Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ring Out The Old

2013 was a challenging year for us in some ways.   I suppose all years have their challenges, don't they?   But some are just easier than others and feel like months of status quo.   And so at the end of a challenging year, we look forward and think the new year will be better.   It's always a fresh look, a new hope for bright days with minimal stress and frustration over things outside our control.   We look at things we might change, look at new opportunities for prosperity, possibly set goals or resolutions.   Mostly, I think people just want to feel happy and fulfilled, secure in their homes and with their families and friends.   We are very fortunate to have a warm home, food (sometimes too much) in the fridge, safe and happy animals, and the love of another who walks next to us through life.   The rest is just life's challenges.   So I guess we ring out the old and ring in the new, hoping the challenges will be minimal and the joy will be abundant.

Happy New Year!!!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Now Relax

Christmas is drawing to a close.   We had a very nice but quiet day here.   The sky is blue and the temperature is about 72.   I made scones this morning and we had them with local honey and/or fruit preserves from a local farm.   Neither of us hit the shower until about 2pm, so at least we were clean for dinner.   Dinner was roast chicken which was moist and very good.   Just ask the chickens.   They were thrilled to get some leftovers and are still running around outside with pieces of skin and bone.   We are sipping Opolo Sangiovese from one of our local wineries.   And we are starting to discuss the plan for our trip to New York City in the Spring.   

I hope you are all relaxing after a nice Christmas Day.   Sit down, put your feet up, rest your head, and zzzzzzzz.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Random 5 Friday

Yay, Nancy's back!!!

Okay, so what's random that I want to share today?   

1.    Toby, my rooster, is still vibrant and taking good care of the flock.   These days, he's not quite so interested in sharing food/treats as he used to be.   Maybe his mojo has shifted from his private parts to his crop?   As he approaches 5 years, I know that I am going to miss him one day.   I never imagined I would like having a rooster around but he adds a lot to our little ranch.

2.    I found this photo yesterday as I was going through boxes stored in the back of the closet.   When I was younger, I loved riding on the back of a motorcycle.   I had a b/f with a beautiful bike and we went lots of places on that bike.   We took a 2000 mile trip one summer from Arizona up through California and back.   This photo is from another trip, as you can see it's not summer.
I wasn't really that red but the color in the photo is a bit altered over the years.

3.     The Big Sur wildfire was burning this week, sadly destroying homes in its path.   While it's about 100 miles from us, the winds shifted and our air was badly polluted with smoke.  It made for pretty skies and lots of pinks in our sunset.   Fortunately it rained just a tiny bit yesterday and the skies cleared.

4.     Yesterday brought us cooler temps, blue skies and pretty clouds.   After a little time visiting Beau at the barn (no riding), I drove west and stopped at a cute little place that sells honey and cider and other things that they make themselves.   They also have some sweet Christmas tea towels and candles and things like that.   The front of their property is filled with rusted farm equipment from years past.   And they have a windmill.   Who doesn't love a windmill against a clear blue sky?   And they have fudge....gah!   I wasn't in the mood for chocolate fudge since I have already eaten enough of the batch I made and have since put in the freezer to avoid taking those harmless little slices.   Right.  But they had a pumpkin fudge with walnuts and so I brought home a teeny bit of that.   

5.     And a random farm photo of Gunny and Hannah because I can't think of anything else :-)

Happily sharing with Nancy

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

A Good Monday

Yesterday morning I went outside to this....

Unedited, 100% SOOC

Isn't that an incredible start to the day?   

Then we had a beautiful sunset to end the day.   

And pink hills looking north.

Oh yes, the rest of the day was good too.   I hope yours was also, and please have a nice Tuesday.   

Monday, December 16, 2013

Hazy Dayz

I haven't done a blog post in a few days and haven't taken any photos in a while.   *gasp*   We have had a very thick haze of particulates in the air due to fireplaces and no wind to blow the junk out of here.   This is what the air looks like mid-day when I'm driving home from the barn.   See the hills in the distance?   No?   Exactly!

We had a little bit of wind come up late afternoon and a little of the haze blew out, but then the wind stopped and everyone cranked up their fireplaces again.   It burns the eyes and makes breathing more difficult.   I'm not a fan.   Give me electric heat any day.   Rural areas like ours generally don't have "no burn" days like they do in the Bay Area and other cities.   Too many people rely on their fireplaces and wood burning stoves for heat.   

It makes for pretty sunsets, but that's about it, IMHO.

It's warmed up enough in the daytime to enjoy some time at the barn with Beau.   Today is supposed to reach 77 degrees.   Crazy weather.

Beau has some new polo wraps to add some spice to his life.   I thought it would be fun to add these to his wardrobe of basic solid colors.

I made a double batch of fudge yesterday and that's all I'm baking for the holidays.   We just don't need all that yummy stuff in the house.   I must admit, however, that I've kind of been thinking about making cinnamon rolls over Christmas.   Doesn't that sound good?   I haven't made them since I was living at home in my parents' house.   I used to enjoy baking and trying new things when I was young.   Now I can't afford the calories and I have zero will power.

And on the subject of food, it's just the two of us for Christmas and I haven't decided what to do for dinner.   I'm thinking of brunch or a full dinner at a restaurant but I'm probably too late to get reservations.   Maybe I'll put that on my "to do" list for the day, figuring out if we can get reservations somewhere nice.   I'm really not interested in cooking a turkey or a ham or a beef roast.   What to do, what to do.   Aren't we fortunate to have those choices?   

Enjoy your day and your week.   I hope you're not stressing about the holidays as it's just not worth it.   It's a day, a week, a meal, just try to enjoy it.   Okay?   Cheers.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday

People post old photos on Thursday.   I'm not sure if it's a Facebook thing, a Twitter thing, or an Instagram thing.   Either way, it sent me looking through some old family photos.   I found this treasured photo of our cousins on my mom's side of the family.   A lot of my old color photos are fading quite a bit so it's nice to be able to boost them a little in editing before they're too faded to recognize.

I am in the back row, third from the left, in a turquoise dress with pink flowers.   I remember that dress.   I loved the fabric.   For those of you know know my sister, she is in the back row in the red, black and white dress.   

I miss having big family gatherings like these.   It was very special to have cousins around.

Have a nice Thursday!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

A Country Road

This was a rather boring and lifeless photo without editing.   Once I got started, I noticed the house way down at the end, smack dab in the center.   
I'm starting to wake up and spend a little more time outside since it actually got above 50 for more than an hour yesterday.
Today I think I might ride my horse!   

Enjoy your hump day.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Am Obsessed

What have I found to do while inside on these cold days?   I discovered a YouTube video channel from a lady who has a Ringneck Parrot named Bowie.   I believe I've watched nearly every one of her videos of this funny bird.   These are two of my favorites.

Her channel led me to another Ringneck named Marnie.   Here's Marnie's birthday party.

I can't stop myself.   I absolutely love these birds.   No, I am not getting a bird!   They are too delicate for me.   I just think they are pretty amazing when they learn to talk and must bring so much enjoyment to those who want the responsibility.   

Have a nice Monday.   I hope it's not too cold where you are.   If it's bad weather, stay home and watch some videos on YouTube.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Perched at Home

It's been cold.   Cold and windy....cold!   Don't think I'm just a California girl complaining about a little chill, the past two nights it got down to 19 degrees.   And by early tomorrow morning there is a chance of a dusting of snow.   If it does snow and I get some photos, I'll show you proof.   It's happened before and it could happen again.   

So I am just perched here at home, mostly.   I bought groceries and ran other errands.   I bought chicken feed, including scratch for some warmth, shavings for the coop, and a fresh bale of straw for the donkey's shelter.   I cleaned out the coop and put in new shavings.   I cleaned out the donkey shelter and put in the new straw for them....well, mostly for the chickens.   The chickens have spent the better part of the past two days hunkered in the straw, out of the cold wind.   I'm having to break the ice on water buckets in the morning.   And I have pulled out the Goretex gloves that Erik turned over to me a few years ago.   They feel good.   

The sugar water in the hummingbird feeder froze over!   Fortunately it gets hit by the morning sun so it melted from the bottom up and I saw the hummers using it late yesterday.   I threw an old horse blanket over the faucet in the front but one of the plastic do-hickeys on the nozzle attached to the hose has broken.   I turned it on to fill up the water bucket and it sprayed very cold water back onto my jeans and shirt.   I stuck my foot into the water bucket to break the ice and then remembered that I had worn holes into my Boggs.   Freezing cold water seeped into my boot.   

Friends, those of you who take care of outside animals all winter long, and who live in cold climates where it snows and gets wicked cold, you have my admiration.   I couldn't do it.   I have reached the point in life where I don't want to be that uncomfortable.   I would prefer to turn on the heat, put on my slippers, get a hot cuppa  something, and stay perched at home.   

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hiding From Me

We were walking in Santa Barbara and passed this canal which was very very stinky from shallow stagnant water.    I was torn between wanting to hurry past and taking a photo of a very young Egret with an adorable tuft on its head.   I got the camera ready but he/she was too fast for me and tucked under the ledge.   I like the photo anyway and wasn't going to stick around in hopes of getting a better shot of the young one.   

Monday, December 2, 2013

A Quick Hello

Hello friends.   I'm enjoying a little blogging break but wanted to share a few photos with you on this very nice Monday.   I hope you all enjoyed the holiday.   We had dinner at home on Thursday, just the two of us.   On Friday we drove to Santa Barbara to meet up with the kids who had been at their mom's house.   It was great to see them, but of course it wasn't enough time.   I guess it's never enough time so we make the most of what we have.   The New York kids are planning to buy a home in Brooklyn and stay there.   The Los Angeles kid may move there in a couple years for career reasons.   *sigh*   Of course they aren't really kids, but it's such an easy word to type.  

Santa Barbara is so beautiful with such awesome weather.   I could have stayed a lot longer and taken hundreds of photos.   

I put my backside in the saddle again this morning after a few weeks of not riding enough.   The saddle fitter was at the barn for someone else so I had her make a few adjustments to mine.   I look forward to riding in it to see how it feels.   

Back in the routine and that's a good thing.   Soon Christmas will be here.

What Have They Done?

Blogger made some changes this week.   I didn't dig in enough to understand them because most, I'm sure, don't apply to my needs...