What is the word from the bird? Have you had a good day? How the heck are you?
It is May, right? How did that happen??? I have something to show and tell you, but it will have to wait just a minute.
Let me be honest here for a quick sec. I have no idea most days what day it actually is. I no longer know how long this has all been going on. Anyone else?
I have not worn makeup this whole entire time (my eyes I think have never been happier). I have trimmed my own hair twice (I was over due for a trim in the beginning of March). Once, I cut it with dull scissors. Whoops. Luckily for me, there has been no need to put work clothes on so I have lived in farm clothes. When this all started my house was a mess and I just left it that way. Unorganized. Things not in their places. Laundry. Yikes, the laundry. It was EVERYWHERE and in all states (a luxury as I live alone. I can do that if I want. Even if it drives me crazy). Also very dusty as it has been sitting, not lived in. I will not mention the pollen I had tracked in from walking through my patio when I came to check on it. And the hay and cut grass.
No, I will not do that.
Wait, I just did. Eh, whatever.
Yes, I just said that. All of it. You can judge me.
In spite of all of that, life is chugging along. Not much has changed since the beginning of this ‘rona time (sorry, I am not sorry, I like calling it the ‘rona) and I do not think I would have it any other way.
I have pretty much only seen my family. I have gotten a lot of fresh air and horse time as I have been living at the farm this whole time. I am also a bit tanner because I have been bad by not putting sunscreen on and wearing a hat at all times. I am getting a lot of the sunshine vitamin! I go to bed early and wake up, well, moderately early for me. I am normally a 5:30 AM riser. Lately, I have been staying in bed till almost 7! I manage to get my work done and have gotten pretty good at working just about anywhere. I did break down and get a monitor, keyboard, and mouse at some point and that makes it easier to work from my laptop. I get to see the horses graze across the pasture as I work. You can give me this view over any downtown, high rise CEO office. I have been trying to soak every moment in.
I avoid most all news (real, fake, or any other kind). I had the most extreme case of the Sunday ‘What Day Is It’ blues at the prospect of going back into the office soon. I should just be grateful that I still have a job at this point. I came back to town yesterday to get my life house back in order and begin getting my regular schedule back in place.
I have zero desire to put work clothes back on or start wearing makeup again. I am however, looking forward to getting my hair cut by the one and only person I let do it (besides, uh, myself) at some point. My house is looking like its old self again after my mad woman cleaning spree and I am mostly l caught up on laundry. My patio is all raked and clean of pollen and leaves and I have gathered all the clothes I need to donate. As much as I love being at the farm at with my horses (and these past weeks have been basically a dream living out there), I have missed my own space.
Enough about all of that. There are more important things to show and tell, especially for those that are unable to get out. How about some of my views over the past few weeks?!
These sunrises, man. The Lord does not mess around with His paintings! The only thing that makes them even better is a posing Lito. I even had a mug of coffee in my hand.
And egrets. They add a special touch, do they not?
I picked dewberries while drinking a glass of rose. Mamma said picking dewberries is as fun as an Easter egg hunt. I do believe she must be right because I had a joy of a time. She even went out and picked some more berries to make sure we had enough.
I then put those little gems of dewberries into a dewberry crumble pie. Boy howdy, that is one dang good pie. In addition to these wild dewberries, we also have wild mustang grapes growing here. Lots of them. Later this summer when they are fully ripe, I am going to make some jelly. It has been fun watching the grapes emerge on the vines.
The sunsets also never disappoint and watching them every evening does not take away how special they all are. Just look at that sun shining down on my ponies.
The beauty of spring continues to spring for the cactus blossoms.
Another view of spring and summer that I love is the storms. Y’all know I love watching storms. It does not matter where I am, but being a witness to them at the farm is really special.
This particular storm mostly avoided us and gave us very little rain, but it gave us quite a show to watch.
I had a very special ride on my best boy Lito right before I came back.
It was the right amount of spring breezy and we had a great lope out in the meadow pasture. The kind that makes you just grin from ear to ear and get giddy. And makes you giggle like a kid and remember all those memories and feelings and just what that special thing is inside you. He reads my mind. I do not even think I asked him for it. We just felt it one moment and just as lovely as you please we were dancing down the fence line.
Now. For the absolutely most important thing that I have to tell you.
He is back! And just. Look. At. Him. My life feels right again.
My life has had an emptiness about it without him.
And without his look.
He seems just as happy to be back.
I just love that setter stride.
I have to admit, having him away was even harder than I thought it would be with everything going on. Even with being able to visit him.
I am so glad to have my buddy back.
Walk in love, dear readers. Tell me something, anything!
I hope each and every one of you and yours had a very merry and happy Christmas and New Year.
I hope your bubbly was cold, feelings warm, and family and friends present (including all the animals!).
May the many blessings of our Lord shower upon you. Peace, love, and joy. Keep the Christmas spirit alive all year long.
Here we are. 2020 (well, a few days in, but who is counting). A new year and a new decade. Apparently that is a big deal to a bunch of people, bringing a whole new perspective and pressure to New Year resolutions.
New year, new you. New decade, new…what? NEW new you? Bestest you? That is a whole log of a lot if you ask me when just regular new year resolutions are hard enough for most.
I feel like for many people, myself over here included, 2019 what a doozy of a year. It felt like a decade in itself with everything that happened and interestingly enough, did not happen, as it…uh…happens. I do not think I have ever been more happy or relieved to see one year go and another come into view.
Then, just as I thought the corner was turning on this new year and new decade, it all balled up, really skidded out, and crashed and burned right as the celebratory, welcoming fireworks were starting. And there was nothing I could do about it.
I have never been a fan of celebrating on NYE because there are just too many expectations and pressures that lead to let down. However, this really was not the way I intended on it going or spending it.
Indeed I could probably be more vague. Frustrating I know. It is just not for right now. The what and the how and the why are not for right now. And that is OK. One day I might tell more. Will probably tell more. I just need more time to sit with it, you know?
Luckily for me, I can. I have that time. I can pull my own car over and shift it into park. Take a breath as I take my foot off the brake. Look into that rear view mirror. Then. Not look back at the mess. The wreckage. Lay my eyes out the windshield on today. And tomorrow. Learn what I need to learn. Take the good and leave the bad.
Here is the thing and the point for today. The AHAmoment. Sure January 1 is a new year. BUT. It is also a new day. Every day is a new day.
A NEW day.
Do you hear me?!
A new day to be your best self. Be better than you were the day before. To do the right thing. To follow through. Anything, you name it. We are not promised it. Take that right there to heart.
I am not making New Year’s resolutions this year (which really will not come as much of a surprise as I typically do not). I am however making a resolution to wake each day grateful to be here. To allow myself time to breathe and do what is right for me. To take care of me and my animals. To step forward, one step at a time each day, with “grit anchored in grace.” That is me, leather and lace.
“I don’t know exactly what the future holds, but I’m stepping forward with grit anchored in grace.” ~Julie Graham
Nobody but the Lord knows what the future holds. I am more than OK with that. I am here! I am focusing on today. He has me. Has my back. He is the light and the path. He knows the way for me. I will stay focused on Him and pray for His comfort, grace, peace, strength, and guidance. To have the eyes to see.
Enough about that for today.
Let us talk about Christmas and food since we completely skipped over that!
For one of our Christmas gatherings, I made an exorbitant amount of these cinnamon rolls…so we could enjoy them all week. I did not roll the dough out thin enough, rolled them up sloppily, could not get them to look like the picture, and I OVER BAKED them. Sigh. However, I think they still had very good flavor and will be better the next time. Breads like this can be tricky. I think it was a win for a first time bread attempt. It will happen again and they will be even better.
I also had fun with cream cheese fruit tarts because I am crazy and wanted to make all the things. ALL. THE. THINGS.
This punkin’ pumpkin pie was another first time for me and it was totally worth it! Also…so very easy. The saying ‘easy as pie’ is pretty funny to me because pies are pretty dang easy…way easier than cakes!
Merle and I had a festive patio lunch after playing with friends. You can see evidence of such in the mud spot on his back leg. I think he looks smashing…even if is collar does not really go with the bow tie and his coat is, well, let us just say needed a bath and a good brushing. The bow tie is now dead post Christmas fun. That just means he will need a new one for next year!
For Christmas day I made a savory herb cheesecake with sage, thyme, and rosemary as the main part of a cheese board. Y’all. Do this. So worth it. So very good.
It is also very pretty in my opinion.
Merle was very worn out with all the preparations! …and so was I!
I made my favorite Pomegranate cake for Christmas day as well and it is always a winner. It is a great cake base and you can substitute the pomegranate flavor for any other that you wish. I used ice cream cones to create a snowy forest for the decoration. A bit abstract, but those are my favorite types of cakes.
After all of the Christmas festivities, it was time to lay low to rest, relax, recoup, and rejoice through the bringing in of the new year. Through it all. Even still, there is much to celebrate. I reflected on the old and looked forward to the new. I tried to focus on rooting myself in the present as I waded stepped into the New Year.
Then of course, I enjoyed some quality time with the horses and my Merle. They are my blessings. How I get through.
We took every day to try and celebrate life in whatever way we could. This is one way I like to do it with my people. I like to go to the trouble and make it nice for everyone.Candle lit alfresco is my favorite way to dine and I have a thing for setting tables. Even if we were having a seemingly simple meal of chili and cornbread. It is the little things.
We had a couple of really foggy mornings. It makes for nice exercising weather. Well, any weather is nice for to be on the back of a horse. I have a theory about fog. God likes Sunday mornings to be foggy so we remember to slow down and enjoy Sunday. More often than not, Sunday mornings at the farm are foggy. I think those two foggy days after Christmas were a reminder to do just that. Slow down and remember the reason. To be quiet and still just like the weather.
So. That is what I did.
My ever happy Mighty Merle Man while doing the farm run around.
We savored sunsets.
Enjoyed endless velvet muzzles.
Soaked in sunrises.
Even if they were a bit cold and frosty. After all that fog, we had a couple of chilly mornings.
Where do I even begin. I truly am not even sure. The Monday blues were real and hardcore on the struggle bus yesterday.
Years 1, 2, and 3 were all so different and this year was, well, no different! It was indeed the best year in my estimation and I believe in several others’ as well.
I suppose starting at the beginning is the natural way of things. It just seems so long ago!
I was able to skip town pretty early on Friday. I already had my things packed and Merle with me at the office. All I had to do was drop him off (more on that later) and I was off scot-free! Well, as scot-free as one can be in Friday traffic, but hey, I was on my way!
There were only a few stops I needed to make on the way for necessary long road trip things. Shavings for Ronan and Lito in the trailer and breakfast kolaches (both sausage and fruit) to go and nacks (that is ‘snacks’ for all you people without a cute niece) for R and me.
R and Ro made it to the farm Friday evening with just enough time to get Ro settled and for us to get into town for a Mexican food dinner. We were both starving and decided loading all of my stuff could wait till the morning.
Morning came quick enough, as it does, and there was plenty left to do before we could leave, but we got it all done in not much time or having to rush too badly. After loading Ro and Lito and before pulling out, R warmed up the sausage kolaches while I turned the rest of the horses out.
Our farm cat, clearly a bit miffed that he was going to be missing out on the fun and the kolaches, decided he would take matters into his own paws by snagging and eating our fruit kolaches off of the truck dash. He clearly enjoyed them! After having a good laugh, the first of many, we were on the road by around 10 AM.
The drive was going smoothly enough.
Long time horse people never actually think that thought though because it is just a matter of when something will happen, not a matter of if.
Is that not so subtle foreshadowing you read?
Spoiler alert, there were incidents.
This was the first incident. Blown tire.
Doesn’t that just look like a party?
There are several great things about this incident. Both the horses and us were just fine. We had all the things we needed to change the tire. AND, go figure this, a friend just up the road to help. We were on the road in very little time at all. By all accounts, this part really could not have gone any better.
That was the first part.
Once we got to the next town about 45 minutes down the road, we spent the next hour trying to find someone to check the rest of the tires and replace the blown one. After trying three places, we finally got the others checked and decided to get on down the road. We started the drive with two spare tires and knew we would have better luck replacing the one in a bigger town or come Monday morning.
Feeling pretty alright about our good fortune, but still someone shaken, we drove on.
I will spare you some of the details of what happens next, but we almost got in a bad wreck…Like slam on the breaks and horn and basically come to a stop on a major freeway bad. And feel the horses get smacked around in the trailer behind us bad. All because someone was not paying attention and was entering the freeway incorrectly! (Let us all make a pact to help educate people on driving the road with horse trailers, OK? Thanks). It could have been much, much worse. I do not want to focus on that.
The point is, we were and are still OK.
I can tell you one thing, we were praising the Lord during and after this drive.
Us humans were pretty shaken by the day’s events and we have never been so happy to unload horses in our lives. Oh, and bless these two boys of ours. They unloaded calmly and seemed to comfort us and not the other way around! I think at that point we would have been happy to never leave that hilltop ranch. At the end of the day, the drive took about twice as long as it should have.
We put the horses in their pens to settle and went to settle ourselves. That later on included an evening stroll with the horses before dinner with some of the other early arrivals.
The Sunday sunrise the following morning was stunning as per usual. R and I climbed on top of the trailer with our coffee for a better view. This basically set up the rest of the day.
I stayed in my pajamas until 11 AM. This will likely not be a shock for you to learn, but I never do that. Ever. It was glorious. I probably had four cups of coffee too.
Later on, in real clothes, we went for a much needed ride.
We then watched the sunset before heading down the hill for dinner in town with friends.
At dinner, our great friend and hostess read that day’s devotional aloud.
Boy howdy, if that did not speak right to me, I do not know what does.
It was a great evening and we all awoke on Monday morning rested and ready to make it to our final destination for the main event! …Sans incidents!
However, R and I first needed to replace our blown tire which took some time. This was actually kind of nice because we got to have a nice breakfast in town while we waited. Once that chore was finished, we went back to the ranch, loaded up (again, I praise these boys that loaded very well despite how their last trip went!), and headed out!
I am happy to report that we made it without any problems and got our ponies all settled for the week of fun!
And fun we did have in a big way.
Fun. Fellowship. Sisterhood. All with our horses. I can not share too terribly much because it is all, you know, secret and stuff, but here is a little taste of what went on.
Just look at my cute boy. He looks happy, yes? He had this face on pretty much the whole week.
We enjoyed a movie out on the lawn after dinner the first night, complete with popcorn and candy…under the full moon! It took me right back to childhood and camp. We watched The Man From Snowy River. Great movie if you have never seen it!
I had late night and early morning hangouts with my guy.
Lito striking a pose while looking for the strange animal that made a scary noise.
We rode the hills together.
Those are my friends R and H. And Lito’s friends Ronan and Chica.
We crossed a lot of water and we loved it.
We rode through the shady, idyllic groves.
We hung out in the river and watched the fish.
Lito took many naps. I did not. I did not sleep much all week!
We saw, experienced, and felt God’s creation from the back of God’s gift to us. It could not have been any better.
We caught the sunrise each morning and the sunset each evening.
I felt transported to a different place at times. Which was much needed.
I do believe my Lito had as good of a time as I did.
My horse. My Lito man. He was amazing and seemed to be very happy (even if he did get bored and frustrated when we were going too slow or stopping too much). He wanted to be friends with everyone. I could not be more proud of him. He is not the horse for everyone, but he is for me. We have our own thing.
I lost count of how many times I laughed until I cried with my fellowship and horsemanship sisters. My stomach and my eyes hurt! Y’all have no idea how much I needed that. How much we all needed and still need that.
We rode together. We prayed together. We laughed together. We cried together. That is what it is and was all about. That is what IT is all about. AHAmoment. They call the Hill Country God’s Country and it sure did feel that way!
Now I can not share any more about that! BUT. I do have one more thing for y’all.
Did you wonder about my Merle while we were away? Well, wonder no more. He was in excellent care. I had to board him because all of my people were busy or out of town. He did not seem to mind and clearly had fun! Does he look like he is practicing his face for Halloween, missing baby teeth and all?!
By the time we got back to the farm and unloaded, I wished R a good safe rest of her drive, took a much needed bath, and then took a two hour nap (another thing I do not do).
I still have not caught up on sleep! We are all happy to be safely home even though we were not quite sure we wanted the trip to be over. This week is major catch up and now I just want to go back!
It is October! And I felt it in the air this morning while taking Merle out.
Well, actually, I have been feeling it in the air for a few days now and it has been just slightly, ever so slightly clicking up. Not just because we have now hit October 1st. You can only really feel it at dawn and dusk and if you try hard, throughout the morning. That soft, drier air. It has a different feel. A different smell. It makes me giddy inside. Just downright giddy, I tell you. For the change in more than just temperatures. For freshness. For the setup of the reason for THE season. The reflections of the past seasons and the ones to come. You know how I get this time of year.
I have been out of the state for work for a few days drilling a well. With how busy and ‘full’ life has been the last few months, I was not looking forward to having to be away from home and my Merle. As it happens, like it always does, my eyes were opened while I was away. I was driving myself to dinner after my sift was over one night when I was caught in awe.
I was headed into the sunset down an old, old road that had been long cut through the tall pine trees of the rich timber country. I first noticed the way the light was forming the sunset and the time of day. It made me realize how the days have been getting shorter and the sunsets earlier, and earlier. Then I noticed the ever glow of the golden color of the rays. They were clear rays that bounced off of everything they touched, illuminating anything in contact, but at the same time, my eyes could not tell the difference from one to the other. How they shone between the trunks and the long shadows they created. The rays were seemingly suspended there, caught in that moment and time. Still. I like to think of them being captivated, much like I was. Rewarding me for seeing them. There was promise held in that golden light suspended in those trees.
The camera could not see what I was seeing.
It made me even more excited for fall and what is to come.
My cousin and I have already done an ‘all the fall things’ cooking session. She made a pumpkin chili and I made a pumpkin toffee dump cake. Um. GOOD. We have even picked more things to make for another fall evening and I can not wait. The date is not even on the books yet. Nothing gets me more excited for this time of year.
Sister K texted me yesterday reminding me that tomorrow (meaning today) was October 1st. Which really only means one thing. That we can start playing Christmas music. I know, I know, settle down. We will only play it for ourselves and BIL T, don’t worry. She is married to him so he has to listen (joking!). I promise to not share any Christmas music here until December.
There is another thing about this time of year. The thing that makes me the absolute giddiest of all giddy. If you have been around here for a little while you might be able to guess. It is something that happens for a week every October. A week that I live for. Now that my work commitments are complete (and I can feel myself breathe again) and we are in this fine fall month of October, I am thinking of nothing else.
Walk in love, dear readers, and do enjoy this fall! Embrace the change and allow it to happen like the change of the seasons.
Yes, me. Your long lost friend. Hi, ya. I have missed y’all!
How is it May? And how has it been two weeks since I have written you? Not sure how that quite happened. It was not intentional, that is for dang sure. I have not fallen off the face of the earth. Maybe you wish I had! Anyway, it is not for lack of goings ons.
There has just been a lot of life going on over here in my world. Now is not the time for that though.
Not to worry and they say worrying is fruitless anyhow (spoiler alert, it is true). God has it all and me. And you. This I know with great conviction. He has been ever present throughout it all and is still here.
I will do my best to get back to writing to y’all regularly, but in the meantime, enjoy some photos of the past couple of weeks.
Life and time go on, man. It is how you use it. How you live it. How you share it. AHAmoment. Taking each and every day to be better than you were the day before. Letting God work through you for the blessings of others.
Walk in love, dear readers!
Work trips are not all that bad.
But being at the farm is better. Especially to catch the moon setting in the morning.
I do, I love you.
Getting our steps in.
Easter eve yoga for the Darcy dog.
A new view.
Easter morning sunrise.
Tuners with all the words to say.
Cooking is always a good idea. It is good for the soul. Roasted red pepper soup from scratch. Pretty dang good.
Until next time…which will be soon! I am spending the weekend with some of my best friends riding horses here in the great state! Even if it rains, it will be a grand time!
Ha! I shall leave you to be the judge of that. There are at least some good pictures!
Once upon a time, it rained and rained and created all kinds of mud all over the state of Texas. And everywhere else across the land. A gal named Avery was kinda busy and losing her mind for lack of riding time.
What is that? You have heard this one? No, no, no. The ending is good. Just stick with it. OK. Where was I? Oh ya…
Then it got cold while it continued to rain. That gal named Avery became even more busy (in a good way) and wondered if she would ever be able to really ride her horses again or write to her dear readers. Please forgive that gal named Avery for falling off the face of the earth and going MIA. Time kept passing her by.
This is where it gets good.
Then one fine day, spring appeared. The rains let up. The mud dried. The horses started to lose their winter coats. The pecan trees started to bud. All of a sudden, the stars aligned and the time was right. That gal named Avery loaded up that dog named Darcy and booked it out of town. She rode by herself. She rode with important people in her life. They rode. And that is what they did. And it was glorious.
The horses lost more hair.
Darcy took some naps when she was not running or getting dirty.
They rode by the river.
They rode under the clouds and across green pastures.
They rode down to the river on the beach.
The sun came out and sunsets were watched and it was magical in more ways than one.
They rode under the trees, over logs, and among favorite blue flowers down in the river bottom listening to the breeze and the light rain in the leaves.
They watched a little rain storm roll by and felt the drops cool their skin with the threat of the last cold snap.
Then more rain and wind and cold came. But that did not stop them. Still they rode.
It got even colder, but fun was still had by all.
Manes and pony tails went everywhere.
And that is what they did.
Then all was right in the world again.
They could not be more thankful or blessed.
Best story you have ever heard, right?!
I knew it.
How is it already April?! APRIL!!!
I am back, y’all, I promise.
Walk in love, dear readers, and I will talk to you soon.
He got you, didn’t he? Sneak attack, I know. I bet it just made you smile though. Even if you were trying not to.
Any kiss from a Lito Man will do that, but a kiss from an awkward and gangley baby Lito will especially do it.
I just love that guy.
I have been able to wake up at the farm these last two days because of the cold snap we got. You know, feeding and blanketing and shoveling poop. My other day job. There really is nothing like seeing the horses first thing in the morning to get you going on the right foot.