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Showing posts from March, 2012

In which we are never "cleared for launch" without weather-checking the pass

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Here's the weather forecast summary for Washtucna on ride day for Home on the Range, according to NOAA.gov:
Saturday: Rain. High near 55. East wind between 6 and 9 mph becoming calm. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New rainfall amounts between a tenth and quarter of an inch possible.

That's not bad.  I like a high near 60 degrees better, but 55 and a quarter-inch of rain is fine.

The problem isn't the ride site.  

The problem is the mountain pass between home and the ride site.   Here's the Dept of Transportation photo of the pass this morning:




Here's THAT summary: Restrictions EastBound: Traffic stopped for avalanche control Conditions: Compact snow, slush and ice on the roadway. Avalanche control work is complete. Westbound traffic has been released and is now moving. Eastbound traffic remains stopped at milepost 47, near Denny Creek, and milepost 56, near Gold Creek, while clean up continues. Weather:Snowing, hard at time with poor visibility
We aren't giving …

In which "the greening of Spring" needs to be un-greened with pressure-washing

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Everybody gets all excited about "the coming of the Green" on St. Patrick's day.  In the Swampland, we have other words for the varity of green-ity we see in early Spring: 
mold.  mildew.  slime.   I know that Lytha doesn't just wash her horse, tack,  truck, and trailer before and after every event, she actually details them all (not kidding!).  I would love to have gear that clean. 
At Haiku Farm, we don't make the time for all of that. 
The rig gets washed once each year, whether it needs it or not.
After a year in the Swamp, it needs it. Here's the Swamplanders' Secret Weapon:
Jim scored last summer at a garage sale:  a power-washer for uber-cheap.  We use that gadget on everything. 
Well, we haven't used it on the dogs.  And we haven't tried it on the chickens yet. We have threatened to use it on the kids.
Look how beautiful the trailer is when it's clean!
Oooh, pretty, shiny.


Now that the trailer is clean, I can pack it for our upcoming ride!  H…

In which Hana leaves for Fat Camp (but we tell her it's a spa resort)

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Hana is fat, fuzzy, and out-of-shape.  We need to fix that.  Duana and Jim want to ride a sleek, fit pony this summer, not a fluffy yak with cardiac issues!

Madeline started the "fitting up" process yesterday.  We rode out with the Usual Suspects.  The plan was to do 18 steady miles, but events conspired against us, and we ran short on time.
One of the "conspiring events" was Hana herself, who was determined to hollow her back and jig down hills. Mads doesn't like riding a hollow jiggy horse, so she insisted that Hana carry herself correctly downhill...which meant going slowly and enforcing the rules. Hana did not appreciate the lesson in manners, but it was good for her! 
She's a drama queen. It gets old.
It really gets old in ridecamp, when Hana is safely penned in her corral, twirling and screaming and generally being obnoxious, and upsetting Fiddle, who is supposed to be showing everyone how nicely she can behave in a vetcheck. 
It's time to fix that …

In which when the going gets tough, the tough go riding (even in sn*w)

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It's amazing how much sadness came from the loss of such a tiny dog.  We miss her every hour of every day...but we're learning to move on.  It's not easy.
Especially when the weather goes all pear-shaped, and on a riding day, too!
Sirie and Patty texted me:  "Ride?  or lunch?"

I texted back: "Ride.  THEN lunch."   So, we did.
At least there's a non-sn*wy place to tack up. 

The dragon shares my opinion of the weather:


Video Transcription
Patty: Alright.  Um, Aarene, I don't think your horse reeeeeeally wants to go riding today.
Aarene: (No...)
Patty:  What do you think?
Aarene:  I think, she's going, like...
Fiddle:  You must be kidding.  Bah.
Aarene:  "You're serious?"
Patty:  I don't think she...
Aarene:  "It's gonna cost you in cookies, all right."
Fiddle:  There's snow out there.  There's food in here.  Why leave?
Aarene:  All right,  here.
Patty:  You have to get out, Fiddle.
Aarene: You have to get ou…

In which I remember (more than) ten good things about Pickles Marie

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The Haiku Farm blog will return to normal horse-centric babbling and weather grumblings after this post.  It's sn*wing again, by the way...and we're going riding anyhow.

We planted a plum tree to mark the grave of our Pickles Marie, and hung the tree with prayer flags.

The tree stands beside our barn, in a bright sunny place that we will walk past every day. 

There's a children's book that I have loved for many years, called The Tenth Good Thing About Barney, in which the narrator tries to remember ten good things to tell at the funeral of his cat, Barney.

I thought of a lot more than ten things for Pickles Marie:
1.  Pickles Marie came to us with a stupid name that her former owners had given her.  She didn't even answer to that name.  Our family brainstormed new names for hours, helped by friends all over the world sending suggestions via Skype and Facebook.  When Patty suggested that we call her "Pickles", I said (somewhat sarcastically, I admit): &qu…

In which the tinydog is gone from our lives but never from our hearts

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Her candle was small but the light shining from her will always be bright.

In which I can't stop crying long enough to title this post in seventeen syllables

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Last week, she seemed "not quite right."

The blood test says lymphoma.

She's stopped eating, she's weak, she's wobbly.

It won't be long now. 

Prayers, candles, crossed fingers, and kind thoughts are gratefully accepted on behalf of Pickles Marie Tinydog.

We love her so much.

In which we pause this blog for some book reports: good books for horse-lovers

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Those who know me know that there's only a few things I value as much as a really good ride on a really good horse. 
On the days that the weather just won't cooperate, though, it's nice to have something almost as good:

for example: a really fun book about a really good ride on a really good horse.
I read most of Laura Crum's books when they were first published--and I'd forgotten most of the plot details in the intervening decades (Cutter was originally published in 1994!).  I recently re-read some of the books at the author's request, and enjoyed them just as much as when they were new--maybe more.  After all these years, I remembered what I enjoyed most about the series:  that the author (and the main character, veterinarian Gail McCarthy) talks about horses the way my friends and I talk about horses. 
We might joke about our magical winged ponies, but my friends and I don't devolve into the "sparkle-pony gushing" featured in so many horse books …

In which we never stop gathering wood...and we never stop riding

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A dear friend bought a wonderful house last year. 
It's a huge, rambling house (she has a big family--a big house is important) with several fireplaces and a woodstove.  When they moved in, the intent was to cut down the alder trees that had invaded the back yard under the former regime, and keep the huge house toasty-warm all winter with this home-grown fuel. She didn't tell me that her husband and kids planned to cut down the backyard forest with a battery-operated chainsaw (runtime limit, about 15 minutes) and immediately load the logs into the woodstove.  If she had told me, I would have informed her that green Swamplandish logs don't burn: they smoke, smolder, and give off no warmth whatsoever.  My friend and her family have always lived in the city, and didn't know how (or why) to season firewood.

After a month of shivering in a huge cold house, my friend's husband fired up the oil-burning furnace, and they have been living warmly and happily ever since.

The b…