Farmer’s Market

I had to run an errand this morning in downtown Colorado Springs, and just happened to pass by the Farmers Market held in Monument Park on Thursday mornings. Once my errand was complete, I stopped by and picked up tomatoes, green beans, and corn. Since I bought too much for me and Jack to eat in a few days, I gave some of each to my trainer. I have to restrain myself at Farmers’ Markets, because I can end up with more produce than we can eat, even with my trainer’s assistance. It all looks so good.

I won’t eat tomatoes most of the year, but in season I like them when they are home grown or from a farmers market. I had one tonight with a quick quesadilla, and it was a B plus. (Non seasonal ones from the supermarket are usually a D minus.) I am looking forward to the green beans. I don’t like frozen green beans very much, but I have discovered that fresh ones cooked in the steamer are quite acceptable.

It was too hot to ride this afternoon: I already felt drained by running errands in the heat. Even with the air conditioning in the car I was tired. Instead, I brought Lily and Hap into the barn, groomed them, did a little ground based clicker training with them, and applied fresh fly spray. It was 88F in the barn, which means it was much hotter outside in the sun.

Bareback riding

I rode Lily yesterday morning, but it seemed too hot to ride by the afternoon, so I decided to ride Hap with his bareback pad. As always, he was wonderful.

When I bought the bareback pad several years ago, before I bought Lily, I didn’t plan on using it for Hap. I thought it would be a nice thing to have here at home, so when nieces and nephews came out I could put the pad on Smoke and let them ride him in the round pen.
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A storm moved through about 4:30 and the temperatures dropped about twenty degrees Fahrenheit as it did so. It feels heavenly. There was a little hail mixed with the rain, but not large enough to cause damage. I hope I can get the house cooled down before bedtime. Last night, when Jack got home past mid-night, it was still 78F inside, despite the floor fan and open windows. We are starting to discuss getting a whole house fan before next summer, though the low pitch of the roof might make it tricky. Fortunately, Jack’s sister is a mechanical engineer who specializes in environmental systems for buildings, so we ought to be able to pump her for information.

Jack is spending most of his time this weekend at XIV-Khan, a local Science Fiction / Gaming Convention. He is promoting and trying to sell memberships to Cosine, a new science fiction convention to be held January 16, 2004 in Colorado Springs. This con is being sponsored by the science club to which we belong, and we feel honored that Barbara Hambly has consented to be our guest of honor.

Enlivened by the moderate temperatures, the dogs are fence-fighting with Smoke. Smoke is a 26 year old Quarter Horse gelding. You would think he would have more sense than to tease large predators. However, he seems to delight in driving the dogs into a screaming frenzy. He trots up and down the fence line, egging them on, and will sometimes gallop, buck and rear as well. For the sake of our peace, and that of the neighbors, we had to block off one end of the dog run, so there is a buffer zone most of the time between Smoke and the dogs. However, the new field shares one long stretch of fence with the dog run, and I have been letting the horses out most of the day the past few days. The grass is no longer so rich that I worry about Rags foundering. (Smoke no longer eats enough grass for me to worry.)
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Not a good day

Update at bottom of post 15:19 MDT

In Horse Heaven, Jane Smiley wrote a chapter about a horse suffering colic. When the owner discovered the horse, he reflected that everyone ought to decide whether to pay for colic surgery before calling the vet. I’ve gone one better: I’ve decided in advance for our four horses. My husband knows the decisions, and so does my trainer. It’s a grim little list: who to try to save and who to let go. Colic surgery outcomes have gradually improved over the years, but it is still a costly procedure with a guarded prognosis for a full recovery.
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The Foundling

Occasionally, I get audiotaped novels at the library. I don’t really have a great time to listen to them. Even when I was working, my commute was short enough that it didn’t seem to be worth the hastle of putting in the tape. However, I do like to listen to them when I take my daily walks.

Right now, I am listening to Georgette Heyer’s The Foundling, read by Phyllida Nash for Chivers. I’ve read all of her commonly available books: most of them several times. I find that I actually prefer to listen to a story that I have read before. I am something of a speed reader, and the pace of the audioapes seems too slow if I don’t already know what is going to happen.

Phyllida Nash is a great reader. The best readers develop “voices” for each of the characters. Although a voice will occasionally not agree with my own interpretation, I usually can get used to it after a few chapters. I don’t think I have disagreed so far with any of Nash’s voices.

The Foundling has never been one of my top favorites, but I have found in listening to the Heyer books that sometimes even my less favorite of her books gain a new attraction when read out loud. Listening to The Foundling, I realize that my lack of enthusiasm for it is due to the initial chapters. The protagonist, a young man with a diffident personality who dislikes quarreling, is a doormat for his uncle and the other members of his household. Heyer’s skill is such that I feel sympathy for his plight rather than disdain for his lack of assertiveness. However, the bullying in the first chapters is too well drawn to be comfortably comic. Later, the novel turns into a picaresque comedy as the young man escapes his household and travels about on his own. I am looking forward to that part.

Based on trackback from Anita I corrected the publisher to Chivers from Chilton (also a publishing house, but not the right one.) 07-17-2003 06:29 am


The past week and a half, I have been preoccupied with upgrading and redesigning my website at, including my weblog there. Once I set my weblog to be standards compliant using HTML 4.01 and Cascading Style Sheets, I decided to go back and redo my website as well. This was a tedious job, because I had bits and pieces of non-compliant HTML written over the course of eight or nine years. To find all of it, I wrote a Perl script that validated each page using the W3C validator. Then I had to interpret the error messages and warnings from the validator. I also had to fix various scripts that I use to maintain and generate various files from templates, and that took a while as well.

In the process, I broke a few things, like my RSS feed and my comments system, and had to fix them. And, I continually had to struggle against the temptation to just play with my Cascading Style Sheets, since they were so much more entertaining than retagging old html files.

However, it is done now, and everything validates. I even wrote a script that I can run each day against recent files to make sure that no errors can creep back in. I feel a warm little glow as the program reports each updated file as valid.

I’ve learned a lot from what started as an intellectual exercise. This is something I had been wanting to do for a long time, but had been putting off because I knew it would take a lot of time.