Monday, July 25, 2011

First ripe tomato of the summer!

And it was YUMMY!

The Black Krim tomatoes seem to be the earliest to mature but are surprisingly the biggest out of the different varieties I started. The one I had tonight was nearly 1 lb! I pulled it off the vine the other day and let it sit in the window and have been waiting & waiting for it to be ripe. I've never grown these before so I wasn't entirely sure when it was really & truly ripe but thought I'd give it a try tonight.

When ripe, they are a dark reddish, brownish, purplish color with some green streaks. When you cut it open it's a deep red with green seeds. Very flavorful and juicy!

But do you know what I forgot to do? Take a picture of it to share. I will with the next ripe one! Should be another few days till the next is ready.

I have a feeling the other varieties are going to ALL be ripe at the same time and I'm going to have a deluge of tomatoes.

I can't wait for fresh tomatoes in salad, or for snacks, sandwiches and in pasta. Hmm perhaps some brushetta and fresh salsa?

Any other good ideas or recipes for tomatoes? What's your favorite thing to do with yours?

Navy Side Saddle Habit for Sale!

I have listed my navy side-saddle habit for sale on Ebay. There was no need for me to keep it since I've recently gotten a new navy wool one made to fit me.

Here is the link to it but I'll also post the details below.

Great starter habit for someone just getting into sidesaddle and not wanting to order a custom habit just yet or for someone looking for a lighter weight habit for the summer. This was my first habit but I've since upgraded, otherwise I'd be keeping it! Has been to many shows and demonstrations and always gets lots of compliments! This is a proper sidesaddle habit, not just a jacket made to match an existing apron. Please note with the photos, the habit does not have any funny spots on it or stains/discoloration. There are a few that show up in the photos but these are simply dust in the air reflecting light. The habit may look slightly "shiny" in the photos, however, it is not actually shiny material at all. Just a nice navy blue habit.

Material is a polyester blend, thus lighter weight than wool and a bit cooler in the summertime. Fully lined jacket & apron. The apron is weighted to keep it lying down and straight. Apron closes with a button at the top and velcro the rest of the way down for safety. The jacket has 2 buttons and elegantly tapers down at the bottom. Made by Jaffera's Tailoring in Old Forge, PA. I am 5'6" and the habit fits me well in terms of height. Usually I wear a "Medium" size shirt (I believe that equates to size 36 or 8-10 depending on where you are and what system of measurement you use) and size 30 (9-10) jeans.

Someone slightly taller or shorter could easily wear this habit too. There is some wear & tear on the bottom of the apron where it tucks under your right foot but it is not noticeable when you are riding.

Measurements are as follows:


Waist - 31.5" (measured from the outside of the jacket. I measure a 30" and it fits me well.

Sleeve Length - 23" (measured from point of shoulder to cuff)

Length of jacket - 26" (measured from bottom of collar to bottom of jacket)

Bust - 36"

Shoulder - 17 1/4" (measured from point of shoulder to point of shoulder)


Waistline to back of apron (short part) - 11 3/4"

Length of Apron - 30"

****A note on measurements - there is room with this habit to take it in further or let it out. There is also room to drop the hem of the apron for a slightly taller rider. It shouldn't be hard to have it tailored to fit you perfectly****

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Calgary Stampede!

Well we survived and had a great time!

The day started out by POURING rain, I was glad I had the wool habits now! On my way to the Stampede grounds I got cut off on the freeway and missed the turn-off I was supposed to take. I got turned around and managed to get back to where I needed to be on time. By the time I got into Calgary the rain had stopped and it was nice out.

It was really neat going in the back entrance and getting to see all the behind the scenes stuff. I got a pass with my picture on it (that gets me into anywhere!) and I drove past hundreds of trailers, motor homes and the barns full of the chuckwagon horses. Twice I got directed into the wrong area and had to back the trailer up (eeek!) but I managed it with no issues! Good thing I've gotten some practice! I ended up parking right next to the area where all the singers have their giant, fancy motorhomes.

I got tacked up & dressed and we headed over to the arena. I have to say, I think my tweed habit is my new favorite! I got a new green tie & shirt with a collar, I think it looks a lot better than a stock tie and from reading one of the other blogs, it also wasn't correct! Brigit was a tad lookie at things to start with but soon she was taking it all in stride. There was a LOT going on. We were right next to a bunch of draft horses with wagons and the military tanks plus lots of people, kids & strollers. Not to mention the donkeys & mules with their carts & wagons were in behind me.

We had a great demo and showed off our stuff while the announcer read a script I wrote. Brigit was fantastic! They set up a little jump for us and boy did that open some eyes! I think we've finally got this jumping aside business figured out! We went over it a bunch of times (carefully because the footing was really deep & wet) and the crowd really enjoyed it. Afterwards we had some fun answering questions. Brigit even let a whole bunch of kids climb up on the fence and pet her (normally she's not too sure what to think of wee people). I was really pleased with her.

The cutest comment came from a little girl who was quite concerned when she saw me ride in, she asked her mom "Did that lady break her leg?". Too funny!

People of all ages came over and were just fascinated. It was really fun! We even had some people there for the cutting competition from Texas come over and ask to take photos. I have to say, riding sidesaddle seems to be the ultimate ice-breaker!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Calgary Stampede tomorrow!

I'm getting everything ready to head to the Stampede tomorrow. Little bit nervous about taking the truck & trailer into the heart of Calgary but I'm sure I'll manage.

I'm doing a sidesaddle demo at 1pm tomorrow, wish me luck! Bought a new shirt & tie to go with the tweed habit and some more hair nets (not sure where all of mine went?!?!). Think I should be good to go in the morning!

Wish me luck!

The one & only galloping picture

That I have from the race on July 1st. I found a photographer that had taken it and he graciously agreed to let me have a copy to share. All photo credits go to James Tworow.
You can tell we were really flying!

So proud of my little garden!

It's doing really really well! Thus far it's been safe from hail *KNOCK ON WOOD* and everything is thriving.

Including the grass.....which took me 2 hours to mow and weed whip yesterday.

We had radishes out of the garden last night in our salad. The little french breakfast radishes are really tasty, not hot at all.

And the carrots, lettuce & sweet peas are coming along nicely!

I planted a second round of radishes that have come up. The garlic is doing well, as is the brussel sprout plant I tried as an experiment. The spring onions sure look itty bitty though.

There are even little pumpkins forming!! I'm so surpised at them!

The zucchini plant is doing well, as are the mini summer squashes (they sure are a lot more 'mini' than I thought they'd be).

And the cabbage is starting to curl it's leaves in and ball up like it's supposed to. (I'm sure there must be a technical name for it)

And last but definitely not least, my gorgeous tomato plants! They seem happy as can be growing up their spirals. I'm pretty sure that the striped paste tomatoes will EASILY be at the top of the spiral by the end of the summer.

The Ildi tomatoes just started to flower, they are going to be absolutely covered in teeny tiny tomatoes.

The Black Krim's have already set fruit and they just keep getting bigger and BIGGER! They're a little deformed too... But I can't wait for them to ripen so I can try one!

The 'Striped Paste' tomatoes have started to set fruit as well, they are looking really good! I'm interested to see how big they will get.

I'm curious about the Hawaiian pineapple tomatoes too. They've just started to flower (LOTS of flowers on each plant). Each flower is really BIG, I don't think I've ever seen a tomato flower that big before to be honest. I should have taken a picture of it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Another fantastic show!!!

Boy do I feel like we are on a roll!

I did get my new habits in time for the show. Although it invovled me driving an hour down to the distribution centre because they "Don't ship to a PO box", which would have been great to know prior to using them for shipping! But oh well. I got them and they are absolutely GORGEOUS!!! I really couldn't be more pleased. The quality of the materials and the workmanship are just amazing. The navy habit fits so much better than my previous one does and the tweed is just to die for!

If anyone is interested, I HIGHLY recommend Trish Daly at Showtime Supplies for any of your show needs. Her prices are reasonable and she went above & beyond!

Anyways on to the show!

I was entered in 3 jumping divisions but only got to compete in one because they ran later than planned and ended up going at the same time as the flat classes. We really didn't have the best rounds so I decided we'd just scratch out of the rest and do the flat classes inside. I was surprised that we got a 1st and 2nd place in the jumping division we were in because we were a tad rushy through the whole thing.
Perhaps Brigit just wanted more of a challenge! lol

We had to do hunt seat equitation astride, which we got 3rd place in. We absolutely nailed out pattern except I looked down for my diagonals and the judge dinged me for it.

Then we did a quick swap to our sidesaddle gear and tried out the new navy habit! It fit so nicely! But BOY was I ever HOT! The wool sure takes some getting used to!
We did Road Hack, Show Hack, Low Hunter Hack, English Pleasure, Ladies Sidesaddle and Pleasure Pairs. We were definitely having an "on" day because we won everything but English Pleasure where we got 2nd place! We were getting all of our transitions quickly and nicely and everything just seemed to fall into place!

(I really need to get the hem in the navy apron lengthened because it was too short and you could see my right foot most of the time.)

I changed into my tweed habit for Low Hunter Hack and English Pleasure but unfortunately don't have any pictures of it yet. The hunter hack class was so much fun! Now I really want to do more jumping aside!

It's too bad these two pictures were blurry! They'd be good ones!

Brigit really HATES standing in the lineup though. At the end of one class she refused to stand still and just kept shaking her head.
This is what Brigit thinks of having to stand still... lol

In total we came home with 6 - 1sts, 2 - 2nd's, a third and we earned our entry fees back and then some! Definitely a good day's work!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Please be here today!!!

I'm anxiously awaiting the arrival of my habits from the UK. I'm absolutely DYING to see them and of course try them on!!! They were *supposed* to be here yesterday but must have gotten caught up in Calgary or taken longer to get through the sorting facility. Hopefully today!!! I'm going to run to the post office on my lunch break to check & see!

Fingers crossed!!!!

I'm off to another show tomorrow. It's a local one so only about 5 minutes from home. It will be such a treat not to have to drive all over to get there.

We are entered in the 2'6" hunter division and 2'9" & 3'0" jumper divisions. (and no, I'm not doing it sidesaddle! haha) I was wondering the other day what the heck I was thinking entering in the 3'0" class because I just haven't been jumping enough. So wednesday night I decided I was going to jump and see how comfortable I felt. Well we had a beyond fantastic schooling session. Everything was just coming together and we had no issues. Definitely feeling good about it tomorrow!

There are also the standard english pleasure classes, hunt seat equitation etc. They are also having a "Ladies Side Saddle Class" which I am really excited for! Thus far I think there are only a few people entered but I hope some more people come out of the woodwork for it! I've also bravely entered the 18" hunter hack division and am going to attempt it sidesaddle!!! Could be good, could end in a sore back! haha (for me that is). A friend of mine is coming up to ride sidesaddle and we're also going to do the pleasure pairs class aside, should be fun!

Holy HAIL!!!

Last night we had an absolutely NASTY storm blow through. I had pony club lessons to teach but I ran home first and put as many plants under cover as possible.

The further north I drove, the blacker the sky got. It was raining when I arrived at the barn but wasn't too bad so we went on with lessons (luckily my first lesson only had one rider). Before long it started to hail so we moved our vehicles under cover of the barn's lean-to.

We rode for a little bit longer before we started to hear a "Thunk-Thunk" sound on the roof of the arena. I was a bit worried that the skylights might break so I called the rider over to the side of the arena and got her to hop off. We took a peek out the door to see MASSIVE hail stones hitting the ground and bouncing 10' back into the air.

Then the hail got even bigger and we look up to see pieces of it smashing through not only the skylights of the arena but the roof too! We quickly hurried for the lounge area which is more sheltered and brought the horse in with us. Luckily Lizzy is a good girl and didn't mind being in an odd place like that.

A tornado touched down only a few miles away so I think we were very lucky. It was definitely a bit scary!

Anyways, on to the photos!

This is how big the hail was. Literally tennis ball sized.

You can see all the holes in the roof of the arena.

And the pieces of roof & skylight all over the arena.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Camping does NOT = eating hot dogs all weekend!

We went out camping for a night in the mountains this past weekend. I love to go camping and especially love to cook in my cast iron pots on the campfire.I refuse to eat smokies and junk food all weekend long. It's a real art but a fun challenge!

We had some chili and delicious cornbread made in the cast iron skillet for dinner. The cornbread was something I hadn't tried before but boy did it turn out well! YUM!

As you can tell, there wasn't much left!

And later we needed dessert of course! Marshmellows? I think not! S'mores? Nah... How about black forest cake?? Yes you CAN make it on the campfire! And it is soooo good! Just have to make sure you have a low fire and the pot doesn't get too hot.

We had to get inventive in the morning as we'd forgotten to bring a coffee percolator or any filters. Sooo we used paper towel to strain the grinds out.

A festive breakfast skillet in the morning. It was windy and trying to rain so I thought the wee umbrellas would brighten the mood.

And here's my friend Karen on my other "red mare". This one is a little more unpredictable than Brigit! lol

So what's your favorite thing to make when camping?

Next time.... I'm going to attempt to make cinnamon buns!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Millarville Races 2011! The ladies sidesaddle race

Friday July 1st was Canada Day here and I trucked down to a little hamlet called Millarville. They've been having horse races there for 106 years and this year they decided to include a ladies sidesaddle race to celebrate the tradition & history of the races.

We had an absolute blast! Everyone got dressed right up (I spent HOURS ironing my darned linen habit...but it was worth it!) and we paraded around the grounds until it was time for us to go.

All of us ladies dressed up for a group photo.

There was a lot of people and the weather was perfect. After singing of the national anthem and a musical ride, it was our turn.

And we're off to do our "post parade" past the crowd.

This pony is an absolute star! Love him!

The official race was originally meant to be a gaited horse race but seeing that only one person brought a gaited horse, they changed it to a 350 yard trot race. Some of the ladies were on younger/newer horses and they weren't too sure about going full out. We did our parade past the grandstand and then it was back to the start line. Well off we went but Brigit would NOT trot!! I tried absolutely everything to get her to trot, to no avail. We cantered sideways with our head tucked to our chest and did everything BUT trot. We ended up 3rd though and we even got a little trophy!

On our way back to the start line. Eddie & Brigit make such a cute pair and he sure doesn't have any trouble keeping up with Brigit's long legs!

Back to the start line to get ready to go.

And we're off!

I have to say the best part was after the "official" race, one of the other gals and I decided to stage a second "unofficial" race. We turned around and let our horses fly, galloping full tilt back past the grandstand with the crowd cheering! We definitely caught everyone by surprise! It was so much fun. I think Brigit thoroughly enjoyed herself too. (I'm also happy to say my new, slightly smaller, hat didn't blow off!)

I laughed when my friend's mother commented on the video of us galloping, she said "You two girls just can't go out in public, can you?! The challenge was to be ladylike for less than an hour and next thing we know...." (meant in a joking manner of course).

I'm working on getting the video of us galloping so I can share it on my blog., I just don't have it.... yet! I'm hoping I can get some more pictures too!

Growing like weeds

We've been getting lots of nice weather interspersed with some rain and everything is looking just great! We did have a big storm blow through last night and I ran around in the pouring rain throwing sheets over everything just in case it decided to hail. Luckily it didn't!
I had to take some pictures to share. The flowers are all blooming, the baskets are overflowing and some things, like my pumpkins have suddenly gotten HUGE! I ate my first radish out of the garden this weekend too!

I think I'm actually going to get a pumpkin or two for halloween this year!

And there should be LOTS of squash & zucchini!

The tomatoes are getting really tall and climbing up their spirals. They all have flowers on them but the "Black Krim" tomatoes are by far the earliest to produce fruit. There are some HUGE tomatoes on the vine, should be another week or so until they are ripe! Yum!!

The lettuce is veeeeery slowly growing, as are the carrots. I need to give them some fertilizer and hopefully that will help them get bigger faster.

The onions and garlic are growing, some faster than others. This is my first time growing both, so I really have no clue what I'm doing! lol

The herbs are all doing well...except my basil, it's just not happy at all.

My watermelon kind of stinks. I can't figure out what to do to make it happy. It doesn't like the hot sun/heat and wilts, so it's been sitting on the front porch and only gets morning sun. It hasn't done much of anything. I don't have high hopes for getting any melons.

And here are the flowers. I have some ideas for next year and I think it's going to involve digging up most of the tulips and replanting them in clumps vs one here and there. It looks a bit messy in my opinion. I guess that's what happens when you impulse plant! lol