Monday, December 30, 2019

Youth and old age

Dwelling with both creates a weird tension in life. There's new resident Stella and the teen-who-thinks-he's-a-man on the one end of the spectrum, full of potential with years (hopefully) stretching out ahead of them. Then there's Jackson who is fading day by day as we support him as best we can, knowing that one day soon we'll be saying a heartbreaking good-bye. Rick and I are somewhere in between, closer in status to Jackson than the others if truth be told. I certainly don't feel that way, though, especially as I look forward to working with Stella to partner in her potential!

Facing the year 2020 is surreal. Y2K wasn't that long ago – for that matter, neither were the 80s! Until I think of how much water has flowed under this bridge of mine.... It's a good thing I don't think about my "legacy;" the ripples I leave behind in the pond of life will be little ones that peter out and are soon forgotten. If I wasn't looking forward to a better land, I'd be depressed! Instead, I think often of C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle. Scenes from that book are so very prescient of the time in which we are living, and a time yet to come. I need to read it again; scary and then exciting stuff.

Off to bed with me, as it's much too late. I may just have to go to bed early on New Year's Eve!

That's it for now from . . .

Friday, December 27, 2019

They're playin' our song

Some animals come into my life on a fragment of song, making that song unshakably theirs. I don't remember this happening when I was young, which may be due to my memory rather than to a mid-life phenomenon – or maybe my mental music catalogue wasn't big enough yet. At any rate, Dozer's song was "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face;" Lance's is "Hello Love."

This morning Rick did the pre-purchase exam on my 'Christmas pony' and gave the nod. As I prepared to post an announcement on Instagram/Facebook with a pretty head shot, the obvious hit me. Do you see it? Can you hear it?
"Do you see what I see? A star, a star, dancing in the night with a tail as big as a kite." And it's even a Christmas carol!

Meet Umpqua Andromeda, my girl Stella, a 2016 Morgan. She is a clean slate, basically halter-trained and able to have her feet trimmed and that's about it. My husband and son both seem to think I'm half crazy for taking on a project that may or may not turn out to be suitable for dressage; they don't realize how much I look forward to such a project! I'm hoping we can pick her up on Sunday so we can start getting to know one another and build a partnership. I think Lance is going to be a great big brother....

Here are a few more photos from today. As you can see, there's a lot of room for physical development (and hopefully HEIGHTH) through groceries and conditioning, but slowly, slowly.

You will certainly see more photos of her here, but most of Stella's story will be posted on my Dances With Horses blog (under "Links" in sidebar at right). We don't want to crowd the sheep off of Boulderneigh! 😊

That's it for now from . . .

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

A quiet Christmas day

That's the impromptu "Christmas card" that I threw up on Instagram this morning, to go along with our low-key celebration this year.

Just one more ornament joined the bulldog on our little borrowed tree, but she's pretty spectacular. A blogpal who has been missing in action sent me a "Maine Mermaid:"

Today was occupied by preparing, serving, and cleaning up after our Christmas dinner, interspersed with communicating with family and friends and plying. (I made homemade butterhorn rolls, green & white lasagne, roasted Brussels sprouts, a Waldrof-inspired salad, and chocolate-coated cranberries, served with apple-grape Martinelli's and all well received.)

Had to have some sort of fiber-play going on after finishing the hat (which got blocked and delivered to a friend yesterday).

This evening, after a gray day, the setting sun softly stroked some clouds in the east.

I took a picture, then headed out to ride Lance down the lane and back in quiet Christmas twilight.

But there was a undercurrent of excitement throughout our quiet day. Thanks to my mom (and her German father and Swedish mother),  Christmas Eve is CHRISTMAS to me, when holiday lights and candles and firelight are at their beautiful best and all the tasks of the day are done. For most of our married life we have celebrated in the manner of my in-laws, but a few times over the years, like last night, Rick has been willing to humor me on Christmas Eve. So we read some inspiring stories about what this season is really about, ate supper, and opened our gifts.

Having Jackson with us for one last Christmas is also a gift.

When there wasn't anything from Rick, I wondered. Something had been said about leaving something at the office....

Then Rick asked, "So when are we going to do this pre-purchase?"
There may have been squealing – and tears. I shot off a text to the breeder, and we settled on Friday morning for the pre-purchase exam. I'm trying not to sail over the moon until 'Stella' gets the veterinarian's stamp of approval, but I really don't anticipate any problems. This filly has gotten to grow up in a big pasture with a herd of her kind, an ideal 'childhood' for developing a sound mind and body – a body that I think (and hope) is still growing.

Yeah, I'm excited; it looks like I will be buying myself a 'pony' for Christmas. 😍 Stay tuned!

And to all a good night, from . . .

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Soggy solstice

A Pineapple Express blew through the last couple days and nights and so we begin a proper Pacific Northwest winter: WET. I don't mind; without abundant winter rain, we would cease to have the lush and fertile environs we love so well.
Sunset the evening of my last post, taken on our way home from Salem

The next morning's sunrise was considerably less colorful, and the last one we've seen since

Clouds moving in that day, over the neighbors' new shop
Clouds and moon
As the rain moved in, the wood moved out; the side of our woodshed gave way! It was an old, none-too-sturdy structure when we moved here in 1995; we've talked about rebuilding/replacing it but never felt we had available funds. Still don't, but will have to figure out SOMEthing now!

Dear Jackson has had a tough week, which weighs heavily on me. At least he can truly sleep now that he's lost some of his hearing. Prior to that loss, he always had one eye open, keeping an eye on everything around him – a true watchdog.

There is now an ornament on our little borrowed tree, my annual dated bulldog birthday gift from dear friend Debbie. Hopefully he's not lonely, because I'm still liking our minimalist approach this year..
I started one last knitting project of the year, using leftovers from three of my last four projects. 

I don't know who it's for yet; whether it will go in the gift dresser or reveal itself to be just the thing for someone in need this week. Will try to stay 'tuned in' while prepping for our simple family Christmas. On tomorrow's agenda: dipping fresh cranberries in chocolate!

That's it for now from . . .

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Who turned the lights on?

Sunday morning Brian and I went to our Christian trail-riding club's Christmas party. Fortunately, a couple other "not old" folks were there, so he enjoyed himself. We had good food, a fun cut-throat gift exchange, and afterwards, those who desired were treated to a buggy ride. I came home with two beautiful battery-operated candles that I promptly installed in the small windows on either side of our fireplace. They can be turned on to just flicker, or flicker and play Christmas carols. 😊

As we were driving back from the party straight to Brian's Sunday job, he asked about a Christmas tree. I told him I figured we were skipping one this year, given the lack of interest 'til that moment, the late date, high prices, and dry fall. Then he had a great idea! My MIL is going to her daughter's in Colorado for Christmas (where Rick returned from that night) so is probably not putting up her little artificial tree; Brian suggested we ask her if we could borrow it. The answer was affirmative, so we picked it up on our way home. When Rick and I arrived home from the airport after midnight, this cheery sight greeted us:

It was a little too tucked away for my taste, though, so this morning I found a suitable box to give it more height and presence, and draped a festive flannel sheet about the box and base. Rick had brought back some wool roving and washed mohair locks from his niece for me, so I tucked those gifts under it. Now that I have a place to put gifts, it's time to do some wrapping! I guess we should add some ornaments, although I'm enjoying the simplicity of the little green tree and white lights.

Yesterday morning the sky looked promising for a pretty sunrise, but it fizzled and the fog started moving in. Then the sun came up on the other side of the firs and took my breath away. I grabbed my iPhone and captured these, SOOC (straight-out-of-camera):

The fog and clouds took over again for awhile, but the sun shown gloriously all afternoon. (I don't realize I miss sunshine until an extended period without.) Then this morning, we were gifted a colorful sunrise above the frost:

With gifts like that, whatever we put under the little tree are mere tokens – but tokens of love are treasured. 😊

Speaking of tokens of love, this beautiful bell arrived in yesterday's mail from a dear blogpal:

Not only is it beautiful, it has such a sweet tone – and is Fair Trade. Right now it's hanging from the light fixture in our entry so I can bump it often and smile, but I'll probably move it to the shelter of our front porch so the wind can play with it, along with the chimes I was delighted to end up with from the dressage club Christmas party I went to the week before. Beauty and music; those of some of the nicest gifts!

It's beginning to look a lot more like Christmas at . . .

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Creature feature with a side of sky

I've been collecting deer photos for awhile now. The first two were taken in early October (I think when our washing machine was out of order and I was carrying laundry down to the neighbor's), but they never fit into my narrative. As the pictures 'aged,' I almost deleted them several times. Do you do that? Take photos, and then toss them unused like food items with expired "Use by" dates? Well, I'm glad I didn't this time, sitting here typing with that pretty doe staring at me from my screen.

If the deer are going to eat our grass, the ewes might as well benefit from it, too. (The tracks are from hauling manure; the guys didn't get much done before the old spreader crashed.)

Bardot proves the old adage about the grass on the other side of the fence:

As you can see, it has been gray here. Lots of clouds and/or fog, with and without rain. Not many colorful sunrises (above is this morning's shades of gray), but there were two rainbows in the sky on my way to work Thursday morning. The main one started out as just a colorful smudge on the horizon in front of me as I drove, and kept growing and glowing bigger and brighter until it was a perfect arch – just the blessing I needed on a tough morning.

Another blessing given the weather was getting to see the last full moon of 2019. I tried to take photos of it sailing through the tree branches and clouds, but such shots are not in my iPhone's wheelhouse. Still, these shots have an atmospheric quality I like:

Tonight I captured proof of the strange and enduring love affair Chuckie has with my slippers. He's usually Johnnie-on-the-spot when I go out at night to do chores, and is often waiting and watching in the morning as well. When I swap slippers for chore boots, Chuckie is all over them, shoving his face inside, rubbing on them . . . you'd think they were made of catnip!

That's it for now from . . .