Everything sublime is as difficult as it is rare. Baruch Spinoza

Friday, October 31, 2008

Old Dog

Bill is ancient for a large dog. He will be 15 in February, if he makes it. I doubt he will, but then I thought he was a goner in July, so what do I know when it comes to a force of nature such as Bill. He has lumps all over his body, his hips are shot and he has congestive heart failure, so he can't walk very far without gasping for breath. But he has good days where he still can come to the barn, but mostly he hangs out in or around the house. He loves the nesting bed I bought Howard and that's where he sleeps now. He is still willful and he can at times work up some of the Wild Bill super energy, but that is brief. He is larger than life personality.

Bill isn't too interested in food and he has always been difficult about eating, but he hasn't had any interest for awhile. I discovered that he LOVES the gelled stock of a chicken made in a slow cooker, so now we have slow cooked chicken once a week for Bill's sake. : )

So, this leads me to; What's for Dinner?
I have a whole chicken in the slow cooker. I rub a mixture of coarse salt, dried thyme, oregano and ground black pepper under the skin of the breast. I also place several whole garlic cloves and coarsely chopped onion under the skin. I rub the remainder of the herb mixture over the chicken and stuff the cavity with the leaf end of celery, a couple of garlic cloves and some onion. Put water into the slow cooker, I go about 1/4 up the chicken. Today I put celery cut into large pieces, thickly chopped carrots and onion over the chicken. I leave it cook for about 8 hours on low. We will have the chicken with rice tossed with some butter and lemon pepper and a salad of romaine hearts and one of my last german striped tomatoes drizzled with a purchased poppy seed dressing.

All of this just so Bill can have his stock over his food! Every week I'll come up with a different variation of the 'Bill Chicken'. The sacrifices we make for our pets.

Quote of the Day

"Fall seven times, stand up eight."
Japanese Proverb

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Ashley does this every Thursday and I think it is a wonderful idea, so I am going to mirror it! Please pardon my lifting your topic, but imitation is the highest form of flattery. : )

I would like anyone who wants to to join in and tell us what you are thankful for. It is useful, especially in tough times, to reflect on what is good in our lives.

Since I'm starting at the beginning I will cover some of my basics.

1. A hardworking and mostly patient husband in Mark.

2. My relative good health.

3. Our small farm.

4. Healthy, lovely horses.

5. My son.

6. My parents still living in their home. 

7. My pack of dogs, especially my old boy, Bill. He is the energizer bunny.

8. That the election will be over in 5 days. : )

Yesterday Morning

There was fog over the low-lying fields yesterday. 

Benny was looking at me, so I snapped his photo. He has turned into a really wonderful horse, I never would have guessed it.

Quote of the Day

"A 'No" uttered from the deepest conviction is better than a 'Yes' merely uttered to please, or worse, to avoid trouble."
Mohandas Gandhi

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sharing the Sky

One of my pigeons and the guy in the flying machine are sharing a little space. What a lucky shot!

Quote of the Day

"The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter."  ~Winston Churchill

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Beginning Of The End

Fall is passing into winter. 

Beautiful light on the lilac bush.

Early morning sunlight filtering through an ash tree

Loss of leaves and bright colors

Quote of the Day

"Well, if crime fighters fight crime and fire fighters fight fire, what do freedom fighters fight? They never mention that part, do they?"
George Carlin (1937 - 2008)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ari Is a Genius

We took Ari instead of Zing to the lesson today. Zing was full of mud and full of himself and I had a headache and wanted the path of least resistance. Ari has not had any work put into him for 2 - 3 weeks and he was wonderful. Kristina is learning to be less 'Tin-Man' and more 'Gumby'  and it really helped Ari. Bill wants her to swivel her hips more when they are turning and not use the reins to turn. He stayed through when she got better at this. He was really lovely to watch.

Both Zing and Ari fight the canter cue. Last week Bill had Kristina get Zing to trot really big, which he can do and then some, and when he was motoring along ask him with the very slightest cue to canter. He went right into it, both sides. Bill told Kristina it isn't the canter he fights, but the cue, so get his trot big and then you don't need to cue much. The same thing was done with Ari today and it worked. Ari will rush into the canter and Bill doesn't want to see that. This really makes training so much easier.

Ari loaded today without any trouble. I had to show him the whip, but he got right in when I did. What a relief not to have loading stress!

It will be 20 days until the next lesson. Bill's schedule and ours often don't mesh, but this will give Kristina some time to work on what he showed her last week. We don't use the indoor arena except in winter, so I haven't prepared the footing for use yet. Winter came fast! The bad weather this past week kept Kristina from riding, because I haven't put myself in gear, so I need to get active. This week it will warm up and I can get the calcium chloride down and watered. I don't want either of us to die from arena lung. 

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Blustery, cold and clear. I've lived here most of my life and still get caught up short by the weather. I know we still have some moderate days ahead, but a day like today is good as a reminder that I better get the rest of my winterization done soon.

I usually try to get a lot done in the fall; fence painting, window washing, painting the grillwork in the barn, etc. I haven't done any of this, so what have I been doing! I think the tension and anxiety that is palpable throughout the nation, if not the world, has been dragging me down. Nine more days until we have a resolution, do we move forward or backward. Canada may need to put up a wall. : )

So, next week is supposed to be mild, which gives me an opportunity to do SOMETHING. We have a lesson on Monday, but then I have the rest of the week to putter around. Or not. This may be the first fall in my memory where I don't get any projects done. Putting in writing online will allow me to remember my year of malaise.

Quote of the Day

"Never face facts; if you do you'll never get up in the morning."
Marlo Thomas

Friday, October 24, 2008

Instructions For Life

I received this in an email and it seemed worth repeating. It's supposed to be what the Dalai Lama had to say for 2008. I don't know if this is true, but it's worth reading.
  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risks
  2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three R's: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
  6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
  7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  8. Spend some time alone every day.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year go someplace you've never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  19. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

Say What?

"The Oracle was blindsided," USA Today reports. "Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan told angry lawmakers Thursday he was 'shocked' to discover -- as a once-in-a-century financial crisis spread -- that his bedrock belief that financial firms could police themselves turned out to be 'flawed.'"

I am not an economic genius, but simple sense would tell you when you have the fox guarding the hen house, there will be chicken for dinner.

Both Mark and I, since this stuff started during Reagan, have been, to use Richard Clark's phrase, running around with our hair on fire. Deregulation has lead us to this point. The free market is a fallacy and a very flawed ideology, proven in the last month or so by what has happened as a direct result of the implementation of this idea that the market will govern itself.
The 'oracle' had a deeply held philosophy, which allowed him to be 'blindsided'. He has been a great admirer of Ayn Rand and was so committed to the idea that he couldn't stop to consider the logic.

There are consequences to our actions. For Alan Greenspan, he has to live with the results of his policies, and what probably means more to him, he has to live with his golden aura turned to brass.

For those citizens who don't pay attention, or vote based on an over-hyped social issue, those who have become so entwined in the 'me first, to hell with you' mentality of the past 30 years; there are consequences to your actions. G. W. Bush and his economy is one of them. My writing this stuff on a blog is another.

Quote of the Day

"The more flexible an economy, the greater its ability to self-correct in response to inevitable, often unanticipated, disturbances and thus to contain the size and consequences of cyclical imbalances."
Alan Greenspan

Part Of The Statistics

60,000 jobs lost in the first three weeks of October. Last night a friend called me to say she lost her job that day. She's had this job less than six months and it was her dream job with a well-known corporation. She had been walking on air that she had landed this job. It seems they can hire a contractor for less, so she now joins the statistics.

 I was supposed to pick her horse up on Saturday so he could live here. My friend wanted to spend time with him in a quiet environment, a friend of hers rides here occasionally and she wanted to be here to ride with her and she wanted to go along with us when we go places. The problem is, board is much higher here than where her horse currently lives. So a little bit of the domino effect.

Because of the economy I, in effect, lost my job over a year ago. I started to think about all of the people like me who aren't in the traditional work force and therefore aren't counted in the job loss statistics. So how many non-traditional workers lost their income over the first three weeks of October? 

My friend is young, smart, attractive and educated. And unemployed in a very bad job market. I feel sad for her and hope she can keep her head above water during these troubled times.

Eleven more days, maybe the clouds will lift. 

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Quote of the Day

"He's the kind of guy who lights up a room just by flicking a switch."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Stepping Out Of The Comfort Zone

My friend Jean (I call her St. Paul Jean) has embarked on a great adventure. Jean is a member of a county mounted patrol and she has worked very hard with her horse Sinclair over the past few years to acquire the necessary skills to do this job. I have enjoyed her determination and success, sort of living vicariously through her journey. This past weekend Jean loaded Sinclair and set off for Kentucky, by herself, to attend a national symposium of mounted patrol at the Kentucky Horse Park. She will be taking advantage of every opportunity to learn while she is there. I admire her greatly for doing this, I know I would not do it, not alone. 

My stepping out of a comfort zone consisted of getting on Spenser and riding in the park! I realize how little I do that is outside of my norm. To some people handling and working with all of these horses is out of the zone, but it is my daily life and well within my comfort level. Riding in the park was not! So, then I think back to the things I used to do that I no longer will do. There's lots of things. I can only surmise that it is a result of getting older and of being rather narrow in my scope. Other than a stallion trying to break out of the trailer, I am not often challenged!! My days go on with quiet regularity, which is exactly what I want where horses are concerned. Excitement means trouble. I frankly have looked and found myself boring. : ) It's a good thing I know people like Jean who allow me to experience some adventure, even if it is at arms length. 

Have a great time Jean and give lots of reports.

Big Decision

Ha, got you! It's supposed to rain throughout the day, so what do I do, clean my out-of-control house, clean up some very messy horses OR plant my butt in my chair and watch movies? I know I should do one of the first two choices, especially the house, but the third choice seems so much nicer. : ) 
It's windy with a high of 48 today. We are reaching the time when 60 degree weather will be infrequent and much appreciated. The horses are fuzzing up like plush toys. I love the feel and smell of a wooly horse. I REALLY need to spend some time in the house!

Quote of the Day

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut."
Ernest Hemingway (1899 - 1961)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Informative Lesson

We got Zing into the trailer and arrived at Brandywine without incident. Zing was quiet and well-behaved. I told Bill about the new problem and he saw what was going on quickly. Zing has started throwing his head up, almost into Kristina's lap. When he does this she can't get him back and the logical next step in Zing's mind is to take off.
Kristina let Zing have too much room and he took advantage of it. Bill wants her to catch him before his head gets all the way up with the right rein by raising it up and bumping him and continue until he gives. It's about timing and persistence. Going up with the rein doesn't hurt him but does bother the horse enough to not want to be there. It really worked well. At the canter, if he tosses his head she is to bring him to the trot and bring the right rein up and as soon as he gives go back to the canter. He has to stay in motion. A lot of progress was made during the lesson.
The good thing about the work Kristina has done over the last month is Zing is not bracing against the bit anymore and he was round and cadenced in his trot. Zing pulls his tail to the left, but it's not a true wry tail as he can move it wherever he wants. Bill says his muscles are shorter on the left, so he wants Kristina to do modified shoulder in and half pass to the left to straighten those muscles. It made a lot of difference during the lesson yesterday, he was holding his tail straight about 30% of the time.
We are going again next week to keep the momentum going, but I can't afford Bill on a weekly basis, so after next week we will need to slow down!
It's very rewarding to have someone with such a high skill level to go to. And he is such a gentle man. I feel lucky to be able to go over there.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Perplexing Problem

The ever entertaining Zing has presented us with a new not so entertaining problem. Twice now he has taken off with Kristina uncontrollably. One time a little over a week ago in the arena and again yesterday in the front yard as we were trying to get some photos.

Zing is too broke for this behavior. He has been ridden outside of an arena in the past and has been very good about it. We had planned to take him to the park yet this fall. But with this new behavior we can't take him anywhere until it is (hopefully) resolved.

This is so frustrating for both Kristina and me. She has worked him 4 times a week for over a year and he has been doing really well. If Kristina was an average rider she would have been in real trouble and as it is, she had a hard time staying on and controlling him. 

We have a lesson today and we have worked at getting him in the trailer, so I have hope of getting Zing over there. I wish I could just sit down with him and ask him what his problem is.

Quote of the Day

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
George Santayana (1863 - 1952)

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Busy Day Ahead

Shelley is coming out to take some stock photos. She wants to use the maple trees as a background for some photos of horses. She wants to use The Denve Mint, Solo, my Champion American Saddlebred Stallion at liberty, which is a good choice, except he has soooo much white and he is not tidy in his stall. Therefore, he has a lot of manure stains and it's too cool to bath, even in a heated wash area. I don't have the powder spray 'Pinto People' keep on hand and I can't find my Shower in a Bottle, so I'll try an old-time standby, rubbing alcohol. But, I don''t think the prognosis is good! Luckily there are many more to choose from. : )

I need to get off the computer and get to the barn because I want to see Colin Powell on Meet the Press. I almost wrote Russert. I miss Tim Russert and Tom Brokow is no Tim Russert. Ah well, it is what it is. The barn is calling my name.

Quote of the Day

"Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all they have."
H. Jackson Brown Jr. / American Author

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Morality, like art, means drawing the line someplace."
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900)

At Random

I've looked at the velvet leaf by the gate every morning and it is tinged with frost and looks pretty, so this morning I took a photo of it. The mares were having a good time when they went out. Nothing like a bunch of mamas showing off! The fall colors are so lovely this year that I just keep taking shots of the trees. Topper was watching me bring horses in yesterday and I got a shot of him over the fence. I had to get something with the pigeons, my annoying but pretty birds!

I don't know if everyone knows this, but if you click on the photo it enlarges. It took me awhile to figure that out!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Anyone Else Ready For Nov. 4th?

I am experiencing information overload and election year fatigue. I am a political junkie, so I never thought I would be at a point of having enough. I suppose it's all wrapped together; the economic mess, the uncertainty of the future and the endless parade of political ads. Combined with the radio, TV and newspaper, I am tightly wired. I think I need to go hug a horse. : )

Quote of the Day

"Today's public figures can no longer write their own speeches or books, and there is some evidence that they can't read them either."
Gore Vidal (1925 - )

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Our Trail Ride On Sunday

Four of us went to Carver Park on Sunday afternoon for a fun day of riding in a beautiful park. My friend Jean took all of the photos, so she is sadly missing from the pictures.  We get to see Sinclair's ears and a little of his head, but no Jean.

The day was perfect and the first part of the ride was fun for me, but we went too long for my poor older horse. He was pushed harder then he should have been, but he seems OK now. He was exhausted at the end of the day though. I don't know if I will ever get him in a trailer again. My horse Ben was a great guy. He hasn't been ridden for 3 years, until Kristina got on him twice in the past couple of months and Ben has only done arena riding. He acted as if he is an old hand at this trail riding stuff! My good mare Dani carried Jill like a pro and made Jill laugh the whole time because Dani is so nosey and amazed at by what she sees. We now think Dani must be the barn busybody and gossip. 

Two rides for me this year is rather amazing because it's almost ten years since I stopped riding. I was very sore on Sunday after pushing Spenser forward for two hours, but I recovered quickly and felt OK the next day. I'm up for it again. : )

Quote of the Day

"Everybody believes in something and everybody, by virtue that they believe in something, use that something to support their own existence."
Frank Zappa (1940 - 1993)

Monday, October 13, 2008

Ari Substitutes Again

We had a lesson today and of course we couldn't get Zing to load. He seems to know when he needs to load and when he doesn't. When we work on loading with no place to go, in he goes. When we need to go somewhere he decides he isn't getting in. Standing in the rain with a horse you want to throttle as the clock is ticking is not a good place to be.

Ari had a very good lesson but when the monster sized horse comes in he gets amazed for awhile. That horse is 18.2hh! I got a couple of shots of him, but it's hard to tell how large he is.

We are scheduled again for next Monday, so hopefully we can get the bad boy in. 

Quote of the Day

"What's money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do."
Bob Dylan (1941 - )

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Much Needed Fun Ahead

Today I and a group of friends are going to a nearby park to ride our horses. We all can use a stress reliever and I think this is as good as any way to accomplish this! Now my big crab Spenser needs to load into the trailer so I can have fun and not worry about riding Ari, the fussy prince.

Hopefully I will get photos. The park should be gorgeous. The fall colors this year are stunning.

Quote of the Day

"Think twice before you speak, and then you may be able to say something more insulting than if you spoke right out at once."
Evan Esar (1899-1995)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I hope life isn't a big joke, because I don't get it."
Jack Handey (1949 -) Humorist

Friday, October 10, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer."
Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

Thursday, October 9, 2008


We all are aware of the financial turmoil in the US and the rest of the world. Many people are feeling pain and worry. Speaking in terms of TRILLION is becoming normal. Trillion has become the new billion. Our money is being used to bail out investment firms and the largest insurance company in the world. Very few citizens are pleased with this. 

So, yesterday I hear about a weeklong junket to an expensive resort for top producers for AIG. $440,000.00 of tax-payer dollars. This made me very upset. This morning I hear AIG got another 37 billion on top of the 85 billion they received last month and this bit of news is followed with the fact that AIG has another expensive junket planned and has every intention of following through with it. The CEO says it is standard practice and they intend to go forward with it, but perhaps they will reexamine their spending policies at some time in the future. Something is wrong. The culture that has developed within the monied circles is so clueless and shameless that there isn't a hint of understanding the impropriety of these actions. Business as usual, except it's now on the taxpayer's dollar instead of the shareholder's dollar.

Tuesday evening John McCain said entitlements would need to be cut. He is looking at cutting Social Security by 1.3 trillion dollars. Sorry my friends, but the fact is the entitlements are too expensive. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid just can't be funded as they should be, what can we do? Now go back and read the prior paragraph.

Stick it to the least fortunate and least likely to be able to do anything about it. This is America and we, as a body, need to feel shame.

Quote of the Day

"Complain to the one who can help you."
Yugoslav Proverb

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Whatever you may be sure of, be sure of this, that you are dreadfully like other people."
James Russell Lowell / US Diplomat, Essayist, & Poet (1819 - 1891)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Quote of the Day

"We are all here for a spell; get all the good laughs you can."
Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Clear day, Old Barn

Saturday was a beautiful, clear day. I tried to take photos of my beautiful old barn, but it's really hard to photograph. So this is the best I could do. There is a photo of Solo peeking through the fence at me while he wondered what I am doing.

Quote of the Day

"This is an impressive crowd: the haves and have-mores. Some people call you the elites. I call you my base."
George W. Bush

State of the State and State of Mind

I've had a heavy weight, like a brick, in the pit of my stomach for several months. In the past two weeks it has reached boulder size. It's dread. I wake in the morning with it and I go to sleep at night with it. It's become a constant companion to me. I can go about my daily life; I can laugh, I can eat and sleep, but I am always accompanied by it.

I read too much and I listen to Tom Hartman too much and I think too much. By the end of the day I can barely pull my shoulders up from around my boots. Then the root of bitterness starts to take hold. I want to turn the tables on the personal responsibility crowd. There are consequences to our actions and those consequences have come home to roost. Unfortunately everyone, or at least almost everyone, gets the grand opportunity to pay.

I'm so weary of false piety, of bigotry and hate, of greed and smugness. I'm old enough to remember a time when these things surely existed but they weren't part of the mainstream consciousness. I'm a dinosaur living in a time that has no place for me. The past three decades have left me behind and I watched with amazement turning to horror as it happened.

So now here we are, reaping the fruits of the seeds that were so easily planted in our society. The seeds a broad majority of our citizenry accepted without question because one or another of those seeds represented something that could be embraced by our own dark places or inner yearnings. Or simply our own stupidity.

I had a glimmer of hope and I want it back, but I can't find it. 

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Quote of the Day

"Honor does not have to be defended."
Robert J. Sawyer (1960 - )

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Quote of the Day

"I generally avoid temptation, unless I can't resist it."
Mae West (1892 - 1980)

Captured in Light

Last evening Kristina was here and she worked Zing into dusk. The outdoor arena is on the west of the property, so the lowering sun shines through the trees creating beautiful light. If you look closely you can see my old dog Bill along the fence line in the fourth photo.