The Soreness is Real!

It was a sunny weekend and so I opened up Little Birdies coop door so she could enjoy some sunshine with her babies. Of course I closed the main door on the coop so the other chickens couldn’t bug her but she seemed to really enjoy the sunshine for a little bit after being cooped up with the babies. The babies are adorable but weird looking. Something between a bantam (their real mother) and a weird speckled chicken (their father). I have no clue what their father is because he came to me from a random batch of chicks and the lady who I got them from had no clue of his breed either. R and I were joking that we made some mutant chicken breed by letting them hatch. They really are funny but impossible to get a close up of because they move around to much and momma (Little Birdie not their real mom) doesn’t really like it when we get to close. It stresses her out. So it was nice to see her basking in the sunshine while the chicks peeked their little heads out to get a good look at what was happening.

I am so sore. I am feeling muscles I haven’t felt in a long time. My abs and thighs mostly. All because my trainer decided to whoop my ass on Sophie. Even Sophie was like, what the hell lady?! I love my trainer. She is a young girl (she is 21 years old but that is young to me haha) who I met at the barn I used to volunteer at in exchange for lessons on my big boy Roy (he was a 16.1 warm blood retired champion that was an amazing lesson horse at the barn). She was the main trainers assistant at the time and every time I took a lesson with her, she really helped me. So when she branched out on her own I reached out to her and she said she would gladly train me on Sophie at my home for a very reasonable price. So every Saturday afternoon Sophie and I spend an hour in the arena in the barn getting our butts whipped into shape.

IMG_20170905_203259_317_wm

The trainer is a combination of tough love, positive encouragement and letting me figure out some things on my own. She spices up our lessons and gives me lots to work on that following week. Sophie has a few issues, she drags her feet and she pulls her head down instead of engaging her rear end when she gets tired. So this weekend we worked on transitions because transitions are a great way to get a horse to engage their rear end. We started with walking, stopping and backing up every few minutes. That got Sophie paying attention. Then we went from walking the short wall to trotting the long wall (the arena is kind of square shaped more than circle shaped). Then we went from slow trotting the short wall to post trotting the long wall. I really worked on pushing Sophie into her big trot and slowing her down into her slow trot. Now, if you have ever posted on a trotting horse, it takes all the abs to do it properly because you don’t want to whack your butt down on the horse. Not to mention that because Sophie will pull forward a bit I have to engage my abs extra and hold my arms steady so she doesn’t pull me forward.

So I am FEELING my abs. The burn. Oh the burn!

Then we worked on some turning on the haunches. Now, this one was hard on Sophie and I. First of all it requires a lot from me, sit back on the horse, hold one reign out, pull up on the other and tap with your heel in the direction you want to go. This one is hard on Sophie because she doesn’t like engaging her rear end and that is exactly what turning on her haunches means. She leaves her rear end still while she crosses over her front feet to make a circle. Ever watch the western horses turn in those fast spins? That is turning on their haunches! By the end of it we got a few cross overs but it is something Sophie and really need to practice. But when I first got her she didn’t like turning on her forehand (same thing but with the butt moving while the front stays still) and now she is very good at it. So it is in my homework this week, work on turning on the haunches as well as transitions.

Last but not least we did some no stirrup work. That is where lucky me I get to drop my stirrups and ride without them. She even has me trot without them and that makes my thighs burn like no tomorrow. But I am thinking it is better than a hundred squats any day of the week. According to my health app, I burn more calories riding my horse than I do being on the elliptical for 30 minutes. Damn! I will take it!

Because I was still feeling the high from an amazing ride on Saturday, I went out to ride again on Sunday. Sophie wasn’t amused but I took it easy on her because we both were a little sore from the day before. The retired brood mares normally graze in the back 10 acres in the summer but in order for it to grow back the landlord moves them to the smaller pasture. So during fall and winter, Sophie and I can go back out to the 10 acres to do figure 8’s around the big tires out there. R joined us and helped me come up with some fun exercises to do with Sophie around the tires. We worked on trotting and walking figure 8’s with big circles around the tires. It was fun and nice to be out in the pasture vs. working in the barn all the time.

But I am so sore now! A good kind of sore but sore none the less and walking funny at work. Every time I stand up I groan a little. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. To be honest I love having goals on Sophie. It really helps keep me motivated and riding all week long when my trainer gives me homework. So my plan is to go out to do some light riding in the evenings (it is usually dark but the barn has lights) and then during my four days off for Thanksgiving get some good rides in out in the pasture.

So what are your favorite exercises on your horse?

 

Advertisements

Beanless Chili in the Crockpot

Okay my low carb lovers! I have had a serious craving for some chili but I didn’t want the beans. First of all, they make my stomach all crampy and second of all, they aren’t very low carb. So this last Saturday I decided to experiment with making chili without any of the beans and in the crock pot. It turned out really good! I loved it and there are so many ways you could play with it to make it better. Now remember, I am a big baby with spicy stuff, so I don’t really do spicy chili but hey if you want to add some spice to it, bet it would still be pretty bad ass. So low carb lovers like me, get your crock pots out and give some beanless chili a try!

Beanless Chili in the Crockpot

IMG_20171118_130744.jpg

Ingredients:

 

  • Hamburger meat
  • 3-4 cans of diced tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce (I used the Chili flavored one from Hunts)
  • 1/2 sweet onion
  • Seasoning: lemon pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin, onion powder, sea salt and bay leaf
  • 1-2 tablespoons of brown sugar

Directions:

  1. Brown the hamburger meat and start chopping up the sweet onion. I only added a half of a sweet onion because I don’t like onion all that much.
  2. Place the onion, hamburger meat browned, diced tomatoes and tomato sauce all in the crock pot.
  3. Before stirring add in all the seasoning (except the bay leaf) and brown sugar.
  4. Stir everything together. Place bay leaf on top. Place lid on crock pot and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Either one. Then you can leave the crock pot on warm.

I made some cornbread to go with it, placed some sour cream and cheese on top and DONE! Easy and drool worthy! Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

My Quiet Place

Friday night and it is 11:11 p.m. I can’t sleep. I am staring out my window looking at the stars and listening to R’s steady breathing next to me. I am restless. My mind is filled with everything echoing around in it and I can feel my anxiety wanting to rear its ugly head. I take another deep breath in and try again to close my eyes. They just pop right back open.

So I snuck out.

I am not a child and I can leave any time but it felt like sneaking out as I quietly got dressed in the dark and slipped out the door with only a flashlight. I leave a note just in case R wakes up and looks for me. Then I walk to the barn with the ranch kittens following me, playing peek a boo with the flashlight. Each breath comes out in cold white clouds and the handsome blue eyed stud horse nickers softly as I pass by.

I turn on the overhead lights (the one’s that still work) and walk up to Sophie who is waiting for me calmly. She thinks maybe a second dinner might be in the works and I laugh as she looks at her hay trough expectantly. There is not a second dinner but I duck in between the fence poles to run my hands through her thick winter coat. I spend just a few minutes smelling her horsey smell and feeling her thick coat in between my fingers. I feel my anxiety quiet down.

Snapchat-1519713060

She picks up each one of her feet calmly for me as I pick out all the mud she walked through in the last couple of days. I note that she is shedding her frog again. She knows my movements, we do this dance often enough, she picks up her foot even before I ask her for it and calmly yawns as I groan to her about how impacted it is. She stands quietly for me as I run my hands down her legs, under her belly and over her back checking for sores, cuts or issues. I check the cut on her foot and note that it finally has a scab. I notice that she yet again kicked off her bell boot and I hunt it down in the half dark arena. She follows me slowly, giving me enough space to be respectful but keeping a close eye on me none the less. My trainer jokes that she is my babysitter because when Sophie feels me sliding around during our no stirrup work she stops to give me a moment to regain my balance. She also keeps a close eye on my step son when he rides her. So she has earned herself the title, babysitter.

I stop at the gate that looks over the small pasture that connects with the barn and I look up at all the beautiful stars. Sophie stands with me and keeps one ear on me while I tell her about the constellations. Her other ear is on whatever she is listening to beyond the barn. Am I crazy? I just might be since I am having a conversation with a horse. She lets me lean my head on her as her back foot rests in the position that tells me she is relaxed.

Eventually I walk back into the light to get her tennis ball and rub it all over her muscles. It is my way of thanking her for being so loyal and calm when I ride. She tries so hard to do everything I ask. So I roll the ball, over her neck, down her back and down her long muscles in her back legs. I stretch her neck and scratch her chest. She relaxes fully and her eyes slowly close.

As I go to duck out of the arena, after well over an hour of just spending time being in her calm presence, she backs her ass up to me for a scratch. I scratch as she sways her butt and it makes me laugh so hard that she turns to glare at me. So I scratch some more. I scratch till she walks slowly away to check her hay trough and then I turn off the barn lights to walk back to the house.

Even the dogs are sound asleep and not interested in waiting for me by the fence. I slip back into my pajamas, back under the covers where R pulls me close in his sleep and I finally feel myself slipping into oblivion.

And when people ask me why I ride even though this 1200 lb animal could really hurt me, this is what I tell them, because she helps me and when I am with her, there are no busy thoughts cluttering up my brain. I am just focused on her. And in a world full of loud noises, non stop stress and craziness, everyone needs their quiet place. The barn, with my horse, is mine.

Snapchat-2122409144.jpg

Spoons

Lately, stress and how it mixes with my health condition has been on my mind. For those of you that don’t know, I have PCOS. I don’t talk about an awful lot because it has been apart of my life now for so long. Now, it is a broad statement to say I have PCOS because seriously, PCOS is so different for each woman who has it. Some have to few of periods, some like me have to many, some have cysts, some don’t and in very rare cases some have a skin condition like me that develops as a side effect of PCOS. The skin condition is very rare but lucky me, I got hit with BOTH PCOS and the rare skin condition. I struggle to lose weight, I have to eat very carefully, my skin breaks out in rashes and boils when my hormones are off and stress can make all of that worse. As well as trigger my anxiety.

I was reading an article the other day about PCOS and stress eating. In this article it mentioned a link between children (female of course) that stress ate high sugary and fatty foods as a kid and being diagnosed with PCOS. But I have also read articles that say PCOS has side effects such as anxiety and the craving of high sugary foods. So, kind of like the chicken and the egg, which came first? The stress eating problem or the PCOS?

Can you guess what I did as a kid to deal with stress? I stress ate. I dug candy out of the trash that my Mom would throw away. I ate so many raw Top Ramen noodles once I puked in my own closet. I begged for fast food. I snuck food and once I got a job, I would buy food and hide it in my car. So bad, I know. I don’t stress eat as much now as an adult but sometimes I have to give myself a lecture on eating certain foods when I am stressed.

Today, I was reading a different article that talked about the energy someone with a chronic illness has. I don’t really consider myself someone with a chronic illness but unfortunately PCOS is a chronic illness.

This article talked about spoons:

“Spoon theory was written by a woman with lupus, Christine Miserandano, to describe what it’s like to live with a chronic disease. She imagined a person’s level of energy and ability in a given day as represented by a certain number of spoons, and then described how every task, even seemingly mundane ones, cost different amounts of spoons, causing the chronically ill person to have to make difficult decisions about how to spend their few spoons. By contrast, healthy people simply never need to worry about counting their spoons or carefully planning their expenditure.

Although spoon theory was written with lupus in mind, it can easily be applied to other chronic conditions, including polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which many of my patients (as well as I) have. PCOS applies to spoon theory in terms of how we manage emotional and mental stress and anxiety. Chronic disease, of any type, is a huge life stressor that a person must contend with. This leaves that person with far fewer “spoons” to accomplish their daily tasks than those without a chronic illness.

To illustrate how this might work, let’s say a hypothetical woman with PCOS has 12 spoons. Women without PCOS or another chronic condition might have enough spoons that they don’t have to worry about even counting them most days. But for comparison’s sake, let’s say that a different hypothetical woman without PCOS also has 12 spoons.

Both women have to accomplish the same list of tasks every day, with the corresponding costs in spoons:

  • Waking up and getting herself ready for the day. (2 spoons)
  • Preparing breakfast and lunch. (1 spoon)
  • Going to work. (2 spoons)
  • Cooking and cleaning up dinner. (1 spoon)
  • Exercising. (1 spoon)
  • Quality time with partner. (1 spoon)

This leaves the woman without PCOS with four remaining spoons for the day that she can spend as she wishes.”

Check out the full article here!

It got me thinking about my spoons.

During the week my day looks like this:

  • Wake up at 5:30 a.m.
  • Get ready for work, this might include feeding the animals if R didn’t or if R was out of town, making myself lunch, taking a shower, getting dressed, putting on make-up, etc;
  • I commute over an hour in stop and go traffic, worrying the entire time about being late to work;
  • I work all day long at a high stress job;
  • During my lunch break I am responding to texts, emails and phone calls for my personal life;
  • I commute over an hour back home in stop and go traffic;
  • I feed the horses, ducks, chickens, dogs and cat;
  • I make myself dinner;
  • I do some chores so the house doesn’t get overwhelming;
  • If R is home, I try to spend time with him;
  • The entire day I am also always working on things like, dealing with R’s ex wife (he has a high conflict baby mama as we refer to them in my step mom group), dealing with an aging dog, problem solving issues that pop up, trying to remember when bills are due, etc

All I could think after listing that out is, wow, that is a LOT of spoons.

It isn’t that all of those tasks make me unhappy either. I love feeding my animals and getting time with them. I love spending time with my partner. I love cooking. But it does get overwhelming and some days my anxiety is on very high which also takes spoons away from my daily tasks. If my hormones are acting up, my spoons gets reduced a bit as well. No wonder my doctor recently diagnosed me with chronic fatigue from stress. She also said that I am clenching my teeth so tight and grinding so much that I am causing migraines, as well as jaw pain, ear pain and neck pain. Whoops!

So  that has me thinking this week, how can I reduce some of that stress that is taking away my spoons? Also, what can I do to increase my spoons a bit (such as self care)?

While I contemplate those things, why don’t you tell me how you handle your daily stress?

Holiday Blues

Image result for christmas quotes

Tis the season for… bad driving, rude people and fighting family. Gosh, I used to love the holiday season. I would wait and dream of when Fall would creep in. I would get excited for changing leaves and rainy days. I would look up recipe after recipe for Thanksgiving. I have spent years working on perfecting my Nannygoats/fathers apple pie recipe. I counted down till I could buy my live Christmas tree and decorate my home with twinkling lights. I used to get this happy feeling as I dreamed of snow and one day having a white Christmas. I didn’t give up on baking cookies for Santa till I was in my teens. I just loved the holidays so much and always dreamed of sharing it with a big family that was loud, messy and full of holiday cheer!

Image result for christmas quotes

I still do have some of that cheer but it has been dimmed by the fact that the holidays seem to get worse and worse each year. Between R’s ex (who does not understand the meaning of mutually agreed upon holidays) making demands that she get all the holidays and my family pretty much not talking to each other, R and I are staring down Thanksgiving alone. And we might just be okay with it.

Image result for christmas quotes

I am really tired of hearing the negative remarks about these holidays. They are to commercialized. People are greedy. Those aren’t the things that make these holidays special. Not at all. There is nothing wrong with finding unique gifts for your loved ones to show them that once (or twice if you do birthday presents as well) that you are thinking of them and want to treat them to something special. If you don’t want to be commercialized by it then make something or go to local craft fairs and support local crafters/small businesses or buy them a little trip somewhere so they get an experience or a massage so they can take some time out on themselves or even your favorite book. There are gifts out there that are full of love and thought that aren’t all about being commercialized.

Image result for christmas quotes

Some of my favorite gifts have been the least expensive gifts. One year, a friend made me an ornament. It is clear with book verses in it because I love to read. It still hangs on my tree every single year. Another year, my mother gave me cooking pots and pans with a cookbook that I still use to this day. I still have crafts all over my house from back in the day when my niece and nephew used to craft silly things for me and a drawer full of the craziest underwear from my sisters amazing underwear tradition that up until last year was still being carried on. My cousin got me her favorite book last year and I got so hooked I read most of the series as well and we talked for hours about how awesome the book was. My father’s wife made me a laptop carrier bag that I still use when traveling with my laptop.

Some of my favorite memories are of disasters that happened on the holidays. The year my sister didn’t turn on the oven (or it wasn’t working) and our turkey was very undercooked. Or the year we clogged up my garbage disposal and poor R was trying to fix it while people did the dishes in the bathtub. Or the year my sister and I bought the tallest Christmas tree ever and had to tie to the top of the stairs to keep it from falling over. Or the year my sister bought a giant inflatable turkey and we posed in the weirdest pictures ever with it. I still have those hanging at my desk at work. Last year I wanted a Christmas tree before Thanksgiving, which is like unheard of but R was determined. So we drove up this winding dirt road to this small tree farm where this guy was spending a day letting his kids pick out a tree before the tree farm opened up for the season. R talked him into letting us have free range of his odd shaped tree area and we brought home more of a bush than a tree. It even had an olds bird nest stuck in it and had to be cut down to fit into our living room three times. These are the memories that still bring a big smile to my face!

To me it is all about traditions. I love traditions. I love cooking with my family in the kitchen making the same dishes we made for years. I love gifting ornaments on Thanksgiving to hang on our trees so we have a unique memory that ties into that ornament. Playing the silliest games and laughing till our stomachs hurt. Waking up to Thanksgiving morning mimosas so that by noon we were all giggling and clear out of champagne. Live Christmas trees being cut down and dragged home. Decorating the house. Watching The Muppet Christmas Carol (something we have been doing since my niece and nephew were very little). Making or picking out gifts for each person. Some years I had a really tight budget and those years I would knit like a crazy person. I made scarves for the kids and my sister, socks for my mom and an ear warmer headband for my cousin. I miss the kids being little (not mine, my sisters) because they brought so much joy and though we have R’s son, we normally get him after Christmas because his mom takes him to see her family each year. I miss the sound of little excited feet running to the tree in the morning. It brought a certain excitement about Christmas!

Image result for christmas quotes

Lately though the holidays are getting frustrating. No one wants to make plans with each other. No one wants to make Thanksgiving dinner together or pick out a live tree together or watch bad Christmas movies in their Pajamas or play bad games. No one is really talking to each other this year. There is rude drivers. Rude people. Stores are crowded full of shoving angry people. Sigh. It is enough to make a holiday crazy girl want to hunker down in her llama pajamas in front of a fire with Christmas movies ALONE. Well, I might be willing to invite the hubby and step kiddo. Maybe. If they promise to be quiet!

I keep walking by my Christmas decorations and giving them the side eye. I think I will drag them out soon for some Christmas cheer. To heck with all the other scrooges right now. Bah Humbag to ya’ll, I am lining my walk way with candy canes that light up. Maybe I should start annoyingly listening to Christmas music at my desk again. That seems like a good way to cheer myself up!

Image result for christmas quotes

So what are some of your favorite holiday traditions?!

Give a kid a horse…

IMG_20171105_173422_009This weekend was a whirl of step son activities. Whenever my step son (R’s son), comes for his visitation, the whole house gets turned upside down in such a good way. He brings laughter, play and some whining to our normally quiet home. Well, as quiet as you can get living with a man who listens to music nearly all the time. What I love about my step son is that he is gaining a love for riding horses. Something that makes my heart super happy.

On Friday evening we all went to the barn to give the horses their dinner. Luckily my step son loves feeding the animals, this includes the chickens/ducks, the dogs and the horses. So he is great at helping with all of it. Since we were all out there and sometimes you gotta shake up the horses routine to keep them on their toes, we decided to do some riding. I put my step son up on Sarge (gelding) all by himself for the first time. He has ridden them but always with us ponying him but this time he got control of the reigns. R walked beside them as he tried to teach his son about the gas pedal, brakes and steering. Sarge is a bit stubborn at times and so he is hard to get going when he knows he can get away with it. So, eventually we stuck him on Sophie and she was very responsive after we taught my step son how to give her a good kick if he asks and she doesn’t respond. Trust me, he doesn’t have enough strength to do any damage to that thick skinned horse. It was wonderful to see the huge smile on his face the entire time he rode.

Fast forward to Saturday, when my trainer comes to spend an hour whipping Sophie and I into shape. She is a wonderful girl who has many years of experience and a great way of teaching. She has a great balance between correcting and letting you figure out for yourself what you did wrong. Sophie and I have become so much stronger since she has started working with us. I can now keep Sophie in a solid trot and even turn circles with her. It is pretty amazing considering when I first got her she was the horse who leaned on her bit hard and wouldn’t trot circles.

So after a solid lesson, I put my step son on Sophie and let my trainer have 15 minutes with him. He did great. She got him to push Sophie out to the outer wall, got him trotting nicely and even to do some side steps. It was great to see how he handled the horse so much better after just 15 minutes spent with her. He even woke up Sunday and asked to ride again.

I love being able to share this love of horses with him! It warms my heart so much to see him carefully move around the horses and to climb up in that saddle with no fear. Sophie is a good horse to learn on to because she is gentle but will push her boundaries, like trying to pull her head into the middle so she can be done with work. Plus it pushes me and his dad to get out there to ride more often ourselves. Which is something we need to do more often.

So all in all, it was a good weekend full of laughter and lots of horse riding. Which is perfect by me!

Beef Stew

I love fall and winter but hate daylight savings time. Now I have light in the morning but in the evenings it is dark before I can even walk out of my work. I have a flashlight I carry in my car now because first thing when I get home I have to run to feed the horses in the dark, check on the chicks and momma, feed the ducks (who are bedded down already) and check on everything. In order to ride I will need to only do it in the barn where the lights are. It is seriously a headache for those of us that work full time and don’t get off till 5 p.m.

So my oven has been broke for a week. The company with the part keeps pushing back the delivery time. So I have had no oven which means I broke out the crockpot for some beef stew. I love beef stew. I prepped the entire thing the night before and then just popped it into the crockpot the next morning to simmer all day long. Once I got home, I topped it with some grated cheese and sour cream. Delicious.

IMG_20171104_190205

Now I did something a little different, I didn’t brown the stew meat first because I was reading an article about beef stew and saw something similar. Turned out really good not browning the meat and instead letting it simmer slowly for 10 hours. If you aren’t comfortable, brown your meat but I don’t put it in my directions because I like how it turned out without browning it. Check out the recipe below!!

Beef Stew in the Crock Pot

Ingredients:

  • Beef Stew meat (I just buy the packages from the store)
  • 1/4 cup of flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of Beef broth
  • 1-2 large sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  • 14 ounces of diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup of baby carrots
  • Seasoning: I used lemon pepper, Italian seasoning, sea salt and onion powder
  • 1-2 cloves of shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Optional: Add a little bit of onion, I don’t but you can for flavor
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sour cream
  • Grated cheese of your choosing

Directions:

  1. Place stew meat in crock pot and add 1/4 cup of flour. Coat meat with flour thoroughly.
  2. Place in the rest of the ingredients except for the bay leaves.
  3. Season everything generously.
  4. Add two bay leaves on the very top (this makes it easier for you to find them).
  5. If you prepped the night before, place crock pot in fridge overnight, if you didn’t, place everything on the crock pot right away.
  6. Cook on low for 10 hours.
  7. Take out bay leaves, add sour cream and some cheese on top.

Viola!

Rainy Days

So this weekend was one of those weekends where I actually felt somewhat decent. The rain was making my allergies feel better for the first time in weeks and I had a weekend at home to spend with the critters. Now, I didn’t get as much housework done as I intended but that often happens. Especially when daylight savings time throws off your internal clock and you spend Sunday morning in bed with your book to recover. But all in all, I can’t call the weekend a waste.

You know who loves rainy days? (Besides me) The ducks!

Snapchat-1118714254.jpg

They love rainy days. It makes them so happy. If you look really carefully at the picture you can see two huge bull frogs hiding underneath the shed. Turns out, the ducks were attempting to eat these guys and watching the interaction was funny. Now I knew the frogs were to big for the ducks, but they do this thing where when the ducks try to eat them, they puff up and try to get even bigger. It must be their defense mechanism. So they stand tall on all four legs and kind of do this thing where their body puffs up. It was cracking me up. The ducks would try to eat one, it would puff up, they would give it the side eye and then go back to playing in the puddles. Then it would repeat itself till the ducks decided it was a no go and left them alone. I have watched my ducks eat those small green frogs that love to make their up my drains and into my garden tub. Just slurped it right up and swallowed it down. But they are much smaller.

R and I got firewood on the porch finally Friday, just as the rain was starting to fall and we had a nice warm fire going all weekend. I love fires on rainy days. I am not the biggest fan of our fireplace but that is only because it is old and has lots of leaks. We literally cover the thing with aluminum foil to keep the smoke in so we can dampen it down. But on cold nights Red lays herself out right in front of the fire and sleeps soundly. Plus there was a really amazing double rainbow Saturday evening.

IMG_20171104_180438_999

R got a free weekend after being told he would need to work Saturday. The rain came in early and he wasn’t able to do his load because the drop off place would just become a mud pit. So I convinced him to ride the horses with me both Saturday and Sunday. Saturday it was raining so we stayed inside the arena (which is inside the barn) except for a few minutes when R tried to take Sarge out in the rain and Sarge had a freak out about it. I always noticed that Sophie (my mare) will stand in the rain but Sarge will only watch her from the door way. Thought it was odd but now I know, he doesn’t like rain at all. Kind of funny! Big bad ass gelding can’t handle rain.

IMG_20171105_155348

Both horses were sassy because they had been sitting. R has been working too much to do anything with Sarge and Sophie has been on rest due to her leg injury. But she did good this weekend, her injury is almost all healed and she has no limp or showing any signs of pain. So I decided she could get her wrap taken off and she could handle some riding. She did good, we trotted, we worked in circles and we did some side passing. She was a little buddy sour but she did good. R even took her down the road a little bit. He is dying to ride her to the corner store (which is like 15 minutes away by car and probably a good hour or more by horse) but we have been doing small bursts at a time because for some of the ride she has to be on a public road with cars going by.

Can I complain for one second or at least educate non horse people? When you see a man on a horse riding on the road (even if he is completely over as far as he can go, which R was), please slow down and give him some room. You have no clue if that horse will bolt. Even a well trained horse can choose that moment to spook and you don’t want to hit horse and rider because you are being irresponsible. Most people in the country are amazing about it but there were a few cars that made me want to throw things at them because they would fly by R on Sophie without giving him an inch. We aren’t the only ones who ride either, there are tons of teenagers and other horse people who ride our road to get to the railroad tracks to ride to the store. It is a fun little ride that doesn’t require a trailer. So if you are in the country and see a horse being ridden, slow the hell down and give them a lot of room.

IMG_20171105_173422_009

And because if is #nostirrupnovember I even got on Sophie bareback. I haven’t ridden bareback since I was a kid. But it was amazing and scary all at once. R walked with us because hello, I need to work on my seat obviously but Sophie did great. If she felt me losing my balance she would just wait till I steadied myself and then continue on. She really is a great horse! But bareback you can feel every move and every bump. It is a really different feeling for sure. My legs were a little sore but I know I need to do it more to get my seat better. It will really teach you your seat in no time!

So that was my rainy day weekend! I am feeling a lot better with some down time, horse time and R time at home. Sometimes you just need a weekend at home to get yourself balanced again!

Stay tuned, tomorrow there will be a crock pot beef stew recipe!!!!

Ranch Happenings

Hey you guys! I haven’t done a ranch update in awhile but I got three tiny surprises to tell you about!

But first the horses. I went out the other day, while it was still 90 degrees, and braided the heck out of both horses tails and manes. I usually take a bunch of coconut oil that is liquid and a comb out there. It works wonders. It smells good and gets all the tangles out pretty easily. So if you ever want to get some big knots out of a horses mane or tail, just grab some coconut oil!

Sophie rubbed off part of her mane this summer. She has a strong reaction to flies and gets bad hives on her neck from them. I try to keep her doused in fly spray but I am gone during the day so sometimes it wears off before I can get home. Because of that she scratched her neck on the fence post and rubbed off half her damn mane. Still trying to get it to grow back. But Sarge has this beautiful mane that is always getting super tangled. My landlady calls it fairy knots because the old wives tale is that fairies come and tangle the hair in the middle of the night. So to reduce that I did this cool French braid down his mane and ended it with a longer braid at the end. It came out really nice and so far he has kept it in for a week. It is barley holding on right now but he is keeping it in.

Sophie got a couple little braids put in her mane but her tail came out beautifully. I did this French braid on it and it looks amazing still. I left the ends out so she could still swat flies and you have to be careful when they swing them though because a hit from a braid hurts a lot more than just their loose hair. But now they aren’t tangling them, getting brush stuck in them and pooping on them. Missions accomplished.

Sophie and I haven’t been able to ride. She has a leg injury that started off pretty deep but has now healed up nicely. I keep it covered with ointment or coconut oil on it. I also put cheap over reach boots on her so she doesn’t kick it. She was re-opening it up constantly by kicking it so my theory is that she really kicked herself good and that is how she got injured. She has a tendency to step on herself. Only I would find a horse as klutzy as me. But thanks to my cousin who got me the cutest pair of pink over reach boots for when we ride, it shouldn’t become an issue anymore. Hopefully. R got on her the other evening to see how she would do with some weight, she isn’t limping but you could tell it was a little rougher for her. So I am going to keep wrapping it and maybe try riding her slowly at a walk next week.

Sarge is bored out of his mind because R isn’t home enough to ride anymore. So I might start riding him a little bit while Sophie finishes healing.

Red dog is struggling right now. We took her camping and I had noticed she was slowing down but I didn’t notice how much till I was around her 24/7 watching her. She moves very slowly now. She is very easily confused. She gets cold super fast. She groans when she gets up and she groans when she poops. She almost falls over as she poops actually. She pees constantly. She is scaring the crap out of me. I have her on some pretty strong supplements that are supposed to help her and some baby aspirin. It is making a difference but not a huge difference. I fear taking her to the vet because I don’t want bad news. This dog has been my companion for 12 years. I can’t imagine life without her. She is my baby.

IMG_20171103_075239_262

Last night I didn’t have time to make a fire and Red was shivering at me, so I put her sweater on her. She was not amused but it made her warmer. Mission accomplished. Some days I just look at her and wonder, what the heck happened? One minute you were still running around and now you have slowed down so drastically that my heart aches every time I look at her. It just aches. I love her that much!

Okay, so now for the three surprises….

IMG_20171022_190739_172

We had unplanned babies! So here is what happened, R and I went out of town. We didn’t ask our pet sitter to check for eggs because normally it isn’t an issue. We just collect them when we get back. Well this time we didn’t get out to the coop right away when we got back, so the eggs were out there an extra day or so. Little Birdie, our one silkie, took it upon herself to suddenly go broody.  Which means she decided she wanted to be a momma. I don’t think she has even started laying yet herself. Silkie’s are odd. They take their time laying eggs and go broody a lot. But they are good momma’s.

Anyways, I let  her have the eggs. The only rooster we have is a different breed and I didn’t know if he had even fertilized the eggs. I should have known better. One day, after almost a month of her sitting on the eggs religiously, I went to bring her water and food (I brought it to the coop for her though she would leave the eggs once a day to eat). I noticed she wasn’t sitting on the eggs anymore and was down below. So I assumed she gave up and was about to take the eggs when I heard cheeping. Cheeping. She stood up and underneath her were three little black chicks. WTF! She hatched three damn eggs.

Now the babies aren’t hers technically. They are our bantam chickens, Paris. A bantam is like a silkie size wise but their feathers are less fluff and more abundance of fabulous feathers. But the chicks look just like Paris looked when we got her as a baby. So whoops. But Little Birdie doesn’t seem to know they aren’t hers and she takes care of them. She is dedicated. You want to ever see an example of a good momma, watch a broody silkie with babies. She is so protective and sits on them when they are cold. I am leaving it all completely up to nature. I know some people get crazy about incubators and heat lamps. I am not. I am letting Little Birdie do her job as a mother hen. Something that chickens have been doing for forever. She is isolated up in the coop so the other chickens can’t get to the babies. Unfortunately because of the pecking order thing the other chickens would peck at the babies and hurt them. So Little Birdie is up in the locked coop teaching them to scratch, eat and drink water. I check on them daily. She doesn’t like me touching them though but sometimes I can snag one to hold. She is such a devoted momma! Every time I call them my babies R corrects me and says, nope, those are her babies.

Last night I checked on them and one was sticking out from her wing. Cracked me up. I am loving having babies around!

So there is what is happening at the ranch! Three new babies!

Fall

I am not someone who enjoys heat or sunshine. I don’t mind a sunny day here and there but where I live it gets up to 110 degrees for weeks on end. Our summers start early and our winters are cut short. Often spring and fall don’t happen around here but if they do, they are super quick. Like a blink of the eye. One minute we are still sweating in the 90’s and the next thing it is raining. Fall is when I start feeling like myself again. When the leaves start changing color and the weather starts shifting towards cold. That is when I feel better.

Snapchat-736869066

I was walking to the barn the other day and noticed that there were crunchy leaves all under my feet. Something about crunchy leaves automatically makes me smile a little bigger. I love the crunch and feel of them. I love the colors.

IMG_20171021_161229_658

My favorite place in the fall is getting to be not so awesome anymore. It became heavily advertised and now the amount of people flocking there is horrible. The farms ran out of apple picking almost by the second week in October. There was traffic jams. Parking was a nightmare. It was really rough and I find that I was only interested in going once this year. Which breaks my heart. It is becoming a nightmare to do anything around here anymore. There is nothing but wall to wall people all the time. Kind of ruins the fun in it with bad drivers, people being rude and not paying attention to their kids. UGH!

I have been having a rough week. I have been dropping things, falling over things and not feeling like myself at all. I have an appointment with my doctor because I can’t shake these allergies that are making me feel like poop all the time. Between that and work being super stressful, I think I am just overdone. Neither R nor I can get a break enough to get on top of things like being able to get firewood up on the porch before this big rainstorm coming this weekend or to get the house cleaned up or even to fold the clothes hanging out in the baskets. It is horrible when you work so much and commute so much that all you see is your home for basically three hours before it is bed time. R sees the house less lately. His boss is going to work him into the ground I swear. He was home at 1:30 a.m. last night and up again at 5:30 a.m. for work. I feel him though, I am up at 5 a.m. each morning and don’t get home till 6:45 p.m.

Snapchat-524436580

The oven went out the other night, not the burners but the baking part. I was cooking myself a small lasagna when I noticed it wasn’t cooking very fast so I checked out the heating unit and it was smoking horribly. Turns out it was ready to go out. It happens but it means we are out of an oven till the part comes in. The part is supposed to be coming in today so last night I prepped a beef stew for the crockpot. That way I wouldn’t need to cook and I wouldn’t need to worry about if something should happen so the oven doesn’t get fixed.

I tried something a little different than normal with my beef stew this time. I was reading an article that talked about not browning the meat and just throwing it in instead to cook slowly. It said that the meat comes out better. So the theory was, stick it in the crockpot for like 10 hours on low and let the meat slowly stew in the juices. So I am giving it a try. Big change from my normal wanting to brown the meat first before sticking it in there but we shall see. I will let you guys know how it goes.

At least it is finally FRIDAY! Happy Friday ya’ll!! Stay tuned for ranch updates. I have three little surprises I have been dying to tell you about!!