Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rays of Golden Sun!

This just happened to catch my attention this morning as I was leaving for work. I was running late, as usual, but I absolutely could not pull out without atleast snapping a couple pictures. I really could have stayed out there for hours getting different angles and shots!

It was just a touch foggy and the sun was shining bright through the trees at the bottom of our property creating the rays. It was absolutely amazing!

Side note: This last picture is a bit of a preview of a future B&A. I'm posting it regardless because it's shadowy and dark and certainly not the focus. Can you guess which project it might be?

Monday, April 27, 2009

100, Reflection and an Award!

Well, this here post is number 100! I can't believe I've actually found enough to jabber about to fill up 100 posts! It's been quite a ride so far and I can't wait to see where else it will take me.

I have realized in doing this that I really like writing. That was quite a surprise to me! I never enjoyed it much in school or since then, but I'm really liking this blogging thang!

It's quite fascinating to me to know that people actually read what I write to! Crazy! I never expected many people to read my little ol' ramblings. I started with the idea of it being an easy, fun way to keep the extended fam and friends up to date on what I'm doing with my life. It became a fun outlet for me to post pictures, brag about my furry kids, have a bit of a riding journal and keep track of progress we've made on the house and property. I'm still stunned that a few people actually enjoy reading it!

Another thing that has amazed me is how fun the blogging world can be! It really is a small world, but there is always something new to discover as well. I've really enjoyed getting to know some of my new bloggie buddies by exchanging comments and reading thru their blogs. It's fascinating to see how much we all have in common as well as different/new ways to look at things.

So, thank you to everyone that reads my blog! It's fun having ya! I love getting comments and read every single one of 'em. I also have an email address, it's over on the right side bar. Feel free to drop me a note if you're so inclined!

Ok, enough of, onto the Award!

Paint Girl over at Adventures of the Painted Creek Farm gave me my very first award! :) It is the Attitude of Gratitude Award. Thanks Paint Girl! I've been loving hearing about the adventures in your neck of the woods! She's got a couple beatiful Paint mares and a couple crazy Aussies, along with a bunch of goats and kitties. I definately recommend hopping over to her blog for some good reads!

Rules of accepting and sharing this Award:

1. Put the logo on your blog or post.
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an Attitude of Gratitude.
3. Link to your nominees within your post.
4. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award.
5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for this award. Tell us how you've come to have an Attitude of Gratitude.

So let's see...

I think pretty much every one on my faves list has gotten it already so I'm going to break the rules just a bit and only pass it on to two people...

1. Jenny and MissFire

2. Juliane and Sangria

They are competing in the Extreme Mustang Makeover in just a few weeks and blogging about their crazy adventures with their mustangs.

Alrighty, that's all I got for tonight. Thanks Paint Girl for the award and thanks to everyone for hangin' out with me!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge - Inside A Barn

This was definately a fun challenge!

My barn isn't so much a barn yet as it is just a storage and hay shed. It's a work in progress! The front section of it houses our hay and some split wood along with the few horsie supplies that are handy to have close to the hitching post and aren't residing in the trailer. These are some shots I got in there.

This is the wall of split wood that is next to the hay.

And of course in every barn is a little bit of baling twine.

And hay hooks.

And a pitch fork and empty grain bag for a garbage can.

Then we have the halter rack.

And the fly spray, Micro-Tek spray, Horseshoer's Secret hoof goop, and a whole bunch of other crap piled on every inch of that shelf that didn't make the final edit.

That and the grain and supplement tubs are about all that is in the front room of the barn.

The bigger back part is going to be the actual barn part, if we ever get stalls in there. We've got big, big plans for it, some day. 4 stalls, wash rack, tack room...someday. This is pretty much what it looks like right now...

The wheel barrow with a flat tire is ours, along with the riding lawn mower we got for free and the quad that we lost the key for. The barn came with the roll of flooring, all that junk and a mini fridge, an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier/fax machine (assuming neither of those work), a tire and a bunch of other random crap that we've been meaning to take to the dump, but just haven't gotten to yet.

This was pretty much the only picture I came up with in that part of the barn that was worth posting. It was the sun shining in under and thru the sliding door. Someday it will be all beautified and horsie. Someday.

Mission Accomplished!

Warning: gloating, self-promoting and bragging may follow and for that I'm truly sorry, but I'm pretty darn proud of myself! I got my back bone back a heck of a lot quicker this time then I have before. I totally Cowgirled Up today!

Ok, so after all of that I probably don't have to actually point it out, but I accomplished my goal of not hitting the dirt today. Wohoo! Go me!

I was still pretty darn sore this morning when I woke up, but quite a bit better then Friday (aka: the day after I learned that I don't bounce). I couldn't lift a stapler with my right arm at work on Friday because I was so sore but I was feeling much better today and even managed to tack my horse up all by myself! Wohoo! Go me! (2)

We got to the arena with plenty of time to get warmed up and hang out before we went in, which was the idea.

We some how managed to get totally front row parking. Wohoo! Go us! (2-1/2)

While we were getting tacked up one of the cows somehow managed to sneak out of the cutting pen, make it thru a half arena full of "cowhorses", squeeze thru the bungeed shut gate and get out into the parking lot. It always cracks me up when cows get out and it's such a huge deal to get them rounded up when we are all there to, ya know, work cows. We blocked it from heading in the direction of the street and it ran off down the lane of turnout paddocks. Eventually someone got it rounded up and back to the holding pens. Our girls were watching the whole thing intently, eyes bugged, nostrils flared so I had to grab my camera. Plus I love any excuse to take a picture of my horse's ass and post it. Doesn't she have a great ass?!?

Anyways, where was I...oh yes...we got tacked up and the half of the indoor arena allotted to warming up seemed a little crowded so we opted to hit the outdoor one for a bit. While I was long trotting a lap to make sure she wasn't going to find anything that would give her an excuse to take off bucking, I was putting a little contact on the reins and thinking something didn't feel right. I looked down at her head and saw that I had apparently lost the chicago screw holding the headstall to my bit. Yikes! I totally had a panic moment of the "oh my god, it's an omen. I shouldn't be riding today. It's a bad sign. I should just stick her back in the trailer, wish the boyfriend luck and call it a day!" Then I laughed at myself, hopped off, unclipped my rein, put it around Midori's neck, walked back to the trailer and found myself another chicago screw. I always keep extras in the trailer cuz you just never know when you will loose one. So, wohoo! Go me! (3-1/2) For not giving in to the panic and just getting back on!

Midori was still a little jumpy and snorty getting warmed up, but nothing uncontrollable. I was having fun on her and while I still had the little nagging voice in the back of my head saying, she could buck! I knew she wouldn't and I trusted her. I do love my horse and I trust her to take care of me. I just have to think ahead and be sure to do what I need to do to keep us in good situations.

Eventually the rain caught up to us, Sugar left us and Midori was starting to get antsy to see her friend. I got a couple good laps out of her, made sure she knew who was in control and that she didn't need her girlfriend by her side in order to survive and then we headed to the indoor arena where it was a little drier. We loped for a good long time in there too and then went over to the rail to watch some of the action.

My practice run was just before my class and I was first in the draw for both. I hate going first! While I was sitting there watching the crazy cows running every where, plowing horses over, scrambling to the wall and getting away from the horse over and over again, I started going to bad places in my head. I started picturing me getting cows like that and Midori freaking out and dumping me. The panic started rising and I was getting nervous. I felt my whole back tense up and my breathing turn a bit quivery. My hands weren't so steady on the reins so I crossed my arms and buried them. I closed my eyes and just sat there, taking deep breaths and trying to be calm for my horse. She knows when I'm nervous.

I decided we needed to ride some more. That seemed to be the only thing that kept my mind out of bad places. There were so many people riding around in the small space that I had to keep my mind in the game otherwise we'd have a wreck on our hands. So we walked some and loped some and I just concentrated on my breathing and not running into anyone. It helped. It cleared my head and made me realize that today Midori was totally solid so I had nothing to worry about. And that was that. My demons were beat. That was the last of my panic for the day. Wohoo! Go me! (4-1/2)

Finally, we are on the last couple riders in the class before my practice run. I loped around a little bit and then I was up. I picked one of the more vocal and helpful herd holders to help me and explained to him that it was my first time coming out of the herd and I just wanted to basically practice going into and coming out of the herd, not so much working. I just wanted to calmly and quietly walk thru the cows. He understood and helped me get the rest of my crew (4 riders out there with you, two herd holders and two turnback riders) and we were off! The herd of cows that I had were pretty jumpy and scattered before I even got into them. I made a couple deep cuts, picked a cow, cut it out, split it off and then turned around to go make another cut. I had 3 minutes to practice and a couple times I brought a cow out that just begged to be worked. So I did! I did get a runner, but it never even crossed my mind to be scared. We were solid. Midori did awesome and though I probably looked like a total newbie out there just screwing around, I wasn't doing that practice run for the working practice. I wanted the time in the herd, to be one with the cows. lol So the practice run was a total success and I walked out grinning ear to ear and hugging Midori's neck. Wohoo! Go me! (5-1/2)

Then it was time for my class. I wasn't worried about it at all. I had just come out of the herd for the first time and I survived! One little cow wasn't anything to worry about! And they weren't! The first cow I got was slow. The turn back riders had to move in a bit to keep her moving, but we got some really nice work with her! I called time with a minute left and they got me another cow. This one came into the arena with tail and head high. Hmmm....My time started again before I had a second to think about the implications. This one was a runner. But we worked it. And we worked it pretty darn well if I do say so myself. Even a couple times when he challenged our space and tried to chargy by on the wall Midori held her ground and we were all over that cow like white on rice! Wohoo! Go me! (6-1/2)

I did get a couple nice reminders of my fall while working that cow though. I have a really nice bruise on the inside of my thigh from (I believe) hitting the horn on my way off. Well, we had a couple hard stops while working that second cow and I slid into the pommel of the saddle. It hurt. A lot. But that didn't stop me! Wohoo! Go me! (7-1/2)

Finally the buzzer sounded, signalling the end of my run. Once again, I walked out of the pen grinning ear to ear. It was great! We scored a 72! Wohoo! Go me! (8-1/2)

I ended up getting second in the class, which also came with a nice little jackpot. Wohoo! Go me! (9-1/2) I don't remember exactly how many people were in the class but I'm pretty sure it was some where in the neighborhood of 6-8.

So it was a great day. Not only did I not hit the dirt, but I had a great practice run and won 2nd place in my class! I'd call that a success!

The boyfriend did pretty well in his classes also. Sugar had only been ridden once since before his surgery and was more then a little high spirited. Luckily she's "well behaved" when she's a spaz so not so much bucking or rearing, just whinnying, squirming, dancing, prancing, wiggle-worming, energizer bunny type stuff. She was still going strong when we walked out of the arena after probably 3-4 hours of loping. I'm totally not kidding. She's the freakin' energizer bunny, just keeps going and going and going and going.

I grabbed my camera after my run and took pictures of the boyfriend's runs and tons of random pictures. 99.9% of them didn't turn out well enough to make it here, but below are some of the ones I liked.

Midori watching the action.

The boyfriend warming up for his first class. That was the calmest Sug looked the whole entire day and I'm sure they only time she walked on a loose rein. I'm glad I caught it on "film" for posterity.

Peekabo! I see you!

After their second class. Don't they look happy? They had a pretty good run!

My pretty pony at the end of the day.

Mom, seriously! Enough with the camera! Will you put the thing down and come get this saddle off me already?!
So that's my loooong story and I'm stickin' to it! I got second place today and I definately did not hit the dirt! Wohoo! Go me! (10-1/2)
Did you ever think you'd read a blog that said "Wohoo! Go me!" 10-1/2 times?!? lol

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Don't Bounce!

I know I don't bounce any more. I've known for quite a while that I don't bounce.

I miss being able to bounce. When you bounce, you can be fearless. Since I've realized that I don't bounce so well any more, I've gotten quite a bit more cautious and, well, to be perfectly honest, a little chicken shit.

I guess I need to be reminded every once in a while that I don't bounce. Seems to be the nature of the "biz" (horses). And it always seems to happen just as I'm getting my back bone back after the last "I don't bounce" experience.

I really have no one to blame but myself. It was avoidable. I should have been smart and spoken up and just said "NO", but I didn't. And I got a refresher course on just how much I really don't bounce.

I hit the dirt last night.

I hit the dirt hard.

It's been quite a while since I actually hit the dirt. I've been bucked off a few times, but have managed to not actually hit the dirt one way or another. One time I landed on a rather springy bush that just sort of floated me over the ground. One time I ended up on Midori's neck, though the saddle horn and my tailbone are not friends after that one. I've been trying to think of when the last time I really actually hit the dirt was. It's been a while. There was the time that she took off bucking when I was half way on, but I don't really count that since I wasn't technically "mounted". Plus that was gravel. I think the last time I really hit the dirt was when I was starting Fancy. I think. I could be wrong, seems like I've been dumped since then, but it could be that I've just avoided actually "hitting the dirt" every time since then.

Anyways, back to last was a dark and stormy night...oh wait, no it wasn't. It was partly cloudy, but a little windy and cold. That should have been my first hint. I know weather affects horse's attitudes. I hadn't been on Midori since Sunday. She was an angel that night and we worked pretty hard. It was also sunny and upper 70's.

We were headed to the arena to work the new buffalo. I was anxious to work because we have our first cutting show of the season on Saturday and we haven't done much cutting work since the end of last season, which was September.

I was really cranky headed there and all business with my horse, just focusing on getting on, getting work done, getting home. I was looking forward to riding and being on my horse, I needed the therapy for sure, but I was more focused on getting ready for the show and not really paying attention to my attitude or Midori's. Strike 1.

I got tacked up and walked in the arena and over to the buffalo pen to say hi to everyone and see what the new buff's were looking like. The one in was sort of being a pill, not wanting to work along the wall, but was relatively quiet. As I was sitting there chatting about the upcoming show, my name was called. I was up for a turn. I wanted to argue, I hadn't warmed up, I needed to go lope a bit, but then I thought about the show on Saturday and wanted that turn! I wanted to work that buff because I needed the practice! So I went in without warming up. Strike 2.

Midori was hesitant, jittery, spooky and snorty. She walked into the pen alright, but about jumped out of her skin the first time the buff turned to look at us. I was still cranky and thinking, cowgirl up, let's get'r done! We're going to work this buff whether you like it or not! We got one turn in with the buff on the wall. It turned back towards the corner and then charged, trying to get by us on the wall. I dug my spurs in, telling Midori to get her ass over to the wall and stop that buff! Strike 3. I was out.

I don't even know what happened. I blinked and the next thing I remember, we were facing the opposite direction and I was looking at the ground with the rest of my body following. I remember seeing Midori's front SMB boots and her nose between them and then my hands headed for the sand right next to them and thinking please don't step on me! But that's it. I have no idea how we got turned around facing that direction. I don't remember thinking, oh, she's going to bucking, I didn't have time to register anything. I hardly had time to register that I was falling off before I hit the ground. I just plain got bucked the fuck off. Excuse my french, but that's what happened.

I landed pretty much face first, then my shoulder and chest took most of the impact. I got the wind knocked out of me. I thought I had sand papered the whole side of my face off. By the time I got my eyes open, Midori had bucked to the other side of the pen, hit the panels turning around, taking a chunk out of my saddle and was on her way back my direction, still a bronc. Part of me went oh sh**, I need to get up so I don't get run over! Then my lungs said, oh no you don't! I made it to a sitting position before I realized that I really couldn't breathe. I'm not really sure what happened after that because all I could think about was that I couldn't breathe. And I had a mouth FULL of sand. Ugh. I heard someone say grab her (Midori), then I heard someone yell for the boyfriend (he was off being smart and warming his horse up!) and he came over and asked if I was ok. I said ya, I think so, just trying to get my wind back. Then I asked if my face was bleeding. He said no, nothing yet. Then he told me to get up.

Me: 'Scuse me?

The boyfriend: Get up! You need to get up.

Me: No I really don't need to get up.

The boyfriend: You really need to get up. Get up! You need to stand up!

Me: Ummm...NO. This sand is damn comfy. I really need to lay here. A nap right here would be fabulous actually. You sure my face isn't bleeding? Oh, and I got my dinner. Though I don't recommend sand. It's not all that tasty.

The boyfriend: Ya, you're funny. Now get up. If you still can't catch your breath, stand up and put your arms straight up over your head.

Me: Say wha?!? Um, no. I am catching my breath just fine laying here on the comfy-cozy soft sand thank you very much.

I'm not sure if the arms over your head thing is for reals or not, I know my old boss used to tell me to do that when I had the hiccups or something, but it was just to yank my chain and make us both laugh. I did eventually sit up though. It took me a good long time sitting there to pick enough sand out of my eyes, nose and mouth that I felt like I could actually breathe and see. The boyfriend nagging me to get up the whole time. While I was sitting there I looked over to see where the animals were. One of the other riders was holding Midori outside of the pen and the buffalo was standing about half way across the pen staring at me. I swear it looked like she felt bad about the whole situation. I think I like buffalo.

So I got my reminder that I don't bounce. All things considered, I was pretty darn lucky. Other then a few pretty good bumps and bruises on my legs, some scrapes on my hand, half of my face looking rather nicely exfoliated (though no bleeding or scabs, I think my baseball cap bill folding over my face saved me) and some seriously sore muscles, I'm fine. Oh, and I broke a nail. I know...tragic.

The most frustrating part of all of this is now I'm feeling timid on Midori with cows. I'll always have that fear in the back of my head when cow charges and instead of beating feet to get where I need to be, I'm afraid I'll hesitate out of fear for just that split second that will make the difference between a good run and a lost cow.

I got back on her after I had brushed myself off. I was definately stiff and sore already and my guts were pretty shook up and still trying to get settled again, but we loped. A lot. I'm sure some of my soreness today is from all the loping we did. After a while I was out of breath so we stopped to air up and watch the buff's for a bit. The boyfriend was trying in vain to work one that absolutely would not move. She was slow and just refused. I asked to have a turn with her before they swapped her out because I thought she would be a good confidence builder for us. We went in and just quietly walked around for a bit and inched closer and closer. At first I just drove the buff around a bit, making her move away from us. After she got moving we tried to do a little boxing, but as soon as I moved away from her hip (driving) to her head she would stop and turn and just stand there. So we'd drive some more. A couple times she turned around and looked at us and I made Midori just stand there quietly. Not sure if that is bad for cutting or not, but I felt that Midori needed it for her confidence. After she stood quietly for a bit, I would put Midori back on the hip or shoulder and make her push that buff around some more. A couple times the buff tried running around the side of us, in that same corner, which was a total heart stopping moment for me, but Midori only skittered a little bit and this buff was a lot more timid then the other one and would just stop.

That buff did her job. I think she was good for us after what had happened. I felt better and a little more confident with Midori, but I'm still interested to see how the show goes this weekend. We loped a whole bunch more, until I was exhausted from having to push her so hard to keep going because she was totally dragging and then went back over to the buff pen to watch some more. Midori was still jumpy when the buff would come running to the side we were standing on, but I made her work the buff a bit thru the fence, with the other rider in the pen and she did alright.

I'm entered in the Green/Green class on Saturday, which is not out of the herd. They kick one cow out for you to box. They are also rerun cows, so a bit calmer in theory. I am also signed up for a practice run which is out of the herd. That will be the first time we've ever come out of the herd, so it should be interesting. I'm just sort of dreading the whole thing now. I'm picturing me getting a runner and Midori freaking out and taking off bucking and leaving me in the dirt, again, in front of all those people. And the judge. Ugh.

My goal for the show tomorrow is to not hit the dirt. How sad is that?!? I'm going to a horse show with the goal of not hitting the dirt. Wow.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

One more for tonight...

I promise this is the last one tonight. Maybe. I had fun taking pictures today and just feel like they each deserve their own post.

Next up...Cheyanne of course!

I noticed this nice little grassy area with flowers (we're pretending dandelions are cool to have, ok?) and thought it was a nice scenic little place to have a photo shoot. I just needed a subject. Cheyanne volunteered, but then regretted it. :-) She's not so fond of actually sitting still for any length of time.

Let's see what we ended up with...

Here we have a pensive pose

Like, grooooovy man.

Uh, Chey, you've got a little grass still hanging off your mouth.

Oh man, how embarrassing!

Did I get it all?

Look at me now! Aren't I gorgeous?!

How 'bout now?!

Oooh, a bug!

Mmm, grass....num, num, num, num.

Oooh, another bug!

Are we done yet? There's a bird over there that needs chasing!

Mom! Seriously! That bird just flew right behind you!!! It really must be chased!

See ya! *

*No birds were harmed in the making of this blog. Atleast not while I was out there.

And ok, so I realize I'm posting this at the risk of being classified as a crazy dog lady. It's ok. Think what you want. I'm a total nerd, I'll admit that much.

Pretty Sky

The last couple of clear mornings that we've had, the boyfriend has pointed out how pretty the little sliver of moon hovering just over the mountain is and suggested I take some pictures of it.

I was all too happy to oblige.

This was the first morning. It was still really dark and I couldn't hold the camera still enough for the long exposure needed so it's blurry, but I like the richer colors.

I got busy doing other things and forgot to go back out when there was a little more light. Bummer!

But I got a second chance this morning! Wohoo!

I like how you can see the foothills below the mountain in this one and that they are kind of shadowy and cool looking.

For some reason, this one speaks to me. Even though the moon is a little blurry.

It Lives!!!

Yay! I didn't kill the cherry tree that I got for Christmas!
I was a little worried there for a while. We ended up taking our sweet time getting it in the ground. I swear, like, two months just disappeared.

I noticed some little green leaves starting to sprout the other day though and was so happy and relieved!

Now I can't wait to get some cherries from it!

Monday, April 20, 2009

This Rocks!

Besides the scary, ghostly pale white feet and the 30 second pedicure, this picture totally rocks!

Drum roll please.......I wore flip flops today! Yeehaw!!!

I love the first flip flop day of the year! And the fact that I work in a fairly casual office that I can wear nice flip flops to!

This one was particularly fun because I had these sparkly fun silver flip flops that I got on my Saturday adventure with the girls this past weekend.

And yes, of course, they were on sale.

It was a sunny, gorgeous day today, mid-70's, and I was loving every minute of it! Because of that the B&A's of the office are on hold. It's been way too nice outside to be stuck inside!

I also have another very fun purchase that I made during our adventure, but that reveal will have to come after I get the office put back together. I'm super excited about it though!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday Stills Challenge - Religion

This week's Sunday Stills Challenge was Religion. "This has no particular faith involved in this one, it can be churches or icons. Mostly its for the arcitecture of churches,I’ve seen some beautiful old churches, stained glass,etc…. So let your mind wander and see what ya can come up with." From SSC. You can go there and click thru the links in the comments to see others pictures as well.

I thought this was going to be the first SSC that I failed. I didn't have any pictures in archives that I could use and with my office all torn apart and boxes spread out all over the place I had no idea where my bible or cross necklace were. I couldn't think of any churches around that were worth photographing. I had all but given up on it.

Then yesterday I was having a fun day out with my girlfriends and mentioned that if we passed churches or anything I may make them pull over because of the challenge. They were happy to oblige and even suggested some churches we may be passing during our adventure. Yay!

I've seen signs for this place before, but hadn't ever driven allllll the way back to find it. It was down a long winding driveway that just looked a little creepy so I settled for taking a picture of the sign at the end of it. It's kinda cute and rather unusual. A little weathered, but it's got character!

This was another cute older church in that same town. They were having a work party out front, fixing something major, but they were mostly out of the way for my shot. It's a beautiful old church.

Then my friend took her jacket off and it was pointed out that she had a cross on, I should take a picture of that! So here I am turned around in the front seat of the car trying to get a good shot of her, cross in the backseat while we're sitting in line at an espresso stand. hehe

Then as our adventure took us closer to civilization we passed this HUGE church. It's a really impressive church. I took that picture as we were driving by and was pleased that it didn't turn out blurry!

I took all these pictures with my little point and shoot because I didn't feel like carting around my "big" camera on our adventures. I was really happy we found some churches so I could participate this week!