Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

I was pretty into putting on a good Halloween for the neighbourhood kids. It's the first Halloween in a long time where I am living in a place that kids will come. Our last place was a duplex near downtown and before that I was in graduate student housing in univeristy. So I made the front yard creepy, I put on lots of make-up (I almost never wear makeup on the weekend), a scary hat and a witch-like costume.

Me with one of my props.

It was only somewhat fun though. Most kids were surprised I was even dressed up and I freaked the first few kids right out because I was being spooky. I didn't try and spook the young ones but the older kids should have had fun with it...shouldn't they?  They all just seemed to want their candy without any of the fun. I was disappointed!

I was also disappointed we didn't get more kids.

This is me reading reading blogs
while waiting for more kids.

I have way too much candy left despite giving multiples per child. I've eaten way too many already :-/

Sunday, October 25, 2009

New experiences lead to new meals.

I had a pretty interesting experience last week.

Turns out I'm a pretty good shot!

After that, I needed a good meal as I was outside all afternoon and it was pretty cold. I had chicken breasts but didn't know what to do with them. Chicken can get a little boring, so I looked up a recipe to try something new. The chicken recipe is modified from 'The Best of the Best" from the Best of Bridge series.

Honey Mustard Chicken served with Mushrroom-Rapini steam-fry and Quinoa.

2 skinless, boneless breasts
1/4 C. honey
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 C dijon mustard
1 tsp curry powder
pinch cayenne powder

Note: I don't really measure anything, so these measurements are approximate. You can easily adjust the quantity for more or less chicken or to your taste.

Place chicken in ovenproof dish and pour a little less than half the sauce on top (start with the "nice" side up). Bake in a 375*C oven for about 15 minutes. Turn chicken over and glaze with sauce again, reserving just enough to glaze lightly one more time.  At this point, it's good to scrape some of the reduced sauce from the bottom of the dish, mix it with the new sauce and baste over top, the colour and flavor is better. Bake another 15-20 minutes. Turn once more, mix some more new glaze with the carmelized glaze in the pan and baste over top. Bake for another 5 minutes or so (I turned the oven up a touch just to brown the top a little more but this could differ for you, I'm still not used to my oven!)

Mushrooms and Rapini
Onion, garlic, mushrooms, rapini

Saute onion and garlic in a little olive oil plus a small bit of butter. Add mushrooms (+ salt & pepper) and saute over high heat until browned. Lower heat. Add rapini and cover for 2 minutes. Toss everything together and serve immediately.

Prepare Quinoa as directed (2:1 ratio is usually good).

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Planning the ride.

I've been really sick for almost 2 weeks. I am finally starting to feel a little more like myself so I hope to be back to normal by the weekend. Despite this, I have managed to have some pretty good rides lately. A few at my old lesson barn and a few on my leased horse at the new place.

I am starting to get used to the new guy. In fact, my lesson last Friday felt awesome! It's really exciting to feel like you are making progress.  As awesome as that ride was, it hasn't taken me long to realize that I need to start developing some kind of plan when it comes to my non-lesson rides. Yes, I am one of those people that mostly rides in lessons so I'm used to being told what to do! When I'm not in lessons I am on green horses where it's pretty easy to know what to work on, or I ride on trails where you are always moving forward to some destination or other.  It is somewhat strange because he's not MY horse so the long-term goals are somewhat fuzzy. But I do need goals, otherwise I think I will just putz around and it won't be much fun.

So, it looks like I'll be trying to give myself more structure so that I feel like I'm making progress. This week - riding without stirrups!  I have to say, I consider my sitting-trot skills to be pretty good. I can sit well, without bouncing, on almost anything. Almost :)  Brumby has the biggest trot and unless he is very collected it is very bumpy. I guess that will be my stage 2 of getting used to him!  Hopefully I'll have something more interesting soon...

Do you plan your rides? How do you go about deciding what to work on and when?  If you don't have a plan, how do you keep the rides interesting?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

We teach our dogs well

It appears our little foster dog, Ruby, has learned to fit right in.

The thing is, we tried really hard to NOT let her on the furniture. I always keep foster dogs off the furniture to make it easier for the new owners once the dog is adopted.  Ruby is pretty determined that she deserves to be a couch dog like Hazel though.  It's hard not to agree!

When you're this beautiful, you get away with a thing or two.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Ruby Tuesday

Meet my latest foster dog, Ruby Tuesday, aka Ruby.

Since she was a stray and didn't respond at all to the name the shelter staff gave her, we were told we could re-name her if we wanted. My husband, being a geologist, was throwing out various rock and mineral names. While "Trondjhemite" is unique, it doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, lol. Besides, you just KNOW that it would be shortened to Mite. No thanks.

Then he said "Ruby" and the little pup tilted her head a little. Not so much that I think she was named that before or anything, but she liked the sound of the word. That's good enough for me! Well, almost. I have named her "Ruby Tuesday" after the Rolling Stones song and of course we call her Ruby mostly. In 24 hrs she already responds to it well and we don't even use it very much.

Ruby is probably a Doberman mix but I think it's entirely possible that she is a black and tan coonhound mix, especially given her size. She is only 4-5 months and her paws are twice the size of Hazel's. So far, she is very sweet and learns extremely fast. She is eager to please and likes treats but isn't so food-motivated that she's nuts about it.  Overall, I think she has a very calm demeanor wrapped in puppy energy. Reminds me a lot of Hazel at that age, actually. 

It's fall and all Hazel cares about are the squirrels and
rabbits that are everywhere preparing for winter.
Ruby is trying to decide if it's safe to go for the ball, I think.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Foster Dog

I finally have a new foster dog on it's way! I had to say 'no' to 2 - one because of the broken arm and another because of the move to my awesome new house :)  Then, the humane society had a quarantine due to potentially fatal bacterial breakout. I will pick up the new foster dog tomorrow afternoon. You can bet I'll have pictures :)

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I can't really think of a good internet name for my leased horse, so I'm going to call him Brumby on here...he looks about as far from  an Australian Brumby while still being a horse as it gets. But he may act like one. I was going to ask the owner how she feels about me blogging about him...but honestly, it feels weird, so I'll wait until we know each other better.

I had my first real ride (second actual ride) on Brumby Friday evening. It went well. I obviously still need to get used to him before I feel like I'm riding him well. His shape is very different from what I'm used to and I can feel the muscle memory is just not there like it is on my usual mount. I find it okay going down in size, but going up - especially width, is harder. Suddenly, I feel like I'm pinching with my knees. Overall, the ride was pretty good and I got a sense of just how nice he will be to ride once we find our groove.  Some really amazing canter. We took it really easy since he had only been to his new barn for 4 days. I felt good.

Sunday was my next ride. I decided to ride outside since the weather was not too bad. I thought it would give him a chance to look around areas he probably hadn't been yet. I was in the mood for an easy hack.  There is a nicely groomed 1/2 mile track so it was perfect for my goals for the day. 

I expected Brumby to be very interested in his surroundings, since it was all new to him. He was actually very spooky at a few points. I tried to just keep him moving while also letting him look around a little.  Once, he grew roots at one of the 2 scary spots. Since he was already stopped I let him look around while I made sure to relax even more. I asked for forward and got it, although tentatively.  After several steps he spooked again and reared. I'm not talking a little hop, I could see my brand new polo wraps at eye level! Pretty :-/

I brought him down like I've read about 100 times but never had to do. All is well and somehow we are walking forward again. I thought perhaps I pulled on his mouth when he spooked, thereby encouraging a rear. I really didn't think so but was willing to give the horse the benefit of the doubt at first. Then it happened again. This time, I was SURE I didn't pull. I brought him down again. I wasn't really sure how to balance not letting him get away with this behaviour with not being in danger. This was my third time on his back and I didn't want to push him too much in case he really exploded.

I stayed calm throughout, that is one thing I know I'm good at, but disappointment was in the background. We did some nice forward trot and transitions to more collected trot, walk and halt. Mostly okay.  I finished the ride on a good note. As soon as I untacked, I hand-walked him to the "spooky spots" and gave him some carrot pieces when he relaxed. 

Perhaps I should have hand-walked before riding? I thought I was taking it pretty easy on him while also trying to just get forward movement. I spoke to the owner and she didn't seem to think it was weird, she said she wasn't surprised. Um, I was!! This is what worries me most of all. Combined with his poor ground manners, I think this horse is spoiled.

I am fine with a challenge but I'm not dealing with a rearing habit (I would if it were my own horse but not if I'm paying to ride it!!). I felt secure the whole time and was not afraid. Although I did kinda say "Wholy shit" to myself on the way home, lol. We'll see how it goes.

I hope to get new pictures soon. This is from the test ride.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Help with comments and photos

I'm wondering if any of you can help me. I have a hard time posting on some blogs. It just doesn't let me. It's always the ones with the drop-down list where you choose your posting ID (google account, wordpress, openID, etc.). I've chosen google, no luck. OpenID, which should work according to blogger, no luck. I've tried all kinds of things over time and always get frustrated and give up...until I build up enough patience to try again. Has anyone experienced this before?? Better yet, has anyone fixed it?!  Kate and Golden Pony Girl - right now you are two blogs I can't comment on :(

Now, on to some neat pictures. I can't take credit - my hubby took these while I was riding Edgar. I made him come with me since it was the first ride and his owners weren't home. Click on image for larger version.

Praying Mantis

Marbled Orb Weaver

Banded Orb Weaver. 
I love how he made his web among
the daisies - such perfect camouflage.