No Laboring on Labor Day

Monday, September 1, 2014

Does this not make you start laughing? Every time I see this face, I try and throw my voice so it seems like it is talking. Which makes my husband roll his eyes. Of course, it's not a face at all. Any ideas where it is from?

Bahhahahahaaaa! Here's the other end. Even funnier, IMO.  The next picture is the big reveal! It is horse related, but in name only.

Did you guess saw horse? If so, you guessed right. Brandon thinks my brain is wired in such a way that I see cute, funny little things everywhere. He said he never would have seen this "face" in a million years. For him a saw horse means work, not whimsy.
This weekend we intended to go to the beach. But when that didn't work out, I was off to see my brumby. 

Everyone knows what slow as molasses in January is. But there is such a thing as slow as molasses in August.

And this is what it looks like. Every time I get on this horse, she moves slow as molasses in January. That is, unless I ask her to run. Then she will run like a Kentucky Derby champion and pay absolutely no attention to me, her hapless rider. Now I don't want to be off to the races. But I wouldn't mind a brisk walk either!

I discovered just past the Cliffwalk a secret trail that ended up being a shortcut to the River Trail! OK, so maybe it was not a secret at all. I just personally did not know about it. Here is a photo I took of Lilly looking into the newly found shortcut trail. She wasn't too sure about it. It wasn't as clear as the ones we are usually on. But that's why I carry nippers after all. After a few quick snips here and there, we were on the River Trail.

Awesomely, the first thing we happened upon was this  mushroom!

This is probably a Ramaria, commonly known as a coral fungus. 

Look at Lilly springing from the bundle of Ramaria just like Aphrodite springing from a swell of sea foam! Oh, Brumby, you paint goddess of love and beauty!

Brandon loves it when I come home from the trail with mushroom sightings. So on this ride I was in and out of the saddle constantly to capture my findings. This mushroom has teeth instead of pores or gills.

This one I found on the River Trail in a dead log. It's a Hericium erinaceus. You'll see it in the grocery store as Lion's Mane. Mmmm mmmm, edible and delicious. But don't take my word for it. Good grief, I'm no expert. One should never learn about mushrooms for real from a blog called Bay State Brumby. Bay State Mushroom would be a much surer bet.

It's just that, there are mushrooms all over the place! Here is what often happens when trying to get the perfect picture of a mushroom out on the trail. Mushroom blurry, brumby perfect

 These last few days have been so beautiful.  But, ugh, the flies have been awful. 

Here's the crop that I realized was missing after I had been out on the trail 15 minutes. I found it right near Bill's driveway on our way back. This means my ride had technically not even begun and already my crop was MIA. There is a word for this kind of behavior: hopeless.

The next day I was back out on the trail again. This time, Brandon came with me, bringing along his True Value shopping basket to collect mushrooms in. I have no idea why he has a True Value basket. He claims it is perfect for carrying mushrooms around. (Later he would say that bringing such a giant basket into the woods was a guarantee that he would hardly find any at all.)

Right away we found this Amanita, or the Destroying Angel. I've been looking all summer for this guy. And right inside the Short Trail, Brandon spied this one.  Lilly was probably thinking: Not this mushroom business again!

This is probably a deer truffle. We cut it open to peek inside.

These are turkey tails. They are supposedly very medicinal!

The next day...

Of course, on Labor Day I decided not to do any laboring at all. Instead I zoomed over to the barn. Halfway there I realized I had forgotten my camera. But then Brandon arrived to deliver it! He found me talking to Bill on the way to the trailhead back behind the ring. We were talking about Julie Goodnight. Who I like a lot.

I convinced Brandon to come out again with Lilly and me on the trail. No blue true value basket this time.

This violet color is gorgeous wouldn't you say?

 Always a good idea to have a handy little saw while out on the trail!

During all branch removal and mushroom investigating, Lilly was excellent, ground tying like a champ and waiting patiently. Of course, there was quite a bit of nibbling too...

Did I mention it was really hot and buggy?

Summer 2014, I will miss you.

Parting shot:

Another Crop Bites the Dust

Monday, August 25, 2014

Of course it's no secret that summer is my favorite season. Even with the heat and the bugs, there is something about warm air and blue skies that makes me feel more alive. And this summer we've hardly had any hot, muggy weather at all! Just perfect for afternoon horseback riding.

Summer always means that my brumby's tender white nose might get sunburned. Zinc oxide to the rescue!! Not that she appreciates me putting it on her...

Here is another excellent use for zinc oxide that Lilly and I take advantage of all the time: It is a very good remedy for Scratches! It is the one thing that can really help them clear up. Nevermind that it is often used on babies bottoms!

Some say that fall is the best time to to ride. Whatever! Here are Bill and me yesterday roaming around in the woods and then having a nice canter around a slightly twisty trail. Do you know what happens when you go trail riding with Bill? Instead of stopping at big logs in the trail, you keep cantering and go sailing over them. And if you are like me in this instance, you lose both your stirrups and your crop and almost sail right out of the saddle.

Never a dull moment!

All of these crops have gone missing. The woods are littered with a trail of my lost crops. Last Saturday I lost one cantering up the River Trail's steep end, and then yesterday while out with Bill I lost another. One of my theories is that I should buy myself a very expensive crop. Then I'd make sure not to lose it. Or would I lose it anyway and then be mad I lost a very expensive crop?

Earlier this month when Bill was in Maine, I got a call from him at 11:30 at night telling me that his neighbor just informed him Lilly had broken free from the pasture and was in the road! Brandon and I zoomed over to the farm in pitch blackness, but Jackie K already had everything under control.  She had fixed the fence and collected the wanderers (Lilly and Sophie). The next morning, we checked the entire perimeter again, just to make sure. This photo was taken of the horses eating breakfast in the beautiful morning light.

While out checking the perimeter by the manure heap, I happened upon these little guys that love to grow on horse poop.

Here is a mushroom that does not grow on horse poop that Brandon found this weekend: a black trumpet! Edible and delicious. Each black trumpet looks a little different because they grow in leaf litter and curl and grow around the leaves piles around them.

I am concluding today's post with something you can do with roadkill. It has nothing to do with horses, but it does have to do with appreciating and learning from nature!

In June we were in Maine and sadly came across a snapper that had been killed by a car in the road.

Brandon pulled over and collected him. Boy did he smell bad! Because snappers can get enormous, we knew he wasnt very old when he died. We decided to preserve him.

First you get some borax and a sturdy plastic bag.

Pour the borax into the bag, just like Brandon is doing here.

Put the dead creature inside.

Cover him up the rest of the way. Seal it up and then, depending how large it is, let it sit for weeks, maybe even months.

What you end up with is a very interesting, dehydrated addition for your personal Cabinet of Natural Curiosities!!!! I put him on the clothesline in the sun because months later, he was still very smelly when we took him out of the borax baggie.

That's it for now! Enjoy the final days of the best season of the year!

Like Painted Kites Those Summer Nights Went Flyin' By

Monday, August 11, 2014

Once again, the horse that looks so positively darling in this photo was actually quite the pill in the round pen before this photo was taken. Once again I asked her to trot and she pinned her ears at me and shook her sour, pointy face in my direction with real conviction. POO ON YOU, she seemed to be saying, BECAUSE THIS IS CRAP!  Sigh. I do my best to ignore it.

Then I imagine what the proper response would be. In case I forget to imagine, there is this handy dandy sign on the road near my house that reminds me. So I imagine what I'd like Lilly to do, as if she is magical and clairvoyant and can read my mind.

This past Thursday after work I went over to Bill's to ride. As usual, my brumby was as far away from the gate as possible. She probably sees me trudging out to her swatting flies and tripping through the divots in the dirt and snickers to herself.

But enough about the boring ole ring. The real fun is always out on the trail. Saturday I decided to take the Parallel Trail to the River Trail. There is nothing better than the River Trail on a summer day.

To get to this part of the trail you start on the short trail and then take a right to head up to Quartz Corner. Then you go down Cliffwalk (nothing like the cliffwalk in Newport, but still very lovely) and pop out right here where this picture was taken. It's watery and muddy here.

It's the kind of mud that if Lilly were wearing her Renegades, I would be very worried that one (or both) would get sucked right off. This is the joy and the freedom of having traditional shoes on her feet. Now I know it doesn't sound like a freedom to have shoes nailed on your feet. All I can say about that is that things are not always what they seem.

See how you can get out in the woods? Philosophical. Thoreau would be so proud.

With all the rain this summer, the mushrooms have been all over the place. This one Kestrel identified (with Brandon's help) but now I forget what they said it was. I think its common name should be Griddlecake because the cap looks like a pancake with brown sugar on top.

In fact, had the trail we were on been unnamed, I prompted would have appointed it Griddlecake Trail.

Here's the underside of the griddlecake mushroom. Notice how it has pores and not gills. This is one of the first places to look when identifying an unknown mushroom. Does it have pores? Or gills? I would like to point out that while I was down in the dirt snapping these pictures, Lilly was peacefully munching greenery along the trail. She is an excellent trail companion, allowing me my many trail madnesses, quite unlike her crabby, perhaps-I-will-trample-you round pen self.

Oh look, a giant rock to crack your skull open on.

These little guys are about the size of a pencil eraser. Their common name is Earth Tongue. This confirms that mycologists have got to be some of the most creative people on this planet.

Have I mentioned how much I love summer? Only in the summer can you canter around in the woods and then go home and eat  locally grown farm food. YUM.

So at work, I am commonly recognized as a goofball.

Not sure why anyone would think that about me.

I mean, I'm just trying to live a fulfilling and merry life....

...with my brumby.

Goofball? What goofball?

Happy Trails!