Tuesday, November 26, 2013

season of thankfulness

this morning's sunrise
Have you ever wondered why there's so much frenzy associated with Christmas these days?  Have you noticed that Thanksgiving is all but forgotten in the brash commercialism of what this time of year has become?  I have, and it bothers me.  I'm weary of being rushed.  I wonder why I need to hurry up and get ready...don't let the season sneak up on you.  As if.  As if it has a life of its' own.



Slow down and take a little of that precious time we've been given, and be thankful...for what we already have.  There, isn't that better.
My girls...loyal companions and friends
Thanksgiving isn't about buying, spending, giving, rushing, doing, doing, doing...instead, it really is about taking stock of what we've been blessed with.  Get that?

 I believe that's why so many people gloss right over this beautiful holiday and what it truly represents.  They don't know how to feel content with what they have.  Sometimes we can all be guilty of forgetting to give thanks for so many truly wonderful blessings in our lives.  Think about that for a minute.  Count your blessings.  Be thankful to your Creator for all that you've been graced with.  Like the Bible says, "all good things come from God".  Not just some.  All good things.  *sigh*  I like that.

our perfect weather last weekend
I don't know about you, but when I slow down, take a look around at all the beautiful things and wonderful lives that are in my world; I just can't help but smile and realize that it's okay to be happy with what is.  What I don't have, maybe I don't need.  That's a beautiful thought.  All that I need, I already have.  How nice.

So in this week of Thanksgiving, I'm choosing to fully realize all the wonderful blessings in my life.  I'm purposefully slowing my thoughts down, taking the time to take a deep breath, look around my world; and give thanks.

I have a loving and hard-working husband who takes care of so many of our needs.  I'm so thankful for him.  He's my best friend, and I love him.

We have a cozy home and we're so grateful to be warm.

Missy Sugar

 our little herd this frosty morning

 Merlin...llama dude

 frosty blackberry

 Ladde and the "father" who raised him, Shad

Patch aka One-eyed Patch aka Snaggletooth  :)

I'm so very thankful for all our fat, healthy, fuzzy, dirty and happy horses...they give us a reason to get outside in the fresh air every single day.  We call it free aerobics...who needs a gym?  I'm thankful for sunrises, sunsets, frosty mornings, beautiful clouds and sunshine.

And so, so much more...

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Count em.

I double-dog dare ya!!

Friday, November 22, 2013

A little of this, and a little of that

Our weather this fall has been just outstanding!  We had a glorious October and so far this November has been very nice as well.  We've had very little rainfall, but when we do, it rains for a couple of days and then clears to sunshine.  We're currently experiencing a cold snap.  Overnight lows dipping into the upper 20's and low 30's.  It's cold enough that our ground is frozen, but we warm up into the low 50's in the daytime, with beautiful, bright, warm sunshine.  I absolutely love weather like this!  It's energizing and I find myself wanting to get outside and get busy.  Unfortunately, it's also dark before I leave the clinic in the evenings, so there isn't much that I'm accomplishing outside.  But the weather this weekend and pretty much all of next week, including the long Thanksgiving weekend, are supposed to be dry, cold and sunshine.  Yippee!!

We're planning on staying home and having a quiet dinner by ourselves this year.  I have no idea what family members are doing, so we'll just cozy up and enjoy our own company.  I will cook a turkey and all the usual sides, along with some special desert, but just everything in "small scale".  We're hoping to get the rest of our oak firewood unloaded and stacked into our wood shed.  It is so heavy!  We're thankful that we don't need to burn this wood this winter, but can save it for next year.  It's a bit wet and could use another year to really season well.

I got my paint for our living room project.  I chose Sherwin-Williams "Macadamia" for the walls, Sherwin-Williams "Stucco" for the ceiling and Sherwin-Williams "Dover White" for the trim.  That's the same trim I'll end up using throughout our home.  It's a warm white and harmonizes with all the other colors quite well.  The walls will be significantly darker than I've ever had before, but I'm hoping it will look nice.  The colors should be warm and inviting, and will coordinate beautifully with the darker wood floors that we've chosen.  When I say wood, I really mean laminate.  It doesn't matter to me, it will look like wood and won't butcher our budget...so I'll be happy.  And trust me, if you saw our carpet...you'd understand what I mean.  It's a big project for us, especially at this time of year when we have so many extra chores associated with the horses and just keeping our home heated, but we'll work on it slowly and steadily, and we'll get the job done.  Then, I'll start looking for a big area rug and hopefully we'll be able to replace our old recliner with a much more attractive chair.  Isn't it interesting how one project just leads to another and another?  Even though it looks terrible right now, with all the nick-nacks and wall adornments packed away (read dirty walls and cobwebs), I'll be posting before pictures here so I can remember, and appreciate our efforts into improving our home.  Then hopefully before too long, I'll post the after shots as well.  :)

Our horses are doing really well, and as always, we're so thankful for that.  They are fat, fuzzy and happy.  And even old man Merlin, is still chugging along.  I don't know what the average lifespan of a llama is, but he's over 20 years old and has really slowed down.  My beautiful little Kadie mare is 29-1/2 years old, but she's also fat and doing well despite having arthritis in her hocks.  I guess we all creak and groan a little as we age, right?  But I'm very happy to see a twinkle in her eyes, and see sass from her almost daily.  I love that little mare so very, very much.  She was the best trail horse I ever had, and was the most fun horse ever to ride.  To say that she is perfect, is no exaggeration.  And, she blessed us with Ladde.  A larger and all-male version of his mother.  I will forever cherish this beautiful little horse, and will take good care of her for as long as is possible.

Eagle continues to improve in every way possible.  He is a full-fledged member of the herd and seems to really enjoy being part of our family.  I love that he is so happy and comfortable now!  He is truly an awesome horse and I feel his trust growing every day.  He's also a terrible flirt, and has a way of looking me in the eye, and using his quiet, little nicker to get almost anything that he wants...which of course is usually a treat!  But he also enjoys a thorough grooming session, really any kind of attention that he can get.  He is very, very loving and thankful to have interaction from us.  I've never known a more loving horse than Eagle.

Well, enough for now...gotta run!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone.  May you feel blessed when you count all that you have to be grateful for.

Until next time,
Lorie @ Cingspots

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Hazy days of fall

Harley (enemy of toes)
It's been one of those days that started out good, but has quickly led to discouragement for me.  One of my family members was stupid enough to breed her mutt dog and produce 9 puppies of which she has advertised on Facebook for $450 each.  Yeah right!  What some people will justify for purely selfish reasons like financial gain.  I could never be so irresponsible as to purposely produce so many little lives when there are so very many puppies everywhere in need of loving homes.  Just chaps my hide to no end!!!  Grrrrr!!!

Onward and upward.  Our weather lately has been more dry than wet, which is good.  The trees have mostly shed their leaves and are taking on the stark appearance of winter.  The skies are mostly grey, fog is plentiful and the temperatures are on the coolish side.  Not cold, but cool enough that a fire in the hearth feels really good.  It's a little surprising really, that we're in mid-November and we're still sleeping with a bedroom window open all night.  Nice!  And Thanksgiving is just around the corner...how the time does fly!
Kadie 29-1/2 years old...with a belly.  :)
We're back to ordering fresh fruit and veggies from Bountiful Baskets every other week.  Last week was our first one since last spring, and it didn't disappoint.  We got a head of cabbage, apples, tangerines, spinach, mushrooms, a coconut, bananas, lettuce, tomatoes and some asparagus.  I might be forgetting something, but I think that was just about everything.  And so far, everything has been delicious!

I had leftover beef broth heavy with onions from a pot roast that we had last week.  So, I sauteed the mushrooms with a little garlic in some butter and added a can of mushroom soup to the beef broth; added a little thickener and had a nice sauce that I served over egg noodles.  Yum!  As a side, I steam/fried the cabbage in a fry pan with an inch or so of water and a smidge of bacon grease and seasoned it with salt and pepper.  So good!  That was our dinner last night, and we'll be enjoying leftovers tonight.   I love leftovers!

I'm recovering from a squished pinky-toe on Monday morning.  Today I actually wore real shoes, but after a couple of hours was thankful that I'd brought my soft slippers to change into.  Maybe tomorrow...anyway, I was preparing to lead Harley out of his stall for breakfast.  I threw a lead around his neck and wasn't quite prepared when he immediately moved forward.  Note to self:  be mindful of where your toes are when dealing with a blind horse.  Live and learn.  The real bummer is that I got new winter boots that look all warm and cozy, and I haven't even been able to try them out yet.  New boots and I can't wear them - now that's a drag!  :)

It's supposed to be all stormy this coming weekend.  Winter storm warning and all that...nowadays it's always a storm blowing in when we're expected to get wind and rain.  That's pretty normal for fall in the Willamette Valley, I think.  We have no plans, except maybe unload some more firewood from the trailer into our wood shed and Friday after work I'm picking up my paint order for our living room project.  Before we get to the actual painting, I need to box up everything, including everything from the walls and prepare for a room in chaos again.  I'm seeing a trip to Goodwill in my future.  I'm really looking forward to the renovation because I think it will look beautiful (hopefully!), definitely an improvement; but if I'm honest, I am not anxious to do the work, or have our living room in disarray.  *sigh*  What I'd really like to do, is call up a professional and just have the work done.  But, that's definitely not in the budget.  Oh well, we'll just make the best of it and try to think of this as another one of life's learning curves/adventures.  Yep, that's what I'm telling myself...over and over and over.  :)

We have no plans for Thanksgiving yet, so maybe it will just be the two of us at home.  I will always cook a turkey over the long Thanksgiving weekend because it's so nice having all those wonderful leftovers, but I'm not going to invite guests over this year.  We hosted the family gathering last year, and I'm not anxious about doing all the cooking and cleaning this year.  Uh-huh.  No way.  I envision something much more casual and relaxed this year.  A real holiday.

So, overall we're preparing to settle in and get some work done, beautify where we can, take naps when all else fails and keep on, keeping on.  And as always, we are thankful for so many blessings in our lives.  A warm cozy home, more than we need of everything that we need, healthy and happy horses, dogs, cats and llama.  Can't forget Merlin!  :)  Hopefully you are all feeling the love and blessings that we are, during this time of year when we pause to reflect on all the wonderful things in our lives that we should be grateful for.

Until next time,
Lorie and the gang at Cingspots

Friday, November 8, 2013

Whistling while we work

I've got several ideas and plans rattling around in my head these days...I usually do, I think.  Anyway, with our weather taking a rather dramatic turn for the more typical fall weather in the Pacific NW, we're preparing to focus our attentions on the inside, rather than being outside as much.  Just for the record, our weather during the entire month of October was fabulous!!  We were so blessed to have spent some time at the beach and got to enjoy the last of our spectacular, warm, sunny and dry fall.  I've always said that come November, all bets are off weather-wise!  The first several days in November were greyer, and we even experienced a little precipitation, but nothing exciting.  Now that we're over a week into the month, things are normalizing. These days we're frequently experiencing fog, grey skies, rain, wind and mud.  We've also had several days with a few breaks of blue skies, fluffier clouds and a little sunshine; but nothing like glorious October.  But, I'm thankful.  In fact, the skies have been dramatic and anything but ordinary, so we take the blessings anywhere we can.  And it's been warm.  We're still sleeping with our bedroom window open to let in the cool, night-time breeze.  It feels wonderful to snuggle inside the covers while feeling the cooling and refreshing breeze on my face as I sleep.  I love it!

So, as I was saying about having ideas ratting around in my noggin...  I do.  I've got plans for renovating our living room in the works.  I am so excited!  We're going to remove all traces of the cheap, nasty-looking fake oak trim everywhere and replace it with the more appropriate for our house's style with 3/4 x 4" flat trim boards.  I've decided on Sherwin-Williams Dover White 6385.  It's considered a warm white, and we've also used that same trim color in our kitchen, entry way and laundry room.  For the walls, I've got a few selections to consider, but they're all in the warm neutrals family of beige and we're choosing a couple of shades darker for the ceiling color...probably SW 6142 for the ceiling and SW 7569 Stucco on the walls.  Our living room is a fairly large, rectangular-shaped room with three windows and the front door.  The pellet stove and brick work are on one end and that's where we usually congregate during the cooler, fall and winter months.  So, my hopes are to create a more cozy and intimate feeling of welcome when you enter the room.  When we moved into our house almost 18 years ago, every single wall in the entire house, upstairs and down, was painted a bright white and had (still do) tan carpeting.  Talk about boring!  The carpet is disgusting!  I've had it cleaned several times and there's simply nothing more that can be done with it.  It's got to go.  I considered replacing it with new carpeting, but have since decided to go with laminate/fake wood instead.  I'll more than likely use the same choice that I did for our kitchen and nook/woodstove room.  It's a fairly dark and rustic-looking flooring in the shade of walnut, but not quite that dark.  It has a very slight reddish tone to it, but is truly more in the brown family.    With the darker flooring, I still need to keep the walls fairly light, but I definitely want warm/neutrals.  I hope these color choices will look nice with our reddish-toned leather couch and loveseat.  At some point, I'll get a large area rug for the seating area.  My many throw pillows are also in the rich, dark reds, blacks and tans of what would probably be considered kind of a Southwest earthen tone??  I'm not sure, it's kind of difficult to describe, but you get the gist, right?

The one wall where the pellet stove is located is the only wall that's not painted white right now.  And I'm still in a bit of a quandary as to what to do with it.  Right now, it's paneled in a very light, (almost maple) bead board.  Maybe I'll do the painting and then decide what to do with that wall.  We could leave it as it is, remove the bead board and paint it the same as the other walls, or paint it in a contrasting color.  What to do?  Right now I'm just focusing on getting the new paint up and the new flooring and trim boards in before making a decision on that wall.  It's probably going to become a much bigger project that what I'm envisioning...that always seems to happen!

If we can accomplish this project and still haven't committed hari-kari, then it's on to our bedroom...I have definite plans already in place for that, but won't go into them right now.  First things, first.  :)

In other news that isn't news, we're still working, still interacting and caring for our horses every day (feisty, fat and furry), and maintaining everything that comes along with home ownership and rural properties.  No rest for the wicked, I'm afraid!

We just cut and stacked in our wood shed, a cord of fir for our stash.  This weekend we're getting 2 more cords of oak firewood, and that will be it for this year.  That should be more than we actually need to get through this winter, but it doesn't go bad, and it'll be nice having a little extra to layover for the next year.

We got our order of a quarter beef.  Not only does it look mighty good in our freezer, but it's really tasty as well.  We're very, very happy with the quality and the flavor of this meat.  So...the pantry and the freezer are well-stocked.  The wood shed will be full with beautiful firewood very soon, and we will then, turn our energy and attention to inside projects.  No, we never get bored!  We're feeling especially blessed and as ready as is possible for the coming winter weather...barn full of hay, plenty of bedding on hand, pellets for our stove on hand, plenty of firewood in the wood shed, pantry and freezer well stocked.  I even found lamp oil for our kerosene lamps and have plenty of candles if we ever have an electrical outage.  Yes indeed, feeling very blessed!

And that's about all she wrote!  Until next time, Lorie @ Cingspots

Happy Fall everybody...hope you find good ways to keep your hands and minds busy, and your hearts at peace.