A Hippie-Dippie Woo Adventure and The Bestest Boy.

The BESTEST boy.

I am going to brag here in a bit. You might just want to skip to the photos at the bottom from the ride!

The bestest boy not only earned, but he deserves some carrots and apples after last week.

They really are not even enough. All the treats in the world would not be enough!

I am not even kidding. About 20 times a day I would tell Lito how good, brave, and handsome he is.

It was more than him just taking care of me and safely carrying me around all week. It was more than him just being a good boy. Both of these things are blessings to be sure. Horses give us humans so much for our own gain that does not have much to do with the horse.

I know I get all hippie-dippie, but we were in sync. We had the same feelings there in the hills with over one hundred other horses and riders that we have had for the last few months no matter where we are. I know you horse people know how great it is to have the same horse away from home that you have at home. It is the same with dogs and kids. It does not happen all the time for a myriad of reasons.

Have we been riding more away from home than in the past? Yes, we have done that. Have we been riding more away from home with more horses than we have in the past? Yes, we have also done that. Have we spent more weekends away in company than we have in the past? Yup, that too. He has been better and better every year, which is generally to be expected too. But it is more. More of a feeling. That we are on the same wavelength. That we are both right there, in a secret, private place. Almost like a cocoon with nobody else even though we are surrounded by others. It feels as though we are the same. Communicating is not even the right word. Sure, there is that and it is more open and two way than ever, but it is the feel or feeling rather than communicating. The feeling of presence. The flow of energy that has no beginning and no end. If that makes sense. It is some pretty good woo stuff.

I got emotional a few times while we were riding. It was just the whole of it all. This horse came to be from a thought, a dream. It was something I always wanted and only became possible with my Cheetah. All the planning and waiting and trials in addition to trails, and here we are. I bred and trained this horse that carried me so proudly this week.

ANYWAY.

Please enjoy some shots from the ride. Other people and secret shenanigans omitted, as per usual.

R and I had an uneventful and even pleasant caravan drive to our home for the week. We even stopped at the big tack store on the way which we have not been able to do in a while. I snagged a new pair of reins and a curb chain. I told myself I could not get any more. I am just glad they did not have a sale going on like that one year!

We arrived in camp at about 11:30 AM. It took us no time at tall to get our horses set up and let the party begin.

Did I say buffalo?! Why, yes, yes I did. Follow Lito’s left ear and you can see a big ‘ol buffalo bull.

Pray for rain. It is pretty sad. We have been blessed with some rain at the farm, but dang. It was so so dry there. Basically no grass. Dirt and dust in and on all of our stuff. My jeans by the end of the week were standing up with dirt as if they had been starched! But look at that hill country sky!

Not that I necessarily pray for a flood, but this drought might be worse than 2011.

Before we headed back this day, we went up the big hill for the best view.

My not so little Lito just trucked up and down without a trouble or extra breath it seemed. He gave everyone their space and kept pace with little input by me.

My photos are a little blurry and I apologize for that. They are all taken with my phone and I tried to clean the lens before every shot, but sometimes it did not seem to help at all.

The tract across the highway has a little more grass, which Lito was delighted with, but still way less than past years.

Why not Line Back Dun Gold??? Lito did sport some glitter one day like last year, and it is still just as fun! I had fancy braids planned, but I ran out of time for that.

If you have not guessed or did not know, this area and this river in particular are quite special and iconic in Texas. We are blessed to be able to ride here!

This place has some of the grandest cypress trees of all. It is very difficult to get a pic with Lito in it AND the tops of the trees! They are so big around, we would need four of us to hug the trunks!

We had cloudy mornings and clear, blue afternoons every day! We did not have any rain, but I think would have all welcomed a little sprinkle or two at night to settle the dust.

The Frio river itself has actually had a good amount of input and was flowing in places. It offers a good long drink and a nice cold soak to cool the horse’s hooves and legs before lunch.

We got a bit of a later start on the drive back home because somebody’s horse would not load, but eventually it did. Lito loaded well and hauled pretty well back home to the farm. I got him settled and fed and then the same to myself before dark. Then it was a hot bath and champagne before bed.

We rode. We swam. We shared stories. We remembered. We laughed. We cried. We enjoyed each other and our horses. Mostly though, I loved on and appreciated my horse.

Each year, while we ride in the same place, is different. However, one thing remains the same. This place and these days and these horses and these people, are all those the Lord has made. Tomorrow is never promised. Learn that lesson now. Enjoy now.

Remember, focus on the positive, not the negative! Most all things wash out in the rain, just another reason to pray for it!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Farm Porch Coffee.

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.

A pretty picture of a sunrise from behind the barn. It looks like something out of a storybook.

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?

I couldn’t pick just one!

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.

Setters are so special. This one in particular.

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.

I have to say. These panels are amazing. He is not a small horse if you have noticed and I can lift these with one hand. I bought them several years ago and I have never regretted it.

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.

I absolutely downloaded this off a friend’s page. Something about it. One of the few pictures of me!

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!

Excuses.

You do not have to make excuses to do what you want to do.

Just some Monday morning coffee musings. Or rather, I actually thought of it on Saturday while riding, but who is counting. Your any day AHAmoment.

You do not have to make excuses to just stroll around from shade tree to shade tree in the early morning summer breeze while letting your horse take bites of grass. To watch Merle run. To enjoy a big herd of deer off in the distance. To watch the fish in the pond. You don’t always have to ‘work.’

We both had the same idea about what we wanted to do. The difference was, Lito was not worried about making excuses.

I found myself trying to justify what we were doing on our ride. Justify, to myself I suppose. Sounds silly. I didn’t even realize I was doing it until the conscious thought came forward that I don’t have to do that. I don’t have to or need to make excuses for this.

You don’t have to make excuses to watch a movie or read a book. To treat yourself to something. To a nice lunch on your own just because. To rearrange your furniture. To sleep in. Or. To wake up early to have an extra cup of coffee. Or go to bed early. To take a trip. To have a lie down in the shade of a tree. To take a bike ride. To not spend your time with people that do not value you or do not make you feel comfortable. Or say no to what you don’t want. You name it.

“Live by the governance of your own heart.”

Be you.

Be more like Lito and don’t make excuses.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Well, Hello There…

My, it’s been a long, long time…

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.

I kept an eye on my blessing reminder that has persisted in this young oak tree.

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”

~Larry Fleet

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!

The Colors of a Volunteer Spring.

Spring.

It is a glorious thing. Everything is so pretty! And fascinating.

I have both the green and some blue for you.

First the blue.

This past Sunday, the sky was almost impossibly blue. There was a slight breeze. The ruffling kind. It was a spring cleaning kind of day. Lito and I rode with friends on Saturday and everyone wanted to bask in the warmth of the bright sun on Sunday. So, that is what happened. I mucked the barn out and cleaned the feed room before joining the horses in the sun with a shedding blade. Everyone lost a lot of hair that day!

There is just nothing like that Texas sky, no matter what dime of day or year.

Now, for the green and your inspirational poster.

Do you see that there?

Yes, it is more than a bit in shambles. Yes, I have to do something about those leaves.

But, do you see all that green there? Those are volunteer plants.

You know the kind. The kind that just grows up in the most seemingly impossible and interesting of places without you doing a single thing. In a tree stump. A crack in the side walk. On a brick wall. Or, in this case, a seemingly barren pot.

You see, right before the covid shut down, I took some time to spruce my patio up a bit. Why not? Anyway, I planted some herbs! I had three pots at the time, the two you can see and the one in in a broken heap on the bottom shelf. I watered and talked to them hoping they would flourish.

Well long story short, without sufficient sun (thanks to a lovely large oak tree that provides all those leaves) and water (the before mentioned shut down during which I lived at the farm) my little herbs took a turn for the worse and did not make it.

My fresh pots turned to just dirt.

Over time, I had some volunteer plants take up residence. “How lovely,” I thought and I would water them when I thought of it and enjoyed them being there just because.

Then one day, a certain shade of green and texture caught my eye. Do you see that herb?

Yes, that there would be sage!

I had sage in that pot once upon a time two years ago! And what do you know, here it is again!

Let us see. What saying should we attach here?

Walk in love, dear readers!

E Hele Aloha.

Aloha, Hawaii.

Or, ‘A Plenty More Huger Hawaiian Adventure.’

…Or, ‘That Time My Photos Almost Broke The Blog.’ This one is pretty apt as it has taken quite a bit of time to get all of these up and I was worried I was going to lose the draft from crashing! As in, it did crash at one point.

If you follow all the goings-ons on Instagram and Facebook, you probably saw (a little while ago now) some of the play by play action of our trip, but I did not show everything! It has been crazy busy over here ever since I got back…so here we are looking back at my amazing trip. Texas is currently doing crazy winter things down here and I am sitting here with my second cup of coffee trying to get warm after feeding, watering, and mucking. We had frozen in shards falling from the sky yesterday and it is still stuck to the ground, fences, and deck. I am not going to lie, I have been having flash backs to last year’s winter-pocalypse. Anyway, enough of that. Let us dream of a tropical paradise by horseback, shall we?

Here is the thing. I know I have shared this before, but life is about taking advantage of the opportunities that come your way. You have no way of knowing what will still be available or what will happen tomorrow, in a week, next year, or five years from now. I have been kicking myself ever since Cousin A and R moved back to the states from Germany. Lost opportunity!

I love to travel and want to do more of that and experience local life, food, drink, and music. I love to ride horses and I want to not only do more of that, but I want to do it everywhere I go.

So, when Aunt M said to me, “Hey, I am going to visit K and B and go whale watching, you should come,” I quickly found myself saying, “You know what, I really should. Let us do it.” That is how the ‘plenty more huger’ Hawaiian adventure was hatched.

You see, K and B live on Maui and have for many years. K and B are my Uncle K and Aunt B, Aunt M and my Pops‘ Brother and Sister in Law. I had been to Hawaii once before many years ago as a kid with my family to visit and I basically only remember bits and pieces. They have always been so generous in always having their home open to family and friends for a visit. They also have this very close friend, L, who has horses on the island. Over the last few years hearing about K and B’s niece that loves to ride horses, L has told them several times that if I ever make it out for a visit, she would take me riding. Now, people say that kind of stuff all the time. I won’t lie, I have found myself doing it too. People do not always mean it, but every time I would talk with K and B, they would tell me about L and her horses and how she will take me riding.

I got to thinking, how many times does not only the offer of a place to stay, but also the offer to ride have to be made and not taken advantage of for me to come out the dummy? No more times, that is the answer! Once I committed, I quickly went and sent L a Facebook message so we could get to planning.

That is basically the back story. I wanted to ride and, well, do all the things and Aunt M wanted to see whales and the volcano. So, we planned for all of that!

We will skip over the Covid frenzy part of traveling and move straight on to the fun. While it may appear that fun was had all the way from conception to the time we landed upon our return, I will not lie and say that I was still very concerned and reserved until the moment we were on the last leg of our journey from Honolulu to Maui. I was very worried about not being granted entrance to Hawaii because of Covid. Blessedly, all that worry was for not….what is that I have said many times before about worrying for not? Something about a bunch of wasted energy?! Yes, that.

Anyway, I worried for not and enjoyed a mimosa with my breakfast while Aunt M and I waited to board the plane departing Houston.

After we boarded the plane, we then turn ourselves around and deplaned to keep things interesting. They said there was some mechanical problem. There was also a large connecting flight from somewhere that was delayed. And, I suppose, there is also Covid. This gave me time for another mimosa back in the airport! We ended up getting a new plane and were finally on our way.

With all the ‘keeping things interesting’ in our flights, we ended up being quite delayed. I do not even remember when we were originally supposed to land, I think 4 PM, but we did not get to K and B’s house until close to midnight.

All was quickly forgotten with local takeout at home followed by the first sunrise, a hot cup of coffee on the deck, and the first ride of the trip later that morning.

So, ya, the first ride. Um. I had never met L in person. We became Facebook friends when I knew I was coming. We messaged some back and forth about scheduling and experience, etc. I met her that morning when B dropped me at the driveway of her house.

But. She took me riding at Peahi. Just, you know, to casually view Jaws from up on the cliff horseback. No. Big. Deal.

EPIC.

Epic does not even touch the experience. Pictures also do not do it justice.

I mean. “Welcome to Hawaii,” L said with a big smile. I mean, is that Hawaiian for, “Hold my beer?”

I rode a lovely bay paint mare named Dreamer and she seemed to have as much fun as me. I felt somewhat like a kid in a candy store. I had already had this idea that I want to build all my travel around riding, and this ride just pretty much cemented that. If you can not ride there, I am just not so sure I want to go there. Horses are pretty cool in that way though, they are entrenched in society and human history, they are almost everywhere!

The waves were up and the pictures just do not show it. We could literally see the little ant sized surfers on the crazy waves.

To say L and I got on well would be an understatement. We are just two crazy little horse girls on the inside. The age difference meant nothing. When M and K picked me up after riding, M said we were both just beaming and I am not one bit surprised.

Driving around after the ride, I was just so struck by how scenic and dynamic this place is. Both the landscape and the weather. I was fascinated.

The crazy thing is, many views made me think of Ireland. My next place to go is either Ireland or New Zealand.

We all cooked dinner together at the house a lot so we could enjoy the sunsets on the deck. One does not have to twist my arm to do and enjoy that.

The arc of the sun this time of year from the house is amazing as it rises and sets symmetrically over the mountain.

For the second ride, L wanted me to try her young horse Carino, which means sweetheart. A super cute four year old bay, polo bred gelding. We just had a relaxed time doing horse things. Grooming, talking, riding. It was off and on raining while we were playing and it did not matter. We were just enjoying being able to ride and enjoy each other and horses and the scenery. I swear, you can see the ocean from pretty much everywhere. I suppose logically, that is not really a surprise, but it was kind of a surprise to me. Or, maybe just more fascination.

We had picnic lunches on the beach with wine while the whales blew in the distance.

We went on a Humpback whale watch boat with the Pacific Whale Foundation. Stop now if you are looking for a picture of a whale and just go google it or something. While we did see many whales, we chose not to waste our watching trying to take pictures of them. The pictures are in my memory! In real life, most of the whale action was far enough away to just not be worth the shutter click. We just did not want to miss anything and take away from the experience by trying to catch it on the camera. It really was super exciting though. We were in the moment and all had fun. It was fun to see kids and adults alike act like kids, me included, the minute we saw a whale. And, goodness, the views. I did snap some pics of the view. That evening’s sunset was enjoyed on the boat surrounded by whales.

They do call it the rainbow state and I did see one little piece of a rainbow. Better than none!

On another ride L took me to ride with one of her friends at this sustainable farm. Again with the ocean view! We also saw a couple NeNe, the Hawaiian state bird. It is some level of endangered or was? They have one mate and breed for life. Anyway, it is apparently a big deal to see one. On this day we saw two! I rode Carino again and L said she wanted me to ride him the rest of my visit!

We went on a dinner cruise with Champaign and cocktails being serenaded by whales, you know, no big deal. The whales were literally right by the boat.

Uncle K and I hiked some of the crater together…and we saw A WHOLE FAMILY OF NENE. An adult breeding pair and two very small goslings. You can not really see the babies in the pictures, but trust me, they were there.

After the hike, we picked up Aunt M and enjoyed a wine flight tasting at the vineyard. Then L and I had another relaxed horse afternoon. It is just a jungle everywhere!

Another beautiful sunrise. Sitting on the deck watching the sun never got old. That will never change no matter where I am.

I am not really quite sure what I loved most about this trip. Well, obviously the riding, but our day trip to the big island to visit the volcano was pretty dang, um, epic. What other word is there? It was a bucket list item for Aunt M. We hopped on a commuter plane for a day trip. It was a long day, but boy it was something. We could see whales playing from the sky. We saw the steam and vents. We drove the crater and all the way to the coast through the old lava flows. We saw another breeding pair of NeNe! We watched the sunset and the reflection of the lava on the steam with cocktails and dinner. No big deal. The red glow in the darkness around the last of the sunset reminded me of a pit fire here in Texas.

I tried to take pictures of our flight back to Maui that night, but they did not turn out. The moon was almost full and you could see the waves on the shore of Maui as we were flying.

We went to a luau in Lahaina and watched the sun set there.

On our last ride, we rode the pineapple fields. I was being silly apparently and did not take an actual picture of said pineapples in the fields. Oops. I was distracted because it smelled like pineapples and of the view up ahead.

We went for a lovely dinner out on the water in Kihei. Afterwards, I went to the moonlit beach to stick my feet in the water. I went to bed with sand still on my toes. Judge me if you wish!

We watched the moon set and the sun rise on our last full day morning.

We went up the hill to enjoy the view and watch the parasailers and then went to the lavender farm.

We had a little hike to some waterfalls where the young and old alike were having grand times.

We had my new Aunt L over for our last sunset and her birthday dinner. I baked a pomegranate cheesecake to celebrate her birthday and as a little thank you for all of her generosity in taking me riding almost every day. We got to ride so much, I did not even take pictures every time. I do not think I could do anything to thank her enough.

A welcome back to stateside with the moon over San Francisco. It was a long ride back!

Mahalo.

E hele aloha e na makamaka heluhelu.

Walk in love, dear readers!

I am out of words and pictures for this trip. I think that is a blessing!

Say yes to the opportunities and adventures!

Festive.

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!

Happy December.

Onwards and upwards, right?!

I am dubbing this December, “Happy December.”

Just go with it, it is a thing, OK!?

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!

At Long Last.

Now for some fun stuff.

I have to say, I am more than happy we were able to have this year’s annual ladies hill country ride. If we were unable to have it, which we were in danger of not being able to, I would have very likely had a complete breakdown. I mean, OK, I am using that term a little flippantly, yes, but only really a little given recent events that you are now privy to. I needed it so bad and so did everyone else.

Last year the year 2019 and that year’s ride feels a life time ago, both in actual time and in events as so much has happened since we were last able to ride together. Those salient details we do not need to belabor as I am sure each and every one of you are grateful for.

So, back to the ride. I will admit, I do not have overly much to offer you in words (good thing I did take some pictures!). Most of that week now seems a blur to me. Quick to arrive and quick to go. I spent most of my time on horseback up front by myself, in my own little world (sorry, K!). Just me and my Lito. Who, by the way, was absolutely fabulous. Part of my lack of words is that there really are none to describe how great he was.

Given how, um, ‘eventful’ our drive up in 2019 was, I was just overly grateful to have an uneventful trip this year. I did not even care that we could not stop to shop at the big tack store that is on the way.

For a horse that really does not generally enjoy being in a stall, Lito quite likes his tent stall while we are there. He gets the five star treatment. A deeply bedded and banked bed. Unlimited fresh and clean water. Salt block. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner in bed. Spa treatments. Room service and turn down. How could a guy not like it?

I did do a funny thing.

You see, this ride is more than just for fun and vacation with your friends. More than just an escape. It is a chance for us to be like kids again. To be that horse crazy girl again. To get in touch with that horse crazy girl if you have forgotten.

Each year I seem to take that to a new level. This year was no different. Although, you might not believe me as there appears to be no photo evidence.

I brought out the Twinkle Toes. You heard me. Yes I did.

Let me tell you something, the glitter is more fun than it used to be! They have more products than they used to! They also have some more subtle color options! It is just that little something extra that catches your eye and then adds a twinkle to your own (see what I did there?!). The copper body spray for Lito’s coat is where it is at. I also got some gold feathers to put in his mane and tail. Which I did, but again, I somehow do not have it in any pictures! Oh well, I did it, OK, and trust me, it was all worth it. Even to end up with glittery reins. I also got the glitter hoof polish, but I never did get around to using it as applying it out there is a little tricky. Anyway, if you are looking for something fun just because, go and get some glitter! It will be fun, trust me.

You can maybe see just a hint of the copper glitter in his mane here.

We were blessed with great weather. It was not too hot, not too cold. Not too humid. It rained some, but it did not get in the way of the riding…even if we did get a titch wet the first morning. It was foggy and then the skies cleared to brilliant blue.

I wish I had been wearing a go pro camera to catch all the butterflies that serenaded us.

A lot did happen that week. Sisterhood and friendship. Fellowship and blessings. Horses, horses, and more horses. Fun and silliness. Memories and sadness. Grief and togetherness. Beyond that, I can not say, dear readers. That is for us and nobody else. Secret society and all that, you understand.

Each year is a blessing and this year was no different.

The sunset at the farm the first night back was as stunning as usual. This photo really does not do it justice. The sunsets here are something that is almost as comforting as a hug from a family member or a close friend.

After looking through the photos I was able to get that week on my phone, I was somewhat gobsmacked at how the view from Lito’s back has changed since I started riding him. From age three to now a little over eight and a half, the view has changed a lot! And I am not talking about the scenery.

You see that photo there on the left? That was when he was four. It was from his first big trip. It has been my phone background ever since then and I smile every time I see it. Anyway, I was scrolling through the photos from this most recent ride on my phone and I stopped at the one there on the right and admired it for a while. I quite liked it I thought and wished we could go back. After a sigh, I closed the photo app and saw my phone background. My jaw practically dropped. I had to blink a few times to reorient myself. To my eyes, he looks like a different horse. And he is different in so many ways, but he is also too that same baby boy in so many ways. Look though at the differences. His ears. His neck. His way of carrying himself. It has been quite the journey and I am blessed to still be on it with him.

I was forced to get a new phone recently and I went ahead and made the new photo my new phone background. I smile every time I see it too.

Walk in love, dear readers!