Tag Archives: horsekeeping

Winter life

Zero degrees tonight. As the temperatures plunged this week, I suddenly remembered that these are the conditions I own a bunch of this cold-weather clothing for. I don’t know why I hadn’t thought about it until now, but sheesh, I had drug these heavier items–sweaters, cords, the heavier base layers–out earlier in the season when I was still teaching in Welches. I don’t remember using my winter clothing much last year, but then again, not only was I still half-organized here in Enterprise, but I think we were in Portland during the coldest temps last year, and came back just as the temperatures rose to the teens at night.

Of course, I have to remember that I taught in a cold room for eight years, with a door that opened only to the outside and I probably wore my heavier winter wear much more frequently than I do now. Welches may not get as cold as Enterprise does on a regular basis, but it did hit the 30s with damp and rain or snow pretty steadily from late November through February. So as a result I do have a nice stock of heavier clothing and things that go over light ski base layers and look good, just because I needed that functionality to be comfortable. Especially since I went to the barn several nights after work, and it was damp, cold, and near the mouth of the Columbia River Gorge, which meant a lot more wind than up on the Mountain.

Single-digit and zero degree temps here in Enterprise don’t seem so bad after that. Without wet and wind, it’s possible to get outside and do things in these high mountain valleys. Today, hubby went off to cut wood for a local nonprofit that provides heating wood to people in need. I went out to the barn to do a short ride and give the horse some meds before the farrier appointment tomorrow morning. Mocha seems to appreciate the new life and she’s not as frantic in the pasture this year. Then again, last year winter pasture life was all new and she had bonded closely with one other horse, who was a bit of a stinker. This year, her friends are mannerly and she’s back to her mannerly habits, including coming up to me in pasture. I mixed in some warm water with her usual pellet feed and she slurped it right up, not rushing through it.

Then we headed out for our inspection of the fence. This winter, I’m riding Mocha in the pasture using a sidepull–a type of bitless bridle with a stiff leather noseband that is slightly snugger and sturdier than a halter, with a curb strap and extra ring so that the reins lie right. Despite her greater energy this year, I’m not too worried about her taking off with me because something startled her. For one, she doesn’t have her winter shoes on yet, so she’s not moving as fast and she’s having problems with ice buildup in her shoes. I counter that somewhat during our rides by spraying canola oil on her feet and shoes to supplement the rim pads she’ll get tomorrow–last year, I used WD-40, but the new spray nozzle on that stuff doesn’t work worth a hoot in wintertime. I had enough of wrestling with that darn nozzle on cold, snowy days last winter. I’m also hoping to get some borium or tungsten put on the shoes to help with the grip–the rim pads will help reduce ice buildup as well. So until then, we’ve been taking it rather easy.

I could tell in the cold of today that Mocha wasn’t wanting to move fast, which was fine by me. She clearly had energy from the way she moved, lining out in her usual big walk with a level head and ears forward, but she was also being a smart horse and not wanting to exert herself any harder than she had to in these conditions–temps in the low teens, if not single digits. I remembered why I want to be riding midday in wintertime–as the sun went behind Ruby Peak, I could look up to some of the high mountain ridges to see skiffs of snow blowing off the very tops. While there was a faint wisp of moving air in the field, that high-altitude wind reminded me of bitter cold days riding the lift up the Magic Mile, where I would bend over double to keep warm in the teeth of a sharp breeze.

I did see some cold weather oddities. As we first started out, I noticed shimmering heat waves over the neighboring alfalfa field. Now maybe that was over the irrigation ditch that is still in the process of freezing up. It’s hard to say. Further on, the pipes on one of the wheel lines (irrigation pipes on big metal wheels) vibrated, slowly at first and then more intensely. And yet the wheel line we rode next to wasn’t doing that.

Winter is here for certain.


Comments Off on Winter life

Filed under Farpoint

Not a Netwalking Space post…well, except for maybe the last paragraph

IMG_2109Actually, there has been other stuff going on this summer besides The Novel. We are painting house exteriors in Portland and in Enterprise; I’m helping with the big Portland project (ahem, when the temps and word count allow) while hubby is pretty much doing Enterprise on his own. Considering the Portland exterior is twice the size of the Enterprise exterior, well, that makes sense.

But more is going on other than the Novel, Painting, and Preserving/Gardening. Though Preserving/Gardening is a thing, and will be even more so as we progress through August into November.

Part of what is going on is that the prescription for Mocha this summer is lots and lots of road riding. Once I got her past the half-mile hangup in hacking out, we’ve been able to do a lot of exploring on the local gravel and blacktop roads. We’ve got the hoof issues under control, however the other piece is that she is still going through muscle adaptation to new hoof angles. That means a few consults with the equine bodyworker, and a lot of hacking out at a walk with occasional trots. When we’re not in Enterprise, she’s been going out to pasture with other horses. It’s clear she likes that part of the new regime. The Stall Princess is now a Pasture Queen. Granted, that has nothing to do with her status in the herd, which is toward the bottom.

When I’m in Enterprise, though, we’re hitting the roads. It’s an easy three-quarter mile to the gravel road that gives us access to some interesting loops. I can do a three, four, five, or seven mile road ride at (mostly) a walk with gentle hills. Most of the ride is by ag land, with occasional house clusters. We pass by entire sections of alfalfa, wheat, various hay mixes, canola, peas, and flax as well as grazing land for cattle herds and some horses on our different routes. There’s lots of whitetail deer and a fewer number of mule deer. One three-sided garage seems to be an attractive midday nap site for muley bucks; I’ve seen a four point and a forked horn lounging in that outbuilding.

Along with the crops are the wildlife. We spot feral cats bounding through the cultivated grasslands, shy and wary enough to survive coyotes, eagles, and other predators. I’ve lost track of how many California Quail coveys we spot on a daily basis. I know one covey has barely-fledged young (clearly a second hatch) while a covey that shares the same area has fledged young capable of short flight. But there’s still another covey with young that except for size look adult. Occasionally we encounter a China ringneck pheasant; fortunately, none have exploded out from under our feet. We’ve seen marmots, raptors from kestrels to eagles in size, ruffed grouse, and a distant coyote. And deer. Lots of deer. Last night, we encountered twin whitetail fawns hanging around the road. Big spotty fawns, no sign of mama. They didn’t take off until Mocha picked up a pricked-ear trot to check them out, and then they crashed through the canola fields, white tails flagging back and forth as they disappeared between leaps.

My horseback time is useful for learning the difference between whitetail and mule deer behavior. Muleys tend to freeze and look. Whitetails look, then run with their tails wagging and flashing high. If you hold, then the muley holds. The whitetail just plain takes off. They tend to run more blindly and their flight path follows predictable patterns–often right in front of us. If I were hunting whitetails, I think I can now predict the flight line they’ll take, because the terrain definitely seems to affect how they flee.

Deer don’t seem to faze Mocha. The closest incident we had was when the four point muley buck blew out of that garage almost on top of us. But even then it was a jump and freeze reaction on her part. She’s the steadiest road horse I’ve been on, in the sense that I have more confidence in her response to me than I ever did with Sparkle. Sparkle was a decent road horse, but she had an unpredictable bronc element that Mocha lacks. If things get really crazy with Mocha, I can dismount, walk a ways with her, then get back on and be confident she’s okay. Couldn’t do that with Sparkle. A definite difference in breeding and training, for sure. That said, I ride out with four reins on Mocha. Just a bit of power steering and power brakes, you might say. Most of the time, we’re marching along on the buckle. It’s those other moments when I need that little reminder. Sparkle was a bronc who might choose to react by bucking or rearing. Mocha is flat out reactive and possesses a bit of sting. But her reactivity is easily managed and that sting can be defused. She’s hotter than Sparkle ever dreamed of being but she has a lot more sense. However, both mares enjoy and enjoyed hacking out. The big difference is that Mocha might startle and maybe take a couple running strides, but Sparkle would run with a few bucks.

So this summer I’m throwing back to my childhood in the Mohawk Valley riding the small handful of gravel roads available to me from my parents’ place, only I have many more options. Plus the view on Alder Slope beats anything in the Mohawk hands down. I can look to the north and see the plateau country transitioning into the canyon country, or look to the east and see more plateau country leading to more canyon country and the Seven Devils. South, of course, are the Wallowas, especially Ruby Peak, Hurricane Creek, Chief Joseph, and Mt. Howard. Nothing like riding along on a good saddle mare with a big walk.

At the same time I’m pounding away on Netwalking Space. I passed the 30k mark today and I’m on target for getting dang close to 60K by September 1st if I can sustain this pace. It’s not the killer pace of Nano–I’m trying to average about 2500 words a day, every day, without doing the brutal 5k and 6500 word days I did during Nano. The highest word count day I have so far is 3500 words and I have a few 3100 days under my belt. I am going to be traveling a little bit in forthcoming days so I need to have a few overage days to hit my average. The other, good thing is that while the plot matrix has now become “plan? what plan? we don’t need no stinkin’ writing plans” to some extent, it still gives me enough guidance to provide some chapter outline work to give me a guide to where I’m going now. The other piece is that I think this story is going to come in at around 70k-80k words. I could be wrong, but we’ll see. I’ve hit some points at 30k that I thought would come later…on the other hand, I have two more big plot punches I can throw. So we’ll see what happens.

There you have it–a recent update that isn’t all Netwalking Space.

Comments Off on Not a Netwalking Space post…well, except for maybe the last paragraph

Filed under Farpoint, Uncategorized

The difference a year makes in the horse’s life

Last year at this time we were two days into moving the horse from fifteen-some years of stall life in Western Oregon near Portland to outside life in far Northeastern Oregon. She was anxious, freaked out, and angry; pacing her pen, afraid of her tire feeder, and unwilling to drink from the ditch. In the arena she wouldn’t go anywhere near the pigs or their pen and she’d nearly run me over trying to get away from them. We had to stand with her to get her to eat and she was dropping weight. Not only that, she developed a short-term defiant streak where she challenged me on almost everything I asked her to do. It wasn’t until I tied her to the hitching rail and let her blow up that she finally got over that. Then we got hit with myriad health issues on top of the white line disease we’d been struggling with for a year and a half at that point.

This year, today, I rode her in the arena with bareback pad and Pelham (since it was the first time this spring with the pad, I wanted a little more authority). I didn’t need the Pelham because she worked in a very relaxed mode. And as for the pigs….


well, the image speaks for itself, doesn’t it? I took that shot from horseback. She accepts the pigs but doesn’t like them. They’ll always be an excuse for skittery behavior in that corner, but most of the time I can ride by them on a loose rein and (except perhaps on a cold and windy day) she’ll maybe tense up a little but now doesn’t even speed up.

But more than that has happened this year.

We discovered the cause for her intermittent front end lamenesses and, though we’ve still got X-rays to happen in June, it looks like the change in shoeing has addressed it.

Mocha learned not only how to live outside and drink from creeks, she learned about 24/7 herd life, surviving cold and snowy winters outside without blankets or shelters, and how to be a real horse. As well as about fences that aren’t pole fences.

Remediating her front end lamenesses and full-time turnout seems to have given her a lovely soft working jog. It used to be that riding her jog trot bareback was a tooth-rattling experience. No more. While she’s not slow enough to pass for a Western Pleasure horse, as far as a working jog goes, it’s nice to be able to sit it bareback and not get shaken to pieces. I hadn’t asked her for a slow jog all winter, but once we got back into the arena, my main reaction was WOW.

Full-sized stallions no longer frighten and worry her. Today she drowsed while tied to a hitching post near a young stallion penned nearby who was screaming at her. She’s observed breeding going on, and been part of a group of mares VERY INTERESTED in one of their own who just foaled in the pasture.

She’s gained weight.

Overall, things are good now. And that’s the way I like it in horse world.

Comments Off on The difference a year makes in the horse’s life

Filed under Horse life

That moment of epic earcamness

So this happened today….


Ten feet away. We rode by him (from the size, I’d say it’s a male) twice. On approach, Mocha was all ears.


I had one thumb bare and my phone in my pocket, so I was juggling snaffle reins, doing everything on a touch screen with only a thumb, dealing with a Very Alert Horse who was suspicious of the eagle…and sidepassed by him the first time. I was sure he was going to take off but we never got closer than ten feet and he showed no real inclination to go. Just as well by me as a certain little mare was on her toes and ready to go.

After four trot lengths along the back fence, she was somewhat quieter but still energetic, and wasn’t at all thrilled about stopping. But we got within ten feet and I got that first pic–which was the last one I took. Then we headed back to the barnyard to beat the snow shower blowing in.

I don’t think I can top that earcam.

Comments Off on That moment of epic earcamness

Filed under Horse life

And…roadblocks, but in a good way

So it looks like Beyond Honor will need to be pushed back to March before it comes out. This is really a good thing/bad thing issue.

Bad Thing:

I was tired out after the week of Day Jobbe work, and that led to me developing a bug which slowed me down as it came on during Radcon. I really didn’t think I was sick until I was back home on Sunday, and even then I wondered if it wasn’t just allergies. Well, the next few days kinda told the story. I was flat on my back with a nasty chest/sinus cold but it’s fading. However, today I was still brain-fried and not able to get work done. I suspect the bug came from exposure to kids because I’ve not been sick for two years, and then bam! First exposure in a week of working in school settings, and it nails me. Not surprising, and I’m really glad I got the flu shot last fall as a result, because I think things could have been much worse. This also means that I’ve fallen behind in my online coursework, which needs to be done so I can renew my license, so…not a lot of action happening very quickly on writing as a result, especially since I need to do my final tax work for the tax preparer (AKA, dear hubby).

Good Thing:

A second short-term gig MAY be happening. If it does happen, that doubles the income from the first gig. Good news and this may allow me to finance covers and some other necessary self-promotion things. We shall see.

Meanwhile, being sick in the Enterprise house has its benefits. For one, for the first time in years I have a bedroom window that I can look out of. I retreated to the bed, opened the curtains, and watched the sky when I wasn’t reading or napping. It’s not the greatest view in the world, but given the choice between a mountain view in the living room and a mountain view in the bedroom? I’ll take the living room view any day. Watching the clouds also helped me gain a perspective on the cloud movement locally, which is something I’m still figuring out.

Meanwhile, Radcon was much fun and I came back with good ideas for short stories. I’m still tossing novel thoughts around, especially given what has happened given the difference in sales between Netwalk’s Children and Pledges of Honor. Pledges seems to have a consistent amount of sales while poor Children isn’t doing much. Now Frog Jones did give me a good keyword for the Netwalk Sequence–cyberpunk regency–so we’ll see how that works. Children also just plain needs a new cover. I plan to do something about it but it’s not a major priority at the moment.

But three days of being knocked off my feet sick plus a fourth of wandering around recovering doesn’t help anything. I have a lot of stuff to catch up on, plus…the horse needs work.

Seriously. Mocha is going through the winter with flying colors. She is fat–healthy fat, not obese. No ribs visible, even after a ride with the hair slicked down. She looks good. She only gets minimal grain when she’s caught up and ridden, and she’s very energetic. Today, I rode her back and forth along one side of the 40 acre pasture (roughly square) at a long trot for 3 1/2 lengths, in a wet, soggy pasture with no snow. She snuck a few strides of canter here and there into the trot, and was very eager to go. She is a relaxed and happy horse–but wants to run. I need to get my act together and haul her to an indoor so we can do some canter work once a week, because she’s mentally ready for it and she wants to go. Plus I am not entirely certain she is 100% sound. When I stretch her right foreleg, I hear snaps, crackles, and pops. She goes well enough on an uneven footing, but if I asked for more? I don’t know. At the least, she’s trail sound if not show sound. Mentally, she’s much happier than she’s been for several years. A winter spent doing mostly walk work in snow has given her a good foundation. She’s even more sure-footed than she was before, after a winter spent at pasture in snow. I watched her lope across the field to rejoin her best friend and she’d probably be fine loping under saddle in the pasture, but I’m not thoroughly confident about it yet.

So…onward. We’ll see how things shake out.

Comments Off on And…roadblocks, but in a good way

Filed under blather

The first day of winter


Woke up to this today, and it kept on coming. However, because things were right at freezing, even though the snow kept falling at this level, it also wasn’t piling up above two inches. One of the first things I did was trek out to the barn to check on Miss Mocha because she hadn’t gotten her winter shoes yet. That appointment is scheduled for this Friday, and I had been hoping that this storm would be like the others and warm up. Nope. She came loping up with the herd so things weren’t too bad, though she was grateful for me picking out her hooves and spraying WD-40 in them to help stave off the worst of the ice balls. I thought she was shaking because of the cold for a moment but no, it’s because she’s been conditioned to equate getting caught with being fed grain. So she got a taste of grain (about a handful) and she settled with no shivering. Maybe she thought I was going to be crazy enough to try to ride her in this stuff. Nope, not if I don’t have to. Then, when I turned her out, she trotted over to one of her friends and they pressed foreheads together, then she trotted off to join the other one. That mare…sigh. She doesn’t like me taking Mocha away from her, so we Have Discussions. I suspect part of the issue is that this mare is still pretty lame (she’s there for a pasture layup) and Mocha being Mocha, she’s looking out for her. Or something.

Then it was back to home and prepping for book releases and an upcoming craft show. I laid out the plan for a novella in the Goddess’s Honor series and wrote enough of the opening to insert into the back of Pledges of Honor. Hubby went into the attic to install insulation and I turned to cranking out inventory. When I first planned to participate in the show, I had been thinking about designing stuff. Not inventory. Then I realized I needed inventory, not just flashy design stuff. So. Today was cranking out pretty hanging things, not necessarily Christmasy stuff but things meant to be pretty. No idea if they’ll fly, but I’m running several different lines for this show. Plus chapbooks. All of which needs to be done before Orycon, because we won’t get back until just before the show. Yikes. I do need to plan things better…

There’s so much that’s been going on and it’s been easier to throw a note up on Facebook than write about it. I interviewed for a long term temp job and didn’t get it, but it was a good interview and I know why I didn’t get the position (credentialing). That meant we had to adjust a Portland trip time for the flying trip back to do the interview. Then it was back to Portland and Clatskanie, to winterize the garden plus search out chanterelles. We ended up with three days of great mushrooming as well as piles of produce. For a first year garden it turned out pretty well, providing the bulk of vegetables for four households (all us old folks) from mid-July through the first part of November, as well as giveaways to others. And there’s still onions, carrots, beets, and chard left. We froze some of the produce but ate most of it fresh.

I also have two books launching, one in November and one in December. Netwalk’s Children drops the Monday before Orycon and Pledges of Honor in the first week of December. Production work is done on Children (hard copies will be available at Orycon) and work’s mostly done on Pledges. Now it’s just promotion (sigh).

Promotion and inventory creation. That’s what I’ve got to do here. But for the first day of winter, with snow flying, we’re settled in and stuff is happening.

And with that, I’m tired and off to bed.


Comments Off on The first day of winter

Filed under Farpoint

Horse update

Holy cremoly. I think pasture life agrees with Miss Mocha. Granted, we’ve got brisk weather but even so…she was more energetic when I brought her in than she has been for AGES. Years, even. Since before the white line stuff started. Hacked her in the field and while living in the field has revealed Scary Horse-Eating Stuff (she was tracking the flight of a ring-neck pheasant as I mounted and was on the muscle as we rode by where he went to ground in a fence row; I know where she saw elk as well; neighbor horses came thundering up which set her off), she still had a lot of energy. We jogged a lot of the distance, working in small serpentines so that she didn’t decide to take off with the neighbor horses. When we were done, she wasn’t winded, either. Crossed the ditch with water–she sucked back once, then went ahead as I pushed her on. I needed to *ride* today which we’ve not had for a while.

However. I think she’s definitely arena sour. I took her to the arena and the same mare who was full of energy? While she walked better than she has before in the arena, all of the energy went away. She did not want to go faster than a slow, careful walk that could win a WP class. Ride her down the alleyway, which has big rocky sections? More energy. Ride her in the county right-of-way (there’s a big triangle patch created when the road was straightened)? More energy. She had more energy on the lead outside of the arena as well. I suspect this is the consequence of that fall in the show, and right now is probably not a good time to deal with it. We’ll do other stuff besides riding and cool her off there. We’ll see what she’s like in the springtime. There’s a lot of little stuff we can do in an arena that isn’t riding, and that may help her rebuild confidence in arena footing.

Overall, she just looks better. Her front end is filling up and looking like it should be. Her hind end is muscling up as well. Mentally, her affect is bright and a wee bit hard-headed with wanting to GO. Yeah, she’s rough and hairy. Her mane’s a bit sun-bleached. She’s got a few marks where she’s been negotiating herd position. She does not look like a pretty and shiny show horse any more. She looks like a ranch horse.

But when I turned her loose, instead of trying to follow me back to the gate or wander over to the barnyard to issue plaintative nickers begging for hay, she ambled off to join one of the other horses and fell to grazing. YAY. And the only place she gimped under the saddle was in the arena. I think we’ve finally made the transition.

Comments Off on Horse update

Filed under Horse life

So it was a Worldcon

And it almost didn’t happen for me. See, the horse has been having health issues, and given the expense of the beast, if it looked like I needed to stay home to take care of her, well…as late as the Friday before the con, it was questionable because she was showing signs of colic. That subsided with no incident, fortunately, though the original attack of what we thought was founder/laminitis kept on bothering her. But it wasn’t quite what I thought was founder/laminitis, things didn’t look right…but she was in good spirits so we decided to go. Plus I had Sergeant-at-Arms commitments for con staff, so I needed to figure out what was what so that I could ensure coverage should I not be able to go. Which didn’t happen, fortunately. But.

Well. There’s been a bit of fire around Enterprise of late. Nothing particularly close when we left, except for a wee bit of fire north of town, along the route we were taking. Going to Spokane was all right, though, even with all the smoke. The first day was a bit of a challenge, though, simply because I was using both a walker and a peg leg to get around and keep the pressure off of the sprained ankle. It didn’t take me long to bag the peg leg and stick with the walker. I could put my knee on it, crouch down like a ski racer, and actually make some decent time around the Convention Center doing that, and the walker also provided me with a solid rest for my main Stuff Bag.

Then I discovered that walkers seem to render me invisible at parties. The first night’s party was a wee bit distressing when I figured that out. I usually like to socialize, but between the awkwardness and the invisibility, it certainly Wasn’t Fun. Nonetheless, I got back to the hotel at a reasonable hour, because I had the WSFS Business Meeting to do logistics for as Sergeant-at-Arms. I recruited some helpful friends, and between them we got things up and rolling for four morning meetings.

The gig was enlightening, and I have to say that WSFS Business Meetings are conducted with much more wit, humor, and grace than I’ve encountered either in teacher union meetings (including OEA Representative Assembly) or Democratic Party Central Committee gatherings (both state and county). Much of that was due to the good humor and grace of Kevin Standlee, who’s hands down the best chair I’ve ever had to work with. But a lot of that was also due to the hard work put in by the committee overall to prepare for the meeting, again including Kevin and his wife Lisa as well as far too many others that I can’t name for memory reasons or other stuff. But there were a lot of other good folks helping to coordinate logistics, including CART transcription technology and ASL signing along with the regular PowerPoint agenda slides.

Still, the attitude of the attendees (in spite of the urgency felt to deal with Hugo nomination issues) also made a huge difference. Many of these folks are fans of long standing and remember a LOT about processes. But that doesn’t mean people couldn’t have fun. This was the first time I’ve had someone pass out a Meeting Bingo card with the names of frequent speakers on the card to fill out (before the meeting) and announce Bingos as the frequent speakers spoke. On the third day, one particular fan created a filk (sf folk song) to sum up his position, and sang it to the crowd. That was another first.

But overall, my job was more about making certain that people with disabilities had physical access to following the meeting and being able to comment, making certain that we had a table set up for members to sign in and pick up agendas, and on one day to alert the convention center crew that we needed to have a divider removed between two rooms. Simple little stuff that nonetheless makes meetings work. I’m pleased with the job my team and I did, and proud that we had a lot of people happy with our work. Between all my volunteer gigs and ten years of middle school teaching, I can wrangle people pretty well, especially when given a good support team.

Besides that, I spent some time at the NIWA table promoting books, and meeting up with friends. My ankle definitely slowed me down just because wrangling the walker was still tiring. After a morning’s meeting I wasn’t that eager to bounce out and socialize/self-promote, which meant Worldcon was much more mellow than I had planned. Which was okay, I guess. I wish I’d been able to contact more people I knew–I saw some folks in passing that I would have liked to have spent more time with, but couldn’t for various reasons.

The Hugo Awards themselves were anti-climatic. I decided it would be better to watch on the big screen in Guinan’s Place (a bar setup in the convention center) than in the auditorium itself, especially since that meant I could get a drink or two. The Campbell Award kind of signaled to me that the hard-line anti-puppy vote was in full force, and that became even more evident when No Award was issued in the editor categories.

For the record, I did not vote a complete No Puppy slate. I read all the works. Didn’t mean I completed them, mind you. Too many of the short story competitors made me want to reach for a red pen to do edits and the novelette/novella categories were the same. I didn’t like the results for the editors because with a couple of exceptions, all those folks are solid pros who got caught up in something they had nothing to do with. Additionally, I’m a bit jaundiced about the claims of 40/50-something white men (yes, yes, I know they’re not the only ones but they’re the most visible) that they’re not being recognized. It’s a power play for recognition, and it has succeeded to a small degree. No, I don’t think they will push out people of color or of non-cisnormal sexuality. That boat has sailed. Those groups rightfully have a place at the table and rightfully so, in my opinion. It’s the only just thing.

But. My sense is that the demographic that will get pushed out by these Puppies happens to be mine, quite frankly, because middle-aged white men throwing temper tantrums about their perceived lack of recognition end up dominating the slice which we share. Many older women who’ve deferred writing because of family responsibilities and day jobs end up discovering that they’re not cute enough, edgy enough, or connected enough due to past and current family responsibilities. When faced with a question of fairness, most of us tend to take the stance that “hey, it’s only fair that these discriminated groups have representation.” I believe that, because it’s right. Period. What I don’t like is the feeling that I’m being marginalized, though, because I’m a white woman over 50–and I’ve seen enough ageism in the employment market to recognize it in other settings. It’s annoying as hell to deal with.

The last day turned out to be more hectic than I anticipated. The little fire in the Wenaha-Tuscannon Wilderness that laid down nothing more than smoke on our way to the con blew up on Thursday night, leading to the evacuation of the small town of Troy on the Grande Ronde River and Level 2 evacuation alerts along the road we would have taken home. And then I saw that the barn was on a Level 1 alert due to the Falls Creek Fire up Hurricane Creek. Between that and a report that Mocha was still sore, I had to leave the con at noon on Sunday and rush back to Enterprise. We got here, I was able to talk to the barn owner about the situation (better than I thought, though she had to evacuate horses from the other fire).

And…Mocha looked crippled as heck. I picked up the offending hoof, started to pick it out…and got a spurt of white-brown fluid oozing from by her toe. Abscess. Hopefully it’s just a simple abscess which has been plaguing her over the past few months and not subacute founder. It actually explains her quick apparent recovery and relapse. There are ways it could be bad…but we’ll see. I’ll know in an hour.

So that was a Worldcon. Fun in many ways, opportunities missed in others, but…I did a good job at what I was supposed to do and that’s huge. Not able to promote my writing as much as I could have wanted, but these days I’m not always sure that’s a doable proposition. And I did have fun, plus came home with a select choice of books. Don’t know if there’s another one in my future, but one can always hope.

(Hint: buy books, buy books, buy books….)

Comments Off on So it was a Worldcon

Filed under science fiction conventions

Bad Horse Falls…or why I’ve been silent

Wow. It’s been over a month since my last posting. Not for lack of interest, simply because there’s been a lot of travel between Enterprise and PDX, which means less-than-optimal access to the LiveJournal blog mirror when I’m not in Enterprise. Then, when I’m in Enterprise, I’ve been going great guns…okay, I was going great guns until July 11th. Since then I’ve been hobbling around.

What happened? Well, Mocha and I went to a show at the Fairgrounds on a dreary, drizzly day. We didn’t realize how slick the footing in the arena was, so when we went out to do our first large fast circle in reining, Mocha was ready to run hard. Except that she slipped and we fell hard and fast on our right sides. It was one of the quickest falls I’ve ever had on horseback. Usually there’s a moment of Wil-E-Coyote hang time giving me a moment to relax before hitting the ground. Not this time. Wham. Hard. One minute we were going about 20-25 mph, the next we were on the ground, with about half my lower leg under Mocha. Near as I can figure, I got partially thrown out of the saddle, which was good.

The aftereffects? Let’s just say we were both lucky. Mocha and I both sprang up at the same time. She trotted off with a “what the hell just hit me?” bewildered look and I hobbled around hollering “I’m all right!” as I headed for her, relieved that she wasn’t limping. At least I could put weight on my right leg so I knew it wasn’t broken, just a bad sprain. BTDT. The judge caught Mocha, told me I was DQed (hit the ground), and I climbed up on Mocha to ride back to the trailer. No way I could make it back on my own and we both needed that short session in the saddle to help banish any future riding worries.

Back at the trailer, I pulled off my show boots and wrenched on my lacer packer boots because I knew they would give that ankle more support. Hubby helped me untack Mocha while she stuck her nose in the trailer opening, clearly ready to go home. She loaded nicely for him and was thrilled to get back to her home and pen.

Three weeks later, we’re both still achy and sore. I’ve been on her twice, working at a walk because she’s still stiff and needs light work to help get past the issues. The first week and a half with the ankle was difficult and painful, but having had an even worse sprain in my past, I kinda knew how to manage this one. Even so, I’m at the stage where the darn thing just plain aches at times and there’s not much to do for it.

But it could have been worse. Looking at the pattern of mud I had to knock out of the saddle skirts and the pattern of mud on stirrups, boots, and helmet, I don’t even want to think about what sort of contortions my leg went through when we hit the dirt. I’m just grateful I didn’t break something, and that I don’t have osteoporosis which would have made that more possible. Mocha is gimpy and sore, but she works out of it so we’re back to reconditioning and rebuilding strained muscles. At least she’s happy with her new home now.

Anyway. I am going to start experimenting with writing posts in batches, and scheduling when they go up. It’s a Grand Experiment made crazier by the vagaries of the LJ-WordPress interface. We will see how that works.

Comments Off on Bad Horse Falls…or why I’ve been silent

Filed under personal life stuff

A summer in the life

I’ve been hit and miss on the blogging front, because, well, moving and dealing with horse adjustment and moving and finishing novel/starting new project, and well, moving. Also, for whatever reason the new laptop picked up whatever security lock that a particular hotel triggered in the old one, so LiveJournal is basically useless on a laptop. I’ve been afraid to blog on WordPress and try to migrate it because I don’t think it will take…and since LJ won’t let me post comments, I can just imagine what a blog would look like (shudder). I’ve tried the logging out, logging back on thing, and it’s stubborn. I suspect it’s some sort of security lock thing. Annoying but oh well.

Still working on finding writing time with all the moving once I finished the novel, but at least the office is starting to come together. Even if I don’t have the right books in here yet, because at least half of them are still in Portland, it’s starting to fit. On our last trip we jammed the desk I’m now using (inherited from the son) and the stereo cabinet, along with other stuff.

Now that trip was epic. We crossed the Santiam Pass to have lunch with one of DH’s former bosses, then drove across the desert through Prineville and Mt. Vernon, then turned north to head through Ukiah to LaGrande and then home. It made for a long drive but we drove through the Blues near the Starkey Experimental Forest in time to see an epic elk herd–at least 200 scattered across the hillside, cows and calves mostly. But as we drove on, we saw smaller groupings and solitary elk, at least 60-80 more.

Arrived here late and unpacked bare basics, then crashed. Unloaded the rest first thing, then went out to the barn to find a relaxed and satisfied horse. She’s now decided that this is home and looks comfortable in her pen. That’s good.

It’s also much more pleasant to experience the heat wave here than in Portland. Temps are at least ten degrees cooler and we get some night cooling. And we’ve not investigated the basement yet, either…

The push pins came with me this trip so I’ve been able to get things on the wall in the office and bring out most of my office stuff–that’s here, that is. It’s all coming along slowly but surely. We got appliances delivered and all, so we’re getting unpacked. There’s still painting to do but right now we’re not in a hurry to do that.

We’re also starting to work our way into local cultural events. Today we ran up to Joseph to check out a Nez Perce traveling art exhibit–Nuunimnix Art Show, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Nez Perce National Park. I also discovered a book I’ve been searching for since I read it back in 1981–Grace Bartlett’s The Wallowa Country 1867-1877–one of the local definitive resources and the one I read before Alvin Josephy and Lucius McWhorter, both of whom used her as a resource. The copy I read in the local library was spiral bound with a paper cover–this one’s a hardback. But I’ve looked and looked and never found it, not even at Powell’s. The Josephy Center also has part of Alvin Josephy’s library, available for research on site. Mmmm. I think I know what I’m doing this winter.

Husband bought himself a big chainsaw, so now we only need the woodstove to have everything together for winter. En route from the Josephy Center to the Grain Growers to buy the saw, we cruised up Hurricane Creek to scope it out as a possible hiking trail with Mocha. We’ve ridden the trail before, years and years ago. The idea is that we use her to pack a light lunch, perhaps just lead her but get her used to the idea of going out. That’s kind of the next phase of her acclamation here–leaving the home place to Do Stuff like graze the lawn here, go hiking, and so on.

And then I came home and did more work in the office. It’s about ready for writing. Even if I can’t find my reference books, I now have a place to spread out and work when I’m not typing. Yay.

Comments Off on A summer in the life

Filed under Farpoint