pitbull


An Artistic Eye…….

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As I sit here nursing two bruised knees, and one largely bruised ego, I thought I would write a post on this largely ignored (of late) blog!

Let’s talk about barriers.

The dictionary defines a barrier as: something that separates, demarcates, or serves as a barricade. For example – a fence, hedge or wall; a bar, encumbrance, handicap, hindrance, hurdle, impediment, obstacle, obstruction, roadblock, stop………………..you get the picture!

One might think I am about to address something deep and metaphorical, having to do with life, and those things that keep us from moving forward with our lives. A discussion, perhaps, about an obstacle, be it mental or physical, that keeps us from achieving our goals, and moving on to the next phase in our existence……………….

Well, sorry, it is nothing as intellectual as that.

The barricades in my life are about 3 feet tall, and prevent me from moving freely from one room to another in my house. I am talking about baby gates!!!!

Now, at this stage in my life, I should be waaaay beyond having baby gates in my house!!!!!

But, no…………I live with 4 dogs, who, ideally, should be considered a pack of 4. Since I lack the demeanor and macho confidence of Cesar Millan, this pack of 4, is, in reality,  2 packs of 2. Which brings us to the need for baby gates.

My two dogs, and my daughter’s 2, do NOT get along. It is not for lack of trying. So, thru’ out the day, we play “musical dogs”. There are 2 are upstairs while the other  two are downstairs, and vice versa.  If both pairs have to be downstairs at the same time, the barricades are up.

After two too many hairy encounters (no pun intended), between my daughter’s male and my male, we give up………………….

Now, on a positive note, these barriers have kept me quite limber. I can lift one leg and pirouette on the other foot, while balancing a glass and plate, or an armload of books or laundry, going from one room to another. There is no better exercise to keep my old hips and hamstrings moving and agile!

I walk extra steps each day to get to the stairs, since one very high gate blocks the shortcut to get upstairs. Sedentary, I am not!

On occasion, the one gate is triple barricaded, to prevent one high flying dog from sailing over it, in her attempt to engage my two dogs in unwanted, riotous play or worse.

It was this triple barricade that led to my downfall today!!!!

As I gracefully arched one leg over the triple gates, my heel landed on the outer gate. The foot that followed, caught the top of that same outer gate. As my inner voice was screaming “Stop, go back!”, I chose to ignore it (have I learned nothing from that rarely wrong inner voice of mine? Apparently NOT!). I plowed forward and downward as I got tangled in the gate, my English mug of tea, myself, and my glasses  flying in different directions!

I sat, laughing so hard the tears were streaming down my face- or perhaps I was crying – who knows; with my jeans sopping up the puddle of Pipps tea from my overturned mug! Amazingly, the mug did NOT break, neither did the gate, my glasses, nor my skinned knees!

I could, at this stage of my life, being living a quiet, empty nester type existence, with just my husband and my own two dogs.  But, life is short. My daughter (and her unruly dogs) will be gone again soon enough, to strike out on her own. I love having her here, and will enjoy that time, however fleeting or long it may be.

There are some days when a 2 dog, gate-less household seems like an unattainable heaven on earth.  But, until that time arrives, if the only barriers in my life are a couple of baby gates, I should consider myself very lucky.

Now, I must go and get some ice packs for my knees……………….

The good ol' days - when everyone just got along...................

The good ol' days - when everyone just got along...................

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All is well, if not quiet, at Mountain Meadows, this warm Sunday afternoon…..

Well, it’s Tuesday morning and I am actually on time for tea!!! I’ve been posting TT on my other blog – so here’s the link:


http://artfullyooglebloops.blogspot.com/2009/06/tea-on-tuesday_30.html#comments

As I mentioned in that post, I did go out to pick raspberries – but, as I thought, the crop is just about gone. there are maybe 10 berries left to ripen – we’ll see who gets them first, the critters or me!!!

The blackberries promise to be a bumper crop- cannot wait for that!!! Should be ready in another 2 weeks!

I took Princess Allie, one of our 4 pits, on the berry picking walk. She is the only one who will listen off leash – sort of. She will head where I point, and return, if I call. And, being almost 7, and a tad bit portly, does not have the speed necessary to really catch anything (other than a ground hog).

She enjoyed her walk – altho saw a rabbit(?) and chased that into the brush, then saw a deer all the way across the field and took off after it. I called her and she did return – but I am not sure that she came because I asked her to, or that she realized that the deer was pretty far away – and it might be a wasted trip, by the time she reached it!!

She checked out the ground hog holes, and marked her territory -face it- it’s ALL her territory!!! We meandered over to check out my vegetable garden, and Allie got there first and took off! I can only assume that the feral cat was sitting there- but Allie can’t and won’t fit thru the sticker bushes, so the cat was pretty safe!

Allie is having a pretty good couple of days – she played soccer with my son, who is visiting and adores her. She went swimming in the river with him, posed for endless amounts of photos, and last evening went swimming at the fishing hole with him. Needless to say, no fish were caught with Allie splashing around!

Right now, Allie is resting, like the queen she is (or is that princess?), and when the son arises, she will be ready for another day in the water with him!!!

Playing ball in the river

Playing ball in the river

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All is well, and still a bit sunny, at Mountain Meadows this morning………

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Happy Birthday, Sunman!!! 4 Years old!!!

Happy Birthday, Sunman!!! 4 Years old!!!

All is well, and very, very soggy, at Mountain Meadows this morning……..

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Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid……..John 14:27

Today was definitely a day to remain indoors. But, as life would have it, going outside is a necessity!

I made an early evening visit to the barn- to change the horses’ blankets to  heavier weight ones. I know, my horses ARE spoiled- but they are getting on in years, and I want them to remain around for alot longer!!! Even tho’  the ‘old man’ is as shaggy as an Icelandic pony, a little extra blanket warmth never hurts!!!

The temperature was about 19 degrees at 4:30 – the husband had just come in from letting the dogs run – and his fingers and nose were a little numb!

I needed to bundle up, and ran to my closet for some extra layers.

On the first hanger in my closet, hangs an old woolen jacket. This jacket belonged to my grandfather. I can still see him wearing it, in the winter at home in Valley Stream, NY, and on the cooler days of spring working around the Rhinebeck  country house in upstate NY.

The tag on the jacket says “Maine Guide”, Saks Fifth Avenue, 100% virgin wool.  It is probably about 70 years old now, with only a couple of microscopic  moth holes. Still with all the original buttons, it was made with the kind of care that is not often found in garments today. The inner seams are all covered – french seams, maybe- coming from Saks, I guess it was good quality!

I think my grandmother gave this to me – I don’t remember how I came to have it – but it has hung in my closets – always on the first hanger – for as long as I can remember. Maybe once a year, I take it out, try it on, and maybe wear it for a short while.

Each time I try it on, I am reminded that my grandfather was not a very big man. When I was a kid, he was larger than life – but when I try on his jacket – it fits me perfectly.

Well, today was the day to wear Poppy’s jacket! I put it on over my turtleneck, put the down vest over that, topped by the down jacket and lined leather barn gloves. Kind of like the proverbial little kid in a snowsuit!!!!

I was ready to brave the elements!!!

I know it was the many layers that kept me warm – but I prefer to think that Poppy knew I was wearing his jacket, and his warmth radiated thru out it.

The husband was outside with me – and with all his clothes, gloves, and even an attractive (!) flap earred hat – he was not as warm as I!!!

We re-blanketed the horses , fed them, pulled down more hay, mucked the stalls, closed up the barn, threw down corn for the deer, and brought in wood for the woodstoves!

The jacket is back in its place of honor – 1st hanger in the closet- who knows – I might even wear it again tomorrow!!!!!

The daughter's dogs getting a little to close to the jacket!!!

The daughter's dogs getting a little to close to the jacket!!!

As you can see, we were watching Ellen, and still haven’t gotten to painting the walls in the house!!!!!

Poppy, Jos. S. Caldwell, in his bicycle racing days! Think early Lance Armstrong!

Poppy, Jos. S. Caldwell, in his bicycle racing days! Think early Lance Armstrong!

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All is well, and smoke coming from every chimney around, on this cold, cold evening at Mountain Meadows tonite………………


That question was recently posed to me – obviously, not everyone has been reading my blog!!!!!!

I am certainly not the typical farmer. I am just a country girl wannabe who got to be!!!!

We grow hay, we sell hay, we have horses, that’s about the extent of it – so far…………..!!!!! We’re learning as we go and having fun doing it!

It’s a typical day. I spent an hour or so this morning at the barn. It  is again,  unseasonably in the upper 60’s and I had to take off the horses’ blankets. I turned my two guys out into the hay fields to have at some of the remaining green ‘grass’. The two have just started actually eating the hay we baled, and have gone thru their first square bale. This year I will keep track of how much they consume in a very high tech way – as I pull down a bale – I make a pencil mark on the barn wall !!

I swept out the barn, and opened the doors to let the warm breeze clear out the stench of mouse urine that is starting to permeate everything (see previous post about our mouse colony!) In the summer, the black snakes decimated our toad population. I love the little toads and they do their best to keep down the fly population. Since the snakes are pretty inactive during the cold weather, they are not of much help keeping down the winter mouse population!! Come the spring, I will be employing ‘kind’ methods of keeping the mice out. I don’t want to kill them. A reader shared a method that has worked for her in the past – hanging lavender in strategic places. Whether it works or not – the scent of lavender is much preferred over the rank smell of mouse pee !!! I’ll just be sure to keep the bouquets out of reach of horses’ inquiring lips!!!

Another regular ‘activity’ here in the country, is the almost daily trip to the Post Office. We do have a mailbox down at the end of the drive. When we first moved here, we did not – so we got a post office box. When the humongous mailbox was installed by the husband, we kept the po box for my eBay biz. In reality, our local  Post Office is like no other I’ve been to in the urban areas.

I recently filled out a mail in survey for the PO, and made sure, by adding a comment at the end of the survey – that the A+ service I bragged about in this survey, was ONLY available at the Fulks Run Post Office.

This Post Office, as I have written about before, is the hub of this little town. It is where you get your local news, information, weather stats, rainfall amounts, and hear who is sick, looking for a job, or selling a car.

I can find out who got the biggest bear this past weekend, who has the flu, or where to find the best trees, honey, goats, or beef. I also learned the best time to plant my corn, what snakes to watch out for, and when to pick my persimmons. If I need someone’s address, our venerable postmaster can recite it right off the top of his head!!

While I was writing this post, the husband and daughter were out dragging the fields.  For the uninitiated- that is when you attach a drag chain (think of a very heavy,  loose link chain link fence with spikes) to the back of the tractor. You then drive the tractor thru the horse paddock, dragging this spiked chain behind it. It’s kind of like dragging a rake thru a kitty litter box – since you can’t scoop up all the horse poop (believe me, I’ve tried!). The chain breaks up  the manure, and spreads it around- it disintegrates more easily and fertilizes the paddocks, resulting in a more verdant field in the  spring!!

Since what goes into a horse, must come out – eventually, the paddocks become like a veritable mine field – for human and horse alike!!! Picking cement- like horse poop out of horses’ feet is not one of my most favorite pastimes! So, dragging a field is one of the necessities of life.

Today, I have done the usual mundane – dishes, laundry, sweep, vacuum, etc. Daily, I do my ‘peaceable kingdom’ duties-take the dogs out for a run, feed the wild birds, throw out corn for the deer, clean, feed, brush the horses, do the same for the interior critters. And, of course, try to keep ahead of the never ending and very prolific  ‘dust ponies’ that accumulate everywhere when you have 4 active dogs in the house!!

My day is probably not much different from what it was before we moved here- except the scenery has changed, the stress level has changed, I work out of my home as opposed to juggling 4 jobs and the needs of two kids, I can walk out my door and hug my horses instead of driving 22 miles to do so……………..Never mind – living in the country is WAY different- and I love it!!!!

So, if you want to know what I do all day in the country – keep checking back – I’ll keep ya’ posted!!!!!! Coming soon to a bookstore near you!!!!!:>)

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Aforementioned Post Office

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Altho equally as humongous in size as the new black mailbox the husband installed, this one, however, only cost me 25 cents at the thrift store- and will house my garden tools!!!

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A summertime view out the door to the birdie breakfast bar!!! Winter visitors include mourning doves, red finches, and blue jays, who are less willing to have their pictures taken! The blue jays pretty much rule the roost here- so any of the more exotic winter visitors are forced to dine elsewhere!!

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Here again, the canine crew – shown in happier times – when all four could be in the same room together…aaahh, for the good ol’ days!

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All is well, peaceful, and strangely warm, at Mountain Meadows  this Monday nite ……………………..


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My vintage 19 cent  thrift shop candle- a light in the window for the holidays………………

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The view from my back deck – last night’s moon above the mountain. The tiny orange glow below, is the light from the Turner’s cabin at the top. It’s a nail biting drive to their cabin- usually only accessible with 4 wheel drive! But the view from up there is priceless!!!

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Table centerpiece of a hand hewn butternut bowl created and signed by Ann Weber’s dad in 1998. Since her dad is no longer with us, it makes this piece and others by him, that much more precious to those who are lucky enough to own them. The pine cones, antique Christmas balls and flocked trees sit perfectly on a large faux leaf (thanks, Patty!)**12-17-08 Oops – just learned Ann’s dad is still with us!!! Turned 87 in October!!!His wood works are still very precious!!!!

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This is my version of an idea seen in the December 2008 issue of Country Home Magazine. It’s an old glass insulator, with a tiny flickering battery operated candle from the hardware store set underneath. The barn red wood is a scrap from when we built the barn. I have these sitting on the steps going upstairs. Now if only I could find all the rest of the insulators I had packed away!!! With a little greenery added, it makes the perfect holiday light!

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Mom’s South of the Border straw Xmas wreath. Mom used to live in Yuma, Az- she was a snow bird. These hand crafted wreaths were all the rage – from over the border in Mexico. This now adorns her bedroom door!

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The “Sunman” basking in the glow of my 19 cent candle, and the glare of the camera flash!

Since the husband is recovering from rotator cuff surgery, and sleeps in the recliner, Sunny takes full advantage of the fact that he can share the bed with me. When the husband can get back in his own bed, there may be some issues he’ll need to resolve with the Sunman!!! LOL

Due to the husband’s surgery, Christmas decorating is being kept to a minimum this year. No lights outside, no huge tree, and alot less stressful!!!

There will be lots of cookie baking (and eating), lots of fire burning, and alot less ornaments to pack away when the holidays are done!!! There’s always next year!!!!

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All is well, with the wind whistling past the windows, on this chilly evening, at Mountain Meadows tonite…………………………

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