You Can Certainly Fill an Empty Day

Welcome rain showed up overnight and throughout the day. That made us all happy but sure changed our plans! I had worked really hard to arrange to get the farrier to do the horses’ feet in time for me to then get to lessons for my two horses.

I need a manicure

The rain (and car trouble for the farrier) ended that careful plan, so when I finished work, I thought I’d have lots of time to think more thoughts about my next craft project (which I designed for about an hour while trying to get to sleep last night). But no.

That’s no lie!

I ended up doing practically every one of those things I’ve been meaning to get around to! Boom! Future horse stuff scheduled. Boom! Internet access at the Red House secured (guests coming soon!). Boom! Eye doctor appointment rescheduled, since the horse stuff conflicted. Boom! Packed for an upcoming trip. Wow, I’m flexible and a change management whiz!

When I finished packing I was treated to the sun coming in to light up my purple glass.

I wrote up all sorts of instructions and did a bunch of Master Naturalist work (it takes me almost as long to write up meeting notes as a meeting takes!). I guess I need more rainy days that keep me inside and away from those tempting horses and the wildlife.

I ran out to see this tiny sliver of setting sun. Ahh.

Yesterday I wrote so much about, of all things, a pretty weed, for the Master Naturalist blog that I didn’t blog here. I didn’t have much to say anyway, since I was upset at current events and annoying people. You might enjoy learning about henbit dead nettle, though, so check it out.

It IS pretty and chickens love it.

Back to crocheting a bird and not watching the news.

Yup, Horses Make You Feel Good

I had a pretty free Saturday, so I split it between fun with yarn and fun with horses. The yarn post will be tomorrow. Today is my day to bask in my relationship with the horses.

I’ve spent a lot of time with Apache this week, mostly just hanging out with him. It really pays off, I think, because he’s so much more relaxed, yet interested in doing things lately.

Looking at his friends, but happy with me.

He seems to look forward to jumping and cantering. He seems practically athletic when we do groundwork. He looks strong and fit, not chubby and weak. I’m so happy for that.

Let’s go!!

Riding was fun. He informed me in his horsey way that my new square setup is too close to the trailer. When he stopped, I saw that he had noticed our reflection in the shiny part of the trailer front. Well, I had to agree he had a point. That looked weird.

That other horse and human look funny.

I finally, finally can relax when I ride and just focus on what we’re doing. It makes such a difference! My legs are relaxed. My arms are relaxed. I’m giving easy signals and Apache responds. He’s also relaxed, as you can see.

A relaxed horse and his cone. He stopped right there and didn’t move.

After we rode, I must have spent ten minutes just petting and talking to him, and he seemed to want to stay. Eventually Fiona indicated she was hungry, so we went in.

I got to hang out with the calves!

Drew hinted that he wanted to do something so I lunged him. He wasn’t at all into it. That was odd. I think he’s in some discomfort from playing too hard with Fiona and Dusty. Fiona had blood on a cut and Drew had some (of hers) on his neck. There is much kicking going on. So I relaxed and just spent time doing what he wanted to do, which was get his itchy head scratched. It was quite cute.

These guys wanted attention, too. It’s a new batch of young cattle.

I was all warm and fuzzy by the time we had some visitors. It was fun watching Sara’s granddaughter enjoy Fiona and Vlassic while we discussed hooves. Then the guest got to see all the dogs, which delighted her. What an animal lover she is!

I’m sure glad I had the chance to follow the leads of my horses and relax today. Oh, and by the way, no one has touched yesterday’s scary hay. I love my equine buddies.

The Great Scary Lump Mystery

Oh the poor horses! Today we looked out the front window and saw something out of place. There was a brown lump where there is usually smooth grass.

What the hay?

I looked to the left of the lump and there were the horses and Fiona. They were standing transfixed, with their heads and ears pointed at that mysterious lump. It must have been perceived as a threat.

Two seconds earlier, Apache was also staring.

I had to work so I went back in the house. When I came out to get the mail later, they were still on high alert, not letting that lump out of their sight.

Drew and Dusty are ok, but the other 3 are watching.

I walked down the driveway, cautiously approaching that threatening lump, which got less and less scary as I got closer.

Hey, that’s some hay!

I was a little confused as to how that fairly significant pile of hay got in the pasture. Then I noticed more hay on the road. Okay, so someone had lost some nice fresh hay as they went down the road. It must have been very windy to blow so far off the road??

Road hay.

I actually took Drew some of the hay, but nope, the group would NOT go anywhere near the hay pike, which is larger now, because I added the road hay. They hadn’t by feeding time. Who could blame them? It appeared out of thin air.

This didn’t appear out of thin air, but I’m finally done.

Now, did all that hay really blow into the pasture? No. The mystery was solved later when Lee casually mentioned that he’d found hay on the road on his way back from his daily walk, and tossed it in the field.

Oh.

The horses aren’t sure about it, nonetheless.

Rolling with Changes

Oh you never know what’s going to happen around here. So today’s agenda changed, but it’s all good!

Since I needed to skip Drew’s lesson today, I just worked with him a few minutes, which made it clear I needed to rearrange my obstacle area, or horse playground. So I moved a lot of barrels, cones, posts, and other objects around to make more riding options.

Tomorrow Tarrin will help me figure this stuff out better and set up a slightly off-sized dressage arena wannabe space to practice for this year’s shows. I just hope I can found one of our many giant tape measures that usually are in plain sight but are now hiding. I may have to run to the hardware store to get one!

Oh I forgot I had this fine sunrise image from this morning

And, as always, I used nature to take my mind off unexpected events. Look at this beauty!

Mmm. Nectar.

And I scared everyone on Facebook by posting what I thought was just a fun photo of a boho bird nest. I didn’t provide enough details so folks thought we were gonna burn the house down.

The lights are disconnected. Sparrows and hermits are safe.

I’m any case, I’m interested to see what tomorrow brings. I’ll be outside at sunset again but not going an hour away in yet another direction. Today we went west, rolling down the highway!

Come on changes! I can take it! I’m flexible!

Too Windy

I had many outdoor plans today but ruled many of them out due to a pounding wind from the south. Activities like cleaning up trash and shoveling horse poop were curtailed pretty quickly. I did manage to get some square bales of hay out to the horses with minimal bits of hay going into my eyes.

A living carousel

Once I put the bales in, each horse seemed certain that the next horse over had a better selection, so they ended up moving in circles just like a merry-go-round. Such comic relief.

Soon they got a new round bale, which calmed them down. Maybe having enough hay will keep them out of the dang cockleburs. Fiona apparently slept in them, because I got 20+ off her right side and there are still some left. I wore out her patience.

The rest of the day included highlights such as kitchen cleaning and re-organizing my nail polish strips. Whee.

Nails currently match the pool.

I watched US football playoffs and worked on the last border of the rug project. I’m growing quite fond of the back side of the rug!

At least I got to see friends at dinner and laugh a lot. Our conversations veer off into strange territory sometimes! I’ll be more interesting tomorrow, perhaps. There will, at least, be horse riding if the wind stops. It might have toppled me today—the gate nearly did so today!

Happiness Is Birds and Beasts

This is an interesting part of my life. Outside of me, things are challenging. Inside of me, I’m feeling better than I ever have. I wish I’d learned to focus on what I can influence and let other stuff go much earlier in life. But I think only experience teaches us how important this is and helps us do it.

Vlassic is a great role model. Really lives in the moment!

I had a lovely day. Birds made me so happy, just watching them. I watched the resident great blue heron looking for food in the new pond and wondered if there are fish in there now.

Then I just watched our sparrows traveling from tree to tree, and was really impressed at how many bugs a mockingbird got while I was getting the mail. That bird was busy, and it seemed very pleased with itself.

The beast that made my day happy was Apache. We had quite a productive day. We’ve been working on cantering after jumping and in the round pen. He’s really improved since our last lesson. He was a jumping fiend today and did his cantering exercise in the round pen the best he’s done so far. He has figured out what I want him to do, and he actually seems proud of himself.

I’ve got skills.

And we had a fun ride, too, with improved skills and encouraging calmness when we went out to ride around. Things that used to be hard are getting easier, and his demeanor is so much calmer. Y’all, I keep saying this, but I’m still blown away at how much better things are getting between us. We’re a team!

See how calm I am. I’m tired from all that cantering.

I know I’m feeling good when I get goofy. For the past few days I’ve been doing arts and crafts at the horse pens. I’m making a decorative weaving with the strings that hold hay bales together. Well, that’s re-using a waste product, right?

So far, it’s mostly warp.

I’ll need more string soon, but that’s okay, since they need more hay.

Sure, some grass is here, but it’s winter, Mom!

You know, having a calm and peaceful part of my life took a lot of work. So I’m going to enjoy the heck out of it.

Why Yes, We Can Have Fun in Cameron!

I just got home from a genuinely fun and satisfying evening out in our little town. It’s so great to have options for hanging out with your friends and neighbors in downtown!

Our beautiful new coffee shop

I don’t get into town much, but Anita invited me to join her for coffee, so I headed over to the Farmers to Market Coffee Shop for some of their delicious coffee and cozy decor (plus friendly staff and friends to chat with). I’m thrilled we have TWO coffee shops to choose from. It’s getting better here!

Lighting in the ceiling

Then we took the opportunity to see how the work Railfan is doing on downtown buildings is coming along. The Venue is getting even more beautiful. The mezzanine now has a beautiful wood wall and the floor is so shiny. What great work!

Next we wandered across the street to the old JC Penney building and its neighbors, where my son was painting walls and sealing bricks. It fascinates me to see the bones that were hiding in the former bland county offices.

Next we checked out the Penney building, which I’d seen before, but not cleaned out. Wow. I’d love to live in a loft on the third floor! Being able to look out the windows was a fun surprise. And the old elevator is something that needs to somehow be preserved. Being able to watch these renovations gives me a real sense of the hard work and creativity it takes to achieve a downtown revitalization.

Enough with the old buildings! Anita and I next went over to another building that was vacated when the county offices moved, the former tax office. Now it’s the Cameron Beer Market, with pizza, beer, pool, and so many fun people.

They’re not posing.

There were opening night glitches, like the credit card machine not working, so we had to pay cash. I never have cash. Still, we had fun conversation with so many folks we know, plus I got to enjoy Lee, Anita, and Declan talking about music. That’s always interesting.

This was before it got crowded. I like the grass on the wall.

Dang! Another fun night here, and soon we can do stuff like this all the time. And hey, some of the people were planning to go to another downtown spot, our beloved Central Avenue Bistro, after their beer, so wow, options!

Lots of pool tables, too.

Thanks to everyone who supports local businesses here, including the established ones, so I’m not forgetting Ginno’s Italian and the great Mexican restaurants here. Or further out, Bob’s! There’s stuff to do in our little town.

Plus we have a scenic old jail and cabin. Rural fun, yep.

Gifts of Love That Live On and On

No doubt I’ve mentioned before that one of my “love languages” is gifts. This is funny to me because I’m not a very good gift giver. Or maybe it’s just that I don’t like to just randomly give things; I want to give meaningful gifts. For example, we didn’t do much for Christmas this year, but I did give everyone in my immediate family (plus Anita and my neighbor Sara) t-shirts with the Hermits’ Rest logo and “Hermits’ Rest Ranch and Family Compound, Walker’s Creek Texas, Est. 2012” on the back. Most had their name on the front, too. I did this to support a local woman who started a t-shirt business and to celebrate ten years of the ranch. That had meaning to me. Of course, no one has worn theirs, but that’s fine. It’s the thought that counts.

And that’s the deal right there. Because gifts from the heart mean so much to me, I treasure them, often for years and years. I have carted some items that probably appear meaningless with me everywhere I’ve moved, because my heart softens a little bit when I see them.

Tiny, stained decoupage pansies my mom made for me. Been with me 40 years or so.

And when I look around my house, I’m reminded of people I’ve loved throughout my life, as if they are with me and supporting me wherever I go and whatever is happening to me.

Fu dog from Delores, my high-school boyfriend’s mom.

Sure, the minimalists think that things are just things, and they may well be correct, literally. But I’m more like a Japanese Shinto practitioner in that for me, objects have spirits, vibrations, or special meaning that is more than just their utilitarian form or function. As I often point out when someone says I’m rather “woo-woo,” there are many things in the Universe that we humans do not yet understand or may not even be capable of understanding, so who’s to say there aren’t special vibrations or connections between objects and people who have made them or touched them?

Mandala from India given to me in 1987 by Alice Davidson, a grad school mentor.

I know I put a lot of love into things I make for people that I hope somehow comes through to them. And I feel love from things people make for me or buy with me in mind. I feel little internal hugs when I am reminded of these dear souls.

My therapist/friend made me this mama bear necklace with protective stones around the time of my divorce from my kids’ dad.

My motley collection of objects helps me feel grounded and connected to my community, my spirituality, and my planet. I feel the love from long-departed loved ones through their gifts, and that brings me contentment and peace. That’s worth having to deal with a bit of clutter, I think.

Teapot from Mama Rose, my friend Jeff’s dear mother.

(And if you don’t like my clutter, don’t hang out with me!)

The Real World for Elderly Hermits

The morning today was like in some princess movie, with dozens of little chirping birds surrounding me with songs, plus a loud and strikingly beautiful red-bellied woodpecker. I’ll remember this brief retreat at Lake Somerville for a long time.

It’s impressive how much beauty you can find among bare branches and the promise of spring flowers. But these things must end, and I turned my focus to work as we left for home.

My office with seat belts!

I missed getting to evaluate the horse camping area because I was concentrating on work, but from what I saw, it could be fun. I was thinking of my precious pets, though, as we stopped at Tractor Supply for horse and hen food.

It’s a little squished in travel mode, but under the RV you can store a lot of pet food.

After a happy reunion with all the pets (you should have seen the horses galloping up from the back pasture when they saw me!), reality hit me and Lee with a thud.

I’m able to rest comfortably now that y’all are back!

Yeah, the people who sell Medicare supplements came by to help Lee with his Part B and supplement selection. That’s painful. I’m just getting A until my job ends, so I mostly sat there wishing the government made ANYTHING easy for people. Being elderly hermits isn’t for wimps.

There was just so much chatting and chit chatting as we filled out forms and made decisions. I missed the silent campsite! But the folks we are working with are nice, not high-pressure sales people, and knowledgeable. I shouldn’t complain. They made it easier to know what to get and what not to get, for our specific needs. It truly feels weird to be old.

Oh and one more thing. Wow, people have a lot of opinions on this delicate topic. I’m glad I know some smart folks. Just whatever you do, don’t make decisions based on the ENDLESS television commercials about Medicare. If I were younger I’d be throwing things at the television to make the commercials go away. I’d like to now, too. So deceptive! And incessant.

Thank goodness for hugs.

I hope your mortality isn’t staring at you today, that you’re safe from flooding if you’re on the West Coast of the US, and that you have something or someone to hug, even virtually. We all need support for one reason or another.

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