of the day going from laps 

to sleeping on the chairs or his bed. 

He played with his favorite mouse for a minute.

But, being so sick takes a lot out of a guy. And seeing your people sad is hard, too.

In which we are all on borrowed time, and Puzzle stays another day

This time yesterday afternoon, I fully expected to write an obituary for Puzzle today.

I'm happy to report that the obit isn't needed...yet.  Yes, he is on borrowed time. 

About a month ago, there was Something Wrong with Puzzle.  He was eating constantly, but losing weight.  He puked a lot, he was in the sandbox all the time.  No fun for the cat!

Patty came out to the Farm (in her capacity of Veterinarian, although I do recall tea and scones being served, because a visit from Patty is always an excuse for a party) and pulled blood from the cat.

RESULTS (texted to me early the next day):  the kitty's thyroid level was WAY TOO HIGH.

Meds were ordered and administered.  Two weeks later, I sent Patty this video to show her the kitty's recovery:

I gotta admit that the cost of the meds is kinda high:  about $50 / month.  I would not necessarily spring for that much ongoing cost...but Puzzle is a special cat.

With the cat feeling much better, we went ahead with Thanksgiving l…

In which Foxie Loxie is a weird little dog, and he gets a grip

If Foxie Loxie ever gets cast in a performance of Winnie the Pooh, he will be perfect for the role of Piglet.

Fox, like Piglet, is a Very Small Animal who gets excited at the idea of being Useful, and who worries about things like Hostile Animals and falling trees...and...and...and...
the kitchen floor.

Fox has not always been afraid of the floor, but recently Roo has repeatedly knocked him rather sideways with her big fat fluffy butt.

Roo doesn't mean to knock Foxie around.

In fact, she probably has never noticed that she does it.  When Roo gets Happy, she spins, and when Roo spins, she pays no attention to her surroundings.

This has almost led to catastrophe in the past, as when Roo nearly brained herself on a concrete wall.  She was so excited that she barely noticed the wall--even after she slammed into it head-first.

(Please note:  Floofs are lovely, funny, adorable dogs.  They are almost entirely Not Clever)

When a Very Small Animal gets knocked rather sideways by a spinning flu…

In which NaNoWriMo continues and there's a small clue here somewhere

Claus of Death:  a murder mystery
Anna had not cried.  She hadn’t yelled, or screamed insults.  She hadn’t even vomited—she was quite proud of that.  She’d felt like puking over Alex and Finn and Seamus and everyone else.  But she hadn’t.
When the brawl had roiled out of the kitchen to where people were gathered around the dining table, she’d looked over at Seamus on the bodhrán and the others on the step-up stage with her. 
Seamus had grinned that easy grin at her, and, without turning to face the rest of the band, raised his thumb up over his head—the signal to pick up the already brisk pace of “The Rocky Road to Dublin”.
Jimmy on the flute gave a whoop and immediately sped them up, and Anna went with the others where the beat led them, Hunt the hare and turn her down the rocky road and all the ways to Dublin, whack follol de-dah….
Down on the floor, she saw more fighters jump onto the dogpile, while a few of the sensible ones—mostly moms with small kids, Anna noticed—grabbed up and…

In which it looks like Autumn and feels like Winter, and I keep on (w)ri(t)ding

It's not very warm out there.

The trailer has been in the shop (driveway) awaiting repairs for the last two weeks.  I haven't entirely pined away.

I've been writing...

...and I've been riding.

It's been a couple weeks well-suited to hunkering down with my NaNoWriMo project, making soup, and keeping the woodstove going.

But as soon as the trailer was declared "FIXED"

...we were gone.

And it was GOOD.

Granted:  we rode for two hours, and then came home  and I built a fire in the woodstove and  hunkered down with the laptop  and a bowl of soup.
But that's good too.
UPDATE:  Ten minutes after I published this post, the rain started bucketing down peas-and-carrots.  I think I'll make some cocoa to drink while I sit in my fireside chair and write!