Tuesday, October 30, 2007

a very sad day

It is with great sadness that we bid farewell to Teresa's old horses... Nutty (the one with the white blaze) and Ransom (the appie). This has been a very hard decision for Teresa to make, but for those of us who have loved pets, we can understand the greater love it takes when it is time to say goodbye. Ransom hasn't been feeling well for some time, Nutty was in better health, but with both of them being well into their 30's it basically was a matter of time. They had lived together for almost 25 years, so Teresa knew that if she had to say goodbye to one, it would be in their best interest to say goodbye to both.
Today, God has two more horses in his green pasture..... running fast, grazing on good grass and finding sweet apples to eat. And we will miss their gentle presence.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

visions of fall

For some reason, I think the colors of fall have been some of the best in years!!! Everywhere you look, the reds, golds and oranges just seem to call for your attention. I think it must have been a great "pumpkin" year as well (not to be confused with the great pumpkin) because it seems as though the pumpkin patches are full with almost any size and.or shape that you would want. Even though we don't have any little ones around to carve pumpkins for, I still plan on doing a couple, if for nothing else... to roast the seeds!!! I love pumpkin seeds.....

Kassy left for J-ville in the nick of time, because just days before we went, the woodman arrived with this wonderful load of wood!!! My little stove will be happy this winter!!! Now, all this wood needs to get into the shed (behind the pile) but I actually look forward to the work, something about a full woodshed before the snow flies that just sits right with me. When the girls were little, it was their job to help fill the shed, it was also a "standard rule" that you never came into the house without a arm load of wood for the box!!!! I guess Kas and Sadie will never forget it, because when it arrived... Kas happily stated.. "well I won't have to do that job this fall!!!" No, maybe not, but guess who will be happy to cuddle beside the stove when she comes to visit at Christmas time!!!!!

And we are finally on the final stages of completing the new sunroom. It sat over the summer, just too busy (and weather too nice) to be working inside. While I was in J-ville with Kas last weekend, Ed got all the windows trimmed out!! What a difference that makes!!! He was hoping to get the floor all done as well... but his heart was giving him some trouble, and he just can't go at "warp speed" when it's acting up..... so, yesterday, he started on the floor and is finishing it up as I type. (I help out where I can, but this last course seems to be a one man job at the moment)..... after the floor, just some trim around the bottom, a bit of paint on the windows... and ta-dah, we'll be done with this project. I look forward to winter afternoons, sitting there in the sun with a good book (cross stitch, quilting, knitting) and the woodstove chugging in the other room!!!!

It was "bye-bye birdies" today. Early this am, we packed the "Holidays" into crates and took them up to the butcher. Sad, I will admit, but, after having "home raised" turkey last year, I am a fan..... I do feel a little guilty "doing this to them", but balance that thought with... giving them a good home, all comforts we could provide, top quality food, and a quick and safe ride to the final destination. When we go to get them this afternoon, they will look just like the "store bought kind" and the pet side of them will be a thing of the past. We're betting on all three being at least 25 lbs. so, it will be interesting to see what they dress out at. I said my "thank yous" to them, and will say my "thanks" to the Lord when they are on the table. We're not sure if we will raise any next year, Ed thinks we might be too busy with house building... but once we are settled on the farm, I know this will be a yearly project, and most certainly, we will have a few more there as we will have the space to do.

Tomorrow, Nate begins the journey home!!!! We are SO VERY EXCITED about that!! He leaves the base that he is on and moves to another... stays there for just a few days, and then makes his way towards home. We are told that the homecoming window is still between November 10-14th....and will know more as the date gets closer! Kas is pretty much settled in J-ville, and reports that many of the other wives are moving back as well, so she is re-connecting with a number of "old friends"....... the weather hasn't changed much, but I do hope it cools some before we head south.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Bright and early Thursday morning (around 3:30 am) Kas, Charlie, Nora and I hopped into the car and headed for North Carolina!!! Overall, the trip went very well, we did hit a traffic jam in Conn. and crawled our way thru it for two hours!!!but Charlie and Nora were good little travelers... it's hard for anyone to stay in a car for 16 hours!!! When we arrived in "J-ville" (as Kassy calls it) her friend Mandi and hubby, Patrick, had the apartment all opened up with the lights on and were awaiting our arrival.

The moment I stepped out of the car, I knew for certain that I was no longer in New England. The air hit like a blast furnace (even at 8:30 pm) hot, muggy weather.... not my kind for sure!!! And what was really odd, is for a second or two, I was sort of "lost in time"... it was the same weather we had left back in April, and when we walked into the apartment, all of Kassy's little Easter decorations were still out... I knew that six months had gone by, and yet, it hadn't!!! It was weird!!! Patrick and Mandi helped us unpack the car (thank goodness.... Kassy's computer and TV can be heavy!!!) and we were pretty much settled in within the hour. Needless to say, we were tired, but we ran out for a few "need to have's now" and then crashed for the night. (One thing about J-ville, it's a 24 hour town, and almost everything and anything is open in the city!!!)

Friday, we did some running around with Mandi. Did the grocery shopping, grabbed some lunch out, things like that. We went to take the pups for a walk (Charlie and Mandi's corgi Evie) but a rain shower sent us back in for a little bit. We did squeeze a quick walk in and then Kas and I went out to supper. The weather was unbearable (in my opinion..) very hot and extremely muggy, I was not a happy camper, and we had to give in and put the ac on in the apartment, just to get some relief from it. Even Kas, being the hot weather gal that she is, said it was almost too much for her.

Saturday, Kas and I went out for breakfast, and then I wanted to poke around J-ville. There is a great little quilt shop that I always visit, so we went there ... (got some cute patterns and a couple of "kits") then we ran over to the base and I actually did some Christmas shopping . In the afternoon, we met up with Mandi, Patrick and Evie, and another friend of Kassy's ... Rae and her aussie, Rocko. Rae wasn't too excited about bringing Rocko, as he pulls her around on the leash, so guess what..... a bit of dog training for me!!!! What a grand dog he is and a quick study.... we went to PetSmart, picked him up a prong collar, and that was that. Rae was so proud of him and is thrilled that she will be able to walk him (which is what he needs).

Kassy took us to a beautiful park not too far from her house. There are trails and boardwalks along a river, and the day was grand... a little better now that some of the humidity had lifted. The first thing I noticed at the park entrance was this sign......being the "northerner" that I am... I was worried about running into one of these alligators!!! But Kass assured me that she has never seen one there, and we would be walking along the boardwalks and not the shore!!!! The board walks are really neat, and the trails go from them along into the woods and out again. Along the way there are benches to sit on and enjoy the view.

I snapped this cute picture of the three gals and pups together!!! We did a long walk, and at the end, both "man and beast" felt good and tired!!! Saturday night we just hung out and didn't do much of anything too exciting.

And then Sunday, it was time to think about heading north again. I flew home, which went fine, but flying just isn't for me!!!! (I don't know how folks do that as part of their jobs!!!) And home sure looked good when Ed and I pulled into the driveway last night.

So, in just a couple of weeks, we make the trip again. This time Ed and I will go together, spend sometime in Colonial Williamsburg and see Nate at homecoming!!!! can't wait.....................

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Harvestfest weekend

The second weekend of October, for the past 10 or so years, has been Harvestfest weekend here in town. It's a wonderful event, with lots of good food (like the ox roast sandwich and bean hole beans) and a huge number of vendors selling all sorts of hand crafted items. There is generally a "hayride" drawn by horses, music, and the historical houses are opened up for tours and people showing off their skills...like spinning!!! (which I am determined to learn how to do this winter!!!!)

The weather was just perfect, which is always good, because some years it hasn't been..... and Ed, Kassy, Sadie, Deb and I all walked up to town to enjoy the festivities. Of course we saw a number of friends, ( all the ones you know and love, but somehow never see them until you find them at Harvestfest.)

On Sunday, Harvestfest continued over at York Beach. They had a different group of crafters, a Pow Wow (which was really great) food... and hayrides again. This time, the horses giving the rides were Becky and Butch's Belgians ... Dick and Bob. They had been asked to do the rides on Saturday as well in the village, but they were already booked elsewhere, so they came just for Sunday. Well, you all know where Ed and I were.... riding behind those beautiful horses all day long. We did try to be useful to Becky and Butch (answering questions, watching traffic, etc), but I think really we just did more riding than working. I told Becky that I thought it would be neat to get a picture of the team at the Nubble Light... ( I drove her out to see it and see how far it would be to drive) she was delighted take them out and get some shots!!! At the end of the day, when the rides for Harvest wrapped up... Ed, Kas, Sadie and I with Moxie and Charlie... rode out with them. What fun that was.... cold!!!!... but fun. I got all sorts of great pictures of the team there, so did a number of tourist who got a real treat watching the team pull up . What a great day we had together.... then, to top it all off (as though it could get any better) Kas treated Deb, myself and Sharon (her mentor) to dinner at Olive Garden, as a "thanks for putting up with me thru this deployment"... after a cold, windy day of being outside ... that dinner tasted so good, and it was such fun to have the company of the "girls"!!!!!

Now, our life has certainly had a major horse theme to it lately, but we are doing other things as well.... one of which, working on the house plans and getting things together, so in January, we can apply for our building permit. You may know, we are planning on building a timber frame colonial, and since the floor plan is mostly in place, it was time to talk with the timber frame company. We met with the rep on Friday, and as luck would have it, they are putting a house up in North Hampton. On Monday, Ed and I took a drive down to see the house and talk more with the rep (who's name is Paul). This is a nice house they are building, but it's very modern and though it is a timber frame, its not to our liking. It won't be any trouble to do our house, in fact, they are quite happy to do something more "traditional".... it was nice to see the big timbers, get some ideas and go over some details of things we would like to have in our house. We need to work out some more details and begin to "crunch" the numbers!!!!We have an idea of what it might cost us, so it will be interesting to see how close we come to it (and how much of it we can afford-- it all looks easy, on paper!!!!) We hope to do a good portion of it on our own... Ed can build and "do" about anything, and not only would that be a savings, but a fun project as well.So, that's the scoop on this end. Thursday morning, bright and early... Kas and I head for North Carolina... I don't know how much blogging I will get done between now and then, and my next story, just might be from NC!!!!

Thursday, October 11, 2007


All of you are going to be so tired of hearing about Tonka's driving training... but Ed and I are having so much fun with this, that it's hard for me not to "talk" about it. Yesterday's lesson was all about "footwork"... getting Tonka to place his feet and body exactly where we want him to be. This is an important part of the training, especially if (when!!!) you have a team of horses that you are working.

(And yes, Ed and I have no doubt that one day, we will find a match for Tonka and have ourselves a little team of horses!!!)

Buffy set up an obstacle course for us to play with. The work consisted of one or two steps, to place Tonka in a more "exacting" position, and/or to work around and guide him thru. It's fussy work, and can be draining on both horse and human, to work on the communication between the two. Tonka is quite sensible and patient, which is good with new drivers like Ed and myself. He tries very hard to do just what we ask of him.

Here Ed is working on stopping him and asking for a solid stand between the logs.

I am working on "step back", asking him to back up one step at a time, and standing quietly between the steps. This is a good exercise to move him in between the shafts of the cart, or place him in a spot where you could easily hook up a drag or whatever else you wanted to be pulling. After all this work, we took him out along the road again, and had a nice walk. Buffy will be keeping Tonka the month of November to do more training with him while we are away. I need to speak with Dean about shoes... which I am going to do today, as he is coming out to do trims... and on that note, I need to get moving.....

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


When I was a little girl, and first in love with horses, I could tell you all about the "famous white stallions"... how they were rescued during World War II by General George Patton and his Calvary, I must have watched the Disney movie of that a "million" times..... I have never been to the Spanish Riding school to see them in real life.... but I have had the good fortune of seeing their "american cousins" twice, once when the girls were quite small and again this past Sunday evening.

They are, for sure, a beautiful breed of horse, and have a long and interesting history. If any of my "readers" are interested, you can find out all about them at www.lipizzaner.com. and if you ever have the chance to see their show, it is worth going to. The riding and music are amazing, and the horses are just wonderful to gaze upon.

They do perform some of the "Airs Above the Ground" which is a series of maneuvers developed when the horses were used in battle. According to what we were taught, only the stallions can perform these moves, because their center of gravity permits it.... mares can not do them, because their center is different due to the fact that they have the foals.... I never knew that..... and another interesting fact... is there are only six bloodlines on the sire's side (father) that all Lipizzaners stem from, even to this very day.

Some of the horses that we saw on Sunday, were from Europe and carry a different series of branding, so that it's plain to see (when you know where and how to look for it) which horses are from where. But, aside from all that..... just to watch the show, and see the work and training that have gone into it, to see these animals do moves that you wonder how they ever could... it's just the coolest thing.

Alot of the work is dressage... which is the same schooling that I am working Tonka in.... not that I ever expect him to fly threw the air (in fact, I would rather he never did !!!) but certainly some of the steps are the same, and it was fun to watch them being done in a perfect manner. Ed kept asking thru the performance... "can Tonka do that???"... and mostly I answered... "sort of !!!!" I think I got some pretty good pictures, and hope that you all enjoy them.

By the way... I understand I have two more "readers of the blog!!" Hello to Alex and Cindi!!!!!!!

pictures to enjoy....

In case you are counting...... there are two horses here!!!
And eight horses here!!!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

blessing of the animals

OK.. leave it to me, I am always doing "the different thing".. so when I saw that today was the Sunday of "blessing of the animals"... I was pretty certain that Mocha needed to be blessed. Moxie was blessed a number of years ago, and I have always felt that it was a very special thing. I convinced Kassy and Sadie to join me with Charlie and Tatter, and of course, Moxie came to... it's good to re-new your blessing!!!

After a perfect week of weather, wouldn't you know that it turned off cool and wet this morning. I wondered if they would still do the blessing, and called the church, but no answer. So, we decided to head out anyways, and just see. I could have trailered Mocha down, but wasn't sure where I would park, and it was just as easy to walk. Talk about stopping traffic.... it got so we all just started saying "yes, it's a horse" as people drove by and took a second look.

When we got to church, we were told that the services had been moved inside. I thought, "no way am I bringing Mocha into the church" so I asked Rev. Blair if she would just do the blessing outside, and then I would wait for everyone outside with Mocha. Well, nothing doing... Mocha was invited into the church with everyone else!!!!!! I decided to take the chair closest to the door... just in case, but I have to brag here..... she was better behaved than some of the dogs!!!! and actually, at one point I looked and she was resting one foot and had dozed off!!!! Needless to say, everyone was quite taken with her, and no one was that surprised to see me with a horse!!! (In fact, 80% of the dogs in church have been my students!!!!!)

As I said, Charlie, Tatter and Moxie went with us... I would have like to bring everyone, but managing that crew with Mocha probably would have been a little much.... even for me!!!!

Here is Kassy and Charlie with Rev. Blair.... Charlie sported his Marine coat, and made sure that everyone knew that his "Daddy" is in Iraq!!! They had a nice prayer for our troops this morning as well.

It was a lovely service, aside from Mocha and various dogs, a little boy brought his two hermit crabs, and a little girl brought her two stuffed sheep...... and between you and me, I think animals added to the service and it should be done a lot more often!!!!!! "Thank you Lord, for the animals that bring so much to out lives".......

Friday, October 05, 2007

road work

On Wednesday, we met with Buffy again for a driving lesson. The day we had with Becky and Butch was amazing, but in the training of a horse (or any animal for that matter) nothing is "seated" in one doing. There's still a lot of work that needs to be done... mostly on my part I think. My driving skills need improvement.... I am finding that driving is a lot like riding and driving isn't anything like riding!!!! so, it's a work in progress.

This week, Buffy wanted to get us out on the road a bit. Not that driving a horse on the road is the greatest idea, but, you need to be able to do it. You never know when a road might cross your path, or you might need to use parts of it to get to another spot. There wasn't a ton of car traffic on the road, but enough to test the waters a bit. Tonka managed them beautifully... even an oil truck. Most drivers of cars, are fairly respectful of a horse, and maybe seeing Buffy and I tailing behind, they got the idea that we were in a training session.

Thursday, when I had my riding lesson, I told Laura that I would be happy to bring Tonka over and rake out her arena..... it would be good practice for us, and useful "work"... so I think we might try and get over there on Saturday.

Today, however, I had a very pleasant surprise!!! Ed and I took a run up to Meader's (where we got Tonka's harness) and got the next (and hopefully.. one of the last) things needed for all this driving business... a CART!!!! this is a nice sturdy cart and will be great for training and just driving in general. Someday, I hope to have a nice wooden "Meadowbrook" cart, but this one will more than do what I need it to....... SO... now we start the work of putting all the training parts and pieces together........

Thursday, October 04, 2007

a love story

Today is Kassy and Nate's second wedding anniversary, and their story, though just beginning, has a script all it's own. They were engaged in March 2005, when Nate had graduated from boot camp. With the help of his folks, (Deb had the ring in her pocket,) Nate proposed just after the graduation ceremony. We knew it was going to happen, because of out respect and tradition, Nate had phone Ed to ask permission to do so!!!!!

A wedding date was set for September 17, 2005, and wedding plans began. The search for the perfect dress, the right invitations, the bridemaids, groom's men, limo....... the wedding shower... everything was in it's place. Then.....Hurricane Katrina rolled thru and hit the southern part of the states. Chaos and havoc resulted, things were out of control, and per their history... the Marines are called in!!! Ten days, before their wedding, Nate phones home to say he is shipping out, his unit has been called, and it's time to go to work!!!! You can imagine the "blow" to the families!!!! Keeping our utmost pride with regards to our young marine, and consoling a bride who is now without a wedding!!!! Dozens of phone calls to make, postponing everything and with no future date in mind!!!! September 17th came and went without fan fare.

October 1, 2005, Kassy's 20th birthday..... still pining for her Marine, her birthday didn't seem very special. Then....a phone call, Nate is back in North Carolina and making plans to be home... and can they have a wedding within the week. The "parentals" spring into action, and within 24 hours, wedding plans, slightly scaled down, are back into play.

October 4th, Tuesday, the day starts cool and foggy, but nothing is going to dampen the spirits of this young couple and their family and friends. It's an out door wedding in Rye, by the ocean, and as the wedding vows are being said, the fog lifts and the day turns off sunny and bright. A good omen for a new life together.

There is just one little glitch... the marriage licence issued for September has run out, so the ceremony goes on... the couple run to the town hall for a new licence.... head out for a short honeymoon, and return a few days later to have all the "official paperwork" taken care of.

I like to tease Kas, a marriage that begins with two different dates, (9/17 and 10/4) but paperwork that doesn't make if official until 10/7... one begins to think when is the anniversary for sure!!!!! Kas and Nate decide that it is the 4th... and so it shall be. Now, the next big thing will be when they have the chance to celebrate it together, for that is yet to happen. Last year Nate was out in the middle of the ocean on an air craft carrier and this year in Iraq (packing up to come home!!!) They say the third is always the charm... so, that will make it next year!!!! Either way.. they have the love and support of each other and their families as well......

Happy #2 Kass and Nate.... we love you!!!!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Guten tag, Oktber!!!!

"Red and gold leaf-fire roars from Canada to Connecticut shores, harried by the snow's pale horsemen, like a horde of howling Norsemen. Sunshine stems the tide, but time is on winter's side"... the Farmer's Almanac
I love the month of October!!! I love the coolish weather, the display of leaves, and it seems like October has so many things "to do".... fairs, festivals.. and birthdays!!!! October 1st was (is) Kassy's birthday, and some how she has turned 22.. (still trying to figure out when that happened). Sadly, she and Nate have never spent her birthday together since they were "together"... the first year he was in boot camp, and since then, he has been deployed somewhere in the world!!! Even though she knew that going into "their relationship" it still puts a damper on things. But, this should be the last one that they are apart, and in the meantime, Charlie is there (as always) to assist her in blowing out the birthday candles!!!!! In just a couple of weeks, Kas and Charlie pack up and head to NC.. the mail to Nate has been closed down, which is a good sign that the "boys" are beginning to pack up and wrap up their work in Iraq!!!! Please, continue to keep Nate in your prayers (and the rest of the unit) as they head back into "real life" and make the adjustments that go with that. Also, pray for the units that are arriving to relieve Nate's unit and that their job over the next six months will go smoothly and safely.
Now, let me take a minute and show off my new sweatshirt!!! I hope you can all see it well, because it has the greatest design on it..... it shows a gal and her dog, in a cart being pulled by a horse and the sign on the cart says... "therapy in session"!!! Deb found this at the Deerfield Fair and bought it for me, because of my "rough week" with Ed being the hospital!!! Leave it to Deb, she is one of those people who can find the absolute best gifts, and gives them at the absolute best time to do so!!!! It fits perfectly and I have so enjoyed wearing it over the past few days!!! my horse friends have noticed it right away!!! and you can be sure I will be wearing it to my driving lesson on Wednesday (today).

Ed is doing well, he is working very hard at "staying honest" with all the things he needs to be doing.... he's doing a good job!!! Cole has certainly been enjoying the short one on one walks that he and Ed are doing together!!! and I feel less guilty about taking out the "crew" and leaving Cole behind!!!

Why am I "hanging" this puppy?? Well, actually its part of a "temperament test" that I did for my friend Maxine and her litter of English Cocker pups. It's a neat test, and you do it on the 70th day of a puppy's life. It's designed to show a puppy's base temperament and can be a great help in placing a puppy into the right home. We test things like a puppy's tolerance to noise, sight, pain, and willingness towards people. You might be surprised at the different reactions of puppies that have all come from the same litter!!! This particular exercise is a "trust" one... you dangle a puppy for 30 seconds, and watch to see if he remains relaxed, or if he panics, or tries to fight you. This little guy was great and just "hung out" until the test was done. All the puppies did really well, but some certainly had a little "more fire" than others!!! This world of "dog training" has so many interesting parts to it, and I just never know from one student to another what I might find!!!

So, I suspect there will be some fun blogs to report on this month... not that blogging isn't always fun!!! I so enjoy keeping this... and I do believe that the 31st will be my one year anniversary at blogging... have to check on that.....