Sunday, January 25, 2015

In which fancy prom dresses (and wings) aren't just for the prom anymore

It's that time again.

As so often happens, the best events start with food.

And then:

"If we're lucky, it will cover up most of my butt."

on to the thrift stores!

"I'm wearing mommy's dress-up shoes."

We do this every year.

"My girlz are gonna just leap outta this one!"

Attending the PNER convention is fun anyhow.

"I've mis-placed my tiara again."

But attending the convention banquet and dance in an ASTONISHING dress makes things more fun.

Seafoam toga.  Try to contain your jealousy.

Shopping Day is one of the funniest days of the year with the Usual Suspects.

"It's certainly"

"Oh yeah, because personal dignity is a thing."

Finally: a dress that doesn't look awesome on Betsey.

"Whaddya think?  Too tasteful?"

So, our outfits are ready,

"These dresses will be perfect if we have somebody walk
behind us all night to hold them together."

and so are we!

"Can we find something less elegant?"

Distracted by boots.  It's a problem.

TFOM:  The Friends of Macklemore

You've heard of Diana Ross and the Supremes?
These ain't those.

The Usual Suspects in their winter plumage

Important last step:  choosing the wings to go with


  • Fancy dress
  • Fancy shoes
  • Wings
  • Tiara
  • Personal Dignity

A dress fit for DANCING!

See you at convention!

Friday, January 23, 2015

In which we join the Trail Minions of Doom and do not completely drown

Our friend Anne-Marie took a great notion to create an Endurance clinic for 
Green Bean riders, and a bunch of us thought it was a good idea.

Eileen's Trail Minions of Doom
 The clinic is all the way off-the-ground now:  they've got a date, a place, a presenter (Susan Garlinghouse!!!) and

Rider spots are full, but there is still room for auditors
and mentors.  PM me if you need the link.

now they have trails, too.

The forecast called for several gallons of rain.
And yes:  we got pretty wet!

Adjacent to clinic location Griffinwood Stables is almost 100 acres of woods, including some sweet little trails,

Training challenge #1: The Bridge
This bridge is much more challenging in late Fall when the
salmon are spawning.  In February, it's just a bridge.

and a few training challenges.

Training Challenge #2:  Weird Stuff
In summer, this weird stuff is used by SCA folks for their games.
In winter, it's just dormant weird stuff.

A good-sized tree blocks the main trail.  Rather than cut it out with a
chainsaw, Eileen and Jim knocked it down so it can be a step-around
or a step-over challenge for the horses and riders.

The trail crews split into smaller groups to cover lots of ground and clear out the ever-encroaching blackberry vines.  Other than vine-encroachment, the trails were in pretty good shape--

One team goes left, the other goes right

wet, of course, but with mostly-gravel underneath,

nice wide tread, and good sight-lines.

The foliage here is slightly different than we see on our home trails--lots more deciduous variety than our standard alder/cottonwood scrub.

We saw lots of this weird lichen on the ground, and it looks EXACTLY
like octopus skin.  I see it as further evidence of the Pacific Tree Octopus.

We checked the creek crossing, and devised a wonderful exercise for the riders here: sponging practice!

The approach to the crossing is good -- shallow gravel.  The exit is
the steep mudbank visible behind Jim, which we opted to avoid using.
Riders will enter the creek, sponge their horses,
and depart the way they came in.

The far side of the creek is a trail called the Swamp, which we scouted

Really wet out there

and eventually rejected.  The water was almost over the tops of Santa Jim's boots--and the mud was gloopy enough to grab off hoofboots and horse shoes.

Feet stayed dry...barely...

And after trail work is done...

Nearby establishment "Character's Corner" may look like a dive bar.
That's because it is a dive bar.
But the food is awesome!

Lunch.  (Try the fish tacos, they're great!)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

In which Fiddle receives visitors and I am disobedient

This is Eliza, and Fiddle loves her.

Chill out, paranoid parents, I'm not that dumb:
the kid's mom and grandma and I were standing close by
but I cropped us out of the photo for dramatic visual effect.

Eliza came to visit because her grandmother came to visit.

"And who is this grandmother?" the Inquisitive Reader wants to know.

Why, it's Jacqui, otherwise known as Fiddle's First Mum.

Back in 2006, Jacqui was coping with a nasty brain tumor and couldn't take care of Our Favorite Dragon anymore, and so (thanks to a network of helpful people) she delivered Fiddle to me on a rainy night in late December.

I was given the option to send her to Greener Pastures the following Spring if I didn't want to keep the mare...and we all know how that turned out.

But Jacqui didn't just drive off into the sunset!

She went through heaps of treatment, and has visited Haiku Farm a couple of times, and last weekend she came back with her daughter and Young Eliza in tow.

"Goats, meh.  Let's go back and look at the horsey again!"
Here's a thing about Fiddle:  she loves babies.  She's a mothering kind of mare, and watches out for little dumb things like foals and kittens and toddlers.

Adult people, not so much.  She wasn't very thrilled about Jacqui's daughter standing nearby, for example.

But babies like Eliza, she loves.  And, fortunately, some few adults (like Jacqui) she loves.

"Don't publish my picture!" Jacqui insisted.
But this photo would look stupid without the grandma.
Yes, I'm disobedient.  It's a Pirate Thing.

I guess Fee gets that nice, soft eye sometimes when she looks at me.

This picture is better with Jacqui attached to the hand at right.
But, eh.  One disobedience is enough for right now.

It's nice to see that happy face directed at other folks, too, sometimes.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

In which we continue explorations and get bewildered again

Roo and I went out to look at another stretch of the Whitehorse Trail today.

biggify to see my notes
We only had an hour to walk, so we decided to start as the same trailhead as before, but head east instead of west.

This section still needs a LOT of work--I didn't know that before we left.

In fact, I suspected, but didn't really know for sure that we weren't actually on the trail itself for the first half of our walk until we saw a sign posted by a local landowner.

Pretty sure that the County doesn't use this typeface on official trail signs

So, we turned the other direction on the road (not the trail) and kept heading vaguely east.

Looking at the north face of Ebey Mountain--the west side faces Haiku Farm.
We were about 2 miles from home when I took this picture.

It was a pretty day to be bewildered in, and Roo is good company.

Beautiful pasture.  Clearly, they haven't run horses or cattle here recently
(NO MUD!) We did see dairy equipment stacked around the property.

We finally got to the trail by cutting through somebody's orchard.  Since the path through the orchard is well-established, I figure I'm not the first person to be off-trail here.

Yep, that looks a lot like a rail-trail to me.
 When we found the trail, we followed it east for a bit.

View of the Stillaguamish River from the trail
The turnaround place is the intersection of the trail with a local road--and I recognize the spot: I bought hay here a few years ago.

This access road runs through a dairy farm.  I have been here before.

The fields are extremely wet right now.  If we get more rain we're going to have to outfit the local cows with water-wings.

The east-stretching bit of trail has clearly been worked on recently.  The amending is lovely.  My compliments to the work crews--they are doing a great job.

A rope swing into the river
 The good thing about rail trail beds is that they are mostly higher than the surrounding terrain, so they stay high and dry a bit longer.

Brand-new bridge decking.  There are no side-rails, hence the caution tape

Heading back west beyond the bridge, we got to a section that hasn't been fixed yet...and the elevation of the rail-trail isn't enough to keep it dry, because the saturated sidehill is draining onto the trail.

My feet got very wet going through here.  Ugh.  I hate wet socky-feet.

"Floofs get water wingz too?"

After we waded the trail for a bit, we got to a stretch where they've begun work, but not done any of the finish yet.

Brush-hogging blackberry bushes is a terrible job
 The tread is still covered with dead and dying blackberry branches


Roo's floofy undercarriage frequently gets hung up on the brambles

"We can go back to the swimmy part now, pleez?"
 and the thorns on the branches are hard on her tender toes.  I had to carry her through part of this, but I can't carry a 30-pound dog through trip-hazard branches very far.

We'll give the work crews some more time to finish this stretch of trail before we return.  

There's more than 20 more miles of trail to explore, so we won't be bored!

Roo is an excellent trail companion