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.

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!)

A Hermits Christmas Eve

As the years pass and our circle grows smaller, the holidays have stopped being about visitors, travel, and togetherness. Television commercials keep saying that’s what we should want.

This one goes from lap to lap.

But Lee and I are happy to spend time with just each other these days. We have plenty of animals to stand in for friends and family, and they’re certainly entertaining. The dogs have been going all out to make us smile!

The horses have been playing a lot, as if the cold weather makes them frisky. They do have really thick coats right now.

It was a beautiful day, though, so I did the usual bird watching (highlights were cranes and a butcher bird) and weather observation. All the ponds iced over, but melted when it got above freezing. I have new inexpensive base layers that made being outside okay. Nice!

It was lovely spending time with myself, giving myself holly nails, watching football, cooking dinner, and working on a present. It’s important, I think, to be comfortable enjoying each phase of life, and each new situation. That’s the way to inner peace.

Holly jolly fingers.

Tomorrow and next week will bring more people to the ranch and that will also be enjoyable. You can’t hermit every day! it will be good to celebrate with people.

I’m hoping you find peace with whatever life hands you this time of year. Maybe you’ll find comfort in traditions and maybe you’ll try something new. Just remember that we’re all dealing with “stuff” and doing our best. I sure remember that and just want the members of my own circle to know they’re loved.

Roller Coaster of Love

I didn’t take pictures of the wonders of today, so check out my very silver nails. They nearly blind me.

I was wondering if the highlight of my day was going to be learning about a new kind of moth, the plume moth. These look like flies, but nope, they are weird looking tiny moths with small, plumed wings. I’m not sure what kind the one that flew into my napkin was, but it was cool.

I like it when new-to-me species just show up and present themselves.

It turns out, though, that I’m on a LOVE HIGH this evening, after feeling like my emotional roller coaster of horse love plummeted. After struggling with teen Droodles yesterday, I wasn’t looking forward to today’s lesson. Plus it was raining.

But, we showed up anyway, and I got lots of good information on how to deal with anxious and boundary-testing youngsters. Tarrin told me I had to be tougher and not let him do stuff just to try to get through stuff. That’s what I did at Sara’s, not wanting to delay her filming. I should have stopped and worked with Drew until he was calm. Next time!

Then we worked with him, and that’s when the roller coaster started heading back up. I got some stuff figured out during ground work, as Tarrin kept reiterating that if he messes up, nothing’s wrong with performing a reset and starting again.

She got on and repeatedly stopped and started as he fussed around. In the end he looked great, and she said he was much better than last week. My work with him had helped!

I wasn’t looking forward to getting on him and struggling to make progress. But I got on! And lo and behold, we calmly walked three barrels in small circles. Then we did bigger circles. Wow!

I kept stopping every time his head went up or he started to go off track. By the end, we were smoothly trotting the circles. Tarrin asked how the last one felt, and I said, “It felt like riding a horse!” I was thrilled.

After improving our hill climbing circles with me on him and doing better on side passing and leg yielding, we very calmly walked back to the trailer, even though one of Tarrin’s horses was in our butt. It felt like riding Apache in a place he feels safe. It was fantastic. What a roller coaster. Patience paid off.

We also made him much happier on the ride home with a longer trailer tie and hay to eat. He pooped less. I’m so grateful that Tarrin helps me problem solve. I want to give Drew and Apache good lives and that helps.

My reward

Ready for more ups and downs!

Goldie + Carlton = True Love

Over the past month or so, the friendship between Goldie, the Great Dane, and Carlton, the extra-white mutt, has blossomed into what can only be true love. They’re together almost all the time and keep each other in great shape, in between long naps on the couch.

And of course there’s the running in huge circles around the house, the dog play (like horseplay only with dogs), and the long drinks from the pool when they need a break.

Hmm. I must also mention the barking at things in the night. Cattle? Rabbits? Coyotes? Skunks? Armadillos? Raccoons? Big cats? So many possibilities, all real, judging from poop.

Dang bunnies been eating chicken feed, what little the Devil (English) Sparrows leave behind.

They just plain enjoy each other. Often I see Goldie’s paw on Carlton, asking him to either join her on the couch or play. And they hardly use dog toys. They have each other (giving Harvey and Penney time to play with the squeaky toys).

This morning they must have spent 45 minutes gently playing, licking each other, and chewing on body parts. Penney just watched. Lee and I could not stop laughing at their antics. They just don’t get tired of each other. I remember being that much in love!

In other events, We had a nice party last night for our friend, Mike, who turned 60 this week. Martha cooked a delicious pasta dish and Lee and I contributed a big ice cream cake from Dairy Queen. It was really good. We all prefer ice cream to actual cake, so it was a hit after some time time in the hot tub! and Anita got to have a second birthday celebration, since we’d already enjoyed a meal in Temple on her actual birthday. Celebrations of people you love — I guess that’s good for people AND dogs!

Friends and fun!

Everything’s Coming Up Roses

I’m just gonna pretend that’s true. Why not? I’m tired of living in fear of “the other,” which I think comes from all the stories you hear about crazed people on the other side who want to shoot you or take your guns, or whatever. Just two examples.

Actual roses.

After reading about the boy, the mole, the fox, and the horse, I was thinking that little horrible can happen if I just live like people are basically kind and loving.

Thanks, Lee I’ll stop and smell them…

Honestly, if you’re reasonably observant it will be apparent if someone feels malice or is duplicitous. Then you can just move on to the next adventure. What do you get from fighting or trying to prove something? Not much.

Stop and gaze at them…

It sounds like the kind of thing many religions promote but few actually try to do. Probably it’s hard, that’s why. I’ve been trying. I’m motivated to try harder.

Stop and touch them!

A soft life sounds blissful.

Book Report: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Five Stars Plus

My friend Louise, who is a frequent commenter here, sent me this book after I’d commented that a short film based on it looked sweet. Sweet. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse (2019), by Charlie Mackesy, is way more than sweet.

The cover gives you a hint

Everyone with a tender heart, even one hidden deep under layers of armor, should read this book. You deserve to spend time in the world these characters reside in. You need to hear the reminders that love and kindness are what truly matter and that we all are worthy of these things.

The book is gorgeous, too. It’s printed on beautiful, thick paper. The text and images are all hand drawn in the minimalist pen and ink of the author/artist. Your eye just wants to linger on the images, many of which say volumes with no words.

This is the page shared on Amazon, so I feel okay with sharing it.

Louise knew I’d treasure the book, and I’m so grateful she sent it. Lee read it, too, and he also laughed at the mole’s love of cake. I cried at one of the few things the fox said. He treasures friendship as much as I do.

I can think about the dear characters in the book as I walk through the tall, soft grass in my own wild places.

I’m passing the book around the family, then I’ll leave it in the tack room for guests to find and enjoy. I encourage you to buy it and share it. Give it as a gift to a friend you treasure. I know I’m gonna drag my local friends into the tack room to sit with a few of these poetic pages and remember the world we want to create.

By the way, you’re fine just as you are.

Cooling It Down

I’m visualizing calm and coolness. Neither is easy, since poor Kathleen is still racking up the challenges and trying to avoid the hospital, and it still hasn’t rained again.

Like this persistent variegated fritillary, we just have to keep going until we find our equivalent of a frogfruit blossom.

It didn’t go over 100° today so far, so that’s encouraging. And the cumulus clouds seem bigger today that they have been. So I’m patiently hoping it all turns around. Like I keep telling folks, I’m fine as long as I have peace and hermit time.

Vlassic and I both appreciate the cool tack room now, especially since I finally got the vent set to blow on me in my chair.

Yep. My she shed is working out great. I even have a stool that lets me write at the desk AND serves as a footstool. Classy. Unfortunately, the comfort and A/C droning make it clear that this could be a nap shed.

Ooh. I can even crochet or knit in here!

Things will get more settled soon, and I’ll be able to share some cool renovation stuff.

We are much cooler and calmer when we eat separately.

In the meantime let me share a cool tip one of my local horse friends shared: you can fertilize by dropping horse apples (poop) into the gaping cracks in the earth right now, then when it rains, the crack will close and the poop will help the grass grow back. Maybe wishful thinking.

I’ll poop for you! It’s my best skill.

What Happened to the Tack Room?

Yesterday I shared the big surprise I received when I got home and found a new hen house created from my former new tack room. I didn’t share what happened to all my tack and food.

It’s like the tack room grew!

Yep. I stepped out of the Hen House and did a double take when I saw there was still a barn red storage building where the tack room was. What the heck!

Very coordinated.

Well, you may recall that we had a lovely Victorian house on Ross Avenue in Cameron. It came with many empty lots and a couple of storage buildings. We are in the process of selling that house to an expert renovator, but are keeping most of the land and the buildings.

A window is going in, plus an air conditioner. And that roof is getting a tarp before it rains tomorrow!

My spousal unit, Lee, was the one who wanted to improve the chicken coop. The nephew said, why build another one? Let’s use the tack room, which is a bit cramped, and haul the big blue building here to be a new tack room? This decision was made before we left for our trip, so I can imagine everyone had a hard time keeping it to themselves!

That looks pretty fancy to me.

So, they had the plan of moving that building here, painting it, and turning it into the tack room plus, all before I got back. Unfortunately the house hauling person had a problem, so the blue building didn’t make it until last Thursday, by which time they’d cleaned it out and painted it red. I’m still in shock.

Wow!

My son, Lee, and the nephew worked overtime to get the flooring down, start insulating, and get some walls up so they could empty my trailer (where the tack all was), so I could take the horses to their lessons. That stuff has all moved a lot. I bet my son and our helper really hope they don’t have to move it again!

After today’s work.

Today my son finished insulating and putting up the lower walls. Now the gambrel roof and ceiling need doing.

The gap is where the window goes.

Notice there isn’t any horse stuff on the side of the room in the photos. There’s a good reason, other than needing it clear to add the walls. The nephew took it into his head to make half the building into a she shed. He even has it wired to put my precious former office chandelier in there. Holy crap.

They are going to bring my rugs and furniture from my old office. And my art! This will be so cool, and Kathleen, Anita, Sara and I can hang out in our girls’ club. Maybe we need a no boys allowed sign.

Wow. Stuff like this makes you just want to hug the world. I’m so grateful.

Who’s My Valentine?

Drew’s my Valentine! And Lee. And the relatives. And the dogs. But Drew. I didn’t know they made horses as nice as him.

Who me? I’m in love with salt. Mmm. Salt.

I built a new playground setup near the new round pen with jumps, circles, brush, and the obstacle he doesn’t like for circling.

I can’t wait! Hey, T, wanna jump?

All the horses were so sweet to me and the offspring-in-love after they dropped by for a few minutes.

We had on Valentines outfits, too.

Drew, Fiona, and the Buckskin Buddies just stood around saying hi and asking for pets. It’s hard not to smile with them around.

Buckskin love.

Once again, Drew followed me to the gate, then walked back with me, perfectly matching my steps. I think I can easily get him to do like Apache at liberty and more. It’s just so awesome.

T expreses her opinion.

Later, after feeding time, I went to let him out (I’m keeping him in to try to get him to eat more), and instead of rushing out to freedom, he hung around and sniffed me to figure out what I’d been cooking. Then he “asked” me to scratch his neck a while, gently “kissed” me, then left. Yep. He’s a good Valentine.

Three very loving guys.

Did I give my humans love? Sure! The kids got hot tub time. And I made dinner for the men. I’ll share the recipe in another post.

Eye of Remington, full of love for all humans and horses.
Joys Of Creating

crafts, hobbies, gardening & nonsense

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

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.

Zoewiezoe

Where a little insanity goes a long way