Happy Easter~

Ah what an awesome long weekend. I started it by having a great jump lesson on Thursday- Oats was slow and sticky, but we worked through it and ended up having a very successful ride!

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Friday we went and I did a super looong run around Elk/Beaver Lake. Hours! Certainly taught me the importance of fueling appropriately yikes. A good day though all around.

Saturday I got up early-ish for a dressage lesson with Oats with my normal jump trainer. It was very interesting and showed to us a few holes in Oats’ education, namely encountering some resistance through transitions. Hm….

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And then we were up Island and off to the farm! We had a HUGE great turkey dinner at the farm, and enjoyed some games, hot-tubbing and hiking.

Sunday we were back home and I had another dressage lesson, this time with my regular dressage trainer. More insight- Oats moves crooked at the canter, and it’s because, gasp, I am HELPING HIM be crooked. Wha? It was a strangely difficult ride!

Monday I was back at the barn! Did a fairly casual ride on Oats because as it turns out, I was tired, haha. My allergies have been out.of.control these days and man, they are sooo horrible. I came home after some unsuccessful swimsuit shopping (styles are SO UGLY right now. No WAY am I wearing a high-waisted granny panty swimsuit) and made myself some sangria and sat on the deck to enjoy some sunshine.

With me was Gidget and Tucker, who do not get along. At all. HA.

A great long weekend and much-needed.

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Apple Day at Sea Cider

Despite the absolute horror that was the end of the week with Oat’s near-death experience, I managed to have a pretty nice weekend.

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Saturday, Oats and I had a very low-key dressage lesson. This was also when I noticed his cough was pretty terrible, so I tried to keep it very light and not hard for him. I was very pleased with his work though, he likes having a job (mostly).

We then zipped up island to my in-laws farm, to pick pears and plums! It was great, and there were SOOO many. 100’s of lbs of plums and pears! Overwhelming! They also showed me the lovely plaque they made for Buster Bunny, to mark his final resting place at their farm. It made me feel sad, but also very appreciative of them as a part of my family.

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Sunday was another busy day- I had every intention of running before meeting the girls at the barn for the Apple Day event at Sea Cider, except I ….didn’t get up and slept in. Ha. We had a fabulous time and really enjoyed ourselves. The cider was great, we even got to try fresh-pressed apple juice!! Food was phenomenal- standouts were the squash risotto, pork belly with potato/cauliflower gratin, apple toffee bread pudding, and octopus on bannock. YUM.

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I then rode Oats out in the field, to see if a non-dusty environment would improve his cough. Spoiler: It didn’t. His cough was TERRIBLE. 😦 I started getting quite concerned, so I called the vet on Monday and had him check out Oats. Good news was that all his vitals were fine, but to give him time off (the week) to recover and monitor him.

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By the time I got home after Sea Cider and riding, it was after 4pm! Time to get ready for our first time out to Sult Pierogy Bar, where they were holding a special tasting event with Parkside Beer. ‘Dawn till Dusk’ event and it was SO GOOD. Not cheap- $45, but so much food, two full cans of beer?! Lots of samples pairing with some really outstanding dishes- trout with lemon buerre blanc, smoked tomato bisque with grilled cheese pierogy ‘sandwich’, cherry smoked duck breast on top of the hottest pierogy I have ever eaten…Oh man.

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I am definitely going again. Thumbs up!!! 🙂

And now for this week, I am going out to the barn to monitor Oats,  handwalk/graze him (he loves it) and take his temperature. All lessons cancelled, horse show on Saturday cancelled. OH well!

Christmas aftermath

Man, so many things. Good and bad. I enjoyed my time off, considering I was in a spectacularly grouchy/depressed mood, I was in a WAY better mind frame to celebrate.

We went to Ucluelet for a few days to decompress before the family madness began, and then celebrated Christmas Eve at my husband’s parents farm, which was nice. We then had Christmas breakfast and then Christmas dinner at MY parents, which was also good. My gifts were lovely, my husband got me everything I wanted and I really loved the cool and unique gifts my sister, parents and stable friends gave me. WOW so generous!

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Yes I am wearing a grumpy cat Xmas sweater! Featuring new boots for Oats, love them so much.

I also did some Boxing Day shopping and bought myself another pair of running shoes (I know I know, I have like 10 pairs now..eek) and some cool funky clothes (I also have too many of those, haha).

I ate too much, went to two parties in one night, drank too much (again) and ran a lot and also rode Oats five days in a row, gave him three days off, and now tonight will be day 4 in a row he gets ridden! That pony gets a lotta love, gotta say it, haha. He also enjoyed a home-made cookie from one of the girls are the barn and he gobbled it up in RECORD time.

No Xmas is complete without some holiday drama, and it led me to realize my new year’s resolution is to not whitewash what I want out of life. Not whitewash WHO I am anymore.

I will finish with this- as I go into the new year, I’m planning on setting the slate clean with a few people (my parents). I want to go into a fresh year unencumbered by people’s expectations of me.

I have a dog, horse, rabbit and husband because I love and cherish all of them, and they all add value and joy to my life. I would never presume anyone needed any of those items or animals to make their lives whole. This is my experience.

Please do not assume I need children to make my life whole. That is your experience. I do not need convincing, judgement, argument or debate to ‘make me change my mind’. I don’t think everyone needs a dog, horse or husband to fully experience life–why do people think that about kids? Just stop.

In 2017, I am going to be clear about what I want with the people I love and am closest to. If that means they are upset with me, so be it. I am going to focus on what is most important to me, and maintain my priorities and my sense of self the only way I know how- with resolve and resolution.

So, I guess that’s my NYE resolution right there. I also really want to start planning my next exciting big trip and can’t figure out where I want to go/do next. Africa maybe??

A Crabsgiving to be thankful for!

This year, we wanted to try something different–a trip to Port Angeles to take part in their annual Crab Fest on Thanksgiving weekend!

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Crab Fest weekend!

(that was why I was in such a panic to find my passport a few weeks ago)

We headed out to the ferry in the pouring rain. It was just hammering down this past Saturday and because a lot of people go to Crab Fest, we ended up in line outdoors for over an hour waiting to clear customs. We got pretty soaked, even with an umbrella…

The ferry itself (Black Ball line) was absolutely packed. People didn’t have seats! It was kind of a hassel and a long way to Port Angeles. Once we got to Port Angeles, it is very easy to get around; everything is within walking distance (ferry, town, hotel/motels, shopping, Crab Fest, the pier, the aquarium!!!).

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A ride on the ferry

We first grabbed lunch at Crab Fest and we had southwestern chili and dungeness mac’n’ cheese- it was GOOD! I could eat a vat of it! Then we headed out to the Feiro Marine Life Centre to grab at some touch pools and check out their octopus. She was really interesting, huge, white and sleepy. The volunteers assured us that the octopus was just resting, and when they opened her tank, she changed red instantly. Neat eh?

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Ian and the ‘rocktopus’

Our motel was nothing to write home about, zero-frills and too $$ for what you get, but ehhh it was clean at least? No hot water in the showers though, and it was CHILLY in Port Angeles for the whole time we were there. I did pick up some pumpkin-spiced hard ciders at their natural food market and boy those are good. Canada we are missing out!

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A huge paella- my dream!!

We then went back to Crab Fest to enjoy our crab dinners- we each got a whole crab, a cob of corn and coleslaw. I tossed the coleslaw (yuck) but the crab was great and so was the corn. Yum! It was sooooo busy- in fact my one issue with Crab Fest was how packed it was, made it hard to enjoy browsing the tent because it was just one huge mass of people, all day.

We visited a local brewpub after and grabbed a drink there, and then called it a night.

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Intense concentration while crab fishing.

The next day, we ate at a local breakfast joint and wow–sooooo good. My breakfast was carmelized bananas with cream cheese and orange – cinnamon syrup and I can 100% recommend it. I was full the whole day!

We then went back to Crab Fest and I took part in the Crab Derby- you pay $5, and fish for 10 minutes in the tanks for crabs. If you hook them, they cost $15 each if you want to keep it. I got one and they were tricky to catch actually!

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Weekend= success (even if it was coooollddd).

Then it was home on the ferry with my cooked & cleaned crab and away we go. We also had with us doughnuts from Cock-a-Doodle-Doughnuts (sooooo good) and flamin’ hot Funyuns to round out the weekend of gluttony!

As soon as we got home, we zipped off to my in-laws farm for Thanksgiving, and then on Monday to my parents on Thanksgiving. Crazy weekend eh? Barely enough time to ride ol’ Oats (with my saddle fixed up!!! yes!!) on Monday! He was great though, silly old guy.

Beginning holiday traditions

I’m usually a hold out for Christmas stuff until after Dec 1. It just doesn’t feel right until then, but I do make one exception…Making and decorating Christmas cookies with my friend. We’ve done this two years in a row now, and maybe it’s the start of something?

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A yummy Christmas tradition!

I have a TON of sprinkles and I love using them. Love love love it! I even found a recipe for sugar cookies this year that worked to make them softer, and less ‘rock hard’ than last year (yeah they kind of sucked…). So, I was even happy to eat them this year too! Score!

We drank lots of cider, decorated cookies, and laughed a ton. What a great way to spend a Friday night.

Saturday I was up and at the barn, and Oats was good, I can’t remember specifics but he was amenable to whatever I was working on, anyways. I came home later and we went on a bit of a longer run, 14k or so, on the Galloping Goose. It went fairly well, can’t complain as my legs were tired but workable.

Saturday night my husband and I got a hot chocolate from Starbucks (salted caramel for me, yes I’m sure the 1,000++calories that I gained drinking it was so worth it!) and then we went to the Oak Bay Rec centre for a late-night splash around in the pool and hot tub. Overall, a very nice and relaxing weekend.

Sunday I wasn’t going to be riding Oats-he was going on an adventure! A girl at the barn asked if her friend, a very experienced event rider, could borrow Oats to ride on the trails with them. I do like him to get out and have some fun, so I said sure, as long as it was safety-first. Sadly, the friend cancelled so no adventure for Oats…And also meant that our plans had to shift a bit for Sunday, but no worries.

We enjoyed lunch at my husband’s parents farm in Cobble Hill and wow…It was freezing out there in the country. Brr. So cold. We went on a short walk, freezing the whole way, and visited and then hot-tubbed it up!

Then we stopped by the barn on the way home and I rode Oats–my long-suffering husband was quite gracious about this change in plans. I hopped Oats over a few jumps I lowered in the ring and he was really great about it. A short, but good ride. The ring was still very deep and mushy in places, and Oats stumbled a few times going near those spots. A bit disappointing.

Thanksgiving weekend recap: The fire inside.

Peaceful fall

Peaceful fall

So, when I last left, I was practically running out the door to get away from work and was desperate for a weekend, any weekend, so long as it long!!

No sooner was I relaxing into my weekend (hard-won) on a sleepy Saturday morning when I woke up suddenly and unpleasantly with a horrible wrenched neck. It was excruciating. I couldn’t look to the right, the back of my head/neck hurt, it hurt to chew anything – my jaw ached, and my shoulder/neck area felt frozen and throbbing, alternately.

Greeeattttt….

No rest for the wicked?

Secretly, I hoping to run to the barn on Saturday, where I would ride Oats and have my husband pick me up from the barn to go straight to my in-laws farm (maybe soon to not be their farm if the sale goes through, more changes,. eek!!). Instead, I could barely walk.

Walking even jostled my neck horribly. I was in a ton of pain, on muscle relaxants and alternating hot/cold therapy to just be somewhat mobile. No running for me. I decided to ride anyways (because I’m insane??) but my husband had to help me get Oats out of his pen, groom him- it took forever – because he was so muddy, and lead Oats to and from the arena.

Yeehaw a skinny!

Yeehaw a skinny!

Once I was on, things were ok, though I couldn’t look right at all and was very uncomfortable trying to go right on Oats. He was a good sport though, and seemed very careful with me–even though we were doing a bit of jumping!

Oats taking care of me.

Oats taking care of me.

We got some photos, and I hopped off gingerly, and Ian led Oats back to the barn and helped me untack, carry my saddle back to the barn, and unbridle Oats. That was pretty funny, he tried to pull the whole bridle off Oats’ head w/o undoing the noseband, but did manage to get the throatlatch off. Oats was like WTF? But he’s a good pony now and didn’t take advantage…

We called it a ride, and headed off to the in-laws farm. There, I upped the painkillers a bit and enjoyed some pear picking in the pouring rain (hah!!) and a lot of good quality hot tub and wine time. Sure didn’t hurt my neck situation at all, but mannnnnn did I feel it the next morning…

My neck was pretty much healed by Sunday morning but my wine hangover had a ferocious hold on me. I was like, I’m hungry!! I’d eat something…”I feel sick!!”….I’m hungry!!! I feel sick!!

All morning. Gag.

I didn’t have much time to feel sorry for myself though. We were up and out of the house to cheer on my friend who was running his second marathon!!! Gidget was miserable, whiny and annoyed at waiting around to watch. I was pretty happy though, we managed to cheer him on and get a great photo too! He did awesome.

Great work!!

Great work!!

Then, I felt inspired….

And not quite so sick anymore.

So, like the crazy person I am, I decided to run to the barn, ride, and then maybe run home. Note: this is not a short distance.

My own horse-half marathon? A new challenge? A way to work out the extreme pressure and anxiety I’d been experiencing throughout the week, and was too injured too often to resolve it through exercise?

No matter the reason–I was going to DO IT!

And so, I did. And you know what? It was fine. I jogged to the barn, waved hi to my friend Sarah who saw me at an intersection- and said I was crazy, haha. And I rode and STILL had too much ‘intensity’ in my ride on Oats. Luckily he is still a forgiving pony and he was a good boy for me, even when I come to the barn ‘running high’ and with extra energy I can’t resolve normally.

We worked through some poles- they were terrible, he does better at jumps- and then a brief lateral session once way each where he was quite reasonable, and he was sooooooo sweaty! I then sponged him off, ate a coconut-chocolate Clif bar, and changed back into my clammy workout clothes and prepared to run home.

The run home wasn’t quite as smooth as the way there- my stomach started hurting a LOT, I kind of blame eating the Clif bar so soon after riding and then running again- and my knee was bugging me a bit, and the noise on my calf injury got turned up too…

But I made it fine, it just took a long time.

So, Sunday was an investment in time. Me time. Time to work out whatever anxiety I had going on through my running and riding.

The next day I felt pretty good, tired, but good. Sometimes the fire that burns inside burns too hot and too bright, and threatens to consume us. My way of dealing with it is through exercise.

Fall is harvest season

I was grouching about fall yesterday when I showed up for my lesson and was feeling cold, the sky was blah and grey and it got dark during our lesson. Wahhh summer is ending…

Fall bounty

Fall bounty

I don’t hate all of fall though. A big part of our fall family tradition is helping harvest at the farm (read, picking everything at my in-laws farm).

Over the past few weekends, we have picked:

  • plums- both Italian Prune Plums and Damson, and very few Shiro
  • grapes
  • apples
  • quince- yeah only two. Quince is a hard fruit to like…
  • pears
  • rhubarb- still!
  • blackberries
  • squash. So many squash.
  • kale
  • broccoli
  • lettuce
  • basil
  • hot peppers- that seem to be getting hotter every time we pick them, ouch.
  • onions
  • garlic
  • tomatoes
Pick everything!

Pick everything!

It’s crazy, isn’t it! I love fall harvest season. It’s a true joy to be able to pick and enjoy this much from their farm. The only thing I don’t like is the number of spiders in the trees and in the squash plants, and also I pulled down an apple and a bunch of earwigs flew out of it…onto my head. EEEEEK.

A wheelbarrow full of random squashes.

A wheelbarrow full of random squashes.

So far we have enjoyed chocolate plum cake, crumble, muffins galore, dried apple chips with cinnamon, applesauce, squash loaf with chocolate chips, rhubarb and ginger syrup, blackberry syrup and now I am contemplating making some fruit leather. Yummmy!!

So, one good use for fall- harvest ALL the things!!