Why, Hello There

Um, hi. Ya. It’s me.

What happened to December? It is already half way through. When in the world did that happen? Jolly old Saint Nick is coming faster to town than ever before!

I have not yet finished my Christmas shopping. I used to get all of my gifts before December even hit. How did I ever manage that?

Anyway.

Clearly I have been really busy. Busy doing what, I am not overly sure about, but sure, yes, busy. Busy enough to barely be writing to y’all! Busy with work, family, laundry (duh!), and watching Christmas movies. Lots of them. You know the ones I am speaking of. They are your favorites too, even if you dare not admit it. Hallmark Christmas movies! I am not the only one who loves them!

Trying to ride as much as possible which has proved overly difficult. It rained so much last weekend that the varmint holes were full of water two days later! So far I have spent more time scooping poop and pulling burrs out of manes and tails than riding. Although I did get some good riding time around Thanksgiving, so there is that!

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I did bake pumpkin bread last night. And ate some last night…and again this morning. I have to tell you, there is nothing like a house that smells like fresh baked pumpkin bread (or my Mamma’s rolls)! I walked downstairs this morning and it still smelled that way! Put a big ol’ smile on my face it sure did! As did eating it, but I am sure you guessed that.

Have you heard all the great Christmas music being shared over on the Facebook page?! I am going to give you some valuable life advice. If you have not clicked over there and had a listen, you are truly missing out. I bet you there are a few on there already that you have not heard before and there are even more to come, along with some great classics. Honestly, there are not enough days before Christmas to share all of my favorites. It has been hard to pick and choose which ones to share. One song a day is hard!

This version was new to me this year!

Christmas music really gets me into the spirit. Now all I need to do is find the rest of my gifts, get to wrapping, and figure out what I will bake for our family gatherings. What do y’all think? What should I make? What is your favorite holiday dessert?

Here is hoping I can finish out the year with more ride time and ring in the new the right way! I am just over here, trying to live in the present.

Walk in love, dear readers!

More

I meant to write to you yesterday. Sigh. This week after Thanksgiving has started out as a busy one. Seemingly as busy as Thanksgiving itself.

But enough about that.

I know what you really want.

…A cheesecake fully dressed for the party…

By the way, making chocolate ganache and salted caramel is super easy. You should give it a try. Especially the salted caramel. More than worth it. Yikes, so good!

Oh, sorry. I can not give you any of that. Darn. You are just going to have to go and make it for yourself.

Do not fret about that though. I have something else for you.

How about ride time videos? Between the ears photos? Two great sunsets? A special lunar surprise? You ask, and I shall deliver. I am here for y’all, dear readers.

After we did the big Thursday Thanksgiving meal and all day hangout thing (lots of drinking, lots of eating, lots of talking late into the night), we headed out the farm early Friday morning for more of the same.

First I rode Chance to go check the cows and make sure he was all ready for the kids. He was lazy, just like I like him.

 

There is nothing like the wind in the pecan trees.

 

No such thing as too much of a good thing, as they say, so naturally I hopped on Cheetah after Chance.

She was a bit on the feisty side on Friday. It was a bit of a screaming mare day!

I can not ever get enough of my sunsets which is why I share so many of them with you. Truly a unique painting directly from God’s hand every time. The clouds got in the way of all the sunrises though.

I have not shown you one of these in a while. The moon rising. It was pretty dang epic until the clouds decided to come back for another party. I am just glad they cleared up for the beginning of this.

Saturday morning was for the kids. Niece L helped me groom and tack up before we walked all over the horse pasture. Then Nephew H had his turn going to check the cows and riding all on his own in the round pen before untacking, grooming, treat stuffing, and turning Chance back out with the others.

Cheetah was an angel on Saturday evening. I swear she may have given me a look that said, “thank goodness you are more relaxed today. I really just wanted to stroll around.”

Sunsets, creaky saddles, and the dun colored ears of the best mare.

 

Sorry, not sorry! More sunsets.

I got home later than my usual last night with full intentions of cooking dinner for myself and even doing laundry. You know, being a good adult and all that. Between the hour and the darkness of winter evenings, I walked in the door and threw that plan out the window as I was finishing up a phone call. Now that is what I call being a good adult! Ha, I jest.

But, hey, I did unpack my car (mostly) and put some things away. At least there is that!

For nights like those, having a freezer stash, a cheesy Christmas movie, and some quiet down time is where it is at.

So, I did just that while putting a few Christmas decorations out.

I am grateful to have had the quality time with the family that I did, enjoy some great meals, be at the farm, and have some much needed saddle time.

It left me wanting more. More of all of the above. More time with my people. All of them. More time at the farm. More time behind those dun colored ears. Less minutia.

I hope everyone had a grand Thanksgiving if you celebrate it.

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

 

Slow Down

Do not forget to allow time slow down this time of year! Take a deep breath and enjoy it, whatever Thanksgiving brings your way this year.

I somehow forgot until Sunday afternoon that Thanksgiving is indeed this Thursday. As in a few days from now. Completely slipped my mind. Go figure that and get back to me. It is not like I have been talking about Thanksgiving and the season and being mindful or anything.

Anyway. I remembered while I was in the grocery store to pick up a couple things to make some chili. I do believe I made it out with everything I need. Here is the kicker. Without a list! Another fact you could spend more than an iota pondering, but I will not spend my time doing that.

This year I am making the best cheesecake, but with a twist this time. A topping of chocolate ganache and salted caramel with pecans. I am also making my fancy cranberry sauce as per usual (if you have never made or had cranberry sauce from scratch, you are missing out) and the best sweet potatoes. Then, for Thanksgiving round two, I will be making some kind of gluten free dessert for my Pop’s birthday. Stay tuned for more recipes and final results!

If you are reading this and are surprised much like I was that Thanksgiving is this week, fear not, you are not alone! Do not feel bad! You have buckets of that thing called time. Trust me.

So.

Being as it is the Monday before Thanksgiving and life is crazy and time is trying to speed by and you may find yourself wanting it to go away and memories and and and, I have something for you. For all of us.

A Thanksgiving prayer by Ralph Waldo Emerson set to views at the farm. I hope you enjoy and get into the spirit. Allow time to slow down and feel the beauty and blessings all around you.


For each new morning with its light,
For rest and shelter of the night,

For health and food,

For love and friends,
for everything Thy goodness sends.

For flowers that bloom about our feet;
For tender grass, so fresh, so sweet;

For song of bird, and hum of bee;

For all things fair we hear or see,
Father in heaven, we thank Thee!

I think Chance liked it.

How do you allow time to slow down this time of year?

Walk in love, dear readers!

Cold Mornings

There is nothing like a cold morning at the farm feeding horses to wake you up in the right mindset, I tell you. Even if I was running a little late and got stuck in traffic. Even if I am not all together, full on ready for winter. I probably said that last year. I probably say that every year. I am nothing if not consistent, yes?

This morning was the first real cold of the season.

So very cold, but so beautiful.

We have officially reached southish Texas winter which means blanketing the old horse and feeding everybody extra on the cold nights. And scooping lots of muck, but I will leave that part out to not spoil this idyllic image.

Last night’s sunset on the way to throw the cows a bale of hay.

This morning’s sunrise leaving the barn, before I poured myself a travel mug full of coffee for my commute into town.

I am headed back out there after work for another cold night and beautiful morning full of velvety muzzles and smokey breath. And manes and tails completely full of burrs. Let us not forget about those.

Life has been busy over here for me and I am just focusing on staying present and enjoying it all. Hence the mild silence. Fear not, for I am still here. You know, living life.

Hopefully I do not have coming reports of wearing sweatpants on my head or broken manure spreaders. If I do, you will know. It is good material. No? Alright, fine then.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Tell me how you are living in the present and enjoying it.

 

From Me To You

Here is a little between the ears time from last weekend.

Just me, my horse, and my dog.

Just a little something from me to you. To brighten your day, if you will. For anyone who has not had enough of this in their life. Or any of it. To help make it a good Friday.

Memories of moments like this help get me through tough days or weeks. I am grateful for them.

Work has been crazy and ride time has not been very plentiful for me lately. Between the weather and life’s crazy schedule it has been difficult, and this weekend will be no different. I am hoping to get out there for at least a couple hours.

It is just the way it goes sometimes.

 

I hope you enjoy my dirty, happy dog. The creaking of my saddle. That moment where Cheetah tries to snag a bite of grass. The muddy pasture and green grass. The dynamic clouds.

Walk in love, dear readers!

So, Let It Shine.

“Nothing can dim the light that shines within.”
~Maya Angelou

Just a little Monday motivation for you if you need it. Yes, yes those are burs in his forelock. It is his new fav thing to do.

Walk in love, dear readers, and have a great day!

Light

Let us talk for a minute about light. Y’all know I have a thing for it. That sounds like a funny thing to say, but you get what I mean. Especially there at the farm.


“In nature, light creates the color. In the picture, color creates the light.”
~Hans Hofmann

On Thursday of last week I went out to the farm for a delayed midweek visit because I was going to be out of town over the weekend to attend a baby shower for Sister K. The ground was soup again (or still, I guess) and there was no riding to be had, so I just fed everyone and hung out. Enjoyed the clean, clear, and cool air and the sounds of happily eating animals.

The cows were a bit miffed to only be getting hay to eat. As if they do not live on an all you can eat buffet.

After turning the horses out I walked out into the pasture with them and then on down to the pond. Thinking to myself all the while, “maybe I will get some good sunset shots over the water.”

What a passing thought to have.

You could already tell there was something special in the air that day. In the very light itself. It was like a magnet pulling me in. A veritable beacon. Can you see it there? Down the valley? In the tip of Cheetah’s tail?

I mean. Just look at that mare next to that pecan tree.

This little one was intrigued by me crouching in the grass. Or she just wanted to model. Only she knows the real answer.

I turned back around to see that the horses had meandered down and a gaggle of calves had moved in.

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Anyway, I went a little further down, closer to the pond and looked to my left. I raised my phone camera and snapped two pictures.

I just stood there in wonder for a few moments.

Do you see it? In these two photos together? What if you imagined them together, combined into one image? One on top of the other?

Do you see the cross in the light?

I do not even have words for that.


 “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

~John 8:12



“This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.”

~1 John 1:5



“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”

~John 1:5



“The obviously well kept secret of the “ordinary” is that it is made to be a receptacle of the divine, a place where the life of God flows.”

~Dallas Willard


Ordinary. Extraordinary.

Darcy was feeling it too.

But then again, Darcy is always feeling it. Animals get it.

What a moment.

Thank you for letting me share this moment with you.

Let your lights shine. It is bright within you!

Walk in love, dear readers!

You Know What?

Sometimes, beauty just finds a way to smack you in the face and take your breath away. AHAmoment. It makes you stop and take note. For good reason.

Sometimes even before you have finished your first cup of morning coffee, so you better wake yourself up and be ready for it!

I walked out of my parents house with a cup of coffee after feeding Sunday morning and I was smacked in the face with this beautiful sight. I could not help but snap a quick photo of it. It had me smiling all day.

You know me and that light and those long shadows.

You see those pine trees there? Legend has it they came all the way from Georgia. Random, yes, but I love these pine trees more than any other. I never knew I could be so sentimental over some random pine trees in Texas that are said to be from Georgia. What a story I am sure they could tell.

I love how after twenty years of coming here, I am still amazed and taken away by the beauty. God’s beauty. The interesting thing about it is that it is never the same. It is dynamic and ever changing. From day to day, season to season, year to year. Like God’s love. Ever present and eternal, always taking you by surprise and reminding you of His presence. It brings your feet right square down to the ground.

Anyway. While Sunday was a stunner of a day, Friday and Saturday were wet, cold, and windy. We got quite a bit of rain ourselves and the ground was basically soup (not the best for riding). It had us all in an eating and drinking mode. Convenient since I really had zero desire to organize and clean all my things from my trip.

We all had been craving molasses cookies. Presumably all suffering in silence until I broke down and stated my craving aloud and everyone desperately agreed. Naturally, I had to bake some. If you have never tasted these delights, you are missing out. We all grew up on them.

It is as simple as that. Or, as this rather.

Make the dough.

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Ball the dough (directly, if you are too impatient to chill the dough first).

Roll the dough…in sugar. Making sure to get some on the counter with the help of a little person. You are not doing it right if you do not.

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Bake the dough.

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But not too long!

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Then you eat an exorbitant amount of them! So so good. They got me thinking. I should try these with pumpkin!

Want the recipe? I will share it with you soon!

After baking, we took a stroll to the river to see how high it had gotten.

There is a beach under there somewhere.

It is still supposed to rise up a bit more, but it should stay in bank even still.

All of that work made us thirsty. I made myself a ginger orange margarita.

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By then the day was almost over and it was evening feeding time.

These two just tickle me to death. This is definitely not the best photo in the world, but I sure do love it. I often find them like this. Five and a half years later and they still choose to share a stall.

Then with a Sunday like this…I just have to show you again.

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What else is there to do but hop on the best mare and call for the kids to come out and join you.

Such a contrast of weather in two days.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Weary Travelers

Best laid plans, right? Long time no talk. Apologies for what is likely to be an interestingly written post.

Here is the thing. I have been sick. For DAYS. Since Monday. And not Monday as in a few days ago this week. I mean Monday as in LAST MONDAY.

You read that correctly. I was a deep voiced balloon head with mucus everywhere. That is probably too much information, but that has been my reality.

I guess I should just start at the beginning. This is probably a spoiler alert, but let me just say that we had been watching the weather and knew that we were going to get some rain coming into our ride. Now if you have seen any of the news, you might know some of what I am about to say.

But first, back to the beginning of the story. Let us not get ahead of ourselves. This was the sunset Friday night that officially kicked us off on our ride vacation. When R and Ronan arrived, we got him settled and decided to just enjoy ourselves and have dinner with my parents instead of loading all of my stuff. We put that off until Saturday morning.

The following morning of loading took longer than normal as my stuff was less organized than I have had it in the past. However, we were in no real hurry and had plenty of time.

We loaded the horses, pulled out of the farm, grabbed kolaches for breakfast from town, and hit the road to make the almost four hour first leg of the trip.

I made Lito wear all the things and he still loves me for it. Although, he did not really need any of it other than the mask since this trailer is so big. Unlike ours.

Once we arrived, we unloaded and got the horses settled before going to find a late lunch for us in town. I swear every time I take Lito somewhere he not only grows, but he loses weight.

Always with the doe eyes.

Telling me how he really feels about me making him wear all the things. He said, “I am a real horse, I do not need to wear all of this.”

The rain had already started and stopped a few times at this point, but we were no worse for wear. We were staying put till Monday anyway. Even though there was a good chance for rain on Monday, we figured we could get up and out and get there before it really started.

Lito made a bunny friend. We think she had babies hidden somewhere near by. I also believe she was sick.

One of the pretty and clear moments of the weekend. Promising and hopeful.

A moment of being tired of the rain and being stuck in the stall. That is Scooter back there.

Lito being a grumpy gandpa telling the others to quit their shenanigans. Funny that he was the youngest horse. Ronan was very upset about something out in the trees.

This was Saturday night’s sunset. It was beautiful. That is kinda when it all started to go downhill.

This is what we woke up to on Sunday morning. Ominous looking out there, but oddly peaceful at the time on top of that hill.

This is a little summary video clip from the whole weekend. It was quite fun until Monday rolled around.

We were able to take the horses down the hill to a flat area on Sunday evening to get a longe session in. They all needed it. Between all the things we were doing and the rain, fitting in an actual ride just did not happen. So, for your mental math, the horses rode in the trailer for about four hours and then were basically stuck in a stall for the rest of the time till Monday.

I had the pleasure of also longing Scooter, the blaze face bay horse in one of those pics. He was basically a horse kite.

One day, Lito may grow into his hips. His shoulders are starting to finally fill out.

Lito acted like he was fine with the whole being stuck in a stall thing. He was straight up lazy on the longe and really just wanted to graze. Grazing goes a long way so I let him.

This is when everything kinda starts to run together. Literally and figuratively. At some point Sunday night or Monday morning…or maybe some other time, I am not quite sure…It started to really rain somewhere. Here. There. Everywhere. All the creeks, streams, and rivers started to fill. Monday morning rolled around and we were not sure we were going to be able to get to our final destination for the week an hour and a half down the road. Or that we would be able to get back to where we were if we tried.

I also woke up that morning with that tell tale feeling of getting sick.

A lot happened on Monday. None of that really matters. What matters is the AHAmoments…Wait. Do not be in a hurry. Wait for data and facts from reliable sources, non opinions. Keep your emotions low and do not worry about what you can not do anything about. Difficult in this kind of situation? You bet. That is life.

The long story short. We found a window that afternoon when it was not raining, the roads were clear, and we knew we could go. So we went and got there safely. Who cares that we were later than planed.

Then it rained some more.

Then Tuesday morning rolled around. And it rained more. Everything started flooding again. The barn became a flash flood at some point after this video and the below photo.

Water, mud, muck, and shavings everywhere is the gist. I would not quite use the word disaster, but…

I stopped taking pictures and started trying to move water and get as much as we could off the ground.

When the rain finally quit, we took the horses and tied them up at the trailers for the rest of the day to do what we could to remedy the situation. Dig more trenches. Shovel out shavings. Try and get the ground to dry.

Lito’s stall got bad, but not nearly as bad as many of the others.

By the end of Tuesday we were all wet, muddy, and tired.

By the time Wednesday rolled around…I felt like…um…bad. Really bad. And decongestants make me feel even worse. I was weak and tired. And the horses had been in stalls, dry if they were lucky, for two more days at this point.

We only got to ride for a couple of hours on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday each because of the conditions. And honestly, I do not think I should have ridden more even if we could because of the way I felt. It was still pretty though.

Lito had a couple of young horse moments. One because I was honestly too weak to even mount up on Wednesday and another on Thursday when we got buzzed by a plane. He really did not like that last part.

There was more rain coming at some point Friday evening into Saturday with more possible flooding. We decided it would be best to pack up and clean up early on Friday so people could leave that afternoon or first thing in the morning on Saturday given what the beginning of the week was like.

R and I left with the horses on Saturday morning as early as we could with the rain. And it rained on us most of the way home.

Needless to say, Lito and I were happy to be back at the farm, even if we had to unload most of my stuff in the rain and wind. I was going to stay at the farm Saturday night, but I was so tired, wet, and crummy feeling. I booked it to town to stay at my parents house with my dog since she was there.

Not quite the report I wanted to give, but such is life! We made the most of it and had a good time together (even if it does not quite read that way!). We are all stronger for it. Albeit a bit tired as well, but stronger and closer.

If the rain story ended here, that would be lovely with all sunshiny roses and rainbows.

The thing is, the whole of central Texas has continued to receive buckets upon buckets of rain. All up river from the farm. It also got pretty dang cold in there somewhere setting more records, but that is secondary to the rain.

All that water is coming our way and hopefully not flooding.

I went out to the farm yesterday after work for my midweek visit and went ahead and moved the cows up into the horse pasture so they can all get to high ground just in case.

I have spent every evening since getting back on the couch in sweats, wishing I had a fire place while hacking all the crud out of my chest.

Do not even ask me about my laundry. I have not even looked at the mountain.

Go walk in love, dear readers. This gal is happy to be high and dry at the moment!