Friday, September 16, 2011

In which I'm leaving for a ride, so here's some farm pictures to ponder

The trailer is packed, and I'm ready to leave--this time, I'm off to the Bare Bones Endurance Ride, which is a few hours from home. 

(Technically, ridecamp is only a bit more than 100 miles away, but I've got to cross 2 major cities and 1 minor city to get there, so time is more relevant than distance when considering how far from home it is for me...)

Before leaving, I wander around the yard with the camera.  I try to do that every month or so, but apparently I haven't actually taken the camera out to document the yard since June

It's difficult to believe that winter is approaching, because it seems like summer just arrived. 

And yet:
Two cords of wood are stacked in the woodshed.  I'll be happier when there are three or four cords, but two is a good start.

Apples are ripening on the trees in the orchard, a sure sign of Fall.
 Most of the apple crop got scoured by rain, which makes ugly, but edible fruit.
 The horses won't mind the scour marks, I'm sure.

Also in the orchard:
 (can you see it?)
 The plums are ripening very late this year.  Better than nothing, though...

 Nothing was what we got from the cherry trees this year.  Some kind of blight?  I've got to take this photo to the Master Gardener who comes to my library and get her opinion.  It's sure ugly.  The birds didn't even get any cherries this year!
 The herb garden didn't mind the "sprummer" weather, though.  The rosemary bush (above) is green and bushy, and the dill (below) went crazy!
 I was surprised to see that the thyme plants (below) were covered in bees--I can't remember seeing bees so active in mid-September before, but there they were. 
 I wish I knew where the hive was located, because thyme honey is delicious!

Down in the lower garden, some of the blueberry plants are still producing. 
 It's really late in the year for blueberries, but I gather a handful of them for my oatmeal each morning on my way back to the house after feeding the animals.
 Near to the blueberries are the grapevines, also producing very late:
 These grapes turn dark purple when/if they ripen.  We have to race to harvest them--last year, Chicken Twelve got them all!

Here are some moderate-looking zucchini.  One would hardly expect them of trying to engineer world domination, right?
 Take another look:
 Here are three "moderate" zukes, comparable in size to Pickles Marie, who weighs in at 21 pounds.
 Mimsy's butt is floofier--she can just sit down and squash those squashes!
 Back in the garden, the plastic owl watches over the precious crop of green beans
 Size comparison photo:  beans on the left, Pickles Marie on the right.

Pickles isn't frightened by beans, not even big beans.
Pickles knows exactly how to cope with beans.

Life is good!

Monday, September 12, 2011

In which a "night on the town" in our town is all about the horses

It's Friday night--how about dinner and a movie?
Dinner at Pizza Factory.  Ask for cashews on your me, it's grand.
 We met up with our horse-y friends:  Kendall (a "former junior" who is very dear), Michelle and Brit, Patty (recently returned--with Kendall--from many adventures on the XP ride*!).  Jim is in the back corner of the picture, making sure that there's pizza left for me when I get tired of taking photos.

*I wish I could give you a link to information and pictures of the XP ride, which covered 2000 miles of historic trail originally used by Pony Express riders.  However, the ride manager is notoriously secretive...apparently the best/only way to hear about the ride is to have dinner with people who rode it!

We had fabulous pizza, and then we walked a few blocks through our town to the local movie theatre. 

But look:
 this is what we saw
 along the way! 

The streets of Swampington were filled with vintage cars and beautiful hotrods, roaring their approval for the (unusual, but welcome) sunny skies above us.

When we got to the theatre, we found somebody who didn't really appreciate the engine roars:
 Petey is a resident of Equine Aid Horse and Donkey Rescue, and the evening's movie was a fundraiser to benefit the rescue.
Big brown eyes, can you resist them?  Not me.
Who is more adorable, Petey or Kendall?  I can't decide. 

Inside the theatre,  the building is full of horse-people.  Lots of cowboy hats in the auditorium, and lots of horsey-tee shirts, shiny horseshoe jewelry, and even cowboy boots!  Did I mention that the temps were in the 80's?  Not considered "hot" in other parts of the country, however, very few traditional Swampland homes and buildings like our funky little Olympic Theatre are equipped with modern fripperies like air conditioning!
The Olympic Theatre--bring back your popcorn bucket and they will refill it, cheap! 
Best deal in town.  Possibly the best deal in the county.
 We all happily crammed into the little theatre, however, because in addition to supporting Equine Aid, we also got to see an amazing film:
Winner of the 2011 Documentary Film catagory at Sundance.
Watch it and you will understand why, even if you aren't "horsaii."
If you haven't yet seen the film, and want to know more, here's the trailer for it:

As you watch the trailer, keep your eye out for a yellow horse who appears to be carrying 3 or 4 extra scoops of bad attitude.  He's a major player in this film. 

After watching the movie, that yellow horse (and his problematic owner) were the center of discussion.  I'd like to hear from readers who have opinions. Perhaps there is even somebody out there in Blogland who knows her or knows more about her:  what happened after that trailer drove away? 

The events surrounding the yellow horse really spotlight the strengths--and limits--of talented horse trainers like Buck Brannaman.  That yellow horse is what we all strive to avoid. 

As I watched Buck and the yellow horse, I thought of Fiddle in the early days that I had her.  She wasn't nearly so aggressive...but perhaps only because Jacqui stood up to her at an early stage, and I continued the work to impress upon this mare that violence would not be tolerated. She got no reward or relief when she acted aggressively, and she still doesn't.  She is a mare who always wants to know what the boundaries are...not because she wants to cross them, but because she is reassured to find that they don't move--so she tests them (and me).  She tests frequently , if not strongly.  And the answer, if I want to maintain safety for myself, for other people, and for other horses, must always be, "you must behave yourself at all times and respect my space."  The alternative is...well, the extreme alternative looks a lot like that yellow horse.

While the yellow horse's behavior is not acceptable, he didn't just wake up one morning and decide to act like a reprobate.  On the contrary:  that horse got some kind of reward for that behavior from somebody (possibly more than one person), early and often enough in his life that he could continue and escalate, until he reached the extreme behavior we see in the film. 

That horse's behavior is the result of some person's behavior.  I believe that person is responsible for the damage that the horse causes for the rest of his life. 

Am I being an extremist? 

You tell me, in the comments. 

But first:  Go pet your horse, make him/her do a trick, and then give him/her a cookie. 


Sunday, September 11, 2011