Showing posts from 2018

In which I present a cautionary story for your New Year's Eve

I know you would never do this.  
Ten Jugs of Wine (Japan) Ten old men decided to celebrate the New Year with a big crock of hot sake wine.
Since none of them could provide for all, they each agreed to bring one jug of wine for the large heating bowl.
On the way to his wine cellar, one of the men thought, "My wine is too valuable to share! No one will know. It'll never show. It'll still be fine. I'll bring a jug of water instead of the wine."
But the second man thought the same thing, and the third.In fact, each of the men decided to leave their good wine at home, and bring only water to share.
And so it was that, when they gathered with the jugs they brought, all ten old men poured the contents of their jugs ceremoniously into the big bowl and then looked sheepishly at one another as they heated and poured out hot water for all.

In which this story might make your thinking go a little bit funny

I love that boggling sound my brain makes when I read zen stories.  Enjoy!

Zen Dialogue (China) Two Zen temples each had a child protégé.One child, going to buy tea and vegetables each morning, would greet the other.
“Where are you going?” asked the one.
“I am going where my feet go,” the other responded.
This reply puzzled the first child, who went to his teacher for help.“Tomorrow morning,” said the teacher, “when you meet that fellow, ask him the same question.He will give you the same answer, and then you ask him, ‘Suppose you have no feet, then where are you going?’ Then, tell me his answer.”
The children met again the next morning.“Where are you going?” asked the one.
“I am going wherever the wind blows,” answered the other.
This surprised the second child, who returned to his teacher.
“Ask him where he is going if there is no wind,” suggested the teacher.
The next day, the children met a third time.“Where are you going?” asked the first child.
“I am going to market to buy tea an…

In which this story used to have a Dragon in it. It doesn't now.

I learned this story from teller Dan Keding, but I have really mucked around with it in retelling.  His version featured a dimwitted dragon.  I've never known a dimwitted dragon, so I changed things to make more sense.
The Old Woman and the Ogre (Romany) A long time ago, there was an old woman who had many children. She lived with them deep in the middle of the forest, sheltered in a small hovel, nothing more than a hole in the ground with a roof of branches.
One day the poor old woman made herself a honey cake and then set off to make her fortune.
She walked all morning until she came to a well. Beside the well, there was a large stone that served as a table for travelers. The old woman sat next to the stone and placed her honey cake on it, thinking she would eat the cake after she had rested a bit. Soon, she was fast asleep. While she slept the birds came down and gobbled up her honey cake, and when she woke the flies were finishing the crumbs. “Leave me nothing,” she cried wh…

In which I share not one story, but a whole group of them together

Tradition has it that the Mulla Nasrudin is a tall, short, fat, skinny wise fool.  If you tell a story of Naruddin, it’s best to tell at least six more.
Nasrudin the Wise (Afghanistan, Turkey, Iran and beyond)

The Power of Education Nasruddin was ferrying a scholar across a river said something ungrammatical to him.

"Have you never studied grammar?" scoffed the scholar, and the Mulla admitted that he had not.

"Then half your life has been wasted," said the scholar looking pityingly at him.

Sometime later Naruddin turned to his passenger, and asked, “Have you ever learned to swim?” and the scholar admitted that he had not.

"Then your whole life has been wasted," said the Mulla. "We're sinking." 

The Letter One day Nasruddin’s neighbor asked him to write a letter for him, addressed to a friend in Baghdad.

"Sorry," said the Mulla. "I have no time to go to Baghdad."

"Who is asking you to go to Baghdad!" asked his neig…

In which being wise can mean being tricksy, or maybe desperate

I love love trickster stories, and stories about outwitting Death seem appropriate at this dark time of year.
The Old Woman Who Outwitted Death (Hungary) Once upon a time, whether true or not, I cannot say, there was an old, old woman.
She was older than the gardener who planted the first tree, yet she was full of life, full of wisdom, and never dreamed that death might someday pass her way.
She washed her clothes and scrubbed her cottage; she cooked her meals and baked her breads; she planted her garden and tended her flowers, she was kind to strangers and shared her coffee with the neighbors. She was busy with life.
One day, Death remembered the old woman and came knocking on her cottage door.
When she saw who he was she told him she couldn’t possibly leave that day. She had just started her laundry and she needed to rinse the clothes, hang them on the line, and then iron them when they were dry. No, but she might be ready by the next morning, if death would be so kind as to ret…

In which today's story comes from not-very-far-away from our farm

There was a raven watching me feed the goats this morning, and I wondered if he was going to invite Crow to join him.  
Probably not.
Crow and Raven’s Potlatch (Skagit) Long ago, Raven was a shape shifter. He could turn himself into a man and then back again into a bird simply by pulling his beak over his head, like a mask.He could turn into any animal.He could fool the other animals by changing his shape.
One day, Raven looked up at the sky. "Winter is coming," he said. "Soon it will be cold. I bet Squirrel has piled up lots of food by now."But when he went to Squirrel's house, Squirrel hissed at him. "Go away, Raven. You will not steal my food!"
Raven flew away. "Bear will have food," he thought.But when Raven arrived at Bear's cave, Bear was sound asleep for the winter. All of Bear's food was in Bear's belly.
Raven thought of a trick to play. He went to see his cousin Crow.“Cousin, we must talk about the potlatch you will have s…

In which we begin the holiday stories with an old favorite

This story has been stuck in my head for several days, so it's time to share it.

Solomon’s Magic Ring (Israel) One of King Solomon’s most trusted advisers was the captain of his guard.This captain was devoted to the king and his love for Solomon was known to all.
One day, King Solomon overheard the captain boasting that the king had never given him a task he did not accomplish fully.
The king was both annoyed and amused at the man’s bragging, and decided to give his captain an impossible assignment.
The next day the king called the captain of the guard into the throne room.
“I wish for you to find me a magical ring, one I have heard tales about,” the king said. “It is a ring that can bring happiness to a heart of sorrow, and sadness to a heart of happiness, a ring that can make a poor man smile and a rich man frown. I wish to have this ring as my own.”
“My king,” replied the captain, “I will not rest until I bring this ring to you.” As his friend left the throne room, Solomon…

In which we continue a Haiku Farm tradition: holiday tales

It's been ten years (tomorrow is the official anniversary) of the Haiku Farm blog.   
Hard to believe, right?

Every year at this time, I print up little booklets of folktales and distribute them to local friends and family.  If you are near Haiku Farm this week, be sure to hunt me down and ask for yours!   If not, fear not:  I will be posting all the stories here on the blog starting tomorrow.

Meantime, I hope that your own Dark Season is full of light and food and family and friends and kind strangers and dogs that like to have their bellies rubbed, and horses dressed up in silly outfits.

Springtime is coming.   We have to believe that. 

In which the Solstice is here at last, and the sun begins to return

Keep me from going to sleep too soon Or if I go to sleep too soon Come wake me up. Come any hour Of night. Come whistling up the road. Stomp on the porch. Bang on the door. Make me get out of bed and come And let you in and light a light. Tell me the northern lights are on And make me look. Or tell me clouds Are doing something to the moon They never did before, and show me. See that I see. Talk to me till I'm half as wide awake as you And start to dress wondering why I ever went to bed at all. Tell me the walking is superb. Not only tell me but persuade me. You know I'm not too hard persuaded. 
--Robert Francis

In which we have no figgy pudding yet, but we are working on it

Please note the number of horses working in the arena... ...and my Dragon is working right in the middle of them!

The weather was wet and blowish, so the Usual Suspects all headed for high ground in the covered arena at Fish Creek to work on our Issues.

My Issue is, of course, my back/shoulders/posture/balance.

Patty is also making progress on her lower leg position.

Everyone was there, doing their own stuff.

"But what about the figgy pudding?"

We don't have any figgy pudding.  But we now have fig trees!

Fig trees want lots of light, and some support against the wind, so we pounded in some stakes and dug some holes.

Marginal soil needs amending to nurture baby trees!  So we added some.

In which we update Fiddle's status and the gravity is weird

I swear the gravity was especially strange today: nearly every picture taken (by me or anyone else) was drastically crooked.

"Crooked" seems to be the name of the game, lately.

I've been riding Fiddle on trails until the weather fell apart recently, and noticed that, while she moves comfortably on the flat and on soft terrain, she was distinctly glitchy going downhill, especially on hard ground.

Hmmm.  I know what that means:

We did a fairly extensive lameness check.  Since the vet hospital doesn't have any hills in their parking lot, Dr Dear did flexion tests to isolate the problem area(s).

There's no problem at all with her left stifle.  So that's good.
She showed mild stiffness in the right stifle--not any worse than she has been for at least a year.  The injury she sustained in January 2016 is pretty stable now. Also good.

Hocks...well.  The hocks were ouchy.  I know what that means, too:

Joint injection$.  $igh.  I'm not surprised, of course. …

In which I post a story for Aurora, who does good things sometimes

I'm still working to assemble a packet of stories to give away during the holidays this year, but a comment on Facebook  this morning prompts to post this one now.

The "Starfish Story" is frequently told in inspirational meetings and business conference settings, and I fear that most people have forgotten that it's a literary story and was actually authored (and copyrighted) by Loren Eisley.

Having said that, it's a story.  And it's a story that needs to be told.  So I'm gonna tell it.  If you need more stories, I'll be posting a bunch in a week or two, or you can check the Haiku Farm archives via the link above to find a bunch to keep you busy.

But for today, here's this one, in honor of Aurora over at Redheaded Endurance.

The Starfish Story, adapted from the original without permission

The seashore is a quiet and lonely place in the morning, and there were only two people walking that beach that day.

One was a older woman, enjoying the peace as she…

In which the Bad Idea Fairy talks about holiday shopping

"Hello, everyone, it's the Bad Idea Fairy here, with holiday shopping wisdom for your horse-loving friends and fans!"

All y'all, I am six bajillion years old, and I know a lot of stuff about holiday gift-giving.  So listen up because this is my very best advice for finding good presents:

People like stuff.  Give them stuff.  White cotton underwear is always a good bet.  If you don't know the right size, buy everything in your own size.  That way, if the gift doesn't fit, people can always just give it right back to you.  (PRO TIP: buy stuff in your favorite colors to make this easier)Don't worry about allergies and diets--those are for sissies.  Give everybody your favorite candy and if they don't like it, see the suggestion (above).Wait until the very last second to shop.  You don't want to miss out on the fun of the icy streets, the extra traffic, the adrenaline rush, and the crowded stores!Don't buy stuff on sale.  What are you, a cheapskate?  …

In which we celebrate seasonal Antler Humiliation stuff

We don't celebrate the Antler Humiliation Festival every year,  but when we do, we decorate everything.

It's not enough to just dress up and dink around the arena for an hour.  Oh, no.

But the cutest of all is, of course, the Baby.

No one escapes the Antler Humiliation Festival!

In which Endurance 101 has a Cyber Monday special price!

Maybe you've loaned your copy to a friend.   Maybe you don't want to loan your copy to a friend  (but you do want your friend to read it).

In 2012, I wrote a book for new endurance riders (the term "green bean" wasn't in common use yet!) called Endurance 101.
In the last six years, so much has changed.  Riders who were green beans in those days are experienced endurance riders now.  Horses new to the sport have accrued hundreds or thousands of miles.
Now, it's time to make the book available to a new crop of readers and riders.  
That's why, for a very limited time, we've dropped the price. 
From now until the end of Cyber Monday (November 26, 2018), the eBook edition of Endurance 101 is only $4.99 on Amazon.  Buy it for yourself or a friend--or both!

And hey:  we'd love to hear your stories about the book.  What's the best thing you learned by reading it?  What did you gain from the book that you didn't have to learn the …