Showing posts from April, 2010

In which I wander around the garden and think about last April

Lytha at the Horse-Crazy American blog has photos comparing April 2009 and April 2010. Good idea! Here are a few Haiku Farm photos for comparison.

(It started dumping rain while I was wandering around the yard, so I'll have to take more photos later.)

Here's the blueberry bushes last year, being strangled by blackberry vines:

This year, having been freed from the blackberry tyranny:
Last year's grapevines were equally overwhelmed by blackberries. April 2009:

Grapevines, April 2010:
This year, of course, we have additional staff:Look how busy they've been in the orchard!

Apple trees, April 2010:

Apple blossoms, April 2010:

Sunset, April 2009: No fences, no garden, no chickens, no goats, no horses. Pretty, though. Sunset, April 2010:

It's good here.

In which I discuss the reasons for going horseless to a ridecamp

When I'm in camp to compete, a lot of my attention is focussed on myself and my horse.

Sure, I meander around camp on Friday afternoon, chatting with friends, but at the same time I'm doing a mental inventory of every blade of grass my horse eats while we wander, mentally calculating the amount of electrolytes she's already had balanced against the amount she needs to have before sundown, mentally second-guessing the weather forecasters...

...You get the idea. There isn't much of me left to enjoy camp, mentally-speaking.

That's one of the reasons we go to at least one ride every year without our horses. This year (as last year) we've chosen to attend the Milwaukee Road Rail Trail Ride, and leave the horses at home for the day.

Working as pulsers at the ride also gives us terrific opportunities to catch up on the gossip.

We can admire the fashion sense (or lack) demonstrated by our friends and fellow competitors:

I think these gortex chaps look really stupid...but the…

In which I sing a decomposed song to make endurance riders laugh

We're off for the day to work at the Milwaukee Road Rail Trail Ride--not taking horses, just going to help out ride management. Here's a song to keep you busy while we're gone!

Prop Me Up Beside the Vetcheck (if I die)
with profuse apologies to Joe Diffie

Well I ain't afraid of dyin', it's the thought of being dead
I wanna go on being me once my eulogy's been read
Don't spread my ashes out to sea, don't lay me down to rest
You can put my mind at ease if you fulfill my last request…

Prop me up beside the vet check if I die
Lord, I wanna go to heaven but first I gotta finish this ride!
Fill my boots up with sand, put a ride card in my hand
Prop me up beside the vet check if I die.

Tie me to the saddle with baling twine
Make my rig into a spot for one more good ol’ time
Put me up on a trotting horse,
I’ll be back in camp by dawn
I'll be the life of the ridecamp, even when I'm dead and gone

Prop me up beside the vet check if I die
Lord, I wanna…

In which we celebrate poetry month with some poems about dogs

for Jerry & Kathy

It’s no good standing on the porch
& yelling. He’s deaf
as a man with long years
in the engine room of a ship listening
for the sounds metal makes
before it fails, a faint break
in rhythm, something out of tune.
He is lying in the middle
of the road, staring east
across a field of pumpkins
ruined by the cold.
He can’t hear ducks or geese
resting in the marsh talking one another
through the night in comfort
or complaint. Or coyotes
barking across the Valley.
Traffic is far away, only a whisper,
like blood through a vein.
Some dark scent, perhaps, tugs
his head back & forth
in an old, old way.
If he hears anything, it is likely the light
beating in his chest, already diminishing,
though neither of us knows it.
He is sprawled in a black bed
of glittering frost,
so that I wonder if he’s had to lie down
to keep from falling into the sea
of stars above him. When he turns
his head at my touch
his eyes fill with a small joy,
as though love is so easily given
even I might as…

In which I talk about horse containment and stuff I've learned the hard way

Funder is in the process of buying a trailer so that she can take herself to endurance rides and other horse events. Hooray for her! But the prospect of being mobile is also causing Funder to ask a bunch of questions.

I don't consider myself an expert horse-trainer, or expert anything, actually. But I do have some experiences that I can share that might save Funder (and others) from learning lessons I've already learned (the hard way)!

So, let me write about keeping a horse contained in ridecamp.

When I started riding endurance, I rode Story, who could easily be kept contained by a fence made of masking tape. My riding partner rode Blaze, who could easily be kept contained by a really big pile of hay + proximity to Story. We used an electric-tape fence connected to a charger run on a bunch of D-cell batteries. No worries.

After a few years, I brought the Toad to his first ride, and put him in the electric-tape fence. He was nervous about being away from home for the first time…

In which we go riding and contemplate some nice French philosophy

And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye. --Antoine de Saint-Exupery (Le Petit Prince)

In which we celebrate Saturday Stories : here's one about working

I truly don't remember where I found this story. It's been in my head forever, and I don't tell it very often anymore. At the beginning of Spring, though, it just seems appropriate....! --A

Where Do You Think You Are?

A man died, and after filling out the appropriate paperwork, he found himself in some kind of paradise.

The food was great, the weather was perfect, the entertainment was top-notch.

After a while, however, the man looked around. He was bored!

Were there no children to be tended? Was there no laundry to be folded, no dishes to be washed, no plumbing to be repaired?

He asked around. Was there something he could do to help out around the place?

They were amazed. “Work?” they asked. “Where do you think you are–Heaven?”

In which the Swampland weather is typically wet...and wonderful

It rained today.
Blue skies are pretty, but our Swamp isn't made green by blue skies.
Goats hate rain. They hang out in Goatenheim, complaining about the weather.
Mad as a wet hen? Nah. The Minervas don't really mind rain so much. Water, water, everywhere.

I don't usually take photos in the rain--who wants to get the camera all wet, after all? And yet, how can I portray the wonders of the Swamp without showing our prodigious rain?

Here's a little rain for my friends outside the Swamp.

(YouTube is being silly this week, so if the window doesn't work for you, go HERE instead)