Now on to the reason most of you are probably here for, the proof of adventure, the regularly scheduled programing, the ‘Between The Ears’ shots where you can follow along on the trail!
I am going to let this be mostly a ‘Wordless Wednesday,’ or at least as wordless as I can be. Join us in our own little world.
I am glad for the special times I shared with my people and the late nights laughing until we cried. I am also glad for the time I got with my boy.
Lito walks with a purpose and moves out. He does best when he is out front, and well, so do I. One of the lead horses was very slow and they were happy to let us lead the way to encourage my friend’s horse to walk out a little more.
I am not sure he will ever not look like a baby to me. He seemed happy enough in his pen…even if he dumped his hay out of his bucket and spread it around. You can see a little white salt block there on the ground. I did not mention this in my previous traveling post, but for long trips away, especially when he is in a small pen or stall, I also bring a little salt block. I do this for his salt replenishment if he needs it, but I also do it for his entertainment and distraction. I do not like to hang it on my panels (I do have a hanger) because I do not want them to rust.
He was happy to be back home with his herd and his mamma. The haul home was long and arduous. For both of us. It was the day of the eclipse and there was A LOT of traffic…not to mention crazy people just on the side of the road wanting to watch it. If I could have left earlier, I would have. I also think there was some extra…energy in the air and atmosphere from the eclipse and Lito seemed to be reacting to it. He did not do anything bad per se, but he was just moving around quite a bit in the trailer and seemed restless and unhappy. All was right with the world when we got back to the farm.
Unpacking and cleaning is always nicer when it is so pretty out and my horses watch with their cute faces. We got even more rain while we were gone and the pastures are really showing it.
R and I are hoping to squeeze in one more horsey adventure before we head to New Mexico to reunite with friends.
There is a lot of work to do between now and then and before we know it, it is Thanksgiving and Christmas! Time for baking and cooking and movies galore!
A place that goes by many names. Some you know, some you do not.
I am not going to go down the rabbit hole I almost just went down on all the names Ireland is or has been known by. That was a close one. We are all safe though.
I will however share a name by which it is now known to me.
‘The Place Where The Term, “Photos Do Not Do It Justice,” Was Coined.’
Good, no?! OK, fine, we will work on it, but here is why I think this. I think this is also where I might finally break WordPress’ photo capacity. Just blow it up. Wish us luck, I have many, many pictures. This whirlwind trip will be broken up into a few posts letters. The point is, dear readers, I was disappointed in most all of my photos! Now, I can anticipate y’all telling me I am full of IT. However, if you could have seen it all with your own eyes and felt it all with all your known and unknown feelings, you would feel the same. I would look at my pictures at the end of the day and just wonder what exactly it was I saw with my own eyes. It was more…everything! The pictures simply do not do the place any kind of justice.
My trip I suppose technically began two Thursdays ago. I was fully packed on Wednesday and my house was about one hundred percent clean by that point. I may have stayed up super late one night (like 1 AM), fueled by anticipation and super strong coffee to get there, but I got there! It felt amazing to only have to wake up Thursday and put clean sheets on my bed. I am not sure what feels more accomplished than that. I know, that sounds somewhat sad, but adulting is sad sometimes! It feels really good to come home to a spotless house. It also gives you a good reason to procrastinate on unpacking and laundry upon your return. Who would want to undo all that hard work!? Anyway, I digress…
Fortunately for both Merle and myself, we had a quick 12 hours at the farm scheduled after work on Thursday. He was really in a dither with the packing and energy and general change. I always feel guilty when the dogs get upset knowing you’re leaving and not wanting to be left behind. We had just enough time to let him have good run and for me to check on everyone in addition to getting a few things done before we had to leave Friday morning. I said a sad goodbye to my boy Merle at the kennel at mid morning on my way back home to grab a quick shower, throw my bag in the truck, and head to my friend’s house. I left my truck safely parked there and we hopped in a car to the airport.
I was feeling pretty good by this point, but I would still not feel like I was actually on vacation until we all arrived on the Emerald Isle WITH our bags. There have been a lot of airline travel mishaps recently as I am sure you have heard and it was definitely something that was causing me some slight worry. BUT, as they say, try not to worry for naught!
Getting through bag check and security was a blessed non event and we headed straight to find a mimosa and lunch! It is vacation and travel after all! Mimosas are the first call of duty on any trip and we had plenty of time before our 4:45 PM departure.
There are blessedly no airplane pictures for you, at least not for the flight over. If you have been around here a while, you might well have been expecting some of those. I did it both when I went to France and when I went to Hawaii! I feel it shares the whole experience. The truth is though, I always feel so silly taking pictures out the window of the wings or of the flight trajectory while in flight. Ha, normally it does not stop me, but this time it did. I was more restless while in the air than I normally am.
All that said, the travel went off just fine! We landed at 10:30 AM Ireland time and so did our bags. The fun could really begin now. We were picked up by one of the farm owners and we stopped at a shop in Bunratty on the way for a coffee and a snack. In retrospect, we should have also made a quick souvenir run through here as well, but we did not.
You already know the Ireland is very green. They call it the Emerald Isle for a very obvious reason. I was expecting it, but the stark difference to Texas at the present moment deep in a very brown and crispy drought was a bit shocking! I could also mention the starkness of the difference in temperatures, 100+ deg. F to 60 deg. F, but we do not need to go there. However, the flowers there! They are stunning. Flowers everywhere. Not just landscaped flowers, but wild ones as well! These beauties along with the hydrangeas literally everywhere were just lovely. I have never seen so many hydrangeas and of such size and so many colors. Funny thing is, I think I only have one hydrangea picture from the whole time and it is a bad one through the window of a bead and breakfast. Oh well, live for the moment! Anyway, like I was saying, the colors. All kinds and colors of wild grown flowers. The fuchsia bushes and hedges and the purple heather in the fields are just stunning against the green. It brings complimentary colors to a whole new level. It really makes me want to become a master gardener.
We only stopped for half an hour before making the rest of the drive to the farm which would be our home base for the next four nights.
Like I said, GREEN! Made also even more green by the lovely weather we had. We did have some rain too, do not you worry!
The drive was…I am not sure of the word to use here. Harrowing seems like it should be a bit strong, it is not like we did not know the whole opposite side of the car bit, but I think it just might be accurate! Put eight Texans in a van hip to hip and drive it on the left side of the narrow, non shouldered, not quite two lane road with fast oncoming traffic…not sure what else to call it. I think Bertie was laughing at all of our gasps. It was an experience!
We were all ready to get out and scretch our legs, at take a deep breath, by the time we arrived.
We were immediately greeted by the magical wonder and charm of the farm and the house, but the best part was being greeted by Sneachta, or Snow, the sweetest lab (and a good looking and behaved one too!).
Have a walk through the house with us!
So many things to see and experience here. So many nooks and crannies. So much history and magic. I bet I could come ten times and still see something new.
After arriving at the farm mid Saturday, we had the rest of the day to rest and be leisurely. We got a tour of the whole house and got settled in our rooms two by two. We had to have another toast after getting settled! I chose a Bulmers light Irish Cider. Little did I know I was toasting to my horse!
After grabbing our drinks, we went for a little walk around the farm. In addition to Snow the Lab, there was also a Border Collie, also named in Irish/Gaelic, but I can not remember her name. It sounded somewhat like snickers and nothing like Cujo, but we called her Cujo as she was a typical turbo intense BC. Very sweet though!
The house and barns were completely surrounded by a magical forest. A magical forest glade! I have no doubt that there were ferries in amongst the trees.
Cujo trying to tell us dense humans where we should go with her by luring us with her stick.
An Sibin is the name of the farm/riding center/outfitter. The name apparently means speak easy and/or/with homemade whiskey. We booked our trip through Stacey with Active Riding Trips and we had a lovely booking experience with them. We came for an eight day riding adventure from Whitegate to the west coast complete with six riding days. It was an adventure to be sure and we really covered some country!
Once we had our little walk around the farm with our drinks, we retreated to our rooms for a little nap. While I did not think I would be able to sleep, I am glad that I got a little bit of a nap as I could not sleep on the plane.
After our naps we all got a little restless and dinner was not until 7 PM. We had some time so most of us took another little walk down the road and hooked up with the walking trail before dinner.
Loyal snow stayed with us the whole way and back again.
We went a little ways down the trail before the ground got a bit soft and wet, so we turned around to stroll back for dinner.
We had a lovely candle lit three course dinner with wine of cuscus stuffed roasted tomatoes followed by succulent slices of pork with potatoes and veggies and a finale of apple and berry crumble topped with fresh, soft whipped cream.
I went to bed full of anticipation and dreams of meeting my horse for the week the next morning! This is what we came here for, to ride and see Ireland by horseback, between the ears.
The story continues! Come back soon for the next chapter!
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!
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!
If you have been following along on that social media thing (it was fun, you should give it a try), the pup is already out of the bag…but, if you have not been…I have some news!
Just when you thought I was going to share yet another Merle Haggard song (which I actually am because I slacked on sharing those and they are worth sharing), I am going to share a little something about Haggard’s new namesake, Merle the puppy! Likely soon to be Merle Man and Merle Dog and any other logical nickname. My favorite of those nicknames so far is Mighty Merle. It suites him!
So, without further adieu, I introduce to you, Merle, my new wingpup.
Naturally, that begins with where he came from. He comes from the same place Darcy’s sire, King, is from. And, King is actually one of Merle’s grand relations. This is all a full circle deal full of connections. Signs I tell you. The only difference is I did the drive this time instead of C and J. But this Merle’s story and it could not have been any other way.
This is his dam mamma, Nugget. I call her Nugg. You know how I am about nicknames.
A good and proud mamma she is.
After the pups were weaned, she escaped multiple times to get back to her pups. I love that about her.
This is the proud sire, Scotch. Handsome guy.
My Merle man seems to take after him.
This is a Merle pup from early on.
The cutest stinker.
He looks like a thinker.
Here is where the adventure part comes in…We flew up to North Dakota to pick him up! We almost missed our connecting flight, but we made it right before they closed the doors. And then…rented a car and drove all the way back to the great state, special package in tow!
If you are thinking I may or may not be crazy and that whoever would choose to come with me on such an endeavor is equally as insane…you may or may not be right! Let me tell you though, it was indeed a grand adventure and we had fun seeing parts of the country we have never seen before. On top of that, Merle is already a road tripper just like Darcy!
Friday evening in North Dakota we enjoyed watching the sunset after a taking a tour of the kennels. Sunsets in North Dakota are pretty! It was so great to be with the people that made my Darcy girl and Merle man happen.
Mighty Merle had bath time Saturday morning before hitting the road!
A dirty puppy is a sign of a happy, playing, outdoor puppy.
Look at all those spots under there!
He took pretty well to the road tripping and developed his riding preferences, like they do. The initial shotgun riding position that makes for a good dog.
The pretty Dakotas through an increasingly dirty windshield.
The preferred shotgun riding position which makes for a great dog!
Posing or taking care of business?
Driving some more.
Keep on keeping on.
Really so very pretty. All I wanted to do was ride a horse here…and clean the windshield.
The only evidence of Nebraska was a picture of a sleeping puppy.
Merle met some bikers headed to Sturgis.
By this point it was just put the pedal to the metal and get us all home.
Somewhere in here was Kansas…zero photo evidence. Just trying not to speed.
We finally made it to Oklahoma and the big dog had a big dog time! He was in two different random photo shoots with random people we ran into. There were two girls in a car that screeched to a stop in the middle of the street to jump out and ask if they could pet my Merle.
There was speeding from this point on to get us back to Texas.
We are finally home now and playing during coffee time. Learning what are toys and what are not toys.
He is already a brave a smart boy. Exciting times are to come!
Walk in love, dear readers, and enjoy both Merles!
You know what? It is hard to get off mountain time twice in one month.
What a statement! Can you believe I can say that? I certainly can not complain about it one bit.
This summer has been so great and it is not even over yet.
The thing is, I was too busy being in the moment, breathing in the mountain air, and enjoying just being in the mountains that I did not take very many pictures.
However, we went on a little hike after an attempt at yoga on the mountain and saw this sweet, little big view.
There was a lot of stunning storm watching. You know how I feel about storms.
There was a lot of marveling at God’s creation. How can a person not in a place like this?
We went on a bike ride to eat lunch.
And. We saw a rainbow. What is it about this place and rainbows? I see one every time I am here.
I blinked my eyes and here we are back in Texas. Is not that just the way?
Trying (not really THAT hard) to get off mountain time and back into real, adulting life for a few days. No more than that though because there is something exciting happening at the end of this week.
I told you this summer was going to be an adventure. We have been on two so far and the biggest one is yet to come! Here is your hint (ha! What a hint!). There will be a song for each day leading up to the big reveal. You do not want to miss this, I promise!
Well, here is a little something to brighten you up a bit.
A little between the ears time from me to you. Nothing like these dun colored ears to put a smile on my face. Even if it was from two days ago.
Or these happy herd of cows, napping together in the shade of a pecan tree.
Is your case of the Mondays cured?
Lito and I went to ride with some friends on Saturday morning during a break in the storms. Lito self loaded like a champ and we had a great ride. It was breezy, not too terribly hot, and it did not rain on us while we rode. All the horses seemed to have as great of a time as we did. We rode for a couple of hours and then gathered around the picnic tables for cold drinks and snacks.
Knowing there was an increased chance for storms in the afternoon, I said my goodbyes and went to load up. Again, Lito self loaded like a champ (cue happy dance) and we hit the road. I called my Pops while I was pulling out to see if there was anything popping up on the radar and to tell him that if I ran into some rain, I was just going to pull over and wait it out.
Here is the interesting part of the story. The night before our ride, my parents and I were driving the truck in the light rain and the driver side windshield wiper decided to fly off while in use! Just plain came undone, hit the windshield, and went flying through the air like a drunk bird. Never to be seen again. Crazy thing.
Anyway, it was a good thing I called. They had just gotten slammed at the farm and the storm was coming our way. His advice was to just stop and wait ten to fifteen minutes while the storm comes my way and passes over before driving back. I found a good spot in the parking lot of a local tavern on top of a hill to park and wait. I should have taken pictures of the storm, but I was just watching and enjoying the show. You know how I am about storms. Lito seemed a little perturbed when it all started, but quickly settled and just rode it out quietly.
The storm was soon over with nothing else developing on the radar so we slowly made our way south toward home. Lito quietly (and dry!) unloaded and was happy to have a little extra meal upon our return.
Monday morning awoke with a bad case of the delayed, anxiety inducing Sunday blues. But, so goes some Mondays.
Even Darcy had a good groan and roll around before I made her get of bed strictly because I had to. She promptly went straight to her bed to go back to sleep after taking her outside. She did not even get up when I left. Oh to be a dog.
Anyway, back to the weekend because it was great and much better than anything going on this week. You know, working and laundry (SO MUCH LAUNDRY ALL THE TIME!) and cleaning and stressing about my upcoming adventure in France. Really, France can not come fast enough!
You missed that little tidbit, did you? Yes, AHAmoments is going to France next week! I dropped that news a bit ago and then never really said anything more about it. And I am not going to give any bit of it away now. You will just have to check back here to follow along on the adventure!
OK. Now, really back to the weekend. First, the weather was phenomenal. Not too hot and had a nice breeze. The traffic heading out there Friday after work was absolutely horrendous, but the second I stepped out of the car all was forgotten. I made a cocktail and walked out to the horse pasture, clinking ice and all, to sit and enjoy the sunset.
Stunner right? I just love to share these images with you. It never ceases to amaze me how each sunset can be different from the same place. It is a natural wonder. I hope they bring you as much joy as they bring me.
After bringing the horses into the paddock for the night, I went to get my dinner together and settle in for the night.
Saturday morning I took my time grooming and tacking Cheetah before we went of to ride. First we did a little arena work to make sure we actually did work. We both need it. Her because she is so grass fat and happy she is moving a little pokey. One would think that is a welcome change from her normal, but it is not actually. It is awkward, flat, and strung out. And for me, because well, sometimes we need to put ourselves into boot camp. Make myself ride better was the focus and has been the focus. My western saddle has become a crutch apparently and I do not like it. You just have off times every now and then. So, I have pretty much been only riding in an english saddle for the past couple of months and making myself do two point and riding without stirrups.
After the hard part was over, we went for a nice tour of the farm. An actual, four beat, walking tour. That was a nice and welcome change from her normal. She has actually been doing that lately and I love it. We looked at the grass and fences. Took a few bites of grass every now and then. Checked on the cows. Stopped in the shade of her favorite pecan tree. She voluntarily stops under the same tree every time we ride by and I love that too. She got a handful of treats and bath upon our return. I honestly think she enjoyed it as much as I did.
Leaving her tied in the shade, I brought Lito over for a long, indulgent grooming session. My favorite. I even braided his cute, short mane. I hoped they would stay, but I knew they would not. In the end, only three survived.
After lunch, I mowed. You know, I love to mow. Does anyone else like to mow? I find it terribly therapeutic and cathartic. And satisfying and rewarding. Some people think I am crazy, but honestly. Try it some time. Then, when you are finished and turn the mower off, the invading flood of silence is marvelous. Like you never knew how quiet it was before. You just have to hurry up and change your clothes because it is itchy work!
At some point in the day, I caught Darcy in a nap on the warm concrete.
Please notice the burrs. Wherever the Darcy goes, so go the burrs. It is our lot in life.
The long, hot afternoon hours around here are for the riding horses to practice tying in the shade. They get really good at it. All it takes is hours. They learn to settle in for a nap. Sometimes even I forget.
All three tails, caught in the breeze.
I rode Chance in the late evening, after the hottest part of the day. He has been ridden by kids a lot lately and thought he could pull the same tricks on me. He grunted and groaned in irritation as I made him work correctly. It was quite comical. A quick hose down for Chance after our ride and I settled in with a cocktail, listening to music and enjoying the sunset. The animals broke the spell after a while demanding their evening feed.
Sunday was an early start to a special day. Riding my Lito and a visit from my Grandmother.
After the horses had their morning feed, I caught up my Lito for a ride. He was acting a little squirrely as only a young horse in their terrible fives can be…
…so we hand grazed and walked for a while after looking at all the things. Man, it sure is hard to get used to young horse actually acting like a young horse. Time and consistency, just like everything else. Do not forget it. He is aloud to be young and horses never lie. They tell you what they need if only we listen.
When his head seemed like it was back where it belonged, we groomed and tacked. Arena work first, farm tour second. Seemed to be the order of the weekend. He was not great, but was not bad. He tried and was happy at the end. That is what matters. Little bit by little bit, one thing at a time, slowly, is how you get where you are going. And we are going.
Then my Grandmother came out for a BBQ lunch and to visit the horses.
This pic was from the last time she was able to come out. It was a few years ago. I remember my Grandfather, memory almost consumed by the Dementia, took one look at Chance and said, “That is a Quarter Horse,” with a big smile.
It was a special visit for us all. It warms my heart to see her with the horses again. For her to see, feel, and smell them, not just view in a picture. Feel the breeze in her hair and on her skin under the large oak tree. She says she still has dreams of galloping across the fields and I only wish I could make that happen for her again.
I hope to get her out there again soon. It was a late afternoon getting home, but I made a quick run to the store for ingredients to have a homemade pizza dinner. Pretty dang good!