Monday, February 28, 2011

Blogger X 2? [or] Blogger[squared]?

I mentioned in my last post that I had the chance, while I was in Vancouver, Washington (just north of Portland Oregon) to visit the first annual Washington State Horse Expo. And I had realized the week before that this was possibly an opportunity to meet a blogger friend: Kacy K. from All Horse Stuff! Was she planning on making the trip up to the Expo? You bet she was!
We had agreed to meet at the Ansur Saddle booth, as Kacy was contemplating ordering one of their treeless saddles for her and her Wa mare. When I arrived there, I didn't even recognize her, as I don't think she's ever had a photo on the blog without either a helmet or some sort of hat. Plus, she was dressed up! I, on the other hand, had dressed down from my professional self.
We had a great visit, window shopping, looking at all sorts of great horsie stuff and watching several demonstrations.
One in particular was this fellow: Mark Bolender.
Mark and his sweet gelding "Chex" are multiple world champions in Mountain Trail competition, and Kate and I will be attending a clinic with him in May.
All in all , it was a great way to spend the evening with a "new" old friend.
Thanks! Kacy!
Next time, however, we'll have to ride together on real horses!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Quick Update

I've been out of town for much of last week for a professional conference outside of Portland. I was also able to sneak out one evening to a little Horse Expo to meet up in person! with Kacy from All Horse Stuff! What a kick! She's just a fun and energetic as her blog!

Sunday, after a full day at the conference, and a four hour drive home, I just vegged.

In spite of the storm that was predicted, Pat and I were able to sneak out for a quick ride with Kate and Chief again on Monday afternoon. We were going to try to get out away from home a ways, but I got bogged down getting the barn ready for surgery Tuesday, and we didn't have much time before the black clouds moved in, so we just went down to Hank's cattle pasture again. Chief gave Pat one big jump, where she had to scramble a bit to keep her seat and regain contact, but once she did (and Kate stopped after her slight hop in reaction to Chief) he settled right back down again. He's such a good boy!One other exciting development that happened on Monday was that, in doing a thorough mucking of stalls (Al's mostly just been picking them nightly), I took the tractor out and turned the recalcitrant compost pile that hasn't been composting all winter, due to earlier than usual frigid temperatures. And, lo and behold, I got some steam rising from the poop! Now we're cookin' with [methane] gas! [old photo]Bad news is, the wind that has accompanied these last two storm fronts has pretty much done in my cheapo tarps at the end of the barn. But the system itself is good, so before next winter I'll invest in a heavier duty enclosure. I haven't yet decided on whether to get a solid tarp again, or a "wind screen" type, that would let some of the wind through (and therefore not pay such a heavy toll during heavy winds), but block snow and other precipitation.

Luckily, we didn't get all the snow that was predicted Tuesday (Aarene got it over in the swamplands, as did Jean in SW British Columbia) and, though early, the trip to the hospital in neighboring Yakima was uneventful, as was surgery (gall bladder removed). I was feeling good enough that we decided, in light of the continuing forecast of blizzard conditions, I would come home Tuesday night, instead of Wednesday morning. Took it pretty easy all day, but was up to going out to the barn Wednesday night to help Al with chores. I'm not supposed to lift much, nor drive for five days (I don't think they could have possibly meant the tractor?). I'm pretty tender, and a little bloated feeling, but otherwise feeling okay. The cold weather we're to have this weekend will probably out-weigh any urges to do anything silly like ride.

Al has been wonderful in covering horse responsibilities all last week and much of this one!
UPDATE: Thursday morning, and the storm front finally reached us! Sideways wind blowing just an inch or two of snow into nasty drifts. Because he can't see "his" mare herd in their respective stalls (or maybe because the barn is just too full of rattles), a blanketed RT chooses to stand out in it, silly guy! From the house I can see that Kate and Misty are also hanging outside, in the lee of the barn, so it must be that it's just too noisy inside for their nerves.
Again, Al insisted that I stay inside this morning, even though I feel pretty good, and was prepared to take over chores so he'd have one less thing to do before work. What a guy!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Play-Date with Kate

So, after all the wind on Saturday, Sunday dawned clear and calm, if a little nippy. Pat and I didn't have the distraction of the tack sale, so we wanted to get going before the wind came up again, as is often the case in our environs. So by 10:00 or so, here came Chief (aka Mis-chief) down the drive. The little guy unloaded calmly and respectfully. Pat has been hauling him to a little local indoor to get him started again this month--she probably put 10 easy rides on him at home when she first got him late last fall. But only a couple of those rides were off her place, and then just around her immediate neighborhood. She did pony him out once, with a small group from the KVTR club, and he was pretty reasonable about being out and about.

A little bit of groundwork in the arena.Some follow-the-leader.
Then out we head, towards Hank's cattle pasture playground. (Look how big--in both directions-- Kate is next to Chief!)Across the draw and along the fenceline.
Turn and come back down the draw.

Loop back around the other side.And back up the hill again.South, along the fenceline with our farm. And out the back gate, to the irrigation ditch-road.
Couldn't find a "mounting block" to use. (The Tucker Saddle guy swears that the new saddle won't "spin" around Kate's rotund physique...We'll see.) Finally found a low spot that wasn't mushy.
Mama Misty watches our progress around the ditch road at the east edge of the farm. It's amazing how much she carries on these days when Kate leaves--Misty has always bullied Kate around, but now that they're next door to each other, Misty misses her!

And back down the drive. What are they looking at?

Maddie, Beth, and RT carrying on in the pasture next to them! RT seemed to think Chief was there to steal "his" mares, which I guess is a justified fear, considering he got away with Kate for awhile."Super Chief" gets a pat from Pat for his successful first outing, about an hour total in the saddle. Then some practice standing at the trailers--with a hay bag, of course. This is a skill Chief will need for future KVTR rides.All in all, it was a great "first date."
(Thanks to photo-hubby Al for the documentation of the day.)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What's Not To Love?

About this face...
And this attitude.
Jane, over at the Literary Horse asked folks to share their love story with their horse.

My mare Kate (registered name, Canticle) was the first of my foals I knew I would be able to keep, as the three colts we raised weren't "replacement broodmare" material. I'd always been enamored of having a buckskin overo (probably since Bonanza days), but had to "settle" for a deep golden dun. With the horse market what it is, I won't be breeding her any time soon, if ever. She was a dream to start under saddle, and we have logged lots of trail miles together. My big plan for the two of us is mountain trail competition, where she would build a performance record, in case I ever do decide to breed again.

Kate has carted my big patootie uphill...
And down...
To all sorts of great places.
She's willing to give most things a try.

Kate has safely carried my non-horsie hubby...
My kid...
And grandkid...
And more grandkids.

Then, there's that face again!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Too Windy To Ride

Something's in the air!
Kate's all worked up!
Seems like every winter we have to have one of these "airs-above-the-ground" sessions.
Pat and I had made a quick trip to town for the 4H tack sale. Not finding anything to spend our money on, we decided that, since the forecasted rain had not made an appearance, we would load up and try to get her new youngster, Chief, out for his first ride in the open. She's been hauling him to the local indoor to leg him up, and has been really pleased with his laid-back acceptance of life as a saddle horse. But she was waiting for a decent day to get him out and about.
At first she was going to bring him down and we would add Kate to her trailer and head for the John Wayne trail. But as we came home from town, up the hill to my house, in the car, I realized we had a great training spot right here in Hank's empty cattle pasture (his cows are down the road for calving.) She ran home to grab a little lunch and then loaded Chief.
I had a quick sandwich, and then wandered out to catch Kate.
Leading her in from the pasture with a piece of baling twine was no problem, but just as we walked in to the barn a gust of wind came through that rattled the rafters! And out of the blue a windstorm was born.
[This is a roll-back to change directions!]
She finally quieted down, though still on high alert,...
...just about the time her visitor arrived. I had called and talked to Pat's husband when the wind started, but she had already taken off towards our place. When she pulled in she said the wind started just about half-way down the road.
Who's in the trailer, Mommy?
A settled Kate mooched cookies from Pat. But both of us decided that it was not a good day for an outing for a young, very green horse. So Pat declared the trip to be "trailering practice" and headed home.
I took Kate back in and we did a little hoof rasping, and post-winter mane and tail untangling and conditioning, before turning her back out.
We'll have to see if tomorrow's weather is any better.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Not-So-Stylish Blogger

Okay, so this award has been going around for awhile, and often those who receive it have gotten it before. And, having previously given it to the blogs they frequent, and they have to come up with someone new. Plus, we bloggers tend to "run" in the same electronic circles, so it's difficult to find someone "new" to whom they can award it.
That's the only rationale that I can come up with for the fact that two different folks have recently bestowed this coveted award upon yours truly.
(It ain't because I'm particularly stylish! see #1 below)

Here are the rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

So thank you, to Kate, from A Year With Horses, who has a tremendously thoughtful blog about the care and training of our equine friends. Kate seems to be at a very similar point in her equine journey to where I find myself: reevaluating our goals and just enjoying our relationship with our horses. Her latest adventures are focused to a great extent on her sweet young gelding, Pie.
Also, thanks are due to Meagan, of Wet Reins fame, who is bringing along a lovely young off-the-track Thoroughbred named Jasper in the sport of eventing. (She's doing what I wanted to be doing 40 years ago.)
Grey Horse Matters and Funder, over at It Seemed Liked A Good Idea At The Time both gave the award as a blanket presentation to those blogs they follow, so I guess that counts too.
Seven Things
(You Might Not Really Want To Know
About EvenSong)

  1. As stated earlier, I'm not really all that stylish: I haven't shaved (legs or pits) in over a year. It takes either very hot weather (skirt or shorts, both of which are pretty rare, due to the ivory snow hue of my legs) or a highly formal occasion that pretty much demands pantyhose (last big round of job hunting in the late '90s--or that time I was invited to a dinner meeting with the local Episcopal Bishop). Give me jeans and a tank top or sweatshirt any day I'm not working (school is a little bit more formal: khakis and no-iron cotton tops). Probably the fanciest I ever dress these days is for horse shows.
  2. I'm an out-of-practice musician. You may have noticed that all my baby horses have musical names (Canticle, Madrigal, Adagio, Brioso, Jubilate, for instance). Also, come to think of it, my blog title and farm name. Before we moved here to E-burg, I was "praise team leader" in our little Methodist church, as well as many other retreat and church camp venues. I play rudimentary 12-string guitar and sing with great enthusiasm, mostly on key. It was through this ministry that I met my husband and several of my best friends.
  3. I'm a pretty good writer, but lousy at keeping in touch with my good friends and my family. I think it's because I can't be satisfied with jotting a quick note; when I do write correspondence it tends to be long, drawn-out missives that take a while to compose--often beyond the period they would be relevant to.
  4. Among other things, I can change the u-joints on a 4wd vehicle. This is one of many skills I learned from my first husband, who was very good at many things, but whose arthritis eventually prevented him from actually doing those things--so he taught me how. Self-sufficiency was one thing the jerk gave me (besides my two beautiful children).
  5. I was married to the above mentioned jerk for 15 mostly miserable years: he was a sociopath and pathological liar. It was an experience that contributed to who I am today, but I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I finally had the strength to leave, for the safety of my children.
  6. I earned my living as a cook for many years, having worked my way through college (the first time) as a dining hall flunky. I've been a restaurant prep-cook, nursing home "dietary manager," and a school lunchroom cook (don't blame me for the food!). Although I don't get very extravagant in the kitchen these days, my husband, whose mother didn't hardly cook at all, worships just about anything I make.
  7. I consider myself a "Jill-of-all-trades, but a master of none." I don't have the self-discipline or patience to get really good at anything, so I go through life being "pretty good" at a lot of things-- horse training and breeding, music, cooking, designing and building things like barns and houses, counseling kids. I try to think of myself as a "Renaissance woman."
As for Blogs to whom I would like to pass along this award:
This is a hard one, because, as I said, many of my favorites have already been nominated. Most of these come straight from my blog roll, at the side of your screen. But I thought I'd give you a brief idea of what they're about.

Those of a horsie nature include:
  • Life at the 7MSN Ranch--Carson and her sweet donkeys, along with Hank, Wynonna, and the clucking ladies of Lonesome Dove, amide the beautiful skies of New Mexico.
  • Pirates have taken over at Haiku Farm, where Aarene and Fiddle long trot their way through the mountains of the Pacific northwest.
  • Transplanted endurance veterans Lytha and Baasha compare notes on life as a horse crazy American in Germany.
  • I know Roxie has already been nominated, but maybe doing it again will encourage her to post more of her "large and in charge" stories. Her personal accounts were an inspiration for both Maddie and Jackson to do guest blog posts.
  • Retirement is SOOO good at Paradigm Farms in Tennessee, I hope to come back in another life as a horse, just so I can go live with Melissa and Jason.
  • Karen at JK's Rough String Ranch--a real cowgirl ranching in the high country of central Oregon.
  • More adorable New Mexican donkeys are to be found at Morning Bray Ranch.
  • I'm pretty sure Janet at the Mugwump Chronicles has already been nominated, but if you want some great horse training, and great horse training stories, check it out.
  • Don't know what Joe, at Thoroughbred Friends, would think about this award, but his is a good read about the day-to-day struggles of a rescue ranch.
On a less equine theme, these other blogs also highlight animals and their people:
  • The adorable Black Jack takes Carol and Bill on all sorts of bird watching (and photographing!) adventures at Bikes, Birds, and Beasts.
  • The hilarious antics of the WooTwoo, keep the Food Lady jumping. Sophisticated Tweed tries to strike a balance, Dexter incites Piper's Mad Teeth, and beautiful Border Collies abound, all on WooTube (formerly Three Woofs and a Woo).
  • Jean shares her caring Life with the Critters in retirement on an island in British Columbia.
  • Outstanding stories from the wilderness of Alaska from the Vet on the Edge.
And for sheer hilarity:
  • I certainly don't need the calories, but the pastries spotlighted at Cake Wrecks will have you rolling in the powdered sugar!
[Photos are from a kindergarten art project at my school. And some people think we don't need art in the schools!]