Alas, here we are, at the beginning of another month. Several days in, actually. It feels spring as sprung, as they say. The Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes have arrived. They are the first of the wildflowers to show their colors. The Bluebonnets in particular are only here for a short time, so one must get out and enjoy them while they are here! I have not taken a close look at the Pecan trees though, they are the real tell on if we are here for good. The grass has really turned on which I always love to see. And, the horses are in real shedding mode, another thing I love to see! There is nothing more satisfying or exciting. Especially since we are knocking on Daylight Savings’ door. One week and we are really in business for more riding.
Time is relatively just flying right on by as evidenced by the fact that I have again not written to you in over a month. As I utter those words here I cringe. That is about as riveting a topic as the weather, and yet, here we all are, continuing to discuss them! One may ask why do we keep bringing it up? Is not there anything better to discuss? To be perfectly frank, many times there is not anything better or safer to discuss with darkness and negativity ever at the forefront. However, that very point is the lovely thing about time and weather. Intertwined they are like infinity. One does not exist without the other. They are ever present. They are one of the things that controls us, that brings us back down to the ground, and reminds us that we are only mere humans. As time staunchly marches forward and the globe makes its revolutions, the weather does the same from one season to the next. From one leads to the other. From the dark and cold reflectiveness of winter bursts forth a bright, young spring, beaming with light and life. The light of the sun and moon are always there regardless of the darkness of the clouds. And again, no matter how dark the clouds are, the clouds are what bring the rain, and the rain is what brings the life and the light.
I suppose the point of all of that rambling, the AHA moment, is do not let the darkness get you down. Between the world and the people, there is very little we have control over. People are going to disappoint you. You will disappoint you. Other circumstances will disappoint you. That disappointment, or any other word, is on you. What you do have control over is you. The negativity and darkness are always going to be around, but if you look for the light and focus on it, you will begin to embody it. You will begin to emit it. Try every day to just block out what is not light, what is not truth, what does not bring you joy. Those other things are not for you. It is like that saying, you are what you eat. Garbage in, garbage out. The laws of attraction. What you focus on is what grows. It becomes easy to lessen judgement and follow the golden rule we are all taught as children. To treat others as you wish to be treated. To only say nice things and not just nothing at all.
Stand up as a light against the darkness and fight for the truth. Let it grow like the spring. Take a deep breath.
Last Tuesday I became an Aunt again and then this past Sunday my Grandmother peacefully rose into Heaven. She lived a beautiful and long life of 92 years. Even through the sadness, blessings and joy abound! I am reminded of the ever present circle of life and to never forget your prayers.
My Grandmother’s nickname growing up was Baby. I always thought that was somewhat funny because I was the baby until the greatgrandchildren were born, of which I believe there are 18 in total, but I did not put overly much thought into it for a long time. Now when I do think of it, she did always seem small to me and in more than just physical stature. She had very small wrists and fingers that Sister K got. Her rings barely fit on my pinky finger. Everything about her was seemingly small. Her build was dainty and her movements small and fluid, her voice and touch both soft and sweet. I can hear her now calling each one of us ‘deary.’ I remember she had very soft skin. Everything seemed soft about her, even the air around her. Like her aura. Maybe she had a white aura? I do not know much about that kind of thing, but it seems fitting even though she wore and painted with bold and vibrant colors. Anyway, it sounds odd, but it was very comforting to just look at her even if you were not close to her. Comforting like the feeling of getting blessed while taking Communion. To me, it does not matter who is serving Communion, but the touch and the feeling feels the same to me every time. Alongside all of this smallness, there was a presumed frailty to her. I learned later in life that this loomed from childhood. She of course was a child of the depression and the youngest child of three, but she also suffered greatly from severe asthma which caused her parents to be very protective of her. To keep her from doing certain things, things Baby wanted to do, for fear of an attack.
However, that presumed frailty from her childhood did not align with my Teeto, with the person I knew, or her aura. I will not lie, the line from the movie Dirty Dancing, “Nobody puts Baby in a corner” is what I came to think of a while back any time I would think of her. And I will tell you exactly why.
What was not small about her was her presence. People make that mistake all the time about a lot of people. My Grandmother, Antoinette who went by Toni, but we called her Teeto, had a large presence. Her softness and quietness and sweetness spoke volumes because it was pure goodness. Her strong and unwavering faith and spirituality, devotion to her family, and generosity to her people and the world are her legacy. That is not a Baby in a corner if you ask me. Teeto found her Johnny in Harry and I think one of the things that must have drawn him to her and them together was her very presence.
Tributes can often make a person seem better on paper than they were in real life. I can tell you without a doubt that that is not the case here. One of my honorary Aunties, Aunt C, sent me a message after Teeto passed that said, “She was a loving, sweet, beautiful woman…From my perspective she gave to the world more than she took which is a great thing to witness.” I could stop right here with that. Talk about a mic drop.
That is truly who she was.
For my Pops, Aunt M, and Uncle K, she was the best of the best Moms. Apparently it was voted on and she won. She always had homemade cookies in the jar and the back door was always open to everyone’s friends. Weather or not you wanted a cookie. Speaking of cookies, her molasses cookies are our standard for making them. I believe I have told you this before, but molasses cookies are a tradition in our family because of Teeto. Practically synonymous. They appeared at every family gathering. All of us kids would hunt down the coveted foil wrapped plate because we knew we could sneak a cookie. We knew it would be OK because Teeto brought them for us and that there would be enough remaining for after the meal. When my dad or his siblings got sick, Teeto would apparently roll the only television in the house into their bedroom to entertain them while they rested. She would cook and bake special things just for them. She was the spiritual leader of their family. I see that in all three of them.
She was a lifelong student of art and loved to sketch and paint. I in fact have several of her paintings hanging in my house. She even had a local glary show a few years ago. We also have painted Christmas ornaments and wine glasses. She was creative and crafty. I feel like some of my creativity comes from her. Some of my fondest memories of my time with her revolve around going to the craft store to pick out fun materials and tools, painting and crafting, and quilting on the weekends I would stay at their house.
She often took me to the toy store and would indulge me in my Breyer model horse addiction. Speaking of toys, she had the best bath toys. Bath time was always a party for all of us. She had the coolest carved and painted wooden Noah’s Ark toy we all played with. She was always taking us to the museums and the movie theater where she would sneak in snacks and candy for us in zip top bags, packed away in her purse. She would record on VHS any and all movies that showed on the television (Interesting fact, my Grandparents were one of Netfilx’s first customers. She was also a texting Grandmother, if you wanted to know.). I still have some of these tapes because we still have a working VHS at the farm. I have an obsession for Seven Brides For Seven Brothers because she recorded it and somehow I ended up with it. I don’t even know if I ever watched it as a kid, but at some point she offered it to me and I took it to the farm, and now I have watched it so many times that I am surprised it still works. She gave me my most favorite stuffed animal horse named Ginger, named after the best mare in Black Beauty, that I slept with for years.
I remember the drives to and from their house where she would play country music on the radio and sing along out loud because she knew we loved it. She was also very funny. It is hard to describe how she was funny. It was in the way she said things and the faces she made. Sister A gets that from her.
If you were here when my Grandfather passed, you know we loved to go out to breakfast and that was our most recent tradition to spend time together. I like to think that this tradition and my love of waffles stems from Teeto’s superior ability to prepare Eggo freezer waffles. I have no idea how or what she did, but they were always better at her house than anywhere else. Maybe it was because she cut them into bite size pieces for me, in line with the squares, all neat and tidy. Maybe it was just that she did it with love. Maybe it was the margarine, but I refuse to concede to that. Even the orange juice from concentrate, the kind in the cardboard tube in the freezer section, poured out of an ancient and stained plastic pitcher was pure magic. I sometimes today will treat myself to a Klondike bar because she always had those in the freezer for us.
More than anything else (I am saving the best for last, so if you are still here, congratulations, here is your reward!), I remember this that Teeto told me once and I believe it forever changed me and my perspective on life, and she sure taught me a lot over the years.
I am not sure if I have told y’all this before, but I come from a long line of cattle ranchers and the use and love of horses runs deep in my blood on both sides of my family. Teeto’s father was one of the many ranchers in my lineage.
One day not too far back, when I was out to breakfast with Teeto and Harry, she quietly said to me, “You know, I always loved horses. I always wanted to ride them. It was one of my dreams. I just thought they were so beautiful and free. But my father, mother, and my brother Kermit always said I could not because I was a girl. Because I was Baby. I think they just did not want me to get sick, but it was never going to be allowed.” I am pretty sure I just stared at her for a good several seconds before I could respond. I exclaimed with something really smart like, “You did!?” I actually do not even remember talking much more about it, but it had a profound affect on me. Baby always wanted to ride and be a horse girl, but she was told she couldn’t. To this day I still get my back up just thinking about it and I am taken right back to that booth in Le Peep. You probably did not hear it here first, but I am going to tell you, take this lesson and do not let anyone tell you no if you have the can and the will. Never give up fighting. Keep knocking at that door. I guess I get some of my independence and ‘don’t tread on me,’ my Texas spirit, from her.
This earthly walk is an everchanging place, dear readers. Give of yourself and try to make it better for those around you like my Teeto did. Receive His blessings so you can be a blessing to others through Him.
It is not lost on me that I am extremely blessed to have had two full sets of grandparents into adulthood.
Walk in love, dear readers, and hold your loved ones close.
But first (do not you just LOVE when I do that to you?!), back to Christmas real quick.
Happy Christmas, dear readers! Happy Hanukkah! Happy Kwanzaa! Happy New Year! Happy NEW DAY!
We can not just let Christmas slide right on by, even if that is what it seemed like it was going to do. I mean, can you even believe that I almost did not put up a tree?! Just so you know, I still have my tree up and the ornaments are still hanging and the lights are plugged in right now during my coffee time for my enjoyment and it will stay that way for several more days. Why not? It brings me joy! Happy Christmas! I told you I would get there.
Anyway, here is where we left off, lest you forget. The horses were less enthused with their annual Christmas portraits.
Merley Bob also got his turn by the tree and he was also not feeling it. At all!
He would not look at me.
Just look at that face. How anyone could not recognize animals’ personalities is beyond me.
Between horses and dog, I am not sure we could handle any more personality around here.
If you remember from when when we spoke last, I mentioned a little predicted winter weather before Christmas and, well, that prediction did come true. However, there was no precipitation and that alone was and is cause for celebration! Even if some snow can be pretty and fun for a little bit, the wet cold is so hard on the animals…and their caretakers. The weather we did have did mean that I had to be at the farm from the Wednesday (I think) before through to the day after Christmas to cover all pipes, break ice on water troughs, feed all the horses and cows, haul water, muck stalls, and blanket and re-blanket. Rinse and repeat and do a dance! I learned long ago from this man that dancing is how to get through winter, even our little Texas winter spurts.
I am just so blessed to have a working manure spreader, warm clothes, and that I have the ability to stay and work from the farm for the duration. To not have to spend valuable time burning up the highway to and from the office. At its coldest this time it was 16 degrees F with a feel like temperature of 1 degree, but it was definitely not as bad as the big freeze. I will say, these cold mornings are stunning and warming your hands on the horses is hard to beat.
I of course got some baking and cooking in as I am sure you guessed. I baked a pomegranate cake for Cousin H’s party before the winter set in. Then from the farm for Christmas day I baked a chocolate peppermint cake and a ridiculous pumpkin pecan pie cheesecake Aunt M sent me from facebook. I also put together a baked brie with homemade cranberry fig jelly.
I do love to do all this baking! It is a lot of work, especially to get it all done between winter chores to then get them undamaged an hours drive into town for our Christmas Day celebration, and then after all that, drive all the way back to get everyone fed and set for another cold night. I would not change it for a thing. It is so much fun to get everyone’s reaction to the treats.
To end a great Christmas Day that I got to start with my horses, I got to give all the horses a Christmas peppermint before dark. It is like insert peppermint quarter for a good time!
OK, now on to the point of this post! Here is your first AHA moment of 2023. Begin as you mean to go on.
This is the part where you take notes.
“Begin as you mean to go on, and go on as you began, and let the Lord be all in all to you.”
Think of this as a recipe for a good year, if you will.
This is how I spent the first day of the year 2022. You can substitute whatever makes you happiest.
I remember thinking that this seems better than black eyed peas. I said a little prayer of thanksgiving for the blessing of being able to ride my best boy.
Fast forward through a lot of good times to December 31.
This is how I spent the last day of the year 2022.
I rode and spent some good time with R.
I think the year came out of the oven pretty alright. I think I did something right. 2022 I think was a pretty dang good year!
Were there hard times? Surely, everybody has them. Nobody is immune to the hard times.
I backed my car door into a tree, did several things I did not want to do, cried for and with friends and family, saw our vet (and others!) more than any other year, battled Mother Nature, WordPress lost some very important additions and edits on this post, and experienced grief in waves. Many waves.
There were more not so fun things I could mention, but at present I do not recall them or do not wish to. All of that is OK though because we are here today, surviving and doing it, and that is what matters. The thing is, no matter what you do you can not avoid the hard and the difficult. If you try to, you will miss and not experience the good bits. You can not selectively dull emotions. You dull one, you dull them all, including the happy.
I choose to focus on the good parts, and there were many.
I rode a lot, I rode alone, with friends, and in new places, played with my dog and watched him run and hunt and swim and smile, listened to a lot of music and books, traveled to Hawaii and spent time with family and made new family and rode, created art, experienced and enjoyed art, cooked, baked, one of my best friends that I had not seen in years came into town for the best visit, I went fishing, went to the beach, visited long time human and horse friends in my college town, got my own truck, learned a lot, made new friends, spent time with family and my people, celebrated, prayed, made memories, I looked a little bit past my grief.
I said YES.
Every day we wake is a blessing we were not promised and we should be grateful for each day we are granted. Every day is a new day. New Year’s day is not the only chance for us to start new. Every minute of every day we have the chance to make a choice. A choice to see the light, to be positive, to say yes, to do the right thing. To live in gratitude.
Thank you to 2022.
I have not said that much here since I carved this little corner of the internet.
Tell me about your holiday if you were celebrating! Tell me what you are grateful for this past year! Tell me what choice you are excited for this coming year!
Walk in love, dear readers!
Insert peppermint for a good time! I already have some exciting things in the works for this year.
I promise to use less commas and explanation points next time!.
I just have to laugh. This is just one of those years! We are just not with it! But I will tell you what, we will get there before it is over no matter what! Something a little more like ‘coming in hot’ rather than ‘fake it till you make it’ I would say.
So, this is where we are at. Happy Christmas!
I forgot to give my friend (Thanks K!) her elf hat and necklaces back to her after we rode in a Christmas float parade this past weekend, so I naturally decided to put them to work getting Merle and the Dun Duo’s annual portraits before I left the farm this past weekend since I had yet to do anything about them. Like I said, coming in HOT. But, anything is better than nothing. I think the Dun Duo might have begged to differ this year.
Anyway, we have been getting a lot of rain and mud has been the name of the game around here. LOTS of mud. Riding has been at a minimal recently, which probably explains a lot! I did not even groom the horses is how last minute this very impromptu session was. Between their dirty coats and the looks they were giving me, I felt like they were sending me a message…and it was not an overly festive one!
Something tells me they were not enthused.
Cheetah tossed the hat more times than I could count! She would not really even look at me. When she would look in my general direction, she would either glare or close her eyes. I think she even rolled them a time or two. I also could not have taken a good photo that day for the life of me!
It is a little hard to call them Christmas ponies or Santa’s helpers. Lito was even ‘better.’
I think Lito learned his looks from his mother.
I am pretty sure he tossed the hat into the mud on purpose.
When I went to find Merle for his torture session, I discovered he had gotten into something bad. This dog, I swear. He has the worst kind of witching hour. Between the hours of 5 and 7 PM is when bad things happen. He found bees or wasps or a snake or something. His whole face started to swell. Always something! The good news is he seemed fine other than in appearances. I luckily or unluckily have some experience with snake bites in dogs and this did not appear to be a snake bite. I gave him a couple Benadryl and decided to try again another day. It was not working out for us!
Anyway, the work week started in earnest and I started looking at the Christmas weather forecast (possible spoiler alert, it may be very cold with stuff falling from the sky…which means I will likely be away from home at the farm taking care of the animals) and the thought creeped into my head that maybe I do not get a tree this year.
And. And. And.
Who am I!
I basically slapped myself this evening on my way home. Get with it, sister! Get into the spirit! Yikes!
So. I called around and then drove to find our little tree and turned up the festivity! A little late, but that never hurt anybody! I am now enjoying a glass of bubbley out of a chipped glass of my grandmother’s with my lit and decorated tree and house while the Christmas music plays.
And, yes, Merle will get some photos too, but we will all just have to wait for that.
This is where we are at. We are here and we are present. We are in the spirit! Join us!
Play some of this new Christmas music and turn your festivity up too! Keep scrolling if you need some of our past years’ photos to help you turn up your cheer! If you can you the word ‘festive’ and any of its derivatives as much as me, you get a special prize.
I am looking for some inspiration, my dear readers!
But real quick.
Is anyone else surprised that we are here halfway through November, staring and the holiday season coming in hot and heavy? Just me? Sometimes I stop and think and almost look around me and wonder how I got here! I am along for the ride though and would not change a thing.
Long time readers know I live for this time of year. The love and family time. The thanks and giving. The traditions. The cooking and baking. The lights and decorations. The festivity! I love it. We had a cold front blow in and the weather has now caught up to the season and is here to stay. Or as much as we have winter weather here in our part of the world. I am not really ready for the cold part though given how not fun winter 2020 was. I literally thought the big winter-pocalypse was winter 2021. I should be able to remember all of this given that last year I was able to go on a Hawaiian vacation, you know…balance things out, but alas, my time memory is still warped from 2020 covid time.
It is time to crank up the festive. Turn on the happy. Remember the reason for the season!
So here is the deal, I want to know!
I want to know what are your favorite traditions? What makes the holidays for you? Favorite food (sweet or savory). Favorite music. Favorite activity or decorations.
What makes it festive for you?
I specifically want to know what is your favorite cake!
I am looking to try something new!
Every year (one year I even participated in a blog event!) I have shared my favorite Christmas music, fun animal photo shoots, and of course the cooking and baking. Have no fear, you will get some of that this year of course, but I want to know yours.
Drop and comment and share with us! Or send me an email at email@example.com.
I am going to brag here in a bit. You might just want to skip to the photos at the bottom from the ride!
The bestest boy not only earned, but he deserves some carrots and apples after last week.
They really are not even enough. All the treats in the world would not be enough!
I am not even kidding. About 20 times a day I would tell Lito how good, brave, and handsome he is.
It was more than him just taking care of me and safely carrying me around all week. It was more than him just being a good boy. Both of these things are blessings to be sure. Horses give us humans so much for our own gain that does not have much to do with the horse.
I know I get all hippie-dippie, but we were in sync. We had the same feelings there in the hills with over one hundred other horses and riders that we have had for the last few months no matter where we are. I know you horse people know how great it is to have the same horse away from home that you have at home. It is the same with dogs and kids. It does not happen all the time for a myriad of reasons.
Have we been riding more away from home than in the past? Yes, we have done that. Have we been riding more away from home with more horses than we have in the past? Yes, we have also done that. Have we spent more weekends away in company than we have in the past? Yup, that too. He has been better and better every year, which is generally to be expected too. But it is more. More of a feeling. That we are on the same wavelength. That we are both right there, in a secret, private place. Almost like a cocoon with nobody else even though we are surrounded by others. It feels as though we are the same. Communicating is not even the right word. Sure, there is that and it is more open and two way than ever, but it is the feel or feeling rather than communicating. The feeling of presence. The flow of energy that has no beginning and no end. If that makes sense. It is some pretty good woo stuff.
I got emotional a few times while we were riding. It was just the whole of it all. This horse came to be from a thought, a dream. It was something I always wanted and only became possible with my Cheetah. All the planning and waiting and trials in addition to trails, and here we are. I bred and trained this horse that carried me so proudly this week.
Please enjoy some shots from the ride. Other people and secret shenanigans omitted, as per usual.
R and I had an uneventful and even pleasant caravan drive to our home for the week. We even stopped at the big tack store on the way which we have not been able to do in a while. I snagged a new pair of reins and a curb chain. I told myself I could not get any more. I am just glad they did not have a sale going on like that one year!
We arrived in camp at about 11:30 AM. It took us no time at tall to get our horses set up and let the party begin.
Did I say buffalo?! Why, yes, yes I did. Follow Lito’s left ear and you can see a big ‘ol buffalo bull.
Pray for rain. It is pretty sad. We have been blessed with some rain at the farm, but dang. It was so so dry there. Basically no grass. Dirt and dust in and on all of our stuff. My jeans by the end of the week were standing up with dirt as if they had been starched! But look at that hill country sky!
Not that I necessarily pray for a flood, but this drought might be worse than 2011.
Before we headed back this day, we went up the big hill for the best view.
My not so little Lito just trucked up and down without a trouble or extra breath it seemed. He gave everyone their space and kept pace with little input by me.
My photos are a little blurry and I apologize for that. They are all taken with my phone and I tried to clean the lens before every shot, but sometimes it did not seem to help at all.
The tract across the highway has a little more grass, which Lito was delighted with, but still way less than past years.
If you have not guessed or did not know, this area and this river in particular are quite special and iconic in Texas. We are blessed to be able to ride here!
This place has some of the grandest cypress trees of all. It is very difficult to get a pic with Lito in it AND the tops of the trees! They are so big around, we would need four of us to hug the trunks!
We had cloudy mornings and clear, blue afternoons every day! We did not have any rain, but I think would have all welcomed a little sprinkle or two at night to settle the dust.
The Frio river itself has actually had a good amount of input and was flowing in places. It offers a good long drink and a nice cold soak to cool the horse’s hooves and legs before lunch.
We got a bit of a later start on the drive back home because somebody’s horse would not load, but eventually it did. Lito loaded well and hauled pretty well back home to the farm. I got him settled and fed and then the same to myself before dark. Then it was a hot bath and champagne before bed.
We rode. We swam. We shared stories. We remembered. We laughed. We cried. We enjoyed each other and our horses. Mostly though, I loved on and appreciated my horse.
Each year, while we ride in the same place, is different. However, one thing remains the same. This place and these days and these horses and these people, are all those the Lord has made. Tomorrow is never promised. Learn that lesson now. Enjoy now.
Remember, focus on the positive, not the negative! Most all things wash out in the rain, just another reason to pray for it!
Well, dear readers, this little corner of the interwebs has turned into a once a month update at best! That statement at this point could read once every two months. Details. There are worse things to be sure, however I do apologize for it. It is not what I had intended.
How have y’all been?
I am sitting outside on the porch at the farm with my coffee. It is quiet and still. I am putting off thinking about what all I need to do in favor of writing to you! I think I was doing that last time I wrote.
Where is Merle you ask? A logical question as it might not be this still were he here. He got dropped off at the kennel yesterday for boarding. He is at his annual stay while I am about to begin loading up in preparation to head for the hill country for my annual ride. I have a quick respite here at the farm before striking out right before dawn on Monday to meet up with R and her mount to go west.
More on that later. Back to the still.
If you haven’t noticed, which might be true for some as I myself have no idea how we went straight through September and well into October in less than a blink, but alas, here we are! Blessed be! The curse of being an adult.
I am sitting here with my coffee watching the first colors of the sunrise to the east. I can hear someone, most likely Cheetah, in the barn behind the house pawing her empty feed bucket thinking I will come back and give her more. It is so quiet, I can hear the water spray on the pond in the distance over my shoulder. The air has changed enough that everything sounds different. The birds are chirping all around me and the cows are softly mooing. The air, while pretty humid, still contains that distinct fall softness. If it was less humid, it would almost feel like cashmere. This morning is reminiscent of a morning in Colorado for whatever reason. Most likely the quiet aloneness.
It is just cool enough, and I suppose humid enough, that I considered grabbing something with sleeves to throw on.
Well, this is going to be a long one, I guess. And well, scattered. What all have we been up to since, August, was it? Let us see. Side note, I am starting to realize why Merle goes crazy about the squirrels. They have gotten rather brazen I must say.
I write a lot about the weather. In August, it was the heat and what the seasons remind one of. Funny how no matter your lifestyle, the weather is something we all live our lives around. It is something that grounds us and reminds us how small we are in this world. Like the mountains. And the rivers and oceans. Is it just me?
The deer feeder by the pond just went off, if you wanted to know. It is a new one and quite loud.
Anyway. Stay focused.
As you well know, we have been riding. And Lito, well he is great. And turbo cute. I just can not get enough of him.
I may have a problem, but I am OK with that.
It feels funny or odd to say this, but I have been trying to spend a lot of time nurturing my friendships with my human friends. I have been very ‘socially’ busy for me. This is something I think I am normally pretty good at, but lately I have been doing less of it while going through my own stuff. I have been calling to check in with people. Sending a quick text. Grabbing drinks or dinner. Offering help if needed. I want to be there for my people the way some were there for me. Put it on your to do list if you have to. It is all we have. I will be honest, it has been pumping life into me.
Just look at this Merle pup. Just the happiest of all dogs I think. I look at him sometimes and am reminded that, man, happiness is as simple as a choice! Every day.
As you can well imagine, the Merle has been living the life and giving me the life through him!
All dogs are happy, but something makes me feel he is the happiest.
I tried to get enough horse hay to get us through the winter. I used to never even think of this until late October or November. One of the many joys of being where we are. This year is definitely different as many livestock owners will tell you. There are many factors, but the point is, as everyone in the world can tell you, the prices on everything have skyrocketed. Feed across the board included. Throw in a shortage made worse by Mother Nature and well, you shop around, write a check early, put your gloves and music on, and get to work stacking hay in the summer heat of early September. You’ll be covered in sweat, dust, and hay, but you will feel great.
This is Merle questioning the work. He liked this bed of last year’s leftovers.
Pretty satisfying work.
We went to ride with friends in two new to us places. Lito really loves exploring and seems very comfortable in his set up. I feel blessed to be able to take the Merle most places and loves it too.
There is something magical about riding in a forest of trees. I have said it before. I must be living a dream because I will say it feels like something out of a storybook. And now I have said that twice in one post!
See what I mean?! I have no words.
Just like sunsets at the farm render me silent.
My boy, just being my boy.
We rode a 2500 acre ranch southwest of us a couple weekends ago. The riding there. There were some very special moments. There is a lot of tree riding to be had there too! And some very nice big oak trees.
Last weekend I spent some quality time at the farm with Lito and groomed him for an hour. His fall dapples inspired me even if they are hard to capture in a picture. I even braided his mane. Just because. Gave him many treats. We took a hand grazing walk before I turned him out in a special pasture. To say thank you, he promptly rolled. Gotta love horses!
This also happened last weekend. He was quite pleased with himself. No judging on the state of this farm garage! This is Merl’s life in a nutshell. And, well, mine too!
My Lito, he is ready for this week. He has been at a really steady weight and condition. He has gained muscle. He has really seemed to, grow seems the wrong word. Expand? He has really expanded in his mind, body, and spirit. Sounds funny, I know. He has more than matured. Sure, he is still the goofy teenager he always will be, but he has matured. Seems more grounded. More confident. Not just in himself, but in me too and our communication. Our relationship. He seems softer or quieter in his mind or energy. Maybe I am too. That is generally how it works. I am really looking forward to this ride with him.
The sun is now shining the last of its golden glow on the front pasture while the birds are in full concert. Past time to get moving!
Walk in love, dear readers! I will speak with you soon upon our return!
I am sitting in the front room of the farm house, finishing my second cup of coffee. I am contemplating having a third cup, a rarity. This room used to be a porch, once upon a time. At some point, it was screened in and then fully enclosed and incorporated into the house. It still feels like a porch to me with its slightly sunken floor.
I have been up for a few hours now. I have a whole list of things I need to do today and I need to get cracking before it gets too hot. The schedules around here revolve around the heat of the day and how to avoid it. That usually for me means getting a terrible case of cabin fever come mid afternoon and then having a hard time falling asleep at night. Luckily for me, I have had no troubles getting to sleep and staying asleep the last few nights.
I use this sleep tracking app on my phone that tracks my sleep cycles and utilizes that information to nicely and gently wake you up in the optimum window and grade your sleep. I apparently got a perfect score of 100% quality of sleep last night. As I sit here and watch the world long past it has woken up, it does not feel like I had the best quality of sleep.
August has apparently always been an extremely reflective and anticipatory time for me. I would guess that has something to do with the heat here in Texas and perhaps most Texans feel this way. This is usually the hottest month. Although this year is a little different in that June and July were quite hot and I think some records were even broken.
Anyway, come August I am usually looking forward to fall and everything that brings. I have written about this before. I am also apparently thinking about different anniversaries. I have also written about this before. Both good and bad. On this particular day, and for weeks now (really every day of the last year), I am thinking about H.
I really have no grand thoughts or revelations for you today. I don’t even really want to go there. On another day I will be back to that super positive person and have better things to say. Life is just hard sometimes. You just crack on. That is it. That is the secret. You do the chores. You cross one thing off the list and do it again tomorrow. If that is all you can do, that is ok. You did it. You won. It changes every day, that is how grief works. I take great comfort in days when things happen and I have no choice but to just get it done. No thinking. Just doing. When I got here to the farm Thursday night, I discovered when I woke up that our bull had found his way next door. I called him a few choice words when he gave me some trouble, but I eventually got him back without too much hardship…and a wasp sting. I then spent some hours just going down the fence line fixing every spot that looked inviting to his wanderlust. I played music and got lost in the monotony and sweat. I reveled in having that sweat stream into my eyes. Bring it on, I said. I was tired by the end of it and looked forward to being sore.
I will say this. It is all for a reason. There is always the light. Focus on that while you do your one thing.
You do not have to make excuses to do what you want to do.
Just some Monday morning coffee musings. Or rather, I actually thought of it on Saturday while riding, but who is counting. Your any day AHAmoment.
You do not have to make excuses to just stroll around from shade tree to shade tree in the early morning summer breeze while letting your horse take bites of grass. To watch Merle run. To enjoy a big herd of deer off in the distance. To watch the fish in the pond. You don’t always have to ‘work.’
We both had the same idea about what we wanted to do. The difference was, Lito was not worried about making excuses.
I found myself trying to justify what we were doing on our ride. Justify, to myself I suppose. Sounds silly. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until the conscious thought came forward that I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to or need to make excuses for this.
You don’t have to make excuses to watch a movie or read a book. To treat yourself to something. To a nice lunch on your own just because. To rearrange your furniture. To sleep in. Or. To wake up early to have an extra cup of coffee. Or go to bed early. To take a trip. To have a lie down in the shade of a tree. To take a bike ride. To not spend your time with people that do not value you or do not make you feel comfortable. Or say no to what you don’t want. You name it.