Thursday, May 31, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - Week 15: Countdown

This week has been tough. I've been counting down the days until I take the horses to the trainer, who will later sell them for me. I talked about my decision to sell them on this post. The time marches inexorably closer. As I do something with the horses, I find myself thinking, "I will only be able to do this 5  4 more times." The numbers tick closer to 0. It makes me sad. Tears well up in my eyes.  But I know that this is the right thing to do. The horses need more than I can give them. They are young. They want to work. In gardening, it's important to pick the right plant for the right place. I realize this is true with horses, too. These aren't the right horses for me. They aren't in the right place. Some day I will find the right horse!

So, enough of this sadness. Let's get hopping!

Welcome to the Blog Hop. 
I hope you can join in the fun.

In case you are new... or as a reminder:

Each week I post at least one prompt.
Respond as you wish on your blog or in a comment.
Or, just link your blog to mine if you
care to share something else about yourself.

The part I like most is having blog hoppers
complete their blog posts (or comments) 
by asking a question of us.

I am really enjoying answering your questions,
and look forward to seeing other responses, too.
I think it's a great way to have a conversation of sorts!

Link your post to the Hobby Horse Blog Hop
by using the Linky Tool below.
Click where indicated, just after it says
"You are next...."
Leave a comment with your thoughts 
on my blog, down below.

Visit other participating blogs on the list
and respond to their questions in your comments on their pages.

Hobby Horse Blog Hop Prompts - Week 15:

1. Tell us about something you experienced which began with a countdown.

2. Count....  What counts for you?  Or what do you count?

3. Down.... What is a downer for you and what strategies do you use to overcome a depressing situation?

My answers:

1. We went to a Space Shuttle launch in 1994. My son's teacher's brother was the Commander of the flight. I wasn't prepared to be excited by this. However, when the earth shook under our feet, and then the sound rumbled over us, I was in awe. This was one of the most amazing countdowns I've ever experienced! 

2. Who wrote this question? This is too hard! I'll skip the first, and move on to the second. My kids and I used to count in the car. We'd try to guess how far we'd have to count before we made it home, or to school, or to a friend's house. We also practiced 'skip counting'. One of us would choose a beginning number, one would suggest the 'skip' interval and the last would decide whether we would add or subtract. For example, we might begin at 93, count at intervals of 7, and subtract. Then, we'd take turns naming the next number in the sequence: 93, 86, 79.... and so forth. Both of my boys are excellent in Math. I suspect that this type of activity gave them a head start!

3. Downers for me include grumpy people, rainy days, sad stories and seeing, or even hearing about, abused animals. It helps me feel better if I can confront the situation. If I can't, being active distracts me from the depressing situation. I think that's why I enjoy crafts. 

Now it's your turn. Respond to the questions on your blog, or in the comments. Don't forget to ask us a question!

Arrrggghhhhh! Bleeech!

Have you noticed? Have you seen the latest and greatest Word Verification?
It seems that two letter sequences with fairly recognizable letters were not good confusing enough.
Now we're back to the unintelligible captcha on a two-tone back ground AND a picture of a number, or letter or something that is supposed to be a number or letter.
I can't stand it!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Full Circle With Friends

I have two three new friends and followers. One is Nancy. Nancy writes A Rural Journal. We met through Leontien. Leontien includes us in her circle of friends and the circle has come around and connected Nancy to me.  Nancy lives in an old farmhouse on 80 acres in eastern Nebraska. She enjoys taking pictures and writing about them on her blog. Nancy's sense of humor comes through her writing - I love it!

Brenda is my newest follower, but a friend of old. Many years ago I was a new mom and needed day care for my infant son. I wanted CS to receive loving care in a home without a ton of other kids around. I found Brenda. Brenda had her own baby who was a few months younger than mine. Brenda wanted to stay home for a while and take care of one other infant. It was a match made in heaven! We went our separate ways and haven't seen each other in years, but she's recently reconnected with me through Facebook and then through our blogs. Brenda, like me, enjoys making cards and scrapbooking! Brenda's blog is 2 Peas in a Pod.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and becoming followers. It is great to have folks read about my adventures.

Not so fast!!! Dreaming has another follower!

Janice just clicked the "Follow" button. She writes a blog called, Janice's Footsteps. Janice and I participate in Everyday Rurality's Chats on the Farmhouse Porch blog hop. Janice began her blog to motivate her to write every day.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch: Maestro

It's hard to believe that June is almost here. Where does the time go?

I'm linking up with Patrice at Everyday Rurality for her Chats on the Farmhouse Porch. Care to join me? Patrice asks us five questions. My responses are written below. You can join the chat by linking to Everyday Rurality, or simply by commenting on my post.

Patrice asks:

1. Do you have any musical instruments in your house? If so, which ones do you have?
We have a number of violins and a viola. My youngest wrote Santa, two days before Christmas, saying he wanted a violin. Santa left him a note that children only got violins once they had lessons. So, over the next year(s) I took our sweet boy to weekly lessons.

Our Little Maestro

At the first lesson the instructor handed a violin to me, as well as one to our boy. She explained that kids get more out of lessons if Mom or Dad get involved as well. So.... I learned to play and went on to sit in the Youth Orchestra as an "Angel" for a few years. (I always told the director that I didn't really sound like an Angel, but she loved having adults who could at least follow the music, and tap off-task children with the tip of a bow now and then!) Son went on to play the viola. We also have an antique flute and a bugle somewhere. Oh, and a few recorders from when I was a kid - they are truly antiques now!

2. When you take a walk, what are you likely to pick or pick up from the ground?
I am a trash picker-upper, especially if that trash might be hurtful to animals coming that way. I often have bits of wire, pop-tops, nails, shards of glass or any number of items in my pockets.... and then have to remember to empty them before my pants go in the wash! 

3. They say to have breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. Are your meals like that?
Nope. Sadly, my body is like that of a Haflinger. I'm an easy keeper and tend towards chubbiness. I usually eat a small breakfast; sometimes an egg, sometimes 1/2 cup of granola cereal. I often have a sandwich for lunch. Dinner is pretty basic; meat, vege and more recently fruit instead of pasta or potato.

4. Do you prefer iced coffee or iced tea?
Uh, wine? Oh...wait, I can answer this! I recently acquired a taste for iced coffee. I like that as a pick-me-up on a sunny, summer afternoon!

5. How do you handle doing things you'd rather not do?
I'm with Patrice on this...procrastination is a good thing. For me, I use that  time to plan and think about how to tackle the big job. Many times the project will weigh heavy on my mind.  I'll wake at night and think about it. I may even get up and jot down some notes. Then... once that is off my mind, I'll fall back asleep and wake in the morning, ready to get going. Then it is full steam ahead!

Click on the image below to see other responses to the chat.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Horses With People Problems

OK, so now I'm through with handling sheep. I've hosed my shoes down to get rid of the odiferous clumps of 'stuff' caught in the treads. It's time to move on...or maybe, it's time to look back; I have a final Buck Brannaman post to share with you. There isn't much I didn't love about Buck. I loved his smile. I loved how humble he was. I loved his wry humor. I loved his calm assuredness around horses. I loved his direct approach with people - however, I might not love it so much if I were on the receiving end!

Buck claims he doesn't work with people who have horse problems, he works with horses who have people problems. Throughout the movie and the demonstration he pointed out examples of this.

During the demo, within seconds of his work with the gray Mustang he pointed out that the mare was 'bracey' on her left side. Even though she hadn't been ridden, the mare had been handled quite a bit, and we humans tend to work on the horse's left side. He stated that horses "are keen on figuring out if they can make you move your feet." So this sweet little gray mare had learned to be pushy and to move into people, even Buck on his huge horse, to see if she could take control of the situation. As she hadn't been handled as much from the right side, she hadn't acquired this habit on that side, and was much softer and much more willing to yield.

The paint horse that Buck worked with was a green 4-year old. His owner explained that she had done a lot of ground work with the horse and had begun to ride him. She'd ridden in the arena and had also gone out on the trail a few times. Buck spent a lot of time desensitizing the horse to the rope. The horse absolutely hated being confined by it. She put on quite a show, and Buck, in his droll manner commented, "I'd like to see a little better response to a rope than that!"

Buck explained that using a rope around the neck with the hondo and knots he uses is far safer than having a horse in a halter. Once the horse gave in to the rope around his neck, Buck made him move his feet. He began to allow the rope to touch the horse on his back, sides and around his legs. The first time the rope touched his legs, the horse kicked out violently. "I'm not crazy about that immediate response, wanting to  kick," Buck commented. He went on to suggest he wouldn't particularly care to be on the horse and fall, getting hung up in the stirrup, and having his head 'back there' where the horse was kicking the heck out of the rope!

As Buck continued to work with the paint, he settled a bit and would turn in towards Buck. Buck spoke the horse's mind, "all I gotta do is turn and look at ya and that makes everybody happy." Buck went on to say, "Uh , not so much, me.  I need you to move your feet." The horse began to trot around the arena quite happily. However Buck noticed that he had 'tuned out'. He asked the owner if she had done 'some' lunge work with the horse, knowing the answer before it was given! Apparently Buck recognizes that lunging can be unproductive and he abhors lunge lines. He commented that, "some people are scared of ropes, but they should be terrified of lunge lines." He explained that ropes (as in lassos) can be organized quickly and easily, but the web lunge lines that most of us use can get tangled, are often looped up in our hands and make it too easy for us to get hung up in them. He made some sort of comment about hating to see us being dragged by a foot or hand around the arena or across the field! Two things that Buck noticed, the horse turning in and the horse mindlessly trotting around the circle are people problems. The behaviors aren't constructive. I do lunge my horses, and I've begun long lining them, as well. I need to look into this a bit more to make sure I'm not doing something that is unproductive, or worse, counterproductive.

When Buck began working with the gray Mustang, she was reluctant to move her feet. Out of fear or perhaps just because she wasn't quite sure what to do, she froze. As he began to push her to move, Buck explained that "the horse has to learn to move his feet without being in trouble. A lot of times they'll move but they'll move through escape, through self preservation. Then if a person doesn't know the difference,  if they don't notice, they get on and then they're a little disappointed in themselves that they got on and wish to heck they hadn't." (Another example of Buck's brand of humor!) But, there's moving... and then there is moving out of panic. Shortly after Isaac mounted the Mustang Buck had him moving around. The first time she trotted, the gray became concerned and started to canter. You could see she was about to buck. She was about to lose control. Buck spoke quickly to Isaac, almost harshly, telling him to pet her. Buck was so quick to avert disaster and a bad beginning for the mare. This may have been where he told him to, "rub bald spots on her." It was amazing to watch, but the gray calmed down and came out of panic mode.

Sunday, May 27, 2012


Somehow my Hubby and I volunteered
to help at a sheep dog trial this weekend. 
Yesterday was all about the sheep:

 150 of them.... give or take a few!
This herd lives in the mountains near Steamboat Springs.
They are basically wild, only handled for shearing
and annual veterinary care.

 The sheep were penned in a large round pen.
Neither of us have ever handled sheep. We learned a lot!
We learned to slowly move the sheep so we could
gather some sheep in a smaller holding area.

From there, we learned to move
four sheep into each of two chutes.

 This group of four are on deck for being moved to
the 'exhaust pen' by a sheep dog. 

Lexie waits for the sheep to be released so she can help move them.
Lexie isn't 'on trial'. 
She's just helping to get the sheep 
in the right location and keep them there
until the dog on trial comes to pick them up.

The sheep bound out of the gate.
Sometimes they would leap over imaginary obstacles!
That always made me laugh!

  Two fellas on horseback, 
and Lexie,
slowly move each group to an area 
where the sheep dog will be sent 
by the handler to bring them in.

At the end of the day the sheep that
weren't used in the trial exit the pen.
They'll be able to graze in the pasture until they
are taken in for the night.
They'll be moved back out for some grazing in the morning 
before they go to work for the sheep dog trials.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Driven by the Slave Driver

I first met the "Slave Driver" several years ago. I met her in Blogland, and began following her blog, Confessions of a Slave Driver. Slave Driver has many interesting sides to herself, one of which is being a carriage driver in Salt Lake City. During our recent trip, when I posted something about Park City, Slave Driver left me a wonderful comment with all kinds of suggestions for things to do and see. She also explained that she'd be working "at the south gate". She meant that she would be among the carriage drivers who park at the south side of Temple Square. How cool is that? Hubby and I had already planned to visit the Family History Library, which is right there, so we could arrange to be at the south gate.... and we were!

The weather was supposed to be rainy, windy and cold. But, somehow, the "Slave Driver" has connections. The clouds parted. The sun came out and we had a delightful carriage ride around Temple Square.

In this picture "Slave Driver" is filling us in on some interesting tidbit about the area, while she drives Charlie maneuvers through traffic all on his own!

Here is a rare sighting of Dreaming with Charlie and Slave Driver.

Slave Driver is an author. Dreaming has read her Kindle edition of  "Splitting the Difference",  a delightful love story. If you love horses, and love romance, you'll love this sweet story. 

While we visited with her, Slave Driver, aka Lisa Deon, proudly showed me a copy of "The Carriage Trade". This full-length novel is soon to be released. Lisa has not only written the novel (and more of this will be shared in a later post) but she did the art work for the cover. Look for this soon:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - Week 14: Play Day

In every real man a child is hidden that wants to play. 
- Friedrich Nietzsche

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.

“Play is the only way the highest intelligence of humankind can unfold.”
- Joseph Clinton Pearce

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.”
- George Bernard Shaw

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” 
Old Proverb

Hay, there! We'd like to come out and eat play.

So, let's play on....

Welcome to the Blog Hop. 
I hope you can join in the fun.

In case you are new... or as a reminder:

Each week I post at least one prompt.
Respond as you wish on your blog or in a comment.
Or, just link your blog to mine if you
care to share something else about yourself.

The part I like most is having blog hoppers
complete their blog posts (or comments) 
by asking a question of us.

I am really enjoying answering your questions,
and look forward to seeing other responses, too.
I think it's a great way to have a conversation of sorts!

Link your post to the Hobby Horse Blog Hop
by using the Linky Tool below.
Click where indicated, just after it says
"You are next...."
Leave a comment with your thoughts 
on my blog, down below.

Visit other participating blogs on the list
and respond to their questions in your comments on their pages.

Hobby Horse Blog Hop Prompts - Week 14:

1. Imagine that you are once again 8 years old. You have just received the best present, ever. (Ponies and pets are not included on the gift list!) What is it?

2. What kinds of toys do your animals enjoy playing with?

3. I know you have seen some sort of recreational activity on TV, or in real life, that you would just love to try. What is it?

Here are my answers:


2. You may remember that Tucker has a favorite un-stuffed animal. He does have some that are still 3-D, and a few latex squeaky toys. Here are pig.2 and duck.2. The original models lasted well over 6 months. For some reason he keeps these more or less in tact.

The horses have had a Jolly Ball. It has seen better days. But, since their paddock is on a hill and I have to retrieve this one from the neighbor's pasture on the downhill slope at least every other day, a new, round ball would be much more of a problem.

3. I want to try kite skiing, whether on water or on snow. Of course, I want to magically have the muscles and energy that I'd need to do this sport, so I could actually handle it and enjoy it! 

Link your blog to mine by clicking where it says, "Click here to enter", or scroll below that to leave your responses in the comment area.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Tucker Talks: Hu-man-iliation

Today started just like any other day. 
Then it got better...

Then it got worse.
Way worse!

How hu-man-iliating!
Just wait 'til you hear read about it!

So, after helping my Mom feed the horses 
she took off for her volunteer stuff.
That left me alone with Dad. 
After a bit he took me out to the car.
Yippee! A ride. 
I love to go for rides in the car.
Rides in the car make me happy!

Then my Dad took me to some strange place.
He left me there.
Do you believe that? 
How awful.
There were a few other dogs there.
There were strange people there.
I had never, ever, been there before.
They said it was a dog groomer's place.
Grooms go with brides. 
I was kinda nervous and excited.
Was I gonna get a bride,
A really good friend to play with?

One of the people persons started to brush me.
That wasn't fun... but it was OK.
Then they put water and soap on me.
I have NEVER had water and soap put on me.
Water, yes.
Soap, no!
PU.... that stuff stinks!
They dried me.
They cut my toe nails.
They used clippers.
They touched me in places that people ought not to touch dogs!
The indignity of it all.

Finally, my dad came and rescued me.
He said he was thrilled by the change.


What do you think?



Oh, it is so hu-man-iliating!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch

Hooray! We were invited to Patrice's to have a Chat on her Farmhouse Porch. Last week I thought I may have done something wrong and that Patrice didn't want me to come chat, but then, Wendell came by to let us know she wasn't feeling up to it.

Thanks for letting us know, Wendell.
I'm glad she's feeling better!

So, on with the chat. This week Patrice asks us:

1. What are you doing over Memorial Day Weekend?
Hubby and I are volunteering at a sheepdog trial. It will be fun to watch the dogs working sheep. Then we can dream... one day, maybe Tucker will be doing that!

2. What's the last 'old movie' you saw?
Well, we saw "Buck" last week. It's been just over a year since that movie came out. Does that count as "old"? Oh... older? Well, I guess I'd have to say "Pretty Woman". They've been showing it on TV a lot.

3. What color are the walls in your living room.

Can you tell from the picture?

A lot of folks might say the walls are 'boring beige', but I love the color. It changes with the light. At some times the walls are a warm, light brown, at other times they look almost white.

4. What's your favorite food to cook on the grill?
I love cooking beer-can-in-the-butt chicken. I have a special holder that holds the can and keeps the chicken from toppling over. It smells great while it is cooking and it is always moist and tender.
However, my favorite food to eat that's been cooked on the grill is a good hamburger!

5. What's your favorite animal?
That's a tough one. I love all animals. I especially love baby animals - they will always evoke an 'awww' from me!

Visit Everyday Rurality for more responses to the chat.
You can also respond to Patrice's questions as a comment on my blogl
I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Man of....

Did you finish the title in your mind?

Man of the house?
Man of distinction?
Man of the hour?
Man o' War?

How about
Man of La Mancha?

In high school I had the opportunity to see 
The Man of La Mancha off Broadway.
I loved it.
I loved the story.
I loved the music.
To this day you can sometimes hear me singing tunes from the show.

My BFF and I once entered a dress-up class as 
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza.
We sang "The Man of La Mancha" duet 
as we walked and trotted around the arena.

Seeing this picture...

Buck, sitting tall on his big, stately steed
Isaac on the little gray Mustang

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Moving Day

I subscribe to the 'purchase, plunk and plant' method of gardening. 
Sometimes the results are less than what I dreamed of!

Last year I started seeds indoors, 
but when it came time to plant the little seedlings
I had lost many of the name markers. 
That added a bit more of a gamble to my garden.

One plant, in particular, was making me go crazy.
I think it is a 'Butterfly Blue Delphinium"
or maybe it is a wild blue Flax. 
Either way, it grows too big and bushy.
It was planted in the wrong place,
and it has been taking over.

Time for a change!

See the blue fluff taking over the upper part of this garden?

 It's going to move here.... as soon as I can get rid of the weeds!
I've been working on it:
Look, look. See the weeds.
See the pile of weeds on the sidewalk.
See the weeds in the black pot.
Dreaming has been pulling weeds!

 Out with the old!
It's moving day!

 Planted in their new homes.
From a distance (and in the photo)
this area doesn't look much different than it did with the weeds,
but, trust me, it is much nicer looking now.

There are holes in my garden, 
dear reader, 
dear reader...

With what shall I fill them?

This is only the tip of the ice berg!

Time to go plunk and plant!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Smokey the Bear

I watched the helicopters fly over the mountains earlier in the day. I knew that foresters in the copters were pulling levers to drop small incendiary devices every 20 feet or so. Each fire smolders, then meets with the others, and then they are all naturally extinguished. 

Observing the fires, I knew people would be concerned that the Forest Service was purposely setting fires in the mountains. ‘Smoky the Bear’ has done his job, but people need to be reeducated about new practices. Series of small fires will clear the underbrush and eliminate the threat of a huge forest fire. 

Saturday Centus

This week Jenny provided the picture and suggested that we use 100 words to address this image. Click on the Saturday Centus button above to visit other responses.

This is fiction. However it is based on a real-life experience I had many years ago. A friend of mine was a forester and he would occasionally be required to sit in a helicopter and drop ping-pong balls that had been injected with a catalyst that would cause them to burst into flame. In order to prevent large forest fires, the forest service would use the ping-pong balls to set numerous small fires in a controlled burn. Sadly, even the controlled burns can get out of control, as evidenced by the North Fork fire in Colorado that burned over 4000 acres. That fire had been extinguished, but a hot spot was fanned into flames by high winds several days after the burn. The Governor declared that there would be no more controlled burning. Sigh. Yes, that might eliminate the chance of another fire of this sort, but when a fire does begin in the future, how much worse will it be?!

Friday, May 18, 2012

A Good Deal

"You know, a horse can feel a mosquito land on their butt in a windstorm," Buck Brannaman tells viewers in the movie, "Buck".  And, if you've ever watched a horse with flies, even the smallest ones, you know this is true!

Because of this, it should take very little from us to tell our horses what we would like them to do. Buck told us that we should offer our horses a 'good deal'. If they don't respond, then we can increase the pressure. The next time we ask, the horse may opt to take the good deal.

Buck placed the flag near the Mustang's face as a 'good deal'.
When she didn't turn he vigorously flapped the flag at the Mustang. 

During the demonstration Buck told Isaac to ask the gray Mustang to go forward, very gently. When the mustang didn't respond to a light touch of the legs, Buck commanded Isaac to bump the horse with his legs a little harder. He was very clear that the bump had to be timed correctly. He suggested that we ask our horses to do something, and wait only 1 to 1 1/2 seconds before we up the ante. Timing is everything.

As Isaac rode the Mustang, she stopped near the gate to the round pen. Buck was quick to tell Isaac to get her to move on and to not let her stop there.

At Buck's urging, Isaac asks the Mustang to move on.
He bumps his legs on her side with increasing pressure.

Buck explained that the mare's stopping at that point was purposeful on her part. She knows good and well where the exit is... and wants to take charge, telling you she wants to leave.  Buck went on to tell the audience that if you, as the rider, "aren't aware of a gate soured mess, you will go on to work on a barn soured mess. And if you aren't aware of that, you can work up to your horse being herd bound."

Buck also explained that horses are so smart that it only takes 2 or 3 rides before the sloppy rider has made the horse dull.  Buck suggests that you, "do so little that you think it won't work as the 'good deal'. When it works, and you are consistent, then offer even less."

What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....