Montana

Want to know where this gal was last week checking out? I guess the title up there kinda sorta gives it away…oh well!

Montana. And well, some of Wyoming too actually. 

I sat by that trout pond and listened to the birds sing and frolic. Those swallows how they play while catching bugs! We watched the cotton of the cottonwood drift on the breeze while the green grass swayed. We watched the dynamic mountain storms come and go from a porch rocking chair and felt the change in the air. 

I myself am partial to my Texas skies as I am sure y’all already know. You know they do not lie about that Texas sky, but man oh man, the Big Sky country of Montana is pretty dang special.

I am not the only one who feels this way either. Many Texans have strong feelings about the Montana and Wyoming skies, no matter where they call home. Especially from the back of a horse.

 

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I got to cover some country on the back of this Quarter Horse named Flash. He worked his magic and got us some fabulous weather to be out in and to watch. We rode to wide open hills, the sides of mountains, down in the valleys, and up in the trees.

Hard to not see the Lord at work here.

 

 

It sprinkled on us a little bit.

You cannot tell what we are doing here, but we were fly fishing the Yellowstone hunting up the Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout. That was fun! I was sore the next day, I will not lie, but it was so worth it.

Just look at that view. Imagine being here 150 years ago on the back of a horse.

We watched the horses get turned out.

Then we actually rode part of Yellowstone National Park! Who can say they have done that?

Flash getting us back before the storm behind us hit.

Words and photos do not do it justice!

It was such a pleasure to be in new country and be as unplugged as possible on the back of a horse. It does a soul good. I could have used more days, but let me tell you, I actually slept in when I got home!

I will be forever grateful for being invited on this once in a lifetime trip! Thank you!

Summer may be about half way over, but the adventure is only just beginning! Stay tuned for the next one!

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

Tribute

Get your sunglasses out. I have started and stopped about ten times and still do not quite know how to start it.

A great man went to his Heavenly home on Monday. My Grandmother’s Husband since she was 19. My Mother’s Father. My Grandfather. Although, he would get mad at us if we called him any such thing. Made him appear old he would say. Gee Gee for George. Everyone, family and friends, called him that. I learned this week that there are people that did not even know his name was George. Gee Gee is his name.

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Mere words do not do him justice. How does one pay tribute to such a being. You had to know him or know someone who knew him. Larger than life he was, and he knew how to live every second of it and fill it with music and dancing, tequila (it makes you smart he would always say, but he had plenty of smarts all on his own), family, the outdoors, and of course horses. Lots and lots of horses and horse stories.

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That dapper man there, sitting in the middle next to my Grandmother, wearing a tux. We have a big family, and this is not even all of them!

I still can not write this without tears in my eyes. Which is less than convenient with a face of makeup. Go me for being an adult and putting my face on.

The tears are represented by many emotions. Sadness, of course, is very present. The realness and suddenness of it (sudden as in one day there and the next not), sure. It really was not that sudden. The thoughts of looking to the future and visualizing what it looks like and feels like. Him not being there (how about a punch in the gut to say that?). At the same time, the blessing and relief. How strange it feels to feel and write that.

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A moment I captured close to the time he passed. I had a funny feeling at the time and did not know why. A few minutes later my sister called me.

When my sister first called I had a feeling it was coming. I did not know quite how to act when she told me. I did not cry or have much to say, it just was. It seems most of us feel that way. I suppose that is the blessing and relief of it. That he is now whole and complete, making music again.

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He was 92 years old. We went a few years thinking any day was going to be his homecoming, but, he continued to defy the odds. It was still a shock when it actually happened. On Monday, January 22, 2018 he went peacefully with a smile on his face and a full belly. What a blessing that is! To live his whole life happy and to go peacefully. Even with the years of dementia (that he was even able to hide for many years in the beginning), he was happy through it all and always knew the love of his life.

I have lived my whole life, of 29 years, with two full sets of grandparents. How many people do you know that can say that??? I have discovered not many people can. When people would hear that I have 2 full sets of grandparents still alive, they would look at me in wonder and astonishment. I have stopped being surprised at people’s looks. There are nine of us Grandchildren (non including the spouses) that could claim that.

I could go on and on about him. How smart and passionate he was. How he loved music and could sing and play multiple instruments. How he made records and sang with the mariachi bands at the Mexican restaurants. How they would marvel how well he knew their music. How he helped my mom with her math homework after coming home late from work. How I see him in his younger brother, 16 years his junior. How he loved his dogs and the outdoors and to fish and hunt. How he stamped all of us in a unique way.

My stamp was the horses and music, but mainly the horses. Entirely different than that of my Grandmother, the ultimate horsewoman.

I would sit with him for hours and listen to his stories about horses past. He was generally a quiet man, letting everyone else do the talking. An easy thing to do with our family. There was never enough air in the room and being in our presence was commonly compared to watching a tennis match. But what I loved most was when he would get to talking about his horses, even my Grandmother would sit silently staring at him, completely captivated.

I remember the last time they came to the farm. My Grandmother, naturally, was drawn by Ike and my Lito, wanting to talk about them and how they rode. Gee Gee on the other hand, with not much of his memory left, took one look at Chance and said, “now that is a Quarter Horse. I like this horse. You need to flush his eye.” I guess he liked the look of him! His eye lid was irritated and swollen at the time. I had already flushed it.

“Now that horse comes out half cocked, so you better ride him down and work him out of it first,” he would say about Chato, the last horse he had. He was a little feed lot horse and would politely slow down to a halt every time my phone would ring.

My Mom would always tell me how Gee Gee would ride every horse first before any of the kids hopped on, just to make sure their heads were on straight. Something I have always done because of that.

He once hauled a horse in a trailer with a faulty floor. The thought gives me nightmares. He crawled in the loaded trailer and fixed the floor mid route because the man said the horse would be fine to do it.

Consequently, I still can not find pictures of the two more prominent horses in his life. Jenny and Rowdy Dexter. Or of him taking my Mom and Aunt and Uncle riding. Jenny was the young filly he kept at the local stables where he met my Grandmother. She kept her horse at the same barn. My kind of love story. I will never be able to tell a story like him. I am not going to give up on finding them.

To tell some of the stories, I have these to share.

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I believe this was Jenny’s sire.

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Time to hit play on the music and stir our tequila drinks as we remember and celebrate this great man. I do believe anything less than a party he would not stand for.

This has been a slow blogging month for me, but I am still here chugging along. There is still much to see to yet, but I am not going anywhere.

Life is an interesting thing, as you have heard me say multiple times. How everything comes full circle. With death there too also comes life. Gee Gee will live on in another member of our family, due to arrive in August. I get to be an Aunt again!

Till next time, dear readers, walk in love!

Red At Night

Sailor’s delight?

Isn’t that what seamen say? Red in the morning sailors take warning, red at night sailor’s delight to predict the weather and the sailing conditions. I was taught that by my fisherman father.

Funny side note…I googled red at night to see what would pop up. You know, like the story behind the saying or a photo or a meme. Something like that. Turns out there is a song called ‘Red At Night’ by a new to me band, The Gaslight Anthem. Go figure! Have a listen. I just can not make this stuff up. Too perfect.


“Seems a blessing’s so hard to see sometimes
Got a little clearer ’bout dusk last night

Ain’t nobody got a blessing like mine
Ain’t nobody got a blessing like mine

It’s a red sky night and I’m doin’ all right
Red sky night and I’m doin’ just fine”


Interesting, right?!

Anyway. Last night’s sunset…well, it was red. Was it a sailor’s delight? I do not know, probably, but it was my delight!

I made a quick (or not so quick if you count my travel time…it took my twice as long as normal to get there due to a freeway closure from a bad wreck…but who is counting their time anyway?) trip out to the farm after work yesterday to check on everyone and to get the horses penned up for the farrier. He is coming out to pull Lito’s shoes to save them for next year’s trip. He got expensive billy goat climbing shoes. Can not have him loosing one in the mud or ripping someone open if he kicks.

I could not stay very long unfortunately due to the aforementioned travel time and the earlier setting sun. I had just enough time to feed, love on everyone, and take Darcy for a quick walk to the pond to let her run. And that is all it takes to put a smile on my face. That and no wreck on the freeway coming home! My rear view mirror was red on the way home before it went dark. A good sign. A good reminder. A God wink.

Today. Today will be a good day. Yesterday was a good day. Tomorrow will be a good day too.

For my lack of red sunset photo, I offer you this…It is a good day for her too.

You’re welcome.

Darcy loves you. I love you.

Walk in love, dear readers! Make it a great day.

Wonders

Here I am on Texas time, bright eyed and bushy tailed before it’s time to get out and do anything. I have been up for about an hour trying to will myself to sleep. No luck! Mornings like these are perfect for riding. Makes me miss my dun duo, even though I am having a great time here. Oh well, I am enjoying this cool mountain air and trickling fountain…and the time to write to you!

I found out yesterday that I happen to have a friend vacationing here as well and we are going to meet up for breakfast in a little over an hour. I told everyone they were not allowed to start having serious fun until my return. Can you tell I have a serious case of FOMO at all times??!

There is a pretty good chance of rain today, beginning in the late morning and continuing into the afternoon. Most likely today will be a quiet relaxing one, possibly enjoying a storm or two inbetween walks and shops. We have plans this evening to go to the top of the mountain for a farm to table dinner with live music. Fingers crossed the rain holds off by that point.

Yesterday was a lovely one with a trip up to Maroon Bells. Surprising that somehow I have never been up there given how many times I have been in this area. Maybe we went when I was little and I just don’t remember. Anyway, stunning is about all I can say! The double peaks, capped with snow, surrounded by blue sky, summer greenery, and the confetti waving of the Aspen tree leaves, all reflected into the lake below.

There are so many wonders in this world, big and small. From the smallest bug or flower to the highest mountain. It is amazing to think on the creation of it all and to remember that you were created in just the same way. AHAmoment.





We caught a fly fisherman wetting a line. Hopefully I will get a chance to do that before I leave.




We spent the morning there and then got back to town for a patio lunch. The men left to go play golf while us girls came back to the condo to relax. We napped, did dinner prep, and had a nice long soak in the hot tub and pool.

It is a long story, but I unfortunately have a crick in my neck. Terrible, I know. It started on the bus ride back from Maroon Bells. Previous events and not sitting straight, trying to see out the window I suppose. By late afternoon, even after taking an excessive amount of Advil, I could barely move my head to the right. The wonders of hydrotherapy never cease to amaze me. A good amount of time in the hot tub, then into the pool, and back to the hot tub? I felt like a new woman! I am still a little sore and tight this morning, but nothing like yesterday. Hopefully some more Advil and taking it easy today will do the trick. Maybe another soak in the hot tub.

That is all for now! Walk in love, dear readers!

Texas.

I do not like to talk about politics and I am certainly not going to do that here. That is not what this is for. Do not you worry.

I will say this. I am proud.

Proud to be a Texan.

Proud to be an American.



I can not speak for people from other states or countries, but Texans seem to be born proud. It is in our blood and we take it pretty seriously. You do not have to be born here to get it in your blood either, but I have also come across some people in my life that just do not quite seem to understand it.

Sometimes, I can’t quite explain it either. It is somewhat of a mystical thing and has a sort of magnetic pull, something that just wells up inside and grows throughout your life. It is certainly a special place. A place unlike any other. Not the South. Not the West. Uniquely its own. Naturally there are songs written about it. You did not think I would skip that, did you? We will get to that in a minute. 

The 4th of July always makes me reflect on this. I feel blessed and grateful to live in this country. To do the things I love to do. To be my independent self. To be able to see the light every day. Prouder still, to be a Texan. It is part of who I am. So. This weekend I celebrated with my family doing what I love because I can. I am free to do so. That is what being an American and being a Texan means to me.

I went to the country. I had quality time with my family. I rode my horses by myself. 





I rode my best mare with my Nephew behind me, holding on, while my sister rode Ike with my Niece wrapped in her arms in front of her. One in front of the other and side by side. I baked. 

We ate. We drank. We splashed in the baby pool in the yard. We played with dogs. I went fishing with BIL B, his brother, and my Nephew. Which, by the way, is my second most favorite thing to do next to riding. I not only fished, but I caught. I even got to fish with my rod that BIL B made for me because he brought it just in case I wanted to go with them. 








I napped. I read. I lost count of how many times we watched Tangled and Frozen during the heat of the day.

People, it would seem, are so terribly divided as of late. I wonder where the pride went. Are they not grateful to be able to see the light everyday? To be able to do what they love? Is it not part of who they are? Where is the love? Love of country? Love of people? Love of themselves? Why focus on the hate when you have a choice? 

Focus on the light and love. It is a choice.

Spread the love by walking in love, dear readers. Lead with love!

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Country Bound

As most of you know, I spend at least a few hours out in the country every weekend. There are many reasons for this, but it is mainly because, well, I need it. My soul needs it. It is where I feel most at home. Where I want to end up one day.

Thanks to Brent Cobb for posting this on his YouTube, for recording it, and to his Dad and Uncle for writing it.

This may be a dramatic statement to some, but this song is how I feel sometimes. Maybe more than just sometimes. Also, the whole John Denver combined with Robert Ellis vibe? Wow. I almost can not handle it.

It is necessary for me to unplug and get away. If I do not do this, I lose my sight and focus. I get anxious. What is it that they say? Lose the forest for the trees? Or the sun for the rays? I do not know why I am this way, I just am. Sometimes, I need it more than just once a week.

At the end of last week, I was struggling to get anything finished. You know when that happens? You have a lot to do and you find yourself just staring at it? Like hello, get going, move it! This happens to me more and more it seems. AHAmoment. This just occurred to me. I might start giving myself deadlines. Anyway, that is a story for another day. I was more than ready to get out of town and recharge.

The point is, when I do, I am able to see, hear, feel, and truly experience things like this. For what it is. In vivid detail. This is why I need it. My horses are also there. My family is often there. And there is that whole side benefit of, hey all I have to do is get through this week and I get to go to the farm! Oh, am I not supposed to admit that? Oh well. I want to eventually be able to have that every day.

I was walking back from the barn with Niece and Nephew after going to see the horses. I looked up and was amazed watching them walk through the grass off into the sunset. Completely in the moment. There is nothing better for them than this.

Sitting by the pong with my sister, her family, and some friends. Watching the sunset and the boys fish. Sunsets are so spiritual to me. Each moment both different and sacred.

I snapped these of my Bro in law. Fishing is his number one passion, like horses are for me.

A quick video of me riding the best baby horse of all time. Kids, do not video while you ride. Right after this, I dropped my phone. It still works though!

Cuddle time with my main mare.

For all you people with the Monday feels…this is truth. I found this on a friend’s Facebook page. Truth it may be, it can still be hard!

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Great family dinner last night that was good for the soul.

Walk in love, dear readers. Go kick butt today!

 

Sweatpants on my head?

I am sure you all know by now, it is COLD. Before we get into that, here is your dose of happy for today. I was able to snap these pics before the cold came. I had a very hard time keeping that hat on in 20 mph+ winds. Merry Christmas from Petunia the donkey! She seemed to like being a Christmas donkey. I was also able to fit in a short ride on Cheetah when the wind was not as bad. I am working on a plan to get me riding more. It is still in progress.

Darcy was a happy pup this weekend. Look at that smile!

The blistery cold for us started late, late Saturday night/Sunday morning. It was almost 80 deg. F. when I went to sleep Saturday evening. I woke up in the middle of the night to blanket Apache and throw extra hay for everyone to stay warm. I woke up this morning to 28 deg. and 19 deg. wind chill. Darcy’s new favorite game is to play with the broken ice from the water troughs. I will let your mind go with that one as it was too dark to get any photos…and this Texas gal felt like she was going to loose her fingers!

I also forgot to pack real winter things. You know, like a beanie and scarf, for starters. Not sure what I was thinking. Clearly I was not. It got cold and I needed to do something, so I took the pair of sweatpants that thankfully I did pack, put them on my head, and wrapped the legs around my chin and neck. I will pause for a laughing break…no, I do not take selfies…finished yet?…how about now? It worked quite well and the horses do not care when I look like a loon. Have you ever had to improvise like that?

Anyway, I told a friend about my packing flaws and she laughed as she told me she did not think I would do something like that. Out of character for someone as ‘organized’ as me. It reminded me, out of the blue, of this story.

My brother in law…brother in law B (eldest sister’s husband) is a man of many talents. One of those many talents is building fishing rods. I am not talking your average, every day rod. These are beautiful, extremely light pieces of art that have extreme feel and technical precision.

When I graduated from undergrad, my father gave me one of his rods as a gift. It had my school’s colors and symbol on it. I loved it and could not wait to wet a line. My first chance to try it out was on a family trip to the place where we grew up fishing. The first night we fished under the lights off the dock. We caught and released several little trout before I finally caught a nice sized keeper. Bubbling with happiness, I all but bounced down the dock to store the fish in the cooler on our boat. This is where it gets…interesting. As I was stepping onto the boat, the fish lurched in my hand and caused me to throw my rod carrying hand out for balance. Just as I did, I smacked the tip of the rod on the t-top of the boat and broke it in two. It still hurts my feelings to think about it! By admonition, I almost began crying.

A little while after, I was catching up with a friend from school. I told him the whole story, in riveting detail and that I was still upset about it. I am sure you can imagine it. When I was finished, he turned to me and told me that he was happy to hear that things like that happen to a person like me.

What does that even mean? A person like me? He went on to explain how he actually thought that ‘things like that’ did not happen to ‘people like me’ that ‘have everything together.’ Like I do not have hard times. Protected by some mythical force. I always thought he knew me better than that! I am apparently not as open of a book as I thought.

Everyone has their own trials and tribulations (me included! Just read back!). Stuff happens. Big and small. To everyone. AHAmoment. No matter who you are, where you are from, or what it looks like on the outside. It just goes to show you how our subconscious tries to make people think that we have everything together on the outside and that everything goes the way we planned. Everyone gets wrenches in their plans! Fear of judgement. Our focus is on the wrong thing! It is the same on social media, but that is another story for another day. It is not our place to judge. Only one has that right.

Until next time, walk in love, dear readers.

Stay tuned for Christmas baking and cooking! It is going to be a busy week!

Darcy

*This post has been edited to keep up with the times.*
In loving memory of my Darcy girl.
Darcy’s story is truly a special one. At least to me anyway, and not just because she was the absolute best dog on the face of the earth. A dog of a lifetime.
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It begins with a ‘long story short’ kind of deal. I was ready for a dog. I was wrapping up my first year of grad school. If you have put two and two together, you have gathered that at this point (I suppose that is dependent on my story telling skills, which are not that great, but let us not focus on that at the present moment) I have 2 horses and am in grad school. Perfect timing for a puppy! I would not recommend it for most people. I arranged a deal with my eldest sister to get a female puppy from a litter sired by her Irish Field Setter (because I love her dog) as her stud fee. She was to give the pup to me. Here comes the long story short part. The litter did not make.
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My sister’s Irish Field Setter.

It was August at this point. I was pretty upset. I broke a cardinal rule and had already bought a collar with a name plate. What did this mean? Do I not get one? Do I try to find one? If I was going to get a puppy, now was the time. I would have plenty of time to train a puppy while in school before I had to join the full time adult world. I needed to either get one now or wait till I was settled in a job. I am not one for waiting once I get my mind set on something if you have not figured that out yet. I decided to ask and look around. If I found a puppy that somehow was available and filled the necessary qualifications, I would THINK about getting it.

My chances were next to none. Most field bred, bird dog litters are only bred when the breeders know a full litter is committed for. I decided not loose heart and began my search for a Llewellin Setter (basically a specific line of field bred English Setter) which is what I really wanted in the first place. I grew up with English Setters and they are easier to find than the Irish.

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My childhood English Setter.
One thing led to another and I got in touch with the owner of a stud dog in Minnesota that sired a litter with a few puppies still available. She put me through a little bit of an interrogation until she heard my story and figured out I was not making an impulse decision. She deemed me worthy enough to get me in touch with the owner of the dam…in Michigan. That is really far from Texas, but I figured it was worth a call. If anything, they might be able to recommend me to someone in a more reasonable location.
I called him on a Sunday on my way home from the farm. We talked for almost the whole hour drive. It was great. I had a feeling. I had a feeling about the dogs. I had a feeling about him. I had a feeling about the owner of the stud dog. It all just seemed right. I needed this puppy that was not even born yet, but I could not let my feelings get away from me. I had to be logical and practical. Despite my ‘feelings,’ I had never met either of these dogs. I had always intended to get a dog from down here that was used to the climate. Anyway, How does one get a puppy from all the way up there to all the way down here without spending more than the cost of the puppy???
The next day I called him back and expressed my concerns. Now, here is where it gets really good. He tells me that it is really no big deal. He just so happens to be driving right by the stud dog owner’s house right when the pups would be 7 weeks old (which would be within the week before my birthday). He already spoke with her and she just so happened to be driving all the way down to Ft. Worth that very next day he was driving by and would be happy to bring the puppy along for the ride. He said not to worry about it, they would work it out to ensure the pup had a good home with me. How crazy is that?! It was fate. I agreed to drop my down payment in the mail that day.
Fast forward to the beginning of October and my mother and I drove up to Ft. Worth to pick up my Darcy girl. I chose a ‘D’ name after Darcy’s mother, Daisy. Darcy came from Pride & Prejudice because I am obsessed with Jane Austen and that particular novel. With Darcy cuddled in my arms, my mother and I checked into a fun hotel for the evening. Middle sister came to meet the puppy and spend the night as she lives in the vicinity of the Metroplex. We had a grand time with takeout for dinner and right before bed, I look over at my bag and what do I see? Darcy is curled up in a ball IN my bag, looking at me. It was at that moment I KNEW I made the right decision. I had found the sidekick I had been waiting for.
The first weekend home together we loaded up and went to the farm. She learned everything from riding in the back of the pick up to being around the horses to drinking out of a water trough. The rest really is history, as they say.
She was at my side ever since. I took her everywhere I could. In the last weeks of her life, after getting diagnosed with cancer, I took her to work with me every day. She had a huge personality and was extremely expressive. She hung out at the barn with me and went with me on all my rides. She was my farm buddy and was so so good at it. I would not have changed a single thing about her.
I am forever grateful and I feel so blessed to have had her in my life, even if it was only for less than six years.
I hope y’all liked Darcy’s story. Do any of you have wingpups that do with you what you like to do?
Lead with love, dear readers!

Mustard Seed.

Muster up your mustard seeds, folks. I have taken the plunge and finally started a blog. I know you are probably thinking, “just like everyone else and their dog. The world does not need any more blogs!” Have a little faith, ye readers. My pup is turbo cute and we will cover much more than just my dog. You will just have to tune in and see for yourselves!

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Isn’t she CUTE?!