Friday, August 31, 2012

Guess What I did Today!

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Another HOT day here; I soak this in water, wring it out, and it keeps me nice and cool.
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-- equals --

A VERY happy me!

Yup, I rode my Winston today.  We had a great time.

Life is good.

Dinner last night started the upward trend:

Seared duck breast with plum compote, summer squash fritters, homemade bread.  And an awesome bottle of wine.  It had been sitting in the cellar since 2007.  OMG, it was amazing.

 Life is good.  Very, very good.

Did I say that already?

Jumped in the pool with Brett after doing chores tonight.
The water was 79F.
It felt divine.
Mexican restaurant for dinner and a margarita.

Yeah; life is good.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Moonlight Ride

First I need to thank Annette for sharing her blog site with me tonight.  She is a very special person.

Last night Flash and I did a moonlight ride with a conservancy group in Irvine, Calif.  I've ridden with this group about two dozen times through the old Irvine Ranch behind closed gates where the public does not have access.  We follow old stage coach routes where robbers used to hold up the stage in the rugged foothills, where California ranches first began with Spanish land grants, and where you can still spot owls, deer and mountain lion.
Trailers lined up, horses tacked up, ready to mount and head out.
I'm ready Dad, let's go.

Our docent telling stories to "kill time".

The group of 13 riders were scheduled to be "in the saddle" at 5PM and ready to head out from the staging area.  Usually there is a large parking lot for trailer parking; however, the lot was under construction so everybody had to park in single file along the service road.  Temperatures were in the low 90's, but the first few miles were under a canopy of oak trees and there was a slight breeze so it wasn't too bad.  The docent who led the ride had set a time table so the group would be at certain spots along the ride so pictures could be taken at opportune times.  After 45 minutes into the ride, we were 20 minutes ahead of schedule, so there was some down time at certain spots.  Those gaited horses just don't get it.  Flash tried to tell them to slow down and "just enjoy", but prance off they did.
Stopping at Dripping Springs for "dinner in the saddle".
Rugged foothills as the sun is setting.

It turned out to be a beautiful ride, and once the sun started setting, the temperature was really nice.  We stopped for "dinner in the saddle" at a natural springs, but I was the only one left in the saddle, (too difficult to get back on with bad knees).  Flash was his usual funny self.  One rider felt sorry for him and gave him half an apple and some carrots.  Then another rider had her back to Flash and was trying to feed her horse chocolate chips cookies which her horse wanted nothing to do with.  Flash reached around with his neck, (he can bend when he wants to), and said he wouldn't mind the cookies.  She gave him two.  I was then embarrassed and decided to share my peanut butter sandwich with Flash, and he took three bites, leaving me with the crust.
Sunset with the moon rising in the east.
Looking out towards the Pacific ocean past Newport Beach.

After the dinner break we rode about 2 miles up a long hill to the top where we could see the Pacific ocean and the first lights of Newport Beach coming on and the Channel Islands in the distance.  When we finally started back to the trailers around 8:30 PM, it was pitch black, (no lights whatsoever, only the full moon), and we were walking down an asphalt service road for about one mile.  Every so often, the horses that were shod would put their foot on the asphalt, and sparks would come out from their shoes.  Very weird light show.
As Lori would say, "night all".

The ride was great, Flash was great.  The only down side was we didn't get home until around 11 PM, and after putting Flash away it was close to midnight and I had to get up at 5 to go to work.  After getting in bed Annette said, "aren't you going to do a blog dear"?  Maybe tomorrow, goodnight all.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Lest You Think I Always Cook

Today was quiet on the home front.  I worked from home, as I do most Wednesdays.  I had three conference calls so I spent a lot of time with my foot on a chair, listening, taking notes and throwing in my three cents.

Camille called later in the afternoon to tell me all about her classes.  Her first day at the Junior College was Monday and she is loving college after just one week.  She said the instructors talk to you, not down at you, and they tell interesting stories (that would be the homicidal behavior class) without worrying about the strict high school guidelines of what you can and can't say.  The students made a positive impression as well.  Everyone seemed to want to be there and there weren't any "losers" lurking in the shadows at the back of the room.  This evening she is shadowing someone at what she hopes will be her first job, at a frozen yogurt shop.  And, her boyfriend returns Friday after being gone on vacation all month with his family.  You could say she was in a happy mood when she called.

Brett and Flash left in the mid afternoon.  They are going on a long trail ride ending late tonight.  The group will ride back to their trailers in the moonlight.  He took the camera with him and I told him he has to be my guest blogger again tomorrow. 

Since he was gone, and because we have ungodly hot weather again, I did not cook.  Instead I sliced up some tomatoes from the garden and made myself a tomato bacon sandwich, with a homemade pickle on the side.
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I could not get this picture to load facing the right direction to save my life.  Sorry.

And, the last piece of cake?  It may not be here when Brett gets home tonight...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Importance of Being Dignified

Brett and Flash will be participating in a color guard ceremony on 9/11.  It isn't with the Chino Posse that they normally ride with, but at the college where Brett works.  He had to order police attire for Flash that doesn't say "Chino" and this past weekend he took Flash out to try the breast collar out and to take Flash for a short tour of the community.

Flash, however, was not in the mood.

Really, Dad, brushing my face with that wimpy brush is undignified.

At least your hand tastes good; nice and salty.  Just how I like it.

Do I look like a stud?

You know it.  They don't come any studlier than me.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Play Day with Winston

Sunday I wanted to spend some time with Winston.  He doesn't understand why he isn't being worked and he isn't happy about it.  He reaches his head out of his stall, picks his halter up lifting it off it's hook, and throws it at me.  I can't ride yet but I can walk pretty well and I can stand on my foot for an hour or two at a time. 

I got him out, groomed him, and then we headed to the arena. 

I set up a jump and a chute to help him set up, since this would be free jumping.  Brett helped me with the set up and Winston inspected our work.

I started with the poles very low, even though we know he can jump the arena fence if he wants.  We weren't eager to watch that particular trick again so my plan was to make it low key, low stress, fun and easy for him.  I pointed him towards the jump and off he went, ears forward, tail up, prancing between rounds.

 All I had to do was stand in the middle of the arena and watch him go.

I set the jump up a bit higher when he started just trotting over without hardly breaking stride.  He was having a blast, coming to a halt in a cloud of dust and then taking off again.

If you don't believe me, watch this short video and see for yourself.  At the end, I had it up a bit too high for his comfort and he knocked the rail down.  He was tired and covered in sweat at that point so I lowered it a notch, sent him off again to finish on a confident note, and called it a morning. 

I think I'm going to incorporate this into our weekly training routine.  He loves it, it's something different and I can watch him play over the jumps without worrying about coming off.  My jumping days are over.  I think.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sunday Stills: Cats

We have just one cat, Passage.  (Pronounced like the French word: "Puh-sahj").  Mouser, squirreler, gopher grabber extraordinaire.  And she's a lovebug to boot.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A Good Kind of Tired

Today Brett worked and I asked him to let me do the chores by myself so he slept until 5:30 and then headed off to work.  I rolled out of bed an hour later, put on my socks and sandals and went to the barn.  I did everything, every single bit of mucking and feeding, all by myself.  I even dumped the heavy muck cart into the compost pile.  I was very pleased with myself.

At lunch time, I went back down to the barn and fed the horses more hay and mucked the little bit that they had deposited since breakfast.  Dumped the cart (pumps fist in the air), came back to the house and jumped in the pool.  The water was a bit cool for my taste (Lori, you would have hated it), but the day was warm and I haven't been in the pool all summer so I didn't care.  I sank underneath and then did an underwater glide all the way across.  The pressure of the water against my foot?  No problem.  (she does another fist pump).  I did slide my foot into my paddock boot and that wasn't a good thing but I think by next weekend I will be able to ride.

I baked some rolls to have with dinner tonight.

Dinner was simple -- BBQed rack of lamb basted with pesto, roasted carrots and rolls.  I'm too tired to be more ambitious than that.

After Brett got home this afternoon, we did the evening chores together.  I'm tired, but its a good tired.

Yesterday, I picked a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes and made sauce.  There was no way I was going to peel a bazillion tomatoes so I threw them in a pot with browned onion, garlic and herbs.  When it was done, there were all these little skins in the pot.  I thought about trying to strain it but I didn't want to lose the body of the sauce; I wasn't looking for tomato juice.  I whipped out my handy dandy immersion blender and let it churn away in the pot.  Voila!  Lovely sauce.  I used it to make eggplant Parmesan.  --one of my all time favorite foods.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A Good Morning

Yesterday, I went to the office and sat in meetings until the early afternoon which meant my foot was down that whole time -- and it didn't care.  In the evening, we went to a wine pairing dinner with Brett's sister and her husband.  The food was wonderful, the wine plentiful and good, and the time at the table long.  Again, other than a bit of headache from the wine this morning, no ill effects from sitting with my foot down for hours. 

My foot was fine all night.  Other than some weird sensations like the toes are made of cotton, and the fact that the toes don't bend anymore, the foot was fine.  I put on my socks and my sandals and went down to the barn with Brett to do morning chores.  I did my full share with no trouble at all.  I fed the goats their morning hay and then gave the rabbits their breakfast.

I gave Jackson his bucket of vitamins and then got the muck cart and rake and began flinging manure into the cart.  Once Brett had hay out in the pasture, I let Flash and Winston out of their stalls.  Everybody enjoyed the morning sunshine and mild temperatures.

A boy and his horse

A girl and her dogs
Brett helped me finish up the mucking and then we headed back to the house for breakfast.  I have to do something about the cherry tomatoes.  They are out of control.

The apples are coming along nicely.  We will have a good crop of big, juicy apples this fall.

I even have my first pumpkin, amongst the weeds in the garden.  I need to work on that too.

After breakfast, I settled on the couch to catch up on everyone's blogs.  There is a confused bird that has been hopping around on the railing, screaming at me, and occasionally flying over the window where he perches for a nano-second and pecks at the glass.  Then he flies back to the rail.  He has been doing this since early this morning.  I think he's confused or lost or both. 

Thursday, August 23, 2012