Friday, March 25, 2011

Winter won't quit

First full day of Spring.

21 March 2011

I *finally* had mussels for dinner!

See that broth on the bottom of the bowl? Best. Stuff. Ever. The liquor from the mussels really does make all the difference.

You put your mussels in a hot skillet, pour in a half a cup of dry vermouth, some chopped tomatoes, 3 or 4 cloves of chopped garlic and some chopped green onions. Sometimes I throw in some lemon slices. Cover the skillet and the mussels are done as soon as they open. That can take 5 or 6 minutes. Finish with some chopped cilantro immediately before serving.

I've done this with clams and nothing makes that broth like mussels. Just delicious! Goes great with pinot grigio.

Monday, March 21, 2011

No. Really?

Really. I've never had Irish whiskey.

I was thinking. Here I've never *ever* had Irish whiskey. Never even tried it. So off I went to the liquor store, found the Irish whiskey and I paced back and forth, unable to make up my mind, Bushmills or Jameson. I decided I'd try Bushmills. I think the bad guys in the action novels drink Bushmills. Then I couldn't make up my mind between the 10 year old and the 18 year old. I decided I'd take the 10 year old stuff for a test drive.

Edit: I've since realized that 18 year old stuff was Jameson. Bushmills doesn't bottle an 18 year old whiskey.

How I try whiskey - I start "neat". That is, just whiskey, straight up, with nothing. Then I try it with just a splash of water. Then I try it on the rocks. Now, there's a funny thing about whiskey on the rocks. After a couple of minutes it basically has a splash of water as the ice melts. I like my bourbon on the rocks.

I don't like Scotch at all. I celebrated L's Grand Champion year with a very expensive Glenrothe's Scotch whiskey and I ended up making barbecue sauce with it.

I'm thrilled with Bushmills. It might be a new favorite thing.

How does one drink whiskey? However one likes. Thumbs up! I'll take my Bushmills neat thanks.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Which came first?

I really don't know. But thanks to these ladies..

...these don't come any fresher than this!

And fresh eggs, really fresh eggs, are seriously delicious. I snatched up a *huge* egg, still warm, and it had a double yoke. I haven't had a double yoke egg in I don't how long. Decades. I don't think they get through quality control these days. Look at the beautiful color of those yokes.

Usually I have soy sauce on fried eggs but this one I fried in olive oil.

So I just had a little salt and pepper and some toasted rustic bread. Eggs this fresh are special. I just can't say enough about fresh ingredients.

Vernal equinox alert! Spring! At 7:21 pm today it will be Spring. Did you know "equinox" means "equal" (equi) "night" (nox)? Actually, this past Friday here, where I live, we had the same number of hours of daylight and darkness. Check out SunriseSunset. You can find the nearest big city, or your town, or you can even enter the map coordinates of your home or your barn, and print out calendars with the exact sunrise and sunset times. And moonrise/moonset. And twilight times. I think it's very cool and for years now every December I print off next year's calendar on heavy stock paper. One year I did that for Christmas presents.

The forecast is for a chilly day but we'll enjoy bright sunshine all day. Even when there's a chill in the air it's nice in the sun.

I need to start thinking of goals for this season. For now I'm getting us back on track with some more discipline in our workouts and the usual things. Flexing. Bending. Balance. Lightness. L can be as light as air. We need to do some circles - she's a little stiff. Both sides.

And then of course the stuff I always work on. Soft hands. Quiet legs. And one of my favorites of course, annoy the horse as little as possible.

And I try to always remember that line from the Practical Dressage Manual. The business about being part of your horse's movement. That book has had a huge impact on my riding.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Oh ya

I know they have them for every holiday now.

But I'm awfully fond the original.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


of Spring. Even though Spring is still more than a week away. I see sign.

12 March 2011
Someone is shedding

Actually, everyone is shedding.

Daffodils are coming up!

L and I had our first real ride today since...oh, must be since Thanksgiving. We were out a little less than an hour. Doing transitions. Bending and flexing. Some circles here and there. A few lazy obstacles. We didn't work hard. But we worked right.

I've started working out. No really. A bona fide workout. Started on January 7th, actually, on a treadmill. And stationary bike. And free weights. The whole bit. I started running February 25th. I run about a mile and a half and I'm looking to put another half mile on that the week after next. I immediately felt the difference riding. In my legs mostly. I felt more solid, more secure, better balanced and most importantly, it was really easier to put my legs where I wanted them.

And I was more sensitive to the way I was working L. She's young, she's strong, and she's a horse. She doesn't need to warm up like I do! But still, I'm more aware of what's productive, physically, and where to start and what it takes to rebuild her fitness after the winter downtime.

And while riding yesterday I found some pussy willows! They're just barely out. Another week or so and I'll have to go cut some.

Of course a good beer follows a good ride! It seemed like a day for something truly classic.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

I love these woods

This picture reminds me of a paint by number (remember those?) I did when I was a kid:

20 February 2011

The adjoining property is wooded. I have no idea how big the property is. I know the neighbor's lot is 630 something acres but I don't know where the property lines are in the woods. There are some stone walls out there.

But for all I know they were abandoned a hundred years ago. I don't think there's more than a thousand acres out there, but there could be. I've walked those woods for years and L and I ride in there for hours.

This has to be my single most favorite picture from the woods:

28 November 2010

I was sorting pictures and the picture immediately before this one had no sunbeams. And the picture immediately after had no sunbeams. On a cold November afternoon, for just a few seconds, a mist rose and the sun through the trees caught it. It's one of those things that really tickles a photographer.

There are trails.

We have to work our way through a couple acres of brush following deer trails to get out there. It took *years* of training to gain the confidence to do that. It can be a little treacherous in the brush and I'd never forgive myself if L got hurt out there. I have confidence in her being sensible but sometimes she absolutely positively has to do what I tell her to or someone could get hurt. She knows when I mean it. And when I don't. Of course I know I have to mean it all the time and I'm working on that.

I've always had a fondness for the outdoors. Being outdoors and feeling close to natural things is one of the (many) reasons I do this horse stuff.

Here. One afternoon. Following a deer trail on horseback. How cool is this! Does it get any better? It looks like a diorama in a natural history museum.

August 2008

Saturday, March 5, 2011


Not an especially pretty picture. This is much more for documentary evidence rather than artistic merit. In the distance, in the right center of the frame. Water! Liquid water! The river surface is melting!

5 March 2011

It's been unseasonably cold this week. Thankfully it hasn't gone below 0! Yesterday, the 4th, was mild and the river surface began melting! It's 45 degrees outside now and the river surface is almost melting before your eyes.

The river took a hard freeze on December 22 and I haven't seen water since. That's usually an indicator of how bad the winter has been. I alternate between calling it a river and calling it a pond. It's actually the Charles River and there's a dam here. When the river moves very slowly it's more of a pond behind the dam and when the river flows swiftly it's more of a river. It's actually quite common to have 4k or 5k gallons of water per second go over the dam. On October 16, 2005, 13k gallons of water per second were going over the dam. That's the record as far as I know. My point of course is that it moves and when it freezes, and stays frozen, because it's moving water, it means it's been an especially cold winter.

Once it completes its thaw it won't freeze again this season!

I've been meaning to post this recipe for ages. It's an all time favorite. I only cook on weekends and days off. During the week it's mostly sandwiches and hummus and salads. But this is so easy I really don't think of it as "cooking".

Quick and easy weeknight pizza

I can't take complete credit for this. It's actually from, or inspired by, Martha Stewart's Everyday Food. I *hate* the show. But they do have some good recipes. This is from the Thinnest Crust Pizza recipe.

Pre heat your oven to 450.

I use a whole wheat soft taco size (8 inch) tortilla. I paint it with olive oil, scatter on chopped garlic and slices of mini mozarella balls.

I often (not always) dot it with tomato paste (don't overdo it, a little goes a long way on one of these) and then I add some Italian Seasoning and red pepper flakes.

I put it on parchment paper on a half sheet pan and I add some tomato slices, some red onion slices and whatever else I feel like. Usually some mushrooms. Sometimes some olives. Sometimes some bell pepper. Sometimes some salami matchsticks. I usually (always?) grate on some fresh romano and some fresh parmesan.

Put it in the hottest part of your oven for about 7 minutes.

NOTE - parchment can burst into flames somewhere around 450!

Put anything you want on this. Dried herbs, fresh herbs, some chopped fresh basil is nice. So is spinach.

The variations are infinite and I usually have my pizza with a glass of chianti.

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