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In which we ride out with a bunch of Fish and Fiddle leads the Parade!

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"It is October, right?


The event:  the annual Prize Ride fundraiser for the Cherry Valley Riders.  





To the best of anybody's recollection, Fiddle's last experience at a poker ride was in 2011, prior to her spay operation.  Her behavior then was...not exactly stellar. 



Fee was over-protective of Hana in those days, and over-protective of "her" personal space bubble...and I spent a lot of time throwing her into the bushes so she wouldn't kick anybody.



My, how things have changed.




The sun was shining so brightly, it was more than a bit surreal.  All that blue sky...the woods starting to green back up after the dry summer...the trail footing a perfect mix of dirt and a little bit of moisture...it was hard to remember the date.




Usually we slog through mud at the fall prize rides, hunkered into our rain gear, trying to keep horses upright in the muck and trying to remember why we come to these events!



It wasn't very warm in the woods. 






The sun was pretty, but …

In which Fiddle is Zoomy McZoombutt...but just for a little while

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There are horses next door again, and Fiddle is thrilled.


Usually, she runs around the pasture once per week...or less.




 Usually, there's nobody to impress.  But now...




I wanted to go riding, and to hunt for mushrooms.  But first I had to catch my steed.




She was having fun.  





She wasn't running away from me.  She just wanted to run.  So she did.




There was no point in chasing her around. 



So I stood in one spot and used the camera.






An hour later, we were on the trail.




And zoombutt mare?  She hauled me out to mushroom hunting grounds, and then stood quietly, tied to a tree.



All done zooming...until tomorrow.


In which we get on with getting ready for winter in the Swampland

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We opted out of raising turkeys this year,  because our friend Mel does a much better job. 



As she did last year, Mel hosted a "Turkey Massacre" at her farm.  The goal:  turn eleven of these:




into a freezer full of these:


Mission accomplished.  





I'm a little braver than I was last year, when I carefully averted my eyes from most parts of the harvest process.  I still opted not to kill or gut, but at least I could watch and learn without getting squicked out at all.  For me, the change is enormous.


 We're all getting better at this process. 

The equipment has been tweaked, with table heights adjusted and more trading around of tasks to avoid fatigue.  Two people brought knife sharpeners.  Instead of packing the birds in trash bags, we used food-grade shrink wrap. Little changes make a big difference at the end of the day.



Turkeys weren't the only thing on the harvest agenda.  There were also


I am really inept at growing tomatoes.  Because of the Tomato Curse , it…

In which the latest Yule Log video features trotting down the trail

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Lytha loves the Yule Log video in winter.

She made a soothing video of her animals grazing as a Spring "yule log", which I copied on a rainy day in the pasture, and on a nice day of walking on trails in summer. 

But I've only ever made short trotting videos up to now, because the up-and-down motion on a screen makes me a little woozy.



Hark!  YouTube has a "stablize" feature now that smooths out some of the bumping around.  It doesn't completely mitigate the up-and-down, but it's better.  AND I've discovered that if I let the sound run in the background of other windows as I work, the nice rhythmic trotting sound is almost as soothing as the original Yule Log itself.

Even with both hands on the camera most of the time, here's still some bouncing around, because I filmed this with a handheld camera, and every once in a while I needed to brush spider webs out of my eyes.

But, if you've ever wanted to ride a Dragon on trails, here ya go!




Enjoy…

In which it's been summer LONG ENOUGH, bring on the fall (and fall riding)!

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It's been summer so long that we were getting tired of summer.


I like riding in sunshine as much as anybody else.



But with the smoke from nearby forest fires haunting our airspace for several weeks, we are glad to welcome something else.



Of course, there are always a few last-minute, end-of-summer projects to squeeze in before the rain starts.







Last Sunday was the predicted End of Sunshine.


Anne-Marie's greenbean horse Rifle joined us for the first time and learned the essential skills that we teach all young horses.





It's always good to ride with the Suspects.




And finally:  IT RAINED!

The air is clear of smoke, the dirt is dirt again instead of dust, and it feels normal to grab a wool sweater when leaving the house.

We'll clean the chimney tomorrow:  wood stove season is nearly here.

But today:





I kept my eyes peeled for