Showing posts from January, 2010

In which a tea party reminds me of a story about cookies

The library ladies are coming to tea this afternoon, and so I made cookies last night to serve on dainty little plates.

The cookies are Willy's favorites, made from a recipe I got from an ex-boyfriend's mom. When you grow up, as I did, in a place that calls itself The City of Subdued Excitement, you can never escape past fact, it's a point of pride that you can never actually leave my hometown. You can move away from it, but it will follow you everywhere.

To this day, I can walk into a coffeeshop, restaurant, bar or bookstore anywhere on the planet, stand on a chair and say "BELLINGHAM" in a loud, clear voice, and somebody in the room will turn to me and say something like "My sister went to Western," or "I was in the Ski-to-Sea race in 1997".

So it is that, although the ex-boyfriend and I broke up and moved away many yonks ago, when I got a hankering for his mom's oatmeal-chocolate chip cookie recipe it was no trouble at …

In which we celebrate Saturday Stories: a little wisdom tale

Here's a sweet little tale your mom wishes you knew. Maybe you should call her and share the story? Or maybe there's a kid you know who needs to hear it? Go ahead. I'll leave it right here for you. --A

Choosing a Wife
A man wanted his son to choose a wise, good, and kind wife.

The man told his son to give this question to any woman he might want in his life:
"If you had a big fish, how could you feed your family as long as possible?”

The young man travelled all over the country, asking this question to all the women that he met.

One woman said that she would feed the fish only to the adults in the family, and let the children suck on the bones.

Another woman said that she would make soup of the fish, and store the soup in a big pot in the frozen river with rocks on top to keep the bears away.

Yet another woman proposed to smoke the fish to preserve it through the winter so that her family could eat a bite of fish for many weeks.

Many women were asked the question, and each had…

In which there are unusual--but distinct--indications of spring

It's that time of year again... Doctor Sarah Metcalf is back in town with her drills and sanders and stuff.
Fiddle has a very pretty "movie star" smile when Dr. Sarah is all done. Because we have the horses' teeth done every year, our cost is actually going down.
There aren't many equine appointments that do that anymore, but regular dentistry is proving to be a cost-saver for us, as we are able to clear off any points, hooks, and ramp in their teeth before there is any pain or injury.
The first time Dr. Sarah came out to treat the horses, she grabbed my arm and shoved it into the (speculumed) open mouth of a 14-year-old mare. "Feel the points," she said, guiding my fingers. "Feel the hooks. Feel the ulcers in her mouth. We can get rid of all that with yearly appointments."
She is right: each appointment this year took only 40 minutes, and although both mares needed to have some maintenance work to correct some points and hooks, there was noth…

In which an endurance movie might be good...or really, really bad

This is one of those, "could be good news, could be bad news" situations:

Somebody (no, we don't have names yet) wants to make a feature film about endurance riding. The goal is to film on location here in the Pacific Northwest in July or August this summer. Production plans include setting up a ridecamp populated by local endurance riders and their horses, rigs and crews, and filming action in the vetcheck and on the trail.

So far, not bad news. Possibly even good news. The sport can always use good new recruits, and a movie might be a good way to "spread the gospel" about riding long distances on horseback.

I remember the huge influx of karate students at local martial arts academies in the 1980's, when this movie was released:

At the time of this film, I was a karate student in an Okinawin-style dojo. We were swamped with new fact, we had enough new people joining the school that we were able to afford a new roof for the building that year. New…

In which we attend the annual convention and get some good loot

"The primary purpose of the annual convention of the Pacific Northwest Endurance Rides, held this year in Portland Oregon, is education." --Bev Ryan, immediate past-prez, PNER.

Uh-huh. Right. Whatever you say, Bev.

Sure, there are some great clinics, and some excellent learning opportunities for members of the organization. But learning isn't the primary reason that most of us show up at the convention.

We go there to shop.
Used tack, new tack, horse equipment, corral panels, and even some beautiful artwork created by my talented friend Sky -- you can shop for just about anything related to horses and riders at the PNER convention. It's a challenge for me to stay in budget at this event, but I managed. Well, mostly.You do have to try stuff on to make sure it fits, Sky, but I'm pretty sure that those items are supposed to go on Cricket's head, not yours.
PNER is the regional organization of endurance riders, vets, and ride managers for Washington, Oregon…

In which we celebrate Saturday Stories: a story about goats!

Here's a sweet little wisdom story that I learned in late 2009. Share it with a friend...or a goat!

The Goat and the Rock
There was once, in Tibet, a milk seller. Each morning he would collect goat's milk from a couple of farms and then deliver it to families in two villages.

He would knock on the door; a milk pitcher and a few pennies were offered. He took the pennies and filled the pitcher from his large earthenware jug.

One morning as he made his way between the two villages, he paused to rest, setting his half full jug on a large rock.

A goatherd was coming along the path with six or seven goats trotting along in front of him. He called to his friend, the milk seller, who gave a cheery call back.

This calling startled the nanny goat in front, so she jumped off the path and knocked over the milk jug. It broke, spilling its contents into the dust.

"Look what your goat has done!" said the milk seller. "Now I can't deliver your milk."

"Don't you …

In which we are not home for the weekend, so please leave a message. BEEEEEEEEEP!

Jim and I are off to the annual convention of the Pacific Northwest Endurance Rides this weekend.

We won't get any awards ourselves, but it's great fun to meet up with our friends and spend a whole weekend with everyone when we aren't exhausted and filthy.

Here's a YouTube video of a fabulous Speed Racking Standardbred to watch while you're waiting for us to come back with stories and pictures from Portland.

To see a really inspiring short documentary about the "richest" Standie in history breaking the world record for trotting under saddle (with famous jockey Julie Krone in the stirrups!), go here:
Part One
Part Two

In which Puzzle the Cat discovers a new toy in the living room

I just wanted to paint some ferns onto a boring wall in the living room.

And then, Puzzle showed up to assist me.

"Outta the way! Cat on the job!"

Once he was actually up on the ladder, all work stopped so that he could enjoy this gigantic new toy I had put in the living room for him.

I finally took the ladder away from him and finished the wall.With his big yellow ladder gone, Puzzle was forced to play with the dog instead. Sigh.

Yup. Life is never dull at Haiku Farm. It's frequently really silly, though.

In which we work on reversing inevitable farm entropy

Merriam Webster's online dictionary defines entropy as a process of degradation or running down or a trend to disorder.
Here at Haiku Farm, it's just reality: Stuff falls apart. Especially in winter.
Last night a big windstorm blew through our region, knocked the power out and blew branches all over the houses and roads. We had only a little damage, mostly just a wooden door that was torn off of the hinge installed by the former owner. Since the hinge is actually the wrong size for the door, we need to replace it completely; for now, it's just tied down securely.

Jim woke up inspired by all that activity in the air, and revved up the chainsaw for some preventative tree repair.There is (was) an alder tree growing by our driveway. I assume it planted itself and the seedling was ignored by the former owners (they were adept at ignoring stuff) until it was no longer a seedling but was an actual tree. The thing about trees is that they get bigger. This tree was obviously planning…