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!
Well, dear readers, this little corner of the interwebs has turned into a once a month update at best! That statement at this point could read once every two months. Details. There are worse things to be sure, however I do apologize for it. It is not what I had intended.
How have y’all been?
I am sitting outside on the porch at the farm with my coffee. It is quiet and still. I am putting off thinking about what all I need to do in favor of writing to you! I think I was doing that last time I wrote.
Where is Merle you ask? A logical question as it might not be this still were he here. He got dropped off at the kennel yesterday for boarding. He is at his annual stay while I am about to begin loading up in preparation to head for the hill country for my annual ride. I have a quick respite here at the farm before striking out right before dawn on Monday to meet up with R and her mount to go west.
More on that later. Back to the still.
If you haven’t noticed, which might be true for some as I myself have no idea how we went straight through September and well into October in less than a blink, but alas, here we are! Blessed be! The curse of being an adult.
I am sitting here with my coffee watching the first colors of the sunrise to the east. I can hear someone, most likely Cheetah, in the barn behind the house pawing her empty feed bucket thinking I will come back and give her more. It is so quiet, I can hear the water spray on the pond in the distance over my shoulder. The air has changed enough that everything sounds different. The birds are chirping all around me and the cows are softly mooing. The air, while pretty humid, still contains that distinct fall softness. If it was less humid, it would almost feel like cashmere. This morning is reminiscent of a morning in Colorado for whatever reason. Most likely the quiet aloneness.
It is just cool enough, and I suppose humid enough, that I considered grabbing something with sleeves to throw on.
Well, this is going to be a long one, I guess. And well, scattered. What all have we been up to since, August, was it? Let us see. Side note, I am starting to realize why Merle goes crazy about the squirrels. They have gotten rather brazen I must say.
I write a lot about the weather. In August, it was the heat and what the seasons remind one of. Funny how no matter your lifestyle, the weather is something we all live our lives around. It is something that grounds us and reminds us how small we are in this world. Like the mountains. And the rivers and oceans. Is it just me?
The deer feeder by the pond just went off, if you wanted to know. It is a new one and quite loud.
Anyway. Stay focused.
As you well know, we have been riding. And Lito, well he is great. And turbo cute. I just can not get enough of him.
I may have a problem, but I am OK with that.
It feels funny or odd to say this, but I have been trying to spend a lot of time nurturing my friendships with my human friends. I have been very ‘socially’ busy for me. This is something I think I am normally pretty good at, but lately I have been doing less of it while going through my own stuff. I have been calling to check in with people. Sending a quick text. Grabbing drinks or dinner. Offering help if needed. I want to be there for my people the way some were there for me. Put it on your to do list if you have to. It is all we have. I will be honest, it has been pumping life into me.
Just look at this Merle pup. Just the happiest of all dogs I think. I look at him sometimes and am reminded that, man, happiness is as simple as a choice! Every day.
As you can well imagine, the Merle has been living the life and giving me the life through him!
All dogs are happy, but something makes me feel he is the happiest.
I tried to get enough horse hay to get us through the winter. I used to never even think of this until late October or November. One of the many joys of being where we are. This year is definitely different as many livestock owners will tell you. There are many factors, but the point is, as everyone in the world can tell you, the prices on everything have skyrocketed. Feed across the board included. Throw in a shortage made worse by Mother Nature and well, you shop around, write a check early, put your gloves and music on, and get to work stacking hay in the summer heat of early September. You’ll be covered in sweat, dust, and hay, but you will feel great.
This is Merle questioning the work. He liked this bed of last year’s leftovers.
Pretty satisfying work.
We went to ride with friends in two new to us places. Lito really loves exploring and seems very comfortable in his set up. I feel blessed to be able to take the Merle most places and loves it too.
There is something magical about riding in a forest of trees. I have said it before. I must be living a dream because I will say it feels like something out of a storybook. And now I have said that twice in one post!
See what I mean?! I have no words.
Just like sunsets at the farm render me silent.
My boy, just being my boy.
We rode a 2500 acre ranch southwest of us a couple weekends ago. The riding there. There were some very special moments. There is a lot of tree riding to be had there too! And some very nice big oak trees.
Last weekend I spent some quality time at the farm with Lito and groomed him for an hour. His fall dapples inspired me even if they are hard to capture in a picture. I even braided his mane. Just because. Gave him many treats. We took a hand grazing walk before I turned him out in a special pasture. To say thank you, he promptly rolled. Gotta love horses!
This also happened last weekend. He was quite pleased with himself. No judging on the state of this farm garage! This is Merl’s life in a nutshell. And, well, mine too!
My Lito, he is ready for this week. He has been at a really steady weight and condition. He has gained muscle. He has really seemed to, grow seems the wrong word. Expand? He has really expanded in his mind, body, and spirit. Sounds funny, I know. He has more than matured. Sure, he is still the goofy teenager he always will be, but he has matured. Seems more grounded. More confident. Not just in himself, but in me too and our communication. Our relationship. He seems softer or quieter in his mind or energy. Maybe I am too. That is generally how it works. I am really looking forward to this ride with him.
The sun is now shining the last of its golden glow on the front pasture while the birds are in full concert. Past time to get moving!
Walk in love, dear readers! I will speak with you soon upon our return!
Have I done this bit before? Sorry, not sorry if I have!
But, seriously. It has been a long time! Time is funny that way, as I am sure you are tired of hearing me say.
Side note, being the ‘youngster’ that I am, I used to live in this world without ever really understanding why Willie Nelson is as popular as he is. I know, crazy, right? See what I did there? Anyway, hear me out. I just really didn’t. He never seemed to really sing in the songs that got played on the radio. Well, one day, I was driving our old farm suburban, affectionately named The Dun, down the road that leads to the farm. Through the lovely little bend that has the shady hollow under a grove of oak trees. There I was, driving along, listening to the local radio station croon a velvety song out of the radio my Pops installed one afternoon in the driveway of the Long Shadow house where I grew up. I thought to myself, “Dang. Who is that? I know who that is, but I don’t really.” I tried to soak up the rest of the song while I anxiously awaited the DJ’s announcement to my ignorant ears. Once I learned that it was the great Willie Nelson singing to me, I spent the next week large amount of time doing a deep dive into his whole discography, starting at the beginning. Suffice it to say, I get it now. I really get it.
Did I already tell you that story?
Anyhoo! How are you? How have you been?! Tell me!
How am I doing? We are doing more than fine! The month of May (and, uh, the beginning of June too!) has been gloriously busy. We went on some adventures in our spare time while also slowing down and soaking up some personal time.
I looked at the forecast today and it looks like the summer heat has plans to show up with a bang. There is one of those at every party it seems.
Take a ride with us and have a look at what we have been up to. To set the mood, here is our drive soundtrack.
Mr. Dirty Toes Merle was a Merle and got into…stuff. He was happy and proud about it.
We took a walk and picked wild dewberries. They got baked into a pie by Aunt M for Mother’s day. I did not get around to a second pick to bake into muffins. We will get to that next year!
We watched some sunsets. There is nothing like that Texas sky, I tell you! Prove me wrong.
It does not matter where you are standing, it just strikes you.
We have obviously been putting in some saddle time. We have mostly been slowing down and taking it easy. Enjoying the farm. The breeze in our hair. The blue sky. Green grass. Colorful wildflowers before the mowing.
My Lito Man has the prettiest ears!
We also had sunny afternoons where we were so sleepy we could not keep our eyes open! He has been looking more relaxed lately. More grown up. More round. I like it.
I sometimes wonder where this man horse came from. His dam, Cheetah, also turned 18 a couple weeks ago! With each passing day and year, I am enjoying all my time with her and her colt that she gave me.
We celebrated another anniversary. I miss My Darcy Girl every day. Some days, I shove the images and memories to the back and pick something else up after I pick myself up from the kick in the gut. But some days, I find myself looking for her light in different places. Some times I make myself do it. I could not be more blessed to have Merley Bob. He really and truly is a gift beyond measure in addition to unconditional love.
We celebrated life and love and family and memories by going fishing. We kept a couple dinners worth and released the rest while being glad at the number of young fish we saw building our fishery back up. Are not my parents the best?!
We watched the sunrise while the birds flew.
We felt the breeze in our hair some more. It has been very breezy this spring!
We rode some more and watched a storm come in! We even got a little bit of rain. Every little bit helps to grow the grass and get us through. It has been very dry here.
A different kind of magnificent painting.
We went to the beach and relaxed this past weekend! As cliché as it may sound, I do love a long walk on the beach, especially at sunrise with my pup. The water was…was…from somewhere else? I really do not have the words. Our beach does not usually look like this. I almost felt like we were in a different country.
It was nice to sit and truly relax without a thought of what needed to be done.
Merle loves long walks on the beach too!
We drove back to town early yesterday morning, wonderfully tired. I will not lie, it was a little difficult to get out of bed this morning! That could also have something to do with deciding to assemble a fountain for my patio at my usual bed time.
I find myself in this season, blissfully grateful and saying thank you. I once thought that I was not very good a praying and someone told me I was wrong. That I was indeed actually more than OK at it. It was like that time I said I was lucky and someone corrected me and said I was blessed.
“Naw I ain’t too good at prayin’ But thanks for everything”
Thanks for everything. Amen! It is a simple as that.
Thank you, dear readers, for being you and being here. Walk in love and have a great day!
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!