Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday morning walkabout

Well, Friday morning dawned sunny and bright, but rather cold and windy after yesterday's rain showers that pretty much continued through the night.  Everything is soaked and everything is green.  I woke up early this morning, got showered, dressed and ready for work a little early, so I thought I'd take a walkabout the farm and see what there was to see.  

This is the flower bed along the back of our house that we built last summer.  Out of all the plants I put in last year, only one lonely carnation survived the winter.  And it's not blooming yet.  But my peony and the carnations should be blooming before long, if it warms up a bit.  These are old-fashioned stock of my favorites, and their scent is reminiscent of carnations.  Spicy and sweet.

A close-up of the fragrant stock them!!

Behind this pink stock is a day lily that will bloom later on this season.  A perennial favorite among gardeners who may have something other than "green thumbs".  An easy-growing flower that tolerates less than perfect soil and heat tolerant as well.  Sounds perfect for me!

The cheery little pansy.  Another one of my favorites.  My mom used to love pansies, and she often said they reminded her of little monkey faces.  Funny how I can remember so many little things that my mom always said...guess that's one way to keep her with me in my heart.  I'll always think of momma when I look upon a pretty little pansy.  For me, that makes this the perfect Memorial Day flower!

And even though this looks very much like a pansy, it's actually a Viola.  A smaller, but very similar flower related to the pansy.  They will spread like the dickens if protected from hard freezing.  They also do well for gardeners who might be a bit challenged, or who are just too darn busy to remember to water regularly.

This is a corner planter we added just this year.  It's actually just to the side of our back door, but since we never use our front (street-side) door, I consider this to be the front of the house.  Hopefully this year I'll be able to find that perfect replacement door for this side of the house.  I have the perfect door in my mind's eye, I just need to find it.  I had such a hard time deciding what to plant here.  This planter is westerly facing, and gets only mid to late afternoon sun when it's scorching hot.  Many plants couldn't tolerate that kind of extreme heat, but hopefully I've picked sun-loving flowers that will do alright providing I don't forget to water them regularly.  *fingers crossed*  Lavender, nasturtium,  petunia, dianthus (often referred to as Sweet William), and geraniums.  On warm days, the scent is just lovely when you approach the door.  Oh, see that odd looking rock in the bottom?  That's actually a piece of petrified drift wood that I found on the beach years and years sweet hubby carried that heavy thing several miles back to our car, in the sand, for me.  Bless his pea-pickin' little heart...I'll bet it weighs in at about 70 lbs or so.  He loves me.  :)

And this little beauty is one of several trees I planted a few years back.  My brother-in-law gave it to me as a tiny little seedling and it's grown into this.  See all that light green new growth?  Each year it sprouts anew and shoots up anywhere from 6-10 inches.  I'm not sure what exact type of pine tree it is; but it's a pine tree nonetheless.

See the old snowball tree in the back?  I hacked the beejeebers out of that poor thing several years in a row before realizing just what it was.  A survivor to be sure!  And this tree I decorate with hanging flower pots, hummingbird feeders and bird feeders every year.  I save the pots and refill them with new flowers each spring.  And my iris just blossomed this morning.  So pretty!! This is our main shade tree in the back, and without it, the yard would be sweltering in the summer.  We all tend to hang out here in the shade of a hot, summer afternoon.

There's so much green it's hard to distinguish the hanging pots.  More of my favorites; stock and petunias in the baskets.

This is our Bartlett pear tree with another basket of flowers.  Sheltered in the shade of the protective tree are my Hydrangea plants.  They love morning sun, but cannot tolerate the heat of the afternoon light, so this provides the perfect spot.

I love the beautiful "bearded iris", and they have such a lovely scent.  My mom used to say that they reminded her of funerals...

One of our raised garden beds with a stick tee-pee for the green beans to climb...if they're still alive that is. I may be replacing most of the plants here because a late frost pretty much wiped them out.  It's been another late, wet and fairly cool spring here in the northern valley.

I tried to get a herd shot, but Eagle was way off by himself this morning...must be feeling anti-social.  I can relate, I feel anti-social at times myself.  Last night I gave all the horses a good, thorough brushing while the rain came down in buckets.  That's one of my favorite times to be in the barn, with the rain thundering down on the metal roof...very cozy and soothing to me.  We had ourselves a nice, relaxing evening together.

This is "Mommasonn".  She's our most friendly, resident Kildeere, and has a nest nearby.  They are one of my most favorite birds.  I think they're beautiful, and their bravery astounds me.  And, it's bunches of fun to watch them lead Ruby on a merry chase back and forth across the pasture!!  Ruby comes back tuckered out and her tongue dragging when they're finished with her.  And their theatrics are unmatched!!  You can't help but admire such drama!!

The neighboring wheat field.  It's so beautiful when it's tender and green...

In a couple of months time, this wheat will be turning golden under the heat of the summer's sun.  The glorious uniqueness of each season amazes me...such beauty!

We're hoping to go on a day ride somewhere with Ladde and a borrowed friend's horse this weekend.  It will be the first trail ride for me in almost 2 years.  That's the longest span of time in my entire life of not riding a horse in the woods.  That is unacceptable and must be remedied as soon as possible!!!  I would just as soon stop living as I would stop riding horses...for me, life must be shared with horses.  I'm hoping that our weather dries out and cooperates so that we can relax and ride!!!

Wishing you all a wonderful Memorial Day weekend.
Blessings to you all, and may we all remember those we have loved, and miss so dearly...

Lorie @ Cingspots

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

For everything there is a season

A season for sunshine...aahh glorious sunshine!!  Since the onset of May, we've been experiencing heavenly weather.  Warm sunshine by day, clear skies and brisk temps by night.  In fact, until Sunday we were having a record-setting dry spell.  *gasp*  Could it be!?  Oh yes, it was glorious!!  But, this too must end my friends.  For as the bible says, for everything there is a season, and apparently we've entered yet another season of rain. Big, fat, ugly drops of the bucketloads in fact.  *sigh*  For this too, we shall be thankful...I guess.

Anyway, on one of those delicious, warm and sunny days my hubby happened to capture a few shots of our little herd doing some of the things they do best.

Eating, of course...lush, green, oh-so-yummy grass.  Look at that belly Shad has put on recently.

And Ladde, never one to be in a size small himself.  Eagle in the background has packed on a few pounds also.  We really must get to riding these pasture potatoes.  Soon, very soon.

And, then there's sleeping.  Aahh, just makes me sleepy looking at them.  

I don't know about you, but I'd say Eagle's relaxed right into the herd.  Flanked by Harley on the left and Shad on their right, no worries a'tall...

Patch, doing what he does best.  Preening and basking...he's all male, that one.

And, I mean "Baboosk"  - that's Annie's alter-ego.  She believes herself to be a reincarnated Russian peasant woman.  Really, the dog is so dramatic.  

And sweet, little Ruby.  At this moment in time, she's sweet Ruby.  But don't let her fool you, most often we call her Rotten Ruby.  She's come by that title honestly.  Just ask Annie.

 And this is one of our little raised garden beds...before the hard frost wiped out the green beans and the cucumbers.  Guess we'll be starting over - it's very late in the spring to be experiencing hard frosts, but it is what it is.  And, right now this is just a sweet memory.  The reality right now is that it's raining.
Raining a lot.

Oh well, guess I won't need to worry about the watering.  A season for thankfulness.  Always the right time for that.  Amen?

Blessings from our little corner of the world...

Friday, May 11, 2012

A step back in time

Several weeks ago, we attended the Draft Horse plowing event put on by the local Historical Society.  They are a group of people interested in preserving the past for enjoyment, education and the hopes of returning to a slower, and more simple way of life.  From one year to the next, we're never quite sure of what we'll find being exhibited, but there's always the horses and the plowing.  The big, beautiful and ever so powerful horses.  Oh my, they are incredible!!  I can't help but admire not only their obvious beauty, but their quiet and dignified demeanor.  I just adore these horses and mules.  We certainly owe much of our very existence to these majestic and hard-working animals.  For without their willingness to serve, we as a people surely wouldn't have survived.  

These men were creating rough-hewn boards from logs that were stacked in a deck just outside this building.  You sure wouldn't want to take a miss-step, or fall while working this machine.

And this was the blacksmith shop.  These men were forging horseshoes, candlestick holders, hooks for the wall and a variety of other items.  Our farrier Troy, was working just outside putting a set of shoes on a big, black Shire mare from shoes he had just forged from steel flat stock.  I thought I'd gotten a picture of him, but apparently I didn't.

 And here's my hubby admiring this old, steam-driven tractor.  I can't imagine how much more daily work it took just to survive...and to think we imagine our lives as difficult.  :)

We have an old dutch oven just like this one.  My hubby was admiring this set-up and I'm pretty sure he's going to see if Troy will fashion us something similar to this for use while camping.  I can just smell the chili simmering in the pot, can't you?

I love all this old stuff.  I can't say I'd use it for everyday, but I can certainly imagine some of these items filled with some beautiful flowers sitting on the deck, or out in our yard under the shade tree.

This is a pair of Shires.  And in the background is another pair of Shires owned by a friend of ours.  He has a bunch of Shires and uses them all the time.  He plows with them, and harvests too.  And, on the summer fair circuit he travels with his 6-up team and performs.  They really look beautiful all spiffed up and bedecked in their black leather harness with silver everywhere.  They're just striking!!

At this plowing contest, the pairs are judged on several criteria, one of which is the straightness of their plowed rows.

This gal was done for the day.  The horses had apparently spooked, made a sudden lunge forward and broke something on their harness ending their run.  You can't tell by this picture, but she had a rather large bandage on her chin.  She said she'd "bit the dust", or rather the mud.  Other than her pride (and her chin), she was unharmed and in good spirits.  Maybe it was for the best (for the horses anyway) because this pair of horses was obese...not chubby, but just plain fat.  She said they were imported from Norway and were Percheron.

They may be small, but they certainly are mighty!  This pair of mules were doing an awesome job, and they were as cool as a cucumber.

And these beauties are Belgians.  I think they're my favorites.  We have a client that has about 20 of these horses.  They too, travel the summer circuit showing their horses in big, fancy wagons.

I think the mare on the left was an older gal, notice the greying on her face.  I think she's beautiful.  Maybe she's teaching the ropes to the younger horse...

And this is how the pioneers traveled in style.  I truly cannot imagine how long a day of travelling would seem...but just think of the conversations you could have, and the scenery you would see.  So many things that we don't notice whilst whizzing down the freeways at 55 mph or more.  There's certainly a lot of things in our lives today that are better...but so many things that we miss out on too.  A quiet, much slower pace of life is one that I know I'd enjoy.

Hope you enjoy these pictures of a time gone by.
Blessings all,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Oh, one more thing...remember I said that last weekend we got our veggie garden all planted?  Well, we had a hard frost night before last, and all our plants look like crap.  We'll be lucky if any of them survive.  Our weather is beautiful and sunny in the daytime, but come evening and the wind picks up; it gets downright cold.  I may have to build a fire this evening,  and then dig out the sunscreen for this weekend, when our temps are supposed to soar from the mid 80's to the low 90's.  Sheesh...

But, at least it's not raining.  :)

Happy Mother's Day to all!!!!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

In the Garden of Eden...

it seems to me anyway; these past several days or so have been simply divine,  (swoons dramatically) and dare I say, absolutely beyond perfection.  If you could dream up a breathtakingly perfect spring day, that's what we've been experiencing lately.  *sigh*  It feels sooooo good!  Absolutely delicious!  I'm so thrilled that winter truly seems to be gone, and spring has finally arrived, in all her scrumptious splendor!!!

This picture was taken a couple of weeks ago on a day trip to the beach, and a more lovely day couldn't have been hoped for.

But, on the homefront, things couldn't be busier.  We've been working like gangbusters trying to beautify our yard.  We're having to mow the lawn every single weekend, and the grass is growing so fast, you can almost see it grow!  We got our veggie garden planted last weekend, and got the flower beds all cleaned up and added new composted matter (thank you ponies) and pretty, new flowers planted.  I hope to get a few pics to share real soon.  This year I'm going to buy a couple of wine barrels from one of the local wineries and cut them in half.  My tomatoes will be planted in those.  They'll look nice, and my tomato plants won't be so crowded in the garden boxes.  My berries are doing really well too.  I'll bet this year's harvest is gonna be a good one.  Yum!!  We're contemplating whether or not to build another raised garden bed...maybe yes, maybe no.  Time will tell.  Most of my fruit trees are doing well, but over the winter one of the cherries and both of the peaches bit the dust.  So, I got another Rainier cherry to plant.  I still want peaches, but they are fussy little buggers to grow!  Not sure if I want to try again, if so I'll replant this fall so I don't have to water them.

Eagle's abscess is all healed up now.  He was amazingly good at letting us doctor his foot, and he stands in the soaking tub better than any horse we've ever had.  Will wonders never cease?  I don't know why I'm so surprised though, he is just so sensible and level-headed.  Marvelous Mustang Eagle!!!  Now, I need to get back to working with him on a regular basis.  The foot ailment/doctoring episode seems to have cemented our relationship really well.  I feel a deeper sense of trust from him, and because he's more relaxed; so am I.  Just a little silver lining to an otherwise bum deal, I guess.  :)  Don't you just love it when that happens?

All the horses are doing really well.  Shedding like mad and fat as ticks.  One little fly in the ointment was a tiny (pencil eraser sized) scab on Ladde's sheath that refused to go away.  I'd been keeping an eye on it for maybe a year, but it never seemed to change, but it didn't go away either.  So...I suspected skin cancer and had it looked at.  Rick thinks it's cancer as well and advised me to put 5U on it and see what happens.  Whoodoggie, did it ever get pissed off!!!  It's now about 10X the size it was and it's red and angry looking...but, it's looking loose, like it's maybe going to fall off soon.  Hope, hope, hope!!!  Now, I'm questioning what the heck have I done to my horse!? So, I'm hopeful that very soon the nasty thing just falls off and is gone for good.  Ladde eyeballs me speculatively and tries to move his hind leg up in an effort to protect his winky area from mean old me...I hate that!  But, I certainly can't blame him!  Poor guy...
Once it's gone, he's getting super duper sunscreen lathered all over his tender, pink skin whether he likes it or not!

We've decided to sell our big gooseneck horse trailer.  If we get what we're hoping for, we can pay off a couple of bills, refinance our home, commit to staying there for another year and give us a little cash for flooring upgrades that we'd like to do.  Then, probably next spring, if we still want to move to central Oregon, we'll put our house on the market then.  But, if we change our minds about moving, we'll be in a better interest rate, shave off 6 years from our mortgage and our payments will get more bang for our bucks.  I will miss the big, cushy trailer.  It's really nice to tow and very comfortable to camp out of.  But, there's always other trailers if we want to get another one someday.  Right now, it seems silly to have so much cash value just sitting there so much of the time.  If I could only win that lottery...

Here's a few pics taken over the last month or so...most of them before spring made her dramatic (if a tad late) and most welcome entrance.

See that beautiful shade of bluish/green in the water above?  That's the color I'd like to try and duplicate for our bedroom...sooo cool and tranquil.  I love it!!  Maybe just a tad lighter with off-white lace curtains and creamy trim.  Sounds lovely doesn't it?  I'm always so full of ideas, just never enough time, energy, money or hubby to get everything done.  *sigh*

Whatever's a girl to do?  :)

Blessings everyone...and enjoy our beautiful spring weather while it's here.