Monday, November 21, 2016

Week of Thanksgiving

And Fall rolls on...this, the week of Thanksgiving and we have much to be thankful for.  We are to have dinner with my side of the family at my nephew and his wife's home.  As always, should prove to be - interesting.  I pray that besides eating a meal together, we can share some love and emotion. Those things are commonly found to be somewhat lacking at our holiday table.

Since my sister's stroke a few months ago, and the small tumor they found on her brain, she hasn't been able to hear very well and because of that, finds conversations frustrating.  She also has trouble with balance and was told to use a walker for stability, but because of her pride, she refuses.  Oh how quickly circumstances can change.  There is much I could say, but I will not.  I choose to be thankful because I know the situation could have been so much worse.

Other than a week of respite from the rains, this Fall continues to be one of the wettest on record.  We truly are, in monsoon season.  Our grass has grown thick and lush, and is so vibrantly green as to be shocking.  In between downpours, we continue with our winterization projects.  Thanks to those few days of dry weather, we were able to let the deck furniture dry out and move everything inside for winter storage, just got the barbecue moved inside the shed yesterday and all the firewood that we'll need is neatly stacked inside the woodshed.  Our camper has been thoroughly cleaned, has been removed from our truck and is tarped and sits where it has protection from the southerly winds that blow this time of year.  My favorite time of the year has been foregone for an early winter.  That is, what we call winter around here.  I know compared to many, our winters are extremely mild.  We rarely get snow or cold weather, but more than our share of rain.  So, we are in full blown winter mode.  We bring the horses inside each evening and let them out to pasture each morning.  They are wooly and oh, so very muddy.  Unless we find time to haul to an indoor, riding is but a distant memory now.  To me, it seems like such an abrupt change.  The days are short now, it's dark before I leave work and just having got light when I rise in the morning.  Long evenings, for me, are the worst.

So far, my goal of riding my horse once a week has not happened, but once.  When the wind is blowing and the rain is pelting down with such force, it takes so much sheer will just to walk outside if you don't have to, let alone groom my horse, haul the tack into the trailer, load the horses and drive to the arena.  And then when we're finished, all the tack must again be hauled back inside because anything left outside in the barn or the trailer will be covered in mold in just a few days.  Have I mentioned lately just how much I detest living where I do when it rains so much?  Well, hate it I do. And this fact is becoming more and more apparent the older I get.  I enjoy four seasons, and definitely not all the rain we get.  It isn't like this every year, but time is short and I question our motives for staying.  I don't mean to sound so depressing, but I guess maybe I am a bit lacking in joy lately.

Here's my Christmas cactus that was blooming just before Halloween.  It used to be a darker, vibrant pink but something must be lacking in the soil because now it's always this light pink color.  The blooms were a welcome site in our home, and now the flowers are declining.

And my Chrysanthemum is finally blooming!  I kept waiting and waiting for the flowers to emerge, but because it's on the north side of our home, it gets very little sunshine.  I'm thankful for this beautiful color near our front door.  This photo was taken about a week ago and already the blooms are fading because of relentless rains pelting on the flowers.  The only thing that seems to thrive with all the rain is the grass.

This is how the dogs spend their time.  We let them come out to the barn with us during evening chores so they can get some exercise and play time, but they suffer when we come back inside because of "muddy paws".  Even though this doesn't exactly seem like torture, to them it's imposed confinement and they die a little each time they're told to lay on the rug.  Rough life huh?

During this week of Thanksgiving, I will try to remain focused on all the good in our lives.  I will acknowledge so many blessings that have been bestowed on us, and give thanks to God for keeping us within His protection and Grace.  We are richly blessed, and I do know that.  My hope is that all can count their blessings and are thankful as well.

Draw your loved ones near and enjoy a long and peaceful holiday.

Until next time,
Lorie and all, here in our little corner of the world.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Deep breaths feel good

Nature's master weavers' handiwork:

Can you feel it?  Tension so thick, it really does feel like you could cut through it with a knife.  Not necessarily a good way to go.  In these times of what feels like chaos, uncertainly, frustration and even real fear, we can all slow down, look up and be thankful for the day, the opportunity, the beginning; and just breathe.  Just relax and take a deep breath.  We're all okay.

Feelings can spiral out of control.  Just like a tornado, things take on a life of their own and build.  To get back to neutral, regain our balance, we have to just stop.  Take stock and don't give anybody else our power.  Breathe.

We've all seen the changes going on all around us.  Crazy behavior from so many!  The part for me that's so hard to understand is the genuine fear.  I just do not understand that kind of fear.  Just seems like for that much fear to exist in ones' head, must be like turning all your logical power of reasoning and personal choices right over to another person.  Just don't go there.

Personally, I am so thankful the elections are over.  It is what it is and the only way we can move forward and progress is to bind to one another.  Find the commonalities and work with each other.  Be kind and considerate, especially when we disagree.  Passion is one strong emotion.  Don't try to squelch it in someone else.  My prayer is for a good outcome and for our country's success.  Our success.  Regardless of your political affiliation, we truly all want the same things in life.  It's not that complicated and we just need to move forward in love, and in hope.  Try wishing someone who really ticks you off, well.  Wish them well.  Say a prayer for our leaders so that they might help us.  We want it to work don't we?

It's been almost a week since it's rained.  We've even had a couple of days where the sun was shining.  Wonderful to behold!  But mostly we're enshrouded in grey.  Foggy and damp, but warm.  Feels rather fitting actually.

We had our last load of firewood delivered and plan on stacking it in the wood shed this Sunday.  Looks so good all stacked up, very artistic.  I love wood.  No news on the horse front, too dark to do much when I get home.  Winter mode is upon us.  I feel like Fall just skipped right over us this year.  Summer ended and winter (monsoon season) took over.  Not much I can do to change it, so I just go with it.  Blows my mind that it's nearly the middle of November already!  Seriously...

May we all indulge in something that brings us joy and find a measure of contentment in this day.  It is a gift after all.

Find the good.  Drink in the beauty and just take a deep breath.


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tripping down Memory Lane

dueling selfies

They say we're #3 in the running for wettest on record Octobers...with a good chance of becoming #1. Oh boy.

October remains one of my three favorite months of the year.  In many cases when summer ends and the temperatures drop to a crisp, dry and cool phase - oh my!  Just glorious!  And if we're really fortunate, we get a good frost and enjoy what we call Indian Summer.  But that doesn't happen very often in Oregon and I really don't recall in recent years when it has.  So, what we have going on now is the opposite.  We're warm and wet.  Very wet.  Not much to do about it, so we just roll with what is.
We haven't really been doing much lately it seems.  Nothing exciting anyway.  But we did have a load of wood delivered last week and spent some time Sunday morning stacking it in the wood shed.  It looks great!  Satisfies that primeval need of mine to store this time of year.  It's mostly fir with a little bit of maple for good, hot fires.  In a week or two, we'll get another cord delivered, but this time it will be a mix of Maple and Alder, harder woods for slow burning and banking fires overnight. Hmmm, I love heating with wood, there's really nothing quite like it.  Our pellet stove is still on the fritz and is in need of one of two fans, which costs roughly $250 to replace.  This will be fan #3 if we decide to go that route.  However, we've been eyeballing those electric fireplace/media centers for a while now.  For an average 500-600 for a good one, that heats about 400 sq. ft. we could just replace the pellet stove and not have to buy wood pellets anymore.  One less thing.  Besides, if the power goes out (which is rarely does), the pellet stove doesn't work either.  Both require electricity, which is why we initially installed the wood stove.  We always have a source of heat, light and a cooking surface if we're without power.  And like I said, nothing feels better than wood heat.  It's the best.  But for the living room area, it feels a bit on the chilly side without the addition of something more in that room.  I would love to have one with a mantle look that could be decorated for Christmas.  I'm not really much of a seasonal decorator, but I do enjoy Christmas.  Anyway, we'll see.  There's never an end of ways to spend our money.  :)

Took Eags to the inside arena Tuesday evening for a ride and once again, he really didn't want to get in the trailer.  This has been going on for a while now, and started when we tried to load him behind Ladde the first time.  Ladde was making a racket, spooked Eagle who made a hasty exit, and since then he's decided the trailer is not his happy place.  Hoping this is just a phase...another phase.  He doesn't do anything silly or dangerous, just decides he'd really rather not load, and makes you ask over and over, and really convince him that it's in his best interest to load up.  You can tell from his actions - he only does it because I keep asking.  He does it for me.  So I can hardly get mad, we just keep asking and then all of a sudden he just steps in.  Certainly slows things down though.

So anyway, we arrive and Eags is a bit jumpy.  We saddle up and do a little warm-up on the ground and then I mount up.  We did a lot of walking around, bending and flexing, backing and direction changes.  We also did a fair amount of just sitting there watching this mean girl ride her poor horse.  Around and around and around the arena galloping full speed while asking for a lot of collection.  It was all I could do to keep my mouth shut, and not yell out, was she preparing for a marathon or something with all that galloping when her horse was obviously tired, very winded and kept asking for a break?  Yes, asking and quite respectfully in my opinion.  But the dumb, ruthless, young and clueless gal just extends her arms out to the side like airplane wings and repeatedly and with a fair amount of force, jerks her horse into submission by way of the mouth.  Too much collection and too much speed.  Not a good combination for the mare.  God, I seriously could have whacked her across the head for the way she was treating her horse!  Just chaps my butt to see harsh and very poor horsemanship in practice, with absolutely no consideration for the animal who's carrying your big butt all around the arena.  Pretty much distracted me for the better part of our time there.  I just couldn't focus on doing anything with that person galloping around and around and around the arena like that.  I did watch her intently though, hoping that through mental telepathy, she'd get a clue and have some compassion on her mare.  Stupid, mean girl!

That was the first time I've been on Eagle in over a month, and I was feeling rather timid.  He didn't do anything that should have worried me, other than rooting with his nose at the probable boredom of our walking around without much intent.  I've pretty much figured out that when this happens, it helps a lot just to encourage more forward with my legs, and when he quits, we relax and go back to walk.  It's his choice, root and move.  Not root, relax.  But like I said, I was completely distracted and just could not focus on my horse.  So after maybe 45 minutes or so, I'd had enough.  We left the arena with mean girl still galloping mindlessly around in circles.  Ack!

I have a confession.  I haven't been doing my yoga either.  I want to, but I just don't seem to have the motivation to get my lazy butt out of the warm bed and do it.  I know.  It's a pitiful excuse.  I haven't given up the idea of it just yet, and hope to get back into it.  I kinda suck at it.  *sigh*  And it's been warm enough to sleep with my bedroom window open at night, and listening to those raindrops falling gently outside just lulls me back to dreamy land...

How's that for an excuse!?

I know.  Pretty bad huh?

My hubby spent a little time tripping down Memory Lane the other day, so I thought I might share just a few of the pics he sent to me on my phone...why not?  It's still raining outside.  I got nothing better to do and it's always good to remember those we've loved who are no longer with us, and all the good times we've shared.

Kadie and me at Joe Graham, near Timothy Lake

Harley and me at a Ray Hunt clinic in Newberg, Oregon
Ray was answering my question below.

Harley, me, Ray and my sister Lilly

Aahh, the beautiful Harley as a weanling, Ladde's butt and our little dog, Toby.
This is where our barn now stands. 

Ladde and me in Central Oregon near Sisters & Sheep Springs.  Same area we just visited recently.

Ladde & me.  Ladde was a yearling here.

Kadie & Ladde...few days old here.  My how he's changed!

Ladde's good life

Britt on Bo...and my precious daddy in the background

My dear friend Kelly and her kiddos with Bo at Flying M.
Both kids are married now, Brittney has 2 little girls of her own.  Time flys!

Ladde as a big weanling.  Maybe 7 months and already 15 hands

A long time ago, at least 35 years ago.  Flex on the right, my childhood horse who I lived on, and her beautiful daughter, Bo.

After a bad forest fire near Sisters, Oregon

Beloved Scooter, Harley's pretty momma, and Ladde's paternal grandma

Whoa dude!  Some cowgirl huh?  Kadie at 7-8 years old.

Lots of good horses, good times and good people.

Wonderful memories!  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Live your moments

I've been doing some thinking lately at just how very quickly time passes - in fact, whizzes by.  I've not been comfortable with how fast time goes for quite some time now, and live in hopes of slowing everything down.  I'm fearful that I'll fall asleep, only to awaken and see an old woman in my reflection.

How do you manage it?  Slow down the years, months, days - moments? Personally, I don't think it's by cramming more and more into the days.  Always hoping to do more, see more, be more, accomplish more.  Quite the opposite really...

I think the answer lies in savoring the moments, really being aware of all the beautiful, simple little things in life that make up those days.  It's about living in the moment, taking in all those sensory delights that give those moments their unique blueprint.  And maybe more important than anything else, feel those moments.  Become fully aware of all the sights, sounds, emotion and beauty in everything, everyday.  Only by realizing their beauty and recognizing every event as a blessing, a gift; will we ever learn to be fully present in our own lives and live our moments.  Not always an easy feat...

We had the most amazing time on our mini vacation away.  Oh, how I wanted to stay longer!  The weather, our campsite, the horses, the drive, everything was just about perfect!  It felt so good to get away.  I really, really wished we could have stayed a few days longer.  But I'm so thankful we went when we did because oh, how our weather has changed!

Our first storm of the season has blown in and has gone.  We had a lot of wind and so much rain.  I'm already done with the rain.  Seemingly overnight we've gone from summer to winter.  We've passed over my favorite season with only a blip on the calendar, and that makes me feel sad.  I actually enjoy each and every season for its' uniqueness, but so often in the Pacific Northwest, we just go to winter mode, which means wet, wet, wet.  And around our house that means dealing with the never-ending mud and dashing from one dry spot to another to avoid the deluge of water dropping from the sky.  I just can't help from asking myself again, why do we keep postponing our move to the drier side of the mountain??? I only wish I knew...

We had such a beautiful spot to camp.  We were right beside Jack Creek, and watered the horses there.  The horses seemed to enjoy the peace and tranquility as much as we did.  Had it not been for the chipmunks, all would have been serene...  :)

Seeing the big guy out on the trails, with my hubby aboard just makes my heart sing!  Ladde did splendidly and enjoyed himself so much.

Our riding partners.  We had completely forgotten that it was rifle season, and frequently heard shots ring out across the forest.  

Missy listening...

I'm so glad I listened to my wonderful readers' advice and took my girl.  She was absolutely perfect in every way, every day.  I was able to completely relax, take in the scenery and shoot pictures without a care in the world.  I of course, couldn't help but imagine me and Eagle on these trails too.  But we'll have our day, this trip it was me and my sweet Lil' Miss.  

Charlotte and Ruby had a blast!  Jack Creek was a perfect place to frolic and play, chase chipmunks and run around to their hearts' desire.  

Black Butte, an ancient volcano cinder cone.  

This was Charlotte's first trail ride with us.  She did very well, and had a blast! I've never had a trail dog before, so this was so much fun.  Can't wait to do it again.

One of my most favorite views in the can such a big horse be so darned cute!?  This was the little dirt road that led back to our campsite.  We saw one truck and three hunters walking in the entire time we were there.  And not a single other horseback rider.  Perfect!

I'm not sure what kind of luck the hunters were having, but we saw two different groups of deer.  One group of 8 and one group of 7.  In this one, there was a forked horn buck and his harem of 6 does.  They weren't afraid of us at all, and watched us while we were watching them.  :)

I simply can't say enough good about the weather!  No jackets required, a flannel shirt and vest or a sweatshirt in the morning and a lighter layer in the afternoon.  Perfect!  That's the beautiful Metolius River behind us, what a lovely backdrop.

We've ridden most of these trails before, but were quite surprised at how much the trees have grown since we were here.  It made everything seem fresh and new.  My most favorite place to ride because the terrain is gentle.  Most trails have land on both sides of you, and nothing horribly steep.  Just right...

And back home to our private, little campsite.  The main Jack Creek is in the background by the bushy tree line, but a smaller diversion went right through our camp.  No worries about dog water either.  

I would have been pleased to have stayed another week, but as always, it felt good to get back home.  Home to see our other horses, our cat and a hot shower.  Oh, and our own bed.  Such luxuries that we take for granted every day.  We feel rich and blessed indeed!  

We got home just about dark Sunday evening, and as we were turning the lights out in the barn we heard the first of the raindrops on the metal roof...little did we know what was coming.  Talk about perfect timing!

As always at this time of year, I can't help but feel a little bit sad at the close of another riding season.  I'm hoping to keep riding at least once a week indoors, but can hardly contain my anticipation of riding here again.  Next time, me and Eags.

Blessings all,

Thursday, October 6, 2016

It happened on October first

They were lined up, ready to come inside for the first time since last fall.  About this time each year they make it abundantly clear to us that it's time for being inside at night.  Gone are the warm summer nights where they choose to stay outside, and anxiously wait to be let back out after their evening bit of grain and vitamins.  Whoosh! Out they go, back to pasture to eat their hay...

Now they're waiting by the gate each evening when we head out to do chores, impatient while we clean, nickering to us whenever we make eye contact.  We want in!  We never have to wonder for they always let us know.  So interesting, these creatures of habit...

We also had our first fire in the wood stove.  There's a definite nip in the air, the evenings are getting longer and we've had rain pretty much every single day since the first.  Even fog a couple of times, and the leaves are gone from our tree I showed in my last blog post.  Totally gone.  And the walnut is trying to catch up.  How amazingly quick it all happens, this turning of the seasons.

We've anxiously been watching the long-range weather forecasts for the last week or so, because we're leaving Saturday for our last bit of vacation.  When I first started tracking the weather, the night time lows were down around freezing and days were mostly cloudy and even some rain.  That's not what we were hoping for.  Camping in the cold and rain with horses and dogs is not fun.  But we had the time off and chose to remain hopeful.

We're hoping our luck has changed for the better, because although it's raining today it's supposed to dry out until the day we're headed home.  Night time lows are now predicted to be in the low 40's, not 30's and day time highs in the mid 70's.  Perfect!  And since they've had some rains we're thinking camp fires will be allowed too.  Now we're talking!  *fingers crossed*  Because now we're committed and really looking forward to our time away.

I've decided to take everyone's good advice and take Missy.  My steady little mare who's so easy to ride, relax and just enjoy my time.  I just had her trimmed and re-shod a few weeks ago in hopes that I'd still be able to do some more riding before monsoon season, and it looks like I just might get lucky.  Central Oregon, even if they get rain, they don't have mud.  The soil is volcanic rock instead of much dirt, so footing is always good.  Riding in the beautiful Ponderosa Pines, red volcanic soil and bright,blue skies is exactly what the doctor ordered!  And camping alongside Jack Creek will be just about perfect.  I am really, really looking forward to it.

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Jack Creek

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Metolius River couple miles down the trail

There really isn't much else to report of late.  We've just settled back into "winter mode" where we head to the barn as soon as we get home, clean stalls, feed horses, dogs, cat and then into the house to prepare a quick dinner for us, and build a fire in the wood stove to take the chill off the house.  A few hours later, we hit the sack for a little rest and wake up to do it all over again.  And I think the horses are creatures of habit - ha!  Is it any wonder I get so excited for a little break in the routine?

Blessings all,
until I return with memories of grand adventures...

I hope!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Just a day in paradise

There is just something about fall that is so invigorating!  The spectacular sunshine, the crisp mornings that beg for a jacket and shoes, real shoes with no toes exposed, that gives a body renewed energy.  And somehow encourages a mind to come up with all sorts of projects and ideas for doing stuff.  Anything outdoors anyway.  Well, I take that back.  Even cooking holds more appeal this time of year.  I'm not alone when I say my appetite has increased, so has the horses.  You'd think we were having to fatten ourselves up for winter or that possible?  Because I sure feel like that's what we've been trying to do recently.  And only speaking for myself, that's not what needs to happen!

So this picture down here?  It has nothing to do with fall, looks more like late summer to me, with the sun-ripened wheat and wild flowers, but I just love it.  I know nothing about art.  What I do know, is what I like.  When I gaze upon a portrait or a painting, that piece has to give me pleasure.  I like to be whisked away in imagination, sort of like being transported to that very place, feeling what it would be like.  This painting does that for me.  I've forgotten the artist's name, so can't give credit.  Suffice it to say that I am not the painter, and I would definitely enjoy this piece in my home.  I think it's beautiful...a simpler time and place.

And these guys down here?  They definitely give me pleasure and I really like having them around.  I took these pictures the other morning before heading off to work.  All the horses are really starting to fuzz up.  I'm hoping for a colder, less wet winter than the last one.  If I could, that's what I'd order.

Kadie and Harley

See that bush on the left?  It's a wild rose and has briers and thorns that will rip you up.  However, even so, Ladde especially enjoys (carefully) eating those bright, orange rose hips that cover the bush this time of year.  They give him rosey breath!  I've heard that some people drink rose hip tea, and it's supposed to be full of vitamin C...maybe they're tasty and good for him.

Missy and Eagle
See how nothing is growing in our pasture?  Dry and grazed right down to the nubs.  We're getting dew in the mornings now, and before long the seasonal rains will return, and our pastures will green up very quickly and start growing again.  Let's just hope we don't get too much of a good thing.  See Ladde in the background?  Other than being quite fuzzy compared to the others, he's looking really good.  We've managed to keep his weight down and I'm so thankful how well his hooves look and his overall soundness is almost better than we could have hoped for.  It's been just about a year since the onset of his laminitis and those terrifying events associated with his Cushings disease, seizures, abscesses and all that pain, all those soakings, poulticing, packing and bandaging...prayers and hard work for his recovery.  We are so grateful and so relieved, and also hopeful we can continue to maintain his health for a good, long time to come.  We kinda like the big guy!

Eags, Ladde and Shad
My morning view from the car.  We're just starting to see fall color, and the falling of leaves from some of the trees.  If the rains hold off, we'll soon experience an explosion of color and that's my most favorite time to be outside, ride horses, go hiking, take pictures, have camp fires!  We're hoping to use the last of my vacation time the second week of October.  One last horse camping outing.  I can't wait!  We're heading to central Oregon and the nights are already dipping into the lower 30's and that's cold!  Freezing in fact...

I'm torn between taking Eagle and getting the chance at more experience with him on the trails, or taking Missy and just having fun.  *sigh*  Not that Eags isn't fun, but it would be less relaxing and carefree overall.  On one hand, it's a wonderful opportunity to ride my boy, rack up a few more sweaty saddle blankets, build memories and all that, but little Miss is just so easy to ride.  Other than moving out and me having to stop and wait for big ole Ladde to catch up occasionally, she just doesn't do anything wrong.  No butterflies, no worries, no stress...what's a gal to do?  My head tells me that to get there with my boy, we have to go through this.  But my other half tells me this could be my last chance in a good, long while to just get out there and ride.  Have fun!  What would you do?  Help !!

Either way, we're ready for one last adventure.  And we're soooo looking forward to it!  In other news, my hubby has been busy working on our patio project.  We need to pack the gravel, get a load of sand and spread that, then start laying the bricks.  Then we cover the bricks with some more sand, sweep into the spaces between and sprinkle this polymer stuff that helps hold everything in place.  Voila! Another project done.  Then, it's back to my squirreling list we go...

Stall bedding, firewood, pellet stove repairs, horse blanket cleaning, pantry stocking, freezer stocking...and before you know it, we'll be preparing for Christmas - oh my!!!

:)  I know.  Shut up!  Right ?