Saturday, April 14, 2012

In which the sun shines, and a big decision is made for Miss Fiddle

A variation on the standard "Ears at the Bottom" photo
Well, it's happened once again:  the weather has changed into the kind that makes me remember why I live in the Swamp.
Riding on Thursdays : one of the highlights of my week
The Usual Suspects have been a little thin-lipped lately in regards to the weather.  Our favorite swoon-worthy weather-guesser has been predicting doom, gloom, and regional misfortune for the last 8 months, and he's been close to the mark almost every time, especially when we combine Walter's forecasts with a standard Scotty Factor  to calculate the actual level of precipitation.  It's been a long winter.
"Look Ma!  No Gortex!"
And now (furiously knocking wood) it's Spring.  Springtime in the Swampland means continued rain (of course) but the rain is warmer, and is interspersed with "The Bluest Skies You've Ever Seen".
Parked outside our favorite lunch spot after riding.
Note that Dory's truck is pulling a "ghost trailer"!
Other things happen in Spring too:
This loose hair came from just her leg.  Her belly is even floofier!

I brush this horse every day in Spring, sometimes twice.
Hair waffles EVERYWHERE!
Duana and I took a lesson with Dory yesterday.  We've been continuing the work on collection and extension, and the horses are really getting the knack of it
Duana and Hana on the trail after our lesson

But Spring brings something else, in addition to blue skies and hair waffles:
The Dragon shows her stuff.  Photo by Lori Hudson.
Biggify the picture to really appreciate the fury of a hormonal mare.
Because Fee is on Regumate, she doesn't come into heat...but the extra light and all the other Springtime stuff makes her hormones get all funky, even with the meds.  

It's finally time to make this choice:  she's going to get spayed.  

The operation is not cheap (between $2000 and $3000 depending upon how she responds to things like the sedatives--if there are complications, the cost will be at the high end of the scale) but it's not going to get cheaper.  With the price of fuel rising steadily, it's a good time to stay home from a few rides and get this done.
This photo was taken last fall, when hormone levels were more level
Her surgery is scheduled for April 26th, and of course I'll be blogging about the whole process.

It's good, you know.  It's really quite good.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

In which the Easter Bunny makes an odd delivery and I ride

 The Easter Bunny had something unusual in the basket today:

Here for an interview:  Samantha.
She came to us with the name "Samantha", which may or may not be her permanent Haiku Farm name.  

New residents often choose new names here (just ask Mimsy ("Dutchess"), Luna ("Lucy"), Puzzle ("Triton") and Fiddle ("Sassy").   

We've had the position of Barn Cat open for nearly a year now, hoping that an appropriately-talented Cat Person would apply for the job.  A few nights ago, I got a call from Michelle, asking if the position is still available, because she wanted to recommend a Cat Person for it.

Brit is kind of a "cat whisperer"
 Today, Michelle and her husband Brit brought the kitty to our barn for an interview.  So far, she doesn't seem impressed with us, but her references are excellent.
Not convinced that she wants this job
(but her former owners are moving and can't keep her)
 Samantha (or "whoever") will be living in Hana's (currently empty) stall for a few weeks, until she gets the hang of life around here.  I hope that in that time she is able to convince Tang the bizarre orange bunny to quit digging subway tunnels under our barn, and to convince the starlings currently trying to set up squatter's rights in the ceiling again to get the heck out!

After settling the Easter Kitty into her new digs, we went outside to be entertained by the other residents.  Dobbie Goat Gruff has recently figured out how to work Carrot Technology, and he is eager to show off his skills.  Lupin Goat Gruff still doesn't know how to operate a carrot--he prefers hay.

In other news:
 I went riding.

Mindful of Fiddle's need to recover completely from her metabolic episode last weekend, I opted for a solo ride, mostly walking.  We covered about 7 miles in 2 hours--and she peed light lemonade at the end of the trail, which is good news.

(I know: endurance riders are peculiar about urine.  If Fee's recovery continues on schedule, I'll probably stop talking about it entirely in a week or two)

Signs of Spring (finally):
Swamp Tulips, a.k.a. Skunk Cabbage   in full bloom

Salmonberry blossoms

A bright new algae-green tinge to a pond beside the trail

 Back at the farm, goats enjoyed an opportunity to snooze in sunshine

Jim and I dragged the chairs out into the backyard for our first evening of outdoor relaxation in almost 8 months...
sunshine+chair+beer+book+good company = happiness!

...and Fiddle grazed and enjoyed not-being-rained-on.
Life is good.