Sunday, September 29, 2019

My Dreams Captured: Professional Photographs With My Herd

The greatest compliment you can give a photographer, in my opinion, is that they captured the dream you feel. That somehow, they were able to look in, find it, and bring it back to you as a keepsake.  Britt Harvey Photography did that for me, and I am so thankful.

I was worried, tying myself up in knots about it. I think, because I love Cowboy so much, if the pictures had come back other than the way I see us, I would have been crushed. Well, maybe not crushed, but disappointed.

By lucky chance, our shoot for Friday was moved up to Wednesday, because of the forecast, and I didn't have anymore time to worry. I had a few hours to prepare--and, oddly enough, it took the stress off and concentrated my purpose. I ran around and grabbed my special things: a jasper horse necklace my mom had made for me, earrings my daughter had gifted me, flowers from our garden, a scarf I've worn on trail rides, my favorite special  horse.

I wasn't worried anymore. I just wanted to be with my horse and trust her to bring back the dream of a little girl, grown into a middle-aged woman, clinging to a life with her magical horses, dogs, and humans.

I dream of horses I've loved, coming to me from fields that bridge the gap between this life, and the next.

I dream of trail rides past (Cowboy), present (Leah), and future (Tumbleweed).

I dream of  my loved ones who have been there beside me as I live my dreams.  They've encouraged me.  They've even joined me there.

Yes somehow, she captured the heart of my herd, and the gift I've been given to share life with them.

And someday, when I'm too old to be with them, or they've passed away and left me to mourn their loss...I'll turn these photos over in my hands...

 and dream again.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Three Days, Three Long Rides, One Lost Shoe

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

― Benjamin Franklin

I wasn't about to get stuck on the freeway for want of a tire when I hauled last Tuesday.  These brand new tires gave me peace of mind. Unfortunately, they don't actually do the hauling for me--I have to Cowgirl Up--but they helped.

So, the fraidy cat drive update: The freeway was busy and Leah wasn't happy.  She made that clear, but she also arrived in one non-bleeding or broken piece both directions.  Yay!  I should qualify this "fraidy cat" thing a little bit.  I am not afraid at all to haul an empty trailer down the freeway--I  have done a fair share of hauling in my life, as you know.  It's the horses in the back and all the crazy drivers weaving in and out and passing us.  I'm afraid something will happen that will hurt my horses.  I'm nervous when I'm a passenger and someone else is driving, too. I drive the freeway a lot going west of here, and that doesn't bother me because I'm not going through the heart of the city.  It's the many exits and stops in a very busy corridor that stresses me out.  Spokane isn't the biggest city, but it sure is growing.

One little trick I do at stoplights, when she starts shifting and banging, is to slide forward a bit and brake hard. I always give myself enough distance between my truck and the other cars so that I can do that several times if I have to--depending on the light.  One of our last lights was delayed by a freaking TRAIN! Leah  hated the train, and she hated the wait--so I turned out of the lane and created a new way home--just to keep moving.  But the little trick does work better than nothing. When she feels the car moving, she quiets.

The ride was amazing at Antoine Peak!  It's basically a big mountain.  So, you ride straight up 800' and then down 800' in a loop.  The ride down was very steep and narrow, but Leah navigated it like a rock star.  I didn't know if she'd be able to handle that steep and long a descent.  I was impressed and relieved.

The top of the mountain.

The view along the way.

That ride lasted about three hours, and she worked up quite a sweat.

The next day, we rode an easier trail at Slavin Conservation Area. We didn't want to work the horses too hard.  It was about a three hour, mostly flat ride.

On the third day, we rode at Riverside State Park, which is much larger than I realized. I ride it a lot,  but not the area we were in.  My perspective of it was way off, and we ended up getting somewhat turned around.  When we finally found our way, three hours into it, Leah's front shoe came half off and we had to take the time to try to get it fully off.

One broken knife blade later, a friend and I managed to loosen it up enough that she could easily walk it off without losing a big chunk of hoof.  She was one week away from new shoes, but I think all the tough rides and hard terrain plus hoof growth, were just too much for that shoe.  When my farrier came today he gave her a new set and was very happy with the way the shoe had come off.  

Thankfully, she was able to pack me all the way back on just her one shoe, and she didn't even seem like she noticed.

So, now I'm taking a little break which, I'm sure, will make Miss Leah very happy!  She's out there grazing in her new shoes right now.

I have an appointment for the professional pictures coming up in two weeks.  I'll be giving it a lot of thought between now and then trying to come up with meaningful elements to include.  I will be taking photos with Tumbleweed and Leah, too.  And, my husband will join me with the dogs, as well.  It'll be a long one!


My Duluth trading Company order arrived (my puppy Piper got to it first and unbagged everything all over the yard! Thankfully, nothing was ripped!)  I was able to compare their small size to their medium.  Turns out, I was a small in this shirt, the Armachillo.

However, the thicker, Sol Survivor, shirt, that is almost a jacket, fit well in both small and medium.  If you're wearing it as a shirt, the small is best.  If you're wearing it as a jacket, the medium is best.

Therefore, I'm keeping both. It's such a cute shirt/jacket!  I wore it out to do barn chores today and it's thick enough to block the wind, but breathes enough to handle warmer temperatures and perspiration. It has the really cute collar, too.  And, LOTS of pockets--both inside and out.  It's a WORK shirt.  I'm impressed with Duluth quality!  

Hope you're all doing well and enjoying end of summer adventures!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Fraidy Cat

Yes, I'm a fraidy cat.  Always have been.  And the feared thing shifts and changes.  I have a ride coming up at a new trail tomorrow and I'm afraid of hauling Leah down the freeway.  The trail ride itself is fine, but the hauling with all those crazy drivers--noooooo!  I'm taking my horse trailer in for all new tires today at noon, just to be safe.

But what I'm even more afraid of is professional pictures with my heart horse.  The photographer has been patiently waiting for me to choose a date, and I went radio silent.  Why?  Because I was procrastinating.  Why?  Because I'm afraid they won't turn out well, because of me (I'm terribly unphotogenic) and then I'll feel horrible.

I tell myself--you already have so many pictures with your boy ....

Old ones....

and newer ones...

But they're all low quality--usually snapped with our phones out on the trail. And, although phone cameras have improved, they're still not quite there.

Well, I emailed her today to set a date for this weekend, or as soon as possible.  If it doesn't work out well, at least I'll know I tried, and I'll always have the photos above.


It has been raining here for two days and I can't help but feel very happy.  We avoided wildfire season in 2019!!  Yay!  And, this rain will replenish our pastures, which were starting to get bone dry and dormant.  I even ordered my round bales from our hay supplier because I was starting to have to feed by square-bale-winter-stash.  (He's harvesting wheat, so he can't deliver now anyway.)


So, my friend gifted me a box of Elberta peaches yesterday.  Have you ever had an Elberta peach?  She loves them, and she knew I would, too.  She was like, "Cut one now!  Try it!" So, I cut one into slices and.....OMG--yes, they are pretty wonderful.  So wonderful that as soon as she left I found an online recipe for Tennessee Peach Pudding, aka peach cobbler.

Here are the Elberta peaches, picked at Greenbluff, right outside of Spokane, WA.

And here they are swimming in sugar, butter, and flour.

Add more sugar and butter

Cook them up into something resembling "healthy" food.

And add a scoop of ice cream.

Voila!  Tennessee Peach Pudding!  And since my family is from Tennessee--it's also a genealogy lesson.

All this cooking of cakes is really just me embracing Autumn.  It's here.  Lovely, cool, crisp, wet, Autumn.  The fireplace is going.  Candles are lit.  It's getting dark earlier.  Football season started.  And we're craving comfort foods.  A spring and summer of plenty are giving way to a time of rest and thankfulness.  Last trail rides.  Hay in the barn. Chores and projects mostly finished.

And soon, hopefully some professional Fall photos with my heart horse.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

A Good Ride, Homemade Salsa, & Rhubarb Cake & Cocktails!

I got a good ride in with Leah, despite the fact her eye looks white and buggy in the above photo. I had asked her to back down the hill to get in position for the picture, and I think she was afraid she'd fall off.

It's a familiar trail for her, so it's tough to know if the work ahead of time made a big difference.

Since she led out on a loose rein the entire way, I assume it did make a difference.  She was also MUCH more careful where she put her feet and how she navigated down steep, loose dirt hills.  I credit the ride from the day before for that.  Therefore, something valuable was gained.

We will be going on a ride tomorrow to an unfamiliar spot, and I think she's ready to be a good partner.


One of my friends grows tomatoes, but doesn't like them, so she donated them to me, and I made this lovely hot salsa last night.  Lots of jalapenos, onion, cilantro, and tomatoes with chipotle pepper and smoked salt.  It was yummy.

It's the end of the summer--and guess what that means?

When we had my daughter's wedding here a few years ago, in late August, we decorated with old mason jars and sunflowers.  I still have a few left, and as I was cleaning the kitchen I came across them...and thought---I NEED SUNFLOWERS!  

And Voila!

And, another friend gave me 2 pounds of her rhubarb, so I made a cake that my mom used to make for us.  She has baked this recipe for over 50 years, and she got the recipe from a woman who was very old and had used it for many years herself.  It's quite delicious.  We had it last night with a little whip cream over the top.

I still had rhubarb left, so I boiled some in a simple syrup for rhubarb mojitos.

And, here's the cocktail.  It's not as tart as I'd like it, so I added some of the boiled down rhubarb that had been strained out.  In the future, I may try to double the rhubarb in the recipe. 

If you'd like to try this cocktail, here is the recipe.