Showing posts from 2017

In which it takes a Village of Suspects to get farm things done

Margie and Craig bought a farm!
Well, it will be a farm eventually.  Right now, it lacks a few farm-essentials:

The Usual Suspects are experienced pitcher-inners.

They were here to help raise the barn roof at Haiku Farm back in 2011.  We help move gravel, fix fences, and perform emergency maintenance at each other's places.

It's what we do.

Margie wanted to clear brush away from the line where the fence would go.

 Our Lumberjanes totally have skills for that!

Under the brush and brambles, we found BARBED WIRE.  
That stuff had to go, so we clipped and ripped and cussed and yanked and got it all out.

Then it was time to plot the path of the fence.

Scouting locations for the corner posts.

Drilling the post holes.

Posts in holes.

 Leveling posts.

Setting posts in with gravel.

In which I'm grateful. Really. I'm grateful. But I'm not riding today.


We were not just due for our annual summer rain, we were long overdue:

 55 days without measurable precipitation breaks all prior records for our region.

Mixed into the dry spell was a long, severe bout of smokey skies courtesy of the wildfires in British Columbia.

The last time we had smokey skies for more than a week, the smoke trapped the heat in, keeping our local temps around 80*F.

This time, our predicted temps were above 90*F, but the smoke was so thick that sunlight was reflected away from the ground, and we stayed a bit cooler, with temps in the 80's.

Air quality here went from "not good" to "terrible."  Riding went from "conditioning pace" to "wander down to the river and then wander back to the trailer."

Last night, relief came at last.  The thermometer reads 61 blessed degrees, and the rain has been falling steadily for several hours.

It won't last.  It will probably stop by mid-day.

But it's wet enough to clea…

In which we run away to a treasure hunt, and we take the horses

Duana and Freya needed to go camping.

An endurance ride is often not a good first camping experience for a young horse or a nervous rider.  Too much energy, too much excitement, too much running around.  
This is a better choice:

a weekend of Competitive Mounted Orienteering.

CMO has several advantages over endurance, especially for green horses and/or financially challenged riders:

The rides are much closer to home for us (even with heavy Friday afternoon/Seafair traffic, we arrived in camp in less than 3 hours, instead of the 7-10 hours we spend travelling to most endurance camps).CMO rides happen through the summer every other week--and most are two-day events.Entry fees are significantly lower.  I paid $25 including camping.  For families with several kids, this can be a huge money-saver.There is always a potluck on Saturday night of event weekend, which is a great opportunity to trade stories (and learn names...)The atmosphere in camp is VERY laid-back.  You don't need to get…

In which a storyteller shares a story just for me (and for you)

Every summer, Jim and I spend a weekend at the Powellswood Storytelling Festival, where we assist the gods and goddesses of storytelling to practice their craft  in the midst of a beautiful garden.
Usually, the stories concern heroes, magic, parents, and real-life adventures.
But this year, there was a story that I swear was told just for me...about horses!  
...and about HER:
I've heard MaryGay Ducey perform on stage many times.   I thought I knew the best parts of her repertoire.

But somehow, I'd never heard the story about her childhood experiences with horses.

I was delighted to learn that the local radio station had recorded it so y'all can hear it too.

(she even references me in the performance:  I'm the "woman in the back" who can tell folks about riding horses.  I heard her tell the story twice during the weekend, and after the first time, I showed her pictures of the Dragon.  She admired my horse and won my eternal love in doing so)

Pull on your boots, t…

In which I tell an old story about cows and an endurance ride

This is not my photo.

One of the comments on this Facebook photo read, "Cows eat trail ribbons!  Who knew?!?"

Um, pretty much every ride manager and ride crew in the West knows that cows not only eat ribbons, they scuff the lime arrows off of roads, chew up paper plate signs, knock over fiberglass poles meant to mark trail, and....

The year was 2005.   The place was the Home On the Range endurance ride at Potholes State Park. The trail was 75 miles long. The horse was the Toad. The rider was me...

...and the cows were everywhere.

The ride was set up in loops, with all the vetchecks back in camp.  We did the first loop at daybreak, did several other loops during the day, and just as the sky was getting dark we went out to repeat that first loop, which squiggled and wiggled and criss-crossed a million other cow trails in a big wobbly circle of high desert sage and scrub for 10 or 12 miles before leading back to camp.
Ride management had marked the heck out of that trail, so the mornin…

In which I count on my fingers, try to stay cool, and still go riding

I did some math recently, and discovered that the next 50-miler I want to enter is about 6 weeks away.   Eeeeeek!

I've been slacking off on training rides lately. 

Time to get that Dragon back out on the trails!

The temps have been hot, and the forecast is for hotter weather this week.  

The woods are often shady in the late afternoons and early evenings.

 Morning rides are also not-too-hot, but I really don't like getting up early on my days off.

The exception:

Today I met up with Susanna (and Ted) , Eleni (and Hana), and Duana (and Freya) for a ride down to the river.

 Ted is woefully out of shape, and hasn't been ridden in about 10 months, so we travelled at a walk--not a bad plan anyhow.

Susanna figures this is Ted's 7th or 8th trail ride (ever).  He was a rock star!

There was lots of laughing and talking, and even some singing.  Because that's the way we do things.

 And THAT is GOOD.