three nines are twenty-seven

twenty seven

I rode two horses this morning. The weather made me grateful to have access to an indoor arena, because the rain was pelting down. It got noisy. Kaboose and I had a peaceful hour all to ourselves in the area, working on trotting and cantering steadily and without flinging her head in the air or curling up like a snail. We did well. I rode Nuada only long enough to get him going evenly both ways; he is a stiff old man and weather like this is hard on his joints.

And then I ran 64 errands and picked up two sets of kids from three different families at two different schools and delivered them home and made supper and finished a circle, and now I intend to sit still and knit. And be warm. For 40F it felt incredibly cold! 

Els – you asked what I was going to do with these. The local arts group is having a local exhibit of things people did every day in January. I thought I'd stitch these circles to a long red ribbon and bring them along to drape or hang or something. For subsequent months I am not at all sure what will do with them. If you want one in particular, email me and we'll talk. 

twenty-two (degrees and circles)

twenty two

It was absurdly cold this morning –  about 5F when I got up, and 17F when I left the house for the barn. Kaboose and I were invited out on a trail ride, before the next round of dreadful weather shows up and renders the world a skating rink. We went out into the bright cold and fresh snow, and it was so lovely. The snow creaked under the horses' feet in the cold, and Scout snorted at monsters all the way. My toes froze. I might actually need winter boots. 

Yesterday I declared I was Done With Foil. Today I have stars of gold mylar thread (Sulky Sliver) which is somehow less annoying to me than the whole ironing/fusing/gluing process. Thread I can deal with. Thread follows the needle, until it breaks, and I have pretty good control over the needle. 

when the clocks strike thirteen


Timna – you can see all the new reds you gave me yesterday in this one. Well, all the reds except the cowgirls. 

I do not know why I thought of clock faces on the thirteenth instead of the twelfth. Although I do like the star in the center. And I am pleased with the different sizes of stars. 

I took my sewing machine out to Pumpkin Patch Quilts in Lee (a town I am predisposed to like) and after some prodding we decided it needed more work that he could apply to it with me standing there. So I left it (and had to call Al from the parking lot because I was suffering from separation anxiety) and they will call me when it is working properly again. 

Today was a two horse day. Kaboose was very… spicy, having not been ridden for a day. Plus the snow was sliding off the roof of the indoor ring, which makes a noise most horses hate. It is a loud and startling noise, and I don't like it much myself, but when I don't like a noise I flinch. When Kaboose doesn't like a noise, she leaps sideways and makes snorting noises. I managed to stay on through a series of those and then dismounted of my own volition in between noises. It was exciting. 

GO! (four)


For a short while, Alice counted "one, two, three, go, four." Later she had a better grip on numbers until they got large. She asked Al how old he was on one birthday, and then laughed and laughed, telling him there was no such number as 43. 

It was brutally cold last night, into the single (farenheit) digits. The horses were all standing carefully on the frozen ground, all their visible coat standing out to hold in as much heat as possible. Kaboose is one of the few who is not routinely blanketed; she has a serious coat, courtesy of her Quebecois childhood, but even she was wearing a windproof sheet to keep in an extra layer of warmth. 

oof. horse blankets and chicken ornaments

Well I did kind of drop off the map! I am simultaneously recuperating from the last Craft Fair, prepping for another Craft Fair (in a friend's living room, which seems like a brilliant idea!) and getting a horse organized to go live at a different barn. Which involves a lot of blanket trying-on.

There was a giant (GIANT!!) pile of blankets in the closet in the garage, and I was looking through it for a couple things for Kaboose, until I realized that I couldn't go by size on the blanket I'd have to try them all on. So I put her in a stall, and dragged all the blankets out, and started putting them on and taking them off, just like being in a dressing room with a large toddler. She had the same look too: mildly interested in the cookies I was bribing her with, but really yearning to be free.

The trying on results looked like a toddler too – some things barely made it over her rump, but the vast majority were from a Very Large Horse and they hung over her tail and well down her legs in amusing ways. We found most of what we'll need, and we can borrow the last thing as necessary. Which, along with leaving all the rest of the blankets inventoried, folded and stacked neatly, makes me feel very virtuous.

I am working on a handful of chicken ornaments for the Sunday craft fair ina  living room. Pictures of those when they are photographable.

the rest of life

Things are nothing if not complicated. 

The hardest news is that Image, the grand old horse that I ride in Montgue, is not doing well. He was having a bad week, with fevers and swellings; the vet did some blood tests and realized he had a bactierial infection that had to be treated with IV antibiotics. Then when he was just starting to look better, he started swelling in all kinds of odd ways and places. The change was alarming enough that J took him to Tufts Medical Center yesterday, and she called today to tell me what they'd found. 

It looks like he probably has a rapidly metastasizing cancer. There is not much they can do for him, aside from palliative care, so with a few more tests to rule out anything that might possibly be cured, he'll come home on Monday and be loved and grazed until he has to be put down. 

I am thinking of animals that last longer than horses, or dogs, or cats. Maybe I'll take up working with elephants. Or parrots – they can go a long time too.

Beyond horses, life is pretty happy.

We went to see Gilbert and Sullivan's Sorcerer, one of their less produced works but a lovely light hearted version of it from the Valley Light Opera. I was walking down the hallway looking at photos of previous productions. We first started going in 1984 to see Trial by Jury and Pinafore. We attended nearly every year until Aerin was born, and there was a hiatus until Alice was big enough to admire the scenery even if she couldn't understand what was happening necessarily. And we've been annually since 2004. We've seen many of the players several times in different roles, and watched the Midshipmite from Pinafore grow into a sturdy tenor. There is something soothing about Gilbert and Sullivan, as well as deeply silly. 

The sketchbook project continues, but I'll have to post more about it tomorrow. 

winter pond

pond in winter


The horse show yesterday was fun but exhausting. Our ride went well – we were giggling like crazy through the whole thing, and we made the judges laugh. I think the people who traveled for it had a good time. I think I know a bunch of ways to make it less stressful next year. If I can get a copy of the video of our test, I'll post a pointer to it. 

a little closer

larger bare trees

I thought I was too tired to work on this today, because I rode two horses. The big gray horse is back from his summer on the island, and needing riding on Fridays and random other days. So I had my lesson on Nuada, which was fun and different. 

But I am worried about finishing things in time, so I came up and started working on the tiny twiggy trees in the mid-background, and then worked on cutting out the larger bare trees, getting closer to the foreground. And when I checked my watch because I was really tired – it had been a couple hours, and it was completely reasonable to be tired. 

water and reflections

water and reflections

Two layers of silk organza make the pond. The top layer is dyed all black, the underneath layer has a strip of blue across the bottom, to add some depth and imply sky reflections. 

I helped offload a wagon of hay into the barn, and I am coated with a fine layer of hay and horse dust, glued on with sweat. 

general life

I have become obsessed with saddle pads, and I don't like any of my (expensive) choices for getting the colors I want (navy blue, edged with bright green and a nice light blue) so I decided to try knitting and felting one. In an uncharacteristic piece of forethought, I made a series of swatches, and they are in the washing machine even as we speak.  Heavy felt has a long history of use with horses, from the Mongolian nomads to more recent eras. I am looking forward to this project.


In other news, the tree is still there. Since no one was hurt and the buildings are all whole, we are lower on the list of people who need tree removal. Three  different companies have given estimates, and it will probably get done by next week. Until then, the kids are climbing on it, because a sideways tree has huge amusement potential, and the birds perch and look bewildered. 

Aerin just suns herself on it like a cat.