Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Observation and Appreciation

"We don't have time to look at one another.

So all that was going on and we never noticed.

Oh, earth, you are too wonderful for anybody to realize you.

Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it?

Every, every minute?


The Saints and poets, maybe, they do some."

From Our Town, by Thornton Wilder

I told you a little about the play we attended with my mom last week, Our Town, and how it touched on the eternal part of mankind. But its main theme was appreciation. Written in 1938, it was well before we began losing ourselves in smart phones. Can you imagine what Thornton Wilder would think if he came back and saw how disconnected we are now?

I was cleaning stalls in the barn yesterday, and the weather was really perfect--not too hot, not too cold. And, it was easy to take my time and appreciate the horses and barn cats. On really cold days, not so much. I have some work to do to overcome my fair-weather ways.

Here are some snippets of life I have missed covering on the blog.

1. Last week was Tumbleweed's fourth birthday! I was having a tooth implant done on his birthday, and he is off at training, but here is a tribute to the birthday boy.

Our journey started a week after he was born, when I drove up to Canada to see him at Shirley's place. These photos came up in my FB memories today.

Those were fun trips, and I was enamored with little Tweed from the first moment. Fast forward to this week, and here he is on a ride a few days ago.

He has exactly one week left in training, and I can't wait to get him home.

2. I have an obsession with shortbread. Yes, I do. I love shortbread, but it's hard to find the perfect cookie, so instead, I have set out to find the perfect recipe.

For those of you unfamiliar with shortbread cookies, they really only have three ingredients: unsalted butter, sugar, and flour. I add a little vanilla and salt to mine, and I drizzle the ends with chocolate. I like a thicker cookie. I still have some experimenting to do to get to where I love them.

3. Epona has changed colors. 

Here she is a few days ago going after the dogs. (They deserved it.)  It will be interesting to see how white she gets over time. We think she will look like her daddy.

4. We have been getting the arena ready ahead of Tweed coming home. It probably needs a sand refresher. I have so much junk  many obstacles in my arena. My main concern is riding trails, and you can tell by looking at the arena.

5. Since this has been a very cold spring, (in fact, we are setting records), we are having a very late blooming season. I have tried to grow the lilacs and purple sand cherry tall enough to encase the back deck. I want it to feel like a tree house. They are finally in their heyday! If you look to the right, you see 3 lilacs bunched together, but there's also one on the side of the deck (to the left, which I'll show in another photo). If you follow the 3 lilacs left, I planted 11 very small lilacs last year, in the hopes of one day achieving a natural fence of lilacs that I can keep short and shrubbish so that it doesn't block the view of Mt Spokane. In fact, the three shown here are getting a little too tall and need to be trimmed down. 

You can see how big the sand cherry are from this photo. The tent we incorporated onto the back deck last year is something we are trying out. We wanted to see if it's worth our time to extend the deck cover with something permanent, and if so, what we would need to build. How high? How long? Open, or enclosed? We have found that we really love that area being covered, but we had such a huge fly infestation last year, we might want it to also be partially screened in for late summer. 

Speaking of flies, I ordered fly predators again this year. I even bumped up my normal order with their extra bonus offer. I am declaring war on flies. War!

Here is one of the little lilacs I planted last year, barely taller than the grass. 

And here is one of the bigger lilacs, but you can see the blossoms have not fully opened. 

We have packed our deck with chairs, couches and tables because every Sunday we have a family get together with anywhere from 8 to 20 people. We need all the seating we can get.  We've also added a baby swing, and boy does it get used. (So does the propane fireplace.)

I was finally able to plant petunias. yay! 

The deck is surrounded by (from left to right) lilac, aspen, sand cherry.

Very crowded!

Yet, each space does get utilized. The light couches were my sons, but he brought them to their wedding last summer and didn't want to take them home afterward. I bought them from them and found the blue pillows at Wal-Mart. 

I have been very attracted to the color blue this year. Here is what it symbolizes:

The color blue represents both the sky and the sea and is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, inspiration, and sensitivity. Blue also represents meanings of depth, trust, loyalty, sincerity, wisdom, confidence, stability, faith, and intelligence.

I am mostly drawn to indigo blue this year, and blue balanced with browns. I have an indigo blue shirt that I purchased in 2 long sleeve and 1 short sleeve, and I wear one of them every day. It's this one from Eddie Bauer. I just went there to find the link, and it's on sale for $12.99.  I think I'll buy 2 more! I love this shirt. 

Okay, popped over and looked up the symbolism of indigo, and look what I found.

Theater? Ha! Yes, please!

I am so into blue this year that I almost purchased a blue velvet couch, but stopped myself only because I read that velvet attracts dog hair like crazy, and we have two dogs.

Here's the loveseat version of the couch I ALMOST purchased. I still LOVE it. Extremely comfy.

While I was out taking photos, I wanted to show you the dinner bell. Our daughter bought this for us about ten years ago. It's fun to ring it and get everyone's attention.

Back to the color blue, it's no surprise I'm drawn to it, and I don't think I'm alone. What we've all been through, and are still going through, leads us into greater introspection / wisdom, and personal freedom. As a society, we lost sight of the concept of LIVING over living, but it's coming back to us. 

Future, your color is blue--indigo blue, and it is time to start paying even MORE attention!

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Still Waiting for Spring!

It has been a cold spring--really cold--maybe the coldest on record. The late spring wildflowers, like camas, were wilting over in one area we hiked. They were like, "Um, what the hell is this? Someone told us it was May, quote unquote. Spring, quote, unquote. Obviously that was wrong."

The early spring wildflowers, however, are absolutely abundant! Triumphant! Loud, and PROUD! They're doing that "threading the needle" dance move, singing "We rock, we roll, we be the king of the world."



Even the giant dandelions are getting in on the stone cold action.

Here's a patch of Camas that must have found a bit of sun. 

And the prairie star that just keeps growing and thriving.

I had a scary day worrying about Tumbleweed yesterday. My trainer messaged me in the morning to let me know he seemed off and had been lying around. We put him on watch and he gradually got better. She noticed he had developed diarrhea. It was touch and go for a little bit, and I told her to call the vet if she thought he needed it, but by the end of the day he had rebounded, and today he is back to normal. That's the problem with having him in training two hours away--it's tough to watch over him.

He only has about ten days left, and I am getting really excited to bring him home. I haven't gone down to ride him while he has been away. With my dad's death, and spending as much time as I can hiking, attending plays, and having my mom come to stay for long periods, there hasn't been opportunity. And honestly, I just want to ride him on the day I pick him up, then take off on my own here. I want to start from square one with our relationship, and that's hard to do popping in every couple of weeks while he's in training. I'm taking advantage of the trainer's work, not my own. It feels like I'm hitching a ride on someone else's horse. Right now, he's tuned into her, as he should be.

My husband and I saw three plays last week--three! That's like a dream come true. I would attend a play or musical every night if I could, taking no second, minute, hour, or day for granted. I love live theater and live music, it feeds the soul. Truly. My husband loves it as much as I do, thank God! And my mom is loving it, too.

We took my mom to see Our Town last week while she was here with us. It was much better than I thought it would be, considering it's done in pantomime. The play was written by Thornton Wilder before WWII, and it touches a lot on death. (We didn't know what it was about before we attended. It's an old play, but we had all, somehow, never seen it.) There was even a funeral procession that marched right toward us and made me catch my breath and cry. It hit close to the bone.

My mom and I both felt like we were meant to be there, to hear that message--

"Now there are some things we all know, but we don't take'm out and look at'm very often. We all know that something is eternal. And it ain't houses and it ain't names, and it ain't earth, and it ain't even the stars...everybody knows in their bones that something is eternal, and that something has to do with human beings. All the greatest people ever lived have been telling us that for five thousand years and yet you'd be surprised how people are always losing hold of it. There's something way down deep that's eternal about every human being."
So, we saw Our Town on Saturday, then Hamilton on Tuesday (WOW!! It was great!), and The Lifespan of a Fact on Thursday.

The set of Hamilton in Spokane.

Lifespan of a Fact.

Last night, we went with my brother and his wife to our local winery where they had live music and dancing. It was packed.

As the world is somewhat falling apart, and we're scrambling to find baby formula for our babies (and grandbabies), there is something going on (at least in our community) where everyone is desperate to get back to normal. Every play has been sold out, or very well attended. Last night's music, wine, and dancing, the same. We're trying to figure out how to be a community again. And, we need each other.

I will leave you with one last photo. It is of prairie smoke from one of our hikes.

The blossoms of prairie smoke are tight, and they droop down. They are waiting for a bee to push itself into them and, when one does, the blossoms will then, and only then, lift themselves up toward the sky and go to seed.

I feel very much like the prairie smoke this year.

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

We Survived a Tornado

What a crazy year, and now you can add being hit by a tornado to the list of things that has happened to us.  In Spokane, since 1950, there are only 13 confirmed tornados, but we had 2 in one day and now that number is 15. One of them touched down at our house, took out our fence, moved to my neighbor's, uprooted 2 of his big pine trees, and then continued down the road and back into the sky.

While it was happening, I was looking out the back window at the barn, watching the horses, and not the front window, where the tornado ripped through. Our young lab, Lucy, had begun to absolutely freak out (something she has never done in previous storms) and I couldn't contain her. I was also on the phone with my mom while this was happening, and I told her it sounded like a nuclear bomb had gone off. It looked like it, too. It had become very dark and otherworldly. But there wasn't much wind in the back of the house. In fact, we have a tent up on our deck and pillows on the outdoor furniture, and it all stayed in place. 

But in the front of the house, a different scene was playing out, and our neighbor witnessed the whole thing. I texted him when the storm settled to see if they were okay, and he said he saw the tornado come through the fences and over to his place and uproot the trees then move on. The national weather service came by and interviewed him, compared it to their radar and witness videos, and confirmed it was, indeed, a tornado.

Another neighbor got a few photos after it passed by.

Here's a link to the video, if you'd like to see what it looked like from far away. It's as if a hand is placing a tornado right onto our property.

The sky was eery that night, and the nights afterward.

We lost power because the trees took out the power lines. I walked down the road to survey the damage.

Looking back toward our house.

My husband went out the next day and was able to use the tractor to fix the fence.

It has been a weird year. That company I told you about, Lifeline Screening, hasn't refunded me for the tests that I paid for, but which they were unable to get results because of the botched blood test. I told them what happened with the tech, and they said they filed a report, but no one has followed up. My next step is to report them to the BBB. I don't want what happened to me to happen to anyone else. Oh, and I followed up with a liver panel from a hospital lab and my liver results were perfect. (They had erroneously reported elevated enzymes).

Tumbleweed is still with the trainer, and doing well. My trainer played a little guessing game. Can you guess which horse is Tumbleweed?

Epona started to grow too fast, and seemed like she might be developing epiphysitis. I stripped her diet down to grass and no supplements. She is on pasture part of the day, too. She didn't show any signs of lameness, but looked a little swollen at the knees. It's common in thoroughbreds, and is often the result of too much high energy feed. She's definitely in another growth spurt, so I'm hoping this will slow her down.

She has developed a strong bond with Cowboy because they're turned out together most days and he has become the designated babysitter. Here he is last night. I had kept him in during the day and let him out in the evening. He went right over to Epona's turnout to call her over.

More Cowboy and Epona.