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Halloween Costumes


Ok, not really. Although, while it was September, when you have a costume contest for horses, you might as well go all the way right into Halloween…………..

Last year, we were introduced to a Fun Show. Part of that fun show was the costume contest. We hadn’t planned on going, and the folks we were with supplied the ideas and accessories for the costumes. That year, only the youngest placed, but we had fun.

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This year, we decided to go all out, and did a bit of planning.

The older two were easy to decide, but the youngest gave us fits. In the end, we decided to give her a hodge-podge; using bits and pieces we found out shopping and then recycling a reversible vampire cape I had made for my son the one year, eons ago. We had Halo all decked out, but by the time we got to judging, much of her accessories had been shed already. :lol:

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Her legs had been wrapped red at one point, but didn’t stay that way long.

 

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She placed 4th. :D

My oldest daughter decided to go as Little Red Riding Hood; her horse being Grandma. Hilarious! This necessitated whipping up a costume for him including a cape and a wee little hat- the night before.

I had taken a double kick to my leg on the trail ride the day before {and folks- if you KNOW your horse is kicky, do everyone a favor and either YELL to the person behind you so they don’t have to get closer to you; don’t STOP and block the rest of the riders, or better yet, USE A FREAKING RED RIBBON LIKE THE REST OF US DO WHO HAVE HORSES THAT MIGHT KICK- it’s not rocket science.}, and was not a happy camper by that point. But, we came home early evening, and I sat and got it all sewn up so we could head out by 7 am the following morning.

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She got 2nd place.

Now, somewhere along the line, I saw a picture that I thought was really cool. I showed it to my middle daughter, and she fell in love. She did a brief practice run, and we knew we would have to push on the actual day.

Originally, they told us we had two hours. In reality, they gave us about an hour and 15 minutes. Needless to say, she didn’t get it all done, even with some sloppy help from me.

She still took 1st place. Not bad for the second time trying at it as a 12-year-old. :D

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Here are a few more random pics.

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At the end of the day, we had a great time!

The kicks totally derailed my running, and I’m pretty sure they were stress fractures, both of them. After several weeks of rest, I started easing back into, but I’m still not 100%. Those spots are still lumpy and sore to the touch. It took a few weeks to be able to bend my leg, but it didn’t stop me from riding a few weeks later.

*** We didn’t invent the wheel on the skeleton horse, of course. The idea came from the brilliant Knot Just Rope. She has a fantastic tutorial, and I’m sure we’ll be doing this again.

That was one of the high points of our year, as you can imagine. Stay tuned- more writing soon! :D

So. Where Were We?


So. Where were we?

This bi-coastal living sucks. Big time. Over the last year, I have learned well how I am absolutely not cut out for single parenting.

One might think that being home on this side of the country with the girls is easy enough. Not.

It’s like living in a frat house but everything is pink. And glittery.

We’re waiting on the guys to come home to celebrate Christmas. The stocking candy has, however, already been raided. I doubt the guys will get any by the time they are able to make it home.

Seeing as we’re at the end of the year, I’ll try to go back and highlight some of the things we’ve done. I’ve got reviews on the new Vibrams to get to, etc.

Right now, I guess I’ll start with the horses.

We added another horse to our herd, bringing the total now to 7. Haven is another Tennessee Walking Horse, and has a really nice gait. She came to us via a friend of ours over the border.

One thing we learned this season is that we needed a spare. We’ve done a number of trail rides; the four of us girls going to the ones nearby. While I could in a total pinch pull 4 horses in my stock trailer, I don’t much like it. I’ve been shuttling us 2 horses at a time, which really only works for rides that are relatively close. My oldest daughter and I have done a few rides that were further away, since I couldn’t double back due to distance.

On the last ride with all of us, we got all the way there, got my youngest’s mare out, only to discover a bloody foot, courtesy of kicking while loaded. It wasn’t terribly bad, but a fun show was the following day, and we didn’t want to take a chance that she couldn’t be ridden. So, on the return trip to get the other horses, I took her back home and traded her out for another.

Given that we actually made use of a spare horse, it was time to think about getting another spare, in the event Hunny was home and something like this happened. When my friend contacted me with the opportunity to get this horse, we decided to drive up and give her a test ride.

She is one of the youngest horses, and is so far doing well. We are looking forward to better, non-soggy weather to ride once hunting season is over.

 

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My oldest daughter and I were laughing just the other day- when we decided to go all out on horses, we really had planned to get more horses like Magic, so that the herd colors would be diverse, given that we already had two bays and a red. With the additions of both Blaze and Haven, we now have a mostly “brown” herd. :lol: Somehow, we have gotten completely smitten with that color! :D

 

 


Go watch the video. I’ll wait. :)

Ok. Everybody here?

If you’ve been reading my book reviews, you’ll probably remember that I generally like Sigmund Brouwer’s books, and don’t shy away from reviewing them.

This one, though…… I’m starting off with my rating. I’d give this book 10 stars if I could.

Go. Read. It.

This is a story, which, while fiction, was inspired by the author’s own parents’ experiences. {That hooks me every time.} It starts with a picture of a young boy’s freedom, family life, and conflict with another boy of similar age. By the end of the book, we’ve gone full circle; right to old age and deeply buried secrets.  thiefofglory

The tale of those secrets- of love lost; assault; tragic decisions made by parents; protection- all revealed- is told through the eyes of an aged man, seeing through his childhood eyes.

Compelling. Riveting, Gut wrenching. Heartbreaking.

“Thus, in solitude one night all these decades later, while still cognizant of the words I spoke, I found the strength and courage to fold my hands together and bow my head and finally ask His mercy.

I etch these last words not from a need after my death to share and dissipate the shame of what I did on the night my mother died at the internment camp, but from a desire to comfort Laura and Rachel, who led me, for the first time since that horrible night, to find the courage in that solitude and pour out my soul in prayer and weep with all the anguish I had denied myself for far too long.”

It’s been a while since a book has affected me like this. I imagine it will be a good long while until I read another one like it.

Go. Read. It.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Island Hopping


I know, I know. I’ve been remiss in sharing pictures on the farm here lately, in addition to updating the could-it-be-finally-ending-tale As The Silo Turns. No worries, friends, those updates shall be coming. I’m working on carving out time to sit and post the pictures and updates.

Fall, as anyone who lives on a farm knows, is busy. There’s a lot to do to get ready for winter, and now that it’s finally getting cooler, we are able to get outside again and do more than mowing the yards. I’ve got all kinds of painting to do out there still, coop work, etc etc. Trail riding season is again upon us, which also means consistently cooler weather to be able to ride in. Whooppeee!

I enjoy the weather here *a lot* more than I did in NM- no longer are we like cockroaches, coming out when it’s dark because it’s the only tolerable time of day. :lol: There were a few days when I had to think about the heat with the chickens, but overall, it’s been a good summer- temps were not too extreme, although I’m still not lovin’ any kind of real heat.

One of the things I love about NC, in addition to being closer to my family, is that the east coast is LOADED with history. When my oldest brother and his family came out to visit for spring break, it was time to head to the Outer Banks. Now, while there are 4 main islands (Roanoke, Bodie, Hatteras, Ocracoke) in this 200 mile stretch, there are other islands that are no longer very distinct (Pea, maybe Portsmouth??), hurricanes and normal erosion are taking a toll.

It was a no-brainer to want to head to Roanoke Island. You may or may not have heard of The Lost Colony. I’m not going to talk about that today. :lol: Nope, I’m not.

I’m also not going to talk about Kill Devil Hills or Kitty Hawk. Nor will I speak of Bodie Island, specifically, the lighthouse there. Nope, nope nope. :) I’ll go into detail on those in separate postings, because it’s worth it.

That first trip, though, truly whet our appetites. Those destinations took about 2 1/2 hours to get to, but we didn’t have time to get to Hatteras Island, where I really wanted to go. 220px-Bodie_Island_Lighthouse_2008The Bodie Island Light Station was very cool to see, even though we didn’t take a tour. But the Cape Hatteras Light Station was one I absolutely DID NOT want to miss, despite a car full of girls, mostly teenage, who only wanted to go to the beach. :D

While both the Bodie Island and Cape Hatteras light stations are part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, island driving the 47 miles will take about an hour from one to the other. The Bodie Island Light Station requires a guided tour, which takes about 45 minutes {moaning and groaning}. And, there was a wait for the tour that day {eye rolling, moaning and groaning}.

Despite the whining from the peanut gallery, Mama was bound and determined to head out for the additional hour of travel to take the self-guided tour of the Cape Hatteras Light Station. :lol:

Interestingly, Hatteras Island seemed to be the one that had the most Hurricane Aurthur damage. While it wasn’t designated a “disaster area,” there was enough damage that there were piles of debris along the roadside, waiting to get picked up. Lots of needed roof repair, but nothing horrifically damaging, thank goodness.

And it was very, very cool. It was sooooo cool, I’d do it again. Even more than once again. It’s that awesome.

 

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Principal keeper and double keeper's quarters

Principal keeper and double keeper’s quarters

 

This light station is full of all kinds of awesomeness. The original 1803 lighthouse had to be demolished because it needed too many repairs, thanks in large part to the Civil War. In 1860, Congress gave the green light for a new lighthouse, and appropriated funds. Construction began in 1868. Remarkably, it was built ON TIME and ON BUDGET, in just 18 months, with over a million bricks hand-laid. Can you imagine?!

Its history is tangled with the Civil War, in more ways than one. Knowing the Diamond Shoals, aka ‘The Graveyard of the Atlantic’ to be deadly, the Confederacy absconded with the fresnel lens for the light. Yep. They sure did. The retreating Confederates took the light station lens with them when they retreated from the Union forces.

This resulted in the sinking of 40 Union ships, including the USS Monitor during the time the light was out. I want to say I remember the Park Ranger saying it was about 4 months of no light, which is astonishing. The National Park Service estimates about 1,000 ships have sunk out there, including German U-boats. It’s a big deal.

The Outer Banks, including the Cape Hatteras and Bodie Island Light Stations were both “safe havens” for slaves. If they could get to the island, they would be emancipated. This resulted in The Freedmen’s Colony. While pretty short-lived at around 2 years, this was a critical turning point for the country.

So anyhow, after the Civil War, the Cape Hatteras Light Station was pretty rough.  It was beat all to heck from the war. It was missing the lens. And it needed to be moved. Because of its condition, it was in danger of falling into the ocean during a storm, which had been creeping up on the light station’s location. So, they moved it.

While it was the first move inland, it wasn’t the last. The first move took it 600 feet to the north from the 1803 lighthouse location. After the new station was completed and lit December 1, 1870. February 1871, the original lighthouse was demolished.

The new lighthouse, at the time, was the tallest brick lighthouse in the world. Today, it’s still the tallest in brick lighthouse in the US.

Just over a hundred years later {!!!!}, in 1999, the decision was made to move it. Yep. You read that right. They needed to move it- again.

The issue was, mother nature was reclaiming the ground, and well, it wouldn’t be in the around if they kept dilly-dallying and didn’t DO something to save it. So, they moved it. This time, the move took them 2,900 feet to the southwest.

Wanna know how they did it? Remember the theory of the ancients using kind of a sledge track and rolling timbers? Yep. That. All the modern technology at their disposal, and they ended up using the ‘old-fashioned’ way. :lol: Ok, so they had modern materials, I’ll give you that.

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Pretty nifty, eh?  Thing is, it took 23 days to move it 2,900 feet. 23. Days.  Can you imagine?!

They don’t figure it’ll need to be moved for a hundred more years. But not to worry- they own a sizable chunk of land, so they don’t think they will run out of space to move it to. !!!!!!!!

The tour to climb all 269 steps to the top is unguided, and they only allow small groups to go up at any one time to avoid bottle-necking. There are free tours of the Double Keeper’s Quarters, and you will get loads of fantastic information in the Museum of the Sea inside.

Now, while I could have stayed and really dug into the museum portion, I was getting a whole barrel-full of grumpiness, from girls who were convinced I was gypping them out of their beach time because it was going to rain. {Ok, so there were a few sporadic sprinkles here and there, but sheesh- it was only 11 am!!!} :roll: :roll:

We I wanted to try and find the original lighthouse location, but I’m not sure we ever did. We did find the beach across the street, though, and that’s where we spent our afternoon.

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I was thrilled that our friend living in our little house was going to be home and able to put chickens to bed. That meant we didn’t have to rush home to lock them up by 9 pm. We managed to rumble home around 11:30 pm and then get our chores wrapped up, but it was so, so worth it.

Providing we’re here long enough, I’m hoping to get back to the Outer Banks and explore everything else we haven’t gotten to. I could EASILY spend a solid two weeks or more out there, because there’s so much to do besides going to the beach.

If you ever get the chance to make it to the eastern coast, the Outer Banks is a *must see* destination.


Kylie was sick and tired of wearing pants. Yep. Pants. She’d had enough.

Although, being up on her roof hearing thunder, that would have been a fine time to have had a pair of them on. Nonetheless, Kylie has got to get her roof repaired before the rain hit. triedandtrue

But roofs are tricky. She’d need a ladder. And she didn’t have one on hand. Her Pa had a ladder.

“Talk about someone Kylie didn’t want to ask for help! Cudgel Wilde would scold and snarl and in the end make Kylie want to jump on her horse and ride off and never come back.”

And, he’d make her wear pants.

Kylie was sick of pants.

Sisters Bailey and Shannon wore pants and didn’t mind. Of course, it was all part of the disguise….. Disguised as boys, the three sisters went off to war after their brother died during his service. Their pa demanded they go, so then they could homestead using the special exemption for having served in the Civil War- as boys. And being a boy meant wearing pants. Did I mention Kylie was sick of pants?

And that brings us to the present situation- Kylie on top of her roof in a skirt, with a thunderstorm coming. But before the rain came, there was thunder- and lightening. That meant Kylie had to get down without repairing the roof. Kylie hated roofs just as much as she hated pants.

“A sprinkle hit the back of her neck. Just how slippery did a roof get? Could she survive a fall? What if she broke her leg? Would she have to lie in the yard until help came? Or wolves came?

“Dear Lord,” she cried as she glanced at the dark clouds and spoke past them to God, “don’t let me be eaten by wolves because I was too stubborn to ride over to Shannon’s and wheedle her into fixing my roof.””

As she slipped and worked her way down the roof, she repeated the same mantra, “Three years to earn the life I want….”  Down to the furthest point she could reach with her hands around her stove pipe,  she realized the ladder back chair she had used to climb up with- is missing.

“She began losing her grip on the pipe, feeling her fingernails scraping along its length, and then lost her hold completely and fell. Solid arms closed around her legs. “I’ve got you, miss!””

And thus, her introduction to Aaron Masterson, land agent for Aspen Ridge. Land agent, as in, the person responsible for inspecting homestead claims and making sure there’s a cabin on the homestead after 6 months. As in, the homestead claim Kylie’s pa forced her to make for her two years of service during the Civil War. And, the homestead claim only men were allowed to have……..

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One of the reasons Mary Connealy is one of my all-time favorite authors is because of her humor. I was laughing pretty much from the get-go, and didn’t stop until the satisfying end. This title is classic Mary Connealy, through and through.

This is the first book in the Wild at Hearts series. You can bet I’m going to read about sisters Shannon and Bailey. Don’t miss it!

As usual, I give this title 5 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers (www.bethanyhouse.com) for this review.

 

The Accident by Chris Pavone


“As dawn approaches in New York, literary agent Isabel Reed is turning the final pages of a mysterious, anonymous manuscript, racing through explosive revelations about powerful people. In Copenhagen, veteran CIA operative Hayden Gray, determined that this sweeping story be buried, is suddenly staring down the barrel of an unexpected gun. And in Zurich, the author himself is hiding in a shadowy expat life, trying to atone for a lifetime’s worth of lies and betrayals while always looking over his shoulder.  theaccident

Over the course of one long, desperate day, these lives will collide as the book begins its dangerous march toward publication, toward saving or ruining careers and companies, placing everything at risk—and everyone in mortal peril . . .”

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This book had a slow and confusing start. I was beginning to wonder if it was a dud. But, I felt obligated to read it, so I did.

There’s a lot of back and forth in this book; meaning, a lot of jumping around from character to character and year to year/time to time. It took a while and a lot of thinking to figure out what was going on. This was a Kindle edition, so I don’t know if the hard copy had those flashbacks italicized or not. That would have helped considerably. I love a good mystery, but this one was challenging to even understand. Once I got to that point, it was exactly as I thought it would be.

One thing that kind of bothered me was the body count. I mean, it was unreasonably high. It just seemed to me that given how the dead folks were related to each other (not family, but professionally), the cops would have been all over this in real life, which means much of the plot would have been much more complicated in order to work around a police investigation. There were parts that were too convoluted to do anything but get a chuckle out of the absurdity.

I’m giving this one 3 out of 5 stars. I would consider reading more by this author, but I don’t think I would go out of my way to do it.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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Rank this Review!


They had butted heads in school; Kate losing the valedictorian spot to Trevor, thanks to trigonometry. Puh. Lost was the full scholarship to college, which Kate desperately needed, and rich, mansion-living Trevor did not. witheverybreath

12 years later, Kate still hadn’t forgotten the sting of that loss, nor the path deviation her life had taken. A year earlier, Kate had loved her job as a census bureau statistician. Now there were machines doing those jobs. The statistical forecasting jobs all went to men- not just men, but men with college degrees. Punch card tabulating bored Kate to tears, but without the college degree snatched from her all those years ago, she was at a loss to do much of anything else.

Until the letter came. She still didn’t understand why a renowned doctor had singled her out and asked her to apply for a “prestigious position at Washington Memorial Hospital.” The position was to analyze data and predict trends in health and disease- just what Kate would love doing. She was ready to do something meaningful with her brain again.

Putting her current job tenuously on the line, Kate decides it’s worth the risk to interview. She was feeling pretty good, until she saw him. Him, being the doctor who had requested her to apply.

She’d thought she didn’t know him up from down. She was wrong. The doctor she was to interview with was none other than Trevor McDonough Kendall. Yes, *that* Trevor……..

Could she tolerate working for him if she accepted the job, realizing his prickly demeanor hadn’t changed? What was driving his passion to find treatment and a cure for tuberculosis? Could she handle working with the critically ill patients? And, when mysterious situations take place and point to Dr. Kendall, with evidence showing up at her  parent’s boarding house, Kate’s home, could they untangle the clues in time?

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It’s been a year since I have had the chance to review another title by this author, and am I glad I did! The scene was set well; the disappointment of losing the college scholarship bitter. Although I don’t generally like books that have a lot of characters, this one was written well enough that none of them got confused.

I loved the historical content, too. It’s easy to forget how far medicine has come in recent decades. This book has it all- a fight for women working in the prejudiced work-force; love, mystery, secrets, etc. Elizabeth Camden stays on my ‘favorite authors’ list, and I will definitely make a point to review any more that come my way. This is another 5 out of 5 stars title.

I received this book for free from Bethany House publishers (www.bethanyhouse.com) for this review.

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