Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Centus: The View From Below

It is Saturday, and you know what that means?! It's time for Saturday Centus. Jenny gives us a prompt. This week it's a picture. We are to write, in any style, using only 100 words. My effort is based on real life. I actually went climbing last fall. I do want to get back to it.... but, well, I think you'll understand when you read my response - maybe!

I see London
I see France
I see Dreaming’s
I try to tell myself the only thing that keeps me from the climbing wall is my body image. What does one see when someone is dangling aloft?
Have you seen the harness a climber wears? Better yet, have you tried one on? It fits snuggly around one’s legs - at their widest point. In the shape I’m in, those straps dig in to the fat that has formed at the top of my thighs and my body bulges over the straps, engulfing them. It’s not a pretty picture! Trust me!

Click on the image below to read more responses to Jenny's challenge:

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Six Months in the Making

Kim, author of Life in Little Red Farmhouse, blogged about making cute soap dispensers in January. I wanted a pretty dispenser for our dish detergent. But, I didn't want to use a mason jar. I wasn't sure just what I wanted, so I began keeping my eye open for a cute container. I kept my eye out for possibilities at thrift shops and gift shops and then, suddenly it hit me. An olive oil bottle would be perfect!

There are lots of olive oil bottles; Fat ones. Skinny ones. Tall ones and short ones.  I picked one that has eight sides and then brought my treasure home. The only problem being that I don't use that much olive oil... so it took months! When I finally emptied my bottle I sprayed it with numerous coats of clear finish, in an effort to keep the label from getting wet and peeling off. I took the pump from a hand soap container and a longer plastic pick up tube from another pump bottle and put them together. I cut the plastic screwtop off of the pump.
I took the plastic out of the cap of my olive oil bottle and cut out the middle, leaving a ring I could put back in the cap, like a gasket for a hose. I tapped a small hole in the center of the cap with a nail, and used various tools in ways they weren't intended to be used, to widen the hole and make it the exact size of the pump housing. The cap of this olive oil was made of aluminum and it was quite easy to widen the hole to the appropriate size. I pushed the pump into the cap and put a small amount of hobby glue around the edges on the inside. If this fails to work, I'll get out the hot glue gun... which is hiding somewhere in our basement. 

And so, ta-daaa, after six months, my project is complete! 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tucker Talks: Kamp Kristine

Hello Mudder - Hello Fadder,
Here I am at - Kamp Kristine.
Kamp is great fun - I get to play.
I hope that mom and dad decide to stay away.

I chewed on Penny's neck - she chewed on mine.
That's OK - I don't mind.
We're having lots of fun - I love playing,
I hope wherever mom and dad are, they are staying.

Penny's pretty - she's an Aussie.
She has a stub of a tail - just like me.
We're a lot alike - we both run and whirl,
It's OK to play with Penny, even though she is a girl.

This is Taylor - he's a terrier.
I think he looks - quite un-merrier!
He watches us play - but he doesn't stir,
I get the idea he would bite me if I hurt her.

Day is done - gone the sun.
Our day was full - we had fun.
Now we're tired - time for rest,
I think Kamp Kristine is the very best!

(Pictures provided by Kristine - dog sitter extraordinaire!)

Fire Update
It seems that things in Colorado couldn't get much worse. It is hard to believe that fires are so close to populated areas. The Waldo Canyon fire (this is the one that is threatening Colorado Springs) is about 35 miles from my home. That's good news. But, the bad news is that it jumped a fire break and has moved into some neighborhoods just north and west of  the Garden of the Gods on the west side of I-25. I have heard that there have been some thunderstorms. Although this brings possible relief in the way of rain, it also brings the threat of lightning, as well as wind gusts. The latest I have on the Flagstaff Fire near Boulder is that firefighters have been able to hold the line and keep the fire from advancing towards homes.  The Estes Park fire is contained. The High Park fire continues to burn. It is 65% contained. This fire has burned close to 260 homes, but is further from towns and cities than the Waldo Canyon fire. 

I couldn't confirm where this picture was taken.
The caption said that horses were released because
owners were not at home. 

Mountain Shadows Subdivision
Near Colorado Springs
West of I-25

This was taken on 6/26/12 
from the parking lot at 
Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Rain, Rain...Go to Colorado!

Update on my previous post, "Oh, the places I'll go"...

You guys are too smart,
You know where I'm at.
With Tropical Storm Debby
I'll need a rain hat!
Lucky for us 
it's not about Disney.
We came to celebrate a birthday,
not necessarily to see Mickey.
Shhh! Don't tell hubby's mother,
part of the surprise
is her grandboys are coming!
She won't believe her eyes!
So, we'll have some time to visit
and enjoy one another.
We'll try to stay dry
and enjoy being with Mother!
She’s a remarkable woman,
she’ll be 90 years young,
but she’ll be the first one to tell you
She’s only eighty-one!

Here I sit, listening to the rain fall. It's been raining almost 24/7 since we arrived, and will continue to do so. I've heard that the Jacksonville area, where we are staying now, has had over 12"of rain. Tropical Storm Debby is stalled in the Gulf and is inching her way toward us, swirling moist air our way. Why, oh why, couldn't that air be sent to Colorado, Utah and New Mexico, to name a few? At home we are experiencing triple digit temperatures and winds. What isn't already dried out is getting that way and our state is a tinderbox. At this point I've lost count of which fires are burning, which are contained, and what new fires have begun. I don't have the score card. I heard on CNN "almost half the airborne fire suppression in the country is in Colorado." Thousands have been evacuated from homes. Some have been allowed to return, but the fires are still burning and only the wind knows which way they will move. That is why I wish just some of this rain could somehow be transported to the west. I guess that's life, though, feast or famine; fires or floods!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Oh, The Places I'll Go

Oh, the places I'll go,
And the things that I'll see.
I'm no longer at home
Can you guess where I be?

Here are some pictures,
That might be a clue.
Two pictures tell a story,
Perhaps they'll help you.

If the pictures don't help you,
And you haven't got it yet,
It might help you to know
That Debby is getting us wet.

Because I'm away
And the Internet is quite bad,
I may not see your posts,
It will make me quite sad.

But when I return,
After having some fun,
I'll catch up with you, friends,
To see what you've done!

So, now that I'm finished,
Do you know where Dreaming went?
Did you put the pieces together?
Leave a guess in your comment!

Little Field of Horrors


Don't eat the Geranium!

Be careful little Geranium.


The Geranium flowers leaned as far from the 
threatening mouths of the plant as they could,
given the confines of their pot.

Today I was out in the pasture by 8:30.... before breakfast... before it got too hot. I was equipped with clippers (which I lost in the pasture at one point), a big black pot and a sprayer of Round-Up. I was snipping flower heads off the thistles and spraying the plants. We are slowly making headway against the thistle problem in our yard and pasture.

I came across a thistle-like plant, but the flower buds (in picture above) were very different. They had a spiny covering and four or five pointed spines. The buds, all by themselves, looked sinister. They looked like they had gaping jaws.

When I cut the tops of the stem, removing the flower buds, the plant 'bled' tempera paint yellow! The yellow in the picture below is not a flower, it's the sap of the plant! It welled up, just like blood would behave if you were cut. It even ran down the stems. "Little Shop of Horrors" immediately came to mind!

I love the Internet. A search for "thistle plant yellow sap" yielded my answer. I discovered that this is Mexican Prickly Poppy (Argemone mexicans). It is also known as goatweed, Mexican thistle and yellow thistle. The flowers are quite pretty. But, I don't think Ill be cutting a bouquet of them anytime soon!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Saturday Centus: Techno-Machination

It's Saturday! Do you know what that means? OK, yeah, for most of you it means, "play day." But for me, it's Jenny Matlock's Saturday Centus. That means it's time to put my brain in gear and respond to her prompt, and only use 100 words with that prompt. That's quite a challenge! So, what did Jenny throw at us this week? We must put together some sort of writing and include the phrase: "it's an amusing little whine" and yes, the misspelling is purposeful. So...where will I go with that?!

I am a victim of techno-machination. Spell check and auto-correct hijacked my words; they were twisted, turned and spit back out. What is my computer thinking? When will they develop software that’s not so stupid? Why does this happen to me? What next?
The copy I sent the editor should have read:
This wine delivers aromas of pain grille with jammy overtones and finishes with zesty acidity. It’s an amazing little wine!
Instead, I pick up the magazine to read my wine review: 
This wine delivers aromas of pained girl in pajamas overdone and finished with testy acidity. It’s an amusing little whine!

How would you have responded to this one?
To read more responses to Jenny's Saturday Centus, 
click on the image below. 

Jenny Matlock

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hobby Horse Blog Hop - Week 18: ...and the living is easy

It was 99 degrees here earlier this week. That's hot! Summer is here. Summer is magical. I guess it's a holdover from when we were kids and had summer vacations. I was a teacher, so people thought I had a vacation, but in reality I was either taking courses in college to keep my certification, or I was working (or doing both) since a teacher's salary was really never enough.

Let's find out more about each other in the Blog Hop. 
I hope you can join in!

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

Each week I'll post two or three prompts. 

Write about one or respond to all.
Or, just link your blog to mine if you
care to share something else about yourself.

Most importantly,
complete your blog post (or comment) 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 the answer(s) to the
questions(s) 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 18:

1. When someone says, "summer," what pops into your mind?

2. It's hot - really hot. In what ways do you help your horses, or other animals, deal with the heat?

3. OK....if you are old enough - what's something you recall from the summer of '69? If you are too young, what title would you give your song? Why?

My Answers:

1. Summer: watermelon (even though I don't particularly care for it), corn on the cob, evenings spent running around our neighborhood, playing and catching lightning bugs. Summer camp and loons singing us to sleep with their eerie calls echoing off the hills.

2. Pippin and Doc always had access to shade, but they rarely took advantage of it. Their stalls had 'flow through ventilation' so there would usually be some movement of air. Sometimes I could catch them taking naps in their stalls because of that. Tucker keeps cool by digging in a hole in our lawn, under the shade of a tree. I replace the dirt and he digs it out, curling up in the nest he creates. I don't mind. I'd rather he cool off that way than finding a water source and then rolling in the dirt! Mama Boots is a cat. She does what cats do - she stretches out in the shade and goes into a cat-atonic state!

3. Recollections from the summer of '69: Graduation, Pony Club "A" test, Woodstock - I was supposed to go, but ended up on the west coast and didn't get back in time, preparing for college, work, packing (my parents were moving).

Now it's your turn! Respond to the questions. Ask your own question, and link up with the linky tool - or respond to one or more the prompts in a comment.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Evening What's It

What's it?







Have you figured it out?
Perhaps it would help if you know that I made it...
whatever it is.






Although it looks like marker,
that's not what I used.
Oh, and it isn't a face tipped awkwardly.
And, it's not a strawberry without the black dots.
I'm not much of an artist, 
but I could at least draw a face....or a strawberry.
... I think!






Here's a hint.
I'll add some more details
and make it a bit larger.

The green and red should provide another clue.

Now do you know what it is?
Have you figured it out?



Here's the answer:

This is the path I walked during a therapeutic riding class. 
It was actually a physical therapy session with a 6 year old child.
We started at the green point and walked around.
We did some large figure eights.
We did some 'crazy walking' with 
abrupt turns, stops and starts,
and we did some work down each of the long sides of the arena.
The only error in the map is that the red 'stop' sign 
should have been in the barn.
You can see the path we took to get there.
Once we were in the barn our rider dismounted,
said "Thank you" to the volunteers,
and patted the horse, "Good-bye".

Other details of this lesson include:

Duration: 44 minutes:16 seconds
Average Speed: 1.61 mph
Maximum Speed: 2.90 mph (we trotted a bit)
Calories Burned: 120

I have often tried to guess how many miles I walk in a therapeutic riding class. A few days ago I finally found my pedometer, but sadly, it no longer worked. I thought about getting a new one and then had an "Ah-hah" moment. I bet there's an app for this! I looked online and found a number of pedometers. I downloaded three apps to try, all free. The one I used for this map is called Dog Walk. This program keeps track of your walks with or without your dog. You can save the maps, share them with friends and compare them. Tucker has told me he'd like me to get a bit more serious about using it....with him!

Another app I decided to try is called Walk Star. It keeps track of your steps each day, encouraging you to walk a minimum of 10,000 steps. It also keeps track of the total distance you've walked, the calories you have burned and your speed. I've only used it a few times and I've never made it to 10,000 steps. Well, actually, I probably have taken that many steps, but I kept forgetting to leave my phone on, so during part of each day my steps weren't logged.

The last app is free pedometer marketed by Viaden. They have some free apps and others that you can purchase. I haven't tried using this app yet, but it seems to log the same things as the other programs and it graphs your speed. 

I really like the Dog Walk app. I can think of many uses. If I'm out trail riding, I could track my trail and find out the distance. It would also be interesting to clock the speed of a ride, especially if you are preparing for competition. 

Did you guess what my drawing was before I told you? 
If not, what did you think it might be?

Chats on the Farmhouse Porch: Anchors Aweigh

My mother worked to instill manners in her children. Was that the way you were brought up? She would make sure we introduced our friends before we got involved with something. So, I'd like to introduce you to two new followers before I get involved with Patrice's chat!

Janice writes Janice's Footsteps. Janice describes herself as a caregiver. First of foster children and now for the older generation. She also participates in Patrice's chats.

Denise writes a blog called Autumn Sky Ranch. She writes about this and that, and has beautiful photographs on her blog.
Patrice is having her back porch remade into a scullery kitchen, so we'll have to visit on the front porch.   Her description of the project brought back fond memories of visiting my grandmother and grandfather when I was a child. They had a butler's pantry. Their house was actually quite small, but the kitchen (and a maid's room) were at one end of the house. The kitchen connected to the butler's pantry which had cabinets galore, a beautiful old gas stove and an extra sink. There were doors from the pantry to the screened porch and the great room. I find it interesting that this house, built in the 50's had such an open design. My grandmother used to raise her bottle-fed lambs in the butler's pantry, since it had a linoleum floor and it wasn't the food preparation area.
Well, let's get chatting! You can join the chat by commenting, or by linking your blog to Patrice's site.

Everyday Ruralty
Patrice asks: 
1. Do you ever go on picnics? When was the last one? Do you go somewhere with benches and tables, or do you take your own blanket?
Geesh, I can't remember the last picnic I went on. I will have to say that my hubby's mom used to create the best picnic suppers, ever! We'd take the boys to a playground near her home, which had a small lake with a swimming area. She knew how to 'do' a picnic. She'd bring everything! Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, classy napkins, a three course meal and dessert!
My boys are playing at one of those picnics....
almost 20 years ago!
It's hard to believe that these kids are now young adults!

2. What's your favorite tropical fruit?
I like a lot of tropical fruits and I love a fruit salad with bits of everything. Perhaps the neatest thing for tropical fruit is our pineapple corer. I made a frowny face at hubby when he wanted to buy it... I mean, how hard is it to cut a pineapple? I have to admit I now love the corer. We can have a cut, chunked pineapple in less than 16 seconds (hubby timed the process one day)!

3. Wendell would like me to ask you if you've ever ridden a horse? Any pony rides as a child?
I think Wendell knows the answer to this one! However, what he may not know is that I didn't start riding until I was about 12. I had severe allergies to pollen, and my reaction to grass pollens was worse than others. So, I often spent hours cooped up in my bedroom, which had some sort of air purifier, playing with my plastic horses. I guess my mother finally caved into my whining about taking riding lessons, saying that I was old enough to suffer the consequences. So, I began taking lessons. To this day I believe that my weekly exposure to grass pollens helped me overcome that particular allergy - kinda like allergy shots! 

4. Describe the purse you are currently carrying. If you don't use a purse, what color is your wallet?
I like small purses. I don't particularly care for lugging around a 'suitcase' and not being able to find something. Then again, since all I carry is a small wallet, keys, a few receipts and chap stick... I'd have to invent other things to carry if I had a large bag. Here is my purse of the moment. I found it at a cute boutique near my son's college. I fell in love with the soft, supple leather and its egg plant color!

5. Please tell me the last funny thing that you just recently remembered. This can be something funny that happened to you in the past, or just something funny that you remember.
Dad and I were reminiscing. I recalled the time he tripped over a cleat on the dock, while carrying a box of assorted objects to his boat. He actually dislocated his shoulder trying to grab a line going from the boat to the cleat on his way in the 'drink' - that part wasn't too funny. However, he one-upped me by reminding me of the time he was setting the anchor after a boat race. To optimize weight distribution Dad would store the anchor in the center of the boat, as low as he could put it... so it was in the 'hall' just outside the head (bathroom), which created its own set of problems. So, upon arriving at the destination Dad would lug the anchor up the companionway and make his way forward on deck, clutching the anchor and all of its line against his chest. With Dad's penchant for tripping, is it any wonder that he tripped and fell overboard? Dad didn't come up. My mother was frantic. She was sure he was caught in the anchor rope or had sustained a head injury and had drowned. But moments later, which at the time seemed like hours, there was Dad, trying to get back on board. It seems that he was under water so long because he wanted to find the end of the anchor rope and bring it up with him. There was no way he was going to lose a perfectly good anchor and its line!
Dad at the helm @ 1970

Its been fun chatting, and I'm a bit late in getting this posted. I put up a post about Donkey Roping yesterday and wanted to leave that up for a bit so more folks could become informed. There is a rodeo in Van Horn, TX this weekend and a group of folks were trying to get them to stop the donkey roping competition. It worked! Enough pressure was put on the organizers of the event that they cancelled this particular competition. However, it will come up again. Until anti-cruelty laws are enforced, donkeys will continue to be subjected to this sort of cruelty. If you haven't read my post, go back and take a gander. Thanks!

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Donkey Saves the Day

A donkey named Ellie apparently led her herd of four draft horses and another donkey to a lush green meadow in an effort to stay safe from the High Park fire in Colorado. When help arrived, the donkey, with singed whiskers, walked up to the rescuer and put her head into the man's chest. 

Are you saying, "Awwwww...." with me?   
(Click here for the article.)

Ellie gets treated by Colorado State
veterinary students

This is just one example of why so many people who know and love donkeys are trying to stop the practice of donkey roping. Donkeys are highly intelligent, sensitive animals. Being shocked with electric prods, chased by cowboys on horses, roped head and heels and brought down, is cruel. The body structure of a donkey is different from that of a cow,  so donkeys can more easily suffer physical harm, as well as the emotional trauma.

A number of bloggers...
and friends of bloggers... 
and friends of friends...
and friends of donkeys...
are making a plea to end this practice.  Most recently, folks have been contacting the promoter* of the Van Horn (Texas) Frontier Days Trailer Roping to have him cancel the donkey roping competition scheduled for this coming Saturday. Other folks have been writing polite, educational emails to the City Council**, which meets this evening. 

I have been following Morning Bray Farm's blog for a few years. Morning Bray Farm adopted rescued Patrick last year. He was used for roping. You can read Patrick's story here. Patrick recently sent a message to the folks organizing the roping event.  

What are your feelings about this type of event? It's something I had never heard of before I 'met' Patrick. It's probably something I would have considered as accepted practice. I mean, they rope calves, don't they? But then I learned more about donkeys. I believe that education is the key. 

We recently went to the open house of the Dumb Friends Animal League Harmony Equine Center. Terry, at Moondance Ranch, put up an excellent post about it here. The equine center takes custody of abused animals that have been removed from their homes as a result of legal proceedings. We learned from a criminal investigator with the SPCA that the majority of abuse cases he sees are a result of ignorance on the part of the owners. In fact, 90% of the equines that come into custody are returned after a period of owner education. That seemed like a lot huge to me!

Considering those statistics, I began to wonder how many rodeo promoters are educated about the effects of donkey roping? What about the cowboys who rope them? How many audience members recognize this as cruelty? My guess is, that like the horse owners mentioned above, the majority just don't really know. The pressure from those who understand donkeys has resulted in the publication of educational pieces. Here is an excellent article that explains why the practice of donkey roping is abhorrent.

And you? I'm hoping that, like me, now you know! If you have it in your heart, let other people become informed, too. Share this information with your friends. Let others know how you feel. 

Today is a red letter day. I have heard that the donkey roping competition scheduled in Van Horn, Texas for this coming Saturday has been cancelled. The donkey lovers have won this battle, but the war wages on. Please continue to talk to your friends and let them know about this practice and the interest among so many in seeing all animals treated humanely. 

*Event promoter: Jason Owens,  432-940-9051 
**Email addresses for Van Horn City Council available on Facebook post:

Get down on your knees and....







I just can't figure how my horses can 
stretch their fat, little necks sooooo far!

No need to trim along their fence line!

Hubby told me that he misses 'the boys'.
I asked if he missed watching their antics in the paddock.
That wasn't it.
He misses their efforts to keep our yard mowed!

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....