Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Glimpses of our Christmas season

It feels like an eternity since I last posted here on my blog.  In reality, it's only been since November 20th...however, some things affect us deeply enough that they seem to transcend time itself.  

When I first started writing here on my blog, my only objective was to write down my thoughts, my feelings and to keep a journal of my life; and to help me remember the day-to-day ups and downs that can so easily get lost.  I wanted to remember with clarity how I felt, what my emotions were about any given situation or time in our lives.  And, I always feel better when I get all the "stuff" in my head, out.  Writing is therapeutic for me, not as therapeutic as my barn time, but's important.
My Annie
We spent Thanksgiving at my sister's house.  It was a good day, and I'm so grateful for it.  We had a delicious feast prepared by so many different hands, and everything tasted so good!  I got to spend some quality time with my oldest niece, Shelley.  She's the one that's just 2-1/2 years younger than I am, and we pretty much grew up together like sisters.  She enlightened me on the joys of crochet.  I learned crochet in high school, but haven't done any since then.  Aahh, that's 37-38 years ago...phew!  But anyway, I picked it right up and am happy to report that, for me, it's easier than knitting.  I enjoy them both, but I'm rather impatient, and crochet seems quicker.  I'm all about seeing a completed project.  I'm in the midst of 2 projects right now, both scarves (simple enough right?), 1 is crochet and 1 is knitting.  Maybe I'll finish one before Christmas.  Highly unlikely, but possible.  I have hope.
My great niece Jessica, her boyfriend Ryan and their son Hudson

Shelley and me

Shelley, her son Cody and granddaughter, Lilly

My nephew David, his wife Tammy and their kids, Ashley & Nathan, Ashley's son Micah

My sister Lilly and hubby Charlie

My niece Shannon and my great-great niece, Lilly
 I didn't really get much of a chance to visit with my sister, as she left shortly after dinner to go shopping with a cousin.  Oh well, priorities right?  *sigh*  But I got to visit with Dave and Darren (both nephews) and my other niece, Shannon.  I'm really, really hoping to spend more time with my family in the year ahead.  People are important to me, and I want to maintain (or at least try) closer relationships with my family members and my small circle of friends than I've been able to do in recent years past.  We're not getting any younger, and I know who and what is important to me.  You just never know, right?
Full and sleepy
After Thanksgiving, my dear friend Betty invited us up for dinner and wreath making with a few others.  She has this wonderful little work shop, had all the evergreens, holly, pine cones, ribbons and so much more, for making whatever our imaginations came up with.  We enjoyed lively conversation, a fire in the wood stove, beautiful Christmas music and some wine before joining the guys for some chili and corn bread.  They enjoyed their time by eating snacks and watching the Civil War game (football) between Oregon State (Beavers) and University of Oregon (Ducks).  Our beloved Beavs lost.  By a lot.  We won't talk about that.  Anyway, it was another enjoyable evening spent with dear friends, and we loved it.  

We went to the cinema and watched "Interstellar" with Matthew McCaunaghay (sure I misspelled that), and it was surprisingly, very good.  How could any movie with that beautiful man be bad, right?  :)  How I love long weekends spent relaxing and doing...well, whatever else we did.  :)

Last week I noticed a rather large lump on Annie's neck, sort of between her neck and shoulder.  It was roughly the size of an apple.  A couple of radiographs, a couple of ultrasound pictures, and a fine needle aspirate later, the diagnosis is carcinoma.  How I hate that word.  My dear, sweet Annie has cancer.  We had an appointment with our dog vet.  LeAnne is realistic, practical and very experienced.  The news isn't what I'd hoped for, but is what my gut was telling me.  The tumor is inoperable because it's gone into the bone of her right front leg.  From what we saw, the tumor has probably been there longer than I realized, and only recently got big enough for us to see on the outside.  The degeneration of her bone is extensive, and our best option is to leave everything alone and manage her pain.  I've been giving her NSAIDS for about a week now.  LeAnne added Tramadol, and in a couple of weeks if we think it's needed, we'll add Gabipentin.  We manage her pain, make her as comfortable as we possibly can and take it one day at a time.  I made Annie a promise.  She will not suffer.  She will not live in pain.  I will love her and be with her until the very end, whenever that may be.  She has always been, and will continue to live the life of a dignified lady.  That's what she is.  My heart is just breaking at the thought of not having her in my life, but she will not suffer!  God has blessed me with this dog in my life and I will not fail her in her time of greatest need.  Until her time, we will live!  And Annie will pretty much get anything and everything she wants.  She's my girl, always has been...  

Just this past Monday - walk in the park
Last weekend we attended our annual Christmas party with our riding club members.  This year was smaller than usual and fairly low-key.  One family that had planned on being there had a medical emergency, so we're keeping the family, and especially Steve in our prayers.  We enjoyed a nice potluck meal, a time of worship, we sang some beautiful Christmas hymns and then played our cut throat/white elephant gift exchange.  Such fun!!  My hubby made a couple of bridle hangers out of Ladde's old horse shoes and I gave one of my Budweiser collectible mugs.  We have such a wonderful group of friends in this club, and we always enjoy time spent visiting with them.  

my lame attempt at a selfie...
Last Monday evening, our dear friend Claudia took us out for dinner.  We enjoy her company so much and this was no exception.  She's such a lovely lady and we appreciate her so much.  She gave us the most thoughtful gift.  Apparently, she's taken pictures from my blog, had them printed into a calendar and it's just AWESOME!!  I absolutely love it, and so does my hubby.  Every single day when I look at that calendar, I'll be reminded of Claudia's generosity and friendship.  What could be better?

I had lunch with another dear friend yesterday.  She's a gal I met through working at the clinic, and she's also a client.  From the very beginning, I felt so comfortable with her, and felt like I'd known her for years.  Of course, she's an animal lover.  She has horses and dogs and cats, and lives in the country.  No wonder we get along! Isn't it great how that happens sometimes?  I just love how God moves different people in and out of our lives; just when we need them the most.  I'm so thankful.  

Well, that's about it since Thanksgiving.  Our plans are to spend time with friends and family this season of Christmas, and to keep things relaxed, simplified and quiet - all the while remembering the "reason for the season".  

May you all be blessed with good health, peace and prosperity...that goes for your critters too!!

Lorie @ Cingspots

Thursday, November 20, 2014

All the news that is news

Gotcha!!  :)  

How's that for a catchy title huh???  

Sorry for the bait and switch, but there really isn't much of anything "news worthy" to report from my neck of the 'bout yours?

We've returned to our usual Pacific Northwest late fall weather pattern.  Yep, it's classic; grey, dreary, mild and wet.  But for the last week or so, we were blessed with sunny and gorgeous, albeit quite frigid weather!  I loved it!!  The mud was frozen, the horses' coats fluffed up and they looked like they were wearing LL Bean down parkas, and we were able to set aside our muck boots.  
Aahhh, it was glorious while it lasted.  But we knew it had to change.  No worries, you just gotta roll with what is.

I've finally filled my prescription for new reading/working glasses.  I'm quite slow, since April I've been carrying around this battered, ragged script from my eye doctor, but in a week or so, I shall be sporting brand new spectacles!!  I'm so excited!!  Yes I know, it seriously doesn't take much to get my juices flowing, does it?  

We made a trip to Costco last weekend and spent too much money.  I hate it when that happens, but the upside is we have enough food in our pantry and freezer to last us until *)!* freezes over...and I got new slippers!  Soft, cushy new slippers are almost as good as new socks.  One of those simple pleasures in life that just makes me giggle and wiggle inside!  :)  You dig?

We've been feeling blessed indeed, and just in time for Thanksgiving too.  One, if not my most favorite of all the holidays.  I just love it!  Firstly, it brings to mind all the blessings we have to be thankful for.  I'm a sucker for counting my blessings, as it just lightens everything and makes me feel good.  It really does change everything!  

Gratitude changes everything!!  Ah, how sweet it is...

So, in no particular order, here goes...

*  We're healthy, and finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel of these blasted colds we've been living with lately.  That's a good thing!

*  Our horses are fat, sassy, fuzzy, happy and healthy.  Can't beat that with a stick!

*  Our dogs are loved, pampered and spoiled...their favorite holiday is Thanksgiving too!

*  Our pantry, freezer and cupboards are full.  I don't think we'll starve this winter after all...

*  Our barns are full of sweet smelling hay for the "hay burners".  

*  Our wood shed is chock full of wood, and we're thankful that we don't have to cringe when the electricity bill shows up in the mail.  

*  We have a ton of wood pellets for our little pellet-burning stove on hand.  You know, for those days we require just a smidge more warmth, or we're just to blame lazy to build a fire.  :)  

*  Our roof don't leak!

*  We have lots of cozy, warm blankets to snuggle under in our bed!

*  We have jobs, providing us with the ability to "fend for ourselves" and pay our bills. remains frightfully slow at the clinic where I work, so if you're of the praying kind, would you please keep us (and my boss's family) in your prayers?  We need work man!!!

*  And as always, we firmly believe that God is in heaven and fully aware of our (and your) situation in life, and will handle all those messy details.  He's in charge and we have faith!!

As I said, we have so many reasons to be thankful, and to acknowledge where our blessings come from.  Give it a try, won't you?  Try it today, I promise you'll be surprised at just how much you have, and how many reasons you have to be happy.  

Count your blessings!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Nothing exciting but the weather

Yep, that's about the size of it.  Our freezing rain is the topic of the day.  It's since changed to just a very cold rain, but this morning's commute was a bit treacherous and our weathermen are all over it - wowza!  I can't really blame them because our weather is pretty moderate most of the time.  You know how it goes, same ole, same ole.

I'm feeling a bit better today, without any cold meds I'm breathing on my own.  Just the usual hacking and nose-blowing - you know.  Nuff said.

Anyhoo, I really don't have a lot to say today.  My hubby did some "fence checking" yesterday and reported that the fence...and the pups, appear to be fine.  *wink*  He said the gate was closed and the pups were both outside, happy and clean.  They were very happy to say hello and ran over to the fence for pets.  I'm so glad, I was beginning to get worried as we hadn't seen them for days.  One of their older dogs narrowly escaped being hit on the highway Sunday evening.  The young gal who came to our door was very upset, and reported that she had to slam on her brakes really hard to avoid running the dog over, who was dragging a leash.  He ran down the driveway, apparently none the worse for wear.  This was after I'd called the dog control...hopefully it was just an oversight.  I'm really hoping that she convinced them that it's very important to keep their dogs contained and safe.  *fingers crossed*  Anyway, it's a relief to hear that the pups aren't locked up or chained, and appear to be doing well.  

The horses are all fat, fuzzy, healthy and happy, enjoying being inside today out of the icy, wet weather.  The dogs and I are hanging out at the clinic, doing "busy work" and answering the few phone calls that have come in.  It sure makes for a long day...but it is, what it is.  We too, are thankful to be inside on a day like this.

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Be careful what you ask for

It's so true, isn't it?  There are times I have to remind myself, but I'm usually too late.  

Last Sunday we spent a couple of hours (that felt much longer) moving our alfalfa from one shed, to a fully-enclosed location in our hay barn.  Anywhere that the air touched the bales, there was mold growing.  I blame this on our warm and extremely wet fall thus far.  
So, struggling with the heavy bales while battling a cold, I was hot, sweaty and feeling weak.  I complained about our "hot" weather and wasn't it just time already for a little cool down?  It's almost the middle of November for Pete's sake!

Fast forward to Tuesday.  I got what I asked for.  We've turned cold, and in a hurry.  We had our first freeze last night, and the winds are howling making it feel even colder.  We actually had a layer of ice on the horse's water trough.  I'm thankful it's a dry cold though, all the horses were turned out with their coats on.  They didn't seem to mind at all, each one standing very still for their windbreakers to be put on.  

There's been a lot of falling trees and ensuing damage to some homes, cars and such reported on the news.  We're thankful to be alright and doing just fine.

My only complaint is that I have succumbed to this nasty cold.  I'm not sure whether to blame my husband or my boss, both of which have been suffering with colds lately.  This is the first cold I've had in several years, so I guess I can't really complain...but I still do.  My head feels like it's full of cotton, my throat is sore and I've got copious amounts of "stuff" that needs to come out of my head.  Where does it all come from!?  *sigh*  So, it's off to Safeway at lunch time to buy some nasal spray and cold meds.  If I can breathe, I can sleep, and that's about all I want to do right now.  For now, I'm grateful for business at the clinic continuing to be slow.  My brain isn't exactly functioning, and I'd be in trouble if I had to actually think.  :)

Time continues to baffle me with the speed in which it passes.  Wasn't it just summer and I was splashing and crashing down the rapids in a raft???  It's almost Thanksgiving for heaven's sakes!!  What is with that?  Maybe I can finally stop living in denial now that it's cold outside...hate to break it to you folks, but summer really is over.  

So we're cozying up inside, staying close to the fire and drinking warm drinks instead of cold ones.  And giving thanks for our warm little home, and our warm little barn that protects us and the animals we love.  

Be warm and safe my friends...

Lorie @ Cingspots

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Harboring a fugitive

Indeed.  And she's an angel.  She's a Great Pyrenees puppy of, I'm totally guessing here, somewhere between 4-6 months (?)  She's going to be a large dog, but not even half as ginormous as her brother.  

I would absolutely keep her if I didn't already have two dogs, two cats and six horses to care for.  In a New York minute!  She's sweet natured, kind, sensible, quietly playful, thoughtful, intelligent and has a laid back personality.  She sleeps through the night without any accidents and goes potty and poo on command.  She hasn't chewed anything except her Busy Bone or her sock toy.  She doesn't seem to be a real mouthy pup at all.  She's very sensitive and thinks things through.  She's a gem.  We've taught her to walk on a lead with only a few, short lessons.  Good dog.  

The sad part of this story is that she's owned by our neighbors who got her and her brother to guard their chickens from the coyotes.  The male was caught red-pawed chasing our other neighbor's horses and took a kick, but he's apparently alright.  But he is imprisoned for his transgressions in a roughly 6 x 6 cage on concrete with a roof and slatted walls, so when it's windy and rainy, you know how wet he must get.  They seem to spend no time with the dogs, allowing them to run at large and they don't even bother to close their gate.  We've had the little female the last 3 nights and they haven't even inquired about her.  We should be the first place they check because of the number of times we've taken her back home to them.  But I'm finished doing that, so we decided to bring her in, clean her up and see how long it took for them to notice she was gone.  3 days later and no one has even inquired as to her whereabouts.  Unacceptable!  My hubby did take her home this morning, knocked on the door and a man asked, "who's there ?".  My hubs called out that I'm your neighbor and I've got your pup.  Then he waited and waited and waited...he never came to the door.  They do not care.

We're trying very hard to find someone who is interested in giving her a good home.  If we do, the pup is just going to disappear.  I will do it in a heartbeat and not even think twice about it.  No guilt at all.  It's the right thing to do, for this pup.  I may not be able to help the little male, but I would if I could.  She deserves a good home, with people who love her and who care enough to train her to be a good member of society.  Dogs running at large are as bad as horses let go untrained in my book.  I've talked with my neighbor about the situation, and she's the one whose horses were being chased.  She is their landlord and is ultimately responsible for what they do on her property.  There are several other issues besides the dogs too, but I won't get into that here.  My main concern is for this pup right now.  

As you can see, she is lovely.  She will be large, but not overly so for a Great Pyrenees.  I think she may be the runt, or at least one of the smaller pups.  

That's it for today...

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

And so it begins

The holiday season.  In just a couple of nights, the little ghouls and goblins will be out in full force...begging for treats.  :)  We don't get trick or treaters at our house; not one single little monster in almost 20 years.  But of course, I have some candy on hand.  Just in case.  

With the weather turning seasonably cooler and much wetter, our thoughts naturally tend to focus on inside.  Cozying up the home, lighting spicy scented candles, fires in the wood stove and soup in the kettle.  This too, as much as the holidays we celebrate, are tradition for us.  

The horses are coming inside every night now, they're already accustomed to their new routine.  Sure doesn't take them long.  They've added longer, warmer coats and most are sporting a nice layer of mud as well.  *sigh*  Ladde in particular...chocolate-dipped and most pleased with himself.  

The farrier was out this week for their last trims of this year.  We pulled Missy's shoes once again for the opportunity to allow for foot expansion and better circulation.  And it's working...she has good, quality heel growth.  Her heels are much more open and no curling in and no under run appearance.  That's exactly what I had hoped to accomplish.  We're also going to try a new drug on the market that's supposed to work similarly to the drug Tildren; although much less expensive, it's specifically marketed for navicular.  It's an IM injection given in three different locations.  I ordered it yesterday and should have it today...can't wait to give it a try!  The manufacturer reports that we should have maximum improvement at about two months, so we'll see.  I'm hopeful, but remain realistic as Missy's diagnosis of navicular was several years ago.  But I have to try, she's a fun little mare to ride and has way too much life to stand around in a pasture.  I'll keep you posted.

Hope you're ready for the holidays because here they come!!!  I was in Walmart yesterday and their entire garden center area is full of Christmas stuff.  Uggh!  What is up with that!?  Every year it's crammed down our throats earlier and earlier...just makes me want to detach from the commercialism all the more, and savor the quiet peace of it all.  

Happy Halloweeney everyone!!!  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dazed days and grey skies

Long-range weather predictors had forecast a warmer, drier fall for the Pacific Northwest.  I was sure hoping for that Indian summer, but alas we're just plain wet.  *sigh*  Our weather is warm, wet and windy.  And because of several wildfires in our mountainous areas last summer...landslides are an issue.  Not where we live, we're in the valley, the lowlands; but some of the areas that are common thoroughfares could get dicey if the rains continue.  

Overall, we had a hot, long and very dry summer.  A couple of weeks ago everything in our area was brown, no grass and just dead weeds.  However today, our grass has grown to 8ish inches tall, it's thick and lush.  In our yard that is.  Not so much in the pastures, but the green blanket effect is there, the horses just keep it nipped short.  Amazing how quickly our grasses rebound with just a little bit of moisture.  The rains we're expected to get today and in the coming week is more than a little bit though...1-2" today and tomorrow alone, with plenty of wind.  Our weathermen are super excited.  They actually have something to report.  

We kept the horses inside today.  Just doesn't make any sense to have them outside getting soaked and trying to crowd together inside the shelters.  That's when difugalties take place.  Harley will get new wounds and Kadie and Shad will get pushed outside.  They could go to the other shelter, but they always want to be together.  So...our evening will be spent doing double-duty in the stalls.  Most of the time I don't mind it, but I haven't been sleeping very well, and I'm tired.  Just plain tired and a bit cranky today.  Business at the clinic remains slow and that doesn't help.  Having nothing substantial to do all day does nothing for my energy levels after I get home.  

MH and Justin did get the pellet stove installed last weekend.  For a while there, it was touch and go.  The auger that feeds the pellets was totally frozen, and they'd almost given up hope of getting it freed up when it broke loose.  They did a thorough cleaning and re-painted the top and front areas of the stove.  It looks beautiful and is working wonderfully now.  I'm so glad because replacing it right now would have been out of the question.  It's the little things that make me happy!  Warmth is one of those things.  :)

This week we're picking up our winters' supply of bedding and then loading up the truck with junk that we need to haul to the dump soon.  And aside from cleaning out my garden boxes, hopefully that will be the end of outside "getting prepared for winter" projects.  The season has come for inside jobs, and heaven knows there are plenty of those too.  That's a good thing I suppose, because as I've mentioned before, being idle makes me crazy!  Before you know it, the holidays will be upon us.  Just where has this year gone to!?  I know, I'm like a broken record on that subject!!  

Well, that's it for now.  Tonight the little blue sleeping pill will be my friend, and hopefully I'll get a good nights' rest and as my momma always used to say..."Tomorrow is a brand new day!".  

Blessings, Lorie