Tuesday, September 17, 2019

More stashing, crashing, and dashing

Most of my haul, including some hot peppers

Weekend before last I did some minimal chores for friends while they were out of town. I noticed they have a LOT of tomatoes in their lovely garden, so I asked if they sell them. The wife offered to barter some for eggs, so last Friday morning I went over and picked four small buckets and started processing. I canned seven quarts of tomatoes and a batch of condensed tomato soup (four quarts and two pints), and set the rest aside for Sunday.

Sunday morning we picked up another load of firewood. One of Rick's clients is moving and offered us a good deal on ~3 cords of dry, seasoned wood they had stored inside; couldn't pass that up, even though the woodshed is full! Then while Brian started stacking it, I made another batch of soup (got four quarts and three pints that time) and canned another six pints of tomatoes, using both the fresh ones from our friends and a couple gallon bags I had stashed in the freezer from our garden a couple or more years ago; I also filled a few dehydrator trays with small halves. Sometime in there I 'stashed' some more yarn, finishing this pretty 2-ply spun for yet another Ravelry challenge:

Rick took over stacking wood Sunday evening when Brian left to go to a friend's for a couple hours. When Brian called just a few minutes after he left, I wondered what was up. Well, that would be the passenger side of the Ranger he was driving:

By morning's light. Drivable, but mashed.
Sigh. Yes, this is the second time in one year he's wrecked a vehicle. No, he didn't get hurt (again). The jury is still out on whether or not he's learned anything (yet), if he'll be driving again before the end of his senior year, and if all of us will survive until he GROWS UP. 🙄

Still, life goes on; he had another soccer game last night so of course we went to cheer on him and his team . . . and drive him home.

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Hip-hip, hoo-rain!

Sunday's load of firewood before the showers started

Monday's sunrise

Monday morning rainbow

My view from work during a downpour Monday

Ahhh; EVERYthing is breathing a sigh of relief. We're on our third day of cool temps and on-and-off showers. The dust of summer has been rinsed off, the air is clean and fresh, the plants have all perked up – fall is on its way. And the clouds – oh, the clouds!

With this respite, we can endure whatever summer has left up its sweaty sleeve.

Brian is playing soccer this year and has had two games (one away, one home) so far. He hasn't played since his freshman year and the improvement is remarkable. It's not like he's been practicing, so chalk it up to greater confidence, coordination and strength (I'm sure being on the basketball team every year hasn't hurt).

Today I had a sheep visitor. It looks like my ram Blake will get some action this fall, which I'm sure he will appreciate. A couple nearby vineyard owners use Babydoll Southdowns to prune their lower grape leaves and graze the grass and weeds, and are interested seeing if Shetland crosses would do as good a job with better wool. The plan is for them to 'rent' Blake to cover three of their ewes. We chatted about whether purebred Shetlands would be even better suited to the job, since they are smaller and already have the better wool, but a concern arose – literally. While we visited next to the Sheep Sheraton, Bridget put her front feet up in the feeder (the better for us to reach her to pet, of course!),
something the stubby-legged, heavy-bodied Babydolls wouldn't think of attempting. By keeping all four of their short legs on the ground, they eat just the lower leaves the vineyards want cleared from around the fruit. (Shetlands just might eat the fruit, too; hmmm.) So first things first; they are going to experiment with the cross this fall.

And if it all works out, maybe a couple of my girls will be off on a honeymoon at another fine-fleeced Shetland breeder's farm at the same time. The pitter-patter of little lambie hooves again next spring, anyone?

That's all for now from . . .

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Ready as I'll ever be

Meaning that there are more (I had typed "a lot more," but got some photos off Rick's phone just this afternoon) related photos 'out there,' but the chances of me getting them soon from a friend's phone and my husband's camera are too slim to wait now that I have finally gotten through all my photos.

You asked for it; here are 'some' (ha!) shots from the Draft Horse Show of the 2019 Oregon State Fair – finally. 😉

On Sunday evening, Aug. 25, I went down to the Fair specifically to ride Emma around the show arena. I had only been on her back twice before, and I did not feel at all prepared (it's the dressage rider/trainer in me). This time at her owner's suggestion, I rode her in the butterfly bit she uses in harness rather than the bar bit I had used for our first ride. (I didn't like how she felt in it, so switched back to the bar bit for our class the next day.)

Monday after registering Brian for school we headed over to the fairgrounds for the Bareback Equitation class.
Both of us wore purple, which is Duane's signature color
To my surprise there were 10 or 11 of us! I figured one of them, a much younger gal who has worked and ridden for various draft horse owners for a long time and who has also gotten into dressage, was my stiffest competition. Later, an owner (not the one she was riding for) told me he'd brought in a couple of ringers, his wife and her friend who have both won national championships riding in other disciplines, and wondered how I'd bested them! Yes, somehow Emma and I ended up in first place:

Brian's first class, Junior Team, Drivers 18 & Under, was on Tuesday. The five competitors not only drove around the ring, they also took turns negotiating a figure-eight around cones placed at one end.
Getting hitched
Show time!

 And how did he do?
 I guess he didn't want his old mom to show him up! 😂 (That's a crocheted afghan; every year a woman makes one for the winner of this class. Brian has two now.)

Brian's second class, Junior Cart, Drivers 18 & under, was on Wednesday. I only got this one photo because to my surprise, Brian asked if I wanted to ride shotgun with him! Now what mom would turn down an honor like that?
This time Brian got third in his class of five.

I got another surprise when Duane (owner of the Shires Brian and I showed) asked if I wanted to ride shotgun for his 4-Up Conformation class. That was fun! (Photos from Rick's phone.)
waiting in the warm-up arena

I wish I could have gotten some photos from the wagon seat; seeing all those interconnected lines makes you realize just how bad things could get if one horse in the hitch starting acting up. Fortunately, draft horses are generally pretty level-headed.

I took photos of several other classes, too. The evening horse show always opens with an equestrian presenting the flag while the national anthem plays; on this particular night the flag was presented by that draft/dressage rider I mentioned earlier:
The 6-Up Conformation class followed, with three competitors.

Three breeds were represented: Duane's Shires, Percherons, and black Clydesdales. It takes an experienced driver to handle that many horses and reins, and all three did a great job.

Here is Katie getting ready to represent One Mile Shires in the Ladies' Team class:

And Duane winning the Men's Cart class:

My second class was last Sunday, September 1. Since the class title, "Draft Horse Riding Class, Walk/Trot," didn't specify, I asked the horse show office if it was supposed to be bareback or under saddle. The answer was "it's optional." As I had seen a number of people riding draft horses around with Western saddles, I assumed everyone else would be tacked up and didn't want to be the only one out there bareback if I could help it. Since I was using a friend's draft-sized, purple-lined dressage bridle for the riding classes, I brought my dressage saddle and my longest girth to see if it would fit Emma and it did – as long as I didn't have the added bulk of a saddle pad. In for a penny, in for a pound; if I was going to stick out with my dressage tack, I might as well go all out! I dug out my upper-level shadbelly, covered my pink helmet with a black velvet cover, and donned my white breeches and gloves. I think we cleaned up well: 😉

Those photos are all I have so far, and show us leaving the ring at the end of our class, which ended up being divided. When the competitors gathered in the warm-up arena (all 13 of us! 😳), seven riders were bareback and six of us had saddles, so they decided to split the class. Fine with me; it would have been a pretty crowded arena with 13 riders on super-sized mounts, especially if any of them got excited. And Emma did get excited, but only after we won the class and were expected to do a victory lap after everyone else left the arena and they closed the gates. She tried to break into a canter and even humped up a bit, which felt like a Titan missile about to launch! Once they opened the gates so we could leave, though, you can see that she calmed right down.

That evening was the most challenging of the Draft Horse Show classes, the 6-Up Competition. The three teams entered the arena one by one to negotiate a series of challenges that represent the way they were used when they were the 'semi-trucks' of the day. Here are the other two teams headed for the warm-up arena, and Duane competing (one of his lead horses wasn't cooperating):

Then the three teams came back into the arena for the awarding of ribbons,

following which the announcer said we were going to experience something that hadn't been done at the State Fair in 20 years – a "free drive." All three of the teams were going to show off at once without a judge specifying gait or direction. No big deal, right?

Actually, it was scary. The Clydesdales got amped up and started galloping, their driver leaning back and hauling on the reins for all he was worth to keep them from careening into one of the other teams. If one or both of the other teams had responded in kind, it would have been BAD. Fortunately, all's well that ends well, and this did. I heard someone say that when Duane's wife found out about it, she probably wouldn't let him come back to the State Fair for another 20 years!

Still, he'll have his five minutes of fame. Duane and his Shires were featured on an early morning Portland news segment, "Rod on the Road" (Duane is the one with suspenders; Rod is wearing the black hat.) We got up at 5 a.m. to watch it:

Finally, here are some draft horse photos from outside the show ring:
"State Fair is exhausting."

Pretty Aggie

Selfie with Shire (this is Aggie again)

That's it for now (there could be straggler photos later) from . . .