Talk about Comfortable

Today, Trixie was supposed to come and look at Apache’s feet, but Drew stole the show. I had gotten both of the horses, in preparation for her arrival, and Apache was quietly waiting for us in his pen. As we walked up, we couldn’t see Drew. Where was he?

having his spa day

Yep, he’d decided to just take a nice nap on the warm sand. That’s a sign that a horse is comfortable with the people he’s around. The best part is that he didn’t jump to his feet when we approached, like most horses would. As prey animals, they are always alert.

Zzzz

The fisr thing Trixie did was check out the big paint’s head, because it seemed sore. Drew got up and watched that intently, standing close so I could rub him. Trixie remarked that Drew really seems to be a people horse.

Apache’s feet are looking great, by the way, and he’s looking more and more normal. He even shrunk a horseshoe size. As he was being a model farrier client, I realize that I had lost Drew.

It’s more cozy over here.

He shifted again and really fell asleep, with fluttering eyelids, and deep, deep breathing. That was one comfortable animal.

I feel safe here. It’s where my food lives.

We could not stop laughing as he kept snoozing away even when Apache was finished and left. His little lips were quivering like he was having a nice dream. Damn, it was cute.

Melts our hearts.

Once we finally got him up, he got some spa treatment, as Trixie massaged his gums like she had done for Apache. We think he liked it.

It tickled!

He then let his front hooves get trimmed, but still was no good on the back, so Trixie is gonna come tomorrow and work on his issues again. He still walks a little. Funny, and we want him all ready and happy for training.

I guess I’m in love with both these equine wonders. My heart swells with love when I see how much progress we are making together.

Chickens and Snakes

I heard a loud noise last night from the chicken coop, and this morning I discovered something had gone after Babette. Her head is a mess, but she seems okay. In case Bruce did it, I separated her from the others, except Star, who is still setting on her eggs.

Good news

But it is not all bad! Blanca, the True Blue hen, finally started laying yesterday! What beautiful eggs she lays. Sky blue! Now we’re just waiting on Betty the Easter Egger to give us some green eggs, and Billie Idyl.

When I was out fetching the horses, I spotted this snakeskin, most likely a rat snake. It has these cool ribbon-like segments, I guess from its belly. I’m glad Trixie liked it as much as I did.

Well, this was fun. My new laptop is also a giant tablet. I typed this from my chair, with the computer flat. I am fancy now.

My Spotted Comforter

No, I didn’t get a new bed covering. I’ve just gotten so much comfort from this semi-tubby, big-hearted paint horse. Today, this guy left me feeling 100% better after yet another day of surprises and confusion.

Just chilling

I hadn’t been riding too much in the past couple of weeks, because I really don’t think it’s a good idea to climb up on a thousand-pound animal when you’re having anxiety attacks, even if it’s your friend.

I’m your friend. I’ll just stand here, even without a lead rope. And yes, people commonly put the bridle over the halter.

I have been hanging out with the horses a lot, though, and they’ve all acted like they cared about me, with lots of rubs and hanging out. But Apache has been so sweet. He’s always looking for me. Today, when I went to get him to ride, because I was feeling better, both he and Drew galloped up, while the others hardly noticed. Sure, they probably wanted food. But it made me feel good.

They eventually got food.

But it’s today’s ride that brought me the most comfort. It was the kind of ride I’d dreamed of my whole life. My horse and I were trusting each other, paying attention, and having fun while working on new things. Wow.

He was paying attention to me, even when he wasn’t doing what I asked. That meant it was easy to correct things and start again. We trotted and walked and made our circles. We went into the dry lot I use as a mini-arena and we did all sorts of things. He started to do what he wanted as we headed toward the pens, but I was able to get his attention and have him do circles until he was doing better. I did real ones, which I hadn’t managed before.

I saw it.

We then went all over the parts of the front field where he used to go wild and eat grass constantly. None of that happened. We just rode where I aimed him.

What I saw while feeding horses.

But what truly comforted me and warmed my heart was what he did before and after the ride. Before starting, I had to shew both Granny and Fiona out of the round pen, and rather than start to graze or wander off, he patiently stood where I left him. And after I got off, he waited again while I messed with my helmet and stuff, then leaned his sweaty neck against me, like he was saying he had fun, too.

Sun sets over the ranch house.

I’ve got such a true and patient friend in Apache. He’s kindly waited for me to develop the confidence and skills to become partners and learn together. And I was patient while I waited for him to heal from his laminitis and hoof abscess. He’s paying me back!

And the sun sets on contented people and horses.

Yeah. Being able to find comfort and stability even amid tough changes, an endless pandemic, and divisiveness around every corner…that’s a treasure.

Comfort from Nature’s Rhythms

I didn’t have an easy morning this morning, even though there sure was a cool sunrise. I wish I could have gone out and gotten a better photo, but here it is through the upstairs window.

There was a thick cloud that didn’t totally block the sun.

It’s a time of year that is hard for many of us, with tomorrow’s anniversary of the terrorist attacks, and that isn’t helping much either. But, when you’re feeling your trauma ramping up, feel trapped, are weary of being second guessed, or have to deal with the consequences of other people’s actions, you do have options. One of them is to leave.

Familiar signs of approaching autumn: snow on the prairie, wild morning glories, and balloon vines (all hiding behind that dang Johnson grass)

So, this morning, after I did all I could do to be useful, I took a nice walk. Looking around at the ranch and its life made it so much easier to put things into the perspective of life going on as best as it can, year by year.

This is the dry season, so Walker’s Creek is no longer flowing. It’s a series of puddles.

The cows next door are starting to calve, as they do every year around this time. It’s reassuring to see the same cows in the field, still providing new babies for their ranchers.

Mature mamas getting ready to do their job: make more beef.

Even while I was feeling reassured by the repeated patterns and rhythms of the year, I was finding new things. For example, I don’t think I realized before that the giant cane (Arundo donax) smelled good when it was blooming. I guess it has something going for it, after all!

Still, it’s one annoying nonnative and invasive plant!

It was cooler this morning, too, which really makes me hopeful for the return of more bearable horse-riding weather. And as always, I found beauty in the little things, once I slowed down to look. Check out the patterns the large puddles make when they dry up!

There are cracks in the dirt everywhere, actually.

More little things included the small flowers in the snow on the prairie plants, and the dozens of dusky skipper butterflies making the most out of the morning glories. They were everywhere!

After enjoying the life around me, and reminding myself that whatever is happening now is temporary, I felt a lot better and was able to come back and get work and meetings done. Thanks again to the healing properties of the Hermits’ Rest. The land and its residents are always here for me. And I didn’t have to get in the car and go for a long drive!

Hay ready to harvest. Time’s marching on, and every day brings new things to see, even in old familiar places.

Sometimes Bland Knitting is a Friend

Most of my life, I’ve done a lot of fancy knitting. But, lately, with all the other things weighing on my mind, simple stuff has been better. The past few things I’ve made would show that (I’ll share at the bottom of this post). I have found that simple, comfort knitting is a great thing to add to my coping with crisis mode toolbox.

(What else is in the toolbox you ask? Well, if you look in the comments of yesterday’s post, you’ll find some great suggestions by a fellow blogger, Julia, that include what I do: healthy snacks, exercise, get out in the light, enjoy cute animals, good music, etc.)

So, since I inadvertently left my current project AND the shawl I was going to finish off at the ranch, I started the little blue shawl I mentioned on Tuesday. Only, it’s not so little anymore. Apparently, my fingers have needed to knit, and my mind has needed to concentrate just a little on something pleasant to give itself a rest.

It has grown so much that I need to get longer needles when I get back to the ranch. This makes it look like a mushroom or a hat.

I’ve knitted up a storm each evening, while watching bland television shows, mostly about cute little animals on Animal Planet Wild. To take your mind off current events, a little Dr. Pol works wonders.

You can see the start of the lace pattern, which gets bigger and bigger as the shawl grows.

I felt confident enough to add some spice to the shawl, so have have thrown in some lattice lace. Yes, it’s making holes, but no, I don’t have to look at a pattern to do it. I just add one yarn over and decrease to each side, which is easy to spot the right place to do. I’m experienced enough to do a left-leaning decrease on the right side of the shawl, and vice versa.

For the tree readers who understood the previous paragraph, here are some ugly decreases.

The decreases aren’t all that attractive, but this thing is mostly wool and will block out. Since I’m not using lace-weight or floofy mohair yarn, it’s not exactly a traditional shawl anyway. It’s gonna be warm for whoever ends up wearing it.

Anita dared me to put a picture of my evening ensemble, in which I actually went out to walk the dog, and ran into a bunch of neighbors. I was obviously feeling like I looked.

If I didn’t have to lead a meeting at the happy hour of 8 am, I’d still be asleep now, because that felt good last night. I’m feeling well enough to send out some strength to my lovely family, my dear friends, and all of you who are facing challenges and keeping going!

Oh yeah, here are the two bland projects I made the last couple of years. One is a rectangle. Zzz.

Seeking Comfort and Seeing Red

This morning I’ve been thinking so hard about what the families of my friends and acquaintances are going through, losing loved ones and dealing with the COVID-19 thing in their families. You can’t rally around people as easily as you normally would in situations like this. And you know these people could use some comfort, along with the wider circle of loved ones. Lighting my candle and sending loving-kindness out counts for something, I guess.

A candle for loving-kindness.

But what’s good is that today we do have ways to reach out and comfort people. Kind words in chat, video calls, and social media posts can reach hurting people immediately (while sending a card is also good, just takes longer). I’m seeing this unfold as groups rally around to support each other. One group has scrapped an organizational meeting, just to be there for someone who lost their best friend. Another group is right there in their Facebook group when someone gets a new wave of grief. It’s so comforting to see this love manifest.

We may feel confined and alone, but our support network is out there. If you don’t have one, I’m here!
Three of my friends, experiencing joy at our class reunion a few years ago.

Yesterday, when I asked that people reach out to those they care about, my little group of friends I’ve had since my early teens jumped right in to remind each other how much we care, even if many of us are far apart. I can always count on these women if anything happens to me. And one of my favorite bloggers even checked up on me. The world is our community! Thank you ALL.

That, along with some kind check-ins from my local friends and family who noticed I was down, really helped me remember that death is a part of life and we all have connections that will go beyond artificial boundaries like life, death, space, and time (or at least I can hope that!).

(Note that me being down is small change compared to what the close friends and family of my friends who passed on are dealing with; it’s certainly NOT all about me, but it is my dream that similar outpourings are happening for them.)

The Comfort of Red

Today, though, I decided to comfort my own self. I did this by surrounding myself with what has become my favorite color in my later years, red. I even dragged out my old red glasses (I can see okay in them still).

And I even smiled. Had to look perky for work meetings, ya know.
Sooo much red.

I looked around my office (you know, the red, pink, and orange explosion of colors and objects), and all the red things comforted me. My red lamps, my little leather notebook, ah. Redness.

Then the mail arrived. It reminded me that red’s been on my mind since that Master Naturalist talk on cochineal! Two books on the color red showed up (plus two other colors, and a book for work book club). I’m definitely needing some red in my life.

So, yeah, I’m really grateful for so many supporting people in my life who are holding me up yet not telling me not to be sad. I passionately believe it’s important to tell them how grateful I am, often and sincerely. I’m feeling surrounded by invisible arms right now, with a red glow. What brings YOU comfort when there is much to be sad about?

No Place Like Home, Really

This weekend I spent a lot of time indoors at the ranch house, because the weather was not very good. As a consequence, I spent more time than usual in the seating area part of our great room (it serves as kitchen, dining room, living room, and Lee’s office).

Even after rearranging our furniture, the room holds plenty of dogs and guests.

As I relaxed and enjoyed our candles and various dogs, it occurred to me that maybe Feng Shue has something going for it. Just making a few changes in how out furniture is arranged has increased my well being.

Lee and a dog in the “old man chair” that makes him happy and somehow makes the bedroom feel less vast and cold. Yes, I do make the bed. We just woke up.

I admit that I really never felt comfortable in many parts of the house until recently. The bedroom seemed cold and vast until Lee brought in a love seat and Big Old Man recliner. We both have nice places to sit now, and there’s plenty of dog space, too. The new window coverings also bring in needed warmth and intimacy to the space.

Continue reading “No Place Like Home, Really”
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