Sunday, November 24, 2013

orange is the new...mandarin

You may have noticed I like orange. Major does too. But for one weekend, the whole town is in love with orange.

Specifically mandarins! These are not the mandarin "cuties" you buy in the store. These local satsuma mandarins are the most delicious things you've ever eaten. I eat them like candy. My thumb is stained orange from opening them. Major loves them too, but they are so precious, I don't like to share.

At the Mountain Mandarin Festival there are many farms selling bags of mandarins, and you can taste each farm and pick your favorite. This area is famous for these fruits, with perfect weather and elevation. There is also mandarin everything else: honey, preserves, vodka, oil, balsamic vinegar, desserts and the best of all is mandarin milkshake.

I cannot leave the festival without the delicious shake, and almost forgot a photo in my excitement over the deliciousness.

There is other standard festival stuff too that I'm never very interested in, like jewelry and scarves and cooking demos. There was an awesome cat at the animal shelter van, big friendly fluffy black kitty, but I resisted. I sure hope he finds a good home (I took no photos of his cuteness as he reached through the bars to touch me. Sadly my current cat would shred him into little kitty bits.)

I did come home with some apricot preserves (it tastes like summer, yum) and another 10 pound bag which MIGHT last till Thanksgiving. I was going to share, (tis the season etc.), but I may need to buy another bag. Luckily there are many convenient orchards right by my house!

I have a lovely tree covered with orange fruit too. But it is yucky persimmons, the variety (hachiya) which is bitter until it is squishy and you can cook with it. Or until they splat all over the patio. But the wildlife love it. The other night a huge deer with lovely antlers stood 5 feet from my front door eating the fallen fruit. Then probably munching on my other plants too. Love/hate the deer.

The mandarins are here for only a short time. So I love them while they are here, get a bit tired of them after awhile, but am still sad when they leave, and appreciate them even more when I see them again.

Like family. Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 18, 2013


I think of myself as a pretty focused person, and I stay busy, all the time. I do not do down time very well (and I'm getting worse). As daylight wanes and I don't ride as much or be outside, I get a bit "squirrel!" (This is how my office describes being distracted, a classic scene from the movie "Up". Anyone who doesn't know the reference or see the linked video: you must see the movie. Cutest distracted dog ever)

Sometimes I can fit a ride in after work. Sometimes it is just too damn dark and I don't want to deal with it. So I come home and I should be on my treadmill in the living room, watching a favorite escapist movie (when on the boring treadmill I seriously watch the same cheesy movies over and over: No Escape, Reign of Fire, Dark City, Sahara, Pitch Black). Instead I create messes, I mean craft projects, throughout the house. I start one project and usually have about three more going at the same time, spread throughout the house in various stages of completion.

My recent project is not horse-related at all. (Unless you count that Kirk and Picard ride horses, both in the movie and in real life, they are so awesome). It is now hanging in my office at work, and I love it. Seriously geek stuff, and proud of it. I am also in awe of people who do models and painting. I totally do not have the patience for that. If this had taken longer than a couple days I wouldn't have done it. ("To Boldly Go" is on my emergency bracelet, I think it a fitting saying for any rider.)

in process, just a bit messy

watch out for the new Crystalline entity Enterprise!

OK, I need another project, let's go to the craft store! I should go to the grocery store too (worst thing ever, except maybe bra shopping, I have an aversion to pushing a cart, unless I'm at Home Depot).

But have you noticed how horses invade all aspects of our lives? Here is a recent (supposedly non-horse) outing:

I know, I know Christmas is coming And I know everyone complains about stuff being out too early. But seriously, I can't even look…

Look a these little rubber band things! In orange! I have enough black mane bands to last a lifetime, the bag seriously has like 10,000 bands or something. And I only do a few rides a year, which is the only time I braid, I'll never use them up. But look, these are orange! Add them to the basket.

Look at that little pony thing! Strange bridle set up. It comes with a trophy? That's some high expectations for your first show. And the kitty rider is not wearing riding clothes. Yeah, that is what is wrong with this! I would not have liked this as a kid, I liked the realistic Breyers, even if I did change all their names to names from books I'd read.

Woah, duct tape is now trendy? Oh, the possibilities.

I love these! Look at all these heads! They could fit on a helmet! How cool would that be, or at an endurance ride, or a team event! I wonder if it would freak the horses out. I could totally torment the barn. Remember this for later, I may need to be a land shark…

pile 'o projects on the desk

Oh, a paint by number, how retro and fun! Just about my painting ability. Soon it will be cold and wet and I'll be trapped inside with lots of free time. I could paint it to be Major and kitty Thomas! I'll probably have to buy some brushes and paint to match their colors too. I'll add it to the pile of projects on my computer desk.

my awesome lunchbox, however…

…sadly, an actual "lunch"

I had no food today for lunch, and had to buy crummy lunch and only take snacks and treats. Fine, I'll go to the grocery store. I hate the grocery store. Stupid cart. Too many people.

Zilco water. Hmmm, like the tack company. I really would like a new orange halter/bridle. Or maybe a sidepull. Would I get all orange, or black with orange accents? Maybe one without a browband as Major hates to get all itchy and sweaty. I like the beta biothane one I have, but maybe give the Zilco a try. Oh, wait, it's Zico coconut water. Nevermind.

Hmmm, let's get some carrots. I don't think I have carrots at home. Carrots, how much is enough? Horse says never too many, but doesn't exactly mind when he gets Nicker Maker treats either. I could make some homemade carrot treats, good to add some extra salt this time of year. Oh, I already did have a bag. How am I going to fit all these carrots in the fridge?

Ha, I forgot about this old comic buried on my fridge. Still is funny. And could be useful! Maybe I should clean off this fridge…

(Oh my. I AM my horse. I cannot be mad at Major's need for speed, his inability to do one thing consistently, his love of new trails and adventures. Do our horses resemble us, or do we resemble our horses?)


Thursday, November 14, 2013


sunset from the top of Stabby Hill

Not much time. No time for saddle or bridle, just breeches and a helmet, heading into the gathering dusk. I'm heading into the forest on a super hot, fit horse, who has been running around like a madman lately. Probably not the best of ideas, but I know him well enough (I always hope!)

We cantered away from home (so much more comfortable than trot when bareback). Deep into the forest, too much chance of deer encounter, let's slow it down. Until we get to Stabby Hill. He asked, I let him go.

We flew up the hill, around stabby branches, over rocks, and arrived puffing at the top, for the last few rays of sunset. Major stood quietly, even after our quick adventure, and I hugged my furry pony. Good boy! Of course he wanted to prance home like an idiot, darkness was here, dinner was waiting, but the forest quiet was invigorating for the few moments we had.

We were able to fit in a non-dark weekend ride. Just a quick morning, not too long, not too far, just a good time to get out with friend C and Friday. A 100-mile run was taking place the same time (though they wouldn't be back for more than 12 hours!). I think Major recognized the ribbons: endurance event!

I noticed the trail marking was pretty erratic, sometimes a whole bunch of confidence ribbons, sometimes nothing, and they grouped ribbons even when there was no turn. Interesting. The run also had some fun inspirational signs posted along the trail (which is such a fun idea). Some signs were funny too, though I couldn't get a picture of those, they were sandwiched between a picnic table, two new signs and a guided group of about 20 hikers with sticks, cameras and backpacks. Decided I didn't need to try for that picture. There was a run support table with hanging pineapples (not scary), a hula table skirt (a little scary, I will now be getting a hula skirt to torment, I mean train Major) and a ride volunteer, who went to pet Major on the nose and shocked him. He was mightily offended, ouch!

We were on happy horses, hot in their winter fur with temperatures of almost 75 degrees (not complaining however!). Down on the lake trail it was just so lovely, but once above it you can only see rocks and dry lake bed (but I'm still not quite ready to ask for rain). Almost no one else out there to share the trail, I wanted to tell everyone, "Quickly, quickly, not much time, enjoy this while you can!" But they are shopping at the mall, or cleaning the house, or other chores. For me, those things can wait. I can clean when it is dark. For now I ride, quickly.

Friday and C, almost camouflaged, glorious fall at the lake.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

saving daylight

Every year at this time I am like a squirrel, gathering hours of daylight where I can. I feel a sense of anxiety about the coming dark. Other people love fall, and while I love the colors and crisp coolness, the daylight getting less and less every day is like a sense of doom. I know it's ridiculous, but I'd rather just hole up until spring.
Since I can't do that, I get outside as much as I can. I left work early (maybe it doesn't count as playing hooky if you have permission from your boss, but it was an afternoon during the week to ride. I'll call it lucky!)

a long view of the very reduced lake

I was just planning on a short forest jaunt. Major changed the plan by being a total snot while trying to come home. So a 4-mile casual ride turned into a 10-mile speed event. Sounds awful? It was great.

sandy lake trail beckons
Major wanted to run all over. We argued while on the single-track trail, it is not acceptable for cantering, so I kept him at a trot and we dodged hanging tree branches and headed in the general direction of home. We got to the turn into the forest, and I just said No, we're going the long way around. Major was a bit miffed, but quickly decided he wanted to keep up the speed. We got to the sandy lake trail and I was done arguing, so I said fine, canter (correctly) as much as you want. About half way through the sandy lake trail he had a change of heart, it was hard work! But I kept him working and soon I had a horse who was very ready to listen and even slow down a little! Eventually I had a nice working trot and we headed home like sensible people.

Back at the stable it was still warm enough to give the sweaty beast a bath, and he promptly rolled then stood in the sun and fell asleep! I went home and had lunch with the cat.

Cat on lap says "I will help you with that pizza"

Then I decided on an impromptu trip to Tahoe. This is the off season, but my favorite time to visit. There is no one there, no one on the shore, the trails to ourselves, cheap hotel stays, perfect. You seriously can't take a bad picture either.

Tahoe almost looked like the ocean

no small rocks to stack? Try balancing pinecones instead.

found art: our instinct to build anything, anywhere is so interesting

ladybird trying to warm herself on a piece of granite

insects leave mysterious writings to decipher

yellow aspen carpet

sun peaking through clouds

a bit of snow on the Tahoe Rim trail

a view and contrail from the Rim trail

sunset from Tahoe north shore

coolest boat/car! I want this, so Mad Max!

I got home in just enough time to take the pony for a walk in the gathering dark. It was so lovely, there were yellow trees and a dusky sky. And it was already almost dark at 5:30. I hate fall.