Thursday, December 22, 2016

Merry Christmas

Another year almost to its' completion.  December these days, seems like such a melancholy month for me.  Too much loss.  Short days, long nights and cold, usually wet weather.  This year we've had snow.  Unusual for us, but we've had two different snow storms, followed by ice.  Cold and frigid - I prefer everything about it to rain, except for the driving part.  My new little car though, seems to do very well.  I've not slipped a wheel.  Loving that.  And those heated seats...

Yesterday was the winter solstice.  The shortest day of the year.  I'm so happy to be turning this corner and looking forward to longer, warmer days.  For now though, we just keep trudging along, taking care of the horses, keeping them warm and dry and keeping the home fires burning.

Tis the season for spending more quiet and reflective times.  Enjoying a hot cuppa something, a good book by the warm fire, and gazing outside and pondering all that we have to be thankful for.  Always. So much for which to give thanks.  And this season reminds me that life is a circle, and that for everything in life there is a season.  And completion.  I am quiet and content, for now.

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Our little homemade wreath on our front door...including my washing machine, which I just realized was included in this shot.  What would a professional say?  :)  Perfection was, and never will be high on my priorities list.  I yam what I yam in the infamous words of Popeye!  No truer words...

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Evidence of our cold (and early) winter weather.  Ice on the apple.  It's beautiful, but can be deadly. We don't often get the chance to become accomplished in treacherous driving around here, and when it happens, boy what a fiasco ensues.  Entertaining, but worrisome and frightening for so many - not to mention, expensive.  The snow's not a real problem to most, but when it's followed by ice, that's a whole nuther ballgame.  Power outages, trees and branches falling, people getting cold and many, stranded.  Stress is never something that any of us are needing more of.  Especially around Christmas when so many are already feeling the pressure of "to do" lists and doing more.  But today finds us all thawed out, snow all gone and a cold front with fog and likely rain to follow.  December in Oregon is all grey, soft and fuzzy around the edges.  Christmas...

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This is frequently how the dogs spend their time in the afternoons and evenings.  Not unlike us, really.  Lounging by the fire and soaking up its' warmth.  Feels so good to the body and soul.

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Little Charlotte loves the snow.  She frolics and plays, and delights in the cold, running in huge circles in the orchard next door.  Sheer exuberance and delight!  Oh to be a child again and feel that kind of pure and simple joy at life!  Wouldn't that be wonderful?  But, that circle of life. Every stage is unique and has a beauty of its' own.  We just need to seek, in order to find.

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And this is how we spent last Sunday.  We had Christmas carols playing and we baked cookies!  All day long.  It was warm and cozy, and smelled absolutely wonderful in our homey, little kitchen.  We did get a break when we headed to the barn to do the horse chores.  It had been a very cold and snowy day, and the horses were more than willing to come inside for some food, warmth and relaxation.  I just love how our barn comes alive with all those soft nickers and sweet horsey smells.  Does my heart good to care for them, and spend time in their presence.  Truly.  We've said it often, and it's still the case; when we bask in their glow, we become quiet and peaceful ourselves.  I believe that horses make us better people.  What a gift they are!

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And here's another way Charlotte spent some of her snow day...
She isn't satisfied to just lounge on the bed, but instead prefers to be in the bed.  But then, so do we! Such a spoiled puppy.  The rest of her time was spent in the kitchen with us - helping.  Ruby, on the other hand, prefers to go upstairs to her room, and sleep in her chair.  She reminds us of a moody, teen-aged girl who doesn't want to be around mom and dad, but needs her alone time.  :)

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With the bittersweet memories of Christmases past, and of this one too, I couldn't help but post a few more pictures of my beautiful girl.  She's been on my mind so much this month and has been such a big part of our lives for so very long, how could I not?  I will miss her so much, but simply cannot think about her and our wonderful times together, without smiling.  I will be forever thankful for this horse coming into my life.  As you may, or may not remember, Kadie is Ladde's mom.  The above picture of the two of them was taken within the first few days of Ladde's life.  Her only colt, we still say that she outdid herself.  Big and bold, what else did we expect?  I remember my first thought was that, I didn't know what to expect, but Ladde wasn't it.  We were amazed at how big he was, and at just how big he became!  Standing 17 hands and weighing around 1500 pounds, our petite little mare had given it her all.  Just the way she lived her life.  Giving us her all.  I still laugh when I remember what Kadie had done just before I took this shot.  I had been trying to feed her a carrot, and instead she grabbed the entire bag from my hand, ran off with her precious baby and ate them all.

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Good times, and one of the last pictures of Kadie that I have.  She looked great still, at almost 35 years old.  She's in the bottom right corner, likely willing me to go get her alfalfa.  She was the reigning queen of our barn for so long, we always said that we "live to serve and serve to live".  We all were her subjects.  Every horse did her bidding and protected her always.

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This is me and my girl out on a trail ride in central Oregon many years ago.  To me, she's a real beauty.  She might not be a "classic" beauty like a shiny, dark mare; but to know her, was to love her. The other thing this picture brings to mind is just how much I look like my dad in this shot.  Oh my gosh!  Not only my face, but my scowling expression because of the sun.  That was one of my dad's trademark looks.  :)  Gone, but never forgotten.

Whatever you have planned for Christmas, my wish is that you'll all be surrounded by those you love and hold dear to your hearts.  May there be love and laughter, memories shared and wistful tears for those who are no longer with us.  And as always, give thanks for the One, true and meaningful gift given to us by our loving Father.  For without that gift of eternal life, we would have no hope and there would be no grace.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The best horse in the world

I'm feeling a wee bit empty of cheer.  You see, one week ago today we lost a very dear and precious member of our family.  She had lived a long, adventurous and much-loved life, but still.  I find it so hard to say good-bye to someone who's meant the world to me.  She came to us when she was a young gal of 7.  I'll never forget my first impression of this bright-eyed, wild-haired, skinny little Appaloosa mare my husband had gifted me with.  My first thought was, "this is not the horse I would have picked".  Just goes to show you what I know...or don't know.

She turned out to be the absolute best horse in the world.  I can truthfully say that in our entire nearly 28 years together, the only thing I ever remember her doing wrong was stepping on my toe.  Once. She had a feisty, sassy side which I always found endearing.  Opinionated?  Absolutely.  Spirited? You bet.  Smart?  Too smart for her own good, or for my good.  But their wasn't a mean bone in her body and she was the most sensible and trustworthy, fun horse I've ever ridden.  Truly.  She was a precious gift and one of my most beloved blessings in my life.  I was so blessed to have loved her!

I cannot think of her now without tears streaming down  my cheeks, but also with warm memories forcing me to smile through those tears.  Kadie did not know a bad day.  Not to my knowledge anyway.  She lived a good life.  A full life.  I will miss her so very much.

If I had one single wish today, it would be to have the chance to do it all over again.  Oh, what a wish...

Rest in peace my beautiful girl.  I will love you always and forever...and I will not forget.

Thank you for always taking such good care of me, and for getting us home when I got us lost.


May 25, 1984 - December 7, 2016


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Monday, November 21, 2016

Week of Thanksgiving

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

Deep breaths feel good

Nature's master weavers' handiwork:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tripping down Memory Lane

dueling selfies

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

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

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

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

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

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

How's that for an excuse!?

I know.  Pretty bad huh?

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

Kadie and me at Joe Graham, near Timothy Lake

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

Harley, me, Ray and my sister Lilly

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

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

Ladde & me.  Ladde was a yearling here.

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

Ladde's good life

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

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

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

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

After a bad forest fire near Sisters, Oregon

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

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

Lots of good horses, good times and good people.

Wonderful memories!  

Monday, October 17, 2016

Live your moments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missy listening...

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

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

Black Butte, an ancient volcano cinder cone.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blessings all,