Bletch

That’s a thing I used to say as a young teen. Trying to ignore world events isn’t working for the last couple of days. I get concerned. Then I can’t sleep. Then I get moody. Must be the hormones.

Wish I were as chill as these two.

Also. Tired of insects. Flies and moths in the house. Do they make you feel icky? They do me. It’s extra annoying.

At least outside there are three sets of twin calves. Here are four.

Worked hard. Helped a friend. Enjoyed less hot weather. Continue to wonder why I keep getting confused and hope it’s just because things are confusing, not something worse. envy this guy.

Byeee

I Finished Something but You Can’t See It

Just kidding. I can’t help that the Camo Blanket is practically invisible! It makes me invisible, too!

I’m not here

I think it came out the way we intended it to. Kathleen says the colors look better than she feared they would, and I was impressed that I used almost all the green. I guessed well on how many squares I could make.

Carlton is dubious.

I like how the zigzag join looks braided. It looks nice on the back, too. And I think the border adds a little interest. I didn’t want to do anything girly for the edging, since its recipient is a manly boy.

It’s pretty big but not too big I hope. It should be good for naps and sitting under on cold hunting trips and alligator killing expeditions! Or watching TV. Whatever the toddler wants to do.

A toddler blanket!

I sure hope the recipient doesn’t read Facebook or blogs yet! This is his Christmas present! I have enough of the brown to maybe make him a camouflage hat, too.

It makes a nice background for a finished manicure, too.

Now to finish off my other project. It’s nice to have a rest day. Tomorrow it should cool off and I’ll make the horses do fun stuff again.

Ups, Ups, Downs

Things have been good here lately. I spend a lot of time watching cute animals.

That’s a relaxed dog.

I even rescued a trapped English sparrow today who couldn’t figure out how to get out of the henhouse. I caught her and took her out. She was so exhausted that she just sat on my hand. Poor dear. No photos, since I had five hen eggs in my other hand!

So, here’s another friend, the gate spider. Apparently a Western spotted orb weaver.

There’s just so much joy in our animals. The dogs love evenings when we’re in the pool, because they can run and play with an audience. I take them out in the mornings for a little play, too, which makes for a nice work break.

Things continue to be good with the horses, too. We had good lessons today. Drew showed Tarrin how hard we’ve been working and then learned new backups. And poor Apache struggled a lot with moving his butt when asked. My left leg is tired! But, those two bring me such joy. I’m so lucky to be able to learn and grow with them.

But there are so many animals to enjoy here. My son found this really cool snake in his cabin. He just caught it and took it outside and caulked up the hole it came in. That’s my boy.

And today, I went to water the plants and was startled when I reached to turn on the spigot. Along the house was a complete snakeskin, I’m pretty sure it was one of our rat snakes. I love it when you get the whole skin.

I guess that’s enough animal fun for a Saturday evening. Hoping all is well with you. We’re having more family illness stuff. That’s the down part of the post title.

Why Yes, We Still Buy and Sell Houses: Ross

One of the things we’re learning lately in our real estate business is that it is not easy to quickly buy or sell property, even a cash sale! Way back on April 10, I wrote about selling the Ross Avenue Victorian house in Cameron to two fellow renovators. We finally closed on the deal yesterday.

The house when we first saw it. We since trimmed bushes back.

When we bought the house, it took three months to close “as soon as possible” but that’s nothing! This one took five months! The buyers could be excused for getting anxious about it. We knew it would take a bit longer than usual, because we were only selling part of the land we originally purchased. The buyers got the house and the lot behind it, where the garage is.

The other side.

We kept the lot across the street, which is pretty straightforward. We’ve had a big sickly tree removed that was threatening to crash down either on this lot or the poor man next door, so it’s in better shape now.

The lot across the street, me with blue hair, and scary tree.

We also kept the middle of the block, and that’s what took a while. We had to survey the property, have plans drawn up to subdivide the property, and get the plans approved by various entities, including the City Council. So, Lee has been quite busy working on all this stuff and getting our ducks in a row (probably whistling ducks, Cameron’s favorite fowl). It all went well, but took a lot of time. Then, of course, one entity or another “forgot” to do some of the things they needed to do, and title underwriters kept asking for one thing, then another, and then another. All this required a lot of patience on our part, the title company representative (Kimberly has been so helpful), and the buyers.

This is NOT EXACT. I am NOT a surveyor. But you get the idea of how we divided the property. You can even see the shadow of the tree that is no longer there, from Google Maps.

All the time since we bought the property, we have had to keep maintaining the property, of course, mowing all that grass, keeping it looking presentable for the Code Inspectors, etc. We did get something good, though: my tack room was originally the workshop on the part of the land we kept!

Kathleen of 2020 in the lots we kept. The building at right with the white window frame is my tack room.

I have had to keep quiet about all this, since we were not wanting to say we’d succeeded until money changed hands! Things have just been going so wrong this year that we didn’t want to risk it. But Hermits’ Rest Enterprises has now sold a house and has a mini-subdivision of three houses plotted out for the future. Hooray.

We were just a little giddy after the closing, at least Kimberly and I were! Lee looks relieved.

I just can’t wait to see what the new owners can do with the house. They do amazing work.

More on this house and our former plans for it

A NEW Project to Distract Ourselves (March 2020)

This Old Ross House, Part 2 (March 2020)

We Have a Date (June 2020)

Ross Is Ours! Kathleen Is Overjoyed (June 2020)

Checking in on the Ross House (June 2020)

Things I Would Say to a Mouse

Not the mouse I’m addressing.
  • I love you and think you’re cute as heck. Outdoors.
  • Your chances of a long life are much better of living a long life if you avoid our house, which is full of large dogs.
  • Plastic is not good for you.
  • You are very clever how you simply move the baited sticky trap so you can get to the delicious horse food and eat more of its spout.
  • There’s lots to eat in the pasture. You could go there.
  • HA! I have put the delicious horse food in a sealed container where you can’t get to it.
  • Yes, I can see that your larger cousin is also visiting the tack room. Evidence.
  • I have lots more traps. Go outside! run!
  • I truly regret the large gaps in the doors to the tack room that welcome you so well.
  • Your brazen takeover of my henhouse has not gone unnoticed. You sure poop a lot.
  • Note that the food in the henhouse is also in a sealed container. HA!
Horses’ expensive oil is now hiding with the alfalfa. Take that, rodents.

Book Report: Horse Color Explored

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was looking for a book about horse breeds but didn’t find anything helpful. Most were for children. But I saw Horse Color Explored: Over 150 Breeds, Types, and Variations, by Vera Kurskaya (2017) and that piqued my interest. I was interested in knowing more about the genetics of horse colors than I’d read about in the ever-informative Equus magazine.

I was not disappointed. The book was originally in Russian, but the translator, Dr. Michal Prochazka, did a great job making the book read well. I enjoyed reading about the research Kurskaya has done. She must be a neat person to know, judging from her writing style.

The book is beautiful, with hundreds of great photos of horses from all around the world. I learned much about Russian breeds, but she also shared many interesting tidbits about horses from here, Europe, and Asia.

Here are a few random things I learned from this book:

Bay is the most common color (Apache is a bay Paint, and Mabel is a dark bay)

Her mane, tail and lower legs are black. I sure hope she puts on more weight now that her teeth are better.

Like dogs, there is no true albino horse, just horses with giant white spots.

Paints also have spotted skin. Everywhere.

Gray horses change color (dark to light) at different rates. Homozygous ones change faster than heterozygous ones. (Droodles was originally bay, judging from his mane, tail, and body hair.)

He’s at the dapple gray stage.

Palominos are diluted buckskins. (Dusty is a buckskin.)

There’s no conclusive research to show temperament and color correlate. So, relax, red mares.

Appaloosas often have sparse manes and tails. Their genes are complicated. They also have striped feet.

Bay dun horses are closest to the “wild” type of horse. It blends in well with savannas.

Mabel is acting wild! She is shaking off her dust bath. You can see her legs better here.

All the dilute color genes (Cream, Pearl, Champagne) were discovered recently. They may be recent mutations or hid before.

Anyway, this is of limited interest to most folks, but if you like genetics or horses, check it out!

Sharing Is Daring

Some of you may have seen that I wrote yesterday about how hard it is to escape old patterns and negative self image. I decided to challenge myself to accept myself just as I am, because hey, I’m trying new things, learning new skills, and staying active for someone who’s 64 (especially where I live, since people my age have had much harder lives and it often shows).

As for me, I can’t even stand up straight, I guess.

Coincidentally, I had to take the videos of my most recent virtual Working Horse Central shows and upload them to YouTube so they can be judged. Look, I’m asking to be judged! That proves I’m doing better already! So, fine, y’all can judge me, too! I know may readers have studied horsemanship a lot longer than I have (I had three workshops before starting my lessons last year around this time). So, bear in mind that both I and the horse are not very experienced. On the other hand, we’re having FUN. That’s what counts.

I define fun as eating, but I do like the obstacles.

So, you don’t have to watch this, just mentally pat me on the back for being brave enough to share what I have done, mistakes, successes, good tries, and all. This is a test for me, not a thing you have to take part in! Thanks!

This is the Trail phase, with the obstacles and the drama of me dropping the lead rope. (4:44)
This is the Functionality phase, where we go in circles, back up, and try to turn neatly. (2:56)

Let’s see if I can actually bring myself to be brave enough to post this.

Old Patterns

I’m thinking a lot the past couple of days about old patterns. One I’m happy to keep around.

Granny square burritos

I’m still enjoying the granny squares. My 63 camo squares are now nine green burritos that are actually strips of seven squares. I just can’t stop until they are all joined!

The other old pattern is here.

Do you see it? Of course you don’t. You see a horse standing at a funny angle and an older woman in cowboy attire laughing at him. Here’s what I see.

I may have a body image problem

How many years of Brené Brown telling me I’m fine just as I am must I endure? How many affirming and empowering images of women of all sizes must I see? How many articles about why women tend to add belly fat after menopause must I read? Why do I still judge myself negatively when I see candid shots of myself?

Sigh.

It just goes to show that the patterns I got into as a child, where I was made fun of daily for being fatso, tub-o-lard, elephant, hippo, water buffalo, wart hog, fatty fatty two by four can’t get through the bathroom door…um, telling myself I’m fine just won’t erase. (Was that grammatical? Cut me some slack.)

Testing a lipstick on my lip wrinkles.

The gray hair? It’s fun. The wrinkles? They seem a small price to pay for wisdom. And my health is so good! But my first thought when I see my body is judgmental.

The good news is that just like how you can vary granny squares and do cool things with them, I’m able to take a second look at my body and give it permission to change. I have lots of fun with it, and not wasting time planning how to achieve some ideal pant size gives me time to enjoy my life.

Patterns that change subtly are more interesting, I think. Cheers to my charmingly imperfect mug and self!

Patterns are what they are because they are ingrained. They’re deeply grooved in your psyche and not easy to smooth out. But, progress is possible. I’m proof. I now wear shorts, sleeveless tops, and bathing suits in public. Five years ago that was not true. I’ve modified my pattern!


Later: I’m not begging to be told I’m cute or not fat or whatever. I know I’m slightly bigger than I’ve been most of my life and I’m fine with that. I know I’m fine the way I am! I’ve gotten so much better about not caring what others think, too. My point here was that the old patterns that must be in my limbic system kick in before my higher processing can react sensibly.

Pretty Gray Things with Horsepower

Admittedly, the gray things with horsepower are quite different. But they’re both pretty.

One Horse with Power

Today was Drew’s turn to shine. He was scheduled to get filmed doing the dressage part of this quarter’s Working Horse Central virtual show. We walked over to Sara’s lovely arena that she made all by herself. I had to bring a bag with my show boots, show shirt, number and a drink, along with Drew’s show lead and little crop. The only problem was the heat. i was already dripping from grooming Drew and cleaning the former concrete out of his feet. Thankfully, it was dewy this morning, so each foot was packed with mud, not concrete!

He came out quite pretty, but was sweaty as heck by the time we arrived. So was Aragorn.

I wrote up every detail of our dressage pattern in my horse journal, so I’ll just summarize here. He did a GREAT job this time, not perfect, but with much improvement. I also did better with my posture and not going so fast.

I didn’t go too fast trotting, and Drew even got through the right circle at a reasonable pace and only one attempt to bite my hat. No doubt my circles weren’t even, but we did better! Yay us!

After our two minutes of glory, it was time for Sara’s horses. It’s been a lot of fun watching Sully get better and better. I’m so proud of how hard Sara has worked with her.

Of course, Aragorn did great. Well, it wasn’t like it was a walk in the park getting ready for it! His feet are doing so much better, and he didn’t cough once during the pattern. It is so fun to watch the two of them (Saragorn) work together. They have also come a long way in their partnership.

Sara has also come a long way in her show outfits. These guys are so coordinated now, with navy and tan, along with her Wild Type Ranch logo. They’re sharp! I, on the other hand, could not find my belt anywhere. So, I am wearing a yellow bungee cord that accentuates my “full figure” oh so well. Where was my belt? Right next to the boots I DID find.

I enjoyed watching the horses interact with each other when it wasn’t their turn, or when we were getting ready. There’s a lot of gray horsepower among these three! Horse heaven!

Before you get the idea that all this horse stuff is positive progress and great behavior, I must share that when we set out to leave, Drew was having nothing of walking quietly beside me. He was, I guess, jumpy, or jittery. So, I had to stop and get him to trot in circles for a while, to try to focus him. He was having none of THAT, either, and began trotting weirdly, coming in way too close to me, and not going the direction he was asked to go in. I channeled my inner #TarrinMadeMeDoIt and kept stopping and starting him over and over. There were kicks and bucks followed by severe words coming from me. I did great, never lost my temper, and got him a little calmer.

Still, walking down the narrow alley of trees didn’t go great. He was rushing and crowding me. So. Much. Discipline. My arm was killing me by the time we got to the barn. He was not feeling inner peace. BUT. After a bit of a rest in the shade, we headed home. Who was this horse? We had a perfectly pleasant calm, slow, walk where I barely had to hold on to the lead rope. I do wonder what was going on in that boy’s head!

355 Horsepower Grayness

So, Lee’s Tahoe has been giving him some trouble. It is now living at the dealership getting its troubles dealt with. He decided to replace it and get a mobile office. That’s more easily said than done, but I will summarize by saying that something of a reasonable size and the power to tow the horse trainer will be ordered as soon as the dealer gets an “allotment” and customized in some number of months. That way he can drive me to horse lessons and then stay and work. This is all great, but doesn’t replace the Tahoe right now. Lee didn’t have to ask twice when he wanted me to go look at cars. I love car shopping.

What not to get. Fifteen passenger van. Overkill.

So, he looked for a comfortable vehicle that would tow the trailer if needed and be nice for our travels. That was getting frustrating until someone returned a rental vehicle to the dealership that was not too big, not too small…just right.

It’s a vehicle!

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve ever sat in such a comfortable seat in a car, and the back seat has enough leg room for very large people. And there’s a huge trunk for carrying bags of horse feed. Oh wait, it’s for Lee. It doesn’t have adaptive cruise control, but otherwise is crammed with safety features. I hope it works out. I, of course, like the ambient lighting that changes colors and the pretty covers on the speakers.

I am glad I don’t have to drive back and forth to College Station every day now that the Lee’s Gleemobile is here (it’s a GLE 350). I’ll also feel a lot safer in a vehicle that doesn’t randomly die as you’re driving along. And, I got to enjoy lots of time in my car, which I am not giving up yet, plus got crocheting done.

That’s my story. Fancy used car deal complete. And before you think I’m being snooty by getting a Mercedes, it was less than the Tahoe or other American cars that fit our needs.

And hey, I didn’t get this one, though I tried to convince Anita that’s what Lee picked. Red seats. Convertible. Giant engine. MMM. Do well on ranch roads? Nope.

Apache Goes Out in Public

Today I went out to get Apache before dawn. I was surprised to find him waiting by the pens. I hadn’t needed to wake up quite so early after all. But we were ready when Saragorn arrived. We took their vehicle. I needed to buy gas, though, because Sara left her money. That’s happened to me before so I was happy to help out!

I got food so it was good.

We went to Sandhaven, which is near where I went to a concert last week. It was a familiar trip!

I forgot to mention that I saw a house concert near Bastrop last weekend. The music was great! Harmonies!

Anyway, I was really proud of how Apache handled himself. He’d never done many of the things there but he was game! He did the bridge, ringing the bell, the pen obstacle, and more.

Can I leave yet?

Being around all the other horses didn’t spook him. He was great with them all except one. Elvis.

What the heck is that??

I’m pretty sure Apache has seen a child before. And he’s seen Fiona. But a tiny horse? Whoa. That was fascinating to him. Everywhere Elvis went, Apache was watching. It was pretty funny.

I see Elvis. Better keep an eye on him. The Andalusian at left is the beautiful Generosa. I love that name.

Apache got introduced to the mini horse and was okay after that. I enjoyed talking to a couple of the kids who were there, too.

Bulky Suna following Saragorn when we first started out. Photo by Crista.

At the end Apache and I went on a short jaunt down the sandy road behind the trailers and wove in and out between some logs. This may not sound exciting, but last year we couldn’t have done a walk in a strange place away from other horses!

Apache also walked all around the dressage area and did Drew’s pattern.

Now, we also each messed up a couple things. I bought a bridle that I didn’t research well enough. And Apache didn’t want to do anything involving moving sideways. He would not move his rear to line up at the gate, and he did a really crappy job of side passing. Now we know what we need to work on!

See I smiled. It appears my helmet isn’t tight enough. Hmm. Another thing to fix!

I also am not letting my alfalfa pellets soak long enough, so I tried to do better today. Boy was Drew annoyed that I hadn’t mixed his supplements in with the alfalfa. Guess I need a stirring stick.

It was cute when we got home. Drew was smack in the middle of the “pond” which explains how he gets that concrete in his feet. But as soon as he saw Aragorn in the trailer, he followed. While Aragorn was waiting for Apache to get out, Drew stared. When the trailer pulled out of the driveway he ran alongside until he couldn’t do it anymore. He will be happy to see Aragorn tomorrow!

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