Blossoms

Winter this year has been moody, but generally mild. My deck plants are all in the guest room for the winter, and as usual are blooming. The upstairs is heavy with the perfume of blooming citrus trees.

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Zebra

Watercolors still mystify me. Every time I think I’m starting to get the hang of it, I realize that color mixing is still so, so far outside my comfort zone. I mean, mixing red, blue and yellow to get brown, on purpose. I haven’t done that outside my color wheel project yet. I need to carry my color wheels around with me everywhere to help me figure out what I’m doing.

The zebra is a project I did during the Super Bowl, the swatches on the right are something my mother in law was working on, which I just enjoy staring at.

I am enjoying this learning, though.

Orchids

I bought an orchid at the grocery store awhile back. I’m fairly certain it was last winter, actually. I enjoyed its flowers, and have dumped a splash of water on it roughly once a week ever since. It put out 4 more leaves, and then a few weeks ago started sprouting buds. It’s been so much fun to watch them swell, and this past week they have been bursting open one by one.

I had actually forgotten what color the flowers were.

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Mice and Midas

Every week or so the Mice come to ride Midas.

He is now thoroughly and completely desensitized to high voices and powerful lungs that exuberantly greet him from a distance.

He’s also adjusted pretty well to being hugged–though I think it still bewilders him a bit. He is accustomed to children jumping away when he tries to sniff (understandable, his head is as big as they are most of the time), the first time the girls didn’t run away he nearly clocked them because he overshot.

Even Little Mouse (in the light pink) is brave enough now to stand her ground when he reaches out to sniff her.

But on his back, both Mice have always been invincible, and that feeling is only getting stronger. We had to spend a fair bit of time convincing the Little Mouse to hold on at all–I insisted because she is small, and he is big, and if anything sudden happens she could fall. She did finally believe us. But she prefers to ride with only one hand holding on whenever she can manage it.

I give them little tips to help them balance and how to communicate with the horse. Often it’s just me pointing out that she did, in fact, tell him to do the thing he just did, and here’s how. I teach them balance and confidence exercises (around the world is so much fun!) and keep a weather eye on the horse and the world around in case of spooks. But otherwise, I let the Big Mouse play. She is seven–playing is what you SHOULD be doing at that age. She’ll find the best way to sit on the horse all on her own, she doesn’t need to laden down with equitation. We’ll refine hand position later. Probably as a natural byproduct of her wanting to complete some insane obstacle course on his back.

He’s so big, and she’s so little, we still haven’t trotted. But we’re getting closer to that. The peppy walk that is nearly a jog doesn’t scare her anymore. I may offer to trot next to her next time if she’s up for it.

They love, love riding bareback. We tried the saddle the first couple times, but it is far too big, and the stirrups just get in the way and make riding harder. So their foundation shall be the very best kind.

Downright Xenophon and Spanish Riding School.

Midas is also continuing to improve on his mounting block manners. We worked on it hard over the summer, just him and me. But with the littles, he is asked to sidle up to the mounting block for them to mount and dismount.

So, it’s pretty much an awesome arrangement for everyone. Midas learns, they learn. Everyone has fun. Midas eats grass. Everyone is happy.