Showing posts from April, 2017

In which the doubting game isn't as much fun as I can make it look

Of all the skills endurance riders gain through the sport, I get consistently top marks in the ability to doubt my own judgement.


Last Sunday, the plan was to ride two loops with a "vet check" in the middle, for a total of 25 miles.  Not necessarily fast, but steady.

The problem:  we both ran out of givadamn after riding about 15 miles in the rain.

In the ever-fascinating game of Doubt Myself, I came up with the following:

What if she's not yet recovered from the stifle injury last year?What if the spring grass (and we have a lot of it) is making her feet sore?What if the spring grass (see above) is giving her a bellyache?What if she's colicky?What if she's got some new undiagnosed injury that I'm too stupid to see?What if she's gorked herself in this stupid weather?What if she's is teetering on the edge of imminent death, and if I ride one more mile she'll keel over?

This wonderful game would be no fun if I didn't run around wildly …

In which we ride and the sky is blue and The Mountain Is Out at last!

Yesterday the sky was blue, and Swamplanders did everything short of declaring a regional holiday.

Du and Hana met us at the trailhead, and we headed out for a quick 7-mile loop.  Freya was apparently playing "Circus Animals" in the pasture last week, and came in with swelling in her legs, so she's sidelined for a bit.

Hana doesn't mind.

She may be retired from endurance competition, but Hana still gets regular exercise as a lesson pony, so she's in fine condition for trails.

Fee was happy to be out with her friend.

The trails are still too soggy for horses or bicycles, but there are plenty of roads to ride.

Seven miles.  Not too hot, not too cold, and not very many bugs (yet).  A nice ride with my friend!
And when we got to the meadow near the trailhead:

It's not easy to see Mount Rainier in the photo above.  It's a little more obvious in the photo below:

I found an interesting and not-entirely-accurate description of what we mean when we say "The …

In which Haiku Farm welcomes a new fully-weaponized resident

It's been a bonus year for rats.
Last summer was a blissful mix of sunshine and occasional rain, not too hot, not too cold, and LOTS of grass and weed seeds to fill the bellies of hungry rats and their hungry offspring.
Then came winter:  an atypically cold one.  Lots of frozen days.  Not much unfrozen water available, and even less food for hungry rats.
Except, of course, in the barn.
The barn was full of food, shelter, and water for the chickens, the goats, the horse...and the rats.

The Ratinator made a dent.  But for every rat in the trap, there were ten more rats in the barn, and most of those were pregnant.  Incidentally, if you Google "Ratinator" you can find the link to the Ratinator (TM): Human Live Trap.  Don't buy from people who trap people!
Jim's pellet gun was about as successful as the trap:  good for a few hours of rat-plinking entertainment.
Poison on a place like ours is too risky--the floofs are curious, food-motivated, and they can fit into teeny …

In which I've been riding some, but the Ride Season is starting slowly

Some years just don't go according to Plan.

My plan for bringing Fiddle back to competitions was to do an "easy" Limited Distance ride--25 or 30 miles--at Coyote Ride in March.

If that went well, we'd try a 50-miler at the April Daze ride next weekend.

All has not gone well (understatement):

First, Coyote Ridge got cancelled because the winter was so wet that their trails were still soggy and they feared the trucks would fall into a sinkhole.

Then, April Daze got cancelled because there will be military maneuvers (with HELICOPTERS!) on the trail over the weekend.

Then Coyote Ridge got rescheduled to late April in the April Daze slot...but then, my little red truck ate a bunch of money and died, leaving me without a bunch of money and without a commuter vehicle.

Are we done now?  Because I really want to ride!
Fortunately for me, the Very Large Truck (aka "the Cookie Monster")  is still operational.  As a commuter vehicle, it leaves a lot to be desired, and …

In which Foxie Loxie goes (a little bit) faster and Roo does too!

Foxie Loxie is never going to be the world's fastest agility dog.

In an earlier post, I shared some of the smallest dog's angst about agility:  the large, unfamiliar space, the loud barking from the other side of the large space (another class meets at the same time as our "Teacup Agility", but they are much bigger...and louder) and the overall newness of everything.

All this anxiety resulted in a slow, shut-down dog.  The video of his "Slo-Jam" course is HERE.

If he were a horse behaving this way, we'd call his gaits "sticky."  

I don't mean to imply that Fox hasn't learned anything, because the opposite is true:  he has made HUGE progress.  He has skills, he has focus, he has impulse control.  He didn't have any of that before.

In fact, I was able to teach this:  "On command, run to the edge of the kitchen floor, sit down and wait without barking until I bring you a carrot."  He loves carrots (all the Haiku Farm dogs lo…

In which a call for help is made and answered and there's another call

My parents raised me to follow their lead as "pillars of the community."

I can't help but answer.

So there we were, no foolin', on the first of April in the pouring rain, with tools and skills and friends and stuff.

And off we went, over the beaver dam, up the hill to the t-junction with the red trail (left) and the white trail (right).  Patty and Jason and Du took the red, and Jim and I headed out the white trail.

Jim and I learned many years ago (the hard way) not to wear work boots to trail parties in the Swampland in April.  We wear tall rubber barn boots instead.

This early in the Spring, the invading brush is almost all thorny.  I didn't get a good picture of the wild rose vines rosa acicularis, also known as "prickly wild rose."  They grow knee-high and grab your clothes and you need sharp tools to cut them down at ground level.

I did …