Monday, December 13, 2010

Happy to be Home

(Farewell, Promised Land)

Well, my time in California is complete for 2010. I think I got everything squared away as well as I could (even if I did leave my toothbrush and a jug of laundry detergent behind... whoops), managed to say goodbye as adequately as I know how, and hopefully tied things off pretty well academically. There were a few key places I didn't get to go to one las time, but they're just be more incentive to hurry back next fall! =)

But I've got to say, it feels great to be home. Continuing the weirdly mild fall we've had so far, there is still green (albeit fairly wan) grass out in the fields and the temperatures were up in the 50s today. I of course was still freezing and went around in a sweater, jacket, mittens, hat, carhartt coveralls, and fuzzy boots... but that's pretty standard for me =)

(Note the hat - so happy to be reunited with Ringo!)

I got home on Saturday night but only got to get out to the barn today. Yesterday I spent all day in the kitchen with my mom, getting ready for Pa's Science Department party that we were hosting that night. It felt great to be cooking again (ahh the smell of sautéing mushrooms... I've missed you so!!)... a delight that was made slightly worse, however, by the fact that my dish for the day was boeuf bourgignon. Now, this is actually something that I enjoy preparing because it is a long and complex recipe that I get a lot of satisfaction out of mastering and, if I do say so myself, I'm pretty good at it.

(What I was missing out on during my day of cooking)

BUT. I'm a vegetarian. Which means that not only do I have to overcome some serious moments of existential crisis to make the dish (cutting up big slabs of slimy chunk bacon-- GROSS GROSS GROSS GROSS!!-- and dicing up and then hand-patting dry cubes of stewing beef are the two biggies), but I also don't even get to enjoy the fruits of my labor! Fortunately, my mom (somewhat ironically, as she is NOT a vegetarian) made some yummy vegetarian lasagna, so I could still get through the party well-fed. Ahh home cooking =)

(srsly guys, could he be any more cute?)

So, my all-day battle with meat products complete, I got to spend the day today out in the best place... the barn. Ringo is super fuzzy but looking pretty darn good. He had a few leaping around moments on our walk but, in general, I think he's being remarkably well-behaved. Here we have an incredibly athletic, highly idiosyncratic, maybe even a hair neurotic horse who I would regularly ride doubles on to keep rideable at shows, suddenly put into a situation where he is on no work except for a 25 minute hand walk venture each day. I wouldn't have been surprised if he had tried to kill someone at this point, honestly. And yet, on the whole, he's really kept a lid on it. Good boy!

(Kiki loo was not to be outdone in the cuteness department by her big brother)

When I went to get Kiki, I had a moment to warm any horse-owner's heart: she was out in the far end of her field grazing, paying no attention to me whatsoever, but with one call of her name her head shot up immediately and she came trotting right over. How cool is that? I've NEVER had a horse do that before (in fact, my ponies growing up were notoriously hard to catch, Dually and Boris always seemed to revel in making me walk out to them, and Ringo... well, he was in a league of his own in evasiveness). She was a little on edge while I was tacking her up but then was surprisingly calm when I got on. We just went for a little walk and, barring one minor meltdown when Wiley came running out of the woods, she was perfect and felt great =) YAY KIKI!

(Coat = seriously greying out. Boo. But topline = still kind of miraculously in place! And look at those big ears... I've missed this pony =D)

I'm hoping to just get as much quality time in with them over the next few weeks as possible before I leave. Here's to more good weather and good ponies!
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