Sunday, April 20, 2014

In which I refute the notion that I don't take stuff seriously

Hahahahaha, yeah, no.

Life's too short to be serious.

You can tell 'em I said so.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

In which I propose to get rid of a word I don't think we need now

"I'm just a student x-ray technician," 
the young man with the kind eyes told me as he adjusted the overhead camera.

The hitch in my get-along is healing up beautifully

"I'm just a Green Bean," said a lovely woman in the Endurance 101 clinic at HOTR.

"If they'd just quit clear cutting the forests, we wouldn't have landslides like Oso."

You know what?  I want to get rid of that word.

I deeply object to a word that, in our language, gives permission for the speaker to simplify really complex stuff.

The Xray tech student pays tuition, studies hard, and shows up at the clinic five days each week, rain or shine, to gain the skills to pass the classes so that he can work at a needful job to earn a good paycheck.  That's not "just" a small thing.  That's a big thing, it's important, and it deserves to be recognized.

Green Bean riders who stick with our sport learn heaps about taking care of horses, about navigating over a variety of terrain, about pacing themselves through a long and strenuous day.  They learn about nutrition (equine and human), relationships (also equine and human), and emergencies (of all kinds).  They learn about maintaining a truck/trailer rig to keep it rolling safely over highways, local roads, and cowfields.  This is a complicated sport, and the complexity of the task for Green Beans deserves to be appreciated.

As for the Oso landslide, I invite all the yabbos who flood my inbox every day with fingerpointing accusations and simple solutions to come on out and get your boots muddy in the toxic goop that is currently covering about a mile of highway not far from Haiku Farm.  Some of that goop is twenty feet deep--in other words, it's about 2 stories tall.  And it is not "just" a combination of dirt and water, either.  The mud mixture is a terrible slurry of dirt, water, lumber, hardware, truck parts, propane tanks, fertilizer, family photos, and the bashed up remains of the people and animals who got run over by a mountain.  Finding all causes of the slide will require the a complex team of clever people who can somehow figure out which of the contributing factors finally tipped the bucket.  These factors include but aren't limited to: gravity, time, rainfall, human meddling, the movement of glaciers, and the Will of God.  There is no "just" in this puzzle, and there's no simple solution for the survivors and the recovery teams.  

If I sound a little angry, maybe I am.

If I sound like maybe I think we should stand up straight and own our learning curves, probably I do.

If I sound like I'm going to make a proposal, it's entirely possible that is exactly what I intend to do.

Here it is, the Haiku Farm challenge for the month of April:

Take the word "just" out of your vocabulary.  

Catch yourself saying it, and don't.  

Gently help those around you to get rid of the word too.

Take credit for the tough tasks you've accomplished and don't diminish the hard work you face.  

When you face down a challenge, be proud.  

When you see somebody doing something difficult, recognize it (and give a hand if you are able).

When you're tempted to simplify a complex problem, embrace the complexity and try to solve the whole thing, not just the easy part.

Not "just" a standardbred, and not "just" a total hip replacement patient aboard her.

Is this a crazy proposal?  Tell me what you think in the comments box.

Monday, April 14, 2014

In which the lyrics of John Lennon are twisted (and shouted some, too)

I'm Fifty, yeah, yeah, yeah
I'm Fifty, yeah, yeah, yeah,

I'm Fifty, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah….

Toasting with coconut rum punch with the Usual Suspects!
photo by M. Bretherton

And so this is Fifty
And what have I done?
Winter is done now
And Springtime’s just begun

Sunshine on the actual anniversary of my birth--
of COURSE I went riding!

And so this is Fifty
I hope it’s more fun
Than year forty-nine was
Being old’s not for the young!

My family came to visit, and Mom (and Luna) helped out
with our landscaping.
This is what I will look like when I grow up!

A very happy Fifty
It’s gonna be a great year
Let's hope it's a good one
With plenty of beer.

After messing around in the landscaping, we had plenty of beer!
Also, Santa Jim made elk-burgers.
Not to be confused with reindeer-burgers. Totally different.

Imagine you’ve turned Fifty
It isn't hard to do
Just keep on breathing and riding
Pretty soon you’re Fifty-two
Imagine all the people
Turning Fifty-three….

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be Sixty-one!

...or more than 61 in the case of this pre-2008 photo of Julie Suhr
competing in endurance at the age of 76.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In which we go to an endurance ride and I am not (quite) that dumb

Although I'm healing up phenomenally fast 
following a total hip replacement on March 3rd,
I am not dumb enough to try riding an endurance event 
only a month later.

The cat and both dogs loaded themselves--and each other--several times
while I packed up the little rig.
Which isn't to say that I didn't want to ride at Home on the Range.  I did.  It's one of my favorite events of the year.  

But riding that hard a month out of surgery is a Bad Idea.  And we know who is in charge of those.  

So the Dragon stayed at home while the rest of us jetted over the pass

Errr...jetted?  Well, yes, after Tim replaced a truck starter
in a rest area parking lot.  It's not a real endurance ride if
there aren't any mechanical glitches.

to the dry(er) side of the state.

A familiar landmark on Highway 26, heading east towards Washtucna!
 Once in camp, those with horses set up their confinement areas

Duana bought a brand-new set of Hold Your Horses panels,
and Lois delivered them from Oregon to the ridecamp!

"Pay no attention to the grass, the beetpulp bucket and the hay!
I'm starving!  Santa, will you bring me a cookie?"
But for ride management (and faithful assistants to ride management), sleeping accommodations included a roof...and a kitchen table!

The bunkhouse where Jim and I stayed over the weekend is part of the beautiful Blue Ridge Ranch complex, which celebrated its centennial in 2013.  The Usual Suspects joined us for breakfast on Friday morning--a feast, as usual.

The ranch offers gathering places for hunting, fishing, hiking,
mountain and road biking...and, of course, horseback riding.

 Friday morning before the Endurance 101 clinic (of which there are no photos, sorry), Jim and I went out on the quad to "check" the blue loop.

This was mostly an excuse for the two of us to explore some of the beautiful countryside.

Jim very sweetly drove the trail at the pace of a trotting standardbred
so that I could experience some of the fun I would otherwise miss on ride day.
As usual, I took pictures--and what's a picture of trail without "ears" at the bottom?

On the steeper slopes, I hopped off and followed the quad down the trail.  Easy-peasy!  Who even remembers the part a month ago where I couldn't walk?  Not  me!

While we were out, we saw some of our friends pre-riding the trail.

Green Bean Margie on Magic, and Dory on her green horse Win.

Duana and Hana, Patty and Flower
 Guess who knows what is stored in the pockets of quad riders?

Totally. Not. Afraid. Of. Quads.

I can never get enough of these trails.  When Monica went out to scout some photography locations, I tagged along.

Re-seeded fields all the way to the horizon

Monica's stealth van is a full-size Chevy...but it seems very small
when surrounded by all that pretty.

Back in camp, Roo proceeded to lose her tennis ball about a million times.

I love this dog, but I'm quite sure there are snakes in that gully.  Erch.
 When the rain returned, we re-convened at the Fish Camp, under canopy roofs

A Santa and his Floof, it's a beautiful thing.

Two pretty girls
 ...and of course there was more eating.

Tim's famous sausage soup, and lots of fixin's.  
 Not everyone was invited to dinner.

"We will trade kibble for sausage soup?"

After an early bedtime, the riders were up early for a 7am start.

This photo was taken at the first vetcheck, around 9:30am
Since the trail went through the front yard of the bunkhouse, I just meandered out into the barnyard around 7:15 with a tea cup in one hand and a camera in the other.

They all completed the 50...and the next day

She got down there by herself, and she got right back up again
Patty was hardly sore at all (thanks to a winter of working out at the physical therapy gym).  There is no photo of Duana doing this...(and I shall leave the rest of that sentence for the imagination of the reader)!

Although it's difficult to believe, I did not actually die of jealousy.  But as soon as I got home I took the Dragon out for a ride.

Back out on the trail!
 The Mount Adams ride is a mere 6 weeks away!

And at Mount Adams, I plan to RIDE!

Cuz riding = good.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

In which I do something that is not recommended, and it's not bad!

I had a plan when I got up this morning.

I didn't plan to go sky diving.  I didn't plan to go deep-sea diving.

I didn't plan to run a marathon, or re-roof the house, or sing the National Anthem at the top of my lungs in the local grocery store.

I planned to do something else.

Fiddle:  "Come on, let's GO!"

I planned to take somebody with me too.

I didn't plan to take Roo.  I didn't plan to take Twelve.

I didn't take a goat, or a cat, or the neighbors' new puppies.

I planned to take somebody else.

Outstanding in her field.
 The sky wasn't grey today.  It wasn't orange, either.

Someone did not lose weight during her layoff.

 It wasn't purple, or yellow, or pink, or taupe.  It was something else.

Saddle still fits.  Let's go!

I didn't plan to meet up with my mom when I went out.

I didn't plan to meet up with a firefighter, or an astronaut, or an overweight aging rock star on the casino circuit, or a long-lost polynesian princess, or my 7th grade geometry teacher.

I planned to meet up with somebody else.

Dory makes me smile!
We didn't see giraffes.

We didn't see palm trees.

Swamp Tulips

We didn't see antique roses, or venus flytraps, or Joshua trees in bloom.

We saw something else.

Salmonberry blossom.

I was not in agony.

I did not have twinges, burnings, or soreness or aching.  I did not have itches, tenderness, tingling or ouchiness.  I did not have to stand up in my stirrups, sit sideways in my saddle, or pound the devil out of my left leg.

Less than an hour (because I promised it would be less than an hour).
3.37 miles in 52 minutes, 2 seconds.  

And I didn't feel sad.

I didn't feel morose or afraid or angry.

I didn't feel disgusted, or envious or outraged or bored or depressed or guilty or jealous.

I felt...something else.

Friday, March 28, 2014

In which the answer is twenty five days, if anybody's counting

If you weren't on Facebook this afternoon, 
you still maybe heard the gasps from non-horse people 
and the cheering (and face/palms) from the Usual Suspects.

Surgery + 25 days, for the beancounters out there.
Stirrups are truly even for the first time in at least 3 years!

I didn't show up at Fish Creek today planning to ride.  

Actually, I was just there yesterday, hanging out with Patty and Monica (and Connor) and photosynthesizing some extra spoons

Patty and Monica had a terrific ride in the morning.
I was only a teeny bit jealous.
photo by Monica Bretherton 

And then, today, my friend Susan was supposed to take a riding lesson.

Learning to "wrap" the endurance bit
into Hana's mouth.  

Only that didn't quite happen, so she and Duana and I ended up messing around rather extensively with Hana.

And then....well, Hana was all tacked up....and Duana's helmet fits me just fine...

...and it's not like I've never ridden this pony before!

11 years I've been riding this pony!

And I was never going to "just walk" anyhow.

I rode for a total of 5 minutes, walk and trot in the arena.
Hana didn't even break a sweat.  (Neither did I, for the record)

How was it?

I'll tell ya:

It was painless.

And how am I now?


Much, much happier.