Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sick, Tired and Internet Wired

I meant to post on the weekend but I got sick and hence felt much more like reading blogs rather than writing my own. I did get out to ride Edgar on Saturday. No pics, sorry. Must drag Sasha out one of these days. The ground was much better (not frozen solid) but it is really uneven earth. I guess it will be good for teaching him to mind his feet, but not great for many things. Oh, to have an arena...

By Saturday night I was sick so I was pretty boring on Sunday. I DID make some hot toddys with the scotch I bought on my way back from Ireland in February. [What? I haven't blogged about my trip to Ireland or posted photos?? It's on the list!]. This was the first time Sasha had one, he really liked it! This photo isn't mine, but looks pretty close. Here's what I do:

1-2oz Scotch or Irish Whiskey (don't argue, just pick one :) )
1-2 Tb Honey (to your taste; when my throat is really sore I go for 2Tb)
1 slice lemon
3 cloves
Boiling water
Extra lemon juice, if desired

I stud the lemon with the cloves and drop in mug. Add scotch and honey and top with enough boiling water to fill mug (if mug is big, leave an inch or so at the top...or use more scotch etc!). I don't use cinnamon, but it would probably be good.

Oh wait! I wasn't completely boring on Sunday (pre-hot toddy)!! I somehow convinced Sasha to drive me to the horsey store so I could spend too much money on new paddock boots and half chaps. They made me feel a little better, hee hee. They are way too pretty right now. They will look much better with some dirt and sweat. Will fix that in my lesson tomorrow, no doubt.

We also popped into the "feed and seed" to purchase some seeds to start. We have: arugula (rocket), rainbow swiss chard, mesclun mix, and kale. Can't wait to bring things to life!

Friday, March 20, 2009


Last weekend I met the Fjords and their family. Everything was still icy so this was just to meet them and check the place out etc. The family is very nice and the horses are well cared for, so I was happy to agree to try out an arrangement where I exercise at least one of their horses, Edgar. Edgar is only 5 years old and he spent last summer in training but he still needs some experience and miles. Edgar's owner is just not able to do that right now. For inquiring minds, I feel it is not my place to discuss other people's lives on my blog, so you will just have to trust me when I say that the need for help is due to an entirely honourable situation.

This is Edgar. I wish I didn't cut off
the tip of his nose in the photo!
Today I went up for my first real "session" with him. Of course, spring is just begining here so the horses are all furry, furry beasts. Actually, make that furry and muddy. So I started the process of getting to know him with a good, thorough grooming. Edgar is very people oriented. He is kind and interested in what you are doing. He is also smart and clearly tested me the first little while. At one point, I turned my back and went to get something (a sip of tea, in fact) I turned around and he had undone his lead rope and strewn grooming tools all over the place! I honestly have no idea how he could manage to do it so quickly and silently. Little bugger. The good thing is that he is smart so he learns what he can and can't get away with quite quickly. I am sure he will stay a trouble-maker though.

Edgar is wondering when I am going to be done with all the
fussing. Look at
the fur on the ground - I had just started!
Man, Fjords are fuzzy! The chunk
out of his mane was my
marker for where to trim to.

(He is not as "nesty" as he looks here, honest)
I took a break and decided it was time for a ride. I saddled him up and he acted like he did that every day. He was a little more annoyed at the bridle but I am pretty sure that is because it got in the way of the almighty hay pile. Very food motivated! Edgar is pretty green and he hasn't been ridden in months (Fall, maybe?). I was told he will take advantage of a rider who isn't capable of controling him. He did very well; we had no real issues, just him testing me a little now and then. I can tell he's had some training but he is pretty wiggly, for lack of a better word. Straight lines were a pretty big challenge...more like a series of little zig-zags. He did spook a couple times, but he didn't move more than 6 inches either way - basically spooked in place. Nice. I am certain he was just feeling good and not used to being out under saddle in a big field like that.

He really carried himself nicely when he wanted to. Hopefully I can make that more frequent in time. I really felt like I was riding a much bigger horse! So far, so good. I wasn't looking for this type of project but I think it's a good match.

Crazy owner told me to go ahead and trim his mane. It was starting to get heavy and flop a little. I have never done this before AND was given kitchen shears to do it with!! Surprisingly, they worked very well. I would still love a pair of clippers but totally understand not wanting to pay the crazy $ for them.

Here is the mane after the first few cuts. Oh my, I was so scared!
HorseOfCourse, I apologize for massacring your native breed.
I promise I will make it better next week!

I forgot to take an "after" photo but it ended up ok. Not perfectly smooth across the top, but I think you need to do it over a couple days anyway. Oddly enough, Edgar seemed fairly sensitive to having his mane combed. Most horses don't even notice it...wonder if that's usual or not.

All in all a great day off work! More to come.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sleepy Sunday

Hazel having a lazy Sunday afternoon nap. Upside down, naturally.

Must be something in the water! Yeah, I know this was obviously taken months ago. I just wanted to be reminded that things will be green again one day.

Out for our walk this afternoon/evening.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Rabbit Stew

We followed the recipe from the Jamie at Home cookbook, the recipe is Tender-as-you-like Rabbit Stew with the Best Dumplings Ever. I do not remember having rabbit ever before in my life. I have a open mind with food but I admit I had a chicken breast on stand-by just in case. This was amazing! Rabbit is really, really nice!

It ended up cooking a little longer than intended due to unforseen issues unrelated to dinner, so the dumplings were a little over-done. They were still good, but I wouldn't call them the best ever. Not sure if that was completely due to the over-cooking or not. They would be worth giving another chance.

Recipe, with my adjustments in purple.


For the dumplings:
3 cups self-rising flour (I just added a tablespoon of baking powder to unbleached, organic all purpose flour)
14 tablespoons butter
A bunch of fresh tarragon, finely chopped
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 a nutmeg

For the rabbits:
2 rabbits, preferably free-range or organic, each jointed and cut into 10 pieces (I only had one)
Olive oil
A knob of butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
10 slices of bacon, finely sliced (4 slices thick-cut)
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
9 ounces mushrooms (field, shitake, or oyster), cleaned and torn (I didn't really measure/weigh. I used a mix of dried morel and shitake -about 1/2 cup dry total - reconstituted in boiling water, to cover plus 1.5 - 2 cups fresh sliced button mushrooms.*reserve mushroom liquid!!*)
A large handful of baby onions, peeled (used 4 shallots, quartered)
2 twelve-ounce cans dark beer (Mackenson's or John Smith's work well, if you can find them) (used 1 large bottle of Hobgoblin)
1 1/2 pints chicken stock


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. To make your dumplings, rub together your flour, butter and tarragon with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then, using a fork, mix in enough milk to give you an unsticky dough. Bring it together until it's quite stiff, then flour your hands and knead it into a dough.

2. Roll the dough into a big sausage shape and cut it into 18 equal-sized pieces. Roll these into little balls in your hands, grate over the nutmeg and place on a tray in the fridge.

3. Get your rabbit pieces and coat each of them with flour, shaking off any excess. Heat a deep oven-proof pot, about 12 inches in diameter, with a little olive oil and a couple tablespoons of butter, add the rabbit pieces in batches and cook for about 5 minutes until golden on all sides.

4. After the final batch, return the pieces to the pot, and add a good pinch of salt and pepper and the bacon. Carry on cooking for a couple of minutes until the bacon is crispy, keeping the rabbit moving around the pan at the same time. Add the rosemary sprigs, mushrooms and onions and continue frying for another 10 minutes, by which time the meat will be nicely colored and the veg will be softened.

5. Mix in a tablespoon of flour, pour in your beer and chicken stock and mushroom liquid, cover and simmer for half an hour. Then put your dumplings on top of the stew with about 1/2 inch between them. They will act as a kind of lid, allowing the stew to retain moisture and not to boil dry. When perfectly cooked they will crisp up on the top and stay bun-like and soft on the bottom. Drizzle them with olive oil and put the pot into the preheated oven for 45 minutes.


That's it, that's all. It was, of course, even better the next day. Cooking with beer is really, really good.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Name Change.

I am changing my name from equus to RuckusButt. Why?? When I joined blogger, I didn't realize more than one person could have the same name and I thought equus was simple and nice. But, there is another equus who posts on FHoTD and I really do not want to be associated with any posting frenzies that go on over there. I am not saying anything about the other poster themselves, either positive or negative, I just don't want to accidentally be caught in any potential bashing as is common over there. It's just not my cup of tea, life's to short to waste it on hate like that.

I chose RuckusButt because that's what I call my dog when she's being goofy. Well, 'Hazel Nut, Ruckus Butt the third' to be precise :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Project Postponed.

I woke up to bright sunshine and was looking forward to meeting my project Fjords this afternoon. Unfortunately, the owner called and canceled. You see, Friday was very mild so everything was melting AND it was raining. Then, in the late afternoon we got a flash freeze and it's been cold ever since. The fields are ice and on top of that the barn also flooded and is now an ice rink. I do not envy her at this moment! In any case, I won't be meeting them until next weekend.

Until then, here are some photos of my not-so-secret crush, Justine. I posted about her before here. I was at the barn for a meeting and since it was daylight I had to go feed her some treats. I do not understand why I like her so much!

Look at how fuzzy and fat she is!

That eye still makes me melt.