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We Are Flying Solo

February 5, 2014

The Auger Returns: A One-Act Play

Setting:  A mild day in a North Carolina field.  Two people are going about the business of setting a 6 x 6 and a 4 x 4 post as anchors for Flying Solo Farm's shed dividers.  However, the tractor currently has the frame drag attached, so it must be traded out for the auger, which sits in the lovely, but unnecessary hole it made in November.

ACB:  He even matches the tractor!
Eventer79:  Hey, honey, I'm just going to go dump the drag and fetch the auger, I'll be back in a little bit, ok?

Awesome Crew B (hereafter ACB):  Ummmm, ok.....

Eventer79 exits stage left.  Eventer79 re-enters stage left 45 seconds later.

Eventer79:  Yeah, that is a really stupid idea.  This is going to take two people, will you come with me? [note that the auger had been placed in a temporary storage location on a slope and is heavy as shit]

ACB:  Sure, I wondered how you were going to pull that off.

Eventer79 and ACB exit stage left with tractor and unhook drag before proceeding down the hill.  Enter auger stage right.

Eventer79:  Lalalala, I'll just back up to it and we'll hook it right up, because we left it set up that way last time!

Auger:  heh heh heh heh.....

ACB:  Ummmm, hey, the top bar is blocked by the PTO housing?

Just keep backing, just keep backing...
Eventer79:  Oh yeah, duh.  I already forgot that you have to take off the top arm of the 3-point hitch first and that bar goes there.

ACB:  Ah, that's right, ok, we're good now, just roll back a little.  [connects uphill 3-pt arm]

Auger:  Now watch this...

ACB:  W.T.F. [despite much struggling, kicking, and pondering, we cannot get the downhill arm to line up with the pin]

Enter Amazing Neighbour stage right.  Proceed with hammering and head-scratching.  Eventer79 is glad that she did not attempt this alone or else she might have needed a sleeping bag.

Auger:  You shall never defeat me...



Neighbour:  Let's just disconnect the uphill one and then do the downhill one first.  Then the uphill one will be easy.

Eventer79:  Oh.  Well.  Yes, this is why I like having you around, you always have better ideas!

Auger:  Dammit...

Seat with a view.  Well, pre-shed.
Cheers erupt, the throttle is increased and the triumphant team of Eventer79 and ACB roll up the hill with waves of thanks to Amazing Neighbour.

Auger:  Oh, you think you're great now, huh?

Eventer79:  Something feels funny.  Like something is catching.


ACB:  What the..the PTO came off.  But it was on there really well!  Sigh.  We'll just hold it till we get to the shed.

The returning party arrives at the shed and with the application of much grease, proceeds to firmly reattach PTO and double check that everything is secure.  Hole locations are flagged, measurements re-measured, and it's go-time.

Eventer79:  You better drill a bloody hole this time, you recalcitrant beast, after all that!!

Auger:  Grumble...

The hitch is lowered, PTO engaged, clutch lifted, and...

Auger:  Fine.  Whatevs.  I know where you live...

After much leaping and dancing for joy, the second hole is drilled, posts set and leveled, concrete poured, and holes tamped down.  Hope remains, then, for holes where you actually want them!  Lesson:  do not store your implements on a slope if you want to hook them up by yourself.  Noted.

We have very serious groundhogs in NC.

January 27, 2014

2013 Adult Rider Of The Year?!

Yes, somehow, somewhere, my circle of awesome fellow USEA Area II Adult Riders have named dorky little me as the 2013 recipient of our Adult Rider of the Year award!

As is obvious to anyone who knows me, this is not an award for riding in lots of events, LOL.  I can't remember the last time I got to sit ON one of my horses...

It is generally a surprise award, given out at our annual ARII AR (har har!) meeting.  These meetings include forums, great educational talks and of course, an awards luncheon (poor girl usually sits in the hall and eats a sandwich because the lunch is very expensive).  I wasn't able to make it up this year, as it is usually in northern VA and I'm not flush with diesel money right now, so our group coordinator called me in advance to inform me of the award and ask for a few pictures. 

After I was done being shocked and honoured (ok, maybe I'm still not done), my brain was tired and it went, "OOOO, PLAY WITH HORSIE PICTURES!"  So, since I need to make sure everyone knows how dorky I am, I made a little collage and included the fabulous logo made for us by Kate over at Polar Square Designs

Hey, I'm even wearing my ARII AR shirt!
What I didn't know was that our coordinator was going to read my rambling thank you email OUT LOUD at the luncheon.  Where the keynote presenters were Evention's Dom and Jimmie Schramm (that's why I wanted to go to the meeting so I could meet those talented horse consumption impressionsits!!).  Dang, I should have included a really ridiculous face picture!

But, again, thank you so much, I really do enjoy every chance I get to participate!  And don't forget to read the wonderful story of our Horse of the Year, Santos, an exemplary horse of soul and generosity.


January 24, 2014

Speaking Of Survival

Because we all need a giggle.  Well, and it's true.

January 23, 2014

On Love, Loss, Survival, And Sharing

No such thing as too much Cuna-love
I'm tired.  And I get all weird and philosophical when I am tired.  So consider yourself warned. 

This time of year, it would take about three or four of me to do my job, so at some point, my brain switches off for a while and wanders off on its own.  My heart has been with Aimee as she grieves for her premature goodbye to the amazing Cuna-fish.  I know we are all grieving with her.  I have also been glad that she found Courage (and kept his prescient name); from the first time she emailed me his picture, I knew he would be his own kind of special.

It was magical watching the two of them somewhat reluctantly discover each other and then, as they cautiously began to lean on each other, take off on a fantastic trajectory.  I know I said it many times to Aimee, but it always made me giggle, because she had found her Solo, that red horse with an enormous heart and an opinion to match who changed my life forever too.

But physics and life demand that for every meteoric rise, every explosion of love, there must also be a fall back to earth.  Joy by definition cannot exist without its polar opposite, sorrow.  Sometimes we all wonder if having and adoring these incredible partners is equivalent to signing a contract for heartbreak.  I certainly did on that fateful day in 2011 when I realized Solo's journey to our 3DE was over.  

I suppose in a way it is a non-negotiable bargain, but at the same time, your heart cannot be broken by something unless you love it so much that it is a part of you.  Almost three years ago (which is hard to believe), I had to say the same goodbye to my beloved Smokey-dog.  She was not in constant pain, but I knew that her old body was worn out and it was only a matter of time before she injured herself, so I made the decision to spare her that frustration and loss of dignity.  Dr. Bob, well-known to Solo and Encore, helped me let her go; even though he assured me that I was giving her a great blessing and that she led a wonderful life, it didn't make it any easier.

We both climbed Table Rock when she was 15!
It still brings a lump to my throat, thinking of that day, of driving home alone with breathless sobs because all I could think was how  much she hated being left behind.  For months afterwards, I would catch myself listening for the jingle of her collar or I would almost see a glimpse of her around the hallway corner before I remembered she was gone.

But she visited me in dreams; she was warm and happy and I got to hug her in a furry silence filled with love and peace.  And the gifts and lessons and memories she gave me during her life are still carried in my heart every day. 

Thinking of losing Solo terrifies me, although I know that it is inevitable since the damn creatures won't agree to outlive us, selfish beasts that they are.  At the same time, the idea of never having met him just makes me feel...empty.  Imagining the last 7 years of my life without all of the places and adventures we shared, even the arguments, compromises, and the disappointments (ok, maybe we could have skipped a FEW of those) along the way -- how much poorer a life that would have been.  The doors that he opened, the confidence he gave me, the lessons he taught:  Solo didn't just make me a better rider, he made me a better person.

I will always miss them both.
Some of you know that my life mantra is "Nothing lasts forever."  And it has gotten me through many seemingly impossible times.  I unexpectedly lost the person who made Solo a part of my life, but I am still here. 

It applies to good things too, as even the most perfect of moments, loves, and partners are only ours for a while.  Nonetheless, I have learned to hold each of them as a treasure, no matter how fleeting, and I would not voluntarily give up any one of them to spare myself the grief.  Because that doesn't last forever either. 

So I try to collect that love and then pass it forward, because in a funny, completely unscientific way, sharing love does not reduce it, but rather multiplies it.

I will let one of my favourite poets sum up my own rambling attempts:

I would like to believe that when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seeds every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life.  It is the tree's way of being.  Strongly rooted perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind.     -May Sarton

January 16, 2014

So, There's Water Polo, How About Water Eventing?

I should probably just keep a snorkel in my truck at this point.  Even the reservoirs can't hold any more and soil that "never gets muddy" is oh so muddy.  My neighbour tells me he has never seen it this saturated, so at least now I know what to plan for.  He may be regretting selling me his high spots now...

A few of you have noticed, but out of random curiosity, I have placed a poll for you in the sidebar directly above the social media buttons.  Tell me how you get your "fresh reading material" updates and how you follow along with your favourite bloggers!

Since no story ever gets to just wrap up smoothly, despite the fact that they've started power line work and I should have electricity in two weeks (yay!), complications abound.  An insulation subcontractor who for some bizarre reason uses a single-axle dump truck (suspected to be made of lead) with a tarp over it instead of a box truck, wandered up my (completely soaked) farm driveway with half the truck off the edge, resulting a lovely mud slop.  Duly added to list for builder of "things contractors messed up" -- it is a short list, and I think an unavoidable one, but no less annoying for all of that.

The lump mid-cannon on the outside front
With perfectly synchronized timing as my financial assets hit rock bottom until my old house sells (soooo....close....), my truck decides that it might like a couple of new injectors or a driver module.  While it occasionally misfires on a couple of cylinders, I hope against hope it's a $10 wiring harness instead (yeah right), but as long as it is sporadic, after consultation with diesel mechanic, it's fine to keep driving.  It still runs so I waved goodbye and pleaded with My Precious to just be patient, as mom doesn't have $900 to feed you right now.

Feeling left out of the fun, Encore popped a lateral splint, which I discovered on Sunday.  Probably being silly in the pasture.  On the plus side, it's cold, hard, not painful and he shows no lameness while walking and uh, leaping on a packed dirt road.  I consult with Dr. Bob and monitor closely, pleading some more that it's just one of those cosmetic ones.  Just don't start limping!  At least we won't be doing much in the next couple weeks (of mud).

The reason all this is so well-timed is that the state gives this lovely little holiday gift to its employees.  We normally are paid on the last working day of the month.  However, in December, the paycheck comes in two weeks early, before the Xmas holidays.  Which means you get six whole weeks to freak out relax and practice your planning skills until January's check appears.  Two more weeks, two more weeks...