Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Little Girls

You never outgrow being your father's little girl -- even if you're pushing 50. 
After a long day, my poppa was dragged out into the woods to watch his little primadonna ride her ponies.  

Look, Daddy, look, no saddle.

This is how Axel gets pulled around!
 Daddy, no bridle. 
 I ride Angus with two ropes off his halter... no real stopping power, it's merely there as a suggestion.  Which is what I suggested, after a mile of pleasant riding, and he declined.  Galloping with a little buck as a finale.  Needless to say I was not using a horse whisperer's voice when I said "Whoa @$%!".  He was fine after that.  We turned around to go collect Axel, looking dumbfounded at the sudden burst of speed.  Angus, very succinctly, pointed out that His Lordship lets me ride out His benevolence, and that He controls the seat ejection button, so I'd better be nice, or else.
See? Girls are also good at giving even the most patient father cause to reconsider why he ever procreated in the first place... and a full head of grey hair.

I started training my dad early:

At the age of 5, I decided to do my first solo lake crossing without permission.

Never gave up trying to follow in my dad's ski prints!

Growing up is so overrated!  

Sunday, November 27, 2016

How Tomatoes Are Evil And Cole Can Be A Dunce

I am no fan of tomatoes.  Never have been.  This year, they've done nothing to elevate my esteem.  From a dismal production this Summer to a bumper crop of green tomatoes in November.  That's what I call a sick sense of humor.
Thus forcing me to devote a couple of days to make green tomato chutney.
Cumulative total of 8 hours in the kitchen and closet full of chutney bottles, a girl's fancy soon turns to homicide.
With a bucket still leftover, why not take one's frustrations out with a little target practice?
...in order to be zen enough to fight with the tomato plants to evict them from their cages.
All hands on deck for this one.
Cole, always helpful...
..carried his leaf all the way to the compost pile.  My hero.
Garrett doesn't receive accolades for being highly perceptive.  
"Look Ma, you missed some."
Tomato debacle over, we get to focus on Captain Cole, again.
The day before Thanksgiving, the leg that has been operated on 3 times, the source of the cancer, the one without a lymphatic system, yeah that one -- it begins swelling.
Getting progressively worse on Thanksgiving Day, of course.  His type of cancer is associated with histamine reactions, so any allergic type of reaction or swelling needs to be silenced ASAP before the mast cells start reproducing like crazy.  Nothing from my pharmaceutical stash can quell it.  By Friday, I say %@#! it and run him to the vet school as an emergency.  
Not my first choice for a Friday night venue.  But, the hours passed thanks to my friend, Helene, and her lofty package of newspaper clippings. 
My favorite editorials are by this guy:
Serious topics with a flair of humor.  Who can't chuckle at pixie dust and unicorn flatulence?  
Tip of the hat to Helene for getting me through another rough patch.  Tip of the hat to the overworked AU emergency clinic.  Cole and I are still not on speaking terms.  He's having to wear to rigid cone of shame to prevent self trauma. No fun for any of us, he takes out knee caps when running by.
Or the back of one's head.  He's an equal opportunity maimer. 
The days at work this past week have been long, trying to get the winter wheat planted before the rain arrives, long lists of chores, Cole, Cole again, horses, Axel colicking.  Never ends, thankfully, otherwise I'd be bored.  But, my wish for next week is one where I can walk around like Pete...
.. without a care in the world and snug as a bug in a cardigan. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Two Smittys in One House

What do you get when you toss two of the Smith clan into one living space?
A little pandemonium, a little hilarity.
Dad has found Cole's ticklish spot to make him sing:
Dear Father always wants to be in the thick of it.  No matter the job.
When I told him that he couldn't help me do any catering because he didn't have a hair net-- look at what Mr. Smarty Pants did.
We made nigiri sushi and norimaki rolls.
Not that foul stuff with raw fish and seaweed!  This is Rice Krispie treats with Gummie fish and fruit rollups.
He needs all those calories for all the painting he's been doing.
It's a messy job working with the oil based paint.  The paint gun unit takes a full hour to clean at night, almost the same amount of time required to scrub down Dad too.

He'd been trucking away on his own, but I pitched in to stay ahead of Picasso and his non discriminating paint gun to minimize collateral damages.

Who'd thunk it?
Don't let his innocent face fool you.
I'm not adverse to a bit of guerrilla warfare myself.  Stray chickens were harassing my hens, so I took 'em out.
And them Dad had to clean his own supper.  
Dad isn't the only guilty party of acts of mischievousness, the dogs upped the ante.
See this lonesome duck on the lake?  I heard Cole yipping and saw the bald eagles circling overhead.  Fearing Cole had caught an eaglet, I dropped my work and ran through the shrubs to the water. 
Cole and two adult bald eagles were after the same duck.
I screeched for him to swim back to shore before they grabbed his head in error. Then we watched them taking turns dive bombing their prey.
I didn't get a chance to see the end of the hunt because Dog #2 was now in peril.  I could hear commotion coming from the pool area.  Garrett had decided to try his hand at walking on water like Jesus.
By the time I arrived, he'd made it to the shallow end, but was engulfed in the plastic solar blanket and water. I jumped in and took this picture when I felt he was out of danger.  This is the second time I've filled my cowboy boots with water to save my dog.  
I am not in despair over the mutiny against me by the above mentioned because there are two in the Smith clan who are busy atoning for their brethren's sins:

My little 20 year old Appaloosa, Axel, hadn't been ridden in 5 years.  I broke him to ride myself 15 years ago.  I hopped on and was immediately transported to heaven.  He hadn't forgotten a thing.  He's still the spitfire I adore!  And on his second ride, he ponied Angus!
Who says you can't teach an old dog a new trick?
Except this one.  This dog does not learn his lessons.  He's wearing the cone of shame this week because he's been licking himself raw again.  This time in a very personal place! Why, Cole??? Why?

Monday, November 7, 2016

New Arrivals

In Phenix City, Alabama there exists a small garden center that has the most amazing variety of everything under the sun.  I stopped by Monday to get ONE tree for the farm and this is what happened to me:
The owner of John's Garden Center is a fun guy.  I told him I needed cheap shrubs to finish my 800' hedge row and he told me he needed space to display Christmas trees. We have a deal. I plucked over 40 shrubs out of the back where he hides the shrubs too wretched to be sold... unless they are sold to moi at 90% off.
I most certainly did not pay $22.  Try $5.
Homely, but they have potential.
I purchased a mix of broadleaf evergreens.
And a handful of $32 (75% reduced) climbing roses to train on the fences.
I'd earmarked my $200 for my visit to the orthopedic clinic, but found this money better spent:
The truck bed was so full, we had to shove some in the cab.  Bliss.
The first half was planted last year, but I ran out of money and energy this year. 
 With patience came a windfall of a deal.

The dogs assist, as always.
Cole being overzealous, as usual.
My little helper.
My other two supervisors.
Probably taking bets if I'd finish by dusk.

Auxiliary shovel operator arrived in the nick of time.
Pete and Garrett lost their bets, job was completed.
Hurry up and grow.
Meanwhile, we rest.
And I eat more of my most delectable, insanely delicious, homemade beet and ricotta yogurt ice cream.
Thank you Helene Hunt for another inspired recipe!