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