Monday, December 4, 2017


"Wood-House Christmas"- by Dona Gelsinger

Oh my, it's been 3 entire months since I've last posted here on my blog.  It wasn't intentional, but there ya go!  Time does have a way of getting away from me. 

We've turned the page on the calendar to a bright and shiny new month.  Can you believe it?  December already; the last month of another year...wisp and it's almost gone!  We've been getting into the spirit of the season - well, sort of.  My niece gifted me with a KitchenAid mixer on Thanksgiving day.  I was so surprised, and pleased!  I've always wanted one, but just could never actually bring myself to forking over upwards of $250.00 for a mixer I feared would see such little use.  This one is used, but works like a champ.  These mixers have always been known to be workhorses.  Indeed!  Cookies, bread, pie crust are a breeze with this machine.  We are loving it.  I say "we", because I've yet to make use of it, but my hubby has been going bonkers with it.  He made a chocolate cream pie yesterday and the buttery crust is just to die for!  Delicious!  He's also started the cookie making frenzy that we seem to fall prey to every single year about this time.  We enjoy giving them out as little homemade gifts, and of course, we enjoy them too. 

We hosted Thanksgiving this year and it was good and bad.  Good, because we didn't have to go anywhere, really enjoyed having company in our home, which is fairly unusual for us.  Bad, because I felt like I had such little time to actually visit with our guests.  I was so busy playing hostess.  Next time I'll make sure and have more of the work finished before everyone arrives and spend more time enjoying the people.  I find that I'm so unaccustomed to having dinner parties, that I get nervous and feel pressured, which just takes so much of the joy out of the occasion.  Next year, if we host, I hope to do better.  Relax more, and maybe actually drink that glass of wine...

Despite the "nerves", the meal was delicious and there were beautiful moments of enjoying family.  And it was so worth it, if nothing else, just to give my sister a break from always being host to everyone. 

We enjoyed the most amazingly perfect fall weather.  I simply could not have hoped for more.  Even November wasn't bad.  Yes, the rains have returned.  Some days in abundance, but we continue to have breaks.  Some days prove sunny and bright, and our temps are still mild.  We have lots and lots of mud, the horses look disastrous, but all are hairy and bright.  :)  Maybe even merry, who knows?  And as always, we're thankful for their good health and safety.  Us too, fat and sassy, save for this blasted cold I've got.  Me, who never gets sick!  This year I seem to be making up for years' past, because this is my 3rd cold of the season.  Not horrible, knock you to your knees colds, but still.  They have all started the same way.  A sore throat for 2 days, and then it goes into my head and chest.  I'm in stage 2...should be investing in stock with the Kleenex company. 

I've not had much time spent with the horses lately.  Well, except for each evening during our chore time, that is.  No riding, occasional grooming sessions and kisses and scratches for each one, every day.  I ache to ride!  Total and complete withdrawal symptoms for sure!  Oh, and I just may be getting a new saddle!  New to me anyway.  It's a ranch style saddle with a Wade-type tree, smooth forks and a smooth seat and higher cantle than my current Western Pleasure show saddle that I've ridden in since 1981.  I still love it, and will likely keep it, unless this saddle suits me perfectly, in which case, I will sell it.  I've loved it all these years, but have always wanted a ranch saddle.  Maybe that would be incentive for me to get my butt back in the saddle!  Eagle doesn't mind though.  Fat, fuzzy beast!  He loves his life and I love him.  All the horses are so fuzzy this year, except for Missy.  She's a sleek little gal and I'm just so happy that they're all so happy and healthy. 

Around home, the firewood's all neatly stacked in the wood shed and the barns' hay supply is holding nicely.  I finally re-homed my old piano.  Another local veterinarian took it for her daughter to learn to play on.  Perfect, that's what I'd always hoped for.  We sold our pellet stove and replaced it with an electric fireplace.  It's beautiful and I love it, but it certainly doesn't heat nearly as well as the pellet stove did.  Not even close.  But, that's alright because our little wood stove in the kitchen does a good job.  The fireplace is just for a touch of added warmth in the sitting area of our living room - and it's pretty.  I'm looking forward to having a mantle to decorate for Christmas.  Priorities you know?

Speaking of Christmas, we're planning on getting our tree this coming weekend, and doing a bit of decorating and of course, baking.   As always, I'll make a wreath for the front door and hubby puts up a few outside lights.  That's about it.  Christmas for us is a simple affair, and we like it that way.  We'll remember Christmases past and enjoy the people we love who are still with us.  And as is always the case, give thanks for our many blessings, friends, family and beloved animals who grace our lives and give us so much joy. 

Hope all is well with all of you!

Until next time, Lorie @ Cingspots.

I'll try not to be so long between posts next time.  :)

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Where there's smoke, there's fire

Weather-wise, this Labor Day weekend was just awful.  Way too hot, too dry, too dusty and so very smokey.  I'm officially over with summer.  She can bow out gracefully and just go away.  After the seemingly never ending rains of the Fall of 2016, Winter of 2017 and Spring through July of 2017, we've had so much heat.  Relentless heat and so much smoke from so many forest fires raging all across the west.  This latest one is the closest one yet to us.  And dangerously close to one of our favorite horseback riding areas and camping spots.  This fire is on the Oregon side of the Columbia river near Cascade Locks, a tiny town where fruit orchards abound.  And then just last night, the fire jumped the mighty river and has raced west along the Washington side as well.  The changes in the images on the evening news compared to the 11:00 news were quite scary.  You see, the Gorge is known for strong winds that rush through the area in a Westerly direction, which is fanning the fires and causing them to rage uncontrollably.  So much beautiful forested lands being ravaged by fire.  So sad.  And it was caused by careless teenagers shooting off illegal fireworks.  Definitely old enough to know better.

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This is one of 2 bridges in the area where we frequently cross with our horse trailer when headed to Mt. Adams.

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This is the road on the Washington side.  All the smoke from this fire is heading directly West into our little valley about 2 hours from here.  Sitting out on the deck after dark last night it felt like it bugs, but it was ash falling.  This morning my car was covered in ash from the fire.  The last many weeks we've also been getting smoke from fires burning in Canada, and a HUGE fire burning on the Southern Oregon Coast.  That one probably won't be contained or controlled until October into November when the rains return.  The thought of all that pristine forest wilderness going up in flames just makes me sick.  Yes, the forests will return. But not for many, many long years to come.

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The photographer is standing on the Oregon side of the Columbia River shooting the fire in Washington.

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Beautiful picture, but oh so deadly and wicked...

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This is another view of the Bridge of the gods shot from a wider angle.

I simply cannot imagine how the firefighters manage to work those long hours that they do, in those heavy and hot turnouts they have to wear, in this oppressive heat.  God help them.

We pretty much laid low over the holiday weekend, opting to stay home and keep watch on our horses, who are as sick and tired of the heat and smoke as we are.  Our house stays pretty cool, but there's nowhere to escape the heat for the horses.  So, we hosed them all down several times.  They love that.  Then they turn all that pristine cleanliness into dirt baths.  It must feel good because they all do it.  At least Harley waits until he dries first.  My hubby also has his misters going each and every afternoon for them.  That helps.

We went to lunch with Steve and Chris to celebrate the husband's birthday too.  Afterwards we enjoyed cake and ice cream.  Even old farts gotta have cake!  Yep, he's 68 this year.  My oh my, where have the years gone?  When we were pleasantly stuffed with sugar and carbs, we spent some much-needed time in the pool.  I felt like a floating walrus...but at least a cool one.  :)

Hope all the natural disasters make a hasty retreat soon.  There's so many people across our country in need of your prayers and support.  The only good I see coming out of this, is that our petty differences regarding politics have taken a back burner to what really matters in life.  It's good to see people coming together to help one another.

That's my country!  Those are my Americans...

Until next time, hope you all stay safe.
Lorie @ Cingspots

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Eclipse, like totally!

Oh yes, we all oohed and ahhhed over the eclipse the other day!  It really was quite spectacular.  We were fortunate to be in the path of totality and didn't have to go further than our own back yards to witness the event.  Well I had to venture off to work, but my hubs took the day off and spent the morning with me.  All around here, people were otherwise engaged because I had 1 single phone call, all day long.  Good thing I had the eclipse to keep me occupied, at least for a little while.  I have no idea how many visitors we had in our little town, but there were plenty.  When it was over, I left at noon to give my hubby a ride back home...1 hour and ten minutes later, I arrived back at the clinic. We live a total of 10 miles from here.  First time in my life to see traffic at a stand still on all roads northbound and eastbound.

Now I know how Southern California folks feel...not cool.

I was so entertained watching, I failed to snap even one picture of the eclipse, so I'm sharing a few shots from others around our area.  They obviously have better camera than I've got.  :)

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I particularly enjoyed the gradual dimming of the light and the cooling of the temperature.  There were some cool shadows formed by foliage, but I couldn't find a good picture of any today.  The shot below was taken using timed photography, but isn't it amazing?  From beginning to totality, and then back to normal.  So cool.  I remember seeing a partial eclipse in grade school.  We made viewing boxes with pinholes and went out on the playground to witness the event.  That would have been in the late 60's to early 70's.  What I absolutely don't remember, is the total eclipse they say we had in 1979...what's with that?  I would have been 19 years old and either I was otherwise engaged, doing something of much more importance, or I just don't remember for what could possibly be, a variety of other reasons.  I'll leave that to your imagination.

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It was a pretty spectacular thing to see.  I'm happy to share my day with you, and hope you get the chance to see a total eclipse someday too.

Total eclipse of the heart...

Sing it Bonnie!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sweet relief

My happy place
my happy place

We're finally getting a blessed respite from our 2 week long heat wave.  Last weekend was pure bliss! Saturday was much cooler, in the upper 70's with some humidity, but so much more comfortable. And then on Saturday overnight, I was awakened to the sound of a gentle, but steady rainfall and a cool coastal breeze wafting through my window.  Oh my, it was so refreshing.  And then on Sunday morning, our skies were overcast and our temps were very cool, 60 ish.  I actually dug out my slippers and warm bathrobe to wear while enjoying my morning coffee on the deck.  Oh my, it was so sweet!

This week we're pretty much back to normal (whatever that is) with our highs in the upper 70's to mid 80's with no more rain in the forecast.  My kind of summer weather.  I'm no longer a lover of the heat, but I still enjoy plenty of sunshine and those amazing sky shows of clouds.  The smoke, the humidity and the intense heat are just memories now, and I'm hoping it stays that way.

Last Sunday was my sister's birthday.  She turned 76.  For some reason, I thought she was going to be 78, but I was quickly corrected.  :)  She came of age in the 50's and was a bobby sox, dancin' girl. Pony tails, malt shops and compared to now, a time of innocence.  I'll bet those were good times to grow up in.

I went through all of our horse's winter blankets last night.  The cleaning lady will pick them all up tomorrow for cleaning and any needed repairs.  We have 12 to send out and 2 that will be going to the trash.  With only 5 horses, I'm pretty sure we're covered for winter blankets.  Missy is the lucky girl because in her size we have an abundance.  With Siri and Kadie gone, all those blankets are reserved for her.  The boys are all bigger horses and they each have their own, with a couple extras for switching out.  The exception to that is Ladde.  He's so big, he only has 1 and it's a heavy type, so it has to be really cold and wet before we put it on him.  I'm hoping to buy an extra one in his size that's lightweight, but waterproof.  Most of the time that's all our horses ever really need.  Protection from the rain.

I've got 2 cords of firewood on order and it should be delivered within a couple of weeks.  With that and what we have on hand, we should be alright.  If our funds hold out, I might order another one of oak later.  If not, we'll have to make due with what we've got.  Our chainsaw is toast and without buying another one, we really don't have an option of cutting our own.  Once again, I realize just how thankful I am to have that wood stove.  I love heating the house with wood, and it's always nice to know that all that warmth is already paid for.  No fear of the electric bill.   But speaking of electric, we're thinking of selling our pellet stove and replacing it with an electric fireplace.  We only need it in the living room where we spend most of our evenings, and it looks fairly realistic and gives off enough warmth to make the room cozy and toasty.  The pellet stove is 21 years old now, and we've replaced both of the fans once already, and those fans need to be replaced again.  Between the two of them, that's almost $600, and added to that the price of about $200 per ton of pellets, it hardly seems like a good idea to keep it going.  We can buy a new electric fireplace for about $600 and it would double as an entertainment center for our television.  I could re-home my heavy and very large oak entertainment center and like my grandma used to say, "kill two birds with one stone".  And I really like the idea of having a fireplace to decorate for Christmas.  I've missed that.  As always, no problems with spending our money.

We're working on estate planning.  Yi yi yi - what a chore.  There's so many tough questions to be answered and so many considerations that we've never really given much thought to.  I just want it over and done with, so we can forget about it.  Deciding who for what responsibility, and who gets what is very hard.  Together, we have no children.  My husband has two sons from a previous marriage and one, because of who he is, and what he's done, will be omitted from any inheritance.  I know that sounds harsh, but it's just how we feel.  We've worked hard all our lives and really want to enrich the lives of a few people we love and whom have also worked hard, and it just so happens that most are not family.  We do plan on gifting our grandchildren with some money when they come of a certain age, and hopefully it will help give them a head start in whatever direction they choose to go.   Of one thing I'm certain, I do not want to leave everything to chance.  My parents had no will, no trust, nothing in place and it turned out to be a horrendous disaster.  My one sister manipulated and connived our poor mother into gifting everything to her and forged her way into everything, and because of her selfish actions, Lilly nor I see her anymore.  It was the worst experience of my life, and I just want to prevent anything like that from happening over our estate.   Betrayal always cuts deep, but when it comes out of the blue, from someone you love and trusted, it's almost impossible to get past.  I don't hate my sister.  I still love her and likely always will, but life is hard enough without having someone like her in my life.  I wish her well, and she is often in my prayers, but I have to admit that forgiving her is not easy.  Forgiveness is a process and I'm always working towards that end.

Troy comes tomorrow night to give the horses their pedicures again.  Our riding has been very limited this year, almost non-existent, and I'm hoping to wear those shoes off their little hooves before long.  :)  We want to finish up with a few projects in process and hopefully enjoy a few camping trips before the season is over.  Time goes so fast, and we're always so busy and short of energy and time to accomplish everything we'd like to do.  Wish I could just write the check, hire a professional and get the jobs done.  But alas, that's not our life.  We do the best we can, with what we have and try to remember to always be grateful for everything.  *sigh*

Do I sound tired?  Well, if so, it's because I am.  We've been chopping blackberries by hand and hauling them to the burn pile, we've been trimming trees and fixing fences, making dump runs and generally just trying to clean up all over our property.  After the overly wet fall and winter last year, the weeds and briars just went into hyper-growth.  Right up there at the top of our dream list is a tractor.  Oh my goodness, that would help SO much!  But that's definitely not in the budget.  My dad used to say, "you can wish in one hand and s*#t in the other, and see which one fills up quicker". Maybe a little crass, but there's a lot of truth there.  We've always done everything with "Norwegian steam", and that's likely not going to change anytime soon.  We did finish our brick patio though! The sewer guy comes Thursday to pump our septic tank, and then we can build the new steps.  Oh my gosh, that will feel so good.  One project down.  Which leads to the next one, we really, really need to put a new coat of sealant on the deck.  That one has to be done before fall rains return.  I need to make a list and prioritize everything.  And start saving money for a new roof...

Taking everything into consideration, we feel blessed.  We're both healthy and strong, have incomes to support ourselves, have more than enough food, have a warm and cozy home to shelter us, have horses who enrich our lives immensely, have our dogs who love us unconditionally, have some loving family and friends and are smart enough to know when to throw our hats in the ring, and to take a break from all our worries and strife, and go have a little fun.  Life is pretty good, and things could always be a whole lot worse, right?

Hope you're all enjoying these long, summer days doing what gives you joy and spending time with the people you love.  Blessings,
Lorie @ Cingspots

notes to self

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

I have hair!

Well, you just know there's a story there.  :)

It was either tell you a funny little story or tell you about our weather.  And you know I'm a weather nut, so I can't help myself.  We're still in that heatwave.  Not the 100's, but the 90's.  You'd think that would be better, but now it's overcast and humid.  *sigh*  Oh but wait, let's paint a clearer picture for you.  We're hot, dry, dusty, smokey and humid now.  Sheesh!  No sense complainin' though, it's gonna be what it's gonna be.  They're saying after this week we should start cooling back down - I sure hope so!

Our little visit with Kaylee has come and gone.  I had so much fun with her!  We got along very well, have lots in common and enjoyed our time a lot.  We're looking forward to next summer already.  We had plenty of time in the pool.  That's our saving grace in this weather, for sure.  Kaylee's a little water bug - that's what grandpa calls her - and I tend to agree.  She's one of those kids that doesn't need anyone to amuse her, or provide her with constant entertainment.  She's quite good at keeping herself busy and I love that about her.  Did I mention that she talks a lot?  Guess most kids do, we're just not used to it.  But at least she has interesting things to say, she's quite the thinker and tells grandma all sorts of stories.

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Kaylee fell in love with Missy.  And frankly, her love was reciprocated.  Missy was an absolute angel!  She couldn't possibly have been more perfect with her.  I gave her a few ground handling instructions and we bathed 3 of the 5 horses the afternoon she got to our house.  Was too hot to ride.  The horses loved the attention and the cooling water.  And Kaylee is a natural.  She listens and follows instruction very well.  Within a very short period of time, she was handling the horses like a little pro.  A kid after grandma's own heart!

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bath time

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heading back

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all smiles

The next morning grandpa and Kaylee set out on a little ride around the orchard.  They started out with Kaylee being ponied on Missy by grandpa and Ladde.  But once they headed for home, Ladde got it in his head to be all jazzed up and he went into "Andalusian mode".  He arches his neck, tucks his nose and does this high-stepping sort of dancing step that you commonly see in dressage horses or Andalusians.  It's beautiful, but isn't exactly what you want to be dealing with while ponying a little girl who's never ridden before.  So, grandpa makes the wise decision to give Kaylee the 2-minute riding lesson basics, and off they go.  Kaylee handled Missy like a dream, walk and trot, beautifully!  I was very proud of BOTH of them.  :)

Afterwards Kaylee got her first real lesson in the corral.  I gave her about a 30 minute lesson and the improvement she showed after such a short time was impressive.  She's a natural.  I had her walking, trotting, turning directions smoothly, down transitions, up transitions, halt and figure 8's.  Even a nice, smooth back.  Her biggest success came when she trusted me (and herself) enough to let go of the horn.  Once she did that, her seat, her balance and her confidence soared.  I can't tell you how pleased I was both with Kaylee, but also with Missy.  Good girls!!

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So like I've mentioned, it's hot.  Lots of time was spent in the pool.  One time we were floating around having a conversation about hair.  Our chat eventually got around to body hair, you know, how some people are really hairy and others, not so much?  Kaylee points out the hair on her legs.  And how long that hair is.  I was only sort of paying attention by this time.  Did I mention that she talks a lot?  Oh, ok...anyways, I open my eyes and lean up from my floating position to peak at Kaylee's legs.  Good grief girl, you DO have long hair on your legs, I exclaim!  We both crack up at this and then I mention that, that's even more hair than grandpa has on his legs.  Now grandpa is clear over on the deck, and only seems to hear half of what you say to him at any given time, but must have been hearing clearly at this point in time, because he exclaims that "I have hair!!"  Maybe you had to be there, but we both cracked up and started to laugh hysterically at this.  You see, it wasn't actually meant to be overheard by grandpa in the first place.  This was strictly a private girl's conversation.  You know.  Anyway much to grandpa's chagrin, Kaylee's already repeated this story several times and every time she and the listeners break into gales of laughter at grandpa's expense!  Now that's a memory she'll be holding onto for a while.  :)

We picked some blackberries and baked a pie.  Yummy warm pie and ice cream, so good!  We watched a movie each evening she was there and slept in both mornings.  We made French toast with bacon for breakfast.  Barbecued hot dogs, watermelon and cheese puffs were consumed.  Yesterday we decided to head into town for lunch.  Kaylee's choice - Taco Bell - and afterwards pedicures.  It was Kaylee's first pedi and she loved it, and the massage chair.  She got twilight purple with little white flowers on her big toes.  :)  When we got home, I painted her fingernails while she ate a popsicle.  We had a good time.  I feel like I really got to know my grandaughter a lot better.  Next summer she wants to stay for a week.  Sounds like a good plan to me.

Yesterday late afternoon Jenny (her mom) and her friend picked Kaylee up on their way to the beach.  They're staying there for 3 gloriously cool days before heading home.  School starts in about 3 weeks.  Can you believe how fast the summer's flying by?  Surely it isn't just me.  The best part about summer, for me, has always been the memories to treasure during the dark days of winter.  Those days when we can revisit the times spent in the sun, riding, camping, swimming, or whatever brings you joy, and builds that treasure trove of times to remember.

My hubby went through some of our old family photographs and gave them to Kaylee.  In many cases, these were people that she'd only heard about but never seen.  The family resemblances throughout the generations always astounds me.  Genetics is a very powerful thing.

Anyway, that's our visit in a nutshell.  We're back to work today and trying to avoid the all-consuming heat and humidity.  I'm actually looking forward to next week when they say we just might get a rain shower.  Aaahh, that would feel so nice.  Feast or famine...

We're considering the possibility of a weekend-only camp out this week end.  We'll see how things pan out, but it would be nice.  We might just go to Flying M, which is close to home so we can buzz home daily to feed and water the horses.  It's early, plans could easily change.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Turn the page

August.  Already.  The summer is flying by and we're in the height of the season, the dog daze if you prefer.  The kiddos will be heading back to school within a month or so, and for this sunshine loving gal, it's hard to fathom.  Just slow down already!!  I wish...

We're in the midst of a heatwave.  Oh my stars, too hot!  All this week it's been near or past the 100 degree mark.  Yesterday on our deck, in the shade, registered 112.  What's that about?  Today promises to be another scorcher.  The weather guy's predicting 106...oh boy.  Thankfully, we have the pool.  I cannot say enough good things about having a pool in the back yard.  It's seriously worth its' weight in gold this time of year.  I may not spend endless hours in it (some days, yes), but frequent dipping is highly recommended.  :)

I only wish we had one for the horses.  The dogs have theirs, we have ours, and the horses have an amazing mister that my brilliant and ever so handy, hubby created.  They love it!  Just the thing for a cooling reprieve from the relentless sun.

Speaking of the sun...about that upcoming total solar eclipse.  Pretty cool huh?  We're in the swath of totality and many visitors are expected to descend on our area for the viewing.  Kind of puzzling actually.  Interesting how many people are willing to go to so much expense and effort to look at something that only lasts a few minutes?  But since we're here, I'm going to get a pair of those eclipse glasses and watch.  I'll be working, so I'll just go outside and take it all in.  I'm sure it will be pretty trippy having a bright, sunshiney day one minute, and complete darkness the next.

Our grand daughter Kaylee visits this coming weekend.  I've got Monday off and we're looking forward to her visit.  Since the weather is still expected to be quite hot, I'm  sure we'll spend plenty of time in the pool.  She's a horse lover so she's bringing her cowgirl boots so we can spend lots of horsey time too.  Since she's just here for a few days, we've made no grand plans.  We'll just hang out, maybe rent a movie, sleep in and fix a delicious breakfast and later pick some blackberries for a pie. Whatever we end up doing, I'm looking forward to it.

We still haven't gotten to go camping yet.  I am really, really looking forward to that and hope in the very near future, to do just that.  Horse camping, or non-horse camping - either way, we're ready.  Last weekend we finished our brick patio and it turned out beautifully.  Once we have our septic tank pumped, we can complete the project by building the new steps.  It really made a nice addition to our back yard.  And it's a perfect spot for our camp fire pit that we hardly ever use.

I've made arrangements for a couple loads of firewood to be delivered soon and our barns are full of hay.  Just need to find a ton of alfalfa for Shad and that's that.  I've also bought a quarter of a beef that will be ready towards the end of October.  That will fill up our freezer for the winter.  It always feels good to be ready for whatever may come.  Spending extra money on those things now, will pay off later when we don't have to think about any of it.  And hopefully, by getting this all accomplished early, will free up our time and enable us to enjoy the upcoming Fall season more.  I have always thought of myself as a "summer girl", but I gotta admit that Fall really is my all-time favorite season of them all.  To quote from one of my all-time favorite movies, "it really is a wonderful life".

Blessings all,
Lorie @ cingspots

Monday, July 24, 2017

So many memories

Literally hundreds (or more) of memories over the course of our relationship.  Some I remember and some I don't.  Between the two of us, we've experienced a lot.  The hubby and I have been married 33 years today.  Wow.  Just wow.  It hasn't all been a bed of roses, but it's a journey that I wouldn't have wanted to miss.  :)  To celebrate, we're going out to dinner with Steve and Chris.  I'm looking forward to it.

It's also been over a month since I've posted here on my blog.  I do fall behind, don't I?  Oh well, if I can remember what I've been up to, then it's all good.

I took a week of my vacation over the 4th of July.  Actually, with the holiday and the weekends, I had 11 days off in a row.  Sheer heaven.  It felt so good to have time to myself!  Loved it.  I don't quite understand boredom because there's always so much to do.  Whether work, maintenance or pure enjoyment, keeping myself busy is not a problem.  What I really appreciate, is being able to work at my pace, and do what I want, when I want.  What an incredible luxury.

The first eve of my stay-cay was spent at the St. Paul Rodeo Hall of Fame steak BBQ.  Was a treat for my hubby for sure.  The steaks were big and thick, and grilled to perfection, with delicious sides, thick slices of chocolate cake for dessert and an open bar.  They had artists displaying their work, and a silent auction after the Hall of Fame inductees were announced.  I bid, but didn't get an amazing pencil drawing by Dirk Godby.  We have a few prints of his, and enjoy his work so much.  For the first time ever, a Brahma bull was given special honors and inducted into the pro rodeo hall of fame, first time for St. Paul anyway.  His name was Rim Rock, or Red Rock - I forget - but he was the bull in the movie, 8 seconds, about Lane Frost's career and eventual death when he was gored from behind by a bull.  Yeah, that bull.  The guy who owned him was sitting next to me, and he talked a little bit about having owned him, and how he really was a good rodeo bull who wasn't the devil, like he was portrayed in the movie.  The cowboy made a mistake by turning his back on a bull.  And the bull did what bulls do.  Tragic accident.

We went to the rodeo this year, and it was pretty good.  The last time we went, my hubby and I both thought it was possibly the worst rodeo we'd ever been to, and didn't care if we went again or not.  But this one we enjoyed.  Nobody was hurt, beautiful horses, good cowboys and cowgirls, and it was a lovely summer (although hot) evening.  We even stayed for the fireworks.

I spent some time lounging in the pool, soaking up the sunshine, reading and daydreaming.  The dogs and I enjoyed several nice walks and I spent good, quality time with my horses.  I even did a little shopping one day, which is something I rarely do.  I'm an online shopper usually out of necessity, and I don't really enjoy spending my time inside a store.  Seems like a waste of precious time, but I got a few tops that were on sale and was on my way to the beach for an overnight stay.  :)  What the heck, right?  I picked up a bottle of my favorite wine, a few food items and headed on to Rockaway Beach.  We had a partial ocean view, and a lovely veranda where I relaxed and watched the ocean and soaked in the sound of the crashing surf.  The weather was absolute perfection, and I again, dreamed about that cottage on the ocean someday.  Probably not, but it's fun to think about.  Walking on the beach, and then finding that perfect, cozy spot to sit down and just be, is one of my favorite things.  My dogs are the perfect companions and they spent their time digging holes, chewing driftwood sticks and napping.  They too, seem to really come alive when we're on the beach.  So invigorating, yet peaceful at the same time.  *sigh*

I'm ready to go back.

We haven't been camping yet, and are looking forward to that (hopefully) coming up soon.  Summers are so fleeting, and we try to cram so much into such a short season that it's easy to get overly busy, and then later wonder what we did that took up so much of our time.  Always a fine line it seems.  Finding that balance of working out of necessity, working on projects at home, and enjoying recreational pursuits, is a challenge.  And no matter what else, we always hope for more time spent with (and on) our horses.  Speaking of which, Eagle's wound is coming along nicely.  It's scabbed over and is likely a 1/4" thick over what was, the center of the wound.  It looks good and I see no harm in starting to ride him a little.  That wasn't something I'd planned on for sure, a heckuva riding derailment!  Oh well, I enjoyed caring for him, and our trust in each other is so much greater.  Always a blessing, time spent with my horse.

Hope you're all enjoying your summer.  Will try and catch up some more soon.  Until then, be well and find that joy that's waiting for you!