Saturday, April 4, 2009

In which there is even more fence building, and it is very pretty.

See? The lumber pile fluffed up considerably once we got it unloaded. Now we've just got to figure out how to make this stack into a barn....

I worked on the perimeter fencing for the dogs today. I got an amazing deal on chicken wire (hooray for Craigslist) from a guy who was selling off wire left over from a stucco project (there's chicken wire in stucco? who knew?), and instead of spending $27 at the hardware store for 30 feet of the stuff, I paid $100 for 450 feet of better-quality wire. Now I have plenty of chicken wire for dog fencing AND for actually building a pen for chickens!

ALSO, I found (buried under a weird stack of lumber behind one of the outbuildings) 25 more Very Tall t-posts, perfect for our pasture fence. We'll start pounding horse-fencing posts this week.
I have discovered that there's no such thing as too many fence posts on a farm.
Meanwhile, Jim and Willy dug post holes. We will definitely rent a gas-powered auger for the pasture fence posts, now that we know how many ROCKS are providing the excellent drainage under our pasture soil. These are the holes for our new 14-foot front gate, which will finish the "doggie safe" perimeter fence!

The back deck is a splendid place to watch the sunset, and to rest a bit after some hard work.

Friday, April 3, 2009

In which I take a very short road trip, and return bringing: THE SPRING!

I had some vacation time set aside so I could attend the first endurance ride of the year, which unfortunately got cancelled due to a loss of permitting :-(

I could've stayed home to pout, and generally driven everyone around me entirely crazy; instead, I decided to use some of that time to visit my friend Sky!

Luna went with me--her first road trip without Mimsy and the rest of the family (including horses). Most of the time, she just slept in the front seat of the truck. She did enjoy the stops at Burgerville, and is very helpful when it comes to eating all those little overcooked bits of the rosemary-garlic french fries. No hamburger for you, Luna. But you can have pieces of the bun.

Here was my first surprise about Oregon: it's actually SPRING there! Not like at home, where the daffodils are blooming but it snowed 2 inches in Darrington the day I left. Sky's place is about 350 miles south of Haiku Farm, and the change in lattitude makes for a huge difference in climate this time of year.

The little pink flowers on this bush are salmonberry blossoms! Hooray!
Sky's horses celebrate Spring Shedding Season the same way Fiddle and Hana do: mud baths!

Fiddle's cousin Cricket is much prettier when she's clean.

Cricket's daughter Trinket is growing up to be a very Big Girl Horsey now. Hard to believe she's almost-but-not-quite 4 years old. She still does baby-horse stuff on the trail sometimes, but she's very tidy with her feet and very willing to try new stuff.

Cricket complains about tender soles the same way Fiddle does: she slows way down whenever there's any rock at all on the trail, but when the terrain is soft and nice, she takes off like a very carefully-aimed jet. Her trot is smoother than Fee's...on the other hand, her legs are much shorter, so she takes a lot more steps. I have to remind myself that the ground is a lot closer when I get off these nice short horses, so I don't jam my knees when I land on the ground so's a big change from getting up and down from Fiddle a.k.a. Gigantor!

I didn't have a "reason" for my road trip as much as I had an "exuse": Sky and Joe are doing a major remodel of their house this year, and she set aside all the lumber from the foundation forms: this will be excellent recycled building material for us to use in building a barn!!!

Sky is the Tetris Master! She crammed an uncanny amount of lumber into the back of the truck, and then tied it down with an ingenius series of knots. The load certainly squatted the truck down a little, but it didn't wiggle AT ALL...which is a relief, considering my commute home takes me through Tacoma and Seattle, where the "city-drivers" are notoriously dumb about allowing sufficient distance between a heavy rig and their silly little rollerskate cars.

Tomorrow we will unload all this stuff, and I will take more pictures.

I think it's sort of like toothpaste: we fit all that stuff into a relatively compact container. Once we take it out of the truck, it will expand back into a fabulous, fully-inflated, gigantic stack of lumber.

Here's the big surprise: although it was winter when I left home, I seemed to have dragged at least SOME "Springtime" back with me: look what I saw at a rest area in Washington on the drive home!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

In which the start of Poetry Month is celebrated properly

Lord, the air smells good today,
straight from the mysteries
within the inner courts of God.
A grace like new clothes thrown
across the garden, free medecine for everybody.
The trees in their prayer, the birds in praise,
the first blue violets kneeling.
Whatever came from Being is caught up in being, drunkenly
forgetting the way back.

by Rumi
The poet Rumi was a 13th century Sufi mystic.

Monday, March 30, 2009

In which questions are asked, and some of them are even answered, sorta.

1. How old were you when you first started riding? plastic spring-y pony, age 3. zoo pony, about the same time.

2. First horse ridden: Dixie, a black-bay mare of unknown age and uncertain parentage. She belonged to my friend Carrie's family, and I thought she was beautiful.

3. First horse trotted on: Dixie

4. First horse cantered on: Dixie

5. First Horse fallen off of: Dixie. Yes, all on the same day.

6. Most recent horse fallen off of: Fiddle. My fault, not paying attention, no excuses. Fell right into some nice (oof) comfy (yow!) blackberry bushes. Last winter.

7. Most terrifying fall: that rolling-down-the-sand-hill thing with the Toad, maybe 7-8 years ago...everyone unhurt, but I thought for sure he'd broken my brand new saddle (it was fine).

8. First horse jumped with: what, on purpose? Midnight, I think.

9. First horse who ran away with you: Toad. Don't ask how many times. I lost track.
10. First horse that scared the crap out of you: Toad.

11. First horse shown : shown what? >g<

12. First horse to win a class with: oooooh, a horse show. Um, Fiddle and I did pretty well at an obstacle course class a few years ago...the other horses in the class were afraid of the rope thing, so we had a good time, compared with those 'fraidy cats.

13. Do you/have you taken lessons: as often as possible
14. First horse you ever rode bareback: Bo, I think. She got too pregnant to wear the saddle anymore....

15. First horse trail ridden with: Midnight or Tonka, probably.

16. Current Barn name: "She who cleans and brings food"

17. Do you ride English or western?: I ride "far."

18. First Horse to place at a show with: Fiddle, sorta. It wasn't a very show-y show, it was a game day for off-the-track Standardbreds. We had fun, though.

19. Ever been to horse camp?: yeah!

20. Ever been to a riding clinic? yup.
21. Ridden sidesaddle? bareback in the pasture, being silly.

22. First horse borrowed: Beware

23. Last Horse borrowed: Toad
24. Highest ribbon in a show: what is this show fixation? peh.

25. Ever been to an 'A' rated show?: peh peh peh.

26. Ever competed in pony games/relay races?: yes! these are fun!

27. Ever fallen off at an event: almost, but not yet. Well, there was that time at the Prineville 50-miler, when Story stumbled and I came off when she rolled...I don't think that should count, though.
28. Do you ride Hunter/Jumpers?: not if I can help it. I'm a chicken.

29. Have you ever barrel raced? well, I've gone around barrels on a pacing standardbred. "Scamper" doesn't lose any sleep over our not-exactly-breakneck speed.

30. Ever done pole bending?: bent and broke those suckers. not really. yes, I've gone around poles, but not very fast.

31. Favorite gait: cantelope and cricket-stomp (these are special STB gaits--you gotta ride 'em to recognize 'em)

32. Ever cantered bareback?: yeah!

33. Have you ever done dressage?: I have attempted to improve my dressage technique. The "Dressage Queen" crown will always be elusive, I fear.

34. Have you ever evented?: not intentionally.
35. Have you ever mucked a stall?: I currently hold a 3rd degree black belt in stall cleaning!

36. Ever been bucked off?: Yup. Lost count of those. Not lately, though.
37. Ever been on a horse that reared? Yup. Not often. Whew.

38. Horses or ponies. horses.

39. Do you wear a helmet?: Every ride, every time. Current helmet is purple with reflective flames.

40. What's the highest you've jumped: try not to think about it

41. Have you ever ridden at night?: often.
42. Do you watch horsey television shows?: if somebody records them for me.
43. Have you ever been seriously hurt/injured from a fall?: thus far, I have escaped serious injury >knocking wood<

44. Most falls in one lesson: one

45. Do you ride in an arena/ring?: sometimes

46. Have you ever been trampled by a horse?: no
47. Have you ever been bitten?: no
48. Ever had your foot stepped on by a horse?: often

49: Favorite riding moments:
sunshine. Story. top of the hill. bliss.
Fiddle. Collected trot. Wow!
Toad. Finish Line of Mt Adams 100-miler. Whew.

50. Most fun horse you've ridden: Fiddle!


I didn't write this to scare people, but judging from some of your email responses, my answers seem

The list of questions came from another blog--a lot of horse blogs have this particular list lately--and the only thing that generally strikes me when I read other peoples' answers is that most people seem to spend a lot more time at horse shows than I do!

Other than that, my answers about falling off and getting my feet stepped on are actually kind of average for horse people. I don't enjoy falling or getting squashed, and I try to avoid that stuff, but gravity happens a lot when you spend time with large silly animals.

Most of the time, the fun is worth the pain. Ain't that true of everything worthwhile?

Back to farm news soon : We are just about to install a GATE--wahoooooo!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

In which we continue fence building, trim trees, and have Korean Food Night

We are determined to keep Mimsy from visiting the neighbors, especially via the road. It's just too scary to call a dog and have her take 5 minutes to wander back from wherever her nose has led her. Luna rarely goes more than three feet from me, but Mimsy has a sense of adventure that needs to be curbed in the presence of traffic.

Criminy, chicken wire is a lot more expensive than I remember from previous adventures. We salvaged a bunch of wire and some posts from the chicken pen built by the former owners, and I made a quick-but-expensive stop at Lowe's this morning. The dog fence is almost finished now--we've got all the materials we need for now, except a 12-foot gate. I'll be haunting Craigslist and Freecycle this week, for sure.
While I was building fences, Jim and Willy got out the Implements of Destruction and had serious discussions with some of the fruit trees. Although most of the pear trees were loppable using hand tools, the apple tree at the top of the orchard took some serious chainsawry. That formerly sucker-rambunctious tree has been tremendously chastened now...but the tree next to it seems to grow more suckers every time we cut one off of any other tree in the herd. Was orchard-tending one of the Labors of Hercules? It should have been, if it wasn't.

Sunday is once-again Korean Food Night! Tonight Willy cooked bi bim myun (noodles, with chopped cucumber and scrambled egg, and a spicy sauce), djang aji (pickled radish, peppers, and carrots in a savory sauce--the radish is decoratively cut and quite crunchy) and leftover dan jooji (bright yellow pickled radishes).

If the noodles get out of control, it's okay to use scissors. I'm so glad they told me this.

I learned a new phrase that I'm sure I will use a lot:
"Chal mogosoyo" = "I have eaten very well!"