Saturday, August 10, 2013

In which it's time to say "Hay, hay, hay!" and I have help from city folks

This is what city people pack when heading out to buck hay:

water bottles, strawberries, some cold homemade pizza....

But I'm not complaining!  Duana and Jason volunteered (yes! volunteered!) to help me pick up hay.  And I rarely say "no" to volunteers!

Du and Selah get the back seat.  Selah loves "country adventures."

It's amazing how little room there is in the big truck when you cram in three adults and a happy dog.  But we didn't have far to go.  The hay field is only 15 minutes from the house.

If I had arms as long as Jason's, I'd probably carry hay bales the same way!

I offered no instruction, other than, "put the hay in the trailer.  We need 30 bales."

Jason didn't know about hay hooks, nor had he watched generations of farm folk yanking bales around by the strings.  He's a big strong guy confronted with medium-small bales, so he just grabbed them like he was carrying a very prickly dog...

Sorry for the sunflare photo.  Du is inside the trailer, arranging stuff to fit.

...and tossed them in the trailer.   Du appointed herself "tetris queen" and set about the task of arranging bales so that they would all fit.  (I put 35 bales into the trailer last week, so I knew it was possible)

We grabbed the last seven bales from the truck, since we'd picked the field clean.

...and Du carefully crammed the final keystone bale into place.

And when we got to Haiku Farm:

Even under the roof, we tarp everything to deter mold.

we topped up the hay piles in the barn.  Now we've got enough hay for winter.  That's a good feeling.


Now it's time to explore all the food in that little bag they brought, right?

And hey, no surprise:  it's good.

Monday, August 5, 2013

In which we go to a ride and I ride! Hooray! (here's how it happened)

I was very close to despair last month, when the pain from arthritis kept me from riding at Renegade...and, I feared, might keep me from riding distance at all, ever again.

Eighteen miles into the ride, and we are both smiling
photo by Jessica Anderson

But it hasn't stopped me.

Thanks to some new pain med protocols, and plenty of physical therapy 
Forgot to bring the weights, so we improvised.
Four bottles of Gatorade was just right.

 ...which I practice at home and in ride camp

(along with Patty, but I didn't take pictures of her doing PT because I was busy doing mine!)

Clamshells in the kitchen.  We love them.

I felt pretty confident when I brought the Dragon up to be vetted in on Friday afternoon before the Bare Bones ride.

Dr Dick Root, DVM has known Fiddle since her very first
novice-distance ride in 2009.
He says, "She's come a long way, baby."

Fiddle is still fit to do a 50-miler, and that's what we did at this ride last year.  In view of my own lameness, though, I opted for the 30-mile Limited Distance event.  The LD at Bare Bones is strenuous, and would let me figure out how feasible longer-distance events will be for me in the future.

Ears! At! The! Bottom!

Fortunately, Fiddle didn't take notes at the ride meeting, and so she assumed that we were doing the 50-miler again!  Once her usual early-morning little tantrums were finished before the start line, she behaved beautifully and conserved her energy all day long.

Yes.  That's my horse, being handled by somebody who isn't me.
Because she's REALLY come a long way.

In fact, she paced herself so nicely,

Hiker on the trail?  Will he share cookies with a Dragon?
Why yes, he will!

that at the finish line

A little bit of blue sky just before we returned to camp

I still had at least 20 more "miles of horse" left.

She barely looked like she ever left camp, despite the usual heat/humidity issues that we always encounter at this ride.

Back home, 24 hours after finishing the ride.

In fact, all of the riders were happy with the event.  Flower, alas, was pulled at the finish line for a minor lameness, but Patty said that her horse learned a lot and did very well all day.  So, that was good.  Everybody else completed.

Not too bad, sez me.

Usual Suspects
(Santa Jim took the photo, so he isn't in it)

Not only that, the ride photographer took some awesome pictures!

Hana-Banana-Photobomba gets photobombed
by Flower...and others...
photo by Jessica Anderson

 It's pretty easy to get nice pictures of Hana and Duana, but Fiddle and I are a challenging pair.

Jessica wrote up a post on her new blog, about "How to look good in your ride photos" that I thought was really useful, and I followed her advice this time.

And look:

Looking good...and happy
photo by Jessica Anderson

It worked!

Jessica will write a guest post for this blog in the near future, but if you want a sneak preview of her work and her experiences as a ride photographer, click on over to her blog.  The post about how to make your ride photos look better is located HERE.

Jess is a "ridecamp brat"--a kid who was basically raised in camp by her mom, her grandma, and all the other "moms" in ridecamp, and we are so proud of the adult she is becoming.  

She also really knows what she's talking about, so take this opportunity and leave questions for her in the comment box!



You know.

It really is good.