The Season Of Fall

It is about that time of year and I am not talking about hurricane season. Although we really need the rain. We almost got some this weekend. Hopefully this week we actually get some.

But back to the season at hand. It is more than just entering the ‘ber months and entering fall. More than baking all the fall things, which I am very excited about. More than family time, which is everything.

It is the season of reflection. Of being grateful and thankful. Remembering those that are no longer with us and also too of those that still are. Cherishing every moment we have with them. Thinking of the future.

It always seems to hit me right at September first. With the start of dove season. College football. The distant promise of cooler temperatures. Finding new recipes for fall baked goods and sides to present at holiday meals. Thinking about Christmas presents and the real reason for the season.

It makes me want to drink red wine while I eat chocolate pie and listen to prayer and gospel songs. They have a healing effect I swear. You should try it some time.

What does fall mean to you? How do you remember those that are no longer with us?

Walk in love, dear readers!

And because I have to, I have a song to share with you.


“All my love is due Him”


Back To…

Back to…normal. Dare I say it. So we will go with normalish. Back to normalish.

Yesterday I went out to the farm after work to fit a ride in. We also had the vet come out this morning to float their teeth, so I left them penned up for him.

It was the perfect mid week. My Lito man is ‘back’ to being his cuddly, ‘normalish’ self and my Cheetah girl was just as amazing as ever. I rode her around bareback in a halter. Well, because, why not. I also didn’t feel like dealing with her being her spunky, not wanting to walk self. So we dinked around the arena and just had fun. And boy was it. I love having a thought and her knowing it. Nothing else like it in the world. It is not always like that because, hey we all have our days, but when it is…wow.

From the look of the below pic, they thought I was cooking up a scheme of a trap. And well, I guess I was, but I made it worth their while.

It was also supposed to be sunny. Oh well, they are calling for rain on Saturday, so I will take it.

See, fun.

Trojan horse with his mohawk.

He looks a little different from the view atop Cheetah’s broad back.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, as they say. Not matter what species. I used to roach Cheetah’s mane all the time because she would rub it out searching for greener grass on the other side of the fence. Hopefully he grows out of it too like Cheetah mostly has.

I had a lovey dinner with my Aunt M.

That is about all I have for this Thursday. I have had quite a good productive week. Can’t complain over here.

I bet you can’t either, can you?

If you can, take a look at that dun face and smile. Then take a ride with me on my fun, dun mare. Changes things doesn’t it?

Walk in love, dear readers! Tomorrow is Friday!

Positivity

Focus on the positive.

That is something I always say, even when it is hard to do. I know you have been waiting for the rest of the story.

But let me go back a little first.

…to when Lito would not load in the trailer to come home. Complete with GIFs. Because GIFs make everything better.

We had just wrapped up a great clinic experience and I decided to go ahead and load up to head home before the last lesson. An hour and a half haul back to the farm to unload and then another hour’s drive home makes for a long Sunday and an early Monday. I loaded all of our stuff and got Lito ready.

As we were walking to the trailer, the evening barn help arrived and started feeding all the barn horses early.

Cough.

Me:

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Lito:

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What I should have done in hindsight was just turn around, put him back in the stall, given him some feed, and then loaded when everyone was finished.

Gotta love that hindsight.

However, being the dull minded human I am, I continued forth with the plan. He will load just fine, I thought to myself as he kept trying to look back at all the happy barn horses being fed.

Nope.

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I could belabor the specifics, but that would go on and on just like that fateful evening. I also do not want to focus on that negativity.

Long story short, it is a good thing the clinician, Mark, was spending the night there and not hauling out. He eventually stepped in to help get him loaded. It was a long night that had us unloading at 9:30. I am so grateful for trailer lights.

I think the long weekend combined with the feeding fiasco just all added up. We also had a little bit of drama before we loaded up to go to the clinic, but he loaded just fine to go so who knows.

tenor (1)

The positive in all of this was he unloaded like a champ. I opened the door. He looked at me and stood stock still. I stroked his neck and softly whispered in his ear as I untied and gathered the lead in my other hand. When we were both ready, I asked him to back out and he slowly, calmly backed out and off the trailer.

I left him alone for the week and forced myself to focus on the positive. He did really, really well besides the loading. Tomorrow is a new day and we will just go back to practicing trailer loading the next weekend. If he has an issue with it, we will cross that bridge if and when we get there.

Fast forward to this weekend. We crossed that bridge. Or rather, we are on it. We will see with time if we have crossed it.

I was sure he would just load like he always has in the past and that last weekend was a fluke. Just walk right on. Well. That was not the case. It was almost a repeat of last Sunday!

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Was it all pretty? No. But neither was last Sunday. Sometimes you just have to work through the ugly and the suck to get to the other side.

And we did just that. We worked through it.

I also had to have an open mind about it. Horses are good at making us do that.

During the more ugly parts, I kept thinking to myself. He’s locked up and he’s stuck. I don’t know why, but he is. I should put another horse in there. But there was also this old thinking part of myself that thought no, that’s cheating. He needs to get his butt in that trailer.

At that point I stopped myself. Wrong attitude. We walked away, I tied Lito up, and went to grab Cheetah. I loaded her in the first stall and closed the divider.

After just a few minutes, with Cheetah standing calmly in there letting him know there was nothing wrong, he loaded and went all the way to the front of the second stall.

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I loaded and unloaded him several times. Then I loaded and locked him in there several times. Then I loaded, tied, and locked him in there several times.

Then I took Cheetah out and tied her to the side of the trailer and repeated the process. Each time he walked calmly right on.

Then I took Cheetah and tied her somewhere else and repeated it all again. Again, he calmly loaded right on and off.

Sometimes, you just have to try something new. Do it from a different angle. Fresh perspective.

Part of me wonders if something happened on the way to the clinic. There were no signs other than the refusal to load. The only thing I can add is that tying seemed to cause him to worry when it has not in the past. All he wanted to do is look under the divider. Anyone have any advice for me?

I won’t call it redemption just yet, but we are getting there.

Sounds like a good enough ending? Ya, I thought so too.

There is more.

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If all of that was not enough, Lito then decided he does not like to tie and is scared of kites.

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That right there? I believe is actual footage of me watching my horse forget how to horse.

So. That is what we will be working on in addition to the trailer loading. Back to square one. But you know what. That is OK. We will work through this just like everything else and be better for it.

Maybe he is just in a phase. They all have their moments. We have had a very smooth road up until now. He never really had terrible twos. Some say they do it again, and worse, at four. Maybe this is how he wants to spend the last month of his four year old year. Throwing tantrums.

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It is now my turn to throw the tantrum. You guessed it, it is not yet the end and there is more!

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The fun is not over yet. It is like the infomercial that never ends!

I have to get a new car too! Too bad it will cost me more than $19.99.

6mw8Z

So for all you bottom line folks, here are the AHA moment bottom lines…on the bottom lines. Haha get it? Bottom lines? No?

Be positive.

Tomorrow is a new day.

Keep an open mind.

Work through the suck and have faith.

You will get to the other side.

And most importantly, walk in love, dear readers.

A Big Thanksgiving

Or rather, a long Thanksgiving. Big and long.

Big in thanks and giving, yes, much gratitude. We have much to be thankful for.

Also big in numbers. Number of people. An abundance of family and friends. Tons of conversation and laughter. Bucket loads of love. Many dogs. Food, food, and more food (and booze). And not just any food, great food. I have to say, I am surrounded by talented people. Pretty much all of them are great cooks!

Some sadness, yes. That can not be denied, but I have to say, I think we all did a great job focusing on the positive and being grateful for each other. Which is what Thanksgiving is all about.

This particular Thanksgiving was long in a sense that it felt like it lasted from last weekend to today. Even with all the regular day to day things, like work, and all the preparation and cooking, it somehow felt like vacation.

Now, I know some of you will be in disbelief upon reading this. Or even rolling your eyes at me. But in all honesty, it did. I am sitting here with my coffee trying to psych myself up for this work Monday.

The weekend before Thanksgiving week (after the Charlotte Dujardin clinic…which I still need to write up for you…sorry, I will get to it. In short, it was great and I shattered my phone screen) I spent at the farm by myself. It was a terribly therapeutic weekend. Strong and funny language, I know, but stay with me. It was both releasing and restorative.

After taking care of some errands and chores during the day on Saturday, I quickly saddled up Chance and went for a sunset ride.

Then I built a fire in the pit, hit play on some great music, made a cocktail, and sat down with my dog to watch the last of the sunset with the northern front at my back. Drew Kennedy has a live album titled Sad Songs Happily Played which acted like my own personal concert in the best venue.

Sunday started early and chilly.

I took a little drive in my pajamas while the horses ate with my dog, coffee, and music. Because I could. I started listening to Dani and Lizzy’s ‘Dancing In The Sky‘ on repeat (I am weird like that) and just allowed the tears to flow. It feels …strange, I guess, to say that. To admit that. But hey, it’s the truth, so there. Sometimes a girl just needs a good cry or two…or three, as was the case on Sunday.

I got dressed and headed out into the sun to catch up my first horse of the day.

I came upon the horses and discovered the three young geldings laying down, having a post breakfast nap with Cheetah standing guard over them. I just could not resist the temptation and sat down with them. The most wonderful thing happened when Cheetah decided she felt comfortable enought to lay down with us. I have no idea how long I sat there with them snoozing, but it was simply glorious. One of them broke the spell and they all got up, so I haltered Cheetah and started grooming.

Keep scrolling for this cow’s newborn on Thanksgiving weekend!

Cheetah decided she was a saucy mare, but her son made up for it by giving me the best ride on him to date. Lito is really starting to put the pieces together and it feels really great. Really learning to travel between my legs and reins and lift his shoulder. Yielding his hindquarters and shoulders. I just need to keep reminding myself he is not farther along because I can only ride on weekends. I need to not push too hard and have it not be fun for him. Well, both of us. He is seriously the most comfortable horse I have ever ridden.

I had a quick ride on Ike after a late lunch on the porch. Then I built myself another fire to close out the day. As one of my dear readers said, I just sat with my feelings and reflected. That is what time alone at the farm is about for me.

I stayed at the farm until Monday morning to meet the farrier before heading back to town and into the office for the short holiday work week.

I took the day off of work on Wednesday to get my cake baked at my parents house and the kitchen cleaned before Thanksgiving. Middle Sister, K, her husband, T, and their dogs were staying at my parents house for the holiday so Darcy had ample entertainment. She is currently passed out after I made her go outside.

Baking is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. This pumpkin cheesecake cake was worth all the work and calories, trust me. It really was not even that much work. Do yourself a favor, and go make it for yourself. Decorating it is also easy peasy, if you want to do that. Which you should because it is fun. And pretty.

My mom’s side of the family and a few friends came to my parent’s house for Thanksgiving lunch. And oh, the food. The food was so good! I am still dreaming about it. We all had a grand time and then loaded up and headed out to the farm just in time for sunset.

I give to you the post Thanksgiving sunrise if you missed it.

Remember that calf I mentioned? We all got to see it right after it was born. You are welcome for the cuteness. I do what I can for you, you know.

Another stunning sunset from the weekend.

On Saturday my dad’s side of the fam came out for lunch and some much needed togetherness and fresh air at the farm.

I took three kids on lead line rides and one solo ride all on Chance. There was so much fun and cuteness, I almost could not even handle it. Chance was so well behaved and we stuffed him with carrots and gave him lots of love.

My cousin got to harvest his first deer which was very exciting for everyone in the family.

I came back out to the barn before bed to give Chance another carrot and to thank him for giving those kids his gifts.

You haz carrot?!

This is a terribly long dump of a post, but there it is. The point is, I am thankful this Thanksgiving and wish I had another day before going back to work.

Thankful I got to enjoy it. Thankful to be surround by loved ones. Thankful to spend time at the farm and create memories. Thankful to ride all the horses. Thankful for cows and calves. Thankful for my happy dog. Thankful to see the sunsets and sunrises. Thankful for music and reflection and fresh air. Thankful that I got to pick out a Christmas tree with my parents and begin decorating. And even thankful for my job that I need to go get ready for.

That is all. Up next, all about the Charlotte Dujardin Clinic!

Walk in love, dear readers! Thank your lucky stars today and every day. Keep in the spirit of thanks and giving.

The Season

Time seems to travel faster this time of year, don’t you think? I mean, Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK. How did that happen?! It has snuck up on me as I am sure it has everyone. For more than one reason.

And now, it is already Tuesday. It still feels like Monday.

Anyway, I am sitting here with my coffee, as I do, you know, reflecting.

Surprisingly enough, wishing it was still Monday. I made a quick trip out to the farm yesterday after work since I did not go out this weekend. At this time of year, I get barely an hour out there with the early sunset, but it is enough to get my fix to get me through the rest of the week.

I did have a great time with my sister and her husband this weekend. It was incredibly relaxing and indulgent. She is having a holiday party next month that we are both getting excited for. It got us both in the spirit. We even made peppermint ice cream from scratch.

When I got home on Sunday, I baked two batches of cookies while drinking coffee with cinnamon and nutmeg. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Chocolate chip oatmeal with pecans and coconut and while chocolate macadamia nut. I owe my farrier a lot of cookies because he is great. I am going to bake my mother’s pumpkin bread this evening for gifts. I just love this time of year!

It all got me thinking how blessed we all are. That we are here and awake this morning. That I got to go up there to visit and stay the weekend. For the quality time with my sister. That I got to see the sunset and love on the horses, however quick. That I have a dog I can take everywhere with me and that she got to have her run time at the farm. That I have a good car to get me where I am going and get me home safe.

That is what this time of year, the holiday season, is all about. Seeing and feeling your many blessings. Being grateful and thankful for them. Doing things for others. That and The Reason for The Season. Giving God the glory. Doing your best to carry that attitude through the rest of the year.

Walk in love, dear readers.

Thanks. 

I awoke a full hour before my alarm was to go off at 6:30 AM. An extra hour of sleep would be nice before a long road trip. 

But. Here I lay. Fully energized and rearing to go. Excited to get where we are going. However, I am forcing myself to stay in bed because that was the plan. No sense in getting everything finished early just to sit and wait again. Silly, right? 

Anyway, here I am, writing to you since clearly the prospect of sleep is leaving as quick like as the sun is about to rise. And because Darcy dog is not here to cuddle. Which, is not so fun, not having my dog with me. 

I played on my phone a bit when I first realized there would be no more sleep. Then I put it down and tried again. No luck. Picked it up again. I was reminded of a song. You know how that happens. 

Here I am, laying in bed. Having the luxury of lounging in bed for an hour before I need to do anything. About to gather everything my horse and I need for a week, load it up, and head out with R for a week of riding and fellowship. 

How did I get here? How am I able to do these things that I love? Have these horses that I have? How blessed am I? 

I get to do all these things because my parents worked their tails off and did everything they could for us. Because they taught us to work our tails off. To do the right thing. To not give up on our dreams and wishes. To do what makes our hearts happy. To have faith and give thanks to the Man upstairs for it all who makes it all possible. 

Even when we didn’t realize or appreciate it. 

So. 

I give thanks to the Lord. I give thanks to my parents and family. And I give thanks to my horse. 

Corny as it may sound, it is all true. 


Time to get up and get moving. R will soon be on her way! 

Walk in love, dear readers! I will see you in a week! 

Just In Time 

This morning I woke up at 4 AM to catch a flight for an out of town meeting. The good thing about this kind of situation is that the earlier the meeting starts, the sooner you get back…right? 


Today, that was the case. 

Meeting ended on time, slightly early actually. I got to the airport and secured a seat on an earlier flight. Every minute counts for Friday traffic and my need to get away from civilization. 

I don’t know what it was about today, but somehow the traffic was not all that bad. I got home from the airport, grabbed my bags, loaded Darcy Doolittle and we were on our way and arriving at the farm in no time. 

We got here, took a deep breath, and walked out to the horses. No better thing. To smell the scent of horse and the freshness the end of a thunderstorm brings all while listening to them lazily crop the summer grass. 

Quite idyllic if you can ignore the mosquitos. 

But forget I said that. Focus on the rest. 

After I brought the horses in, I poured myself a long overdue glass of wine and went out to soak in the last of the sunset. 

Just in time.


I just figured I would share it with you! 

It reminds me of a time I went fishing. My whole family was already there on the coast. I was one of the last to show. I sent my Darcy dog with my parents, when they left earlier. I caught a late flight after work. I showed up, grabbed my rod, and headed for the dock. Fishing in your work clothes. Excuse me, catching in your work clothes! I will tell you, it is oddly satisfying. 

Anyway, Enjoy! 

Walk in love, dear readers!

What Day Is It Today?

I turned on the news for the first time in five days on Tuesday before I went to work (for the first time in over a week). First report was of Hurricane Irma. I had to directly change the channel. Just the thought of it was sickening to me. Golden Girls it was. Or was it I Love Lucy? I can not even remember. There is not much on the TV before 7 AM (OK fine, I love both of those shows, leave me alone) and I still do not know what day it is. Funny how that happens. How you can’t remember the days and what has happened or when. It just gets intertwined like a bouncing rubber band ball and you can’t tell where one begins and another ends.

To be perfectly honest, the five days ‘away’ from the continuing disaster that is the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey was necessary for my well being in more ways than one.

The craziest thing about it is that I feel like I should not feel this way. This battered and exhausted and, well, emotional about it. I think this is what one would call survivor’s guilt? I had never even heard that term until a few days ago. My family and I have been incredibly blessed through this whole ordeal.

My family, my animals, and our houses are all fine. My friends and their animals are safe. That is the most important thing. The horse barn got a little flooded, we lost a little bit of feed, and our fences were ripped out (…again…). The floor of the feed room will be replaced and everything else will dry or can be replaced.

To say it came out of nowhere would be inaccurate. We knew it was coming. We knew it was going to be bad. We prepared.

But it was worse.

Hurricane Harvey quickly beefed up and became a category 4 right before his big, debut entrance (if you did not know, he made two landfalls…crazy, right?). And to say that Harvey did anything but dump rain quickly is quite comical. I might venture to say that it was the slowest moving storm in history. Harvey slammed the coast and creeped his way north and stalled. FOREVER. Impossible to anticipate what will happen at this point. Dumping quite literally, buckets of rain over more than, oh, I dunno, and area of twenty counties? Big cities and small towns alike. Not just Houston. In some areas, reports are upwards of 50 inches. Cough. You read that right. That is more than the projected 30 inches. With all this concrete, where is that water supposed to go?

Going through a storm like this felt somewhat like what a war might feel like. Getting slammed with rain for days, quite literally. It did not stop. Sleep impossible. Anxiety and fear rising with the water from all directions. The water seemed to rise faster than it came out of the sky. Many were scared for their lives and could not go anywhere. Many lost their lives. Many had to be rescued in a boat, everything they have worked their whole lives for lost, clutching to loved ones and the few treasured possessions they could carry. They now have nowhere to go.

The storm hit our area Friday evening and had no mercy.

Come Saturday, R realized she needed to leave her house, but quickly realized she had no way out of her neighborhood. She spent the next 24 hours staging her house to try and save as much of her stuff as possible, knowing she was bound to have water in her house soon. She had water in her house and rising Sunday morning. By Sunday evening she helped put out a neighbor’s house fire and hitched a ride out of there on a boat with her cat. Talk about a story for your grandkids!

My God Parents flooded. My God Mother’s parents flooded. My sister’s God Father flooded, had to walk out in chest deep water, and be taken out by boat. Several long time family friends flooded.

Darcy and I rode out the storm with my Parents at their house. Watching the news was harrowing. Just harrowing. We made ourselves take brakes from watching it to play cards or watch a movie to take our minds off it. Constantly checking the radar to see where the bands were, here or at the farm? Checking the river gauges to try and determine how the river was rising and how it would crest. Literally getting up in the middle of the night to see where the water was on the back patio and then checking my phone again to see how the farm was faring. Getting calls and messages from friends who were flooding or hauling their animals to safety and no way to get to them to help. The complete and utter helplessness of not being with my horses at the farm. I knew they were in high ground and would be safe because our neighbor made sure of it, but my mind went wild with worst case scenarios.

We tried to get to the farm on Monday. We got half way there and had to get creative with ways to try and get around the water. Mother Nature is more creative than us though and we had to turn around and come home. We didn’t try again until Wednesday. We got within sight of the front gate but could not cross the water in the low spot of the road. Our nighbor informed us that his friend went up in a plane to do a flyover of a few properties and reported our house and animals high and dry. While it really wasn’t enough details for me, it was the only thing keeping me going at this point. Dejected, Dad and I headed home.

The next day gifted sweet, sweet success and a ton of bricks lifted off my shoulders. I was able to get in and see my horses and cows. I almost cried. The next five days I spent cleaning up, fighting mosquitos, waiting for everything to dry up, and thanking the Lord for His many blessings.

Here is something bigger than the storm, though.

All throughout the storm, people kept showing up to save people and animals and then turning around to help clean up the damage left behind. People helping people. Not because they want recognition or get anything out of it, but because it is what needs to be done and they need it. People sacrificing their lives for another. Comfort and love spreading faster than the water. Sensationally and overwhelmingly heartwarming. Outshining the hurt and devastation. The hate of the outside world being washed away with the flood waters.

So very Texas. That is part of what makes this place so great. This is what I will remember most from this hurricane named Harv.


Go hug your people and your animals. I am exhausted, but happy to be on the other side of this cleaning up. It will be a long time before we are finished with Harvey, but everything will be right as rain in no time.

Too soon? Sorry.

Walk in love, dear readers and go say a prayer for all in Irma’s path!

Whopper

Welp. I dare say that was (well, still is) a whopper. A doozy whopper of a hurricane. I just came up with that. Just roll with it. 

(Disclaimer…blogging from your phone is difficult and annoying. Please forgive any spelling or grammatical errors.)

Words really can not describe the magnitude of devastation. EVERYWHERE. 

I had a friend ask me if I or my parents had ever seen anything like this. My response? My grandparents haven’t ever seen or heard of anything like this. And my family has been in this area for a long time. 

It will take me a little while on this one to gather my thoughts and put them into words. To be honest, I am not even sure if I can. I will try though, not just for me, but for my people, my city, my region, my state. Please know that me and my animals and my people are all well. We are safe and on the right side of the worst of it. We have been blessed and I am more sure than ever that God provides. And He is here. Always. I so appreciate all of the comments and messages from you, my dear readers. It means the world to me. 

I apologize for being MIA since my last post. That was not my intention, but in circumstances such as these, your prioraties change pretty quick. 

I hope you are all well. I do not even remember the last time we spoke. That is how long this storm, horrible Harvey, has been going on. 

There is much work to be done now, but until then, please enjoy our aftermath of the storm. 


I needed that cocktail! 





Because everyone loves Tuner kisses…








Looking forward to all the new growth. 

Walk in love, dear readers.