Sunday, January 18, 2009

Superlative Sunday

0730 - 1030: Making money
Although I enjoy sleeping in on occasion, my brain works best in the morning and I hate to let it slip away. Most days (weekdays and weekends alike) start with me grabbing Obsidian (my laptop, a black MacBook) out of his bedside holster and remotely logging onto Pyxidis (my desktop, quad core blah blah RAM out the ying yang blah blah) who lives in my office on campus. Pyxidis runs all kinds of models for me at night, and I like to see what he's accomplished while I've been sleeping. This morning I started tinkering with some troublesome code, and it was 10:30 by the time I got it sorted out. A professionally productive start to a warm and sunny January Sunday.

1030 - 1100: Food machine
David often refers to me as "the food machine" because he thinks that's how the animals see me. Each of the dogs got half a cow's knee, the goats got their flake of alfalfa and the horses got their morning rations. Still lots of hay in the feeders from Saturday.

1100 - 1200: Late breakfast
Thick plain yogurt with crunchy sunflower granola, into which I mixed tiny and potent chocolate chips. Yummy! And one of David's magnificent mochas, care of Mr. Giotto. Enjoyed at the sun-flooded kitchen table with David, chatting about nothing in particular.

1200 - 1430: Moving muck
I mucked out the paddock and then David helped me to move all that manure lying in the pasture (where it got dumped on the snow days) up into the compost bin. We worked slowly in t-shirts, chatting and goofing around with the dogs between bouts of shoveling. Probably more fun than having a front-end loader.

1430 - 1530: Grooming
The horses have been naked for the past week of sunshine, and they have been rolling around in the muddy parts of the paddock. I groomed them both while they stood and ate at one of the feeders and then I turned my attention on Titan. With daily practice he is becoming more tolerant of brushing, and yesterday he lay quiet on his side for 10 minutes while I work on his undercoat with The FURminator.

1530 - 1600: Late lunch
David makes the best grilled cheese sandwiches ever, and I was lucky enough to get one for lunch. Enjoyed with a Vietnamese coffee and David's good company.

1600 - 1630: Working Raven
While I know that hand walking and trotting are the best exercises for Raven right now, I can't actually watch her move when I am moving alongside her. With some trepidation I put her on the 25 foot longe line to take a better look. Trepidation because (1) moving in a circle can be hard on an already-painful joint and (2) longing thoughtfully can be hard for Raven. It's obvious that people have used longing as a method of tiring her out in the past, and she tends to start cantering in mindless circles when she hits the end of the line. I found long ago that she is more comfortable without a whip, which is fine because her upward voice transitions are instantaneous and sustained. The downward transitions only work smoothly if I keep my voice and my body as quiet as possible. Today I managed to get her from a frantic canter into a walk within three circles, which is a record. We did lots of walking and a bit of trotting in both directions, followed by some hand walking up and down the pasture. Based on what I saw and heard I formulated a plan for moving forward, which will be the subject of another post.

1630 - 1700: Working Tonka
Where Raven hits the end of the longe at a canter, Tonka sees no reason to do anything other than stand around unless there is a whip actively involved. Once he got moving he was great with a big steady trot that makes my heart glad. Like many standardbreds Tonka doesn't canter too good, so we just did lots of walking and trotting. His downward transitions are instantaneous, which I attribute to sheer laziness rather than good training (though he does hold his pace admirably when he gets going). After that I took him down to the end of the pasture for some hand grazing. Raven does not like being separated from Tonka, and I need to start working on this if I want to ride him out and leave her behind. Every time she settled down and stood quietly I would bring him 50 feet closer to her. Hopefully with time and patience she will get the message that he only comes home when she keeps her head.

1700 - 1830: Phoning mom
A long conversation with my mother in Toronto. We talked about books, politics, family, pets, airplanes, travel plans.

1830 - 2000: Crazy casserole
I enjoy cooking when I have the time for it. A few weeks ago Roger gave me the recipe for a tasty caserole he made, and I have been wanting to try it ever since. We didn't have a lot of the ingredients in the house, but I substituted liberally (my modus operandi for all cooking). Scallions instead of yellow onion, some carrots to make up for the lack of crunch, some squishy tomotoes from the fridge instead canned, the ends of three different types of salsa instead of tomato sauce, and some really old Kraft Parmesan cheese I found in the cupboard a few weeks ago. It turned out great!

2000 - 2100: Chores
Another round of feeding followed by a shower. Our water was off all day and I was wrapping my head around the reality of showering at work before my morning meeting (sitting on the commuter train after a day like this would not make me any friends) when it came back on. Delightful!

2100 - 2400: Strict machine
You know that Goldfrapp song? I make my living using computers and sometimes I feel like a slave to Obsidian and Pyxidis. One of the best things about Farcical Farm is that it forces me to spend a lot of time away from my machines each and every day (have you guessed that I am a workaholic?). And on sunny days it gives me a good excuse to delay computer-dependent work until the sun goes down. Today was productive and pleasurable both personally and professionally. Who could ask for a better Sunday?


Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like a great Sunday. Glad the weather is getting warmer. I can just imagine the clean-up and the muddy horses, that in itself is a job. I find it's always good to leave the computers behind and enjoy the day with family, friends or animals. Glad to hear you got your shower too, whew, the commute would have been kind of stinky right?

Anonymous said...

I agree with GHM, it sounds like a great day!

Brandy said...

Definitely productive, and yet strangely peaceful and happy!

All I did was wake up (no mean feat at times!), watch football, eat some chips, and surf a bit. Played my games, went to bed and slept all day again!

Fighting against some weird liver thing... and spring allergies have arrived... Sigh...

Must say, Raven looks PHENOMENAL! Fat and shiny and calm, and she sounds like she's working well! Hooray!

dersfugh - how we feel with springtime allergies?

Black Jack's Carol said...

I loved the glimpse into a dp day:) A little bit along the lines of the factoid post, in that we come to know some of the fascinating details about what makes you tick. Time with loved ones over a coffee and good food + enhanced communication over a longe line + outdoor goofing around and physically active time + progress on professional front = happy day. Absolutely stunning picture of Raven. I was interested to read how a calm voice and manner made the downward transitions easier for her.

allhorsestuff said...

Hay Dp...very awesome day for you!
I am opposite in brain functionality...later in the day I get warmed up to everything! I think it is the Circadian thing.

I have a you always lunge in the rope halter?

dp said...

Thanks, folks!

KK: I do almost everything in a rope halter, even longing. I find the horses less inclined to lean on it than on a leather or flat nylon halter. This is a change that Clinton Anderson convinced me to make. I didn't even know how to tie a rope halter a year ago but now I love them. They make communication so much easier than a flat halter.

Funder said...

The FURminator is a miracle tool!

dp said...

GHM: I find that my skin doesn't react well to showering every day, so I mostly shower every other day. I always shower before I go into the office -- the one time I broke this rule (power was out, I think) I could smell my horsey self on the train even though I wouldn't even notice it at home. I guess it all depends on the context.

Brandy: Some weird liver thing? Yikes! Hope that you are feeling better soon.

BJC: You are absolutely correct that good eating is an important part of any pleasurable day for me. I LOVE to eat -- not to shovel my face full of food (which I do if I let myself get too hungry), but to enjoy the act of eating. When I was a little kid my father bought me a button that read "I'm a happy eater", which was true. They could never believe how much I enjoyed my food, pretty much regardless of what they put in front of me (except for dried fruit, of course).

Funder: I know! I try not to buy into gadgets too much, but The FURminator was worth it.