The Beauty of Imperfection

28 Dec

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When people start shopping for a horse (or a house), they are looking for perfection.  The horse must be between 5 and 15 years old, at least 15.2 hands tall, tie, clip, load, bathe, pass a vet exam and be safe on trails, good in the arena, not buddy sour, and have a rocking chair canter.  They must be a gelding and have no vices.  The horse must respect fences, get along with other horses, not be too alpha and ride well in the surf and on the beach.  They must also highline and overnight camp and not need shoes.  If they also are patterned on barrels, work cows, jump and do Western pleasure that would be good.  They must be schooling at least first level dressage.  Four white socks and a blaze would be a nice touch, as would a show record.

Reality drops like a ten ton brick.  It’s like when you want to buy your first house.  Every flaw seems monumental.  That spot of mold in the drywall under the sink could be a deal breaker.  I wouldn’t look at 1 1/2 car garages, only 2 car garages.

Slowly the search expands.  The great house with a 1 1/2 car garage starts to look appealing.  As does the horse with a few quirks.  That is because no horse and no house is perfect.  They all need work.  And will need work later.  Downspouts rust through.  Horses get older and have issues.  Nothing ever achieves the perfection of the original list of “must haves.”

The more houses and horses you own, the more you become willing to look at a great animal or house with a small problem or two.  Big structural problems like building in a flood plain or having a termite colony in the basement are deal breakers.  So is a lame horse, a horse with major psychological or physical problems.

But little quirks become acceptable.  A house with an ugly bathroom is OK.  The silver and pink cupid wallpaper in the dining room can be steamed off.  A horse that needs shoes in front is OK.  An 18 year old pony maybe isn’t so bad.  Forget the four white socks- plain bays are cute, too.  Horse doesn’t clip well- that can be worked on.

If a horse has a sound mind and relatively sound body, it is like a house with good bones in a nice neighborhood.  You can work with it.  Often the perfect house or perfect- appearing horse has hidden problems.  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Now that I have a pony for sale, I fell compelled to reveal all her shortcomings first.  It’s like being a parent- you live with them, so you know all their quirks and want to be honest.  So I haven’t had any luck yet selling.  I have a great pony, but people want a 13.1 pony, not an 11.3 pony.  They want a pony who is perfect in every way and not one with a mind of her own.  The truth is, every pony has a mind of her own.  Or else they are 30 years old and deaf.  Then they need senior feed.  My pony has perfect teeth and vacuums up hay and every form of organic matter that resembles food.

Being on the buying or selling end of anything is no fun.  I prefer to not buy or sell anything ever.  But somehow I keep ending up buying and selling things.  Like houses.  We’re on our third house.  But it has been 25 years so we haven’t bought that many houses.  I dread selling the pony.  I want the perfect home to appear, the same way every buyer wants the perfect dream pony.  Somehow, we all need to accept the beauty of imperfection.

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The Saga of the Outgrown Pony

26 Dec

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I am terrible at letting go of things.  I get very attached to my animals.  I’ve struggled over the past year with letting go of our outgrown pony.   I’ve gotten very attached to her but the kids have outgrown her in size and ability.

So, this coming year am going to find a good home for her.  She is a perfect starter pony – kids can pick her feet, saddle and bridle her and we trained her far more than the usual pony under 12 hands– she moves off the leg and sidepasses.  She has finesse and knows voice commands.

But being a smart pony mare, she can be stubborn.  That is, in my opinion, preferable to evil ponies that run off with their kids.  She has been in numerous large show classes and just did her job and didn’t get involved in any horse nonsense.

The first year we had her, when she was 6 years old, someone came up to me at a show and asked, “where did you find a trusty old packer pony?”

I explained she was a 6 year old pony at her first overnight show and had never been to the fairgrounds before.  She was just born a good pony.  I think she placed in every class.

At one show, Gypsy was not wanting to go and was being lazy.  The trainer next to me said that ponies teach kids so much- she could put a pony rider on any horse and they could ride, but you could not put just any horse rider on a pony.  She said to keep the kids on a pony as long as possible.

Which we did.  One day the pony said enough.  She said I am not cantering with this giant kid on my back.  She planted her feet and refused to move.

So wish me luck that Gypsy finds a home that loves her as much as we do and that I can let go.

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

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Merry Christmas from Macho, Katie and all the gang!

Holiday Paleo Recipes: Eat at Your Own Risk

22 Dec

I realize I have not posted any recipes.  Since many of my friends are on the paleo diet,  I decided to experiment and come up with some paleo recipes for the holidays.  I am a vegetarian, so I didn’t actually eat any of these.  That might explain why I am still alive.

Paleo Recipes (Don’t try this at home):

Note: if you are vegetarian, you can substitute soy bacon and veggie crumbles for the hamburger.  You can use Earth Balance instead of mastadon lard.

Paleo chocolate chunk cookies
1 lb hamburger (grass fed)
2 cups chopped hazelnuts
1 package paleo chocolate chips (check for rocks)
1 tsp stone-ground baking soda

Heat oven or campfire to 375 degrees.  Stir ingredients together and form into patties.  Flip once.  When no longer pink inside, they should be safe to eat.  But I wouldn’t recommend it.

Paleo Bacon Birthday cake

This treat you can enjoy on your birthday.  Though I wouldn’t recommend it.

-1 lb bacon
-1 cup paleo stone-ground dark chocolate (check for rocks)
-3 cups freshly picked hazelnuts
grass-fed hamburger for garnish (optional)
1 tsp paleo baking powder (check for rocks)
1/4 cup paleo honey (check for bees)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Fry bacon until crisp.  Pulverize in food processor.  Pulverize hazelnuts.  Mix with stone- ground chocolate and other ingredients.  Add enough water until it looks like cake batter.  Pour into greased 8 x 8 inch pan.  Bake.

Meanwhile, brown hamburger in pan.  When cake is done, remove it and sprinkle with browned hamburger if desired.  Happy Birthday!  Eat at your own risk.

Paleo Snickerdoodles – you won’t be snickering if you eat these!

6 cups chopped hazelnuts
2 cups hamburger (grass fed)
2 strips bacon, fried
1 tsp stone-ground baking powder (check for rocks)
1 cup raw honey (check for bees)
1lb mastadon lard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Put everything in a food processor and blend.  Form into small patties.  Bake on greased cookie sheet until hamburger is no longer pink.  Yum! Eat at your own risk.

 

How To Be A Grand Prix Parent

20 Dec

I hang around some very advanced parents.  Their parenting skills are at the Grand Prix level (to use a dressage analogy) and they get scores of 93.976 on their Parenting Freestyles and set world records.


I am still at Intro A (walk trot), though I am about to move myself up to Training Level 1.  That may be a mistake considering I am still getting 4s (“Marginal”) at Intro A.  Sometimes I get a 2 when I throw a big tantrum instead of moving forward.

My major fails include everything from Santa Claus to my inability to convey the inherent unfairness of life to a pre-teen.  If I were a Grand Prix parent, my kids would realize that if another child uses up the eraser on their pencil, they can just get another pencil out and use up that eraser as an act of revenge.  Oops, major parenting fail there.  Revenge is not good.  Back to Intro A.

If I were a Grand Prix parent, the kids would not spend lots of work getting out of less work.  They would willingly do their chores and even sing while they did them, like Fraulein Maria in the Sound of Music.   A Grand Prix parent would have a nice teaching story for the kids.  They hate my teaching stories.  Mine usually involve, “When I was your age…”  This type of teaching story gets a 1.  Or a zero.

If I were a Grand Prix parent, my kids would smile and hold the doors for each other instead of holding the door shut and not letting the other kid in.  They would eat stir-fried bok choy.

Yes, sometimes they can be sweet and loving.  That’s when I take pictures and post them on FaceBook so it looks like I am a Grand Prix parent.  Actually, I don’t.  Because I would have to use photoshop.  If I did that, I would just photoshop myself on the beach with a cool drink.

I would also not say things like, “I am not trimming a chicken’s beak!” when they ask if Henny’s beak is too long.  I would say, “Let me look, dear.  Oh, yes, that beak is looking in need of a trim.  Let me get my dremmel.”

The real problem with my parenting is the same problem most dressage riders have.  I just don’t have the right horse.  I have a miniature horse with no work ethic named Katie and need a large, well-trained horse.  One at least 13.3 hands tall.  I would be a great parent if someone would buy me a nice horse. Then I would ride off into the sunset.  I would be a Grand Prix parent.

How (Not) to Start a Blog

20 Dec

When I started a blog, I had no plan.  I had woken up with the brilliant idea that I wanted to blog.  I went to WordPress and typed in a blog address.  It was rejected.  I typed in about 25 more and they were all taken.  With a deep sigh, I looked out my window, and my eyes settled on this:

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So with absolutely no foresight (which is my modus operendi),  I typed in my horse’s name.  Voila!  A user name not taken!  Absolutely no one wants to call their blog Macho Mojave!   I have won!

So I began typing about the weather.  Soon I realized that the weather was good for about two posts.

I went out and fed the horses.  I looked at my shaggy yak-like miniature horse Katie who had ruined her chances of being a cart horse by flipping my cart and leaving it with a bent shaft that haunts it to this day.  Katie made her usual cute face at me.

I went back inside and started typing.  The next thing I knew, Katie was giving advice.  So it became her blog.  With a Macho name.  I should start a new blog with a nice name.  But that would require planning.

The Fable of the Frozen Dog Poop

19 Dec

I am sorry I do not have a picture.   You will have to use your imagination.

As new parents, we were were walking in the park with my firstborn, a toddler of about 15 months.  She liked to pick up rocks and eat them.  On one crisp winter day I turned to see her raising something towards her her mouth.

It looked like a rock at first glance, but I registered some non-rocklike traits about it.  It was a little lumpy for a rock. Horror settled over me and and my breath stopped.

“That is not a rock!”  I screamed, and snatched it out of her hand and flung it.

I looked at the chunk of frozen dog poop she had found and we ran all the way back home and I scrubbed her tiny fingers.

If this had happened to my second child, I would have pulled the chunk out of his hands and wiped his hand off on the grass and kept walking.  Since I have no more than two children, I pondered what would have happened to the third, fourth and fifth children.

The third child picks up frozen chunk of dog poop.  I pull it out of their hand and keep walking.

The fourth child picks up dog poop and eats it.  I wipe off their mouth on their coat and keep walking.

Fifth child is back there eating dog poop somewhere.  I figure if it tastes bad enough, he will stop eating it.

Sixth child?  Sixth child is back there somewhere doing something.