Saturday, July 23, 2011

In which we take a little field trip, and we find blue sky and water

The sky overhead was NOT very summer-y.  
 It's been that kind of a summer, here in the Swampland. 

In fact (just in case you think I'm exaggerating) one of our local weather-guessers sat down and did the math:

That's using a definition of summer as "blue sky and 80 degrees or warmer." 
If you define summer as "blue sky and 75 degrees or warmer", Seattle has gotten a little more than 18 hours, total, since June 1st. 

Heavy sigh.

My little town, located about an hour north of Seattle hasn't had one single minute of temps above 75 degrees since October 2010.  That's supposed to change this weekend.  Cross your fingers for us, okay?

With ongoing weather like this, we decided to stop waiting for summer. So, even with clouds gathering overhead, we went to the waterslides.
We love the waterslides!

This big black slide scared the bejibbers out of me. 

There is no way on this planet that I would go on that thing!

The kids did, though!  They took the "short drop" in total darkness, on tubes... well as THE BIG DROP:

I think the Sky Gods were pleased with their bravery:

The view from the top of the not-so-scary slides:
We took "the scenic route" home, through the state park.  
But the kids didn't see any of the prettiness out the window:
We wore them all the way out.
Life is good.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

In which I consider beautiful indelible markings : tattoos!

Ruth at BlueBlazes had a cute blog post the other day (here), and showed off her tattoo:
It got me thinking about ink.

Story had a lip tattoo that was essentially unreadable.  Fiddle has a lovely tatt on her neck:
 ...when she grows in her winter coat, this turns into a white smear.  In fact, her immigration papers read "illegible freeze brand", because it was so furry that year.  I didn't realize that it isn't illegible until June of the following summer, when it shed out perfectly.

(I keep it clipped in winter now.)

It got me thinking about beautiful ink.  I had this tattoo done a few years before Story died:
The original art was taken from a photo of Story and transferred directly onto my arm, with the black tribal as a frame. 

Later, another (better) artist added the moonscape background. 
(do you have any idea how difficult it is to take a picture of your own bicep?  Sheesh.  I finally took a photo in the mirror to illustrate the entire thing...only, of course, it's backwards):

Someday, I'll probably put a tatt of Fiddle on my other bicep.  Anybody feeling creative and want to design it?  Here's her photo:

Seeing her picture right next to the tattoo of Story really shows me how much they looked alike, even for cousins.  Kewl.

I know there's more ink out there in the horse world, and I want to see it, readers!  Put links in the comments, post photos on your blog, or send a picture directly to me and I'll put it up here. 

Let's see some beautiful tattoos, shall we? 

Okay, Funder sent this one:

She says:
It's a sumi-e style rearing horse on my hip.  It's my "never give up" tattoo that reminds me of my Champ.  Dixie will get one too one day, when I figure out her design - I am thinking of something about her face.  Maybe just the line of bay/white down her nose, or maybe a whole head shot.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

In which we ride and sing, and also devise a new speed measurement

The "usual suspects" headed out on the trail again this morning, dodging raindrops. 

Yes, raindrops in July.  Yes, we are still carrying our parkas when we ride out in July...our lightweight parkas, but still,  I think Summer has forgotten that we had a date to hang out.

Duana has so much fun riding Hana, and Hana really loves being able to get out and do stuff.  Hana has the longest attention span I've ever seen on a horse:  once she gets her "working face" on, she will stay on-task for hours.

Du is also learning to relax and trust the little red mare.  They're both having fun, which is fabulous.

 Connie has a new horse to play with, too.  I think Farah is going to work out just fine, although she's still very green. 
 We rode about 12 miles today--lots of trotting, but not as far or as fast as our Thursday rides (with the smaller group of fitter horses). 

We've been working on a new way to rate the horses' speed and keep them at a consistent tempo as we move:

We sing.

I was raised in a house full of Boy Scouts, and Scouts have songs for all kinds of activities.  It turns out that different songs that I learned from the Scouts work with different horse-trotting speeds. 

Huh.  Who knew?

When the horses are trotting at about 9 mph, it's a good tempo to sing "Waltzing with Bears."

(I sing about two keys lower than Seamus Kennedy so I can hit the high "wa-wa-wa-waltzing" notes.  And yes: the song is in 3/4 waltz time, but it still works with a 2-beat trotting gait.  Someday I'll record it for you.)

If we want to slow down a bit, "The Battle of New Orleans" is the song to sing to keep us moving down the trail at 7 to 8mph:

If we want to sl-o-o-o-w-w-w way down, the only song I know for 4.5 mph is "The Road that Never Ends":

Slower than that, the only song that I know is "99 bottles of beer on the wall"...or maybe that song just makes it seem like we're going slower than The Road that Never Ends.

For quicker stepping, it turns out that "The Great Ship Titanic" is a good fit for a 12 mph trot or canter!

Faster than 12 mph, I don't sing.   I just hang on and grin.

Life is good.