In which our weather isn't normal, and I'm not complaining too much

The Swamp is not famous for glorious displays of fall foliage. 

We aren't called "The Evergreen State" by accident:  our woods (especially here on the Wet Side) are often predominantly fir, cedar, and hemlock, which are, ya know, evergreen trees. 

I see spruce and yew trees sometimes when I ride, although I believe a lot of those are planted these days--since our trails are mostly Tree Farm property, the forests aren't representative of what would grow here if people didn't muck around a lot.

The deciduous plants that we do have usually turn brown and soggy and then a wind comes by and blows the brown soggy off the branches and onto the ground.  It's not very romantic.

But sometimes, rarely, we have a combination of climate conditions that make better "autumn color" photos.

This is one of those years!

I don't necessarily love the dry conditions and cold nights that have prematurely killed off our chanterelle crop this year.  
But...'s …

In which it's not even raining yet, but we prepare for a Swamp winter

When it comes to farriers, Fiddle has to vote "yes."

My horse is not allowed to say "no" to people in general.  She is required to behave like a polite grown-up horse at all times.


If she consistently pins her ears at an individual, or if I see the whites of her eyes when somebody is touching her, it's my job to direct that person elsewhere.

Fiddle was a confirmed roller derby queen when she arrived in 2006, with skills in biting, kicking, and body slamming.  It took me a long time to extinguish those behaviors, and one vitally important detail was to pay attention to her.  I could see those early signs of distress, and if I removed the source, she never had to escalate her communication to the point of bad behavior.

Farriers are a love/hate thing with Fiddle.  She loved Ron, but his body started paining him (after he turned 75 years old!) and he had to retire.

She didn't love the two guys who came after Ron.  One of them got abruptly fired when he…

In which our Usual Suspects ride together and we get well-squashed

I guess I need to remind readers that a few years ago, Fiddle had to be kept out of "striking distance" of all but a few horses.

Today was one of those days where I might have ridden out on the trails, if the rain didn't start dumping down just as I was approaching the intersection.  

Turn right:  go to the trailhead.  Turn left: go to Fish Creek Farm.

Dumping rain = turn left to FC and the covered arena!

With a few exceptions, the Dragon and I have been solo on the trails for the last few months.  We mostly don't mind.  Trails can be a nice quiet place for us to hang out together.
But we both missed this!

Meagan took some pictures while we rode around the arena.

Flower came into the arena for evaluation.  Status:  less lameness, but still not time to ride her.  
So Flower got a bath and a light lunch, and then Patty came in to watch for a while.

For many years, Patty maintained a healthy and respectful distance from the Dragon's bad 'tude.

Patty also wanted he…

In which we introduce the new kid and he doesn't tell us his name

His name isn't Pancake. 

He isn't Homer, or Smee, or Gatsby or Katniss.

He isn't Phineas, or Ichabod or Mowgli.

He isn't Pixel, or Gimli.

He is not Aslan, not that we ever thought he was.

Is it Skimbleshanks?

Are you Pluto?  or Mackerel?

Mehitabel?  Midnight Louie?  Mogget?

Rum Tum Tugger or Rumpleteaser?



also known as RumTumTummy, Why is the Rum Gone, and RumbleTiger.

And a bunch of other silly things.

After Puzzle died last winter, we knew we needed to take a break from cats.  He was such a special kitty that nobody would be able to step into his place immediately.

Esmeralda is still here, of course, but she doesn't come in the house.  She is a terrific mouse and rat-catching cat, and we need her skills in the barn.

But lately, we've been kinda looking around.  I even tagged a friend who works at the animal shelter, asking for her to look out for a bold tabby person who might fit into our weird little household.

Then, a few days…

In which I repeat myself redundantly. Do I hear an echo?

After almost 9 years of writing this blog, it's difficult not to repeat myself.

It can't be interesting to read, week after week, "I had a great ride, the trails are beautiful, the rain has stopped for a while, I'm so lucky."

The truck is back from the shop, and running just fine again.  It is still for sale, but I'm mobile until it sells.

That means that Fiddle and I are back where we belong.

I had a bunch of meetings last week, so my work schedule was weird...which resulted in time off on the sunniest day we've had all month.

We aren't the only ones on the trail this time of year. 

We frequently see people with bicycles, dogs, strollers, fishing poles, and all kinds of other weird gear.  Today we saw a guy with ENORMOUS dreadlocks on a bicycle pulling a little red wagon.  The wagon contained:
A dog.
A basket of mushrooms.
And a kid.
It may also have contained 47 live rattlesnakes wrapped in white plastic shopping bags, but Fiddle stopped worrying on…