Saturday, May 30, 2009

Johnny Eats A Bento Lunch on the Trail!

Yes I did make my horse a bento box lunch, or snack really, and yes he did enjoy it. There. That's the alpha and omega of this story, but as always, it is beta-gamma-delta etc. that contain all the mishaps.

A beautiful morning, sent from heaven unaltered, just as a glimpse of what heaven may be like if there is one: sun, cool breezes, bird song, and everyone looks pretty including of course John:

So I decided to pack a lunch and try for the Long Ride. This would involve crossing County Road 1 and following a bike path several miles to an entry to a huge state park trail system which has been luring me since I moved to the new barn.

I packed bento box lunches for both Johnny and myself;

His has carrots, grapes, and a granola bar; mine has fried rice, pink grapefruit, and peanut butter pretzels.

I was rushing through this preparation process due to the fine morning; in our climate, weather can change drastically within minutes, not even hours, so I wanted not to miss the golden ride time if at all possible.

So I made it and he was in a fine mood and off we went. I put on his bear bells which are mostly decorative although (a) we both seem to enjoy the jingle, and (b) there have been bear sightings all around town this spring.

Here's a little video of the bear bells and walking:

And here we are gaiting out a bit:

We had a terrific ride and we ate our lunches without actually killing each other so that's a plus.

John did attack his bento a bit before I offered it to him, but he's a horse after all. The expression 'hungry as a horse' does have bearing.

The sky was so infinitely blue!! Like you could just have floated up there and gone swimming or flying in blue forever.

I am going to work on my horse bento technique. I believe I may be the only person in the universe who is making horse bentos. That would make me either the coolest person in the universe, or the biggest idiot. I know where my vote's going!!


Funder said...

I am most surprised that John didn't get more of your peanut butter pretzels. Sounds like a lovely ride though!

Flying Lily said...

Oh Funder he went for that pretzel and we did have quite the argument about it!! You are so right - he perceived it as his God-given pretzel.

cdncowgirl said...

Very cool!
And I may seem a bit dumb but I am a bit curious about a few things:
what's a 'bento'?
where the heck could I find peanut butter pretzels?!?
and where ever did you find the pretty black box? (the one that I'm guessing was yours)

photogchic said...

Do you ever carry Bear mace when you ride? I have been contemplating it lately...I have been watching too much "Human Prey" on Animal yourself a favor...don't watch it! It will freak you out. We have cougars coming in closer...always worry about getting stalked while I ride. Was thinking about carrying bear mace...but decided against it and got a leatherman instead.

Kate said...

Bear bells, indeed! - that's one thing we don't need around here! Love the horse Bento box idea - what fun to have a picnic with your horse!

Flying Lily said...

CdnCowgirl: Bento means lunch in Japanese, and bento box lunches are an obsession of mine: for portion control, to eliminate plastic bags etc., and because once you get into them you are down the rabbit hole. I buy mine on EBay and one of my favorite vendors is named 'Luckyshipper'; he is in Japan but ships to the US for free and has gorgeous bento boxes. The black box in the photo has 2 layers and an interior divider, came with chopsticks and a bag for about $12. Packing my lunch has become a fun hobby! Peanut butter pretzels are in a bulk bin at my whole Foods Co-op. they are so good! salty and sweet both.

Photogchic: I have friends who carry Bear Mace but I have not - I'm pretty sure I'd set it off on myself or my horse by accident, being a klutz. I rely on the bells and dumb luck. I also have friends who will not go out without their trusty handguns, which I avoid for the same reason. I had better avoid "Human Prey" shows since I am pretty much afraid of my own shadow already...

Kate: You might need bear bells for the cute factor! These I ordered in colors of my choosing, and they have a little heart shaped bead which hangs on the horse's chest. They came with an alternate set of bigger bells for those days when I really want to wake the dead out on trail. I think they also prevent deer from jumping out at us, which I find unnerving.

ezra_pandora said...

My vote is coolest person in the universe and I'm SURE John thinks so too :)) I had never heard of bento either. I shall ask my friend who spent three years over in Japan. She may be impressed with my newly gained knowledge of that one! lol How cool. Thankfully we do not need bear bells or anything of the sort. That gating video is super cool!!

c2b said...

I love the bear bells they do make a lovely noise. The only bears round here are the ones in the zoo although did once meet a bare person in the woods. I dread to think what he was up to. Not sure who was more startled!!
When we do a day ride Zoe has her own packed lunch. Bentos is a brand of corned beef over here!!

3pennyjane said...

In Alaska, we got a formal briefing about bears, including the notes about pepper spray and bells. Then we got the jokes about how how you tell black bears and grizzlies apart. Version A: Climb a tree; if the bear climbs after you, it's a black bear, and if it knocks the tree down, it's a grizzly. Version B: Check the scat. Black bear poo has a clean scent and is full of berry seeds. Grizzly poo smells like pepper and is full of little bells.

Ah, frontier humor. Some of us couldn't quite see the funny side. Now if we'd had bentos...

Stephanie said...

I vote coolest person in the universe! What a great way to enjoy such a beautiful day... picnic bento box lunch with your horse, and the bear bells just add all the more charm to it all.

I have no bears in my area but the bells would do well to warn the bike riders and the joggers with baby strollers that we are near. Great idea!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

That gait must be smooth, because you did a good job keeping the camera still.

Once Upon an Equine said...

I think you may have found a new niche market for horse bento boxes. Those bells are lovely. Glad you had a nice ride and that you and John are still friends after he exhibited the horseyness of his bento manners.

Horseypants said...

I would also like further explanation of the bento box. Why this particular type of lunch? What makes it so good?

Anyone who can really eat with chopsticks seems the coolest in the universe.

Flying Lily said...

Ezra; I bet your friend who lived in Japan will have seen bentos; kids take their lunches to school in them etc. It's an interesting concept: tightly packed, highly decorated food that does not need refrigeration.

C2B: A naked man in the woods??! You have the most amazing adventures out & about. You need to write a book!

3Penny: Frontier humor indeed! I love it; 'little bells'...

Stephanie: Thanks! And yes the bells are useful for bikers too although sometimes they are going so fast they no sooner hear the bells than they run you down and apologize. :(

NM: John was having a particularly smooth day, but generally that gait is one of the million things I love about him; no bounce.

OnceUpon: Horsey manner is just about right. I was impressed by his speed. But I guess horses are eating experts: it is their art, their science, and their hobby all in one.

Horseypants: Bento lunches started out for children and factory workers, who couldn't refrigerate anything and also didn't have access to heating so it had to include tough self-preserving food. Sushi rice with its vinegar and sugar and salt is a good example of a very stable food. So are pickled vegetables. There's a formula to a good bento lunch: 4 parts rice or other carb, 3 parts veg, 2 parts protein and 1 part sweet. And there's art in the packing; they are supposed to be cute or "kawaii", and colorful, with textures etc. They are just so much fun to create, and also taste great once you get your favorite foods down.