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Apparently the last Hurricane (Irene) made an impression on my subconcious.

Last night it rained and rained, I heard it in my dreams. About 4 am I woke up convinced the river was rising and we should get to higher ground. I peered out windows and saw nothing amiss, but the echo of 4 am haunted me in the morning. I convinced the kids to put things they treasured into the car, in case we had to run for higher ground, or in case I couldn't get back to the house later. So I spent the day with Aerin's bassoon and laptop, Alice's ancient and beloved bunny, and my computer and camera. 

In retrospect, I think I must have been listening to the neighbor's noisy gutters coping with the aggressive mist, rather than actual pelting rain all night. A tour of the local rivers showed them high: the Deerfield was well into the floodplain but not in anyone's basement, the Connecticut was over Elwell Island and up to the front porch of the marina on Rt 9, but not creeping across the fields to me the way I'd imagined. 

By the end of the day we'd returned the precious things to the house. But it was an interesting exercise. 

kids, bassoon, stuffies, computers - what would you save? 

dancing_crow: (Default)
awesome full moon

ennui should decrease with zzzzs
dancing_crow: (Default)
Gorgeous gorgeous day today, and hay was cut all down the Valley and drying and smelling lovely. It is nice to feel toasted and dry.

35 miles on a bike, averaging 12 mph, makes me speedier than last year. Also my legs hurt less and it took no time at all for my breathing to return to normal.

I was going to ride this evening, but I have to deal with supper stuff instead. Maybe tomorrow.

I am strong, strong like bull!
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I really hope someone, somewhere, is having a nice time with my June Weather - because I clearly have Someone Else's and I'd rather like to give it back.

My June is usually warm and sunny, and has scattered showers once or twice a week. Enough to grow the hay, but enough sun to dry it.

The June I am having has rained daily for the last several weeks, and somehow routinely on Tuesdays thus erasing my riding lessons (which I Want and NEED) and postponing the hay harvest until it will be inedible for the ponies...


Mar. 23rd, 2009 09:33 pm
dancing_crow: (penny)
exercise: barn cleaning
horses: all three Canadians
fabric: yes indeed, took me all weekend

Thank you all for the sympathy. Right now it is more not knowing than not having.

I did ride the red mare today, and we went off stomping in the woods and got LOST. I was amazed and disgusted because it just isn't that much territory to get lost in, but I managed it. The nastiest part was the ice remaining on the trails in the shade, which caused us to skid and slip and get worried. The bravest part was where I hopped off and we tiptoed across an icy bridge because honestly the only other way home was ALL the way back. Fifteen minutes home one way, and hour and a half the other way. Maybe she heard that reasoning, because she did it like a trooper. And stopped on the other side, when I had to drop the reins because I couldn't keep up, and got handfuls of peppermints. The ice was awful. The mare was veryvery good.

And then because I'd failed the training part of the morning (my knees vetoed running on the treadmill) I rode the other two as well. Penny goes like a freight train, but can be brought round and light(er) on the left rein. On the right she is ugly and bent wrong and dropping her should and... We have a lot of work to do. Plus we are clickering standing like a plug, or a rock, or a bored horse, next to the mounting block while people scramble up and down her side, and not squealing like a pig when the ride is done and the rider goes to dismount. I ahve no clue why she might be nervous about these things, or if she just got in the habit of being pushy. I think the dismounting really worries her, so we are really schooling that to desensitize and relax her. The mounting block is straight up rudness and we can fix that easily enough.

And finally I took little Ruby down the road. She was alert to all potential hazards, and a little spazzy. Cars going by bothered her, leaves blowing past bothered her, the melt water running down the edge of the road and the shadows of the trees across the road and the flags in the graveyard, all bothered her. This is not the cheerful, forward little trail horse I rode in the fall. I don't know where she went, but I'm working on getting her back.

Ended the day looking after Lani's horses. Her stud colt (just 4 years old) is getting increasingly obnoxious. He chomped a great hole in his (now ex) pasturemate, and now he busts out of the pasture routinely and goes to talk to (squeal and paw and rear and show off for)  the horses in the back field. He is hard to get to the head of, and mouthy. I think he would be better with hard, steady work, but the weather and Lani's life have not conspired to make that happen. I haven't got the chops or the courage (at the moment) to offer to help. All the rest of them were just wild with the wind. Blankets for tonight because it will be cold, and yet, we are anticipating 45-50 farenheits tomorrow. I will be pleased when it warms up, but I realized that the instant the ice is gone the black flies will come out. And that is a tough call: Black flies, or ice?

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these things make me believe that spring is coming:

there are buds on the tree branches making them look fat and bulgy
the fluffy horses are shedding madly
the less fluffy horses are starting to shed
there is more bare ground than (disgusting) snow on most horizontal surfaces
everywhere is the sound of running water
remember that part of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe? When the great melt starts? Like that.
the snow that is visible is truly disgusting
I only needed a sweat shirt to march to the Library this afternoon
I was down to a single layer of shirt in my lesson yesterday, and it was a yoga shirt, with nearly no arms
I was going to say more daylight, but they kind of cheated with the clocks to get it

what makes you believe?
dancing_crow: (headstand)
the minuses:
potholes, really big ones
those potholes get bigger
erosion goes faster
the glare ice in the early morning that takes your feet right out  from under you (with a whooshy noise)
mud season
the pluses:
maple syrup season, with pancakes, and baaacon

I can't think of any other pluses. The croci won't appear till the freezing mostly stops. Spring won't start until I see a crocus. 

In other news, the red mare, the bike ride on Sunday in the amazing sun, and the fabric made of washers that I constructed yesterday
Also, I used a saddle on the blonde Haflinger tank in my lesson today, and it felt Really Odd. I couldn't feel his back, and I felt kind of bereft. And those dangly things I was supposed to put my feet in? What a curious concept(!)

And finally, may I protest some major inadequacies in the mood choices? There is no Present, no Inquisitive, no Puzzled - to name a few I have wanted to choose and been unable to. humph. We are Not Impressed.

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exercise: yoga and some walking
horses: nope - lesson called on account of medical issues and vile cold
fabric: yup

Alice was home today, not exactly sick but not entirely well either. So we went out to brunch after yoga and had a nice visit with each other and Joanna, and then came home and went to the bead store. She has a very small turtle bead, and I have pink, orange and chartruse-thank-you-very-much 6/inch beads. That is bigger than usual for me, but I have a plan for them, so they got bought.

I took Aerin to Brattleboro, and she left me for another ride home!! Taken by a friend to the local gym and exercised aggressively on various bouncy things, she was returned to me later this even looking happy but tired. She asked if real life was like high school, with not enough time for anything. Why do all the best parenting moments happen 15 minutes after the kid should be in bed and asleep? We talked a little about scheduling and things to accomplish and homework and turning 15. Then I made her go to bed.

Al is in San Diego, which would be better if we were all there with him and he wasn't in meetings for two solid days and he hadn't dropped his cell phone somewhere during the day (2 planes, 3 airports, a taxi and a new city - if you find a lost phone in San Diego, take it to the US Grant hotel, please?)

Winter is back for the next day or two. I am unspeakably cross about it.

dancing_crow: (Default)
exercise: minor shovelling
horses: waved off the barn work
fabric: oh yeah, plus some sekrit stuff

I am on the steep, crap part of the learning curve for my new fabric toy/tool - that place where you have to write the first million words, or spend the first year in the saddle, or work the first 200 hours to get the feel for the medium, and what you I can and can't do with it. So I figure I'll just whang away at it, and see what kinds of things I can make. They do have a kind of unified flatness that I am finding kind of boring. I think the stuff/end result might be best used for backgrounds and substrates for embroidery, both hand and machine, and maybe construction.

I have work to finish on a 7" square of Exquisite Corpse containing boobs and shoulders. Since none of you are my EC partners I think I can tell you this. You people are reading my stealth blog. (insert stealthy music of your choice)

The snow day was completely legit - we got about a foot, and it kept coming down and the wind blowed like snit from the north, which was cold. It was fluffy and I fell down in it a bunch while I was clearing off the cars.

I will be so pleased when it is spring. Although I must admit I kind of dread mud season.

dancing_crow: (Default)
snow day. go back to sleep.

Red Queen

Feb. 26th, 2009 02:57 pm
dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
exercise: pilates/yoga plus headstands
horse: Red Queen, 2.5 miles of slow road work
fabric: not yet

I knew, if I could just pry myself off the bench and get up to the barn I would have a good ride, and it was still So Fucking Hard to get going.

We did, in fact, have a great ride. We walked down the road away from home, and trotted on the flat parts, and turned down the dirt road and trotted on that, and finally just before we turned around she sighed a couple times and sneezed and relaxed that last bit. Once we turned around she was interested and forward but not crazy like the last time. I think it helped that there was no one to show off for. When it is just us she behaves better. I think she has to have more faith in me as a leader when we are on our own.

We battled fear of a flapping plastic bag, and won.

Now all I have is driving and circus, and I intend to climb the fabric today, and maybe see if I can still do any of the fabric tricks, because it has been a while.
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This is what ALWAYS happens in February. I am done. I want it to be spring now. No snow, decent footing, usable outdoor ring, no ice in the water buckets, no ice-masquerading-as-mud that dumps me on my ass and threatens to make horses step on me, enough of that shit. I want  spring.

Real Spring.

Like - April.

I am going to have difficulties in March, am I not?
dancing_crow: (ruby)
I forgot that all that outdoor riding depended on the proper conditions: fluffy snow that is kept cold, and does not have a crust on the top of nasty sharp ice. We got more snow on Wed, with a final coating of freezing rain, and we are back to what i think of as "normal New England": thick crust that supports no weight and chops up the fronts of you shins. I keep thinking there has to be some way to groom riding rings in NE winters the way snow trails are groomed - maybe a snowmobile or something? - that would break up the ice and compact the snow and make a trottable surface out of it. I don't care if I can't go faster, but trotting without wobbling would be really lovely.

I thought I was going to the Y yesterday but my car took me up the hill to the ponies instead. I hopped on baby Ruby and we walked about the trails they had already blazed through the icy crusty snow and the older mares followed along behind to see if anything interesting was going to happen. Ruby is such a couch to sit on, and so cute I can hardly stand it. Kaboose is home again, and she had a proprietary interest in the the contents of my pockets that was sweet, and greedy. She looked incredibly relaxed back in her home territory.

I'm going down to a different lesson today, with Mara-from-last-spring on (probably) one of the springy arab mares. I need to ride someone, anyone, and if I can't get on the Canadians at their house I guess I'll have to pay to ride where I can. For the moment.
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My eyes don't work. I ahve drops in them, because I fought my way through the snow to get hem examined, and if there are typos it is because I can see nossink.

it is snowing, again, (and the kdis are home) which is fine, except the forecast is for freezing rain to finish it off, which means vile footing and no outside riding til it thaws. I told Al last night we had a nothter snowpocalypse coming except it came out snotpocalypse, which sounds like the the aftermath of a really bad cold, and reduced him to giggles, which was cute
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yah, I will go riding.

'm just waiting till the temp tops 15F, because that is just my own stupid mental limit to exactly how cold it can be and I still have to get to ride. It was 0F (-17C) early this morning, and it is still cooooold.

I finished a strange little book yesterday. It was like the person had read all the stable intrigue/horse show/girl&pony stories, and reproduced them all together in one lumpy book, without actually understanding how any of it works: how to keep a horse sound, what judges look for in a hunter class or an equitation class, how to train a horse to jump, what a jumping class looks like, the work that actually happens when a horse is shod or worked, or put away. I found it very frustrating, and kind of funny.

On the other hand, Monica Dickens has a perfect grip on what it takes to keep horses. I have House at Land's End which I've read repeatedly and love, and Follyfoot which I haven't read, and looks like it was part of a series, even perhaps part of a series that the BBC made a kid's TV show out of. I started Follyfoot and it made me laugh twice in the first chapter, from the correctness of the descriptions of the people and the horses. She is the author of one of the other adult riding books, called Talking of Horses. I recommend it highly, just for the happy descriptions of rides she has taken and horses she has loved.

The last adult book is an extremely hard to find object called A Breed of Horses. Moyra Williams, the woman who wrote it, found a two year old she liked the looks of, bought her, and then bred her and took amazing notes on the growing up and training of the resulting horses. She even has a giant table in the back of characteristics of the different offspring at key points in their careers. There are used copies around, which is good, because for years it was unfindable, and well worth the read. While she looks at breeding and training, she is also trying to tease apart some feeling for inherited and taught traits in horses. I like the tone of the writing as much as anything she says, and there are some descriptions of horses' responses to things (pasture mates, new experiences, object) that crack me up.
dancing_crow: (Default)
exercise: circus, mostly, and walking to town and back
horse: oh yes, thank you, see below
fabric: Tues and today, bag Wed.

Breakfast with the lovely Other Kate and her ginormously tall and fabulous daughter Abby at the Green Bean. Obama's image is following Kate she kept finding his face in windows all the way to town and home. Al came too, and we laughed a lot, and then he went away to work and the three of us went to inhale yarn fumes at Webs. We didn't buy anything, which was strong-minded or foolish, depending on your point of view. Since I am still awash in sock yarn, and have finished one pair and am well on my way to finishing the lovely blue whale tail ones I started earlier this month.

I went to Llani's barn and turned everyone out and rode the sweet blond Haflinger tank. He is the most beautiful golden color, and has a wavy barbie mane and tail. We took a couple turns around the ring, and then I decided, inspired by Hannah, that I wanted to stomp in the snowy woods. So we did. We walked and trotted and cantered even, up hill and down dale and through the snowy woods and across the snowy field. I was absurdly happy. The weather was perfect, the pony was perfect, it was lovely. It made it an even lovlier day, that had already started well.

The rest of the day was more usual, but still fine. I stood on my head, and my hands, and Aerin stood on my hands (I can mostly hold her up in the air, and can press her if she jumps. I feel POWERFUL!) and things were amusing and fun. Except Al couldn't come.

dancing_crow: (Default)
I keep killing this and having to type it again.

I hate shifting from mac to pc and back because it is always the tiny reflexes that kill me, not the big procedural questions.

I get to return to barn pixieing today; water buckets and turnout and stall cleaning. My instructor is in Mexico where I hope the weather is correct for the season. Last winter it snowed on her, in Mexico. She was only a little bummed.

I am relieved the cold has moderated. I don't mind winter, and I am even mostly equipped to cope with it in terms of long underwear and endurance. For extreme cold I like HWB's attitude: survival is a sport, and venturing out without freezing off any crucial parts? Major Win!! But when water buckets are involved the extreme cold becomes a kind of grim fascination with exactly how fast the buckets become solid. And then have to be kicked out and refilled. Forming huge glaciers to slip on until spring arrives. Maybe I am not as inured to this as I thought.

dancing_crow: (Default)
Fabric: Friday, Saturday and today
Exercise: Friday rest, Saturday check, Sunday check
horse: not since Wed.

Nothing much to say. The cold has moderated, although it is still winter. I have accomplished much in the work room. It snowed a very pretty 4 inches last night. Alice is off sledding, and I am going to watch more Lord Peter.

dancing_crow: (Default)
What does it say about me that I have switched the thermometer that registers outside temps to metric, not so that I can be compliant with more of the world but so that I can, on a day like today, referring to XKCD's guide to metric conversions, tell the eldest child that it has surpassed a cold day in Moscow and is slightly below fuckfuckfuckcold. We are still a good 10 degrees above fuuuuuck though. 

Aside from provoking profanity, it is outrageously gorgeous out there. See?  And here?

dancing_crow: (Kaboose)
exercise: nope
fabric: yesterday and today (and tomorrow, just in case life is too crazy)
horse: lesson yesterday, Kaboose today

Awesome lesson yesterday. I'd left boots and helmet at the other barn, and showed up for my lesson in three layers of pants, six layers of shirt/jacket and mittens over my gloves. I got to ride a little tractor of a pony - a Haflinger about 9 years old, very fancy, with a mane and tail like a Barbie horse, all wavy blond and lovely. He was very fancy moving and quite smooth. Although I had to be fierce once or twice, and not let him get away with anything, he took less hand and leg than I am used to. I think my word for the next couple months is Quieter - and I shall apply it to my hands and legs and see if I can get to be more discreet with my aids.

I rode Kaboose today, after a mysterious back and forth with one of her other riders via email. It was cold, I rode bareback, she starts tight but loosens up after a bit. I did notice that if we walked until she had sneezed and coughed a couple times that she was markedly more relaxed during the ride. We working on doing a couple hundred transitions today, and especially canter transitions. I think we got some very nice work. When we were walking out at the end, I let her wander all over the ring, and she poked her nose into every bay, sniffing at poles, fake flowers and all the lawn chairs along the far wall.

I have to eschew riding tomorrow because I have a doctor's appointment in the middle of the day. But I have circus in the evening, and it will be fun.


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