Something Awesome This Way Comes

Sunday, September 28, 2014

There I was, hiding behind the hay shed, trying to get a natural photo of my brumby in her everyday habitat.....

...But she totally knew I was there.  Good grief,  I would make such a terrible wild animal. I'd never be able to hide from anything. Good thing I was born something lame like a human...who sleeps in a bed at night, under heaps of covers.....

I am far too silly to be a wild animal.

But this wild creature! Isn't she magnificent?????? Today Lilly and I were out in the woods on Bill's land trying to make a new trail. Actually, a short part of it will be new, and some of it is a resurrection of a trail Bill used 12 years ago. It is so hilly that I was able to get all kinds of interesting pictures of Lilly. Like this one.

This is what it looks like where the new trail starts.

It was a hot day to be doing trail work. My brumby busied herself nibbling ferns. She waited patiently for me to chop limbs and move brambles.

The hilly terrain gave Lilly such a noble and statuesque quality, I had to snap a thousand pictures.

It is not every day you get to see your brumby's belly button out on the trail!!!!

So I'd mark the trail with pink trail marking tape after one step, and snap pictures of Lilly after the next. This meant that I did not get very far very fast.

After marking the new part of the trail, we met up with the snowmobile trail we usually ride on. It's a very nice trail. But why not have another very nice trail that goes over steeper more adventurous  landscapes?

Here's a nice example of the grade of the hillside. I can see the entire seat of the saddle, even though I am just a few wee steps away from Lilly.

  Here is a trail marker that Bill hung up over ten years ago. Still there!

After marking the new trail (which I call the Pink Trail for now because of the pink trail markers) and traversing Bill's old trail (which I call the Orange Trail because of the orange reflectors that mark it), we ended up on a snowmobile trail that is very clearly labeled and still on Bill's land.

Then it was time to head back and see if I could follow the new trail  on horseback. As if Lilly needed any trail cues. She retraced every step we had just taken perfectly. She set off down the new old trail at a swift little clip, taking curly turns and navigating the descent like a pro.  It was ridiculous really, how good she was at it, like she had taken notes or something. There I was trying to locate the orange and pink markers and just as I'd locate one we'd be sailing past another.

Needless to say, we made it back without a problem.

Driving home I saw them cutting some of the hay that Lilly will be eating this winter.

Today's parting shot:


I heart the weekend

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Nope, not a horse, but cute enough to snap his photo. I saw this guy outside my window at work on Friday morning. Adorable.

Saturday I thought I would brave the rain. But it was raining heavier than I thought. Sometimes I do not mind getting wet. But I do not like wet tack.  I ended up staying in the barn feeding Lilly carrots from a farm stand and  playing around with the camera. So I have not just one photo of me with my brumby... 

...there were several....

I mean, really.

Today however, the sky was very clear and bright blue so after a delicious breakfast at Elmer's of gluten-free pancakes and fruit compote, I was over at Bill's. He and Willie were just finishing up in the ring so they joined us for a trail ride. Turkey vultures were hovering right up ahead by those orange signs. 

Turkey vultures are such clumsy birds when in trees. These guys were really peering at us when we went by. Good thing we did not look infirm!

Today was Willie's third trail ride ever. He handled it like a pro. He and Bill were walking, trotting and cantering all over the Ridge Trail. 

Bill dropped Willie off at the Blueberry Pasture after the Ridge Trail. I took this photo right before Lilly made her first squeal.

And I took this picture right before her second squeal. When Lilly squeals and winnies when I am on her, it feels like an earthquake. After dropping Willie off, Bill's ride was over. So Lilly and I carried on alone.

Of course, I'm not alone at all! I'm with the world's best brumby. Does it look like I mind? No, I look like someone living the dream.

I know Lilly likes riding around with other horses. But she's so good when it's just the two of us. If she were wilder under saddle, maybe we couldn't go out alone as much as we do. 

We were having a fantastic day!

Here I found a mess of mushrooms and a puffpall on an old, rotting stump while Lilly looked on.

Here I am trying to squeeze in to picture with Lilly. 


On the way back, the turkey vultures were still hanging around, picking at a carcass. It was like walking through a valley of death. But then back at the barn, this delightful sight went by! 

When I was putting Lilly back into the pasture, I spied these little pannaeolus mushrooms growing out of some horse poop. I wanted to get their picture but this donkey nose got in the way.

There they are! With a nice paint bum in the background.

Sunday night already. :(

Deedle Deedle Dumpling

Monday, September 8, 2014

Earlier in the week, Lilly lost one of her shoes. One shoe off and one shoe on, just like the nursery rhyme. I got to the farm really early on Saturday to avoid all the threats of severe weather coming in the afternoon. Since Lilly did not have replacement shoes on yet, we hit the trail without them. It was super hot and muggy.

Are my eyes playing tricks on me or is that a dead fish in the woods? I see this fish every single time I am on the ridge trail. And each time it startles me. I guess my lizard brain can't make sense of a fish in the middle of the woods, nowhere near water, and quickly assumes something really messed up is afoot....and it lingers here confused and twitchy for a fraction of a second...

...before my thinking brain steps in and says, Oooooh, there's that twist of birch bark again. Yes, it sure looks like a dead fish. A fish very far out of water. And we carry on as usual.

Here is something very real: sticky little prickly things clinging to my brumby like itchy barnacles. These are so pesky. Unlike with a fly, she can't stomp them away. The more she stomps, the clingier they seem to get! So I get down off of her back and remove every one of them.

Sunday I was back at the farm. The storms had swept away the muggy air and the weather was gorgeous. Plus, Bill had outfitted my brumby with a new pair of shoes so she was good to go anywhere. Should you like to see a video I made of her without shoes (Saturday) and with her new shoes (Sunday), just follow the links below. I should clarify that on the soft trail her feet are not ouchie--just on the road. So on the road I get down from the saddle and walk with her, taking the time to avoid injury.

Click here for Without on Saturday
Click here for With on Sunday

Today we took the Sunset Trail to the loop trails and Carrot Bridge.  I am going to miss these ferns when fall gets here. This particular picture was taken at a place that I am sure used to be a trail several years ago. But when we pursued it, it was all very rough.

Oh my. Another x-rated looking mushroom.  Naturally when I saw this guy, I scrambled down from the saddle immediately to snap its photo, kind of like I was a pornographer.  This is probably an ordinary mushroom whose cap has not yet opened.

This could be the same kind of mushroom as the one above. Probably an amanita.

I almost fell off Lilly while cantering  on the upper loop trail. She decided to jump over a boulder that was somewhat hidden in the tall grass. I personally feel, in retrospect, that Lilly did not need to make such a fantastic leap over the boulder. It wasn't that big. In any case I found myself hanging off of her like a circus performer. Just when I thought I was going to have to bail, I reconsidered and launched myself back into the saddle. Oh how dramatic I am. The fact is, Lilly had slowed down nearly to a stop (at my command, I'd like to think) and the lack of forward motion made it a lot easier to reposition myself.  Really, the only way. It was a tiny incident that I'll puff up into something huge for effect. We weren't even galloping. Because does this face look like the face of a horse who could launch you off her back? It is more the face that could launch a thousand ships for its beauty maybe, just like Helen. (Or, ok, maybe also a thousand ships or people off her back too, , if she felt like it.)

Back at the barn Sophie decided being shy wasn't worth it if it meant she'd lose out on a mouthful of carrots.

And back at home Kestrel showed me part of the the sulfur mushroom (edible) that she and Brandon located while mushroom hunting.

 And in the garden Brandon found this pink stuffer tomato ripe for the picking. Weird but beautiful. Just like a lot of people I know.

Today's parting shot is of  my father-in-law's flower bed:

See you next time!

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: