Wednesday, January 4, 2012

In which skill is important, but we don't refuse wishes for good luck!

This must be what it feels like to send your first-born child off to university.

The lady at the post office kissed it for luck!

I hammered at it, scribbled on it, re-hammered and re-scribbled for more than a month.

Finally, I printed out a clean copy, slid it gently into the mailing envelope, and steadied my hand as I wrote the publisher's address on the front. 

Then I went to the post office and handed it over the counter:

A book proposal for Endurance 101.

I figure that if you want to wish us luck, now would be a good time. 

Also, if you want to rave on-and-on about how you can't wait to buy your very own copy of it, perhaps the publisher will notice if you write your raves in the comments.

(What the heck, it couldn't hurt!)

What do you do to bring luck?

Monday, January 2, 2012

In which our "holiday card" is sent out just a couple of days late

You know those annoying "Holiday Cards" that folks send out, listing their unbelievable achievements in the past year?

This post is my annual substitute for that.  Hopefully, it's not completely annoying.

(Typically, I'm sending it out after most folks consider that the holidays are over.)

January 2011 brought the biggest change yet to the farm:
Barn-Roof-Raising party looks a lot like Whack-a-Mole
 a barn roof!
barn frame with roof, January 2011

Working on the barn took most of our time in the winter, but it finally got finished.  Hooray! 
Jim makes walls, despite the weather
assembling the gutters
barn!  Complete with horse and lights!

We met up with bloggers this year, too. 
lytha from the HorseCrazyAmerican blog, visiting from Germany!
L-to-R: Monica from Horsebytes, me, and Laurie from Evensong
We hung out with friends (mostly horse folks)
PNER Convention, Portland OR 2011
Duana on Hana

Sky with Cricket

Standardbreds and their riders!

and, I went riding.
riding, January 2011
riding, February 2011.  Bah.

blue skies over Home on the Range, March 2011

riding, April 2011.
Mt. Adams Endurance Ride, May 2011

Renegade Rendezvous Endurance Ride, June 2011
riding, July 2011

with"I'm a Pocket Picker" at the
Standardbred Game Day in Canada, August, 2011

In September, our weather changed suddenly from summer
Sky and Cricket, the day before the Bare Bones Endurance Ride
to winter.
Bare Bones Endurance Ride, September 2011
but I kept riding.
riding, October 2011

riding, November 2011
We did some practical farm-stuff this year, like put in the garden and deploy a new Chicken Tractor.
the Tiny White Van

We took a little time off to visit the water slides.
Lisa always screams right before she hits the water

In August, we acquired a new "family member"

Pickles Marie Tinydog's first day on the Farm

We celebrated some holidays.

I wrote Endurance 101 stuff for NaNoWriMo
Endurance: crazy is okay, dummy isn't

and then, I went riding.
riding, December 2011

It's a good life. 

Thanks for hanging out for a whole year of it!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

In which we celebrate the Gift of Stories with a Bre'r Rabbit tale

A lot of folks make a big fuss about Christmas dinner--goose, turkey, ham, or whatever, with all the fixin's.

To me, though, the best dinner of the year is served by my mom on Christmas Eve:  Carrot-Cauliflower Soup.  It's warm.  It's comforting.  It's delicious.  And it's an easy meal to fix, so we can all hang out together, rather than leave one or two cooks stranded in the kitchen making food for the rest of the herd. 

Since it's one of the best celebratory foods in the world, I was sure that Brer Rabbit would make it for his dinner, too.  I've included the recipe at the end of the story. 

Brer Rabbit’s Christmas Dinner (American South)
One cold winter morning, when he knew Brer Rabbit wasn't home, Brer Fox sneaked into Brer Rabbit's garden. He helped himself to every last one of Brer Rabbit's carrots and cauliflowers and left with his bag so full it was bursting at the seams.

When Brer Rabbit got home and saw his garden with nothing much left to admire, he was mighty angry. He sped off directly to Brer Fox's house.

The door was bolted and the shutters were closed tight.

Brer Rabbit couldn't hear anything except the sound of the north wind blowing and his own stomach rumbling. But all around was the sweet smell of soup cooking.

Brer Rabbit knocked on the door.. "I know you're there, Brer Fox," called Brer Rabbit. "Now you open this door."

Brer Fox didn’t answer, so Brer Rabbit knocked harder. "I know those are my vegetables in your soup," said Brer Rabbit, "and I want them back. Now open this door!"

Finally there was an answer from inside. "Too bad," said Brer Fox. "I’m not opening this door. I'm making enough soup in here to keep me till Springtime."

Brer Rabbit tried knocking the door in. He kicked at it and hammered on it, but that door didn't budge.

Now you know that Brer Rabbit was the best at tricking, and when he was mad, watch out. It didn’t take him long to think of a plan to get his carrots and cauliflowers back.

On Christmas Eve, Brer Rabbit heaved a sackful of stones on his shoulder and climbed up on Brer Fox's roof. He clattered around making plenty of noise.

"Who's that up there?" called Brer Fox.

"It's Santie Claus," said Brer Rabbit in a Santie Claus voice. "I got a sackful of presents for you."

"Oooh, you got presents for me?" said Brer Fox. "Well, you're most welcome here, Santie Claus. But ain't you supposed to come down the chimney?"

"Sure I am," said Brer Rabbit in his Santie Claus voice. "But I can't. I'm stuck in the chimney.”

"Well, don't come down then," Brer Fox hollered up at the roof. "Just drop the presents down the chimney and I'll catch them."

"Can't do it," answered Brer Rabbit. "The sack is stuck too. But if you do what I say, I'd be mighty grateful. Climb up into the chimney. Then catch hold of this piece of string and pull the sack down yourself."

Brer Fox was only too happy to help. "That's easy," he said. "Here I come, up the chimney."  He started clawing his way up.

Fast as lightning, Brer Rabbit leaped off that roof and into the house.

There were his carrots and cauliflower in a pile, and on the stove was a big old pot of soup, all fragrant and bubbling, and on the table were some biscuits and mince pie, and there in the middle was the biggest, fattest Christmas pie he'd ever seen.

Brer Rabbit didn't waste much time. He grabbed up all of that food, stuffed it into his sack and took off running.

Meantime, Brer Fox was struggling to get up the chimney.

He couldn't see any string, but he felt it hanging down. So he gave a pull. The sack opened and out tumbled all the stones right on Brer Fox's head. My goodness, he went down that chimney fast.

That rascally Brer Rabbit laughed at how he'd taken care of Brer Fox.

He kept out of Brer Fox's way for some time afterward. 

But Brer Rabbit surely did have a fine Christmas dinner that night, and plenty of carrot and cauliflower soup left over for him to eat until Springtime.

Carrot-Cauliflower Soup
Cut into chunks about 1" square:
  • some carrots
  • an onion
  • a cauliflower
Sautee all these in butter until the onion is clear. Then, dump the vegetables into a soup pot with
  • some broth (chicken broth or vegetable)

Let the ingredients cook together over a low heat for at least an hour.  Then add in
  • some cream or half-and-half or milk
This will cool the soup down a bit.  While it's cool, run the entire thing through the blender until it is a smooth, pretty orange color.

Heat the soup back up gently, and add any of the following just before serving:
  • cilantro
  • fresh grated ginger
  • parsley
  • dried dill
Serve warm, preferably with fresh bread and butter, and a glass of nice wine. 

Enjoy--and Happy New Year!
--Aarene and the rest of the gang
at Haiku Farm