Marriage

I was at the county recorders office today sitting near the sweetest little baby ever. Her mom and dad were young, foreign, no English at all and getting married. Which was announced by the father in law in a loud happy voice. But there were no smiles from the bride to be, just a sad frown and a worried look in her eyes. The groom to be was distant, he never stood near his bride or held her hand or even sat next to her. I wanted to know her story, I wanted to ask her if she chose this, if she wanted this, had she ever considered a different path, did she love him? Not because I wanted to save her (because different cultures treat marriage differently) but simply because these are the things I wonder about while waiting to finish applying for my own marriage license.
I was watching this family, this girl, while sitting next to my future husband that I got to choose and that is sitting next to me chatting about the semi trucks he was looking at earlier. Marriage is such a complicated thing. This I learned after my first marriage. I was in that exact same office, almost 11 years ago, making a very different decision than I am now. I was 22 years old, scared out of my mind, not surrounded by any family members and with two friends as our witnesses. I got married in that office 11 years ago with those same sad eyes I saw on that girl. I spent almost 8 years in a marriage that made me lose so much of myself that I am not sure I will ever find all the pieces, married to a man who though not evil never should have been someone’s husband. He did a lot of damage and most of it without considering the consequences to another human being. I don’t look back on him with hatred or anger. Mostly just an indifference and a weary look at what another human being can do to another human being when they aren’t very good at facing their own demons.
I have been reading a ton of posts on the football players who took a knee at the games. I literally turned on the news and turned it right back off after a second. I couldn’t even stomach it. I guess I am less concerned about football players taking a knee than I am with these I consider an actual problem in this world, such as, women who get married un-willingingly or forced by their families, or women who escaped abusive marriages just to always be hiding their scars to make others more comfortable or starving homeless lining the street who would rather be homeless than accept help from our healthcare system or the mother who came home to her children shot dead by their father who is told she should have known it was going to happen or a rape victim who was told they were asking for it (insert clothes or drinking crap). These are the things that make me turn off the news before I even get 5 minutes into it. These are the things that make my heart hurt.
I guess right now I am a little burnt out on the world and how divided we are. We are like small children stomping our feet and shaking our fists but nothing is changing.  Things seem to be getting worse. We seem to ignore the issues that mean something and dwell on the issues that seem so humorous. Do I think a football player kneeling demeans a soldier who fought for our country? No, I do not. That soldier fought for the freedom of speech and that football player is exercising their right. Not everyone who disrespects a flag means to disrespect a soldier. But I am also not impressed with what they are doing. They are in positions that could actually do some good if they volunteered, started charities or donated to the cause that they are supposedly kneeling for. But yet all they are doing is gaining more publicity for themselves and blaming a song that speaks of hope for many. Sigh. It feels like stupidity to me. I don’t have a lot of love for our country right now but I also don’t have any urge to disrespect our country either because of it. I respect the soldiers and their families. I respect anyone who stands up for their rights. I respect the good people trying to do good right now for the right reasons. I don’t respect anyone who says they are boycotting but yet aren’t actually taking any action.
So while the world focuses on kneeling football players, I am going to keep wondering about that foreign girl with the sad eyes and the adorable baby girl. I am going to keep hoping that she lives a long happy life and that this marriage is something she wants. I am going to keep being grateful that I chose my future husband and that I will be surrounded by family/loved ones in four days time as I speak the vows I wrote for this man that I love. That is what I am going to do. Keep trying to find the good in a country that feels pretty yucky right now.
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Blackberry Jam Crumble Bars

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I had an extra jar of blackberry jam from my blackberry adventures and wanted to do something fun with it. I still have a big jar that I am using on all the toast and eating on even my pancakes in the morning but I was craving a cobble type bar as well. I have to tell you, I didn’t know about this recipe, I just sort of winged it and it turned out seriously amazing. So grab an extra jar of blackberry jam from my blackberry adventure post and lets make a blackberry crumble bar.

BLACKBERRY CRUMBLE BARS

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of white sugar
  • 3 to 31/2 cups of flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of butter (softened at room temp)
  • 1 big jar of Blackberry Jam

Directions:

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  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a mixer, beat butter until creamy. Add in sugar and beat until it is well mixed.
  3. Slowly add in the flower until it gets crumbly. You might need to adjust how much flour you put in but I had to do roughly 3 1/2 cups. Mix well but don’t over mix.
  4. Take your pan and drop 1/2 of the mixture into the bottom. Pressing down to create a solid bottom. It will be a bit lumpy and that is okay.
  5. Dump the entire jar of blackberry jam (mine was a quart) on top of the flour mixture you just placed in the pan. Spread it so its evenly dispersed all over the flour mixture.
  6. Place the rest of the flour mixture on top. It won’t be even and that is okay.
  7. Place in oven for roughly 20-30 minutes.
  8. Let it cool.

DONE! Handy trick I discovered, I used a pizza cutter to make evenly sized bars. Worked way better than a knife. So cool!

Now enjoy your mouthwatering blackberry treat!

The Barn

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Mornings are beautiful lately. We are finally starting to show some fallish type weather and I have fingers (and toes) crossed in hopes it stays cool. I love crisp fall mornings. Even though we aren’t quit there, we aren’t suffering through 111 degrees anymore. What a relief.

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I have been spending my spare time in the barn lately. Out there with the smell of the horses. At night, when I turn on the big barn lights, the bats fly around frantically trying to catch all the bugs. During the day a big owl hangs out there and flies out of the barn when I make too much noise. I listen to music. I dance. I sing to myself. All of which the two horses follow me around and watch with patient eyes. They seem to enjoy the energy I bring into the barn. I noticed that Sophie no longer jumps at every little move or sound now. I am working on desensitizing her and it has been working. I don’t purposely scare her but I don’t tip toe around her and I don’t acknowledge her spooks at sounds of me shaking out the saddle blanket or dropping the brush into the bucket. She has calmed down so much since we have been working on it. Makes me so happy to see her not so jumpy any longer!

I spent last weekend pouring down sweat in 110 degrees while slowly working coconut oil through the geldings mane. It is mostly knot free now but most of his hair is frizzy due to the heat plus knots.

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After months of fighting my anxiety, I am riding again. What a relief. After our long rainy winter and me not riding for months with only doing ground work, I suddenly gained a fear of getting on my horse. It was nothing she did. It wasn’t her fault. I didn’t fall or have a major incident. My ever changing anxiety just suddenly targeted horse riding, which had always been my calm place and where I went to de-stress. I would sit on my horse and feel the familiar panic eating away at me. I made her and myself a mess. So I did what I do best, I worked her on the ground and I read up on a million different ways to handle a million different situations on a horse. I talked to my cousin (a fellow horse lover and owner). I read books. I read articles. I read blogs. I watched R hop on the horses without hesitation and handle everything they throw at him. I slowly felt that pull again. That pull to ride because I missed it so bad that it ached inside of me.

So I have been riding. My focus has been not to work her till we both drop but instead to approach her with fun riding activities that make her want to ride. On Wednesday I gave her a rest day and she called out to me while I was working in the yard. She saw me, ran to the fence and called out. I was warmed all the way down to my toes. This horse runs into the barn when I come in. She walks straight up to me. When we round pen and I leave the gate open to the small connecting pasture, she never bolts out the gate, she simply works with me and stays focused on me. She comes into the middle now when asked every single time when before I had to fight her to come in the middle. She wants to be in my space. She also seems to enjoy working with me. It is a dance we do together where I give cues and she picks up on them. I try to keep things light between us, fun and interesting. We have learned an incredible amount in the year we have been with each other. Well, over a year now, she has been mine for over a year now. Wow!

Me on the other hand, I feel out of shape and like an unbalanced load on her. I am wobbly when we trot. I am not posting right. I can feel the months of not riding eating away at me and the extra 20 pounds I gained in the last 4 months currently sitting all in my stomach. I am muscular in all of my body EXCEPT my stomach and that is where all my weight just sits. Last night I started to feel better on her. I started to post correctly. I started to feel us slowly get our rhythm back and I felt her patience with me as she tried to help me balance on her. I need to get back to yoga and strength training, not only for myself but for her. So I can be a good rider for her again.

Unfortunately I had a sick gelding that needed walking so our ride got cut short so I could help nurse him back to healthy. Which luckily he is feeling much better this morning. Made for a long night but it was worth it to see him grazing this morning.

I find myself every day at working itching to get back home so I can saddle up my mare and ride her. It is where I feel the most calm. Being around her gentle soul helps me remember to not use force, to ask clearly for what I want, to be firm but also playful, to dance and be silly. Out in the barn, I am myself and on her back, I am happy. I know the risks I am taking riding her. She is a big animal. But there is a risk in every little thing we do. I have chosen this risk because it is where my heart feels the calmest. It calls to me even when I am at my most anxious. I hope I never completely lose that love of riding on her back and I hope that each day I get stronger again so that I am becoming a good rider for her.

The Hens are Laying

I keep thinking it is Friday and then getting very sad when I find out it is only Thursday. I am not feeling this week. I have been dragging all week long.

BUT I am excited because the hens are all laying. Well, except for one. Goldie. R’s moms chicken she gifted to us that is over two years old. So it makes sense that she isn’t laying but all the rest of my hens are laying beautiful eggs.

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I think I have identified the layers too: The white one is Ms. Leghorns, the Leghorn chicken. The blueish green one is Miss. June, my mystery chicken. The pinkish cream one is Paris, the Bantam chicken. The smallish cream one is Little Birdie, my silkie hen. Little Birdie really took her time coming around but she finally started giving me small adorable eggs. I call them pixie eggs because even the Bantam lays bigger than her.

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I collected my eggs last night in my egg collecting basket, hunted for the duck eggs that I could not find for the life of me (they weren’t in their nest where they usually lay) and then set the basket on the porch steps so I could scoop dog poop before it got too dark and water the plants. I happened to walk over to Arya (pain in butt dog not my old lady dog) and noticed she was eating something. She had stolen Paris’s egg and cracked it to eat the insides. Sigh. I now know who was cracking the eggs and stealing them when the hens would accidentally lay in the yard. Damn dog. I can’t be too mad though, they are good and dogs are naturally scavengers. Red gets a raw egg in the mornings because she is old and it has done a lot of good for her skin and weight. Arya sometimes gets a raw egg as a treat, guess she decided she would take matters into her own hands. I snapped a hilarious photo of her looking shamed. (Snapchat: horseylove84)

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The ducks have become very friendly with me. They were hand raised by us but never really took to humans until they started hanging out in the yard where we walked around all the time. Slowly they have been coming around to actually allowing me to get really close to them without waddling off. They now know me as the treat lady. I come out in the evenings to bring them fresh fruit or vegetables that are going bad in the fridge. They gobble them up while I fill their little turtle pool and then they like to knock the hose out of the pool while it is filling so they can play in the mud. In the mornings while I make my coffee they come running to the window and quack as loud as they can. They also do this in the evenings as well. They are happy once I walk out there but they love to make a racket till I do. Makes me laugh! If I let them in the yard they will walk almost up to me in order to say hello and to see if I will turn the sprinkler on for them. They are such goofs!

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The pumpkin vine is getting huge and I think I counted ten flowers ready to bloom. There are a few already open and blooming as well. So exciting. Last year we smashed pumpkins in the side 20 acres in hopes pumpkins would grow so we could pick our own pumpkins. Well, one seed took and we have had one long vine growing like crazy from our grey water area aka where the dishwasher water comes out. Sometimes I run a smallish load of dishes just so I can water the pumpkin plant and some days I drag the hose over there to water it. It is such a happy plant and I am so excited. I really hopes it gets pumpkins. I know there is a complicated process of bees bringing pollen from the male to the female. So fingers crossed we get some pumpkins and not just blooms.

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I spent the first half of this week taking the coolest sun pictures. It was bright red as it set and rose each morning. Looked extremely cool. Now I don’t know if this had anything to do with the eclipse or if it was because of the smoke due to fires burning around us, but either way, I caught the coolest pictures on my Instagram and Snapchat.

How was your week?

 

Blackberry Adventures

I remember childhood summers picking blackberries. We lived where it was cold most of the time on a small coastal town and the blackberries were usually ripe right around August. We would turn our hands purple and eat as many as we could before being told to put them in the bucket as well. We would end of with scratches all up our arms from trying to wiggle past the blackberry thorns because you know the best ones are hidden in the middle where there are the most thorns. No store bought berries have ever been able to replicate the taste of warm fresh blackberries off the vine. I always end up like Goldilock’s, too bitter, too hard, not ripe enough. The price you pay for blackberries in the store is horrible for the quality you get. Anyone who has ever eaten fresh blackberries knows this.

I was on FB the other day and an advertisement on a farm I follow mentioned blackberry u-picking. In other words I pay someone else to let me pick their blackberries. Seems like a funny concept but it is one I love. Memories of my childhood popped back up and I was begging R to take me. He is usually on board with my crazy schemes so he agreed and an Apple Hill trek was set into motion.

I waited for the weekend like I was a kid eagerly anticipating their birthday. Counting down the days. Reminding R constantly.

Now I am not used to going to Apple Hill except for fall, but it is one of my favorite places so I love an excuses to go. First stop on our Apple Hill trek was my favorite year round farmers market and apple stand. They do hard cider tasting and I really wanted to try some.

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Plus I had to try a blackberry dumpling. It was well worth the calories consumed. So damn good.

Then it was off in the boonies where we found the small little farm we were looking for. Sweet lady told us that the blackberry bushes are thorn-less and three rows of them to pick at our leisure. She reminded us that if we had to pull on the blackberry to come off, it wasn’t ready but if it slid right off, it was good to go. We set out with our green buckets to the back of the property.

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There is something therapeutic about picking blackberries in the sunshine. I quietly picked my blackberries, focusing on if they were ripe or not and reaching to the far back without getting my arms tore up (which according to R took all the fun out of it). R worked his row and I worked mine quietly enjoying the sunshine and beautiful fresh air. Now R is a picking machine, he filled his bucket up in the same time it took me to fill mine half way up. The owner even joked about giving him a job as a part time berry picker. We ended up with 6 lbs of blackberries which was almost a flat for only $16. Well worth it!

I decided to try my hand at jam. I still need to experiment with canning one of these days but for now I figured I would just keep it fresh in the fridge. I know fresh jam can sit in the fridge for three months and so I estimated if I made two mason jars I would eat them by November. I love blackberry jam and will eat a ton of it.

So I started off with washing the blackberries really well and then mashing them up with my potato masher.

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If you are every angry, mash some blackberries up, it helps. Cheap therapy.

Then I boiled them for 3 minutes stirring constantly.

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Added the sugar (I added equal parts blackberry and sugar), I heard you could do honey or some kind of other sweetener and that is my next experiment but I wanted to follow directions the first time around. I also decided to add in fresh lemon juice. I just squeezed half of a fresh one in. I read on a website that: “lemon juice is high in pectin, which is needed to make jam set. pectin occurs naturally in most fruit, but some fruits have less than others. so lemon juice is often added to low-pectin fruit (eg blackberries) to make the jam set more easily.”

Then I stirred for another 3 minutes constantly. Removed from the heat and whipped the blackberries with a whisk for 3 minutes (supposedly also helps bring out the natural pectin in the blackberries). Added it to my two mason jars and let it cool on the counter before sealing to be placed in the fridge. Pretty easy! But how did it taste?

I put it on some toast last night with some fresh blackberries…

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I took my first bite and moaned in pure ecstasy. Now that is the good stuff. Store bought can go to hell. Oh I predict the two mason jars will go super fast and I will need more soon but blackberry season is coming to an end sadly. Luckily I froze a huge cookie sheet of blackberries in the freezer. Useful tip that was given to me: freeze the berries on a cookie sheet first. That way they don’t clump together. Once frozen, move them to a Ziploc bag and they won’t be all frozen together in a big clump. Best tip ever!

What is your favorite fruit to make into a jam?

Support Local

This last week I did something incredibly fun and interesting. I went to a u-pick event at a local urban farm in the middle of the city. It was a beautiful flower garden that the owner/grower opened up to the public for a day to allow people to pick flowers.

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It was blistering hot and we poured down sweat as we walked in between the tall stalks of flowers I had never seen before. I stared in awe of the pretty designs and colors as we clipped them to add to our 5-gallon bucket filled with water. It was an interesting experience squeezing past other people, some moms picking with their daughters and other couples out sweating in the sun to grab some beautiful flowers. Some women carried mason jars to design bouquets as they walked between the rows, some carried buckets like us and some had beautiful little baskets to pick with. It was really fun to see what everyone was choosing and how they were arranging the flowers.

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For $20 we filled our big 5-gallon bucket up of flowers and headed home to start designing bouquets. By the time we were done we had filled our big vase, two smaller vases and a mason jar. There is now flowers in each room of my house and I love it. The bouquets are wild and totally unique. I have never been a fan of uniform bouquets anyways.

I love supporting local farms. To me it feels better. I get most of my produce from a local farm stand down the road where they grow all their own vegetables. It is easier on my pocket book and the vegetables are always super fresh. This weekend R and I are heading to do u-picking blackberries from a local farm. I keep drooling over the idea of syrups and cobblers. I love fresh blackberries because it reminds me of growing up picking blackberries for hours with purple fingers. But above all I love supporting local farms and areas that encourage us to buy fresh and buy local. The experiences are unique and I feel better about putting my money with small people vs corporations.

What do you do that supports local?

The best Boneless Pork Loin Roast Recipe

I buy random meat on sale at the store and then figure I will find a recipe by the time I go to cook it. Then when I pull it out for dinner I go frantically looking for a recipe till I give up and create my own. I just can never find exactly what I want. So that is what happened with this Boneless Pork Loin Roast, fresh corn and giant zucchini. I slaved over the oven for over an hour but the food that came out of that oven was truly amazing. I was groaning as I ate it. So flipping good. I suggest this meal to anyone to try. You just can’t go wrong with it!!

Boneless Pork Loin Roast with corn on the cob and zucchini

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 ears of corn
  • 2lb Boneless Pork loin roast
  • 3-4 zucchini (or in my case one giant one from the veggie stand down the road)
  • Lemon pepper
  • Himalayan pink salt
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Onion Powder
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • Aluminum foil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Defrost boneless pork loin roast completely and let it sit at room temperature while you prep everything.
  3. Start a pan on the oven with some butter melting in it. Put a good pat of butter in that pan. You want it to completely coat the pan.
  4. While that heats up, in a small bowl, mix brown sugar with some lemon pepper, salt, onion powder and red pepper flakes. Mix together.
  5. Take your boneless pork loin roast and rub the mixture of brown sugar with seasonings all over getting every nook and cranny. Really rub it all in there really good and use up the whole mixture. Afterwards sprinkle some extra red pepper flakes on there.
  6. Place the boneless pork loin roast into the hot pan of butter and let sit for about 10 minutes on each side. You want the meat to be a dark brown color.
  7. While this is cooking in the pan, start prepping your corn. Take the corn out of the husks and grab a piece of aluminum foil, place each ear of the corn in its own aluminum. Season the corn with salt, lemon pepper and red pepper flakes. Stick a few pats of butter inside the aluminum foil with the corn. Wrap it all up tight. Place in baking sheet. Place in oven.
  8. When the boneless pork loin roast is done, place it on a roasting rack, pour the remaining butter from the pan on to the pork loin roast, cover it all with aluminum foil and place it in the oven setting a timer for 45 minutes.
  9. Right before the timer goes off prep your zucchini. Cut it all up into rounds. Place flat on baking sheet. Sprinkle lemon pepper and salt all over it. Add pats of butter on top. Place in oven.
  10. Once that timer goes off, take off the aluminum foil, baste the pork loin roast a little bit and place back in oven without aluminum foil. Cook for another 20 minutes or so. Check the internal temp before removing. Pork should be at 165 degrees in the thickest part.
  11. Once that is done your corn should be done and zucchini done. (corn should take roughly 45 minutes and zucchini roughly 20-30 minutes).

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I wish I could tell you how good this recipe was but I can’t put it into words. You will need to try it yourself. It was the best. The corn, the pork and the zucchini all came out simply amazing. I was groaning the entire time I ate!! So please give this one a try! You won’t regret it!

 

 

Ranch Happenings

There is so much going on I have been running non stop for what feels like weeks. R had a death in the family, we are at wedding crunch time (less than two months away), work for both R and I is crazy and life in general just never stops. So I have been missing in action on my blog but you can always check me out on Instagram (laughter_and_carbs) or Snapchat (horseylove84). I am always quickly updating those because I LOVE pictures.

This weekend I got the chance to sneak out of the house at midnight and go out to the horse pasture to watch the meteor shower with the horses. I just scratched their butts and counted the shooting stars flying by. Something about things like that take my breath away and make me feel lucky to live out in the country. Plus the horses love their butts scratched so they were okay with me gasps and sighs as long as I kept scratching.

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Lately I have been snapping so many pictures of the moon, the sunsets and the sunrises because they have been breathtaking. The weather has finally dipped down to just beautiful temps (80s to 90s) and I feel fall coming. I love fall. Everything about fall makes me happy.

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The chickens are laying. Ms. June, my oldest hen from the first batch had stopped laying in the heat wave we had (weeks of over 100 degrees) but she finally started laying again. Ms. Leghorn our Leghorn chicken lays daily and the small cream egg is our bantam who only lays periodically. But we finally have fresh chicken eggs sitting in our fridge again. They taste so good too! Gosh I missed having fresh chicken eggs!!

Ms. Leghorn is my buddy. Whenever she is in the yard she comes running when she hears me. I often will have June, Goldie and Ms. Leghorn following me around. Goldie is R’s mom chicken that she gave us. She is doing great. She made friends. I still hunt worms and bugs with her when I am home. She seems really happy. They are all really happy. Well except for the feisty silkie rooster who is now just getting annoying. He won’t touch R’s 10 year old son but spent all last weekend chasing R’s mom all around the yard. He is good with me if I tell him to stop, he will stop dead in his tracks and just stare at me because he knows my voice. But strangers he doesn’t do well with. He is funny though, he can run super fast, bounces off your legs and then stares at you shaking. It doesn’t hurt. Just more annoying.

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Our ducks have such funny personalities. They got grounded from my yard because they were digging, so they are back in their duck run and they are so unhappy. Even though it is huge. The duck run is right by the kitchen window and every morning now when they can hear me making coffee, they run over and quack loudly at me. Silly ducks. They also yell at me when I get home. I think they liked the company of being in the yard. They tend to stay around me when I am outside and will follow me around. They even get really close to me now and beg for meal worms constantly. The other night though I watched them eat a small frog. Poor frog. They are definitely not vegetarians.

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Last week we got a bunch of small feeder fish from Wal-Mart and put them in the clean duck pool. They had those fish ate up in 10 minutes flat once they figured out what was going on. They were so happy fishing and swimming around. I will have to do it again for them in the near future.

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Tomatoes are growing like crazy around the ranch, as well as my squash plants and snap peas. Also, last year we smashed our pumpkins in the back 20 acres to see if a pumpkin vine would grow and guess what, there is a HUGE pumpkin vine growing right where the grey water spits out (from the dishwasher and washer). It has two huge buds. I keep thinking I need to take a picture and then forgetting. I am so excited. I hope the kiddo gets to pick his own pumpkin from the vine.

The horses are fat and lazy. I need to start working with them again but with everything going on we haven’t had a lot of opportunities. But I am determined now that the weather is cooler that I need to get out there daily. Fingers crossed. I miss riding so much.

The other day I was watching the sun rise over the pasture, with the barn in the distance and the horses grazing, I just smiled and realized how much I truly love our home. It is amazing to get the chance to live out there and have the animals I do. The kiddo got a bike for his birthday this last weekend and he rode all over that ranch for two days straight. These are the opportunities he gets because his Dad and I live out in the country. Since his Mom lives in the city he doesn’t have a place to ride a bike there or run after animals when he is with her. But when he is with us he gets so excited to collect eggs and chase the chickens around. It makes me happy! It is a good life!

 

How I Stay Sane

July has been rough. It has been full of so much chaos and stress. I have officially reached the point where I have stopped asking, “what else could go wrong?” Not a good idea right now with everything that has happened. But I am not letting it yank me too far down. I have faith that things will work out, things will fall into place and things will get better. But in the mean time my stress level is amped up, especially with wedding planning reaching crunch time and my work days being ridiculously stressful.

Here is how I know I am stressed, I actually look forward to my lunch time workouts. I have been finding solace in the hour I get to myself during the day. I put on my headphones, I put on my work out clothes, I usually go when the gym isn’t busy and I allow myself to just focus on my workout.

Now normally my workouts starts like this:

“wtf am I doing, I hate cardio.”

“This sucks. My god this sucks.”

Why am I sweating already, what the hell body, could you be anymore embarrassing?”

But at some point, usually about 5-10 minutes into my cardio session, I just suddenly feel better. I start getting into it. I start allowing my mind to focus on the movement and I even have been caught dancing a bit on the elliptical. By the time I am heading over to the weights (my favorite part of my workout), I am calm and focused. I don’t allow the stress to follow me to the gym. This is my time. This is where I get to be without the daily reminders of everything going on.

A typical work out for me is:

  • 15-20 minutes of elliptical
  • 20-25 minutes of weights

I never really go in there with a plan or mission. Mostly my mission is just to de-stress and work my body a bit. On Fridays I will usually shake it up by doing strength training exercises without the weight machines or some yoga/stretching after cardio. I also have been getting brave and getting on the treadmill to do some walking in hopes that maybe I can start up my running program again if I can trust that I won’t fly off the back of the treadmill.

I find that everything else sort of falls into place when I work out, slowly my eating improves, my water intake increases and I don’t really crave junk food as much. Just that act of using my hour long lunch to work out makes everything else just kind of click into place for being healthier.

It is nice to be falling in love with fitness again and to use it as a way to channel all my stress. My PCOS thanks me, my body thanks me and my mental state thanks me. So fitness doesn’t always have to be about losing weight and inches, it can just be about staying sane during stressful times and letting your body have a good outlet for stress.

Hot Days of Summer- Farm happenings

I feel like I haven’t stopped sweating since June. We have had a streak of non stop 100 degree days and my electricity bill is never going to recover. My A/C runs almost constantly except for the rare evenings when it cools down enough to pull air inside with my box fan. I am so over this summer. I haven’t been able to ride my horse because I work when it is the coolest outside (about 5 a.m. to 6 a.m.). It is driving me nuts. I just need some normal low 90 degree days or 80’s would be ideal right now.

I am so aware of the heat because I am responsible for keeping animals alive during this brutal heat. Chickens it turns out do better in cold vs heat. I already lost a bantam chicken, bantams are super fluffy and there was water but she just couldn’t handle the heat. I felt so bad. So during the hottest days I have been allowing the chickens to free range my yard. They have a ton more room to find shade, dirt they can roll in and cooler areas to hide from the sun. Between my very hot dogs and the hot chickens, I have craters popping up in the dirt areas around my house. I sacrificed the lettuce container to them and filled a small planter with fresh dirt for the chickens and they love it. They roll around endlessly getting all dirty. June has stopped laying eggs with all this heat. She hasn’t laid a single egg since the heat sky rocketed up. The babies are still too young to lay. So currently I don’t have any fresh chicken eggs. Sigh.

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We are buying watermelon and Otter pops in bulk right now. The Otter Pops are for us humans. But between the ducks, chickens and horses, plus a little for me, we go through 2 big watermelons a week almost. The horses like theirs refrigerated. I discovered yesterday that Sophie eats it now, rind and all. Crazy horse. She has also become very good about bobbing for apple slices in her water trough. Helps her get extra water in her system and makes her work for her treat a bit. I am miss working her right now but this heat is too much stress on her and me.

One of the ducks has started laying for me. I have no clue if we have two females or a female and a male but I do know one duck is officially laying an egg daily.

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On Saturday I found two in their kiddie pool, I don’t know if they both laid or if one poor duck laid two eggs. Her eggs keep getting bigger too. We went from small ones to now huge ones. I feel so bad for her. But each morning she wanders over to her favorite spot (right next to the air conditioner) and lays. Sometimes she does it in the pool but mostly she likes her spot by the A/C.

During the hotter days I leave a sprinkler on low for the ducks and they love it. It keeps the grass green but they also LOVE to play in it. Cracks me up. The other day I was watering the citrus trees on the other side of the fence and they were face deep in the weeds over there with their butts in the air.

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These two are so funny to watch but they are also trouble makers. They have discovered my potted vegetables and I have to chase them off in the mornings. They like to poke at the tomato plants and that is a no no. They very much have a routine of what they do and when. They also are the play ground monitors. Little Birdie (my oldest silkie) is a little bit of a ditz is what I call her, she kind of wanders around doing her own thing and is a little dumb. The new rooster (one of my babies is a gorgeous rooster) has decided he likes her the most and tries to mount her. Whenever he is too aggressive, one of the ducks goes over there, gentle pulls Little Birdie to the side and tells the rooster off. It is so comical to watch.

I almost have R convinced I need a mini pig or goat. Okay, I don’t have him even remotely convinced I need those things nor do I think we have the space for them. But a girl can dream!