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!

Lorie

Friday, June 16, 2017

Self-care and celebrations

Recognizing what's important in life is sometimes a challenge.  When we're in the thick of it, you know, trying to get everything done, be everywhere on time, and be the best we can be...all the time; we get lost.  And trying to find our way back to what's rejuvenating and nurturing and what really matters can be so hard.  But we must!

I'm learning that if we don't care for ourselves and do those things that bring us joy and peace, we simply can't show kindness, compassion, patience and love to those around us.  And if you're anything like me, it's always the easiest to bite the ones we love the most.  Can you relate?

Seemingly regardless of how I want to be, I fall short and say something I regret.


You don't always need to be getting stuff done. Sometimes it's perfectly okay, and absolutely necessary, to shut down, kick back, and do nothing.                                                                                                                                                                                 More

Recognizing and celebrating milestones in life are so important.  Whether it's a birthday, a holiday, a graduation, wedding or a retirement; those are big events for all of us.  A marking of the passage of time, and an entering into a new phase of our lives.  Socializing, laughing and being with the people we care about are one of those simple pleasures that we'll regret if we don't make time for them.

Nobody is as busy as they think they are.  We can't always believe that voice in our heads - it lies to us sometimes...

Look at those two.  Charlotte will be having a birthday tomorrow and silly as it may seem to some, we're going to celebrate and go for a walk in the woods or something similar enjoyed by dogs and people alike.  It matters.

Charlotte and Ruby

She's changed and grown up a lot since we brought her home.  I'm SO glad we did!   2 years old - I can hardly believe it.  She's maturing into a lovely, young lady...well, mostly.  :)   Perfection is highly overrated.

Charlotte

Just in case you haven't figured this one out yet?  Dogs make life better.  One of those gifts bestowed on us by our heavenly Creator.  I'm sure of that.  Wouldn't you say?

And this beautiful gal down here?  She's turned 24 this year.  She's been pretty sore lately, her soles are very thin and that navicular just doesn't improve with time.  Aging isn't for the timid.  But we all have those little aches that we live with.  They don't have to stop us from enjoying life.  That's what drugs are for.  And special, expensive shoes.  A girl's just gotta have her shoes!  Missy got hers on a couple of days ago, and without a doubt, they help.  They give her just enough lift in the heel to take off some of the pressure that pulls in the heel area, and some ground clearance from those hard lumps in our pasture doesn't hurt either.  

I love this little mare.  She's so ornery, she's cute!  That's what living with 4 boys will do to a girl.

Docs Windy Night aka "Little Miss"...

Don't you wish big butts were as appreciated in women?

For me, time spent in quiet company with my horses is some of the best time spent in my life.  No lie. And I'm not talking just about riding.  Not even!  One of my greatest, simple pleasures is just hangin out with the horses.  They impart their quiet, contemplative way of appreciating the world to me, and I find it so much easier to breathe deeply and just be thankful for life and the beauty in the world.  I am blessed by them and love to stand quietly in their presence and just be in awe of who they are.  I cannot imagine life without a horse.  They enrich everything I hold dear, immeasurably

saddle

I just had lunch with a very dear friend yesterday.  We don't get a chance to visit very often, so this was so nice.  We always make plans for riding together, but have yet to actually do it.  Terry would like to go to Perrydale Trails and try the obstacles.  I hope we can do it, would be great.  Too often I put things off for way too many reasons and they're usually for silly chores around the house or for stuff that never, ever gets done anyway.  Some things in life, like laundry and dishes, will never be done.  Amen?

And my sis-in-law, Chris is now retired!  Last day at work was yesterday for her, a legal secretary since graduating college, I simply can't imagine the transition she's going to go through.  I wish many new and enjoyable adventures and interests that she'll now have time to do.   It's kind of weird with several of my friends nearing retirement age, or a few long since past that time.  Age doesn't mean anything to me, and hasn't since I was a kid.  We may change on the outside, but inside we're really much the same.  Kids at heart. We are planning on going out to dinner this weekend to celebrate and wish her well as she embarks on this new phase of her life.

My mom always told me not to wish my life away, and I try to keep that sentiment close to heart. However, I can't deny daydreams of my own retirement somewhere in the not so distant future.  I look forward to more time to do what I want to do, but wonder how I'll react to the drastic change from working full time to cold turkey.  Must be challenging, and so very different.  I've never not worked full time.  Seems like a gradual trend of working part time, then full on retirement would be easier on the human condition.  We are creatures of habit after all...

I'm still tending to Eagle's wound each and every day.  Progress is being made, the wound is granulated in and we keep it clean and moisturized with Derma-Gel.  I started out with Mupiricin, switched to Vetericyn-VF for a time, and have since been using Derma-Gel wound ointment for a few weeks now.  We apply only the occasional bandage now, but are mostly leaving the wound open to the air to form a scab.  In a location of constant flexion and stretching, healing time is slowed.  But healing is happening, and he remains sound, so we are so thankful.  We've also enjoyed so much time just bonding.  I feel his trust (and mine) growing with each and every day.  *sigh*  He's such a cool horse!  How in the world did I ever get chosen, out of all the people in this world, to be the guardian of this amazing animal?  I must be special, and know I'm blessed beyond measure!

Life is good!  Never easy, but nothing worthwhile ever is...

Summer begins next week.  Amazing.  Bring on the adventures!


~

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Flowin' with the go

Life is a undirected drama production:

That's not a typo.  In trying to keep with my year's chosen word to live by, that's how it's been lately. I'm not rushed or bothered, just meeting life's challenges with head up and hopefully, a smile.

And if not a smile, then thankfulness that things could always be worse.  Am I right?

I certainly don't intend to indicate that things have been bad lately, that's not the case.  Life just is. We've been putting one foot in front of the other, working, cleaning, organizing, care taking and doing very little for entertainment purposes only.  That seriously, needs to change.

I'm so ready for a little R & R...been dreaming about a vacation.  No grand plans yet, but that's where my mind has been wandering to when I'm not so busy.  Been doin' a little online shopping lately too - whew, dangerous!  But fun!

A gal can never have too many shoes.  Think my hubby might disagree, but...  

Summer sandals are a gal's best friend.  Or boots, I'm a sucker for boots.  :)

So, been a long time since I've posted here!  Over 2 months in fact.  How does that happen?  I won't even try to catch up, just hopefully highlight a little bit.

Spring has finally arrived.  The ground's all dried up and the grass is growing in record time.  Lots of water and mild temperatures make an amazing growing medium.  My flowers are blooming and the birds are singing.  We all feel joy at the ending of a very long, wet and sometimes, quite cold winter. Looking back, our rain began in September, was in full swing by October and just recently quit.  I've started the closet and drawer clean-out of storing winter sweaters and such, and replacing them with shorts and breezy tops.  And sandals, pedicures, shoes on the horses.  Let's not go there.  Haven't been able to get that done yet.  Was too wet and muddy for shoes on our last scheduled appointment, and since then our farrier got sick, and now everybody has the same idea.  Oh well...

I can't ride Eagle anyway.  Just a little over a month ago, he tangled with the New Zealand fencing and suffered the consequences.  I don't know what happened, but it must have just taken place when I called the horses in for the evening.  He was the last to come.  That never happens.  When he finally did make it into the barn, he stopped and gave me one of those direct gazes of his.  I said, what's the matter big guy?  He looked so pitiful, I can't tell you how my heart dropped.  It wasn't until he walked past me and made the turn into his stall that I noticed the bright red, bloody gash on the front of his left hock.  Oh my gosh...I'm thankful to say it wasn't as horrendous as it looked.  Bad enough, but no soft tissue involvement and nothing damaging to the joint itself.  It hurt though.  Must have hurt a lot because when he stopped moving, he held the leg up.  I cold hosed and called my vet. Stitches were definitely in order.  We've been doctoring and bandaging ever since.  It's starting to look really good, but we've still got a ways to go.

So...Memorial Day camp out cancelled.  Darn   But my boy's more important than a camping trip. Since we haven't gotten any opportunities to really get the horses into anything resembling "condition", we were planning on really taking it easy, but still.  I was really looking forward to it. Mt. Adams is a favorite destination for us, and we haven't seen much of our riding club friends since last summer.  I was ready for a weekend of riding, socializing, hiking with the dogs, singing around the campfire and just relaxing.  Good times; but there will be more opportunities soon.

Our amazing chicken girls are FANTASTIC egg producers!  Since the discovery of those first 3 eggs that rainy spring evening, our egg count is 97!  Wowzer!  Since I've never had chickens before, and have no idea how many eggs is normal for chickens to lay, I am just astounded at that number. Remember, we only have 4 hens, and Lucy never has laid an egg to my knowledge.  She's wounded and has been "in hospital" aka the spare stall for a couple of months now.  She's getting better and we're hopeful she can return to her flock soon, but still no eggs from her.  So for 3 hens to lay that many eggs seems like a pretty big number to me.  Call me farm girl...I love them!  So much fun to watch.  Some day soon, I'll have to take some pics and introduce you to Lucy, Broody, Pecker and Merry Legs.  All those names have been come by honestly.  Even Charlotte has stopped trying to "get" the girls every chance she gets.  We are family, I've got all my sisters with me!  What a relief.

Hoping for a week of vacation sometime next month.  Our only granddaughter Kaylee, wants to come and spend a week on the farm with the grands.  That will be a first, so I'm super excited about that.  I want to take time to do some fun outings with her, maybe camping or a beach trip.  Shopping, who knows?  Of course there will be horse time because Kaylee, like her granny is an animal lover extraordinaire, and she's really drawn to the horses.  I can't wait.

My garden is a complete disaster.  The weeds and grass are almost as tall as I am, and pulling grass is a major drag, so...this year I'm planting tomatoes and nothing else.  Life is simply too short to spend time on things we don't love.  I do not love gardening.  There, I said it!  And I have no guilt.  Oh, there are strawberries somewhere in that mess, and we'll have plenty of blackberries, pears, apples and plums, so it's all good.  :)

What plans do you all have in store for the warm sunshine season???  I hope you'll share, even if they're simple plans like mine.  I'm a simple woman, content with my life, but commonly daydreaming of tropical beaches, sailing in the Caribbean and grand adventures.  Someday, perhaps.

Blessings all,
Lorie

♔ Seagulls:

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

What's going on...

Not a lot.  Oh my, our winter weather just doesn't want to let it go.  Yesterday, we awoke to snow.  Can you believe it?  Snow in March.  I remember it happening a couple times before, but it's not a common thing around these parts to have snow in March, even if it is just a little.

My daffodils are threatening to burst open soon.  My daphne is too, but it suffered a bit of damage as is apparent from the big, dark spots on its' leaves.  Not so many flowers as last year, but I'm happy to have even a little, for the scent is divine.  All most welcome signs of spring to come...

please don't tarry long.

We've had enough rain to float battleships.  Really, we have.  Down the road from our house, the farmer's un-sown field has floated much of the top soil into what used to be a very deep ditch.  It's not even a ditch these days, just about full with lovely Willamette Valley top soil.  I've always thought it a bad practice to till the fields until the dirt is fine like powder.  Lost to the winds if dry, lost to the rains if mud.  Just doesn't make sense to me.

I am so over it.  For me, I've been patient for long enough and I feel just about to bust with the readiness of the daffodil,s for want of a little sun.  Good grief, my fingertips are wrinkled it's so darned wet.

And you should see the horses.  Especially Ladde, you know, the big, white horse who loves to roll...sigh.  They're all filthy and beginning to shed a little, but oh my, you just can't imagine the splendor of Ladde after a day spent out in this mud.  Truly, you can't.

An effort at the clean-up is akin to a dust bath for me.

Ruby and Charlotte are chomping at the bit for a lot more outside activity too.  We try to go on a few, shorter walks sticking to paved areas only, but it's next to impossible to avoid muddy paws, and the overwhelming number of puddles at the ready, for a couple of water-loving dogs.  I feel like I'm screeching to the point of hoarseness and that has to take the fun out of things for all of us.  I know how the Banshee must feel...

So, trying to keep my miserable mutterings regarding our last days of winter (YAY!!) shorter, rather than longer, suffice it to say we are waiting with bated breath for the arrival of spring, and with it,  all that promises to come.

Two weeks and counting...

Time To Relax:

I only wish I could say that this is where I was going to be, but alas I'm just wishin' and hopin'

Beach living:

Oh yeah, I could dig it.  :)


Friday, February 17, 2017

All these days

 :

Life.  So many twists, turns and so much happening.  I can't even begin to make sense of it all.  The world is ever-changing and constantly evolving.  My head just spins trying to take in even a small picture of events.  But we go on, we keep on, soldiering on.

We have had several days of non-stop rain, flooding rains and landslides.  Our world is saturated and our skies are grey.  It's beautiful in its' way, but a break is so appreciated.  Today, the rains have subsided and our waters abate.  For now.  I am thankful for this...

Lots of stuff going on in so many people's lives.  With every passing day, there seems to be a whirlwind of stuff.  Changes.  Happenings that fall within that grey area in time.  Mind numbing in their numbers and possibilities of outcome.  Throughout it all, we keep our faith.  We do what we can to keep our heads above water and our spirits above.

I try to keep myself aware, but in many cases it's overwhelming to me.  I have no power to change it, but I can do good and possibly impact someone else's life in a positive way who might bless someone else, who can bless someone else.  Regardless of the bad everywhere, we can overcome by sharing love and kindness everywhere we go.  Spread a little light and it makes a huge difference in a dark place.  That's what we can do.  I believe that's how we change our world.

One tiny little piece at a time.

Our horses are all doing well, having a bit of cabin fever like the rest of us, but enjoying their freedoms where and when they can.  They look terribly scruffy and most are covered in a fair amount of mud because man, we have enough of that everywhere.  They must be a bit itchy because even the ones who don't normally trash themselves, are trashed.  Harley was the first I had noticed to start shedding, and now Eagle's face is shedding.  Before long, we'll have piles of the stuff everywhere, and little nests being feathered with their hair and life awakening to spring.

I can't wait!  I am so looking forward to riding my horse.  Just getting out there and walking along, breathing in the fresh air and hearing the birdsong and coming out of my cocoon again.  Yeah, that's what it feels like for me.  Along with the season, I experience an awakening too.  It really does feel like the shedding of those heavy layers and being freed up.  Unstuck and so ready to move on again.
Riding my horse is my freedom.  That one place where I feel better than anywhere else on this earth.

Earlier this winter I was a bit worried about our hay supply.  It seemed to be dwindling at an alarming rate, but for whatever reason, our consumption (even though it remains steady) seems to be slowing and our pile of hay seems to be sufficient for our needs.  Funny how often that happens.  I can't explain it, but there it is.  I am thankful.  God is good.

I remain photo challenged here on this blog.  But knowing how important pictures are to most of us, I will be borrowing something inspiring or beautiful, or just interesting to me to share with you all.  I hope your winter days are numbered and sunshine is making its' way to your doors.  Just over 4 more weeks to go...

and my Ladde's birthday will be here again.  Oh my, how these days fly by...21 years old this year, my big and beautiful boy!  May we be blessed with you for many more to come.


Days go by

Monday, February 13, 2017

Thoughts for the day


According to my calendar, there are exactly 5 more weeks until spring.  Awesome, right?  I've not really been bothered terribly by this winter, but I will say that it's been really wet, colder than normal, really wet again and some sunshine.  Enough sun to prevent going hairy-cairy anyway.

We even had real snow.  Like 3 times, and it stuck around for a while.  But to think we're on the downhill side of old man winter, makes me smile.  And then my brain gets to thinking of all the things I'd like to do, places I'd like to go, projects I'd like to accomplish, adventures to experience... you see what happens.  My brain gets all busy, but trouble is my body doesn't quite live up to what my mind or imagination comes up with.  Creeping age, that's what it is.

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Here's the girls strutting around the back yard.  Had I mentioned that we had chickens now? Acquired chickens is more like it.  You see, when our neighbors from behind our property moved out last late summer or early fall - they abandoned a bunch of their chickens.  Why, I have no idea. Maybe they didn't lay anymore, maybe they escaped?  But for whatever reason, the girls moved to our house. Guess they got hungry.  But, I love watching them!   I've never had chickens before, and have always had a bit of a fascination with them.  Fresh, farm eggs and all that!  So we bought chicken feed, save our veggie and bread scraps - they love their bread - and have yet to find an egg.  We're down to 5 hens, having started with 13 hens and 1 rooster...I don't know, so don't ask.  We have coyotes, lots of hawks and who knows what else.  They do and go where they want, we feed them and do our best to provide them with a safe shelter.  Trouble is, they keep moving.  Lately their favorite roosting spot is in the tops of these trees, except for Henny Penny, who appears to be the "godmother" of the girls and for one reason or another, sleeps by herself in the wood shed.  (I stole that godmother name from dancing donkey - hilarious read) My husband even mounted laying boxes on the wall in one of our sheds and they refuse to use them.  So, freewill and all things considered, they choose their path.  Not unlike us.

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Aren't they cool?

We really haven't been doing much lately.  Just sort of going through the motions, doing what we need to do every day and looking forward to days where we can spend more time outside.  I can't remember the last time I rode my horse.  Any of the horses.  And that's very, very sad...my body has gone soft over this winter, and that's sad too.  *sigh*

Anyway, we're in the midst of a few beautiful days and the dogs and I have gone on a few walks lately, but I don't know how to get my pics off my phone, which is what I seem to carry more often than not lately.  Poor quality pictures, but so handy.

We finished viewing the first 3 seasons of Black Sails recently, and I can't wait for the next season to come out on DVD...oh my gosh!  Very raw at times, but I love it.  One of my favorite characters was hung by the bloody red coats on the last episode, and I'm still reeling from that one.  :(  What's a girl to do?

Now we're just getting started on a new series that will hopefully be just as good.  Outlander, set in 17th century Scottish Highlands - time travel and all that.  Oh my word, one episode in and I'm already hooked!  See what I mean?  This is why my body goes all soft in the winter.  Not enough time spent outside being active.  Thank goodness winter only lasts 3 months.

Until next time, be well my dear readers.

How do you plan on spending the last days of the winter season?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Time rolls on...

Our winter snow has been gone for a couple of weeks now, and we've normalized to warmer, damper weather with lots of grey days.  It always somehow feels even colder when it's damp to me.  I prefer clear skies, drier air and cold over grey skies, damp and cold.

But it's still winter and it's supposed to be cold, right?  We're still enjoying quiet times by the fire, warm meals and early bedtimes.  Since we've been so much colder than normal, our stash of firewood has shrunk dramatically.  I'm pretty sure we've got plenty to last the season, but it's surprising to me just how fast those stacks of wood are disappearing.  Our bedding supply is another one of those shrinking stashes.  We may have to buy another ton before it's all said and done, but it's been really nice having so much on hand.  I firmly believe that the less often I have to visit the farm stores, the more money we end up saving over the long haul.  That's true for any store I visit!

Last Sunday we took the day and drove to the beach.  We walked and walked along the shoreline and spent some quiet time sitting and just listened to the ocean roar and the waves crash.  It was wonderful!  There's just something special about time spent on the beach, the quieting of the mind and the peace that comes over me.  Truly, my happy place.  The dogs had a blast - of course!

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For the end of January, in the midst of a cold winter, the weather couldn't have been more perfect.  There was no wind and with sweatshirts and vests, we were warm and toasty.  We enjoyed lunch at the Roadhouse in Lincoln City.  A wonderful day spent away from home, felt so good.


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From the looks of it, there have been many high tides and rough seas that have thrown drift wood and lots of logs onto the beach like matchsticks.  There was even a short area where a wide, graveled walking path was completely washed away.  We were careful not to turn our backs to the ocean, as the tide was high and the beach itself was quite narrow.  There were some impressive waves and at times, the ocean absolutely roared.  It was incredible and intense!  I loved it.  Whenever I spend time at the beach, I never want to leave, and always wish we could stay...someday, I hope to have a little cottage near the ocean.  Oh, those dreams...

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Monday my boss/vet came over and it was dental day for all the horses.  It had been many years since we'd had them done.  I was a bit worried about that, but as it turns out, routine dentals were all that was required.  We are fortunate because all our horses seem to have good teeth that stand the test of time.  This is Shad, we started with him and as you can see, Eagle was very concerned for his friend.  So sweet.  Since we weren't sure how Eags would respond, we decided to let him watch all the others first, and do him last.  He was a dream.  Absolutely a perfect gentleman!  I believe they learn by watching, just like we do.

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This kind of looks like a medieval torture device, but it's just a cushioned head sling that keeps their heads from hanging too low.  As you can see, the boss man is kind of tall and it helps make his job a bit easier.  My job was to keep the rope taut, but allow them to back up if they needed or wanted to.  Tough, I know.  

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Ladde lost a tooth!  And of course, I saved it.  We didn't think he had any loose teeth, but in the process of filing down the sharp points, this one just flew out of his mouth.  And as you can see, it really isn't all that long, so there wasn't a lot of material below the gum line holding this one in place. I'm hoping his other teeth are longer than this and will stay in his mouth for many more years to come.

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Here's sweet Ladde all relaxed and just about to have his dental procedure begin.  Every single horse was quiet and very relaxed about the entire process.  No nervous Nellies in the bunch!  I'm always a little nervous about this because working at the clinic, I've seen a quite a few horses get very fractious and that always worries me.  Years ago, we had a serious incident take place at the clinic with a horse loaded in the stocks that tried to jump out and got hung up.  That's something I'll likely never forget!
So I'm thankful everyone remained calm and quiet, and the dentals are finished for a few years.

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We had a leak!  We'd noticed that our water pressure was a bit weak, but one morning my hubby noticed a puddle in our yard where there's never been one before.  Uh-oh!  In all the years we've lived in this house, we've never had a broken pipe.  And we're not sure if this was caused by the couple weeks of below freezing weather we had, or if the pipe just failed because it was old.  Doesn't matter why, we are just so grateful that the leak was outside the house and not under the house.  Sure made the repair job a lot easier!  My handy dandy hubby got it fixed in a day.

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My frozen rain chain off the back deck.  So pretty!

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Charlotte relaxing on our bed after a long and very cold walk...what a spoiled dog!

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Sweet, sweet Ruby helping do the horse chores.  Whatever would we do without such amazing help?
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My very first homemade chicken pot pie.  Oh man, was it ever good!  And so very easy, not quite sure why I've never attempted one before, but now that I know I can do it, I'll be making more of these beauties in the future.  So delicious and so comforting after spending time in the cold.

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 Yummy!

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As I said before, our snow is all gone now, but I smile whenever I see this photo...the dogs and I have traipsed here and there and everywhere in the orchard and neighboring fields since the rains have been gone.  And even though the snow is melted away, we really haven't had much rain for the last month or so.  Well, I remember a couple of days where it rained really hard, but once it cleared up we've been primarily dry.  What a blessing!  It sure makes doing everything that needs to be done outside, so much more enjoyable.  Grey skies and fog are better than water falling from the sky.  I'll take it!

Those weathermen are forecasting another possible bit of snow and/or ice towards the end of this week.  Oh boy, I hope for no ice, but if it snows a bit more, I won't mind.  We'll have to wait and see what happens.  We're just about halfway through winter now and I'm trying to just relax and enjoy the quiet and reflective qualities of winter.  Spring will be here soon enough.

Wherever you are, I hope you're keeping warm and cozy, spending time with the ones you love.
Oh, and Happy Groundhog Day tomorrow!!!  :)

Will he or won't he?