All Time Favorites

With this prompt and post, the Weekly Photo Challenge from The Daily Post is no more…
*sigh*

Since it’s the final installment of the Photo Challenge, the theme is
All Time Favorites, with an eye on sharing an all time favorite photo…
I can do that.
πŸ™‚
Favorite photo from a favorite session with a favorite edit of a favorite horse…

A little before…

The idea here was to make editing for a black background portrait as minimal as possible, so I walked her into the shelter, stood her where the light was the best on her face/side, handed off the lead rope to The Kid and stepped back…

It’s a lovely image as it is.
Of course, I’m biased because of that whole “favorite horse” thing. πŸ˜‰

But, a wee bit of time editing and it went from a lovely image to my favorite photo of her ever.

After…

One day, I’ll have this image printed as large as I can afford…
This is one that deserves a special place on the wall.
πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

And now, I have to wander off and find a new source of inspiration for those days when I just don’t know what to write.

Sharing for Thankful Thursday at Brian’s Home…

I’m thankful for the memories The Daily Post has helped me create, and the doors participating opened as I found new blogs to read and new folks dropped by.
I’m thankful for the new friends and old ones.
I’m thankful for life, for love, for my world and all those in it.
πŸ™‚

It’s a great day to be alive
I know the sun’s still shinin’
when I close my eyes
There’s some hard times
in the neighbourhood
But why can’t every day be just this good?
~ Travis Tritt

 

(A little musical inspiration for the day)

Damage Report

Well, so if Thursday’s thunderstorms were delightful, last night’s storm was frightful.

The day was beautiful for the most part.
Hot and melty, which always means there’s a chance of a thunderstorm.
I went ahead and cleared out a few of the small garden beds and planted my hot peppers.

After chores were done, I had a few minutes to have a coffee, before Hubby got in with groceries.
Well, The Kid and I watched the wind whip up and just as it started to rain, we figured we should go put the birds to bed.

Aaaaannnnd just as the last bird house was closed the wall of water hit us…

After the storm…

Before the storm the ground wasn’t dry, but it wasn’t showing any puddles. Everything from Thursday’s storms had already soaked in…last night it came down so hard and fast, the ground didn’t have a chance.

My crappy cell phone picture was taken about 10 minutes after the storm passed. The ground was already absorbing the moisture, so as much as you can see, there was more.

Preliminary reports are that we got just about 35mm of rain in about 45 minutes.
That’s a lot of water in just a little bit of time.

Today, I’m seeing what kinda damage we’ve got…

Good news first!

All the animals are fine.
No injuries on mares.
Everyone’s legs are good, might have a sore back or two from running about in the mud and muck, but that’s easy peasy to handle with liniment. πŸ™‚

Chickens and ducks are just happy to be out of coops.
Ducks were mad we made them go to bed early last night, but today they’re enjoying the puddles and earth worms all over the poultry yard.

All outdoor cats are accounted for.
Wet, a little grumpy, but everyone came to the deck for breakfast and pets.

Daphne just wanted to play in the puddle this morning…lol
And indoor cats, well, they just slept through most of it.

Sump pump has been working without issue.
Thank the Gods of Electricity!!

Now the not so good news…

Water in the basement from 2 spots.
The ground has been so dry for so long, once the water came, it couldn’t hold it back. No damage to anything, just wet spots.

Had a leak in the master bedroom…there’s a spot on the side of the house at the roofline that needs repair to the siding/metal roof.
Guess what we’re doing tomorrow?

And then, there’s my poor garden…

I had put in 13 of my tomato plants on Thursday.
I thought I lost them after that storm, but it looked like they held on, and with a bit of tlc, would be fine.
Not today.
Done. Gotta replace ’em.

Hot peppers?
What hot peppers?
There is no sign whatsoever that I had planted hot peppers.
Gotta replace them too…

Pasture is still under some water, so I’ll have to keep an eye on hooves. We made it this far without thrush, hopefully we don’t get hit with a round of it now.
But, even if we do, I have treatments that can put a stop to it fast.
And, tomorrow, I just may do a pre-emptive treatment, just in case.

All in all, we got hammered, but as always, we’ll pick up the pieces and keep going.
At least now I don’t have to worry about the pasture drying out and dying off too soon. The land really needed the water.
Rain barrels are full for when we do need to water the garden, and to give the chickens.
I’m not frantically worrying about the state of my well in drought like conditions.
The burn ban in the area should be lifted.
Once the water soaks in, the wheat on the big field ought to be just fine.
And everyone came through the storms healthy…

Can’t ask for much more than that.
Well, I *would* like to hit it big in the lottery, but that’s a whole different discussion.
LOL!
πŸ˜‰

Feline Friday

Last night, we had the absolute pleasure of thunderstorms rolling through.
We finally got some much needed rain!
While we humans enjoy the thunder and lightning, the indoor cats have differing opinions about it all…

“go ‘way…sleeping”

Nancy just didn’t care.
Neither did the oldsters, Freyja (who didn’t even lift her head) and Odhinn (who likes deer…he just wants y’all to know that)…

The geriatrics of the indoor cats…

And then there’s Daisy Mae…


Daisy Mae would like you all to know that thunderstorms are scary, lightning is scary and that yelling at Mom about things being scary doesn’t help because Mom yells back.

Seriously though, she was the only one who was freaked out about the storm. Once I caught her, she settled into my lap and only jumped with the overly loud thunder claps.
This morning, she did her usual shrieking at me, to make sure i knew she wasn’t happy I was making fun of her.
Oh well.
She’ll get over it.

Sharing with Comedy Plus for Feline Friday.
Have a great weekend, y’all!

13

Monday was Cookie’s 13th birthday.
I had in my mind for a while, long before she passed, that I wanted to do a cake smash with her.
This was supposed to be her year for it…

Instead, her herdmates enjoyed her cake for her.
Seems like it should have been a bittersweet shoot, but it turned out to be great fun. ❀

Hubby offers some cake to Sable…

He mighta smooshed it into her muzzle a wee bit…being it’s a cake smash and all… πŸ˜‰

Ruby’s turn…you can see icing on Astrid’s muzzle…

That tongue…lol!

And then Hubby set the cake down, so all 3 could enjoy it at once…

Ruby:
“Y’know what I like?”

“CAAAAAAKKKKEEE!”

And then our dear sweet Blonde Girl had a moment with her friend’s halter…
πŸ’–πŸ’–πŸ’–

Sharing for Wordless Wednesday with Comedy Plus, image-in-ing, and Create With Joy.

The Thing About Heart Horses…

Last week, I read Anna Blake’s post on this very topic…
Heart Horses.

Initially, I had a very negative reaction to the post.
The angry monkeys in my head demanded their typewriters to bang out their thoughts…

And then I stepped back and thought about it all.
I came to this…

I have, since a month or so after bringing her Home, called Cookie my heart horse.
Why?
Because to me, she was/is/always will be the most special, most influential equine in my life.
It took a whole lotta *something* to get her and I together, and once it was done, there was only death to separate us.

So, does that mean my others…Ruby, Sable, Astrid…are any *less* special to me because they’re not Cookie?
I don’t think so.
They are who they are, and they are special in their own ways.

Sable is my accident prone, but rock solid, lean on me Mama I can hold you up, bombproof horse.
Ruby is my challenge Mama all day every day, if it ain’t my idea I ain’t doing it, horse.
Astrid is my happy Little Red who loves brushings and cuddles and forehead rubs and those rare times I let her lick me…dang that mare likes to lick things!! lol

They all hold a special place in my heart.

Unlike Cookie though, they were all pretty darn quick to come to the charm of The Food Lady.
Cookie was a force of her own, she gave nothing freely, and I earned every little thing she offered me.

When you have to spend hours on end sitting, waiting, leaving, and coming back day after day, to finally get a hand on a horse…
When you have to stand and wait in -30*c cold, hands uncovered because gloves are an unknown, to finally get a hand on a horse…
When you walk out the door one morning, after so many mornings like the ones above, and that horse calls and meets you at the gate…
When that horse drops her muzzle so you can gently blow and greet her…

So that was the foundation of our relationship.
Me being patient (for the most part), and her trying to decide if I was worth trusting.
And when she offered her trust, it was a high like nothing I have ever experienced.
How could I not love her a wee bit more than the others?
How could I not give her the biggest chunk of my heart?

But don’t think it was all pretty and rainbows, because it wasn’t.
It was hard work.
It was a lot of wanting to give up.
It was a lot of frustration for both of us.
It was her avoiding me for days on end.
It was a lot of heartache, as I wondered if I was in over my head (short answer? yes).
There was mud and blood(mostly mine) and bruises(also mine) and shit…and tears.
It was a lot of days ending in tears.

Oh, but those days, few and far between in the beginning, when she’d let slip some normal horse behaviour, or she’d show me a cheeky moment (nibbling my braid was a favorite), or she’d just choose to stand next to me and be…
I’ve said it over and over…it was like she was my dealer, and those bits of trust she let slip were the crack I lived for.

Yeah.
She was, and always will be, my Heart Horse.
There will never be another one like her.
And y’know what?
I’m glad for that.
Because I know and recognize that, I can love others, give them a spot in my heart, and give them what they need, without comparing them to HER.
My love for her does not diminish the love for the others…any others.
And, quite frankly, loving a horse like Cookie just plain ain’t easy…it is…well, it’s exhausting

At the end of the day, I know the term bugs people.
I see the eye rolls, the little laughs, the snorts of derision…
My favorite (said quietly, but within my hearing) “Only fluffy horse lovers call any horse that…” implying that I couldn’t possibly be a real horse person.
Meh.
That’s okay, because, truthfully, people bug me like the term bugs them. lol
I’d much rather be with the horses.
(Okay, I’ll grant, some people are okay. πŸ˜‰ )
When I use the term, I’m not using it for others.
I’m using it for me…for her…for us.

And if that bothers other people, or makes them think less of me as a horsewoman, that’s okay too.
I’ve never much cared what people think of me, so how someone else feels about my usage of a few simple words…not my problem.

When I got back into this life of horses, it was for her:

❀

It was always about her…
To the horse world here, she may not have been much to look at, she may not have been anything more than a broodmare, she may not have been anything more than a number run through at auction…
But to me, she was the world.
My Heart Horse.

Aaaaaand….
Now I’ll just take the typewriters away from the angry monkeys and go on about my day.

Place in the World

Do you ever wonder about your place in the world?
Are you doing what makes you happy?
What you feel you’re meant to be doing?

I used to wonder…

Now, I’m pretty sure I’m right where I’m meant to be.

Let’s face it, if I wasn’t where I’m meant to be, I never would have had 3 days shy of 4 years with the Very Best Horse Everβ„’…

She made the best faces in this shoot…
I keep going back and editing images from it that I just love because they show her personality.
Like this one:

That tongue! ❀
Sassy pants paint

I wouldn’t have been in a place to bring this beauty Home for my Kid…

Hubby wouldn’t have gotten his Girl…


And who knows what might have been when Astrid needed a soft landing from her former home…

Not sure what’s going on with that mane, colour wise, but it sure looks pretty!

I guess knowing where my place is in this big wide world is pretty darn amazing. I’m sure there are people who live their whole lives never being sureΒ  where they belong.
I’m one of the lucky ones.
I waited 40 years to get here, and I ain’t going to give it up.
πŸ™‚

A Little Farm Update

Dry.
Dry.
Dry.

It’s really dry here. We need rain something fierce.
For growth, to stop fires, for overall health.

But, in the midst of the dry, we do have some growth happening on the fruit trees…and, we’ve (finally) moved the chicks into the chicken coop.
YAY!!!

Apples are starting to leaf out…

Honeyberries are blossoming…

Red currants are popping with leaves…

And because our red currant bushes are so new, they’re still rather small. Which makes them easy prey to fall to Daphne…

Pail protecting a newer currant bush…

I had a few extra 3 gallon pails, so I cut the bottoms out and used them the shield the plants from the turbo power of the Daphne running them over. πŸ˜‰

Finally…
The best news!
All chicks have vacated the house, and the garage.
Chicken coop renos are done and they have moved into their new, and permanent home.
Just because I’m mean, I laughed at the few hennys we have left and said “Your replacements have arrived!!”
Hahahahaha!!!
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Onward and upward to the next task…

Getting the garden tilled so we can plant my HUGE tomato plants.
I hope this bodes well for a bountiful harvest!

I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented.
I’ve viewed myself as slightly above average in talent.
~ Will Smith

That Time I Got to Photograph Cavalia Horses…

Every now and then, I get the pleasure of going off Farm with my camera.
Every now and then, I get the pleasure of photographing someone else’s horses.
Today’s post is all about a journey I went on last month, and some horses I was lucky enough to meet.
πŸ™‚

It all started with a late night tag on a Facebook post in a local horse group…someone was looking for local equine bloggers, a friend tagged me, and I explained what I do here (with the required sometimes salty language warning πŸ˜‰ ).
Next thing I knew, the lady looking for bloggers had sent me a message with an amazing offer…

Now understand, this is well after Hubby and The Kid have gone off to bed, I’m sitting with a cup of tea and a cat in my lap editing photos, when I get this message.
Let me tell you, the cat hit the floor, and Hubby was awakened with:

“WAKE UP!!!
You have to book Friday off…I’ve just been invited to an event that I have to go to…”

To which I got a mumbled “Huh? What?” from Hubby…

“Dude!! I’ve been invited to join the media folks to meet the Cavalia Odysseo horses!!!”

Well, that woke him up, and he very much agreed, this was an opportunity that was not to be missed. πŸ™‚
And his boss was awesome, giving him the day off with such short notice!

Friday dawned cold…it was like January had come back for its 137th day.
Didn’t dampen my enthusiasm even a little bit. Though, I do wish I had worn a warmer jacket, but hey, that’s what hot coffee is for, right?

We followed all the directions, and finally made it to the private farm where the horses were enjoying their vacation between shows.
Once everyone arrived, we were introduced to Cavalia people who would be sharing some of the horses with us…now, if I had been smart, I would have written names down. But, truth be told, my excitement was all about the horses. I had camera in hand and I just wanted to take pictures.

And I bet y’all want to see them, right?
The best of the images I took that day?
All right, let’s get to it. πŸ™‚

The first paddock we came to had these two ripping around it…

Having just come from a performance run in Arizona, all the horses we were introduced to were wearing blankets.
I’m sure they appreciated it!

Utah…
So amazingly handsome!

Y’all know me, I love me a Paint…and this guy was simply gorgeous. ❀

When you’re having fun running around and throw a shoe…lol

This is Marc-Olivier Leprohon, Cavalia’s Artistic & Equestrian Operations Director. He was showing us around with the horses, and answering any questions we might have had.
Once again, I was far too busy taking pictures to ask questions.

Along came the Arabians…

These guys just had a grand time galloping around us.
And yes, all of the 70 horses in the show are either stallions or geldings. (we didn’t get to meet all of them, just a handful, to be clear)

Stopped to snort πŸ˜‰

It was clear, watching these horses enjoy some free play time, that they love to perform. It didn’t take them long to figure out that this was another performance, but one where they could do whatever their equine hearts desired. Oh, and they sure did have fun!

❀

One of my favorites of the day:

Is it bad that I wanted him to snort on her camera?
It really was sweet how curious he was about her…

Once we were done photographing the Arabians having fun, we were taken over to meet the smallest equine member of the cast…

Miniature horse named Renaissance…

Oh my, he was a cutie!
He was a feisty little guy too…he’s just 2 1/2 years old and still a stud, so he has a mighty big attitude to go with that adorable package.
He darn near stole the show for the day.
Until we met the biggest guy in the show…

Gavilan

*swoons*
This guy…
This guy was the show stealer for me.
He’s a big boy, still a stud and oh so beautiful!
I was quite impressed with how well-behaved he was, all things considered.
New place, crazy winds and chilly, the mini stud challenging him every chance he got (I told ya, that boy was sassy!!) and he stayed pretty calm, cool and collected.

One of my favorites of him and the groom:

“My human…such a goooood human”
πŸ˜‰

From there, we (Me, Hubby and The Kid) wandered back to the paddock where the Paint was for a few more shots…

Ah, that sassy Paint side eye…gotta love that look! ❀

It was a wonderful way to spend a chilly morning and I’m so happy to have been offered the chance to go.
πŸ™‚

Cavalia Odysseo opens in Winnipeg May 12th.
If you have the chance to check the show out, do so!
You won’t be disappointed!

Glamour Shots

What do you get with a 3’x5′ mirror and a whole bunch of chicks, varying in age from 1 week to just about 4 weeks?

Chicken glamour shots.
That’s what you get.
πŸ™‚

Berg’s brown laying chick…

Columbia Plymouth Rock X Red chick…

C.Rock X and Berg’s brown in the back…

This is one of the 18 easter egger chicks we got a few weeks ago…I don’t know breed other than that.
Hen or rooster?
I’m sure someone with more bird experience than me can tell, but I don’t know. πŸ˜‰ It’s just cute…in an ugly bird sorta way. lol

Pumpkin Wine

I started my first batch of pumpkin wine back on November 5th, 2017.
I bottled it this past weekend.

I’ve had a few people ask about the recipe I used, so I figured I’d share it here, with my review of the bottled product. πŸ™‚

I’m going to assume anyone who’s looking for a pumpkin wine recipe has basic wine making knowledge. If not, trust me, Google is your friend.

Pumpkin Wine

20 lbs of pumpkin
~ I weighed my pumpkin after gutting and cubing. Then, I roasted it to bring out the sugary goodness of flavours.
I also used a pumpkin I like the flavour of…don’t use one of those watery jack-o-lantern pumpkins. Use something like a pie pumpkin, with lots of natural sugars.

10 lbs of white sugar
1 1/2 cups lemon juice
2 1/2 tsp pectic enzyme
3 tsp yeast nutrient
1/4 tsp potassium metabisulphate
1 tsp tannin (optional…I figured I’d try it)
Water to 23 liters
Yeast

Now, I used a mesh bag for my pumpkin, which makes racking out of the primary so much easier…and cleaner.
I also added the water *before* putting the bag of pumpkin in…so know that you are going to need a bigger than 25 liter pail to start, because once that pumpkin goes in, the liquid level rises.
A.
Lot.
My starting gravity was 1.070 and it finished fermenting at .990
When I racked to the carboy I added 2 cinnamon sticks.
I could have added more, but I wasn’t sure how strong the flavour would be.
I could have doubled the amount easy, or even added 1 stick per gallon.
I also think adding some ginger, either in the primary, in the secondary, or both, would have been beneficial.
I may try that in another batch.
When all was done, I stabilized and back sweetened with 2 cups of sugar.
This, of course, is done to taste, so it takes trial and error with smaller amounts and then…math to know how much to put in the big batch. πŸ˜‰

So, after months of waiting to get to the end product going into bottles, and finally getting a good taste of the wine, what did I think of my pumpkin wine?

This:

Pumpkin wine review…

Now, keep in mind, I like a strong, bold flavored wine. Typically reds and heavy on fruit flavors.
This pumpkin is…interesting.
It’s a white. It’s beautiful. Clear and just plain pretty to look at.
The scent?
Again, not being a white wine person, I find it off putting.
But, there are very few store-bought whites that I like the scent of. In fact, right now, I can’t think of any, sooooo….yeah.
The flavor is nice. It’s not sharp, it’s smooth with a nice finish.
I didn’t back sweeten it as much as I would a raspberry or a blueberry, so it’s drier than I normally drink, but that’s because I found it cloying with as much sugar as I’d normally use.
The flavour doesn’t say “pumpkin” to me, but there is the barest hint of cinnamon to it (I added several cinnamon sticks in the secondary) which makes it interesting.

All in all, it’s not bad.
It’s not, however, one I would personally rave about.
It’s not a green tomato wine, to be sure. πŸ˜‰
But, anyone who likes a semi dry white, I think will really enjoy this.

Now, that said, would I make it again?
Yes.
But I would tweak it.
Add in more cinnamon, leave out the tannin (not sure it brings much to a white wine anyways), add some fresh ginger, and then I’d back sweeten with a fruit syrup or juice instead of just plain sugar. Something that adds a little more flavour to the party.

All in all, I’m glad I made it.
It’s not a favorite, but it’s a good recipe to play with to find what, exactly, I like.
Besides, how can you not love this label??

Arrrr!!
Cap’n Max says this wine is his!!