Thursday, June 28, 2007

horse camp

My daughter is at horse camp this week and we are both loving it. She rides and grooms and sweeps and cleans tack and does lots of other horsey things. The kids also swim, use paddle boats, drive golf carts, fish, and make crafts. One rainy day they listened to a tribal story told by a young man of Native American heritage who works at the stable.

My daughter's assigned horse is a sleek chestnut quarter horse who is 16.3 hands high. Very high. I'm used to butty little quarter horses, not tall lovelies like this one. He seems to be a good sort, gentle and with reasonably good brakes and moderate acceleration.

The staff is amused at my constant picture-taking ("She's still taking pictures of the horses!") but very tolerant. And there is so much to photograph: barn swallows in their nests, baby bunnies, miniature horses, shetland ponies, ducks, chickens, hatching eggs, a llama, and of course horses.

Here's a tiny little pony:
And some chickens:
How about some baby bunnies?
And another gratuitous horse picture:
I have been told that my daughter is a natural rider and should have private lessons. While I am impressed with her early skills, I view this more as a sales tactic, soon to be followed by "your daughter really needs a horse -- I have the perfect one for her." Yup, right. Not gonna happen.

One of my husband's co-workers urged him to buy a horse: she has horses she got for free (rescues and retirees) and claims she spends only $600 per year on each one for food, boarding, shoeing, and routine shots. My husband still remembers the $15 bird I bought that racked up $700 in vet bills (bird intensive care is expensive) and isn't buying her argument, or a horse. I must have become an adult when I wasn't paying attention, because against every fiber of my being, I agree with him. (Sob.)

I found the llama very amusing. I can see why a llama played the starring role in The Emperor's New Groove: this animal has attitude to spare. Check it out:

This is the first picture I took during camp, and it is my favorite: the counselors bringing the horses in from the field for the campers' first lessons.
N.B. Camp was last week -- I couldn't figure out how to upload a video until just now. And how could I deprive you of a grainy video of a llama chewing? C'mon now. That's art.

N.B.B. Next post: art camp.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

flowers for you and seven random things

These flowers are for you, whether you read my blog regularly or are here on a momentary visit. I welcome all three of you! (or maybe four if net traffic is heavy!) The flowers are especially for those who have no garden of their own.

Peonies are perfect garden plants. Their blooms are enormous and showy, implying arcane knowledge and diligent care on the part of their brilliant gardener. The truth is that they have few pests or diseases, are extraordinarily long-lived, and need no maintenance. What could be better?

My friend Lysne has tagged me with a meme, my first: seven random things about myself. Well,
1. My one true talent is spelling. I can spell virtually any word. This amazes my children, who are geniuses in many areas, but can't spell their way out of a paper bag.

2. I notice little things, while the big ones breeze right on by. A tiny little bloom, a shaft of sunlight, a clever turn of phrase -- these capture my full attention while the enormous weed, coming thunderstorm, or main thesis might escape me entirely.

3. My house exists in my imagination far more strongly than it does in reality. I see my living room with its blue walls, taupe-colored furniture, bamboo flooring, intriguing art and objets d'art, and enormous coffee table for books and tea and feet. Others see the builder's white walls, mashed-down carpeting, ratty mismatched furniture, garage-sale bull's horns as the only decoration, and tiny little apartment-sized coffee table that really can't support more than one book and a small foot. Someday vision and reality will match.

4. I'm pretty good with gardens, but any vegetal matter in my house is a dead plant walking. Usually several months without water do them in. The few plants I've watered have usually drowned as thanks for my efforts.

5. In grade school, middle and high school, and even college I was one of the smartest students, earning awards and accolades and a disgustingly high grade point average. In graduate school, I was suddenly the dumb one. Even my closest friends called me the dumb one. I didn't mind it from them, but my self-esteem took a real beating during those years.

6. I'm fascinated by vampire lore, and read any vampire novels I can get my paws on. (There's a lot of dreck out there.) I want more than almost anything to write my own.

7. Number One on my lifelong want list has always been and continues to be a horse. I'm an awful rider -- I really want a horse as a pet and a friend.

Hey Harriet, what are seven random things about you?