Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sweethearts of San Acacia

I need me a pair of these...
I got a perfect score.  In spite of all the silliness surrounding me this week ~ including bad moods and bitch sessions ~ I keep mulling that over in my head.

I got a perfect score.

Hank was not thrilled with his get up.
I'm a member of ACTHA - a national trail riding competition group - 6 miles, 6 natural obstacles and 6 judges watching your every move.

Been a member for 2 years but have never actually saddled up and tried my luck...

Until Valentine's week.

When I competed at the Sweethearts of San Acacia ACTHA competition on what might have been the coldest day on record, in sunny New Mexico. What a blast! (Just in case you're wondering, you get bonus points for dolling up your pony. :)

I waited a whole week to check my scores ~ first time and all, plus I never think I'm very good at anything.

Nearly fell over when I saw that out of a possible 20 points... We got 21 on the Standing Jump (which I've never done before.) 10 for me, 10 for the horse. And, an extra tie-breaking point for perfection. Wow!

And, then I tanked on the Dip A Coaster ~ A steep up and down where my horse did just dandy. She got a 9. And, I got a 3. Oops. Here it is, just in case you're curious.

* These pics were taken by a horse pal o' mine, Lisa W.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


I'm looking for a dressmaker.
Over coffee, before dawn this morning, I was chuckling to myself about the massive number of blog posts I've recently written.... in my head. 

Ages ago, when I began this blog, I deemed it 'My Positive Place' ~ setting a firm guideline that I could only post about happy stuff.

A bright spot: Orchids are re-blooming.
Perhaps it's the introvert in me, but I don't like it when people use their blogs as a soapbox for all the problems in their own little worlds. (I'm even less thrilled with bloggers who prescribe to that infernal ABC meme. Have you stopped to consider how tiring it is to visit blogging friends when 12 of them are dedicating a post to E is for Echinacea?? "E" is for 'enough already...') 

But, as of this morning, I'm thinking if I don't allow myself to bitch a little, I may never blog again.

This is wedding year. My darling daughter is getting married. (She has, so far, not given me approval to be in charge of the bouquet, but I'm not worried. I'm highly skilled at groveling.)
The Pure White Orchid is re-blooming, too.

The thing is... I couldn't be happier!

And, yes, I know weddings are big business, they're very expensive, but I don't really care if it will take me a year to pay this off. She's my lucky charm! I want it to be a lovely day.

I'm talking in the singular because I'm happily divorced. (To be clear, that was his idea. Shocking, I know! That somebody wants to rid themselves of me...? :) And, while she has a very well-to-do Dad, he's claimed he's too poor to contribute very much to this event.

Now if that is, indeed, the case I'm actually okay with this. But, then I got his email: We are taking care of designing, writing and producing her save-the-date cards and invitations. On us.

It made me ballistic. As if somehow an hour of his time, in creating an invitation, was equal to offering to help her pay for her dress. Seriously? Writing? Ahem. "You're invited. Be there with bells on!" Whew! That tough project's done.

What do you do when you're mad? I pull weeds. Or, pet horses. Sometimes I pet horses while they're pulling weeds.

And, as far as this bitch session? Well... I just thought I'd toss this one out into the universe in case anyone has some wise advice.
* PS: I am, really and truly, looking for a seamstress who can sew L's gown. Know anybody?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Free-Range Chicken Gardens

Sure, they lay eggs but do you know how beneficial they are to a garden?
I'm giving away a copy of this fabulous book. Leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.
My neighbor owns a half dozen chickens and every one of them is named Dixie. (The Dixie Chicks, get it? I thought that was so clever.)

She also owns a turkey ~ a turkey with no name ~ and I was quite worried about his future.
She spends half her day hanging out in the coop.
When No Name Turkey waddled out of his coop, the week after Thanksgiving, I breathed a mighty sigh of relief. So, he was not intended to be dinner, after all. It sure is cute seeing him waddle about their gardens...

Friday's Freebie is showing up a day early this week so you can get in on the tail end of a pretty cool contest.

Cluck Click HERE and enter to win a complete chicken garden start up kit! 

Seriously? You're still reading? 
'Cause this contest ends 2/17/12
Which is... tomorrow.

Being the flower crazy chick that I am, I've been toying with the idea of raising chickens ~ though that has little to do with the delicious eggs they bring to the party.

They're all named Dixie.
It would be grand to have a free-roaming flock of colorful chickens doing battle with the bugs that plague my garden. They tend to ignore flowering plants, so I've a feeling we'd get along pretty well.

Then there's the fertilizer factor...

And, of course, the egg thing. Plenty of reasons for you to enter that contest. Or, this one. I'm giving away a copy of this book.

Chicken Gardens
~ by Jessi Bloom

Even if you don't want to raise chickens, 
you'll probably love this book.

I loved everything about it! The colorful design. (Definitely coffee table material.) The fact that I learned something new on every page. Author, Jessi Bloom's, delightful writing style. Plus, the bigger picture of what she's trying to promote: Beautiful, chicken friendly, organic gardens and the bonus of farm fresh eggs! Just by inviting a couple of cluckers into your life.

* Timberland Press gave me this book to read and review and now I'm giving it to you. Just leave me a comment if you'd like to be included in the random drawing for this book.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Lookin' for Love

Heart-shaped rocks are more common than you'd think.

If you go for a walk today, look down, not up.

Try to find a heart-shaped rock. I've been collecting heart-shaped rocks for years! It's a warm, fuzzy feeling to spot a heart rock, just lying there, quietly, waiting to be noticed.

And, they're way more common than you'd think. I find one nearly every time I'm out exploring a hiking trail. 

So, get out there! And, start lookin' for love!

Happy Valentine's Day. :)

Friday, February 03, 2012

Friday's Freebie: BHG's Herb Gardening and Encyclopedia

Saffron Crocus
I'll confess ~ the herbs I grow in my garden are more for show than anything else. I'm such a sucker for a pretty flower that I'll plant those vs. the ones I use all of the time.

Which got me wondering what everyone else uses. ALL the time. Come on... Spill! I'll tell if you will.

* If I missed your favorite, please add it in a comment.

I've got herbs and spices on the brain after reading this VERY comprehensive book.

Better Homes & Gardens Herb Gardening is a great read, filled with gorgeous photos, wonderful recipes. It even has an encyclopedia section with the low down on pretty much any herb you'd care to grow.

For instance!

Did you know that most herbs hate wet soil so unglazed terra-cotta planters are best?

That Tuscan Blue Rosemary is the top pick for beauty and fragrance?

And, that no one really needs a lifetime supply of cloves?

Okay, that last one is not in the book. That's my big revelation having done inventory on my own spice rack.

I've never even cooked with cloves!
Which looks pretty impressive until you get up close and discover it's just jar after jar of the same dang thing.
Other ingredients collecting dust? Anise seed, fennel seed and more jars of celery salt than anyone should be allowed to own.

Better Homes & Gardens 
Herb Gardening.
 I'm giving this wonderful book 
2 thumbs up & now I'm giving it to you. 
* Please leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.

After reading this book, I think I'm ready to unload my spice rack altogether and rely on my own freshly harvested aromatic herbs.

Because they seem to have it all ~ gorgeous foliage, stunning flowers, and heady fragrances that make birds, bees and humans go hog wild.

Saffron Autumn Crocus
* BH&G gave me this book to read and review. I give it two thumbs up and now I'm giving it to you. To be completely impartial, my neighbor draws a name out of a hat. Please leave a comment if you'd like to be entered into the drawing.

** The spice, Saffron, is the dried red stamens of this very pretty autumn crocus.

Congratulations to Carly. Winner of last week's freebie ~ the Better Homes & Gardens Orchid Manual. Plz e me your snail mail address!

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

What To Do...?

Johnny Jump Ups are the cheeriest little flowers. I start them from seed indoors.
For weeks, now, we've been suffering through the worst weather conditions imaginable: bright blue skies, warm temperatures, gentle breezes, happy sunshine...

It is so miserably beautiful around here, I feel like jumping off a cliff.

I am grateful for a super sunny room, where most any flower happily blooms.
I'm one of those weirdos who actually likes winter. Which is why I live in ski country. Only this year, we have no snow.

I have not called in sick, lying about an illness so I could go skiing, even once this season. (My employers are becoming suspicious of my sudden dedication.)

This is a favorite color combo of mine ~ yellow + red = loud & proud!
While the tourists are rejoicing ~ 'Oh, it's so warm!' ~ I'm left pondering what this weather pattern will do to my world.

Can't live without a window full of Cyclamen. (This pic inspired by Jenn, Garden of Threads.)
Will winter show it's pretty face? And, if so, when? Seems summer comes later every year. And, it's already painfully late. These last 2 seasons I've had to wait until mid-June to plant perennial seedlings.

Love the Daisy-like blooms of this crazy little cactus hybrid.
So, I'm sitting here, staring at a stack of flower and veggie seeds.
All befuddled. 

Should I start them? 

Should I wait? 

Should I take out a loan for a greenhouse? 

Perhaps I should throw in the towel and build myself a biosphere.

You know what they say... Go big. Or, go home.