Grattitude

Aa I sat in church this morning, listening to my pastor, seversl of hid piontd reslly hit home for me. This past week, we all celebrated Thanksgiving with our families and loved ones. We all know the history of this holiday, celebrating what we have been blessed with and remembering the history or our country as the pilgrims befriended Indians. This morning I was reminded of more.

Giving thanks is not a one day a year deal. We should be appreciative and grateful every day of the year. Some understand better than others the trials and hardships that others, especially in other countries face. But we are fortunate enough to live in America where we have freedoms and abundances others only dream of.

Now on a more personal note. We sang ‘Count Your Many Blessings’ this morning. A simple tune with a great message. I myself have been feeling down the past few days or so. If I would have stepped back and looked at all I have to be grateful for, by counting my blessings, I may have snapped out of my gloom sooner. God does not desire for us to be sad, but blesses us with joy and love so that we are able to share it with others.

That brings me to the thing that the pastor said that opened my eyes the most this morning. True joy comes from helping others. That is where we are going to find the most pleasure is by giving and helping others when they can in no way or means return the favor. I used to be involved in a lot more than I am now, in 4-H and other programs that allowed me to give back. I now realize it may be time to take another step in that direction.

On the flip side of that, I have several people that have given and helped me. Many of them will never read this, but being grateful is not always enough. Showing grattitude is something done on a daily basis. The biggeset way of showing it is never taking advantae of another’s generosity. I strive really hard at this. Each day in itself is a blessing, and when I am offered or given help, advice, time etc it means all that much more.

The projects I have completed, the tasks that I have done, the improvements I have made in my life, on the farm, in the barn, in the chicken coop, could not have been finished without the help I received. I need to make grattitude more of a priority on a day to day scale.

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Productive Thanksgiving Morning

This morning, as I am sure many other did, I enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in. Even though the horses were not the happiest that they had to wait for breakfast, I received a warm welcome anyhow. The chickens enjoyed the warmer morning also as they played and fluttered around the barnyard.

After watching a few minutes of the annual parade, I headed outside to join my dad. If you have been following my blog you are already aware that my latest project is reseeding the pasture field. It has been a little over a week since I started, and dad helped with plowing. Since then, we have had to order and replace a broken spindle, dig out and hook up the disc, and then disc the whole field at least twice. My Grandpa graciously helped with the discing and I finished it. My neighbor lent me a seeder, and after we ran to get feed, helped me get it adjusted to seed the field appropriately.

This morning, Dad went out and I helped him hook the disc to the larger tractor to finish the leveling the low spot in the field, and I started seeding. It was much easier to seed in the daylight than the dark even though there was still a learning curve.

I enjoyed learning with dad this morning hands on. I learned about adjusting the disc and how it works, I also learned about the condition of the ground and optimal preparation for the seed to take best.

When we came in, family had already begun to arrive for Thanksgiving dinner, and we enjoyed visiting with them and had a wonderful meal together. Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to spend time with family. I hate it for those that had to work today to be away from their family.

Several memories were made today! That is what days like today are about. Spending time loving on your family, showing one another how much you appreciate them and making memories.

My family ended today by playing cards until I had to go out to do the evening feeding. We had fun playing cards, it was simple, but we made memories anyway. Every family has traditions and I hope that you were able to keep them with your family today!

God blessed me with a wonderful family, friends and loved ones. Today my extra blessing was a beautiful morning to finish a job and learn from my dad! I have much to be thankful for, and today was a good opportunity to think on it and appreciate it.

Tack: Aids in Riding

This weekend, I spent some time at a judging conference where I learned aboout the upcoming rule changes, class additions, tack specifications and rule verbage to clarify current questionable wording. As is the nature of horse people, multiple viewpoints were expressed, for and against each topic. I enjoyed hearing the different viewpoints as things were brought up that I myself had not thought about.

In the horse industry, abuse is always a concern and one fairly big discussion that was held was about the use of crops and or whips. Ironically, one of my lesson students asked a very good question this evening that I have her permission to share with you. She asked if whips or crops hurt the horse?

While whips and crops can be used to hurt a horse, when used properly, they definitely do not hurt the horse. This includes over/under whips, lunge whips etc. They are all used as a tool, like a pencil to write with is a tool, to communicate with the horse. When used improperly, not only can the physically hurt the horse, they can teach the horse to do the wrong task, or to do a correct task improperly.

Working with horses, I have learned it is a lot easier to teach a horse the right way than to reteach one that has learned the wrong way. In that case you have to work around what the horse already knows, which is a challenge itself and can frustrate not only the rider but also the horse.

When I ride, train and instruct, my goal is to teach the horses and riders to communicate effectively. Sometimes aids, as whips, crops or spurs, are needed to clarify that communication between the horse and rider. When used properly these aids will enhance and encourage the horse to learn quicker. Reinforcing a leg que is a perfectly acceptable reason to use a crop or whip.

An important thing to remember when teaching a horse, especially when usuing a crop, that an instructor in college taught me, is that if you are not teaching you are not training. Your method is not working on that horse, because he does not understand. That means you are not doing your job and you need to find another way to communicate with him what you expect.

I am to the point riding, I seldom use a whip or crop, but I do not hesitate when that is what is needed to get the job done. A trainer once told me “Light as you can, hard as you have to.” That has stuck with me since. I give the lightest cue I can in order to get the result from the horse. Lightest is always best, respect between horse and rider is what leads to good communication and great performance.

Lil Black Hen

Day before yesterday, I worked in the barn after work. I cleaned stalls and cleaned up the barn some. Most of the time I worked, the chickens were around, chatting to me, scratching in the barn and just nosing around. My little black hen was up in the loft talking to me and fluttering around. She was still in the loft when I finished my work mid afternoon.

About 3 hours later, as dusk settled, I went to put the chickens in. I count every night after losing so many. The usual count is 5 hens, 1 rooster, 4 Guineas make 10. That night I counted 4 Guineas, 1 rooster, 4 hens. So I counted again, same number. I got in coop and looked to make sure there was not a 5th hen hiding. There was not.

I was a it upset, as I quickly identified which hen was missing andrealized it was the little black one that had been playing with me in the barn only a few hours before. I started looking for her, in the barn, aound the house, even in the loft, and found nothing. What could have happened in that short of time?

My mom was nice enough to let the chickens out the next morning for me while I was at work. When I got home and let her dog out, I saw my little black hen run through the yard! She was hurrying to join the others down by the barn.

Where were you last night young lady? I asked her as she went running by. She paid me no mind whatsoever as she continued on through the yard.

She has not been late since that night. I am not sure where she slept that night, but she decided in the coop with her friends under the light was much more comforable, thankfully! My mind is at ease when all my girls and Roy are where they are supposed to be.

When my little hen came up missing, I had no doubt that something had goteen her. I had no hope or faith in any return. A friend mentioned to me that she would be back the next day. I assured them otherwise. Imagine my shock when she went running through the yard!

I am so glad my little hen returned! And grateful to my friend for enouragement even when I had no hope.

Daily Prompt: Percolate

Working at a donut shop, one of several duties and responsibilities is making coffee. Naturally where I work has a super fast industrail type machine that percolates the coffe quickly. Sometimes in the rush of the morning crowd, it still is not fast enough.

As my thoughts drift to coffee percolating, the very next thing that comes to mind is patience. Waiting on the coffee to brew takes patience, especially when you are trying to hurry to machine for a customer.

Many things in life require patience, each and every day. My  parents keep foster children and many days those children, as wonderful and exciting as they are try my patience. These kids have a need, patience is required to uncover it and begin to heal it deep where it begins. However, that does not take away the challenge of being nice and kind even at the end of a day where tantums have gone on for hours. When the baby is teething and fussy, it takes patience to soothe him.

The horses are another type of patience, which for some reason I have more of when it comes to them. Patience is vital in working with them, especially the young ones that are just learning. What I find refreshing with that challenge though is the horse that tries. I find much inspiration from a willing mind especially when the horse is young.

Percolating coffee also reminds me of my younger days, when I would make coffee for Dad. He has always drank it strong and the aroma would fill the house. I remember mornings on the weekends when the coffee would be started before Dad got out of bed and I would fill his cup as we headed to a rodeo or to church.

The joke around the house has always been when the horseshoe stands up in it, you know it is strong enough. I remember trying it once… so strong it was bitter.

I am sure that many have memories involving a coffee pot, and many know how much patience it takes to get through a day. My patience grows each day and I hope that I am able to continue to grow it.

via Daily Prompt: Percolate

Daily Prompt: Tart

“The eatable treat,” is the first thing that comes to mind when I hear the word tart, from the Disney movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I spent many hours sitting on the living room floor with my sister watching the classic movie with my dad. Dad had several favorites, most of them Disney and most of them included many musical numbers. Music has always been a big part of my family.

Growing up my sister and I had favorite movies, as did mom and dad that would get watched over and over again. Just the other day a favorite was on the TV and there we all sat watching it for the upteenth time and I was able to quote many many lines asth movie played. Our guest probably wished I would just be quiet!

Television and movies are such a large part of life today. There is a distinct change in many of them from the time I was little compared to now. Many think the progress is amazing, and in some ways it is, but in others I feel quality has been lessened.

There are movies that will always remain classic in my mind. Many good movies are released each year. I have so many memories watching movies as a family when I was little. I expect it is that way for most everyone. I encourage you, take the chance, take the time to spend with your family and make memories, even if its doing something as simple as watching a movie together. Family time is so important and so often one of the first things that even I let go of.  Ionly get one shot at today. I hope to make today the best today it can be!

via Daily Prompt: Tart

Daily Prompt: Fish

A couple years ago, my friend went squaredancing with me. He did not dance, but asked someone else to dance with me. Getting to dance that night led to one of the best friendships I have had in years.

I had not fished in years and my new found friend likes to fish, so like any good friend, I went.

Before my friend arrived, I went down the barn and scrounged up about 30 worms an about ten minutes. I turned over old pieces of wood and unused water troughs, it was not hard. I was so glad to have found so many so quick!

I grabbed my dad’s tackle box and an old fishing pole and jumped in the truck. We went to another friend’s pond and fished for a few hours. It did not take me long to remember that about 2 hours is my attention span limit when it comes to fishing! SO after that I sat on the bank and watched the lake water ripple.

I doubt I forget that first time we went to the lake. Like I said, I had not been fishing in years, since I was little. My friend had told me the fishing was really good at their lake, sunfish, bass, a few others. I cast my line out, baited with a little earthworm, and could not believe the shock when I actually caught a fish on my first or second cast!

The bass that I caught was little, it was cute. First time I ever took a fish off the hook. My square dancing partner of course caught several, various sizes and sorts. It was a nice way to spend the summer Sunday afternoon.

Another day my sister and her boyfriend joined us fishing. They caught some we caught some. All in all we had fun. This past summer I did not get to have as many days like that. Things on the farm were busier, I worked more weekends and the summer got away.

I can not change this summer, but I can look ahead and try to do better. Friends and family are so important, and so often the first things we push aside. Work is important, but so are people, relationships. It boils down to choices. I choose how I spend each day, each moment. I need to strive harder to positively impact those closest to me.

 

via Daily Prompt: Fish

Plowing the Field

We decided to jump into another job on the endless To-Do list. Since we moved to the farm, Dad has wanted to plow and reseed the pasture. I made my mind up this week and got the ball rolling!

Two days ago, my friend stopped out and helped me drive T-posts to divide my pasture. Yesterday, I picked up the plow that my Granpa graciously let me borrow. Today while I was at work, Dad hooked up the plow and started on the field.

Dad tried to teach me about running the plow as I rode the old diesel Massey with him. Around and around we went talking about the field, seed, farm and tractor. I am hoping this makes a difference in pasture management next summer.

The old Massey does not have power steering, and I do not drive it well. Most jobs that require driving that tractor wait until someone  else is available to drive it. Gerdie, as we affectionately call the 65 diesel, does not always get along with me, she tends to prefer guys, and most of the time I leave her to them.

After the field is plowed the plan is to disc it before seeding the pasture seed. After seed is sown, maybe disc it in, and maybe cover with straw. Those depend on a lot of different things. Either way, hoping to have this project tied up by the end of next week. Mark one thing off the list.

In my younger days, when I competed all over all the time, my dad and my reliable shoe, Buger, spent a lot of time together. Buger has aged a lot since then, it has been 10 years since our trip to Nationals. He is older now, and grumpy a good bit. Today, mty Grandpa stopped to help Dad with the plow, then he surprised us with lunch.

We were reminded of old times as Buger did everything he could think of to get a bite of Dad’s hamburger. He even played with Grandpa as Dad took a break to eat on the tractor. It was a wonderful trip down memory lane as Buger mooched enough for Grandpa to give him part of his bun.

Those days seem like yesterday! It was so nice to revisit them even for a few minutes with my favorite horse this evening. It was so good to see a glimpse of the horse he used to be and pbviously still is!

 

Peaceful Evening

This was another productive afternoon preparing on the farm. This time, the step that was completed was setting T-posts to divide the pasture to plow and seed hopefully within the week. My friend stopped by to help drive the posts, it is  big job for someone who does not stand as tall as the posts are, and the job was knocked out pretty quickly.

After grabbing a bite to eat and picking up a Tetnas shot, I walked down to the barn. As I started down the bank, I looked to my right and saw several chickens and Guinea hens pecking and scratching. Scotch ran out of the barn to greet me and the horses were moseying around behind the barn eating grass and hay.

As I took in the sights, sounds, smells, I was struck with a peace. This little farm, I have been able to improve a little at a time, brings me so much peace and comfort.There will always be things to do, a list of projects that never ends, but this little patch brings me so much peace. Each, chicken, horse and cat is a blessing, a gift for me to care for and look after.

My animals, care for me, they are happy to see me. The chickens and Guineas cluck and chirp when I walk outside, the cats come running from whatever corner of the farm they happen to be on, and the horses respect me. I have special relationships with my horses, we work together and help heal each other.

As I was helping with the posts today, the horses moseyed over to see what we were doing. Several of them insisted on checking the posts out and enjoyed being petted and scratched before continuing on their way. The ones that I ride more often were among the first ones to investigate and come to say hello as I worked  with my friend.

Regardless of what kind of day I have had, when I come home to my horses and cats and even chickens, the stress and kaos of the day melt away. They do not judge or hold against me anything. They accept me as I am and hold nothing of themselves back. Each one is a blessing and I enjoy spending time working in the barn and field with and around them.

Hopefully you have your own happy place that helps you unwind and leave the stress of the day behind.

Barn Help

Today was yet another opportunity to catch up on some barn work and get a jumpstart on a small project! I felt under the weather over the weekend, and the stalls showed it unfortunately. My neighbor stopped by and offered to help strip them out! It did not take long that way.

We started working on another small project for the chicken coop. First we measured and cut boards, more on this project in another post when it is finished 🙂 A month or so ago, my friend dropped off 2 older kittens. One a butter yellow and the other an orangish tuxedo… I decided to name the yellow cat Butter and the tuxedo cat Scotch. They were inseperable! You never saw one without the other. While they had been raised around people, neither was keen on being picked up. I started slowly petting them until the would greet me in the barn for pets and scratches.

Within a short time Butter would even let me pick him up and cuddle him some, not alot, but he enjoyed being petted and rubbed. Scotch was more hesitant, but he enjoed being petted as long as you did not pick him up off the ground. Progress is progress!

Just over a week ago, Butter disappeared sadly. I miss him in the barn in the morning and evening. I brought Scotch in for a few nights and he enjoyed sleeping inside, but he started bonding with me on a different level. Now when I go outside he comes running and rubs on me! He enjoys attention and will even stand up on his hind legs resting his front paws on my leg for scratches and pets!

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Today Scotch decided to help clean stalls, cut boards, build a platform, and he helps me bandage the mare’s foot every night! He has decided the barn is his and he likes it that way!

This is just one of the several animals God has blessed me with. Getting to know this little guy has been an enjoyable challenge. I get the biggest kick out of watching this guy on the farm. He follows me everywhere, to the chicken coop, during chores, he has definitely decided that being barn help is right up his alley!

Photo credit to my friend Mark.