Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Insert some creativity

Looking over the past month's blogs, it's obvious that family stuff has been in the forefront (as it needed to be), and there has been very little mention of crafting or artwork. Even knitting has really fallen by the wayside, and the only spinning I've done in months was during the demonstration at Woodford County's Farm Field Day last week. I recently squeezed in a tiny bit of felting, too, but it hasn't been nearly enough. Being around my good friend Marti McGinnis, an artist, web guru, and horsewoman always inspires me to try to find a little bit more art time. She's one of those effervescent people that oozes creativity and individuality, and it's contagious! Marti puts her unique personal stamp on just about everything, from her hand-painted purses, shoes, saddle bag, and even her car which is completely painted with whimsical horse scenes. Don't get me started on her wonderful home and farm, which is covered with her artwork and other creative touches from top to bottom. Even Marti's horses, MuMu or more officially "Muon McHippus" (an American Paint Horse, below) and Io (a miniature horse, at top with Marti) are both naturally painted! There are many reasons I love being with her (humor, great listener, interesting and brilliant), but creative stimulation is definitely one of the top ones. So, with the little bit of free time I've had, I've been embellishing a few things, but I've decided to leave all of that for a different post.
Yesterday, I attended a clinic at Marti's farm called "Inner Dialogue, Outer Joy" which was geared toward quieting one's inner critic and encouraging positive self-talk. It was facilitated by Marti and Verena Schott (below), a healer, animal communicator and delightful and insightful person. Clinic activities took place in and out of Marti's awesome old tobacco barn and involved artwork, guided activities with horses, a little meditation, and some insightful discussions. We had an amazing organic lunch, it's no suprise that Marti is an excellent cook as well. It was a very uplifting day with some awesome classmates, and I enjoyed everyone's ideas and company.
I've been told that friends come in to your life for "a reason, a season, or a lifetime"- I am really grateful to have befriended Mary Beth and subsequently, Marti, and believe strongly that both of these precious friends are here for all three!
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Monday, May 25, 2009

Really, really big!

Today we took the kids and Mirian's friend Esmeralda to Mammoth Cave, in Cave City, Kentucky near Bowling Green. I always feel so good about seeing "local" sites, especially since the Bluegrass is so rich in beauty and natural wonders. It was amazing how many international visitors were at the park since there's not always a lot of diversity here, but it was great to see and a good reminder how special it is to have a National Park and World Heritage Site within a few hour's drive.
I don't want to bore you with lots of facts, as it's truly something you need to experience for yourself. Just a few highlights- Mammoth Cave is the largest cave in the entire world, with 365 MILES of mapped trails and even more being added every year! In addition to humongous rooms, there are some stunning formations and a great variety of tours for all ages and levels (we did a 2-hour "New Entrance" tour and saw a little of everything while inside.)
I hope you enjoy the pictures- the first few were taken while dropping down over 250 steps through an amazing pit that went straight down! I can't say enough about the Mammoth Cave experience, and I look forward to visiting again this summer with friends to take the horses trail-riding, since the above-ground beauty is also quite nice!
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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Divine Day

Do you ever, just every once in a while, have a day that comes together and when you look back on it you realize that it truly represents a dream? That's what I hope to capture in my blogs from time to time, the days I want to remember when I'm old. I want to share and then look back upon Jason and Crystal's wedding, and my kids' first days of school, and some of the rough times as well so that I can better appreciate the special days. Recording the ice storm of '09 helps remind me to savor these beautiful May days, and when I look back on these times during nasty weather I'll have hope for better times ahead!
Yesterday (after a not-so-stellar start of getting a very grumpy girl on the bus, that does still happen lest you think my life is perfect), we had another cria born- the third this week! Findlay bestowed upon us a beautiful, healthy boy. Not so exciting as Dulce's female cria, Ginger Spice, born on Sunday, but still healthy is good.
Then MB brought out her horse, Gus, and we had a picnic trail ride, the first for us in quite a while! That in itself is hard to beat, but then we met Mirian's bus and she joined us for a while with Gringo. Marti and her husband brought their green horses MuMu and Coho out for the first time to expose them to a new place and experience, and Paul even joined in with Strawberry for a while. Afterwards we ate smoked wild turkey and other barbecue fixin's with both of our kids and friends enjoying laughs, prayers and drinks and a new delicacy together. I'm always so happy to expose our kids to such great creative role models who know how to work hard, do things for others, AND have a lot of fun in life!
Paul had shot a beautiful tom turkey on the last day of the hunting season, his first, and the breast meat was absolutely exquisite! I hope our friends had as great of a time as I did! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spring at Seldom Scene

The weather seems to have finally broken, and it's supposed to be gorgeous all week. I love being out in the fields with the alpacas this time of year! As pretty as the buttercups are, they're an unfortunate sign of our poor pasture conditions due to the past two summers of drought and some overgrazing. It is pretty, though!
Planting the garden and trying to catch up on the knee-high (in some spots) grass are some of our priorities after what seems like weeks of rain! Paul just tilled the majority of the garden for the 3rd time, as grass just kept re-growing and the only things in right now are peas and onions.
Yesterday we were graced with our first water-lily of the season. I know I gush about our pond, but there is always something new to enjoy. The two lily pictures were taken only 20 minutes apart! The water lilies only bloom for a few days and they open up for just about 4 hours per day, so I try to enjoy them while I can. We have at least 6 resident frogs, and they are pretty entertaining as well. They really do enjoy hanging out on the lily pads- wish I had time to float around in a pool like that. (I can almost picture them with little umbrella-drinks).
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Monday, May 18, 2009

High Hopes Steeplechase Fun

The High Hope Steeplechase, held annually at the Kentucky Horse Park, is one of our favorite days to be from the Lexington area, rating right up there with Cross Country day at the Rolex. We always see tons of people we know, and Paul's company sponsors the event and has a nice tent for friends and clients to enjoy. Today's beautiful weather just added to the beauty of this spectacular setting. There are about 5 races, and from what I'm told many of the talented horses racing are thoroughbreds that didn't necessarily show great potential on a traditional track but are still fast and can jump well. There is no starting gate, the horses start on an imaginary line between cones (above).The races are more scenic and exciting than the usual races on a dirt track, and it's fun to be close to the action. In addition to the horse races, many people bring their dogs and there are terrier races as well. I didn't get any good footage of those, but maybe next year. Munchie's not that thrilled with other dogs, but he loved being with us and even appeared to enjoy watching the races!
Occasionally a rider is unseated but there are rarely serious accidents. This horse kept right on running after his rider came off! I had picked him to win and he was before this happened- finishing without the rider doesn't count.
Another horse unseated his rider in the same race and was quickly apprehended by an outrider for his and everyone's safety.
All of the proceeds from the event go to Central Kentucky Riding for the Handicapped. Mirian and I enjoyed meeting some of the miniature horses that helped to represent the program, and we learned that they are used for all kinds of therapy with non-ambulatory participants and even in grief counseling and outreach. What a great program and an awesome day! Having our visiting family members and good friends with us made it even more of a bonus.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Getting hooked

Yesterday morning, as I woke to the prospect of my stepson Jason's joyous wedding day, I asked my husband if he remembered what question he asked me 20 years before. Without missing a beat, he said "I gave you a tackle box and fishing pole for your birthday and when you opened up the compartment with the diamond ring in it I asked if you wanted to get hooked?!" Of course I said yes, and the rest is history!
I have enjoyed reminiscing about those fun days of planning and excitement as we anticipated Jason and Crystal's wedding. There is just nothing better than bringing together your very best friends and all of your family to share in the formalizing of your love and committment. Okay, I'm gonna start getting sappy and weapy if I don't watch it! (Here's a cute picture of my parents, below, married 57? years!)
All that I can say is that the day we decided to get hooked and the day that Jason and Crystal tied the knot were two of the best birthdays, no BEST DAYS, I've ever had! It was a beautiful evening (thank you, Lord, for a reprieve from rain!) and I was extremely proud of Mirian and Robert's poise as members of the wedding party. It was sooo much fun watching Mirian and Jason dancing, and to see cousins from California to North Carolina having a great time together. Even my parents hung in there until after 1 AM with my Dad boogeying with the rest of us- nobody wanted to leave such a great party! Love, love, happy, happy, it was just awesome!!!! (Well worth missing the Preakness over- yeah, Rachel Alexandra!) Best prayers and wishes to Jason and Crystal!!!! We are truly thrilled that you got hooked.
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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Koi and relaxation

Having two tweens, a family wedding, end of school stuff, rain and more rain, and two businesses within the family can make for some stress, even on a good day. Some of you may have noticed that I've ramped up my facebook participation, as well as having become active on Twitter. Those are simply ways for me to connect in short spurts with other adult humans when I'm feeling isolated on the farm. Here's what I've found to be one of the best de-stressors, right outside my door! I simply adore my fish, they never ever talk back, misbehave, say they hate me, grunt when we're having a conversation, or complain about the food.

I highly recommend some. Pin It Now!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Riding Expedition!

This year I decided to celebrate Mother's Day with some time away with friends and horses, though it turned out to be just one friend, Marti, who could make it (Boo-hoo, we really missed MB!). Since it was our first big trip out for the season, we decided to stay close- I insisted that if the weather was nasty I'd be just fine camping at Wal-Mart. I just needed to get away! Despite storms and flash flooding on Friday night, the weather cooperated beautifully the rest of the weekend. It was a bit sad but also pretty amusing watching stuff float down the fast-flooding creek beside the campground- a refrigerator and everything! It didn't help at all in dispelling any Eastern Kentucky stereotypes we held. One thing that isn't perpetuated enough about Eastern Kentucky is it's treasure-trove of natural beauty. This is just one of the hundreds of natural arches that are all throughout the Daniel Boone National Forest and Sheltowee Trace area.There was a plethora of wildflowers blooming and butterflies everywhere (not to mention poison ivy and ticks, but we won't go there...). The sloppiness of the trails wasn't really too much of a bother for our surefooted horses, and the sandstone terrain isn't very slick at all. There were enough treacherous areas to keep things interesting, and we wisely dismounted to lead the horses through some super-tough areas, especially Jump Rock- I'd really like to see how any equine could get up that rock-strewn cliff! Gringo and Sunday made us proud, once again, with their good sense and enviable endurance!
I hope you like this little movie, the first I've made with my handy Flip Mino which fit nicely in my pocket as I rode. Sorry for the shakiness of the videos, it's more because I have a wiggly horse rather than the video itself being poor! Also, this is my first You Tube Video and I need to better figure out a way to control the "thumbnail view", as what you see here isn't a good representation of the movie itself- anybody have any suggestions? At least I've accomplished another step in technology! (And this particular post was about getting away from it all for the weekend- hah!)
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Friday, May 8, 2009

Random Recent Photos

As you'll guess from these images, farm stuff has been taking up most of my time lately. We had a new cria on Monday, a lovely brown girl from Aymara. She's shown here with her dam as well as her "wetnurse", Nanny (more about that in a future blog).

Our flowers are coming along so nicely. I adore foxglove, and had some pretty ones along the deck years ago. I got rid of them when Robert was a baby since they're very toxic, but am enjoying some again now that the kids are older and hopefully won't go around eating flowers!

Mirian has her very own alpaca, Willow! We bought her recently in Quechua Benefit's auction raising money for the charity.

Flashpoint (Michelangelo x Zippen Flash) is one of our best show prospects for fall- isn't he adorable?

This is Munchie with his friend, Mollie (an Irish Jack Russell Terrier). We babysat for her for about a week while her owner was riding motorcycles with Paul. She was really, really good except for the one time I found her in the middle of the dining room table eating out of the butter dish!

Now I'm off for a weekend of girl time and horseback riding, reporting back on Monday!

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