Sunday, November 30, 2008

What's Out There

I wonder what Rowan will be?

It's an evergreen question that parents and grandparents everywhere ask, and it's fun to speculate.

Will he like horses? Gremmy (that's me) sure hopes so!

Will he like to take care of other people's yards?

Will he be a great cook like his dad?

These big life questions require plenty of contemplation, and a bit of advice from those more experienced.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Peanut the Perfect Pony

Two years ago I got a present I'd longed for since I was four years old - a Christmas pony. Mind you, she wasn't really ours until about March when we finished paying for her, but she wore a Christmas ribbon anyway.

Today Peanut lives in a pasture at Camp Sherman with four other horses. She is the queen there, a saucy little minx who prances around when she's trying to get the lone gelding's attention. If she's trying to get my attention, all she has to do is stand there and look cute.

I went for a therapeutic ride today with two friends, Demarie and Kathy. Demarie, who is 10, rode Peanut and they looked like an enlarged version of a Thelwell painting, especially when Peanut popped over a small log across the trail. Demarie rides her bareback, with a little pink backpack, black helmet and mile wide grin. My other mare, Katie, walks more briskly than Peanut, so I spent time out in front, and every time I'd glance back, that smile lit up the forest.

I love that my horses give other people pleasure. It is a delight to watch, and I'm so grateful to those who over the years taught me to share the blessing of a tractable horse.

And I'm grateful for a husband who indulges his wife in her childhood fantasies, and to my Nana and her sister, Gin, for sharing stories of the Christmas when they found a pony tied to the fence with a bow around his neck.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Taking Care

I'm back home, but I seem to have toted my worry with me. We've got Dad tucked up in a care facility to get some rehabilitation and we'll see him next weekend, but I still am compelled to talk to my mother every day to get all the details.

We took my old mare, Misty, to new digs yesterday. She is 26, has just a few teeth left and needs special care in the winter. She's been with me on the ranch the past several winters, and Goddy and I both enjoy caring for her.

This year though, with the possibility that we might have to go north quickly, it seemed prudent to find someone else to love her through this season. Our dear friend, Becky is going to do that for us and I know it will be good for both of them. I still felt sad as we drove off, and it occurred to me that I am transferring some of my feelings about Dad's situation to Misty's. Leaving the old ones we dearly love in someone else's care is hard, even if it is the right thing to do.

Today I'm going to go hug my other mares' necks, and I know I'll feel better for it.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mama's girl

My mom gave me a bracelet that has a lovely sentiment etched on it..."The bond between a mother and daughter begins and ends with love." One of the things my mom is great at is unconditional love. It's been a balm, a covering and a safety net beneath me during all my adventures.

I've been in Anacortes, Washington, where my folks live, for the past few days. Dad's health is not too good, and I came to see what feeble help I could offer. He's had to be admitted to the hospital, so I've been the errand girl, waitress, dishwasher, dog walker and exercise police. I never thought of myself as formidable but Dad doesn't argue when I tell him it's time to grit his teeth and do the exercises his physical therapist recommended. It's been a blessing indeed to help, and makes me so glad we are close enough to do this.

I love Anacortes. We used to come here when I was a girl; Mom and Dad kept their sailboat at a marina out of town a ways and this was the jumping off spot for all our family vacations. They now live in Old Town, a neighborhood that overlooks the Guemes Channel and is just a few blocks from the downtown shops. My favorite yarn store in all the world, Ana-Crosstitch, is just minutes away.

It's a great town for walking around. There's hardly any traffic, and nearly every walking spot has views of the water. My top pick takes me down Mom and Dad's street and follows the shoreline around for about six blocks. I wander back along the Old Town streets, picking out my favorite old homes and admiring the landscaping.

When I come up here I'm not a mother of men. I'm a daughter.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Queen of the Compost

Hands up out there if you like compost. It amazes me that a pile of horse and alpaca poop, shavings and grass clippings becomes this precious addition to the land.

Making the compost is one of our favorite tasks on the ranch. Of course, we're not really making it, just helping it along. About every three weeks, we turn the piles, with Allan on the tractor and me manning the hose. We add water to keep the process going, and we also regularly measure the temperatures of the piles. Warm means the pile is working, cool means it's either taking a vacation or is ready to use. If its the latter, we load it into the spreader and head out to the pastures.

The first couple of piles are the most active, usually hot and steaming in the morning chill. When the tractor breaks into the pile, that steam roils up, surrounding us with the scent of a healthy organic reaction at work. I know there are many organic reactions that do not smell pleasant, and some folks might not think my assessment of our compost pile is quite accurate. But we happen to like the smell of earthy things and figure the animal's by-products are better off working in a far corner of the property than cluttering up their pens and pastures.

I'm wondering about something though. If I'm the Queen of the Compost, does that make my sons Princes of Poop?

Logan's Tree

This photo is Logan's feijoa tree, planted at the house we lived in at Rissington, New Zealand. His Aunty Viv gave him the tree for his 4th birthday, when he was in a feijoa phase. Unfortunately, I don't think the tree ever produced any fruit. But we enjoyed its presence by the clothesline for the years we lived in that house.

Here's a bit about feijoa, taken from

"The feijoa, also known as the pineapple guava and the guavasteen, is an exotic and interesting fruit that is native to South America (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay) and is also grown in New Zealand and in the United States, in California and Florida. It is a sweet fruit whose taste is similar to a combination of the following fruits: banana, strawberry, guava, and pineapple."

Today while I'm thinking of Logan's tree and the innocence of his youth, I'm also thinking about his service to this country and the fact that he is a veteran of a foreign war. It's a sobering thought for a mother of men.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

First Steps

My grandson, Rowan, recently started walking. He appears to have accomplished this task with no hesitation, embarrassment at his wobblies or concern that he might tip over at any time. I would do well to be inspired by that.

I've thought about yabbering on a blog for a while, and our recent trip back home to New Zealand, and Rowan's walking, are the impetus for starting now.

Who knows where Rowan's steps will lead him. Who knows what adventures lie ahead that I'll be blessed to be part of. Who knows? The One who numbered the hairs on Rowan's head and who knows the plans He has for me. Care to join us?