I had an interesting day yesterday. I had to take my truck into the shop for some regular, routine benchmark service (and fork over a lot of monies, but oh well, better than a more expensive problem because I did not do it). Here is your reminder to take care of your vehicle before you have a problem!
Anyway, I had some encounters with two strangers that had a lot to share about how their days and lives were going. I think I have one of those faces that people like to share things with, I do not know. Maybe they just needed someone to share with and because I asked how they were doing and how their day was going, and they answered truthfully. Their words and feelings really struck me.
Mean what you say and say what you mean, as they say. Whoever ‘they’ are. I try to ask those questions because I really do care about the answers. Words and how we say them really matter. I think people often forget that. I hope their days got better.
I will not share their stories as they are not mine to share, but they served as good reminders for walking through life.
A reminder to always be kind. A reminder that any one person can have no idea what troubles another is facing.
A reminder that your struggles are no bigger than any other person’s. Everyone has them and they all add up to the same thing at the end of the day.
It is more than the Golden Rule. It is compassion and grace.
A reminder to keep moving and not stay in the troubles. A reminder to not judge a book by its cover. Or one page. Or one chapter. Any one thing does not define us.
A reminder that one person’s definition or vision of success is not another’s. A reminder that difference does not mean less.
A reminder again that there is more than one way to make a life and that one is not better than the other.
Walk in love, dear readers, and offer some kindness to your fellow stranger today. Coffee break is over, let us all get back to work! It is yours to get!
A special day for a special boy. This can be your daily dose of cute with a side of an AHA moment.
This past weekend my Merley Bird turned a big 4 years old and celebrated by doing his favorite thing, romping around the farm. There is no better way to celebrate if you ask him, or me for that matter.
True to form, he had to have some pictures taken. If you ask him, he is just glad he did not have to wear a hat. He struck is signature look first.
Then he had some treats for breakfast.
Then he had a little dip n’ shake in the pool.
The pool that apparently has a leak. Not the best time to discover this little tid bit given the lovely heat we have been having if you ask me! We have been enjoying close to triple digit deg. F temperatures with 1000000% humidity. They say the heat index is over 110 deg. Thankfully we got a little break with a good rain last night. The animals, land, and humans are very grateful!
The Merle can and does cool down just about anywhere between the water troughs and the pond and even the river. However, I sure will miss my post summer work cool down! We will see how long it is before I snag another one. It is a nice treat to sit there in the heat of the afternoon in the shade with a cool drink and a book while the horses do their summer ‘training’ standing tied in the shade. It is the best way to get any horse good at standing quietly while tied.
Then my parents and I beat the heat with a brew and lunch at the brewery to celebrate Father’s Day. Merle had to stay home as it was too hot to sit outside. I did snag him some special birthday things though. Treats and brew just for him! Even if it was a girly ‘beer’ (it is not actually beer, there is no alcohol), he really seemed to enjoy it poured over his dinner.
He also told me these are his new favorite treats.
Every Merle birthday is a special birthday. I am just ever grateful to have him. He is a blessing to me.
With every passing day with him, I am reminded of my Darcy Girl. I did not get six birthdays with her. Her heart tree still shows her heart sometimes, if you look just right. If it were not for my Darcy, I would not have my Merle.
This is part of my reminder to stay present. To enjoy the now and be grateful for what I have. I do not think it will ever not be a kick in the guts to remember (nor will I honestly ever not worry about losing Merle early, if I am honest, but I do not want to talk about worrying today), but I can also now be glad and grateful in the remembering. And see her here and there.
Grief, it is a funny thing. It is also a universal connector. We all experience it. Even though we all experience it differently, none of us are alone in it and nobody can avoid it. Remember that.
That is it for your coffee break this morning! So, happy birthday, Merle! Enjoy some more cuteness before you rush back.
I can not help but think of the above quote every time I ride in a new place. My critters and I seem to have the same thirst as Gus McCrae and Woodrow Call for seeing new country. Call it adventurous if you will, I do not even know what to call it. Lito especially just eats it up.
This past weekend, Merle, Lito, Petunia and I loaded up and headed to north central Texas to ride some new country. It was a great and relaxing time getting used to the place, despite the big time rain we got Friday night and the resulting winds. On Saturday morning, both Lito and Petunia felt as if they had been bathed, if that tells you anything about the kind of rain we had.
Today, I will just let the pictures speak for themselves, so please click trough the slide show, watch the videos, and enjoy! This is about as close to a wordless Wednesday as you will get from me as I have found out over the years.
I particularly want to point out MVP emotional support donkey, Petunia, who travels with us when we go places without other riders and the insane wildflowers. Honestly, saying the pictures do not do them justice is the biggest understatement. They give blanket of Indian Blankets a whole new meaning. There are even still bluebonnets there!
Your AHA moment for today is brought to you by Augustus McCrae, by way of Larry McMurtry:
“It ain’t dying I’m talking about, it’s living. I doubt it matters where you die, but it matters where you live.” ~spoken by Augustus McCrae”
If you have never read the book or watched the movie, I highly recommend it!
I want to thank each and every one of you for being here. For coming along with us on this journey. For enjoying my pictures. For reading. For commenting. For your sweet email notes. I am grateful for it all!
Go make your bed, get your second cup of coffee, and get after it today!
Walk in love, dear readers!
We are headed back to the water this weekend for some bay fishing in our favorite place! Talk soon!
This is the best kind of rain. This meaning any kind. Bring on La Nina! Do not worry, I am not going to go off on a tangent about weather. Or at least I do not think so! You never know with me.
Anyway, while it is not raining on this fine morning, it was raining the last time we spoke. The past several weeks have brought several inches. In fact, we have been blessed with so much rain that there have been times we could go mud skiing! At times just walking has actually felt just like that. I slipped the other day (I almost fell and I felt like I was a cartoon character, or on an episode of Punked) and my back is still yelling at me. I guess I have just reached that next level of ‘more wise’ age where the body is starting to be a traitor to the mind. Sigh.
However, the pond is full, the grass is growing and everything is colorful, and all the animals are fat and sassy. One of the best times of year before it gets too hot. The rain and life’s schedule has made riding lately an every other week occasion, but it is better than no riding! I have been there and it is no bueno. We have definitely been taking advantage of the riding days we do get, but we will get to that soon. We actually got back from an adventure yesterday!
Ha! Long story short, y’all know me too well. It was a big 24 hours!
I enjoyed a lovely early bird dinner on a patio over the water with this lovely cocktail.
After dinner, Merle and sat on the porch and enjoyed a couple hours of wine and views and music.
Easter morning was of course celebrated sunrise style with a long walk. It was…? I do not even know a word. Y’all help me!
Spot the Merle blur as he hits the beach!
Just a bird dog doing bird dog things.
Merle has only two speeds if you were not aware. Zero and turbo. Turbo requires all four off the floor for the majority. Flying is more fun if you ask him.
I picked up only one shell to take back to leave where I was staying. Growing up, we always loved to collect shells with Pops. Buckets full in total over the years. Some were just for enjoying their beauty. Some were for crafts. Some were to put in a flower bed or a book shelf. Some were for candles. I kind of like to leave them where they are for the most part these days, but this one seemed like it should go back with me, so it did.
Merley was tired after his turbo beach walk and so was I! No naps for me though as we had to soon hit the road for an early Easter dinner. For this celebration, I made a lemon cake. It was delicious, but it was very ugly. A Leaning lemon Tower of Pisa! The oven I used was not level and I had 3 layers. I was too lazy to trim them even, so I slapped together my leaning cake and hoped for the best. However, It was very tasty! So long as it tastes good, that is all that really matters in the end.
We went on our annual ladies group spring ride which I have probably written about in previous years. I did not take many pictures, but we had some big thunder storms the first night. My Lito man seemed not bothered by it when I could finally go out to check on him when it was all over. It was an interesting weekend as he had A LOT of feelings about ducks because of peacocks and wind. Horses, man. He rode well, so there you go.
My Cheetah Girl then got some kind of upper respiratory funk that required 2 times a day antibiotics for two weeks. I will only share one pic and just say, there was an odor, OK? Thankfully, my girl has a kissable muzzle again, and that is all that matters at the end of the day.
While not ideal to be a commuter during those 2 weeks, it was glorious to be able to start and end my days with all my animals.
I have had to do this from time to time for varying reasons and it is always worth it. I may curse the traffic a little (actually no more than I always do), but it is generally bliss. Sunrises. Sunsets. Horses. Cows. Dinner on the porch. Evening rides or drives. Crossing things off the list. Quality time all around.
During these times I get a lot of spring cleaning and organizing done while also completing special projects or needed chores. It always seems easier to get the work done like this during the week even though you only have a few hours every week evening to do them. This way the weekend can just be that, a weekend, and not work.
My special project this go round was trimming up a ‘trail’ in the river bottom to make it easier and more enjoyable to ride. By enjoyable, I mean less ducking, dead ends, and spider webs. I used to always have a loop down there, but it is always changing and evolving and it requires constant maintenance to keep it ‘rideable.’ It had been a while since I had done any work down there, but a few evenings and half of a wet rainy Saturday and we were back in business. I spent my other evenings reacquainting the horses with the bottom as it had been a little while since they had been down there. Lito seems to like it the most out of all of them, but he has also been down there more than anyone else except for his mother, Cheetah.
I also took time every evening after chores and feeding to check the cows. They are all due to have their calves right about now. Two of them dropped their calves at the very beginning of my two week antibiotic administration stay, so I got to see them almost every day for those two weeks. There are more to come soon, but these mammas are holding on tight!
One of my favorite things to do in the evenings has always been to go sit amongst the cows while listening to them graze. I did this when I was younger too. I of course love to listen to the horses eat. Most horse people feel this way. There is just something about the rhythmic sound of the chewing combined with their breathing and the smells and the feeling of contentment. Listening to cows graze at down and dusk is the exact same. The sound of their breathing and their swiping tongue and grass cropping and the chewing. I do not know, it is hard to describe unless you are there to hear it and feel it.
OK, you are right, I also go check on them multiple times a day when I am there during the day too.
We might be tardy on the mowing, but I prefer to just focus on and enjoy the green product of all these rains. Especially when viewed between a pair of dun colored ears.
Check back tomorrow for our adventure with new views between these very dun colored ears! Spoiler alert, there was rain! BUT, it did not spoil the adventure!
We had to work for the Christmas tree this year. I tried to get my table top tree the Sunday after Thanksgiving, as is my tradition. Well, it turns out that I was not the only one hunting up a tree on that Sunday. I went to two different places, but the lots were almost empty. No worries, I will just wait a few days until they get some more trees. Wait a few days I did and the situation was not much different than it was before. I am not sure that I have ever seen it like this before, but hey, I am just glad that people are getting festive and into the spirit!
I decided that this past Sunday was going to be the day no matter what. I had to go to three different places. I really was not overly excited at the prospect of spending the price of a full size tree for a table top one, so going to all the different places to get a good price was well worth it to me (although, I would have absolutely gone back and spent through the nose just so I could have a tree). I think I found a good one! He stood out among the others and it was a quick in and out. It lists a little in one direction, but that gives it character. Maybe next year I will get a potted tree I can then plant after Christmas or make an event out of going to a Christmas tree farm and cutting one fresh. Something about that seems kind of funny down here in south central Texas though. Or maybe I will get a full size tree. The possibilities are endless!
Anyway, the finding of the tree is only part of the fun. Growing up I was always with my parents to pick out the tree every year, being sure to get cuttings to decorate the house with. We would listen to Christmas music on the way there and then there was normally a trip into a store to pick up some eggnog for Pops and maybe something special to cook for dinner that night. Then there was more Christmas music once we got the tree set up inside and worked on decorating the tree and the whole house. I have probably told you all of that before. I know I have told you about how all of us cousins would go to our Grandparents’ house together to help my Grandmother decorate her tree, listen to Christmas music streaming out of the study, drink hot chocolate, and play.
I finally got around to decorating my little table top tree late last night. Sunday evening I was at my Aunt M’s for dinner and Monday night I was visiting and having dinner with my Grandmothers. I had the Christmas music playing (with a Hallmark movie on mute in the background) and enjoyed a fun cocktail while I decorated and Merle supervised. Sadly it does not take long to decorate a little tree with not many ornaments, but every year or so I buy myself a new addition for the tree. This year I actually had two new ornaments. A gold, lacey aspen leaf with a moose on it from our trip to Wyoming and a carved wooden cross accented with chalky white. See if you can spot them!
A fun thing we used to do with my Pops’ side of the family was a ‘where’s Waldo’ with a certain ornament on my Aunt M’s tree. In my memory it was a green pickle. It was something funny and obscure like that. It was seemingly always hidden very well. The kid who spotted the ornament won some money I think it was. I remember always feeling duped when it was finally found. I should ask her where that tradition came from.
It has become a tradition now (how long does it take to make a tradition?) for me to benchmark Merle (and his mohawk) in a Christmas tree photo. It started with Darcy (you can see some of her pictures that I posted the other day). This is Merle’s third Christmas and this year we had to create the same photos. His mohawk is bigger and more obvious in person, I promise. Now, if only I could bring the horses inside! Just kidding, I think that is even beyond me. Maybe. Maybe one day I will have a Christmas tree in a barn. That would be so fun!
Click play and have a scroll! A little side note, I think my Grandfather would have quite loved this version of this song for the drum arrangement.
Do you see the drool starting???
It is a Merry Merley Christmas Tree!
I could not resist that last one! I am aware that most of these look exactly the same, but I just could not include all of them! You can never have too much cuteness.
Maybe next year we should do something like this. I know Merle would be game!
Walk in love, dear readers! Spread the joy! For those that need it and those that do not.
One of my favorite things about Christmas time is including my animals in it. Taking the time to get everyone groomed up and festive (or as groomed as possible anyhow. Merle makes it difficult.). Maybe take some pictures (duh). Do something fun and special as it is just as much for me as it is for them. This probably makes me weird. Oh well. Well, maybe not all that strange. If I had kids, this would look perfectly normal!
I remember as a kid I would make homemade Christmas stockings for the dogs and hang them around the fireplace next to ours. I would put special dog treats in the stockings for the dogs to enjoy Christmas morning. They would always have a blanket or a bed in the room where the tree was and they would be present and a part of our gifting on Christmas morning. I would also often get them a new toy. My mom and my friends often get my dogs a toy for Christmas too.
Christmas looks a little different now at 33 years of age, but I still like to celebrate with my animals and include them in as much as I can. Even if it is just something simple like ribbons and a bow tie. One, because that personality trait is no different now than any other time of year. It also feels like a way to celebrate them. To pay tribute and gratitude for the gifts that they are.
So, that is what I did Saturday morning. I spent a couple hours when I was not doing chores with my dun duo and the Merley Bob going back to my childhood. Grooming until my arms were tired using every brush in my box. And, yes, using THE GLITTER! I am thinking next year I might be that crazy lady that sends a Christmas card of her animals. Why not?
Enjoy the festivity! And the sheer talent it takes to get everyone to be still and pose. It did not last long! Hit play on the song and have a little scroll!
Merle had left at this point for something in a bush. He was whacking his tail on a broad leafed plant and Lito was sure it was a crouching tiger or a hidden dragon.
Walk in love, dear readers, and share the festivity and the joy!
I do not know about y’all, but this 2021 year is trying to finish out worse than that other year. So, I have decided to just not let it be that way. December does not have a choice. With your help, we are going to make this a rockin’ awesome December! Trust me, we can gang up on it and make it so! Check back here all month for happy things! We are going to use this month to solidify our Christmas spirit so we can take it with us into the new year 2022. (Yikes, that sounds funny! 2022! How did we already get there?!)
So, just for you, on this first day of this joyous month, I am dragging out the tried and true.
Yes, I know I share these every year, but they are so dang cute and happy. I am just gearing you up for this year’s pictures! Besides, how do these not make you joyous?!
Walk in love, dear readers, have a great Wednesday and an even better December 2021!
If you have anything happy and joyous to share, share it with me!
And you will not be able to convince me otherwise.
You know that spark of terror that comes when you see a skunk and you have a dog running loose?
You see, I was just saying to myself…
You know how you do…
After seeing a baby of what I can only assume is a family of skunks around our barn several times…That I am pretty sure live under our barn if you ask Merle…If you can get him so stop paroling every hole that goes underneath said barn long enough…
Anyway, like I said, I was just saying, “Man, I can not believe Merle has not gotten skunked by that baby skunk yet. It must be some kind of miracle for a dog as into everything as he is. What a wonder.”
Off I went on my day.
Merle has not only now been skunked, and quite properly I might add, he has now been skunked twice in as many months.
Now that has got to be the real wonder!
Never fear! I am an expert now.
If you ever find yourself in this same boat, I have some information that will really help you. A home remedy that will actually do the trick.
It only takes three common household ingredients.
The recipe goes something like this…depending on how desperate or frantic you are. The quicker you do this, the better.
~Some liquid dish soap…somewhere between a teaspoon or two and two big fat Tablespoon squirts. ~Some baking soda…about a 1/4 Cup or a fist full or a dumping. ~Some hydrogen peroxide…a whole Quart bottle. Take stock of your resources to make sure you have enough in case you need to do this a second time!
Mix together in a bucket or bowl or bottle. Whatever you have! Cover the effected areas…or the whole dog…in the foamy mixture, let it sit for about 10 minutes, say ‘I am sorry’ to your dog’s coat, and thoroughly rinse everything out. An ‘I’m sorry’ to your dog for practically water boarding him might be beneficial as well if they get sprayed right in the mouth and nose. Both times.
You are welcome! Write it down in that secret book that contains the keys to life.
Luckily the second incident from Sunday morning was not quite as bad as the one a month ago.
I have to tell you that a house without a dog in it is a really quiet house, and not in a good way.
I knew this already, but I kinda forgot. Not sure how. That is what brought me Merle, that quiet after Darcy.
I just recently went a on an adventure trip with R (Weee! More on that later) and returned home on Sunday.
Yes, yes, that IS exciting! But back to the point.
The bad part about this trip was that my Merle could not come along. That could all be fine and good because he does like it at his kennel where he is boarded, but the kennel does not do pickups on Sunday because they are technically closed. You know, Sunday and all.
So I had to wait until yesterday to go pick him up.
A WHOLE DAY.
That is a long time to be in an empty, quiet house. And I do not mind being the only person, seemingly alone. You could turn the volume up as loud as you wanted on the television or the music and it would still be quiet. And it brought back that awful, empty quiet that you want to forget.
You see, a dog has a certain energy that they exude. Even if they are just sleeping in their bed, not even at your feet, their energy just fills a room. Then it is the lack of jingling collar tags. That one is a real heartbreaker. No little boop of a cold nose. No moaning and groaning and talking back in protest. No, well, I do not know if I can even describe it. It is like there is no feel or reciprocation of energy.
It is similar to that feeling you get when someone is watching you, you know? And you just feel it and turn to that feel to find who is looking at you? It is like that. When they are there, you can just feel them. When they are not, you feel that loss or empty and you find yourself looking around for them. Like they should be there but they are not.
Does anyone else ever feel that way?
Before I dropped Merle off at the kennel on Wednesday, we went to the farm to check on the horses and had an early birthday game of fetch in the pond.
He turned two years old on Thursday the 17th!
I figured if he could not come along with us, then he deserved some extra fun for his birthday!
I think he enjoyed that extra fun!
I mean. Just look at him.
Walk in love, dear readers, and stay tuned to hear about our trip!
Or a reminder for how old you are? No, forget about that, let us get back to the pick-me-up part!
I have just what you need. This will surely do it.
It is Thursday after all and we all know how I like alliteration, even if it is a social media thing…it is Transformation Thursday!
April, May, and June are an animal birthday trifecta over here! It just occurred to me. So much to celebrate!
My Lito turned eight (WHAT?) in April.
Cheetah girl will turn seventeen (again, huh?) here in five days.
Merley bob will be a big fat two on June 17th.
Where has the time gone? This is more than just a time warp.
Get some more coffee or tea and enjoy. The work will be there when your break is over.
Let us begin.
My Lito man.
I first saw Lito about thirty minutes after he was born. I about fainted when I first saw him.
He has really grown up! He was big from the start and he has not stopped being big!
He hated that birthday hat, so do not ask him about it. He hated it so much in fact, I could not even bring myself to post the pictures on his birthday.
He has grown into his legs, but he is decidedly tall at about 16.3 hh! I do think he is still getting wider. At least I really hope so. He is a slow developer, so we will see!
My Cheetah girl.
I started riding Cheetah when she was in her four year old year and she became mine at some point during that year. These are the earliest photos I have of her from her three year old year. At one point, my friend T found some foal pics of her, but unfortunately they are lost on an old computer of mine that I long ago lost entry to. Those pics were at an ugly duckling phase to say the least, so I am not too upset about it! Now her three year old pictures, well, that was decidedly not an ugly duckling phase.
She looks the same to me now as she did then.
This was her yesterday. It is a terrible picture, yes I know, but I do not care. She was dirty and hot and bothered by the mosquitos. She is out of shape as she has been out of work for months.
She may have some arthritis that plagues her and she may have some gray over here eyes and on her legs, but she is still my girl. My queen. She has given me so much and she continues to give. She has carried me through so much. She may not get as much of the spotlight these days because of Lito, but she will always and forever be my number one. We are still working through her arthritis/lameness issues and I do hope to have some news to share soon. My prayer is that we can get her comfortable and sound without having to give regular medication. It is a process.
Does that photo look familiar?
That would be because we have done this photo before!
Clearly at different times of year though! Same dog, same tree. Different year, different sunset.
I bet he will be a firecracker for years to come! I just hope he does not give me too many gray hairs. I am pretty sure he has already given me a few. That however, is a story for another day.
Do not forget to smile and breathe today. Forgive and have grace.