Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Barn Planters & Sunshine

On Saturday my husband and I drove to neighboring Coeur D'Alene to get the last of the old roofing for our planter project. It was raining, and a rather dreary day, but I was excited to get the last of the materials and finish them. The man who met us is the son of the couple who started this old auction house. They purchased it for 100k and have been offered 5 million for it. 

I turns out, many of my friends have memories of this auction house. Some bought and sold livestock there and another was hired to ride in the horses. I didn't have time to go through the entire yard, but I bet there's some really cool stuff out there.

As we were loading up, I spied a cool old feeder trough and asked if they'd sell it to me. He said he'd take $10. I'm going to plant some flowers in this hunk of livestock auction house memorabilia. 

My husband got right to work installing the panels.

And then moved them out to the patio where they'll remain empty until about late April. That will us plenty of time to line them, too. The vintage tin roofing has way too many rust holes to be an effective wall for a planter.

In other news, I dewormed Tuffy, and he had a lot of worms inside of him. In all my years with horses, I've never seen them shed worms after a deworming, but I have seen it with our dogs and now Tuffy. The last time I dewormed him was about a year ago, but since he is a barn cat I never saw any evidence. Anyway, it was disgusting! I'm sure he feels much better now, even though he still isn't 100% about using his kitty litter box. Close, but not quite.

This is how sweet he is. A total stress reliever.  

I found my old Nespresso machine in storage and brought it into the barn room. I had to descale it, but now it works like new. Tuffy photo bomb, incoming.

The last few days it has been in the 50s here. Yesterday was even sunny. It was like heaven in my little sanctuary. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold, something that happens a lot nowadays. But it's minor and will soon pass. 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

More Distractions

 More healthy distractions. 

(Mixed order.)

A new display in downtown Spokane.

The clock tower.

A neighborhood walk on an unusually warm, 48 degrees, January day.

Clock tower.

Finishing the planters. I realized the old tin roofing is not sturdy enough to be a functional planter wall. We will have to line the inside with new metal. No rush since they can’t be planted until May. 

Under the big tent at Riverfront Park. This was the tent for the 1974 World’s Fair in Spokane. Now, it’s a continuous light show and amphitheater.  Our grandson is amazed by them and turning for one last look.  

My handsome boy. 

Downtown Spokane. 

Tumbleweed and Epona are our new married pair, but their mamas are still training them and will sometimes demand their separation. Epona follows his lead. 

And a new mini fridge for the barn room. 

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Healthy Distractions

Healthy Distractions

I'm going through the Noom modules again, but skipped ahead to the one on Stress. Let's face it, this has been a stressful year. I remember really clinging to the information in this module when I first went through it, but time passes, and we forget.

I won't write about everything they say in it, but I do want to hit on this one point: Distraction.

Distraction is a coping mechanism to get our mind off of sad or stressful situations. Distractions can be healthy and they can non-healthy. Turns out, a lot is written about this topic. Here is one list I found: 60 Healthy Distractions.

Last weekend's fun was a good distraction, and the happiness I experienced was probably akin to having half your body pinned under a large object, and then someone coming along and lifting it off you for a couple of days. 

This room, designing and building it, was a good distraction. Walking and hiking are great distractions.  

Tuffy and the horses are good distractions.

Even cleaning stalls. Basically, keeping busy with productive things.

I've taken up juggling since Christmas.

It's something I've always wished I could do. So far, I'm only working on my form with two balls. I can't wait to be able to juggle 3 though!  That's probably not on the list of 60 healthy distractions. Ha!

My husband and I are building these planters to frame in the barn patio. We're going to use that old roofing tin on the sides.  I'm going to plant them this spring with herbs, some veggies, flowers, and probably one tree. There will be two of these in an "L" shape.

I ordered my custom horse hair ring from England. The artist got right back to me and asked that I send a small amount of clean hair. She recognized that this could be hair from a special horse who has passed, and she is cautious of it getting lost in transit. She wants us to send the minimum needed, just in case. She also sends a UK ring sizer in the mail. She should receive the hair at about the time I receive the sizer. After receipt of the hair, it takes around 10 weeks to produce the ring. 

I'm very excited.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

A Flood of Gratitude

The snow is melting, it's raining, and there are little lakes all around our place, but that isn't the flood I want to tell you about.


On Friday, my husband and I had a date night to a local play, Good People. It was just so wonderful. Thought-provoking. Funny. Surprising. It gave us a lot to talk about on the way home. It was one of the best nights of my life because we so thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Perhaps, we more appreciate our time together now. Not that we didn't before, but it's over and above now that it is more rare.

The next day, Saturday, I went shopping and to run errands with my daughter for ingredients to make my lasagna for a Sunday family get-together and a consultation with my vet about Tuffy. Since we were out, I treated my daughter to lunch. It was another lovely moment. My heart was full of happiness.

When I got home, I went to my Sanctuary to deworm Tuffy with the meds my vet had given me for him, but while I was administering the dewormer, there was a loud explosion. 

Tuffy ran out of the room, and I was left to scramble to deal with a broken water pipe that was quickly flooding my sanctuary. I ran out of the barn, toward the house, to shut off the water, but also called my husband as I was running, who was inside the house already. Luckily, he answered and ran downstairs to shutoff the water to the barn.

I didn't take any photos, but imagine the brick and soaked rugs as I hauled the furniture out to the dry breezeway. Then imagine the shop vac, the rugs hung out, and the fans drying the room. 

Poor Tuffy. 

That night, as I was visiting the room one last time, he meowed and meowed and wanted to be comforted that everything was going to be okay. I set up his cozy safe, space, and he settled back into the barn room. There was no furniture in it, and the fans were still whirling, but he settled in front of the heater.

The next day my husband researched what had gone wrong with his attachments, the clamps he had used that had been ineffective, and reworked them with new ones. Everything seems to be working fine now and back to normal.

Believe it or not, I consider this a miracle.

As I was using the shop vac to remove the water, I kept saying thank yous to heaven. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

What perfect timing for the pipes to have come undone, while I was out there for that mere 5 minutes. 

It could have been before. 

It could have been after. 

It would have flooded the entire barn.

Yep, that was a miracle.

We were so preoccupied cleaning the room and responding to the crisis that I had almost forgotten we had tickets to the Symphony where they were expecting a guest pianist, Charlie Albright, playing Rachmaninoff's 2nd. 

We debated even going, but in the end, since we already had the tickets, we hurried out the door and barely made it in time.

So glad we did! What an amazing performance it was! Everyone jumped to their feet for a standing ovation when he was done. For his encore, he played Great Balls of Fire! 

A weekend of beautiful moments, miracles, and a flood, also a miracle in its own right. 

As we were walking to our car from the Fox Theater after the Symphony, it started to rain, and the snow was melting. As we passed one alleyway, I saw the most beautiful scene--leftover Christmas wreaths, snow melting off lights, people happily walking together, like we were.

What a beautiful few days.

Friday, January 19, 2024

Houston, There's Still A Problem


My parrot barn cat, Tuffy, continues to poop in my his barn room sanctuary.

I have tried several things, and he will start to use his box regularly (he has two, one inside the room, and one outside the room), but then reverts back. 

Today, my husband informed me it happened again, and suggested we evict Tuffy to the part of the barn he used to mostly inhabit, the hay storage. But I told him the last two years have been nothing but losses for me, and Tuffy gives my sanctuary the necessary heart and spirit I need right now. I don't mind cleaning it up as I continue to brainstorm solutions. 

It is my barn room after all. My sanctuary. But my husband can't help but feel some ownership, too, after having done all the work to build it. Can you imagine? The nerve! Haha! 

My room. No, my room. 

Okay, it's your room, your cat, your poop to clean up.

I just ordered Dr. Elsey's Cat Attract.

 I know this won't be an issue when the weather warms up and he's able to comfortable spend time outside again. Wish me luck.

Speaking of ownership issues, my daughter and I are co-owners of Epona, and the topic of training came up today. My daughter reserved a spot for her in June, but she will be only three. I told her I'd prefer to have a vet check first to make sure her growth plates are closed. She had such a rough start and I had to slow down her growth when she started to spurt up too fast with all the good nutrition, after having almost starved herself to death refusing milk replacer. I had her on a couple different formulas to balance growth, and I pulled her off grain. She definitely slowed down, but I'd like to have her evaluated.

Epona "was the Celtic goddess of horses and the patron goddess of mares and foals." Oddly enough, her nickname, Pona, means to heal and survive.

If you have followed Epona's journey, you know the Pona part is very true.

However, the Epona part is also coming to be. Epona is now the one ordering the herd, and making sure her mama eats first. She had to beat out the Tumbleweed / Foxy duo for that honor. I don't know how it happened, but it did.

And now all the mares do as Epona tells them to. She is a very brave little soul, having endured so much in so little time, and it will be interesting to see what this new order brings about in each of their personalities.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

A Sanctuary

I decided on a sign to go above my barn room door, and it is this one below: Sanctuary.

I thought about all the things the barn has always been to me, the place I've felt God's grace or all things coming together, inside me, that are good in the universe. Not just good, but true, because everything hasn't been good, in the sense that there has been loss, fear, and death here, too. Everything is made right, or correct in me, here in this place, as close as I can be to my barn family. 

This room is somewhat unplugged, but I am sitting in it right now typing this blog post. It's very peaceful.

This is what greets me when I walk out to the barn room. Epona is always leading the charge with mama close behind.

And, of course, Mr. Tweed. The snow is melting on their backs today, even though it still 20 degrees. They produce a lot of heat by eating 24/7 round bales. After the last week of below zero temps, 20 degrees seems balmy.

My husband finished the sink project. I love it. I'm glad I did look at all those other ideas, the ones I shared on this blog, because they probably did lead us to doing something ourselves. So glad we didn't buy something pre-made because this has so much more heart knowing it was made by my husband's hands.

The sink is cast iron, and a good size for filling buckets. 

I did mention that this is Tuffy's room, right? Well, here's my handsome greeter. He photo bombs all my photos nowadays.

I had to get a selfie with him yesterday. Some people have parrots on their shoulders, I have Tuffy.

Some of the little details, like coat hooks.

One of Cowboy's old blankets as an area rug. I'm going to dig out some more of his old blankets to use in front of the sink.

A photo looking out the large, round window, into the barn.

There's not a lot more to do. I contacted the photographer who captured the photos with Cowboy and me, and I asked her for the originals again. She offered to have a canvas made and color match it for me. It will be here next week. She's a friend of the family, so it will be good to see her again when she delivers it.

Also, my daughter-in-law is painting me a portrait of Cowboy in the snow. I'm looking very forward to that, too. 

My husband has started the outside planter boxes--more on that soon.

Not much more for me to do other than just enjoy the sanctuary, Tuffy, company of loved ones, and the joy of visiting our horses in the snow.