Thursday, April 29, 2010

On the Way to School

Paul usually drives Robert to school, so when I take him I try to soak up the beauty of the spring mornings in the Kentucky River valley. I told him today, "I hope that no matter where you may venture once you're on your own, you never take for granted the gorgeous drive you took to school each morning." I love watching the world wake up in the bluegrass! (You can biggify the photos by clicking on them). Pin It Now!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A Kentucky Favorite

The person who put together this slideshow describes the song as " a love song to a place, a home, a way of life and the people you know" I agree.

This time of year, I often find myself humming "My Old Kentucky Home". It's not only because of the great pre-Derby tradition (which normally brings tears to my eyes), but about another springtime tradition, the one that brought me to Kentucky in the first place.The Rolex Kentucky 3-Day Event, especially the Saturday Cross Country day, is one of my favorite spring events. I first attended this when it was the World 3-Day Event in 1978. I was a horse-crazy Ohio girl, and my parents brought another horsey friend and I to Lexington for it. I had also been to Keeneland Race Track the year or two before, and the seeds were planted in my soul for a future life in Kentucky on that trip.
Watching horse and rider negotiate the huge fences is exilherating, and I find myself holding my breath as they near the giant obstacles at a full gallop, with raw determination showing clearly on their faces.Yes, it is a dangerous sport (though many measures have been put into place to make it safer for horse and rider, as there have been fatalities in the past), and there is an occasional crash.The very first horse we watched negotiating The Head of the Lake series of water jumps hit a solid-looking log and it made a sharp cracking sound. Fortunately, the log was made of styrofoam and after being checked okay, the horse and rider did the entire series over and went on safely. They replaced the log with a spare, and we noticed 5 more spares on reserve!There is a lot of artistry and creativity that goes into the fence designs, as well as engineering for safety and challenge- it's a beautiful sight to see and to feel the hooves pounding since you're so close to the action.I love it, and although I wish I was closer to my family in Ohio I'll never regret moving to The Bluegrass State. Pin It Now!

Monday, April 26, 2010

A Fairy Tale Evening at The Castle

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity for the entire family... appointments and activities with the kids, tons of extra work for Paul and many trips for him to and from the Rolex 3-Day Event, alpaca shows and an auction and shearing and breeding and crias and their subsequent challenges, a sick horse, knee-high grass, etc. So, when Paul told me on Friday that we were invited to a dinner party this weekend that would require getting really dressed up and stuff, I thought, "no way", and I knew he'd feel the same.

I could hear something mischievous in his voice, though, and he went on to explain that we had been personally invited by the owner, Tom Post, of THE CASTLE POST to a black-tie dinner party on Sunday evening. We laughed giddily as we considered the invitation and quickly realized that we had better seize this opportunity as we might not have the chance again!

Most anyone that's been to the Lexington area has seen the famous Castle on Versailles Rd. near Keeneland Racetrack. It sits back from the road, and nearly every time we drive by, there is someone pulled over photographing the place at the front gate. The story told on tours is that the original builder was constructing it for his wife in the late 60's after they travelled to Europe and she fell in love with the castles there... they divorced before construction was completed and the building sat half-finished and deteriorating for several decades. It sold in the 90's, and the rest of the story is told well here.Mirian was so cute in helping me get ready for our big evening- she helped me pick out a new little black dress and some sexy new glittery heals, painted my toenails, and helped me put on my makeup. Paul debated on whether to rent a tux, but ended up instead buying a new dark suit- after all, every guy should have a new suit at least every 20 years, right? Paul began to get really nervous yesterday that we may have had the night somehow confused. He had talked to a few people who went to a huge charity party at the Castle on Saturday night, and as we entered the walled area and went through the gates, it didn't look like much was happening and there were few cars. Gulp, were we all dressed up with nowhere to go?
We went together to the massive front door and were immediately greeted by name and invited back to the bar at the end of the long, elegant hall. The first person I was introduced to was the wife of our U.S. Senator! She was feeling uncomfortable because the dress code for the evening hadn't been communicated to her, and all I could think was that I'd have normally been the one to be under-dressed (though she looked just fine). Anyway, she AND the Senator were as nice and down-to-earth as could be, as were the other 12 guests whom we had the chance to chit-chat with as we toured the castle.

Tom Post himself, the owner, proudly showed us around, explaining his vision of creating a palace atmosphere and telling us the history of some of the stunning antiques that appointed the luxury suites. He explained that the facility's use is free for fundraising events, and that the previous night's Jr. League fundraiser had earned over $50,ooo for charity. Guests that stay in the 16 guest rooms have the use of the tennis and basketball courts and pool on the lovely grounds within the castle walls.

Mr. Post had a great vision for the unique property when he bought it and people would be astounded to see how gorgeous the interior looks (many views are portrayed on the web page). Lush and tasteful upholstery, stunning woodwork, crystal chandeliers at every turn, it was breathtaking.

We sat down for dinner with place cards at each seat, and it occurred to me that this was the occasion for which my parents tried to train me in good etiquette when I was younger! The wine and meal was superb, and included many varied courses starting with caviar and ending with creme brulee made with tapioca. Conversation was comfortable, and included getting to know the guests and hearing about their jobs and kids and dogs and all of the usual. Paul sat next to the Senator, and I did hear him make a tactful comment about his disagreement with the Senator's Cap and Trade vote! I got a little nervous that he might pursue their opposing politics further, but the conversation got back to raising teenagers and their obsession with texting, etc.

Afterwards, we all sat in the Music Room and then Mr. Post was anxious to take us to the roof via the elevator. It was raining, but we all walked around anyway, and somehow Paul and I and the Senator ended up standing around talking in one of the turrets for about 5 minutes and it felt like we were all old friends. The entire experience was so surreal and fun, a fairy tale evening that we will never forget.

When Paul first proposed to me, he told me he'd "take me places I'd never been before." I have remembered that many times as we have experienced life's highs and it's lows, as well as the daily routine. Starting our marriage in a ramshackle cabin for 3 years, building up our farm and family, growing in our love and faith, it's all been a great adventure... and last night my best friend, my husband, took me to The Castle for dinner. Pin It Now!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cheep Thrills

I love spring on the farm when I can take the time to smell the flowers and admire the babies (and I'm trying hard to ignore the knee-high grass in places!). The other day I picked up 4 Aracauna chicks at a feed store to add to our thriving little flock of laying hens. Aracaunas are one of a few types that lay blue eggs, and I've always wanted some!
Of course, Mirian needed to get acquainted with them and give them all names.We're enjoying Mirian's sheep- her ewe is Pepper and the lambs are Shelby and Pepe. Pepe apparently got stepped on by his mother and has had a bum leg, but the vet ruled out a break and he finally seems a little better today.We had a beautiful cria (full Accoyo fawn male) born while I was gone to the Futurity Alpaca Show and Auction in Oklahoma City (read about it here), and Paul and the kids did a fabulous job with the extra care he required due to being a little small and weak and a few weeks early. Mirian even tube-fed him before he was strong enough to nurse on his own. He's doing fine now, and has tentatively been named San Francisco.In other news, our horse Gringo has foundered. This is my first time to learn first-hand about this somewhat common but serious equine ailment, and all indications are that he'll be okay but will need lots of TLC, stall rest, vet care and a set of $275 shoes which he got today...... um, yeah.

Tomorrow is one of the best days of the year to live in Kentucky, Cross Country Day at the Rolex Kentucky 3 Day Event! Can't wait and will report back with pictures. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Spring on the Farm

..... is a very busy time! Gone are my luxurious long days in the studio, and back are the days that I may not get to do any crafting for days on end- that can make me a bit "twitchy," but I have to remind myself that it will get better.
Last weekend, if you read our farm blog, you heard about our 2 crias in one day. I took some more photos of them with Mirian on Easter and couldn't help but smile to think of the people that pay "big bucks" for fancy photos of their children with lambs and bunnies!Of course, "Fergie", one of our barn cats, kept trying to get into the picture, so I must post her photo, too.
Not to be left out, here's Munchie with his spring haircut. If you look closely, you'll see a tiny object in front of him. This is one of his "pet rocks" that he occasionally loves to carry around when he's feeling extra playful! In this case, it must be an Easter Egg.
I may not be able to post again until after shearing, but wanted to remind everyone that our Shearing Day is this Saturday, April 10th and is free and open to the public from 10-4. We'll have spinning demonstrations, specials on yarn, fiber and products, and great sale prices on alpacas! Pin It Now!