Feelin’ Foggy

Hello friends!

I’ll be honest, this week is all just building around my wanting to share some photos. I decided to try my hand at some weather based photography and the results came out pretty good for my first real attempt. Fog is a weird one, and especially hard when you weren’t prepared for it (it was a last minute decision to go out and get cold soaked) and are down in the thick of it. But I think it made for some creepy photos.

Little Ro having a snack

The fog made everything super creepy and cold, I got this photo of Ro having a lovely snack out in the pasture. To be honest, it took a lot of convincing to let them out, I usually don’t like letting them loose when I can’t see them from the house. I’m the definition of a helicopter horse mom.

One of the rare, less foggy moments

This little plant was holding it’s own in the fog, and I snapped this photo when it had burned off just a little. The fog rolled back over us in waves for most of the day, so I didn’t have to wait long for the mood to return.

Old Bridge

The old bridge across the canal, allows access to the wetlands and my neighbors fields, it’s on my property but one particular neighbor (who’s land is nowhere near mine) seems to think I need permission to be outside the fencing and likes to police the bridge. Oh well.

A fairy tale path

This is more canal road, although you can see the canal is officially dry for the year. They usually open in about April and close it down around late October, early November. It’s beautiful in all seasons, and magical in the fog.

Just some barbed wire

I have so many photos of old barbed wire, but it’s just a weirdly fun object to shoot. It always has unique shape, changing the backdrop can completely change the vibes, and honestly, it owes me some cute photos for all the clothes it’s torn and skin it’s shredded. Not very forgiving stuff.

After I got back in, I was, quite obviously, frozen to the bone, so some split pea and ham soup was in order. Luckily, I had made some a little earlier on in the week, so it was easy to warm up, but that was a pretty interesting experience in its own right.

I tried modifying my very simple stovetop recipe to work in the slow cooker, and I’m still convinced it would have worked if I used smaller batches and a different plan, but after 24 hours of soaking the peas per internet instruction (I soak mine overnight anyway) and 8 hours in the slow cooker, I had warm ham and cold peas. So, as starving as I was, I called in a tall person and emptied the contents of the slow cooker into my giant Dutch oven, voila, soup in about two hours. I needed a tall person because otherwise I’d be holding about 5 pounds of soup and easily a couple pounds of crockery at eye level, which sounded like a good way to drop my soup.

Anyways, we finished it stovetop, which is not bad at all, but for some reason split pea and ham requires constant babysitting on the stovetop and no matter what I do, I end up with some sticking to the bottom of the pot. I don’t have this issue with other things I cook in my big ole butch oven, just the split peas soup. If anyone knows why that happens, please let me know. I also have to stir it about every two minutes, so it’s not really a “make while at work” kinda dish, which is why I was hoping for a set it and forget it option. 

Oh well, more testing is needed, trial and error and all that.

Anyways, this post is getting a little long, and I’m now thinking about leftover soup, so I’m gonna sign off here. Have a great weekend my friends, I’m not sure if I will get the next post up before or after Thanksgiving so if I don’t see you, have a wonderful holiday!

Until we chat again my friends. 

Amanda Rants for about 300 Words, then She Rambles

Hello friends!

How are we doing today? Well, I hope. It’s been a crazy week for us around the valley, with weird storms and family members visiting and the newfound knowledge that I am hosting Thanksgiving. We potluck it and I’ve hosted the last couple years so it’s not the biggest deal, but still a lot to prep for.

This year I’m getting wise and buying take home containers, because buying a new set of Tupperware every year is not financially workable and chasing down my shared dishes is a feat for dwellers of Olympus. The dollar store has these cute little containers that could be reused if treated nicely, or recycled if beaten up, and knowing my family, well, recycling is nice.

Because we potluck each year everyone has a dish or two that they’ve gotten pretty good at. I usually make the mashed potatoes, not because I am particularly amazing at potatoes, but they are an easy dish when I have my whole house to clean and childproof before the meal. (My house is usually pretty kid safe, but when there’s so many people around, I tend to take extra precautions like baby gates and locking the pantry door. One year my cousins then 6 month old, who admittedly, I didn’t even know had the kinda grip strength required for this feat, got into my junk drawer and was chewing on a lightbulb. How she got it open, as it’s a hard pull, and reached over her head into the drawer is beyond me, but I still hear about the lightbulb incident).

I’ve also started the very preliminaries of my Christmas shopping. A few family members hang out in this corner of the internet so I can’t really discuss it in detail, but it’s a nice jumpstart. I just really don’t want to be panicked, running around when the snow flies. Since we are such a big family, outside of our immediate members, the larger subset of extended family does a secret Santa, and it’s quite the spy game. Its especially difficult when you get someone you really don’t know. I’ve felt a little sorry for my person the last two years, my cousins son, a now 16 year old who came into our family around 2017 when she and his dad hit it off. He’s a lovely kid but very shy and so my gifts for him have always been an educated guess based on anecdotal information. I hope I at least hit in the ballpark of his interests.

It’s also that oh-so-wonderful time of year when “sportsmen” start making poor decisions about their hunting habits and try to hunt near my property. It’s such a weird thing, because I was taught that you do not aim or fire when you have an unsecured backdrop, which is to say, if you’re aiming at anything that you don’t explicitly mean to shoot at, you are doing it wrong. I bring this up because in the past we’ve had some incidents where I live with people using my farm as a backdrop, putting my family, both two and four legged in jeopardy. My neighbor has had bullet holes put in her home and come face to face with poachers, which are somewhat prevalent in the area because the roads are winding and dark. 

But all this to say, someone used my farm as a backstop again this week, and I swear it took years off my life because I was actively trying to bring the girls in for the evening, so I nearly got trampled, my family was outside in danger, and it was getting dark so visibility was going away fast. There’s no sad ending to this thank God, but there’s no resolution to this either as it was a lucky thing, he was a bad (or good?) shot. Point is, only aim at things you intend to shoot, and for the love of God, think about your backstop, bullets don’t just fall out of the sky if you miss.

Okay, rant over, please enjoy these cute little noses as a resting point, fuzzy horse noses are the best thing for a troubled soul

My Favorite Nellie Snoot to boop
My Favorite Ro Snoot to boop

In happier news, another of my many cousins, one of the last couple that don’t live here in the valley, has been put to visit. It’s been super fun to see her, as it’s literally been a couple years now, and so much has changed for everyone. We got together to have an Aldrich Family lunch. It’s a little sad she can’t make it to Thanksgiving, but I’m so grateful she got any time off to visit at all, as time off is a real battle at her place of employment.

So, all in all, a crazy busy week, especially when you add in torrential downpours and lots of work meetings. I was supposed to meet with my lovely farrier, but he was kind enough to let me push it out a week so I could dry out the corral and catch up to life a little (and frankly, remind my girls the pasture isn’t that scary after the hunter situation). 

Its beginning to look a lot like the holidays around here, which means I get busier than Santa Claus and need January as an entire “mental health month”. Could you imagine? A whole month off? I bet I’d go stir crazy

Until we chat again my friends.

A Rainy Little Week

Hello friends!

Happy belated Halloween! We had a nice chill holiday, and I ended up taking a long weekend due to just being a little too under the weather for my own good.

We had some lovely treats on Sunday, Halloweeño and hell pepper poppers, ghost cake, and a build your own taco bar (no funny name for this one, all punned out). I spent several hours putting it all together, definitely pepper burned myself multiple times, and honestly, I think that’s a little bit why Monday simply felt insurmountable as a workday. Luckily, I have a very cool boss who understood.

In a very uncharacteristic way, it has been raining all week, just enough to keep everything at muddy levels. Trying to do anything serious changes involved getting wet, and while I can, to some extent, tip toe across most of the mud without sinking too far, my sweet mares are not as lucky. We’ve tried working a couple of times but I’m so worried about slips and falls or pulled muscles, or any other craziness that can happen when you aren’t really set up to deal with the rain.

I know there are plenty of horses that work in all sorts of weather, so it’s not to say my girls aren’t capable, but both have been retired or semi-retired due to leg injuries, and I simply don’t think the potential the injuries are worth it. I love working with my girls, this time of year is so hard because we all feel pent up, but I also don’t want to permanently end our fun with one or two careless moments. We are enjoying lots of bonding moments at least, and a fair amount of manners training, which won’t stick but is fun to work on.

Had the very fun experience this week of going to the Warhawk Museum. I was admittedly a little worried, it had been so hyped up to me that I was certain it simply would not excite. I am also almost never a fan of heading into Boise after work, because rush hour is a stress I simply don’t handle well.

But, oh my goodness, was it worth it! It’s such an unassuming little building when you walk up to it, and even in the gift shop there’s this sort of “very small” feeling to the place, but as soon as you walk into the museum proper, you realize it’s two large hangars stuffed to the rafters with beautifully organized and thought out displays ranging from memorabilia from ww1 to exhibits on the first gulf war. By far and away their biggest exhibits are on WW2, but they also have lots of great information on Korea and Vietnam.

Happy Family!!

I’m already planning to go back because after about 3 hours I had maybe seen 1/8th or so of all the exhibits. They have fascinating little tidbits of things you don’t think about, like a silk wedding dress made from an old parachute, several propeller planes (many of which fly still in their annual air show) and a fold up bicycle meant to be packed in with the men who jumped out of airplanes so they had a way to get around when they landed.

They have easily a thousand binders of preserved information around the museum, many of which they actively encourage you to touch, read through, research out of. From books detailing the liberation of some of the concentration camps, to love letters, to personal diaries of POWs and flight orders hastily scrawled on a little flip book, it really does wonders to bring the people to life. I read one such note that said “the skies were crowded today. Glad it was with our own” when referring to a flown mission, and a love letter from a young man telling his girl that after his next deployment he should get to come home, and how terribly excited he is about that.

I really wish I’d taken more photos, but I was simply so wrapped up in the awe of it I completely forgot most of the time.

The amazing thing about this museum is its amazing curator and volunteers. To my knowledge, everyone I’d interacted with had firsthand experience and stories from at least one conflict represented in the museum and were dear friends with men who were now subjects of some of the museum’s displays. Its incredibly interesting to read about people with anecdotes from their lives, it’s almost heartbreaking to hear the volunteers talk about their friend who donated memories because they knew the Warhawk would keep them safe. Watching the curator, a lovely man named Lou, tear up about the WW2 vets who had been such an important part of the museums volunteers, who were now memorialized in the museum itself, had me very near tears over souls I’d never met. 

While they have a nicely set up self-guided tour, you really can’t go a very long without meeting with some of the volunteers, they are so keen to chat and so knowledgeable, it would be no more than 5-10 minutes in between long chats before someone would mosey up and say some variant of “want to see something cool?”. To which the only appropriate response is “of course, yes please”. You’d them spent the next 15-60 minutes following around a volunteer as you walk out the timeline of a conflict, see all the artifacts from a particular story, or get to climb up close and personal with the Red Baron model. One lovely gentleman was so excited to show us everything that we walked laps around the museum for an hour, hearing his life story intermixed with all the interesting history, and he’d start every new topic with “well, here’s something really interesting” as though touching the wing of a jet or hearing him casually refer to John Glenn as “old John” wasn’t fascinating enough. This gentleman, who’s nametag read Dick, lived enough crazy stories for 10 lifetimes, and was a definite reminder not to wait for life to just happen to you. 

I ended up purchasing a membership, a mug, and a couple books, because gems like this need to be supported, and I wholeheartedly plan to go back soon. The next time I intend to bring a notebook.

Until we chat again my friends.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Hello friends!

Well, it’s almost Halloween, and the trees have finally started showing their colors! You may have noticed the banner changing quite a bit on the site, that’s in large part because I simply couldn’t decide what I wanted it to look like and was having a hard time getting the colors to translate on the site. I wouldn’t be surprised, and you shouldn’t be either, if I end up changing it yet again.

My Two current contenders for new banner

We had the worst rain storms since I’ve moved here this week, although the old timers will tell you this was nothing. It started raining a little before 6 am on Friday and didn’t stop until Tuesday evening late. I know the specific start time because I told my brother he probably didn’t need a jacket, the rain wasn’t predicted until later and it was pleasantly warm out. Not more than three minutes after he drove off did it drop ten degrees and start aggressively raining. In my defense, there was a 7% chance, and the radar was clear! It was also 65° out at 5 am! How was I to know?

The other crazy thing was the wind. It started about 8 am on Sunday morning (I sent a text to my dad that my phone had a severe weather warning) and continued until about 4 am the next morning. So, the swimming pool that was once my driveway had waves. 

The trade off about living in the high desert is that while we don’t get really rainy, gross, cold days often, when they happen, they are total deluges it can cause flooding and damage. Last year in June I found out the hard way I needed a new roof during one of those major storms.

But compared to when I lived in the Puget Sound area, I enjoy the rain a lot more, as its the exception, not the rule. While the scenery is gorgeous over there, I certainly don’t miss being wet from late September through early may. Turns out I’m a natural desert dweller.

I’m gearing up for a low key Halloween on the farm. We don’t get trick-or-treaters, which I wholeheartedly support, please don’t take your little ones (or big ones) to a random farm house in the middle of nowhere. I’m lovely, and most of my neighbors are lovely, but the horror stories speak for themselves. Also no one buys candy because we never get trick-or-treaters so it’s a waste of a journey unless the farmhouse residents know you’re coming.

Generally, I spend most of Halloween watching my animals (especially my tuxedo cat who normally loves the extra familial attention but, of course, on Halloween feels stifled by it) and keeping an ear out for my cousins, safety first on Halloween. Sometimes in the afternoon before the daylights fails, we will have a family Halloween bake off in town, but this year with the new arrival, one on the way, and the consistently bad weather earlier in the week, nobody felt it was a worthwhile endeavor. We will probably do a Thanksgiving bake off instead. I’m still planning on some spooky snacks. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The doggies got haircuts this week, so they’re looking all spiffy for the fall again. They always look so much better and are so much happier than when I try to groom them myself, so they go to the local pet shop. Funnily enough, since moving here, I’ve found the dog grooming community to be incredibly judgmental. I’ve had people tell me I’m abusing my dogs because they don’t get daily baths, that I need to have weekly grooming appointments, that its mean to have a poodle on a farm. Which is silliness because a lot of people use poodles for hunting dogs. My animals are always well cared for, admittedly this time of year the wet, musty dog smell is a constant battle, but I’m obsessive about their health and wellness. My only sin is that their fur gets a little too long in between visits, but that’s mostly because it’s impossible to get ahold of the only groomer in the area who is open more than once a week and I can’t always schedule them. Beyond that lack of pho places, this really is the only consistent frustration I’ve had with the place since moving here. 

But honestly, really, I guess I can see why they are easily upset, the turnover for assistants is high, I’m sure the pay is less than ideal, and I’d imagine they do see their fair share of underwhelming care situations. But I promise you, my critters are fine, they are just like their mama, a little sassy, big fans of the midday nap, and constantly in a state of getting dirty playing in the mud. But currently? For the next 36 minutes (until the next potty break) they are looking quite dapper.

Anyways, I digress. Have a safe Halloween, a fun weekend, and I will talk at you soon.

Until we chat again my friends 


Hello friends!
I have a new family member! Little Hazel joined us shortly after the blog went out, she’s a beautiful, healthy little girl born to a healthy proud mama. We are all very pleased. She’s absolutely perfect. Her older sisters and father are over the moon as well, excited to get to know their new person.
The beginning of this week was a little rough, as I have been battling an on again off again cold. It’s very annoying when you feel ill, but not quite ill enough to justify calling out of work or backing out of chores. Especially when you work remotely, it can feel really hard to call out, since I can work from under a blanket and make as much warm broth as is necessary. But such is the time of year, the unsettled weather tends to cause at least a few days of gross feelings and low immunity.

Hazel isn’t old enough to make her debut online, so please enjoy Nellie scratching a good itch instead

My sweet mama has been decorating the house for fall. She loves getting the house all pretty for the different seasons and holidays. When we were kids, the house was always so magical, especially at Christmas time. There were so many Santas and Jesuses and garlands and bells it was borderline hard to move around, but just about as cozy as you could get. As adults who moved home, we’ve politely asked for a little reining in solely so that we can go to work and move about without waking the dead. My sweet mom, while making leaps and bounds towards recovery, doesn’t always have that 3rd person perspective, so usually at least once I have to gently move a nativity or pumpkin array from the threshold of my door, so I don’t inadvertently kick the baby Jesus.

Mom asked that I wait until shes done decorating to show off her work, so stay tuned for that, and enjoy a pic of Ro from my pasture picnic

The coyotes have been very close lately, I’m thinking I’m going to need to spray for them again. I buy wolf urine and occasionally spray key areas around the farm in my best attempt to mark my territory in a spooky way. It’s one of the most nauseating jobs on the farm, but it helps a little. When we first moved in the coyotes were so bold, they would shout insults from the pasture fence when you came out on the porch, so about 20 feet away, and a couple times I was late to my job at the time because I’d have to wait for the pack to mosey on. They don’t fear humans around here much, but at least for now, they seem to fear wolves still.
Which leads me to an exciting turn of events that you know probably nothing about. Our sweet Juliet returned home!
For some context, Juliet is one of our barn cats, she was part of my parents buying the farm, so we joke that she was a very expensive cat, and we got the land for free. Either way she’s a sweetheart, if not a little entitled and needy sometimes. I love her to bits when she’s not intentionally trying to trip me or knock whatever out of my hands. I love her then too, but with more colorful language.

But mid last week she stopped coming to morning roll call, and we got a little concerned, because of the aforementioned coyotes. She’s disappeared before for a few days, it’s no secret she’s got food bowls filled by some of my neighbors too, but I am also aware the nature of barn cats is that you can’t totally keep them safe. Their roaming nature insures it.
But we weren’t ready to start mourning yet, as her sister seemed sure she’d come back, and Cordelia was right, Juliet came back after about three days, and we are quite happy to have her. She’s no worse for wear so we’re working on the assumption she holed up in a neighboring barn or something until the coyotes moved on.
Although admittedly, moved on is a strong phrase.

The neighbors felled a tree a couple days ago. Jury’s still out as to whether it was intentional. They had a tree trimming service out, and apparently the tree was supposed to come out eventually, but it chose its own timing, deciding it wasn’t pleased with the new haircut, I guess. All I know is there was a whole heap of cracking and then a very loud thud when that giant tree hit the ground. It was very old and very tall, an ash I believe. I happened to be out by the arena gate when it fell. I watched the sudden flurry of activity while getting some chores done. (I checked, no injuries, I’m not completely useless in a potentially emergency situation, promise)
Overall it’s just been a pleasantly mundane week. Got a lot of little pre-holiday projects done, since I know once we are entrenched in the season emails get forgotten, updates go unscheduled, and generally things get left unfinished, so I’m trying to prevent some of that this year. Theoretically.
Real talk? Stuff will still get missed. Joys of adulting.
Until we chat again my friends! 

Playin’ Possum

Hello friends!

Wow-wee, it got cold this week! And blustery and rainy and goodness, fall is starting to feel very much like early winter. I’ve gone ahead and changed the site to fall colors, I’ll probably end up changing the banner again if we get some colors, but that cute little tree in the pasture might just about it. Which I’m grateful for, don’t get me wrong.

Its feeling really odd for fall, which seems to be the theme of the year, because it’s alternating strongly between “it’s still summer!” And “if you blink there will suddenly be snow”… but as for fall feelings? Not a ton of those. It really can’t decide if it’s like to be a long summery slope into a brisk autumn or a free fall plummet into winter. Seems like each day it changes its course.

We’ve been winterizing where we can around the farm, it’s a little difficult when one day everything desperately needs water to stay healthy in the midday warmth and the next, you’re worrying about overnight freezing. We’ve pulled the irrigation pump setup for the year and emptied the system. Seems like no matter how well we winterize the system each year, there’s one little brass fitting that fails every single season, so this year we pulled it completely off the pump and it has pride of place on a shelf in the warm basement. We shall see if that fixes the problem. It’s a pricey little piece to lose every year, and also, it’s just ridiculously annoying to fix again come springtime.

The house irrigation is a fancy mess that we have someone come help us with. It’s a computer run system with fancy automated valves, and it has never consistently run right, so we have professionals come handle the winterization for us. I don’t want to accidentally flood my basement because I thought I had the system shut down properly. In fact, he came out yesterday to winterize it since we are officially under freeze warnings for a while.

We plowed the remains of the garden under, hopefully any nutrients left will return to the soil and it will prevent the opossum from finding our farm a habitual resting place. It’s like fighting an angry tenant at this point, he regularly goes in and chases the cats away from their food unless we leave the shed lights on, will sneak into the equipment workshop and throw every tool and stored item on the ground, and will now taunt the chickens from the mesh roof of their run, since we leave the lights on in there as well, and no longer easily come in. I’ve been looking into lower cost lighting for the outbuildings, which I needed to do anyway, but it’s a priority now since darn near every light has to be left on to protect the farm animals. And honestly, our sanity, since it’s really disheartening to have to clean up thousands of nuts and screws off the floor every time that crazy rodent goes in and rips the shelving units off the walls. Did I mention he’s easily pushing 20 lbs? He’s gotten quite comfy helping himself to my produce and unfortunately, several of my chickens. The jerk. He even scared off the sprinkler guy for a while. I thought I was going to have to break in a new one. Do you know how hard it is to find a good sprinkler guy? Ugh. The best part of all of this craziness is the little guy is no longer afraid of us, so the tables have turned, and we’ve developed this odd sentimentality towards him that is absolutely not reciprocated. All in all, a very weird situation.

If you can ignore that I am incapable of selfies, I thought you might enjoy my “proof” for the tack store, so I can purchase dewormer sometime in the next couple weeks. Not pictured, Nellie nearly wiping me out seconds before we got the shot because she got too excited about selfies.
I had to “convince” her to hold still for me, she was really focused on eating some grass and I was blocking the way

I managed to make some cinnamon rolls since I have been craving them for about a week. They weren’t from scratch or anything, didn’t have time for that, but they were very tasty and lasted in my house less than 24 hours. My family is very strongly hinting at my making them again, but I’m running low on baking supplies and need to make a grocery run first. Especially because every time I use powdered sugar it goes literally everywhere and gets into everything. That particular product runs out very quickly.

As of the writing of this blog, we are still awaiting the arrival of a new family member, my cousin is having another little girl and she’s set to make her arrival any time. This will be my cousins third little girl and she is so excited to be growing her family again. Her older two are four years old and five years old and little spitfires to boot. They love coming out to the farm and playing with the animals, “helping” in the garden, investigating whatever new toys I’ve put in the toy boxes, and generally getting so dirty that I feel a little badly putting them back in their mom’s car.  Not all that terribly though, because clothes wash but childhood farm memories are forever. Trust me.

As a protip, if you live on a farm, dollar store toys are your friend. Let’s face it, balls will pop, dolls will take dirt baths, crayons will get mashed into your fences and porch railings (my fridge is partially purple because apparently even goof-off can’t remove crayon from a textured white fridge. I dunno, I think it adds something to the kitchen). The dollar tree in my area gets a lot of my business because at least twice a year I go a little crazy on the toy section to refill our stock (and update it as the girls get older and new arrivals join, age-appropriate toys are a must). And I pick up new toys here and there all year long to replace or improve. Usually in the spring I walk out with a whole load of balls, jump ropes, chalk, hula hoops, and whatever yard games I can find, and in the winter, I restock on crayons, little dolls, and those plastic food and utensils sets. The girls absolutely love those. I like that it saves my pots and pans a little wear and tear from rambunctious play.

The dollar store is also great for basic stationary supplies, holiday decor, and some kitchen accessories and baking supplies. I’m a big proponent of the “buy cheap and if you break it buy expensive” rule for kitchen gadgetry, and honestly, some of the stuff I’ve picked up at the dollar store outlived my nice utensils. The holiday decor is great as long as you get there early, in my area the Halloween stuff is out and picked through usually by mid-August.

Well, I think that’s all there is for me this week, as we get into the colder season, I’m going to have to get creative about the work on the farm, and I guess I should start working on all the indoor household projects that I’ve been putting off. Time to get organized for the colder months, I think.

Until we chat again, my friends!

Lots of Horsin’ Around

Hello friends!

Important update. Baba ghanoush is fun to make and eat. That is all.

No, but seriously, I was a little worried I had stepped well in over my head because I have zero Lebanese cooking experience and limited eggplant cooking knowledge. But it turned out pretty tasty and, if I hadn’t melted several fingerprints off making homemade pita, it would have been really easy.

She’s rustic, but she’s tasty! (I didn’t want to have to clean the food processor, so I just mushed with a fork)

Also! Our little Ro-Ro had her Gotcha Day! Similar to Nellies’, she got the day off, lots of apples and carrots and pets, and a few hugs. This little girl has taught me so much! From a scared little rider to one that will hop on bareback and bridleless with a sling and some duct tape hold her together, I 100% credit this horse with the confidence I have riding today. We’ve had our rough moments, she likes to run, I tend to fall off, trust has to be reformed, but the patience on this girl and the fun she allows me to have is an absolute gift.

We do continue to have issues with Ro’s back, despite the gotcha day wishes, but I think it comes down to a weak topline. Basically, her back muscles have gotten a little weak due to her and I living out 13-year-old Amanda’s dream summer, riding around bareback and bridleless, chasing sunrises and imaginary villains a la Bonanza and Gunsmoke. Funny though, Marshall Dillon never seemed to have sore horses. In any case, I am totally aware that I created the problem and intend to help Ro feel better. Starting for now with work focused on engaging muscles, less bouncy bareback rides, and some hilariously clumsy horse and owner yoga. No, there will be no pictures haha.

I’m a little worried about saddle fit, but it was fine earlier in the year so I’d like to try to fix the physio issues before I throw money at what could be a temporary fix. I did, in saying that, call in a friend who’s an expert horsewoman, and while she agrees with my plans, she’s also going to bring some tack out in the spring to see if we can find the comfiest possible fit for Ro. 

My garden is officially a dirt patch. Shortly after writing my last post, we had an unexpected frost and the little produce still growing in the garden gave up the ghost. I don’t think since I’ve lived here, we’ve had a frost this early, so I must admit I’m a little concerned for what that implies about our upcoming winter.

I told a bit of a fib last post, but I certainly didn’t mean to. I had said that the only tree turning colors was in the pasture and that wasn’t quite correct. After I pressed “post” I stepped out of the front porch and saw a teeny, little scrub tree with the brightest red leaf on it. Doing its absolute best for the fall season. So, technically there’s were two trees turning autumnal colors on the farm.

Now, many of the trees are just starting to show colors at the tips, but I tend to think most of the leaves will fall off before turning colors. The winds have been pretty consistent the last few days.

My sweet Dad trying to break up the dirt in my makeshift arena so it”s softer for Ro, Nel, and I. One day I’ll get some actual sand in here, and it’ll be amazing.

My selfishly lazy weekend was absolutely lovely! Exactly what I needed. Had some lovely work with Ro, got a few farm chores done, and caught up on some sleep. Exactly what the doctor ordered. It’s funny how you don’t realize you’ve pushed it too far until you get a break and realize you were running on empty. Happy for the respite, indeed my relaxing weekend was a wonderful reset. Of course, it went by too fast but isn’t that the way? Especially this time of year I forget how to slow down, and when I find myself stressing about silly things like cleaning the bathroom, I know it’s time for a break. But, regardless of what’s happening, every day is a good day that starts with dogs’ kisses and ends with horse kisses, I love living on this farm. I’m often reminded that even the worst day at the barn is better than the best day at work. (And that’s saying something, because I like my job!)

All those soft, relaxing vibes came at a good time too, as yours truly woke up to a Nellie Belle with a gash above her eye this morning (don’t worry, no pictures of this either). I’m not really sure what the plan of attack is here, it’s not bugging her a ton as long as we leave the halter off for a few days, and it’s not deep. It looked majorly ugly this morning but even some time in the sun relaxing seems to have made a world of difference. Honestly, you may get more of an update next post, for now I am a walking shrug of indecision on how much I should truly be panicking. Life of a horse owner, I guess.

Well, that’s all for me, for now.                    

Until we chat again my friends! 

This has nothing to do with the blog, other than I rarely get pictures of Cordelia, and she’s normally way too skittish to sleep near where I am hanging out.

Side note, for those that read this far, I wrote most of this on my phone as I haven’t had much time at my desk short of work hours, so you’ll have to please excuse the hinky formatting.


Hello friends!

Pumpkins! Look at these pumpkins! Aren’t they cute? We took a couple to my uncle’s so they could decorate too, as well as some other produce. I don’t know if they will make it to Halloween, but I do think they brighten up the porch for the fall! They also prompted me to take a few minutes to myself with my camera, which hasn’t happened in a little while due to the craziness of the harvest season. Unfortunately, my editing software isn’t playing nice so those photos will have to wait for the next post, these were taken with my smartphone.

I gotta say, while they don’t hold up as well overall, in most cases I am pretty impressed with the photos that come out of my phone’s camera. I’ve heard the newer phones are even better at that. Not as fun as exploring with a DSLR though, and no one can call or text my camera, so it still wins.

Watson was helping
“Mom, worry about the pumpkins later, let’s go play!!!!”

Speaking of craziness and cameras, I had a rapidly growing list of photoshoots my cousins wanted, namely two pregnancy shoots and a mother daughter shoot, and I thought “Why not pack them all into one day, since they are all sisters, we can make it a family event”. Good news, it was so much fun, and a lot of the photos turned out cute, the only downside was it was about a 4-hour nonstop process, and I was thoroughly exhausted by the time we were done. I had taken about 3000 photos? (The kiddos were all five and under so, much like with animals, sometimes you just have to furiously snap and hope you got something). I also picked up a little bit of a sunburn, because I wasn’t paying attention while roaming my aunt’s gardens in hunt for “the perfect backdrop”.

As I get those edited, if I get permission from the girls, I might be able to share those photos, or at least some of them. I don’t like to post other’s faces without permission, although that seems to be a dying sentiment as I often have to track down family members and explain why I really would prefer that picture of me taken down. Why are they never flattering? Maybe that’s a sentiment I don’t want to chase.

Honestly, I still maintain that photographing people is really stressful. I definitely think I’m getting better, and Lord knows I have enough family members that there’s never a lack of practice options, but I always worry that someone will be offended. I always make a point to return the candids with the fancy posed shots, so hopefully people are too busy laughing to notice that my editing skills need some work. I have super beautiful cousins too, so that definitely helps, instantly makes the photo better when the subject naturally lends itself to looking good.

My aunt gave me some pears this weekend as well, and I think I might make some pear bread with them. They are a different variety than I am used to but I’m sure it’ll probably be fine, right? Or it’ll be not fine, and we shall never speak of it again. So, ya know, the stakes are fairly low. I think I’ll make some pumpkin bread too, if I have all the ingredients. I hope so, as pumpkin bread is my all-time favorite bread. Either way, if they turn out, I’ll share the photos, if you never see it mentioned again, you can safely assume it went the way of that doomed cobbler and we can pretend it was never a thought.

Nellie Belle had her Gotcha Day this 26th! She got the day off, and lots of pats, apples, and carrots! She’s been my good girl for three years now, and I honestly can’t hardly believe how far she’s come. From the scared, underfed, little critter who shied away from everyone, would barge into me if I got too close, and called mournfully after every train that went by, to the bold, sassy little mare with a little bit of a tummy and a penchant for pickpocketing, she’s blossomed into an absolute riot to have around. She calls after us each time someone comes home, chases the lawnmower (from behind the fence, she’s safe, promise), and gently bullies her Uncle Christopher. To be fair, he dishes it just as much. He will walk out on the porch, stretch, and then absolutely bellow “NELLIE BELLE” at the top of his lungs. Which is usually followed by Nellie whinnying back and running toward the fence because she knows he will sneak her some cookies. They make quite the pair.

I seem to be having a hard time getting most of my photos to post this week, so there will be more Nellie Belle to come in the next few posts, but please enjoy this lovely one of my mom and Ro giving Nellie gotcha day hugs

This coming weekend I’m planning on hanging out and getting some winterizing done. It’s getting cold enough that I need to hook up the heat lamps and the water trough heater. Stay tuned for barn cleaning and prep antics.

Literally the only tree turning colors on the farm. I’m hoping to update the banner soon, but for now we stay summer themed

Until we chat again, my friends!

Where the Watermelons Grow

Hi friends!

Been a lower key week, except for work, but I’ve been working on a big feature launch so longer hours are required for now. Luckily it came about after the busyness of Labor Day, so the few weeks on long days are slightly more tolerable. I just get antsy sitting in one place for too long, but the work is fun for the most part.

The garden is in full swing! We have the last of the okra, a ton of beans, lots of pumpkins, and finally some eggplant are starting to grow! I am so excited! I think we planted the pumpkins a little too early, I really don’t think we have a good chance of having Halloween pumpkins, however that’s no real bother because pumpkins can be enjoyed at any time. The eggplant are just starting to come together, so now it’s time to find some good recipes! Let me know if you have any yummy ways to cook eggplant! I personally like it roasted, with a little seasoning, and in baba ghanoush! I want to try homemade baba ghanoush this year, so fingers crossed I get some good eggplant for it.

The animals have been pretty good lately. Scooby has developed a concentrated apathy towards the rules and a disdain for any correction, but that really shouldn’t surprise me. Joe had a birthday earlier in the month and while the calendar says five years old, the energy says puppy dog. He’s been a little touchy as a lot of the wildlife have come back down from the hills with the colder temperatures, and right back onto the farm. Watson is slowly but surely becoming more comfortable with being the smallest dog, he will always be mama’s shadow though, I think.

Ro has been fighting an intermittent injury, I think I have it pinned down to some weaker muscles in her topline, so we are trying to find our best solution to that. She’s also been testing the waters a little to see how much she can push her mom before she gets in trouble. Turns out it’s cantering away from the mounting block uninvited. That’s my breaking point haha, and we practiced calmly standing for mounting and dismounting as the remainder of our ride. Here’s hoping she got the hint, because a bareback canter before you’ve settled is very much not ideal. Miss Nel is coming up on her Gotcha Day, which we are very excited about! Three Years an Aldrich as it turns out, and what a busy three years it’s been. We had a guest this week who hadn’t seen her in a couple years and was absolutely shocked at the outgoing, sweet, bubbly little personality she was, considering she hid for his entire last visit. Her leg is looking worlds better too, and I am now starting to feel more comfortable putting her back into some work. Seems like it’s mostly a product of the heat, but very annoying nonetheless, so I’m glad it’s solving itself.

One of the workers from the local research post stopped by while we were out in the garden a couple days ago and gave us three huge watermelon! The station has a little community garden for its workers, and they grew more produce this year than they could eat! Honestly, those watermelon were so big I ended up giving one to my grandma and one to my uncle, so they could enjoy as well. I made a watermelon feta salad one night and it was so good! I think I’m going to grill some tomorrow, and maybe make watermelon slushies.  Going to be soooo tasty! I also want to try the salad again but with different methods. I sort of made it up as I went along and it was tasty, but the finesse wasn’t there, my chives were too big, and my mint probably should have been muddled. But hey, that’s learning for ya.

It’s getting colder around here now. I saw my breath for the first time this morning, and I don’t imagine I have many warm afternoons left, it’s always a little melancholy to lose the last of summer, even though the holidays are fun. This summer baby always needs a couple days to mourn the sunshine and endless sunsets. I have officially pulled out my little space heater to set up by my desk, it is in fact running as we speak. It’s not even that it’s so cold yet outside, but I live with one of those confounding humans that feels the need to live in the frostbitten north all year and when the temperatures drop and the AC is still running, it’s no longer Amanda friendly in the house. So, workspace is now a doors-closed, heater-on, warmth-capturing space, and you better come in and stay awhile, because standing in the doorway letting out my heat is a grievous crime.

I think it’s work-from-under-the-comforter time, so I’ll leave this here. I hope you are all warm and cozy, with sweaters and ciders and all the warm, bright trappings of the early fall.

(When the leaves start changing around here, I’ll update the site banner again, sticking with our seasonal changes)

Until we chat again my friends!

August 20th is Fascinating

Hello friends!

It’s fall, y’all!

Okay, it’s not, and I’m sorry, but now it’s out of my system. But I’m fully bought in on flannel, coffee, pumpkins, baked goods, and sitting down to write the next great American novel (because that’s what you do all autumn long yes? Along with crocheting cute things and cuddling everything with any body heat at all?). I’m preparing, I’ll be ready for the full autumn experience.

Realistically, it is not quite yet fall, and realistically, I’m very okay with a longer slope into fall that allows me to hold on to my summer times just a little longer, but August 20th has hit, and despite the fact that it catches me off guard every year, I’ve learned that’s the cutoff day.

Do I sound crazy? Let me explain.

When you live in rural areas, you learn very quickly to put little stock in your tv forecast and much stock in your local farmer’s feelings on the subject. Most TV forecasters are lovely humans who are primarily focused on the areas in which their prime viewership lives, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, in fact, it makes sense to share information about where it will do the most good, but it doesn’t always help us that live way out in the boonies. So, often our weather is a little different than they suggest on the tv.

On the other hand, the farmers, ranchers, and random old gentlemen who make a habit of coming into town to have coffee and reminisce? They have it on lock. They can tell you what the forecast will bring, if it needs prepping for, and how much snow you should plan to shovel just by the look of that one tree on the south side of their farm or the way the crickets chortled that morning. One guy will say the arthritis in his knee says rain, and the other will tell you the cattle talk of storms rolling in.

“Mooooom, it’s too early to wooooork, and it’s coooooold! Moooooom, you’re the woooooorst!! ….Can I have cookies and a brush though? I’m awful cute and definitely deserve it” – Nellie, anytime I try to work them before 8 am lately

My family has its own legends on how to tell the weather, there’s a specific mountain peak I wait to clear before I plant my garden, and I learned to listen to the wind’s whistled tone for potential storms coming, as well as watching how the animals act to see if it’ll be a dry or wet storm. When the birds’ nest in, you should too, and if you walk out and the air is just all sorts of wrong, it’s time to secure everything, high wind is on its way. But the biggest and by far the most reliable legend, says that the weather fundamentally changes on August 20th each year, at least here in the valley, and no matter how long the summer lasts, after that day the nights really start getting longer and colder in earnest, the plants make plans to rest, and your sunny warm days are numbered. It’s been right on time every year thus far, and I don’t think it’ll change any time soon.

Ro wants you to know that she was totally justified in trying to steal cookies through the fence, and alsoI’m very mean for not moving the scary tarp that came undone in the wind storm again.

The valley is that orange soft fall wrapped up in warm nostalgia and slightly burned coffee. Absolutely full of fresh harvests, warm drinks, farmer’s markets and hayrides. Fall festivals and bazaars and anything else you can think of. I am very excited about the prospect of peach cobbler. I make it homemade, and not many each year because it’s a lot of work to peel the peaches, but it is my uncle’s favorite thing. Last year I prepped all my peaches, got everything put together, it smelled so good, everything was perfect…… and then I dropped it pulling it from the oven and spilled the whole unset thing on the bottom of the oven. I cried, my house stunk like burning peaches, and I didn’t try again. Luckily the dish itself survived to bake another day. So, this year, everyone is very excited for my peach cobbler since it’s two years waiting, and I’ve had several people offer to put it in and take it out of the oven for me, so I’m all covered there.

I’ve also got several requests for pumpkin bread. That isn’t a specifically fall recipe, but it is a much more common occurrence in the fall. The flavors just make sense during the cooling, blustery months. It’s my mom’s old recipe, I think she probably got it from my grandma, but I am honestly not certain. It’s super easy, I made the mistake of teaching my younger brother to make it and every once in a great while, I come home to a disaster kitchen and loaves upon loaves of bread. At least he’s good at it so it’s tasty.

My brother has a much appreciated habit of sending me animal photos when he knows I’m in a scary or stressful meeting. This was a rare Joe-Scooby cuddle, when they share a bed, you know it’s getting chilly. Photo Credits to Christopher

Well, I’ve thoroughly made myself hungry, so I think I’ll wrap it here. Maybe when I get around to some baking, I’ll also get around to some recipe sharing, and some photos. Life should be slowing down, and I should be out of the sling and more independent again soon, which will hopefully mean taking my actual DSLR out and about again. Such a pleasant thought.

Until we chat again, my friends!