Tuesday, July 23, 2013

In which Patty is a headbanger, and there's glitter on the trail now

Coincidentally, I was sorting through some old stacks of Endurance News magazines a few days ago, and found a helmet-safety article I'd written for the January 2007 issue, entitled "Confessions of a former head-banger."

(Troy is the editor at EN, and she loves a catchy title, can you tell?)

This photo was taken about 2 minutes before the fun started

Then on Sunday, who do you s'pose came up positive on the gravity test...


...and got to walk back to the trailhead?

Patty practices tailing up a hill.
Because, why waste a perfectly good training opportunity?

There's been a bit of helmet chatter on the 'web lately, following the tragic death of a rider at an endurance event.  The woman was riding fast, her pony's foot hit a hole, and she hit the ground hard.  The helmet didn't save her.

Because even a really good helmet can't save everyone from everything, unfortunately.

Some of the helmet-bling is now permanently part of the trail

But here's the thing:  just because sunscreen won't protect you from colon cancer, do you go outside without it?  (Not if you're a pale-skinned Swamplander, you don't!).

And just because wearing a seatbelt won't save you if a tree falls on the car as you drive down the highway, do you leave off the belt?  (It sounds unlikely, but three people in our area died that way last winter.)

The un-damaged side of the helmet

I talked to a nice lady at the trailhead a few weeks ago, who always wears a helmet, except on this horse (she nodded at the sweet little Rocky Mountain gelding standing quietly at the trailer) on these trails, "because we only walk out here, no fast stuff."

Well, Patty and Flower were walking, with the group, on a mostly-flat road when Flower stumbled (a baby-horse thing), and Patty did an elegant triple-somersault and coasted to a graceful stop in the weeds.

She banged up her shoulder, she strained some muscles in her neck, and...well, let's take another look at that helmet, shall we?

Could be worse.  Could be her brains.


That looks pretty awesome on plastic.  Would look much less awesome on somebody's head.

So please, y'all:  Every ride.  Every time.

Here's a poem from that 2007 article:

Don't wanna wear a helmet because
You think your hair is
More important than your brain?
You're probably right.

Monday, July 22, 2013

In which we catch up with the garden, which is about to outrun us

One of the perks of being broke (and thus, unable to go haring off to endurance events every 2 weeks, as I do when the money is flush) is that I have more time to spend in the garden.

Garden, July 5th
We've come a long way from the pathetic garden we created our first spring on the farm.

I've been taking snap peas by the bag to work, and
incorporating them into all kinds of dishes at home, but mostly
we just stand in the garden and eat them straight off the vine.

This year, we've already been over-run by snap peas, and the carrots and beans are starting to pick up speed.

Farmer Jim's hat doubles as a food-gathering device

And, of course, there's the annual Zucchini Problem.

Our latest coping strategy is a dish we call the "Backyard Scramble:"

The only thing in the pan that didn't come from the pan is the olive oil.
Maybe I should buy some of Jared's olive oil, just to keep it all in the family?

Yellow potatoes, zucchini, finely chopped carrot and onion, scattered with green peas,

Enough on one plate to feed two people

scrambled eggs seasoned with fresh rosemary or fresh basil, and served with beans (purple on the vine, green after cooking) and homemade toast smeared with Jim's 2012 blackberry jam.

Even the bag of scraps for the chickens

is rather pretty!

And the garden continues to galumph alone.  Compare the July 21 photo below with the July 5 photo at the top of this post:
Garden, July 21st
Notice how much bigger the beans (photo left) and squashes (center) have grown!
the purple beans are almost ready for canning, and the green beans aren't far behind them
I love purple beans

and we even have a few shy cukes peeking out from under the vines.
Future pickles

In non-garden news, we were dismayed to learn that two of our "Eleanor" cheeps are actually cockerels, and not hens.  Yep.  The sound of adolescent "crowing through a kazoo" gave it away, guys.

But there's been enough death on the farm lately.  We opted to allow the Kazoos to join the Circle of Life out in the Dragon's pasture.  Plenty of weasels and hawks out there, we figured.

Dragon: "You're going to tell me it 'tastes like chicken,' aren't you?"

Plus, you know, there's a Dragon.

"I was gonna make espresso!"

She gave up chasing them after about 20 minutes.

This morning, they were waiting at the backdoor with Chicken Twelve and Samantha Barncat.


Stronger measures may be needed if the Circle of Life doesn't hurry up.

Unless the Kazoos turn out to be huge consumers of zucchini.  In which case, we might be able to reach a compromise....