Wednesday, December 31, 2008

new year

Snow again here today.  I happened to notice that in our small round ring, one of the horses had made a perfect figure eight with its hooves.  I bet it's Sadie. I like to think she's  leaving me a love letter in the snow.  She remembers that I traced that pattern with her in the ring.  It's a reminder that I should be riding her more.  Or else it's just completely random.  Sometimes I look for symbolism in happenstance.  It makes life more interesting.  Do you do that?

The shadows are lengthening on the old year.  It's time to move on, I think.

I'm looking forward to a fresh start.  This year, more than ever.

But for now, let's just put our party hats on,  and celebrate.

I don't make new years' resolutions, because I generally make (and break) them all through the year.  I do want to resolve, though, to make the most of  whatever comes my way.  And  I do wish you all joy, and laughter and peace.  

And a wonderful new year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

winter wind

We have been at the receiving end of some dramatically windy and strange weather.  As a result of this, our internet and phones were knocked out and we also lost power for most of a day.   Such a dramatic finale to all of the Christmas chaos.  Those winds felt kind of cleansing, in a way.  There was, after all, a little too much of this:

And quite a bit of this:

Some of us were able to seize the day and take advantage of winter, before the downpours melted all of the snow away.

Too bad there isn't snow right now, as it does provide a welcome diversion for the kids out of school.  Yesterday afternoon was almost spring-like, with its gentle breezes and lingering sunset.

Not to worry, though, I'm sure we'll be walloped several times over with winter before the season's through.  

As for our outdoor (stray)  kitty:

She has gradually made her way into our house (and our hearts).  I'm taking her to the vet this afternoon.  But come spring, I'm totally kicking her outside...(maybe).

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the silly season

What happened is this: I got swept up in the Christmas season, and neglected my blog.  I suppose I get sidetracked quite easily.  Also, I just felt like there wasn't much to share.  I was wandering around outside, taking pictures of tree bark.

And snow.  It just didn't seem that interesting.

And wouldn't you know it, the lovely P of what possessed me wrote a sweet post about my blog and photos, which I didn't see until yesterday.  I was so flattered because P is a funny, savvy and intelligent writer, her blog is always visually interesting AND she features pictures of baby animals which will just slay you with their cuteness.

And then some (mildly) interesting things did happen.  I got my shopping done (mostly).  The house got decorated for Christmas (sort of), we got our tree (tall and thin).  Also, I survived my daughter's Christmas exams and my sons' school Christmas concert.  And then we had a ginormous snowstorm.  There's nothing like a snowstorm to really make you feel like things are back on track.  And it's snowing AGAIN today.  A lot.  I love it.

Here are a few snaps of Christmassy things around the house.

I think I'll go bake something now.  Enjoy the season,  and be kind to yourselves (and others, of course!).  Glad to be back!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

kitty update

Am keeping the kitty.  She will be our barn/garage cat.  Don't worry, I may even sneak her into the house if it gets too cold.  Thank you for your input.  And your warm hearts.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I am being tested by the universe.  A wee little baby kitty has decided to make its home on my back porch.  This sad little stray showed up two days ago.  (sorry about the blurry picture below)

I suppose it doesn't help that I've been feeding it and provided a little towel-lined box for sleeping purposes.

I think kitty has picked this as its home, despite the fact that two large superior guard dogs roam freely, and a domineering feline already lives indoors.  The thing is, kitty is so friendly.  So sweet.  So forlorn.  What to do, What to do.... Do you suppose it could live in the garage?  That's where we keep our hay.   Help.

Monday, December 8, 2008


There's a downy snow falling.  It's cold, but there's no wind, so I thought it would be a good day to try and gather some greenery for Christmas decorating.

I set out , secateurs in hand, with visions of myself loaded down with armfuls of greenery (a la Martha Stewart).   I hiked around to the middle of the back field via our little trail, to a stand of pines I had noticed on an earlier walk.  By the time I scraped my way to them through the undergrowth and thorny bushes, I realized the branches were a bit high.  I did manage to jump up and grab a few, and cut them down.  This is all I managed to get despite my valiant efforts.  

Those red branches are sumac.  I cut them by the front of the property, near the road.  I guess I'll have to try and fill out my little urns with some dry hydrangea heads and things scrounged from the garden.

Three things come to mind, after today's expedition:

1. Nothing good comes without a great deal of effort.

2. Simplicity is really the way to go, when it comes to Christmas decorating.

3. The only thing Martha and I have in common, is that we're both Polish girls and anything Martha-related that I have attempted is inevitably doomed to failure. (Not that you don't totally rock, Martha, you do ).


Friday, December 5, 2008

still life, with fruit

Today I'm suddenly reminded...

of why...

I appreciate sweet ten year-old boys!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

early winter walk

I went for a muddy winter walk yesterday, wearing my husband's coat, my daughter's hat and my son's boots.  With my camera bumping against my stomach , a mug of cinnamon tea, and two lively dogs accompanying me, I felt I could face the wind and gloom and perhaps try and find some of the stripped-down, austere beauty of this season.  Mother nature's goods aren't wearing their white winter finery at this point.  Beauty is still there, it's just more subtle, and you have to look a little harder to find it.  

It's a good thing I brought my camera, because normally I would stroll by with my head in the clouds,  and get a general impressions of greyness and brownness and cold wind.   The camera allows you to stop and capture (and linger over) things like this: a fairy staircase! (I know I'm a dork, but seriously, I think that's what it is!)

The squirrels will not go hungry around here, I've never seen so many nuts.  These are hickory, and impossible to break.  Once you do, it's hard to dig out the meat....but they're delicious.

Ah ha!  I'll be coming here to cut some greenery.  I knew these were here, I'd just forgotten .

In a sheltered spot, some colour.  This will be nice for the deer to find.

Gratuitous seed-pod photo.

Oh look, my superior guard dog, waiting for me at the house.  Don't you creatures know we're a pack, and I'm, like, the leader?  And you have to stick with me...Oh well, we had a nice walk, and feel the better for it.  P.S.  in the winter, long-johns are the secret to contentment!  Winter walks (preferably with dogs); good for what ails ya.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


It's cold and the wind is howling.  Some days you just don't feel like you have much to offer. Well, maybe just a few snippets,

of cat naps,

of clocks, and mirrors, and a chandelier (slightly blurry-totally intentional, yep, just going for an 'effect', you know)

 of a chair detail,

of sunbeams- maybe I'll pull on some long johns and take one of my superior guard dogs for a long, muddy walk, and try and catch some of those weak winter sun rays.  And that's all for today, folks!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

In the piano room

We have a small room off the dining room which we call the piano room (because, well, the piano resides there, and not much else- a small desk and a few chairs).  This room gets the morning sun, and a vine grows over the window in the summer.  As a result of this, I haven't cleaned the window in a while, because one can't disturb a vine which is growing so vigorously. It would just be wrong.

The room is painted a yellowish-green, and I've hung some leaf plates above the piano.  The piano itself is very old and made of walnut, I think.  It's also out of tune, because the last piano tuner who worked on it, made some rather insulting comments about it (i.e.  something along the lines of  'this reminds me of a model T Ford')  and I suppose I'm still smarting from that. The sound which emanates from this vintage instrument has a saloon-ish quality about it.   This used to be considered by my children to be an instrument of torture, but I can safely say that after about 11 years or so, they are starting to enjoy it.  

As with any surface, things tend to accumulate there over time; a bust of a little french girl, some photos, plates,  plastic music trophies.  Dust.

Music adds to the ambiance of a home, don't you think?  Especially live music.  Especially the theme from the Super Mario Video game.  We're all about culture around here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Baby Ollie goes to college

Ah, they do grow up quickly, don't they? It seems only yesterday that our 'new' horse Sadie gifted us with this gorgeous little critter. We did not know she was pregnant at the time we bought her, and the vendor did not tell us. This is a photo of Sadie and her baby Ollie, just a short time after his birth. Since I knew nothing 'bout birthin' baby horses, I ordered foaling manuals and consulted experienced horse owners about what to expect when youre expecting a foal. What did happen was that on a beautiful May evening Sadie took matters into her own hands (hooves) and did everything herself. I'd barely even cracked open the foaling manual when my husband, early in the morning said there was a 'surprise' in the field:

What a goregeous little fellow he was.

Soon Ollie was out and about (literally, he was quite an escape artist when it came to fences) and delighted everyone with his antics and ciuriosity. Joe, our older gelding (male horse) was an excellent babysitter and playmate. Momma, after all, was a bit tired with all the nursing and supervision (It's a full time job ).

Ollie was taken away for a month, in order to be weaned and gelded . He was a little stallion, after all, and starting to cause no end of trouble. He returned to the farm (and the happy little family was reunited). Our trainer and helper, Ed, has made some wonderful progress with him, and we have decided to further his education by sending him to 'school' five minutes down the road to my father-in-law's barn, where he will get daily attention from Ed, who is really relishing this task (he's even talking of riding him, he's a spry young 74). My husband rode Ollie on Saturday. He is getting the idea of forward motion and cues for walking and stopping. He leads beautifully.
The only thing is, I have a case of 'empty nest' syndrome in the pasture. Sadie and Joe look somewhat forlorn (or maybe I'm imagining it). Either way, they will be getting extra grooming, treats and extensive hugs from me.
Ollie will be back in the spring (and I've explained it to Sadie and Joe) hopefully a more mature and better behaved horse. I'll keep you posted on his training progress and new digs (I'll be visiting him-for treats and hugs).

This (horse) parenting stuff, it's not easy, I tell ya!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

local news

In my local newspaper yesterday, I came across a couple of items which made me giggle.  I don't mean to come across as a snob, or to belittle our little town paper (actually there are two), after all, this is a valuable source of information and links us to the community's goings-on.  But.....

Item 1:  an ad for a new spa, hair studio, and wellness centre.  This was actually well done and caught my eye.  The location?  'directly behind Sit 'n Bull gas station'.  (Tee-hee).

Item 2:  LOST:  lower denture plate in either one of the two towns mentioned. (Wouldn't the person have noticed? How will the poor soul eat?).

..wait, in the comment by the editor, it says the county is "compromised of" several areas, instead of 'comprised of'....(hee-hee).

I suppose I'm easily amused, but I've found that our local newspapers are quite entertaining-just maybe not in the way they are intended to be.

And on a totally unrelated note, here is a photo of some found items: shed antlers, and a little nest under glass.  We sometimes find the most amazing nests with our dogs' hair and horses' mane or tail hair intricately woven into them.  You see, little details can sometimes amaze or amuse :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


The wind is howling something fierce outside.  I can't decide if the air is assaulting me at high velocity and pushing any remaining warmth out of me, or if it's pulling it out of me at the same time as it's making my hair go horizontal.  The dogs are insisting on being let in, and the horses are obsessed with their feed, and prancing with anticipation when it's feeding time.  If you met my horses on a day like today, you would find them less than charming (especially Sadie, the big Mama).  They seem somewhat greedy and rude, but it's only the windy cold weather that's making them grouchy.

I wish I could say that I retreated indoors today, to polish silver (mostly silver plate, my dears), but alas I did not.  Of all household tasks it's one of my favourites (that and loading the washing machine-not unloading it, or folding laundry, those are less hope-filled activities, don't you find?).  I love the quiet ritual of polishing tarnished silver and bringing it back to a lively sparkle.  No, today was one of those days when I try to tie up loose ends, and tick off necessary but uninspired tasks from my to-do list....and aren't most days like that?

I did have time to take a few snaps of a silver tea (and coffee) service which sits in my dining room.  I don't use it,  except, of course to polish it twice a year (hopefully) and to wonder, when I pass by it, who did use it, when, and wasn't it awfully heavy to carry around when the pots were all filled?

Monday, November 24, 2008


Here's the thing about November: it's a transitional month.  Because it bridges the gap between fall and winter, it can provide you with a real mixed bag of  weather.   I generally think of this month as being all greys and browns and darkness.  But it's not, really.  This weekend we experienced a little of everything.   A few moments of snow-globe swirls:

Some wind-less sunshine, perfect for doing a little training of giant baby horses:

"I don't like to be trained.  Look at the gear they make me wear.  It's positively undignified".

And the proverbial greys and browns.  The farmers who lease our land decided to fertilize and plow.  It looks like a giant fudge cake right now (but smells oddly like salty beef boullion).  I hope you all had a good (and varied ) weekend!