Crafty Crafting

It’s nice to be back to normal. Life here is just fine, working hard, playing with horses, and enjoying new plants as they return each season. No complaints.

Shepherd‘s purse is back!

I’m glad I’ve relaxed about a lot of things, like caring about people’s opinions of me, trying to lose weight…etc. One thing I’ve also let go of is trying to be perfect in my crafts. I always used to beat myself up over mistakes. Now I just go with it.

I’ve been putting a very bright border on the mosaic rug I’m working on. About halfway through, I realized the first row should have been the orange color. Shoot. But I just kept going. Now that I got to the end, I got crafty.

The example, with slip stitch embellishment at top.

I decided to add some embellishments in the right color and I think it looks cute! I’m just slip stitching, and I think it looks correct from a distance and interesting up close. I’m going to add another border repeat in two other colors. Then poor, patient Rollie will finally get their Christmas gift!

Here’s to crafty crafts and embracing imperfections!

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.

The Mobile Office Gets Mobile

I may have mentioned that Lee got the mobile office he’d been saving up for a few weeks ago. He wanted something that could pull a horse trailer and let him work comfortably. That proved really difficult!

It’s so nice to be somewhere quiet.

After months of trying to find a custom van, he changed tactics. We both missed traveling with our two previous RVs, so Lee looked at them as potential mobile offices you could sort of live in and pull a trailer. I sure heard a lot of conversations about various formats and types. Lee wanted one with a big truck chassis, because they are reliable.

One like this

Lee actually found a low mileage used vehicle that was very nice and budget friendly (for a behemoth). And so now I can work anywhere I want to, I guess. More importantly, Lee can, too. Well, anywhere this thing can park and get cell reception.

Nice campsite.

Anyway, enough about the conveyance, let’s talk about travel. We’d wanted to try the mobile office out this weekend, but I needed to do horses yesterday.

So, we left for Lake Somerville State Park today. It was a lovely, short drive, perfect for getting used to the squeaking and rattling of a building on wheels. The noise is a small trade off for the fun of looking out of that big windshield at the world. I’d missed that. Lee has missed driving a big truck, and I truly loved seeing how happy he was driving.

I, on the other hand, got my happiness once we arrived. A Sunday in winter is not overly popular at a state park, so we can’t see any other groups and all we hear are birds (and planes flying over). That’s so rare and precious.

So private

I enjoyed wandering around the lake and looking at birds and signs of aquatic life. I love winter, when you can see through the trees. Seeing the yellow bellied sapsucker was cool. And from the sound of it, every tree had a woodpecker this afternoon. This made me so happy.

Yep. We had a lovely and EXTRA peaceful afternoon and evening, with few problems other than realizing we only had ONE fork for eating dinner! I enjoyed using the little oven, which is a combination microwave and convection oven. That saves space for the large fridge.

Plus fake fireplace. Classy.

We will be here through Tuesday. I’ll be able to work just fine, as there’s 5G out here! And Lee can work without me bothering him with my endless Zoom meetings, because I can shut the door to my office, AKA the bedroom.

I think it will be fun to work from various spots closer to home in the future. I didn’t think another RV was in the future, but this one seems like it will make my hermit husband happy and let me spend some quiet time close enough home that I’ll be able to keep up with my ranch chores and precious horses.

I’m happy at the possibility. I even have a Senior state park pass!

And maybe we can eventually bring a dog. On the other hand, there’s no barking here!

Humid Winter Days and Hairy Horses Don’t Mix

This was the second day in a row that I mostly did horse stuff. That sure is a fun way to spend a day. But there was a lot of sweat involved. It was extra humid and quite warm today, which was hard on us all, especially Apache.

Horses sweat so much between their butt cheeks that it lathers up. Thanks to Tarrin for this priceless memory.

I do enjoy just hanging out with these guys, even when shoveling poop. But the lessons are even more fun. It’s so educational to work with two such different animals.

This is his beauty before all the sweat.

Drew is making so much progress. The body work seems to have helped, though we think he pulled a muscle something. Probably from all that literal horseplay with Dusty or slipping in mud. He cantered well for Tarrin, though! And I’m really feeling better riding him. We even did a great job walking to the trailer!

I’m different but also pretty. I do like my hay wagon!

Apache then worked and worked. He’s gonna canter under saddle some day, but he has lots of ground work to do. Here’s Tarrin working with him on transitions.

I’m trying!

I have riding exercises to do, too, with both horses. Drew needs to walk while Apache trots the double slalom. This means Drew and I get to leave the round pen! Graduation! Here’s me and Apache doing the exercise.

Concentrating.

I’m impressed that you can’t see all his sweat here, but these are screenshots from video as, which may blur the sweat.

Stopping. We look pretty good.

I was impressed that, even though he was tired and getting cranky, Apache kept trying and working. He seemed to enjoy himself.

This is us trotting happily because we were done!

He even did his very best walking around all the scary spots. I’m so proud of us! As a reward Apache got a bath, which he liked. He liked rolling in the dirt when we got home even more!

Before rolling. My beauties.

I hope you got to do something fun today! My fun continues tomorrow, too. We’re breaking in the mobile office!

At Least SOMEONE Got Body Work Today

Whew, I’m sore today! And of course I did all the things I needed to do, which did not help with my bruises and aches. But no, I didn’t get worked on, nor did I remember to fire up the hot tub tonight.

I did remember to enjoy the sunset.

But I’ll live. The fall yesterday was minor, it’s just combined with a couple of Apache bruises, so I’ve had enough. Yes, this sweet spotted fellow had squished my hand in a gate and smooshed my leg into a different gate. And today he conked my jaw with his bony ole head because I’d had the nerve to tie him to the Evil Trailer. It’s good he’s been FINE when I’m riding!

And hey, I enjoyed the first full moon of the year.

So, who got body work? My horses, of course. This has been so good for Drew and Apache, by the way. I credit a lot of Apache’s new capabilities with the work Jackie does.

But wait, before that happened, I had to tidy up the area around the pond.

I don’t see anything that needs tidying.

Mabel was wrong, though, there were two barrels that had blown into the front pond in the recent storms. There was concern that in another storm one would get caught in the culvert and cause the dam to overflow. That would be bad. So I went to move them.

Mabel still doesn’t care.

I forgot to take off my good shoes, but getting the first one out with just a little slipping and sliding in the mud. But the second one was challenging.

What are you doing down there? Do you need any help?

Yes, all the horses and Fiona watched me struggle in what turned out to be borderline quicksand to get the last barrel. My feet kept going down and down. It made a cool sucking sound when I got them out. At one point I lost a shoe. It was messy.

Barrel covered in mud. Horses still not helping.

I tossed those barrels in the utility vehicle and took my shoes over to get washed. I pushed on and then groomed and rode Drew. I sure noticed my hurt elbows doing that! But he needs his daily workout. Apache was filthy so he got groomed as well. He only did a few jumps, though. My arms were too tired.

Made me tired just watching her.

Finally Jackie arrived and I could relax. Well, I’m not sure how relaxing it was, but I sure enjoyed watching her work. And Drew was just the sweetest boy. He truly enjoys his massages and let us know with gently rubbing our faces and so many relaxed sounds.

The wind made my hair and eyelashes look good, too.

He’s doing a lot better, by the way, and continuing with the chiropractic and therapeutic massage will keep his body able to do what we ask it to. Now, as for Apache…

I eventually relaxed.

…he didn’t want to be worked on by the Evil Trailer, so after he got my attention with the above-mentioned blow to the jaw we moved over to the pens. He was so calm even with all the poking and prodding. And that was important, because right next to him was Mabel. Watching.

Hmm. He seems to like human touch?

Mabel watched what Jackie did intently. She pointed out that when Mabel wasn’t watching Apache (and nuzzling him), she watched me. I sat in the lawn chair, and she did not take her eyes off me. How interesting. While she doesn’t let you touch her much, she cares.

I’m a watcher

Jackie thinks that watching Apache might make Mabel more open to body work next time. I thought more about Mabel’s recent progress, and realized that she is now often the first or second horse to approach me. And she seems glad to see me. Plus, she and Apache now are actual friends. They eat and nap together and groom each other. Apache will NOT tolerate that from the other two. This is all such gratifying progress.

I like mares.

I learned so much watching the horses today that it was worth the sore back and elbows. There’s always something you can learn by just watching.

These guys are such good buddies that when they aren’t play-fighting, they can eat touching each other’s muzzles. Apache would have none of that!

Thanks for your concern yesterday. As usual, a sad blog got lots of hits. Have a good weekend!

Moon over Dusty butt!

Why My 2022 Blog Stats Don’t Disappoint Me

People often share year-end blog recaps. I remembered that today (oops) and checked the hits and views and other statistics from last year. I was not too surprised to realize my numbers were down 13% compared to 2021.

People may be bored of flowers

I know a couple of reasons why not as many visitors came last year.

One: not as many projects to follow. I used to write a lot about projects we were engaged in, like renovations and ranch improvements. Some got lots of interest. But we’re not able to share as much now. Just horses.

Two: not as much drama. Posts about deaths of pets, illnesses, natural disasters, and conflict get lots of hits. I didn’t have but one dead rooster and a niece bitten by a lack widow. I’m not going to complain about a lack of drama!

Three: better mental health. I’ve felt better, so I’ve ranted and whined considerably less. Reading about how good I feel, how much fun I’m having, and how little other people’s issues are messing with me is not riveting entertainment. And that’s fantastic!

Four: apparently there were folks reading this blog just to find things to gossip about. By not mentioning most people in my life (other than my husband and horse trainer) I’m not providing gossip fodder. Please gossip about me and my flaws all you want, though, because that’s your problem, not mine. I’m at peace with my idiosyncrasies.

I figure yakking about what I learn from

So yeah. I’m more boring! That’s the BEST! The people I care about are still here, and I appreciate the chance to share nature, horses, dogs, needle crafts, and travel with them. Thanks for hanging out with boring and happy Suna.

Keep writing about us! We’re fascinating!

Nature: Good Role Model for Resilience

It was awfully cold, then it rained a lot and warmed up. All of nature seemed to think it was time to wake up my get moving until the next cold front comes along.

I hatched and found a flower. I’ll be fine.

I took a lunch break walk today to see how all the water features are doing. A heavy shower last night got the front pond flowing a bit, so I walked around and looked at the stream. It was pretty in the winter sun.

There were dozens of minnows darting around. I didn’t see any of the larger fish, which might have washed downstream in the flood last week or were in the deep parts. I always feel good when I see fish, because that’s a sign of healthy waterways.

I enjoyed looking at the coral berries and other colorful plants that remain, and was extra happy to see the spring flowing away. Hooray.

I wasn’t alone on my walk, though. My buddy Vlassic was as interested as I was! We had a great visit and walk, until he raced back home down the path I use for leg yielding with Apache.

And when I was about to come inside, I stopped to admire the dandelion blossoms. That’s when the gorgeous butterfly appeared. A friend joined him or her, and I basked in my winter surprise. They were soon joined by honey bees, who’ve been out the last few days, especially in the chicken coop. They like the feed.

In addition to all these guys, I saw lots of turtles and little frogs. Plus, I was happy to see tgat the greater yellowlegs are a pair. They look so interesting when they fly, swooping and calling as they go from one pond to another. Since I didn’t get photos of these resilient winter residents, I’ll share the sunset we enjoyed on our way home from Drew’s lesson.

I liked the reflection on the Tahoe

I’m glad to be back at work, glad to have my routine back, and very glad for so many signs of resilience around me.

Rug Making

I finally got all the squares for the rug or thick blanket I made for a Christmas gift sewn together. That was not easy on my hands and arm, because I used a twisty joining stitch, the same one I’ve been using, but tighter. I’ll be glad for a break from that!

Así feared, the dark squares didn’t work out.

Yeah, I knew the dark purple would not contrast enough. But up close it looks all right. Maybe the recipient will put furniture on that one corner.

And some of the multiple colored ones look funny.

I did learn a lot about the mosaic technique, though, and I sure enjoy it. Look how cool the back looks.

Spirals!

I like the technique so much that I decided to make a mosaic border in two of the brighter colors. It will look like a Greek pattern. Here’s the chart.

I think it will end up cheerful and useful.

In the meantime, here’s the sunset.

Day is done.

And here are horses who thought they’d escaped but foolishly ran back into the other pasture. Silly beasts.

Turn That Calendar Page

I did so. I don’t even have a good calendar this year. That’s what happens when you only have free ones. So, Whee.

Apache and I are looking into the future.

Actually it was about as perfect of a day as a person could want. If retirement could be this pleasant I’d be more ready than I think I am now. The weather was beautiful and I just enjoyed working on projects and hanging out with the horses.

I’m practicing my hill work. I also found grass.

Drew was making me laugh, but not making Dusty too happy. I watched Drew poke and prod his buddy endlessly. It was mostly playful, judging from how horses typically play and show affection, but I wish Drew would stop chomping Dusty’s tail.

Kid, leave me alone!

I tried to use up some teen horse energy by riding Drew for a while and exercising him. He was in a great mood, so it was a lot of fun.

I like doing stuff with you!

I also rode Apache more than on most days. Why? Because I had time. That’s so wonderful. I’d love to be able to spend this much time every day. When I just have an hour, I’m lucky to do groundwork on one horse, since feeding takes so long. Anyway, we had a blast doing all our schooling and riding around the property.

I had fun. Now to nap.

See how he looks in that picture? He ended up so relaxed and calm. He even went on the road briefly and showed no concern. Only Lee’s new mobile office gave him pause, but we got through it. Drew was the same. Walking with calm horses is nice.

We’re calm, too. Maybe if you retired, you could ride us.

Of course I also cooked traditional Southern food. Even Anita the Northerner liked the collard greens! Yep.

So far 2023 is fine, peaceful, and hermit-like. The only issue was that our water went out. Then it got fixed. It doesn’t make for exciting blogging, but I’m fine with that.

Now enjoy happy horses.

Another Day, Another Year

Resolution time? No. I’ll keep doing my best to learn, grow, be kind, promote love and peace among my neighbors. I guess I resolve to keep going.

Let’s all bloom where we’re planted or re-pot ourselves. (Bad metaphor!)

I think the way 2022 differs from the last couple years is that the lows were lower and the highs higher. The family stuff has been particularly scary, between all the various sicknesses of many types and mental health challenges. But there’s been great growth and opportunities, too.

The year ended beautifully.

As for me, I experienced so much personal growth that I even impress myself! But I did hit rock bottom for a few weeks — like I said the lows were very low. Working with the horses has been so good for me. I’m so much better at trying new things, which I’ve been working on for years.

They keep me calm and seem pretty chill, themselves!

And my job has been great for me, too. I feel respected and empowered. And I enjoy what I do. Everyone deserves that kind of job at some point.

I’m as content as a turtle on a warm winter day.

And finally, I’ve gotten the hang of letting go of things outside of my control or letting the opinions of people outside my inner circle get to me. (Mostly) I’m still working on not letting people I care deeply about hurt my feelings, but we all need something to work on, right?

Butter is working on getting stuff out of this pot.

Let another year start. I’m not worried or excited. Years are arbitrary markers, anyway.

Weeks are arbitrarily marked by new manicures.

The arbitrary last day of 2022 was lovely, though. The weather was great for all activities and I got lots done. The only negative thing is that the stitch I’m joining the rug I’m trying to finish is so tight and twisty that my arm hurts. I’ll have to sacrifice for beauty, then rest a lot.

It looks good, though.

While horsing, I visited with Mandi the neighbor for a while. We need to visit more. Darn work messing with my visiting. Still, all day was pleasant. Here’s to a pleasant and peaceful future.

My gift to you for the new year is sunset and animal photos. Enjoy.

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