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Showing posts from March, 2010

In which our March "lamb" finally shows up. We were all getting worried!

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This is what we saw on the drive home from the Dry Side on Sunday afternoon: A lot of the month of March has been lionesque: roaring winds, slashing sleet, biting hail. It was getting really old. The Shetland Sheepdogs heard that thing about lions and lambs and were wondering:"Where's our Lamb?"
This morning, our lamb arrived. Cherry blossoms.
Plum blossoms.
Pear blossoms.

Life is good.

(Especially when I don't need to wear a wool toque and rubber boots just to go out and feed the goats!)

In which I muse extensively about Fiddle's first distance ride

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Non-endurance riders may find this post a bit tedious, and to them I apologize and promise a nice, "normal person on the farm" post later this week. This post is all about last weekend's endurance ride : what went right and what needs work.

What went right for Fiddle: A lot of stuff went right. So many that I'm afraid to list them all, because it sounds like bragging--but seriously, when I can say "this went right because I planned for it," I can assure the readership that I learned how to do this stuff by doing it wrong first. Sometimes for a long time. Sigh.

We warmed up early and were able to trot out at the beginning of the ride (although we started behind the main pack of riders); for years I have tried to keep my mount slow at the start of the ride and it was just an exercise in frustration. I may be overdoing the warmup (45 minutes?!?!) but by starting that early, I was able to get Fiddle's mind focused on me and get her muscles warmed up in the e…

In which we go to a ridecamp near Washtucna, and Fiddle goes Far

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It was pouring rain at home on the farm when we loaded up the SS Illegible and headed out the gate, bound for a little town on the Dry Side. About ten miles east of the teeny little town of Washtucna, WA the clans were gathering for the first endurance event of the season: Home on the Range!

It was, by endurance-rider standards, a short drive: about 5.5 hours, including stops for fuel and lunch. Heck, we didn't even leave the state...although I guess if we'd kept going another hour or so, we'd have gotten to Idaho.

When we got to camp, the wind was blowing like crazy, and it was raining lightly. Unlike Wet Side rain, you could actually get pretty wet in the rain falling from the sky...but if you stayed outdoors for about twenty minutes after the rain stopped falling, you'd be dry again. And in the meantime, there's the rainbow. Right over the trail. I was hoping that the rainbow was a good omen. We arrived on Thursday afternoon, and parked next to our f…

In which we load up the rig and head to the Dry Side for the weekend

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We're off to Home on the Range for the weekend. Please leave a message. Beeeeeeeeep!

In which we pack up and make our GREEN trailer into a CLEAN trailer

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The big countdown to the Home On the Range endurance ride has begun: we will leave on Thursday to help ride management get set up before most of the riders arrive on Friday. The ride itself is Saturday--less than 6 days away!!!

Fiddle and I are signed up for the Limited Distance event--just 25 miles. It's really hard for me to wrap my brain around the shorter distance.

When I stopped competing 2 years ago to take time to work with Fiddle, I was routinely finishing 50s, and didn't think twice about signing up for 75-milers. Jim keeps reminding me that Fiddle and I will probably only be out on the trail for about 5 hours, which she will think is a long time. My mental clock is set for a longer duration. I wonder if I'll learn to prefer short rides? Unlikely!

Today I packed up the horse trailer. The dogs helped, as usual.

I emptied out all the extra stuff that accumulated in the trailer over the winter: stuff like six wool toques, and at least 10 pairs of polarfleece gloves. I …

In which Fiddle and I meet some friends for a jaunt through the watershed

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Jennifer and Laser offered to give Fiddle and me a guided tour of the Redmond Watershed. The weather even cooperated--bright sunshine, not too warm, not too cool. It was just right!
And look: spring has arrived! We were barely 30 feet away from the trailhead when Jennifer spotted this:


the first trillium of the season!


About another mile further, and we saw:
Can you see it?

Here's another picture of it:


That's not the only hard-to-spot cool thing. Check this out:

(Fiddle and I are really there...but there's something else, can you see it?)

Here's another one: Still can't see it, huh? One more time:

There it is! About 4 pixels tall.

After exploring some of the most beautifully-built trails I've ever seen (wide, lovely tread, excellent sightlines, and no pokey branches or nasty roots to trip over!), we wandered into some posh neighborhoods strung together by trails.
Across from the bighouseneighborhood, then there was this:
I wish I'd gotten photos of the two signs at …