Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Horses, Ian and a Lunar Eclipse

The three short days between the migration count and four days of horse show at Devonwood were filled with compiling the Yamhill Count migration count data and sending it off, finishing and sending off the last of the Black Oystercatcher data, and tending to the garden. Then it was Thursday and I drove to Devonwood to watch Jessica's lovely mare Elfenlady compete under trainer Nicki Grandia.  Johnny stayed home to cut up the veal calf he had butchered for us on Tuesday. All the other animals on the farm are thrilled to have the overly friendly, overly big and playful calf safely gone. I am thrilled Johnny doesn't mind doing the butchering and cutting up meat all by himself.

The first day of the show was beautiful weather wise and show wise. I spent a lot of time laughing at... and taking photos of... the Killdeer that were determined to drive horses and people out of "their" sand arena.

At first, they screamed their indignation from the grass beyond. Two tiny killdeer are in this photo but they are hard to see.

 Here's one close up.

Soon they moved to the ring. This one stood on the rail...

Having horses messing around in their arena was too much for the irritated killdeer and they moved right into the ring with the performing horse.

For all four days of the show, the killdeer loudly voiced their disapproval of the events. Happily for Jessica's horse, Elfenlady, the upper, Sylvan, arena, where she performed the first day, was not claimed by birds. Elf, ridden by trainer Nicki Grandia, had a lovely ride and won her 2nd level open class with a 72.

The only down side was the sudden trip to the hospital by ambulance of one of the Traumhof riders during Elf's turn in the show ring on Thursday. It turned out the sudden severe pain was caused by a gall bladder problem, possibly a gallstone. She was released from the hospital on Saturday and rode to a 4th place finish in her 4th level championship class on Sunday! Young horsewomen are tough.

Jessica and Kevin had a Theraplate booth outside the show office, allowing everyone to try out a theraplate with their horse. Many horse folks already use Theraplates in their barns and are happy to give their horses a chance to stand on it and relax while getting a circulation boost from the rotating plates hidden beneath their feet. Here are two handsome guys: Kevin is standing with the stallion Unycus, who is enjoying his theraplate session.

Friday's show was wet... they got rain while our farm did not. It would have been better the other way around. I videotaped Elf's ride on Friday, one of the two championship show rides, but have not yet uploaded it. She placed 4th in a big class with a 69. Here she is leaving the Killdeer's sand arena after the awards ceremony.

 Ian was a volunteer in the show office all day Thursday and Friday, but as soon as the show on Friday ended, I kidnapped him and drove him to the farm. It was great fun having Ian here. He even brought the fixings for Saturday's supper! And a good movie... and more episodes of the Big Bang Theory. But we did play and work outdoors, too. He and Johnny made a trial batch of apple cider to see if they could get more juice by running the pulp through the grinder and then squeezing it again.

Ian ferried me around the farm in the EZ Go so I could reset trail cameras... and check our portion of Agency Creek for Dippers. And there was one!

The Dipper has something in its bill that it found under water but I'm not sure what.

The weather was still not wet, the sky was clear, and I worried about frost so I covered the citrus trees with frost blankets on Saturday. Sunday morning, we woke up to a light frost. Johnny left early for his turn at Devonwood while Ian and I did chores and snuck in a few episodes of the Big Bang Theory before tearing off for the show. Thanks to Sunday traffic heading back to Portland from the coast, we arrived at the horse show grounds just after Elf's ride was over. She scored the same as on Friday and placed the same, too: 69 and 4th in the second of the weekend's championship shows. The beautiful Elfenlady did very well for her first year in the show ring!

Alas, I had forgotten to put the horses in before I left so turned around and drove home while Johnny stayed to help the Traumhof people load up. We rendezvoused at a friends' home for dinner. I had thought we would be coming directly from the horse show. Well, Johnny did. I had to buck traffic again going north from home.

That night, Sunday, Sept. 27, was a total lunar eclipse. I took photos between milking goats once the moon came up over the hills east of us. It was just past totality when we could first see it.

8:08 p.m.

8:15 p.m.

8:22 p.m.

8:30 p.m.

I quit taking photos then, finished chores, and crashed into bed. A person can take only so much fun.

Now the garden has had a killing frost... but the tomatoes are under a frost blanket, the corn and broccoli are still untouched, and I have picked most everything else that is vulnerable and canned the ripe tomatoes. This week I'll freeze the endless broccoli and corn, hope the dry beans ripen before they freeze totally, and pick the rest of the melons and winter squash and bell peppers. Summer is over but the work... and fun... never end.

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