Sunday, April 25, 2010

Horses, Birders and Barkdust

The week started with a group of birder friends from Tillamook meandering through our farm looking at birds and wildflowers. Well, they would not have called it meandering. I took them on a path through the woods that has not been cleared since the winter's downfalls. It was a pretty strenuous trek for those unused to our rugged way of life. They said they had fun and they look like they are, don't they? We'll see if they ever come back...

The week ended with a potluck at neighbors' who have been hosting a graduate student in ornithology and his wife for a couple of days. Our neighbor feeds birds and has a corner on the Evening Grosbeak market. They swarm over her place. More than 30 of them, thanks to this graduate project, now have bands. It was fun talking birds for an evening plus seeing an assortment of neighbor friends we seldom make the time to visit. Maybe we'll start having regular potlucks at one home or another.

The week between birding events is a bit of a blur. I write what I do of a day in an "engagement calendar". If I miss a day, it's lost forever. Friday is blank. I asked Johnny what we did that day. All I could remember was that I boiled eggs for deviled eggs for Saturday's potluck. He remembered that I peeled ten of them and he peeled two. "Give me credit for peeling two eggs!" he insisted. What else either of us did that day neither of us could remember.

I do remember Saturday (yesterday). That began with a runaway horse, not an auspicious start to my jump lesson day. I always ride Mr. Smith bareback, with halter and rope, from the horse barn to the arena where the truck and trailer await. But this time, he decided, half way there, that he'd rather go the other way... fast... leaping over the trench Johnny just dug for water and electric lines to the new barn-to-be. [Aha! That's what Johnny did Friday. He dug trenches. And peeled two eggs.] I could not stop Mr. Smith with just the halter. When he reached the gate where the other horses waited, he came to a screeching halt. I slipped off, wrapped the lead rope around his nose, and walked him to the arena. His wild and wacky attitude did not bode well for my jump lesson.

However, Mr. Smith loaded fine, as usual, into the trailer and our lesson went okay. Mr. Smith was a bit hyper at first, but the other rider was on a Clydesdale/Quarter Horse cross. Mac is about as laid back as a horse can get and helped calm Mr. Smith, I'm sure. The big horse ambled around the jump course, barely clearing, and sometimes knocking down, the jumps. He didn't figure it was anything to get excited about. Mr. Smith, on the other hand, cleared the jumps with plenty of room to spare and with more enthusiasm than is really necessary. Twice when I became disorganized after one of his too-high leaps, he ran around, instead of over, the next jump. Bad horsie. (Bad rider.)

After the lesson, friend Nancy and I practiced our pas de deux again. We've decided to make it a Prix Caprilli de Deux... that is, we're including jumps in our pas de deux. We had cantered side by side on our Wed. practice (poles and pas de deux were on Wednesday of this week... I seem to always remember the horse-filled days) and had done better than we expected. Why not add jumps?

But not every day can be a play day. Today the weather man said was the last nice one before the rains return. (Also the first nice one since the rains stopped. This is a wet spring.) So I mowed the lawn and arboretum paths, then spread barkdust on the path from house to barn and house to shop. The path has been turning into a trench... and a creek when it rains, which is most of the time. Now, our paths are pretty again. It helps to have visual evidence of what I accomplish in a day... so I remember...

Too bad I didn't take any pictures on Friday... Surely I did more than boil eggs.


  1. This blog made me happy. Thank you.


  2. I'm glad it made you happy, Hazel, but what about it did? The runaway horse? The forgetful brain? Boiled eggs?

    Yoko wrote from Japan to ask what deviled eggs are. Our English language is indeed strange.