Off to Nowhere

Lee has surprised me with a trip to a little cabin in the countryside an hour or so northwest of the ranch, to celebrate our 14th anniversary. When you marry late in life, each year means a lot. It was a foggy and misty afternoon but we enjoyed the drive, especially the parts where we wandered around the countryside near Bruceville-Eddy.

It was warm enough to sit outside a while.

There are more oak trees, so we got to enjoy fall foliage, and we saw many pretty properties. There were also some rather unique ones that looked more like compounds that had grown oddly over time.

This place has a compound of places to sit.

It turns out that’s because there are compounds out here. Oh. Branch Davidians and the ilk. I’ll not bother them and they’ll not notice me, no doubt.

The tiny house cabin is nice inside. I forgot to take pictures.

The place we are has interesting and highly Texan decor, but it’s cozy. The owner has put in lots of native plants, and they have bees. There’s a donkey but you aren’t supposed to pet it.

Donkey in background.

Today we just relaxed and talked a bit to the folks next door, who are a former television journalist and a former English teacher from Plano. Lots to talk about!

Very Texas.

We ate silly food like cheese, potato chips, and fruitcake. Our idea of fun. Heck, we enjoyed the slightly nicer small-town grocery store than Cameron has, so we’re easily entertained.

Lee says this is the septic system. I thought it was a bomb shelter.

I’m finally on the mend and much less sick, so I look forward to a visit to a state park and perhaps a winery tomorrow. I really appreciate Lee taking me out of town!

I Can Print, That’s Something

I haven’t been posting much, because it gets boring to say, “I feel crummy,” every day. But, I feel crummy still. Whatever this virus is, it’s tenacious. Now that my course of antibiotics is over, I figure things will devolve into a sinus or lung infection. But I’m telling my body it’s gonna GET WELL, in the hopes that positive thinking makes a difference.

It was cool this afternoon that the line of clouds looked like snow-covered mountains. I felt like I was visiting Colorado again, even though I didn’t get to go this year.

The good news is that Lee ordered a new printer for himself, because his kept dying once it went into its sleep cycle. Why is that good? I got his old printer, that’s why, and it’s a nice one, other than that flaw. Since I don’t need to print very often, I’m fine just turning the thing on when I need it, so the sleep cycle won’t be a problem. I can now print my own knitting instructions and maps of horse obstacle courses!

When not in use, the printer serves as a lovely stand for my sticker-heavy bullet journal, which I’m happy to say is big enough to fill a whole year! I have next year’s ready to go, too. Note that I am so sick that I managed to misspell December, in pen. Sheesh.

That makes me feel so darned independent. I used to have to email things to Lee and hope he eventually opened his email and saw my request. Now, boom, it’s almost instant. I can also scan photos or make copies. Wow. I’ve joined the twentieth century, only a couple of decades too late.

That’s about it from here. I’ll go use some more tissues now.

We Interrupt This Scenic Beauty…

…with a whine

The height of “fall color” has arrived, and I’m really enjoying looking at it.

My view.

But oh my goodness, I am sick and tired of being sick and tired! How long can a cold last, anyway? How much mucous can one nasal cavity hold? I guess I am going to find out, because I feel just awful, still.

Head toward the light, Vlassic!

I had 5 straight hours of meetings this morning, many of which required speaking and acting intelligent. That was no easy task. And before the weather gets bad again, I want to ride Apache and Drew. But I feel like crap.

Thanks, trees.

I got to wondering if maybe this is more than a cold, so I took yet another COVID test, but it just mocked me.

That’s a negative

I had been thinking COVID because I am tired and if I exercise a lot, it’s hard to breathe. But hey, a cold will do that, too. Or maybe the flu tests missed some kind of flu and I have that. All I know is I’m almost finished with antibiotics, which means I’ll probably get a sinus infection next. (Yes, I take probiotics.)

That brush pile may be ugly, but it houses a lot of white-crowned sparrows!

Anyway, that’s my whine. I am tired of being sick, even if I’m a Bad Ass, according to my coworker who sent a mug just like hers. That was a kind gesture, wasn’t it? And yes, I look like I feel. Crappy.

One more meeting and I can collapse.

Off into the Sunset

Literally. Today was long. I kept working and learning all day. I was in the tack room learning until well after dark, but when I’m learning horse stuff, it’s invigorating. I just soak it in.

Riding at sunset

Tarrin took some photos of me riding Drew at my lesson, which was late in the day, thanks to a crowded schedule (all that rain messed things up for everyone). The sunset was pretty, though.

Happy trails to us.

The photos are useful, though, because they help me see where I’m doing well and where my techniques could use some work. Drew and I both are leaning too much sometimes! No wonder the saddle slipped at one point!

We’re working on it.

That’s the thing, though. Even if I keep bringing up my age (the autumnal years, riding into the sunset), I know I’m staying younger and more mentally astute by keeping on a learning path. We all need to have something that keeps us engaged and active, right? Studies have shown…and all that.

I’m glad Tarrin and all my horse-loving friends share their knowledge so we can all learn from each other. Off we go looking for the next sunrise.

I need a nap first.

Barrel of Fun

My day has already been made! Playing with my little Droodles has lifted my spirits as my nasal passages flow (I feel better, though!).

Was it just the sight of a donkey in the sunshine that cheered me up?

I don’t want to push myself again and slow down my recovery, but it’s a pretty day and I need to work with the horses despite the fact that it’s still sopping wet here. So, I walked out into the soggy pasture to do some bonding.

Drew came up to me, of course, so I practiced asking him to back up at liberty (no halter or lead rope). It’s something Apache does well, so why not try? He needs to do his backing exercises…and he did great! I was so proud.

There’s that barrel

Then I spotted the rogue barrel that had blown into the pond. It was finally in a spot where I could get to it, so I brought it up to high ground. It occurred to me that I could leave it there as a toy. Drew read my mind.

Hmmm.

I was charmed and entertained as Drew checked out that barrel. He sniffed it, licked it, then pushed it around for a while.

Whee.

Then he picked it up and stood it upright. We both enjoyed watching it roll around until it settled.

I tried to make it a video but it didn’t work.

He must have spent five minutes chewing on the holes in the barrel and seeing what it would do. I love how curious that guy is!

I ended up filming him pushing it around, and had to laugh when Apache joined us and had no interest in the barrel. I happen to know he does like barrels, so I bet he plays later!

I do wish I’d remembered to turn the phone sideways. Sigh.

Once Drew went back to eating, Apache got to practice backing up and walking with me. He was not at all into it. He is so incredibly dirty, too. I will be doing a lot of grooming next week. I’m almost up to it, but need to be able to breathe better.

I hope you enjoy watching my boy have fun. Happy Sunday.

Autumn of Life Is Here

When the fall color arrives here in the middle of Texas, it’s subtle, and you don’t see it coming. I love this season and take comfort in the quiet beauty of our cedar elms and oaks as they prepare to lose their leaves for the winter.

I see some orange and yellow out there.

Today dawned sunny and crisp, but not cold. It was a welcome relief to see the sun for the first time in many days, and even more welcome was the sight of the new pond finally completely full and draining to the other side of the dam. After four cloudy, drizzly days, we had a large front move through overnight that brought enough rain to fill the drought-parched tanks for the first time since last spring. I guess the drought is over, at last.

It’s full!
I keep you healthy

The way this season has crept up reminds me of how I’ve been moving into the autumn of my life and not realizing it. I’ve been lucky to be very healthy since we came out to the Hermits’ Rest and have been growing stronger and more capable thanks to working with the horses and other animals.

Realistically, I am old.

But this illness that came up last week has been a very unsubtle reminder that I’m not a young person anymore. A cold that I’d usually just power through over a few days has made me weak and tired. I didn’t expect that at all. I keep trying to go out and get things done, only to feel worse and fall asleep for a few hours. I’m not bouncing back.

I am glad that it’s been so wet and muddy out, because it the weather had been good, I know I’d have been trying to force myself out to work with Drew, who needs me on him and working with him. But our working area is a little lake right now, and I am barely able to maneuver across the muck to get the food buckets for the poor horses. (They are not suffering; in fact, I think they are enjoying the pleasant temperatures and the abundant hay.)

And the horses have puddles to stomp in.

As I’m pulling myself out of the depression episode and feeling my mortality more than usual, it’s taking effort to not go into reflective mode and dwell on goals not achieved, mistakes made, and errors unaddressed. The sun’s helping me remind myself that I’m still able to learn new things, be kind to those who’ll accept kindness, and forgive others.

I should do more looking at reflections and less reflecting. This is the creek, with water at last.

While it’s true that I notice my memory failing and don’t know how much longer I’ll be a useful member of society, I do have confidence that no matter what, I’ll be able to enjoy each new autumn when it arrives. It may just be different from now on as I go from the autumn to the winter of life.

Seasonal Greetings

Yesterday was US Thanksgiving. I didn’t blog, because, thanks to still being sick, all my energy was taken up with cooking. I’m glad to report, that with some help and good cheer, the meal came out great and everyone in our little ranch community had fun.

Lee could not help, as he had a giant dog on his lap. (Joke)

It rained all day again. We aren’t getting much each day, but it’s helping. Between the dismal weather and my throbbing sinuses, I didn’t want to be out much, anyway.

Dismal

Today I’ve felt a little better, so I went to the Red House to remove fall decor and make it look Christmas-like, since that’s the thing people do nowadays. I discovered the new wardrobe had arrived for the second bedroom. It’s rather large. Some rearranging will be needed.

There are now king sized pillows on the big bed, too, though I need to exchange one of the shams’ pillow for the new ones. New ones are pretty lumpy and would be better for shams, but I got too tired to switch them out. Darned cold. In fact, I fell asleep after writing the previous sentence. I’m tired

Otherwise it’s looking subtly like winter holidays are coming. Or perhaps it’s kitschy. I did my best. Maybe we have a guest this weekend. Still wanting a couple of “test guests” before going all out.

So far, the best suggestion I’ve gotten is to leave a few books out. That’s a good idea. I can leave some of the novels I’ve read and a couple of Texas books.

Fake books don’t count.

Time to go home and rest and drink plenty of fluids. I’m thankful for you readers and friends. You make my life richer.

Penney Goes Ballistic When I Sneeze

Here’s a new development! As you may know, I’ve been sick for a few days. That’s made me a bit sneezy. (The strep throat is way better but it’s pretty obvious I have come down the the common cold, a thing I haven’t had in a long time!) The dogs have been taking good care of me, and I appreciate it!

Always ready to serve, Suna

However, just recently, I’ve noticed the strangest behavior in Penney the Neurotic Bitch (she’s a female dog). If I sneeze she goes into panic mode, running around and whining then literally leaping into my lap.

Must save Suna!

Now, if she just jumped into my lap, it would be fine. But no, she climbs up my torso and glues herself to me, shuddering, whimpering, and worst of all, licking any skin she can get to. It’s like having a licking tornado in your lap.

And there’s the pawing, too. She scratches my delicate old-lady face.

Once she’s up there wriggling and writhing and pawing and licking, it takes forever to calm her down. It’s gotten to where I run into the bathroom or somewhere safe when I think I’m going to sneeze, to avoid the onslaught.

I’m smiling, but it’s not actually fun.

I think she thinks I’m hurt? Or the sound scares her worse than even thunder? She doesn’t go into a panic when I cough or blow my nose (my current secondary pastimes after typing and crocheting). I’d love to hear your theories on this! In the meantime, no sneezing for me!

I Can’t Breathe, but I’m Happy

Finally, the strep symptoms are fading away, but I think I also have a common cold or something causing me to be rather stuffy nosed. That, I can deal with. I took some decongestant and felt all right the rest of the day (and I got nice soft tissues, so I’ll survive). And not only that, I’m in much better spirits. Hooray!

My feathers are no longer so ruffled.

The day started out pretty fun, as I tried to help out Declan as he figured out how to move round hay bales. There’s a first time for everything, and the two of us managed to figure it out (me with ideas, principles, and horse moving, and him with actually wrangling the tractor and hay).

I think I can, I think I can, says Declan

There was a lot of horse moving involved. They were fascinated when we moved the hay ring and had to try to see if they could knock it over. Then they were extra fascinated when the new bale came in (after Declan heroically figured out how to stab the rather unstable bale with the hay forks so it could move).

Let’s see if this thing rolls.

Once the bale went down, we realized it needed to be set upright, but the horses were having none of that and began eating as if they had never seen hay before. Mabel was especially excited, but at least she moved out of the way. Droodles stood in front of the bale like a statue, but once I asked him to move, he was a good boy. That impressed Declan.

Mabel demonstrates why you have to remove the hay net. She made it into a hat.

We were very proud of our ranching selves once everything was set up and the intense munching began. Maybe now Drew won’t keep eating in the bur field (he had a solid bur tail when I went to groom him). And next time we’ll be like professionals.

This afternoon was Tarrin’s monthly visit to the ranch. We were disappointed that the promised sunny day didn’t appear, but when we had a few sprinkles, we were rewarded with a rainbow that ended in Sara’s horses. I always knew there were attractive horses at the end of the rainbow.

Worth the rain!

Let me tell you what, there are two reasons I am so happy today, and their names are Drew and Apache. My horses lifted me up today, and I lived up to their encouragement and did pretty well, myself. Tarrin and I were both pretty darned pleased by the end of our lessons. We are having success!

Drew showed no signs of backsliding after getting back here and having two days off due to my sickness and the rain. He was lovely to watch when Tarrin rode him, and when we moved into the round pen, he and I made a lot of progress. We are figuring each other out and enjoying it at the same time, I think. I petted him and praised him so much! Plus, the new saddle felt great. I forgot all about it, which I figure is a good sign.

By the way, I’m majestic.

Apache, though, oh my goodness. The bodywork he got last week seems to have made a huge difference in how he feels. He was so calm, relaxed, and cheerful for his whole lesson…seemed like a new guy. Tarrin says his rear end really looked better, with no dragging of his hooves, etc. He could move sideways way better, even side passing adequately. I was right that it was hurting him, I guess.

Who’s this? Why is this in my Apache section? Well, it’s Apache’s mother, Nytengale! Sara found this picture today. You can see how he got his bay good looks.

Riding him was so much fun. He was so responsive to everything I asked him to do! That’s what I’ve been trying to get to with the horses. It takes me learning how to ride, the horses learning what they need to do, and getting everyone healthy and in shape. Tarrin’s so right that a pain-free horse can learn better and definitely in the case of Apache, they can listen better.

I’m not kidding, though, Apache seemed to be enjoying himself as much as I was. We are turning into a team. I think that’s good for both of us.

Oh, Germs

My strep symptoms are NOT going away as fast as I’d like. Oh well, it rained off and on all day again, so I couldn’t have done much other than work, anyway. At least I didn’t have to talk much.

Since I took no pictures today, let’s play spot the snapping turtle from last week.

Other than thinking about project lifecycles all day, the highlights of my day were finding some snow geese in the sky and having a good talk with my dear friend, Mike. He reminded me once again that he will listen to me. Of course, when I’m all overwhelmed with negativity, I never remember to call my support network. Maybe my first tattoo should say

Remember your true friends

Tomorrow should be a good day with sun and true friends and horses. Come on, antibiotics, kick in! Back to Starburst: the blanket.

BottomsUpOrange

All Things Crochet!

Crissi McDonald

Heartline Horse Training

sara annon

seeking the middle path

Tonya's Tall Tales

My life with horses, bunnies, chickens, ducks, and cows.

rfljenksy - Practicing Simplicity

Legendary Whining and Dining World Tour.

The Backyard Horse Blog

All about keeping horses at home

Hazel's Animal Adventures

My life on the ranch.

Katie Zapfel

Children's book author. Mom blogger.

365 Knit Socks

I knit a lot of socks

recoveringpornaddictcom.wordpress.com/

Coach, author and educator

The daily addict

The daily life of an addict in recovery

Just Vee

A regular gal who likes to stop and smell the flowers.

Happy Heidi's Happenings

My life in the country.

BrownesPups

A family of dog lovers, owners & breeders since 2015

The Adventures of a Mountain Coward

panic-stricken mountain adventuring!

Something Over Tea

Scribbles from my notebook

The Renegade Press

Tales from the mouth of a wolf

Heccateisis's Blog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

The Upstate Gardener

The Upstate Gardening blog with Gardening Information, Recipies, Home Improvement Ideas, and Crafts Projects to make your life more beautiful and healthy.

Nature And Photography

Bring Nature Into Life

AT PATHO

no streetlights, just star light

Words and Stitches

woolgathering at its best

The Grief Reality

Normalising the conversation about Grief.

iRoseStudios.com

Art Studio Dumfriesshire

The Creative Pixie

eat up some crafty goodness with this creative mama

Writings of a Furious Woman

My thoughts, sentiments, and scribbles on womanhood

Paws Bark

Dogs Leave Paw Print in your Heart

Yeshua's Child Art

Art that Expresses the Heart

Chicken Coop Plans

Build Your Chicken a Home

Writing about...Writing

Some coffee, a keyboard and my soul! My first true friends!

Leaf And Twig

Where observation and imagination meet nature in poetry.

Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Cathartic Tendencies

motivational posts, rants, and stories!

TotallyTexasGifts.com

Featuring Fine Arts & Crafts created and sold by Texans

Seasons As My Teacher

Truth Written In The Wind

claudiajustsaying

Aging & Attitude

The Tragedy Kween

A boisterous introvert illustrating her way through life.