Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Home sweet home

Spring is certainly well underway in our neighborhood, and signs of its' rebirth are everywhere.  The horses are getting fatter, losing their winter woolies like crazy and rations have been cut back.  You can't tell by looking at our pasture, but the grass is growing...and the horses are mowing.  Sure wish they could manage our lawn for us as well as they keep the pasture trimmed.  If only...  

I made a quick dash down the driveway before heading off to work and caught Ladde having himself a little after breakfast nap.  The big guy needs his beauty rest.

Missy looks like she might be getting a little dozy herself.  She has done quite well over the winter without having shoes on.  Against everyone's advice, I had her shoes pulled last fall and let her go barefoot for almost 6 months now.  And exactly as I'd hoped, her heels have opened up and the trims have removed almost all of the curled under heel.  I will be putting shoes back on her sometime in May for the riding season.

Here's that handsome devil Eagle,  looking none too worse for the winter.  Now that the weather's warmed up and we have more daylight hours, I'm hoping to resume his schooling sessions very soon.  I keep wondering when life will be a little less busy, so I have more time for personal pursuits...maybe that's never going to happen.  *sigh*

Harley (in background chowing down) just turned 17 yesterday.  Where does the time go???  We celebrated by having apples and carrots.  Birthdays are always enjoyed by all!

Such a sweet I love this horse.

Thank goodness our living room doesn't look like this anymore!  I wanted to have a few pics just so I remember the "before", or rather, the "during" of our makeover.  Hubby's been a little busy lately, so our project has slowed down a little.  I had to return my drapes because they were too short, and the shades still haven't arrived.  The painting of the window trim is finished on 2 of the 3 windows, and I'm loving the change.  We still need to paint and install the trim boards at the floor and around the doorways, and also get the pellet stove re-installed once we decide on our hearth.  Oh yes, and paint this door...the list never seems to end.

We found a little dry rot and had to replace some of the sub-floor near the door.

This is where we collected all the stuff torn out.  Several of my friends commented on our lovely front yard alecs.  We just hauled a pick-up load of debris to the local landfill last weekend.  I always wonder why after every winter we seem to have a truckload of junk to haul off and dispose of?  Where does it come from???

Special dinner I made for my hubby for all his hard work...beef sirloin with onion,mushroom, red wine sauce with broiled lobster and baked potato.  Yummy!!  And yes, I did have to put that lobster tail back under the broiler for a minute or two, after I took this picture.  :)

A beautiful sunset from a couple nights ago.  It sure is nice having sunsets again.  Our weather has been mostly dry for a week and a half or so now, with temps in the mid 60's and a couple of days into the mid 70's.  Spring really is here!!!

Eagle had a special treat and got to eat sweet, grass in our yard one evening.  It looks like he needs more treats right?  :)

He doesn't really put on much of a winter coat, compared to the others, but what he does shed is almost black and very, very fine and short.  His lower legs however, get long, hairy feathers.  I've noticed when he has his winter coat on, his freeze brand is almost invisible.

It's been a while since I've written anything on my blog (again), and we've been so busy, but I really don't seem to have much to talk about.  Just working everyday at the clinic, keeping up with housework, laundry, meal preparation, grocery shopping, paying bills and running what seems to be never-ending errands - I don't have much energy left over for personal endeavors.  I enjoy a little bit of time with the horses every evening while helping with the chores and feeding, but haven't started getting the horses back into work mode yet.  I've been doing a lot of grooming lately and that feels like a full-time job for now.

The dogs and I have resumed our noon-time walks and that feels really good.  Hopefully I can continue with my weight-loss goals when I'm outside and more active, because I seem to have plateaued lately.  Sucks.  It's not like I don't have plenty more to lose, but I haven't lost anything in a month or so.  As of March 17th, at my annual doctor's wellness visit, I had lost 31 lbs to date.  :)  I feel better, and my clothes are clearly looser, but would like to lose at least 20 more.  When I reach that goal, I will re-set my long-term goals.  One step at a time...

And in the meantime, I crave pie.  All the time.  *sigh*

I found a new to me kitchen table and chairs at a local re-sale shop.  I love it!!!  I put it on lay-away and will hopefully be bringing it home in a couple of's from Pier 1 and looks very "old Italy" farmhouse style.  Round with 4 matching chairs, rich cherry-toned top and aged/distressed sage green and brown pedestal.  When I get it home, I'll post some pics.  Now, I have a few things I need to try and sell on craigslist.  Something in, something out.

Hope spring has arrived for all of you...enjoy the longer, warmer days!!!

Blessings to all, Lorie @ Cingspots

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Spring and a birthday!!!

That's right.  Not only is it the first day of spring (good-bye old man winter!), but more importantly, it's the big guy's birthday today.  18 years to be exact.  Wow - where have the years gone?  Our big, bold and beautiful Ladde is 18 years old today.  Never has there lived a cooler horse.  Seriously.  :)

I might be a teeney weeney bit partial, but still.  He's totally awesome!!!  Color me blessed...

It's been over a month since I've written anything on my blog.  I guess I just didn't have anything to can stop laughing now!  I've been a wee bit preoccupied of the point where I haven't been sleeping very well at all.  We (my hubby) have been working on our living room remodel project, and I'm very happy to report that it's almost finished.  Well, the hard part is finished.  The ceiling and walls are freshly painted.  The old, nasty carpet has been ripped out and the new wood flooring has been installed.  It looks beautiful, and I'm so pleased with the results.  My hubs did an amazing job!!

Our pellet stove was taken out and all the brick tile hearth work has been removed.  We still need to replace that with either a piece of granite or simply a wood stove pad, and then put the stove back in.  That's pretty easy and quick.  Next up is to purchase, paint and install all the base boards and trim around the doorways.  I've ordered bamboo roman shades in a pecan color (light chocolate), new curtain rods in cast iron finish and linen curtains in natural.  I ordered all that online, so I'm hoping it's what I'm expecting.  We'll see soon enough...

We bought 3 big area rugs, 2 are in the living room providing two different seating areas and one is in the kitchen under our dining table.  We've added two new overstuffed chairs, a recliner that doesn't look like a recliner, two more rocking chairs, an end table and a floor lamp.  Amazingly enough, even with the additions of all that, the room still seems bigger and much more open.  Go figure!  We got a new ceiling light that we still need to install too.  We have plenty of work left to do, but the major work part is finished.  I'm very pleased with the results so far, but am anxious to be done with this project.  And if I feel that way, I can only imagine how my hard-working husband must feel!  :)

We would really like to sell our piano that I've had since I was a child.  I don't play it anymore and it's just collecting dust.  Then eventually, I might get another end table and a different coffee table, but that will be later.  I'm really tired of spending so much of our hard earned savings and would like to see that grow up again before buying anything else.  The water meter went belly up and dear hubby had to replace that along with some water piping, cha-ching!!  And then, we had to replace our vacuum cleaner, the old one died unexpectedly and that was just one more thing.  When it rains, it pours right?  *sigh*

Thankfully, the horses and the dogs and us are all doing well.  We're fat and sassy, losing winter hair by the gobs (the horses, not us) and rejoicing in the fact that we've survived another long, cold winter.  :)  The trees are in bud, the grass is growing like crazy and I have daffodils and daphne blooming!!  Spring has sprung!!
We need to finish up these inside projects so we can get outside when it warms up.  I am so ready to soak up some sun and go camping, ride our horses, get the garden going and spend time on the deck barbecuing with friends.  Doesn't that sound wonderful?  Right now I think a good, long nap sounds pretty good too...but I digress.

Hope all is well with all of you, and that spring has arrived in your neighborhoods too.  I've been remiss in reading your blogs much lately, but hopefully things will get back to normal real soon.  Take care and celebrate with your someone special this first day of spring.  Whoohoo!!!

Blessings to all,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dream a little dream with me

The best possible time for a vacation to a tropical paradise is February.  

No doubt.

You see, after the long summer, fall is a welcome respite.  We're anxious for cooler, more comfortable temperatures.  Warm sweaters, cozy jeans, boots...thick, fuzzy socks.  An inviting fire in the hearth that beckons after getting your chill on doing chores.

And then along comes the anticipation of the holidays.  The fun of Halloween, the endearing warmth and thankfulness of Thanksgiving, followed by the festive and always lively, Christmas.  

Even January has its' merits.  New Years Eve, and all the promise of the new year ahead of us, unfolding.  The anticipation of looking ahead and making plans, know how it goes.

But by February; the reality of winter begins to wear thin...the cold and the damp drones on and on.
We begin to wax nostalgic for longer, warmer days.  Relaxing in the sun, warming our face and sipping something cool and refreshing.  Spending time outdoors, instead of by the fire.   

I've done pretty well this season, so far.  No real problem with my SAD.  I've been busy enough not to grow weary of too much time indoors, and our weather has certainly helped.  We've had more dry days than wet, we've had some brisk, cold weather that revitalizes the senses, we were even blessed with some beautiful snowfall.  

But now it's raining.  The pastures are flooded.  The horses are muddy.  You get wet every time you step foot outside.  Yuck.

I haven't heard the word drought for some time now.  Weeks even.  The naysayers are oddly quiet.  There's snow falling in the mountains.  Lots of snow falling in the mountains.  Eventually, every year it happens.  The moisture always comes.  And we make up for lost time...big time.  

Don't get me wrong - I'm thankful.  Really, I am.  

I just feel so melancholy when it rains.  I become introverted, and I think too much.  I question everything and there's never any easy answers for all that weighs on my mind.  *sigh*

I get the blues.  That's what my mom always said.  The blues...

Perfect time to get away and have a little vacation.  So, I've been planning...checking out flights and tropical destinations.  We're not getting any younger, so why wait?  

I'd love to visit Key West.  Spend a week or so just lying in the sun, hacking around on foot and taking in the sites.  Kayaking, snorkeling, swimming...Margaritaville.   I love Jimmy Buffet, don't you?  *sigh* 

My hubs wants to take a cruise.  I like that idea too.  I've always wanted to visit Jamaica.  Swim in the beautiful, blue Caribbean, dine on whatever suits my fancy.  But the rigidness of the schedules of a cruise worries me somewhat.  And some ships have dress codes.  What is with that?  I just want to hang out in shorts or sundresses and flip flops.  Shades and no make-up.  That's much more to my liking.  

I adore Hawaii...mmmm, that was a dream vacation for us.  If we were ever to go there again, I'd pick Maui this time.  Oahu is beautiful, but there's just too many people for me.  Rains too much on Kuwai  and Hawaii  has all those volcanoes.  I think Maui is just about perfect.  

I'd love to go to Mexico again, just much further south and away from all those touristy destinations.  A traveler can really get a lot of bang for the buck there.  And it's beautiful, and very much tropical too.  But, unfortunately that's not somewhere my hubs is inclined to go.  He says it's dangerous.  I don't agree, but that's alright.  Many other choices on the menu.

Right now, I'm just in dream mode...but the flights if booked in advance, are very affordable.  What a wonderful surprise a tropical vacation would be for our anniversary...this coming July, we'll be celebrating our 30th.  That's a perfect reason for a romantic getaway for two, wouldn't you say?


I'm ready to trade in my muck boots and rain coat for something a little more comfortable.  
Warm sand and sunshine on my shoulders, instead of raindrops falling on my head.  

I've got some dreaming to do...

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter wonderland

Yes, we finally got a taste of winter.  Snow, that is.  We've had some cold, dry weather so far this season, but we had real snow.  Beautiful, white powder...about 12" of blinding whiteness.  *sigh*  We even had drifts that were between 2-3 feet deep.  Seriously cool.

The horses loved it, the dogs were crazy about it, and we enjoyed it immensely!  The cats?  Not so much.
I drove home last Thursday at noon to make sure my fire didn't go out, and while I was digging through the wood pile, I got a call from my boss.  He asks me if I'd like to have the afternoon off?  Would I!!??  Whooppee!!  A real snow day!!  I absolutely felt like a kid again.
Ruby - come on mom!

It was such a gift, totally unexpected and I thoroughly enjoyed my "stolen" afternoon of peace, serenity and domesticity with the house all to myself!!  :)  I baked a pie.  I kept the home fires burning.  I fed the birds.  I brought the horses inside and gave them a flake of hay.  I did some laundry, watched the menagerie of birds bicker over the seed, took the dogs for a walk and took lots of pictures.  It was wonderful!!

And it never stopped snowing until Saturday night.  I got to stay home Friday too.  An unexpected long, snowy weekend.  We were pretty much housebound all weekend long.  We got a little freezing rain Saturday night after the snow stopped, and that made the roads a bit treacherous.  Call me crazy, but I loved it!
Eagle's frosty lashes


And now today, all the snow is gone except for some occasional piles here and there.  We're back to 40-something temps and rain...lots of rain last night, along with the moisture from the melted snow, makes for a soggy, wet, green mess.  It was fun while it lasted.  I now have a better (albeit tiny) understanding of just how much more work having snow makes winter chores.  If I had to endure weeks or even months of snow, I would seriously consider a different lifestyle.  We're just not set up for it.


Kadie and Shad


The living room project continues...slower than I'd like, but it's coming along.  Paint is finished, pellet stove is out and all the brick hearth has been removed.   Originally we weren't going to remove the hearth, but after reconsidering, hubby ripped it out too.  Out with the old - in with the new!!  We also painted the one end wall that is done in beaded board.  I've always liked it, but decided to paint it as well.  The wood was a light oak, maybe even maple color that just didn't seem to "go" with the rest of the room colors.  I'm still getting accustomed to it, I like it painted, just don't love it.  Funny how these projects always end up much more complicated and lengthy than one envisions at the beginning...

Frozen rain chain

So, that's about anything that's new in our neck of the woods.  What's going on with you?

The calendar says we have 5 more weeks of winter, and less than 4 weeks until daylight savings time begins.  That's always a reason to get excited - right?  Spring is just around the corner.  Better finish up with those inside projects so we can spend as much time as possible outside with the horses, in the garden and enjoying the warmer days soon to come.

Can I get an Amen to that?  :)    


Oh yeah!!

Friday, January 31, 2014

One never knows what's lurking beneath the surface...

I'm starting out with a few random photos that have absolutely nothing to do with today's post. 
 Just because I want to!

My precious daddy with Molly as a pup, and our dear dog, Susie.  All gone, but never to be forgotten.

My beautiful Annie

Love o' my life - Ladde

Patch - our "puss among the posies".

Well, my hard working hubby has finished the painting project in the living room.  It looks awesome!!!  :)  Color me a happy, happy gal.  And once again, I'm pondering the same question - why did we wait so long to re-paint???  Seems to always be at the forefront of my thoughts after I see how big of a difference a coat of new paint offers.  Quite the conundrum.

The walls look rich.  There is simply no comparison.  Perfect color choice.  My arm hurts a little from patting myself on the back.  *sigh*  :)

We still have to buy, paint and install the trim boards, but we'll do that after the new flooring is in.  We're going to go pick up the flooring this weekend.  I can't wait!!

Which is all leading to the carpet.  The old, nasty, dirty carpet.  Hubby has got about half of the old stuff ripped out...and Lord in heaven! - What a disaster!!  I had no idea what was lurking beneath our carpet all this time.  Oh my!!  It is shocking!  It is nasty!!  I don't know if I will ever have carpet again!!  Seriously.


There was so much powdery dirt under there.  I vacuum.  I swear, I do!  And after raising several puppies over the past 19 years in our home, dirt wasn't the only remaining culprit.  Oh dear.  Yes, there are some piddle stains on the floor below, and the smell.  How do I describe a cross between old, stale, dog urine mixed in with a sour, mildewy scent?  I think you get the picture.  How in the world could we not smell that in our house?  Somebody tell me that, because as far as I knew, our home did not smell.  Please....tell me it didn't smell like that!  Now, I cannot wait to get the rest of that out of my house!  I mean pronto!!!

And before we begin laying the new flooring, we are painting the entire floor surface to seal it.  It just seems like a good idea.  *sigh*

But, I degress.  The project is coming along nicely.  I cannot wait to unroll the new area rugs and see what they're really going to look like.  I'll post pics soon.  Then I can start shopping for bamboo blinds for the windows, new curtains and some new chairs, possibly even a small table.  No wonder these projects always end up costing way more than what I budget for.  Sheesh!

I think I had a nightmare about a giant germ that used to live beneath our carpet last night...he was very upset, and he was chasing me...


Friday, January 24, 2014

The goin's on these days...

Here we are at Friday afternoon again...thank heavens!  It's been a pretty good week overall, but I've had a few trials thrown my way, and I haven't been sleeping very well - so I'm looking forward to a little home time.

My car is giving me fits...we thought it was needing a new battery, but I'm not so sure about that now.  The battery guy put his charger on it and the car wouldn't turn over at all.  Presently, I'm stuck at the clinic until my hubby rescues me later.  I still have 2 hours before closing time, so I'm not really stranded at all.  And I guess I'm thankful that it happened here where I have heat, lights, a computer and my dogs.  Right?

Anyway, we have the weekend to try and get the old gal back on the road, and in the meantime I'll be driving the truck.  It'll be good to get Big Grey back on the road and blow a little carbon out of the engine - that's what my dad always said.  :)

Last Tuesday was my birthday.  Yep, I'm officially 54 years old now...and I'm perfectly content with my age. I had to go into DMV and get my license renewal; new picture and all.  Have you noticed how much bigger the picture is now?  It's huge by comparison!  It's just this big, old face and not much else now...oh goody.  But surprisingly, there's not much change in the last 8 years, or at least you can't really tell by the picture.  :)  Cuz, let me tell you this - there have been lots of changes in the past 8 years!

My dear hubby took me out for dinner - my choice.  I picked the local Pub.  We had cheeseburgers and nachos.  Perfect!  My dear friend Claudia sent me a beautiful bouquet of pretty!  The orange ones actually smell like oranges.  Isn't that something?  Another dear friend took me out to lunch - we had Mexican and a wonderful visit.  And, I received lots of birthday wishes from friends and family.  A lovely birthday!  I didn't even have cake, aren't you proud of me?  I've been saving that for this weekend!  My hubby and I are going out for a seafood dinner with my sis and bro in law and this restaurant has wonderful deserts...I'm going to splurge just a wee bit.

As far as our living room makeover goes, dear hubby is making good progress.  Ceiling is finished and looks great!  All trim and curtain hardware has been removed, and putty repairs have been made.  We have one wall finished and I'm absolutely loving the new color!!  It looks so rich compared to the stark white.  I was a bit concerned that it might be a little dark for the room, but it is just perfect.  And...I've double-checked on the laminate flooring and it's still readily available.  We're going with the same flooring we chose for the kitchen.  It's fairly dark and has a rustic, farmhouse appearance.  I love it.  Highland Hickory.  We're going to replace all the trim boards with more period correct type trim, and that will be painted a warm off-white.  I'm thinking it will contrast nicely with the gorgeous, rich wall coloring and the dark wood floors.  Then - I'm going to put a large area rug down in the main seating area near the pellet stove and the entertainment area.  I've found the rug I want at Costco...just might go and buy it this weekend, or at least check them out more closely and then buy it online.  I discovered yesterday that the online price is $40 less than in-store.  Can't beat that, and shipping is included.  I'm so excited!!

And then...comes the bedroom re-do.  Ssshhh!!  Don't tell my hubby, he just might string me up!!  :)

As a thank-you to him for doing all this work, I'm planning on surprising him with a new tv.  I'm thinking one of those large - 72" or so, flat panel tv's that make everything look so much more colorful and realistic.  Hopefully we can mount it up on the wall and save even more space by not having the big entertainment center in this half of the room.  Then we can add another chair or two, creating a nice conversation area which will accommodate a few more people comfortably.   Did I mention that I'm excited!?

In other news, our weather has been just outstanding.  Really.  It's been dry and sunshiney for the most part, and grey and fogged in some of the time.  But the temps are brisk, but not freezing.  We're in a very unusually dry weather pattern, and since there's nothing we can do about the weather, might as well enjoy it.

The horses are all doing very well.  They're fat, hairy and pretty much sassy frasses.  Ladde has been doing his utmost best at creating his specialized look of being chocolate-dipped.  *sigh*  Do you realize just how long, and how much effort it takes to scrape thick, dried-on, grass-encrusted mud off of a 17 hand white horse????  Ha! - White - I'm using that term lightly here.  Oh well, whatcha gonna do?

And my old, precious girl, Kadie.  She will be 30 years old this coming May, and she's doing great!  She's holding her weight well, eats all her senior feed and vitamins, all of her alfalfa but the sticky parts, and eats some of her grass hay.  She eats the grass hay much better when it's served up outside for breakfast, as that's all she gets.  :)  The point is, her teeth are fine, and she can still eat forage.  She's even been laying down more, which is a good sign that her hocks aren't as stiff or painful as they once were.  The joints are probably fully fused now, and when she lopes (which isn't often), she has this short-strided little bunny-hop lope that's just too cute.  She's too cute!  She's as fuzzy as a bear, still has a twinkle in her eye, and is quite opinionated about most things.  She's just simply an angel, with a little attitude!  Love her so much...

In fact, all the horses are doing just great.  Harley hasn't had any injuries lately, and that's always a reason to be thankful.  My neighbor did tell me that just yesterday, he ran into the perimeter fence when all the horses, (including him) were running around and playing.  She checked him out, and determined that no harm had been done.  *sheesh*  All I can say is that, I am so very, very thankful that I do not know what transpires out in that pasture when we're not around.  I would be a nervous wreck!!  Further proof that my morning ritual of sending up prayers for their protection every single day - is working.  Uh-huh.  I know that.

Weather is supposed to be spectacular this weekend.  We're working on the painting, going out for dinner and maybe making a trip to Costco...other than that, who cares?  We're free birds and have no real agenda!

Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!!!

Lorie @ Cingspots

Friday, January 17, 2014

There, I feel better now!

In keeping with the tradition of many bloggers, albeit a new tradition for me, I've finally decided upon my chosen word for this new year.  Regardless of never actually having chosen a word before, there have been many times throughout my life that I've had this idea or thought that kept rattling around in my head.  I've always taken it as a subtle reminder that this is something I'm needing to work on.  Interesting that these ideas are always something for me to actually "do".  One of these days, (hopefully) I'll settle upon something with more serenity...  :)

I've put a lot of thought into this process.  I've considered my hopes, my dreams and my plans for this year. Without getting into actual specifics here, seems like everything that I want to accomplish is going to take personal courage.  So, that seemed like my first obvious choice.  But that just didn't seem quite right.  It wasn't big enough.  The word itself felt limiting somehow - as if that was all I needed.  Hmmm, maybe not.

Then "Believe" kept coming to mind.  If I believed in myself, in my abilities, put my trust in those who are deserving of it, I would have enough courage to accomplish whatever it was that I'd set my sights upon.  And yet again, it just didn't feel quite right either.  Again, although a beautiful word; it just wasn't "full" enough.  I kept thinking a piece of the puzzle was being left out.  Maybe the most important aspect of all, that I just kept missing.

Then, one morning during my devotional time spent reading and praying, it dawned on me.  That small, still word that was always hovering in my mind from the beginning, and for whatever reason, I'd push away, because it wasn't about "me" enough.  Or so I thought.  I had to smile because here was the perfect word, the one and only word, really, that would truly encompass every single aspect of my hopes, dreams and plans.  FAITH  

Without faith, how could I believe in myself or anyone else?  Without faith, how can I be courageous to follow through with something even though it's never easy?

The definition of faith in the dictionary describes it this way...
     Trust     Belief     Confidence     Conviction     Optimism     Hopefulness     Hope

That's my word for 2014.  I think it's just perfect.

"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

"Be strong and courageous!  Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9 makes things possible, not easy.

For so many reasons, I love this word and know in my heart that it's exactly the right word for me to grow and become better, stronger, braver, quieter, more confident, gentler.  It's not just a word of action.  It's a frame of mind.  It's a way of life.

Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be...

Whether my desires are set upon becoming healthier, stronger, thinner, eating better, exercising more or being more confident and courageous where Eagle is concerned, or just listening more and talking less, being more generous, showing more kindness and loving more...I can do it if I have faith in my heart.

Trust in what I know...

"I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."
Phil. 4:13

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
Blessings, Lorie @ Cingspots