Cold but so Worth it!

After having a week of really nice weather we are back down in the 30s and low 40s during the day. But we’ve had beautiful sunny days with a bit of wind.

The sunshine tugs at me even though it is cold outside. I’ve been taking walks on the hills wishing for spring flowers to poke their leaves, stems and buds out of the frozen ground.

What I’ve also been doing is riding my new horse, Jan (yaan). He is 21 years old and with just enough get up and go that I can go if I want to but we are both happy to just plod along. LOL

My daughter and two grandkids have come over a couple of times and written with me. But Jan also doesn’t mind riding off just the two of us. That was what I was looking for. A horse I was comfortable on and who didn’t throw a fit when he was ridden by himself.

I grew up on a farm and in the summer, riding was an everyday occurrence. I’d do my chores in the morning, catch my horse and ride the ridge/mountain behind our property. Some days, my younger brother and I would make a lunch and take off, riding for most of the day, coming home in time to do our afternoon chores and for me to cook dinner.

That was back when there weren’t any cell phones. Our parents were off at work and my grandparents would see us saddle up and leave. No one ever thought about anything happening. And if it did, we knew how to deal with it.

I stabbed myself three times over my childhood, making furniture and houses for my Barbie dolls out of cardboard boxes. My parents were at work, and I didn’t want to bother my grandmother. I’d go to the house, ( I was usually out in the orchard) put on a band-aid, wrap some gauze around it, and hope a band-aid would be enough when my parents arrived home.

I’m looking forward to warmer weather and being able to ride every day and not at the whim of the cold wind. Today the wind is blowing harder and while there is beautiful sunshine, the wind chill is 7.

What is something you are looking forward to doing as the weather warms?

I’m looking forward to the wildflowers!

The Hunt is Over!

The horse my husband bought for me last year wasn’t working out. He’s a sweetheart, but he has some issues that won’t work for how I like to ride.

Ever since my daughter, the horse girl, moved down the road we’ve been looking for horses. One for me, one for her, and several for her kids.

Two weeks ago we took a day trip and tried out 7 or 8 horses and ended up putting money down on one for her 13 year-old son with plans to pick it up this past weekend.

While we were trying out horses, one person didn’t have quite what we were looking for but she told us about some horses her aunt and uncle were selling and thought they might work.

This past Sunday, my daughter swung by my place at 5:30 am, we drove the 3 hours to the woman’s aunt and uncle’s place and we rode 3 horses. Well, I only rode two. While I had set my mind on the mare, Patty, before I arrived, it was the gelding, John, who I renamed Jan (Yaan), that I fell for. Jan was sturdy, stood when I got on, because these days I don’t float up into the saddle like I did ten or more years ago. He had a nice calm demeanor, walked slow, but would pick it up with a click and a slight tap to his sides. He was everything I’ve been looking for in a horse. And the last time he’d been rode was July 4th. He acted as if he’d been ridden every day since. I loved that about him.

Patty has a bit more spunk. Walks out faster, but paid attention and my granddaughter liked her. I didn’t like that she doesn’t stand when you get on. Which would mean I’d need someone to hold her while I get on, but I liked everything else about her.

Which led me to purchasing both Patty and Jan. Jan for me and Patty for grandkids and visitors to ride.

After that, we headed down the road to the place where my daughter and put money on the horse my grandson had liked. My daughter is trying to find a horse for her. One with more spunk than I or the grandkids want. While there the grandkids wrote about five different horses and my daughter rode several. My granddaughter feel in love with a palomino gelding and my daughter purchased that for her along with the mare she’d secured the two weeks before for her son.

We came home with 4 horses and a lion head rabbit. The people where I bought my horses offered the kids the rabbit and the grandson jumped at the offer.

I’m excited for some of the snow to melt so conditions aren’t so slippery and I can get to riding.

Do you have horses? Or have you ever had horses? My husband doesn’t care for them but because I love them he indulges me. 😉

Color to my World

I have a penchant for color. I like vibrant colors. Bold purples, pinks, orange, yellow, blues, and reds make me smile. Whether they are on clothing, flowers, dishes, blankets, paintings. I love color!

I know there is a place for black, brown, gray, and tan. They make great backdrops for splashes of color. Somber tones are needed to evoke certain moods.

When there are dark gray or black clouds in the sky, they inevitably spark flashes of lightning to brighten the darkness and illicit tingles of excitement, and in some, fear.

I love flowers, but, alas, I do not have a green thumb. It is a feat when I can keep a plant alive long enough for it to produce flowers. This summer I had several that exceeded my expectations, coloring my summer with joy.

When I told a friend about how I have trouble keeping plants alive he gave me a cactus. It bloomed this spring. The color was gorgeous and I hope it will grace me with blooms again next year.

I planted sunflowers in the same bathtub as I’d planted a peony from my dad’s yard. the peony had only a couple of blooms this year. I hope it will be full next year, but the sunflowers bloomed brightening the last of summer with they yellow cheer.

I try to add color to my writing without dragging the description on and on. I’ve received several reviews that comment on how I give just enough description without overdoing it. That is something that makes my heart sing as much as vibrant colors!

Christmas at Valentine’s by Paty Jager

Blaze

Two weeks before Christmas my hubby told me my Christmas present would be a new horse. I’d sold Bud, the gelding I’d had since he was born because he wasn’t fun to ride. I know most of the problem was me, but I wanted a horse I could get on and ride, not spend the little time I had to ride, making him pay attention and do what I asked.

A wise long time cowgirl told me to get rid of Bud and find one I could go out and ride without a hassle. I took her advice and sold Bud. And the funny thing, you’d think having a horse for 18 years I would have been sad, but I was so frustrated about not being able to ride when I wanted to that it was almost a relief.

After hubby told me to start looking for a horse, I began searching the paper and Craigslist in our area and a little beyond. Of course, the horses I would have liked were out of the price range hubby was willing to go. I love paints and appaloosas.

I did go ride two paints that were at the top of his price range. The first one I’m pretty sure the people had either drugged it or had worked the tar out of it before I got on. There were four horses, two that the man and his son had rode and the two they’d brought down for me to try. (They had ridden down a hill to meet me saying my car wouldn’t make it up to where they lived)

Me and Blaze

The paint I was interested in was soaking wet with sweat. The other one they had for sale was half wet and the ones they were riding were barely sweating. The paint’s head was down, his eyes half closed and his ears weren’t perked up. They put my saddle on him and I rode for about twenty minutes up in the hill with the son. The horse stumbled a little and tried walking under trees.

The other horse I wasn’t even interested in when I saw the high withers. We already have Jammer who has high withers and is hard to blanket up to keep the saddle from rubbing her withers.

I told the man I’d talk it over with hubby, but I’d made up my mind I wasn’t interested by the time I arrived at my destination.

Then Hubby and I went to Walla Walla to try out another paint. He was cute and the right height. But he had really round withers and the saddle wouldn’t stay tight. He also liked to whirl around backwards when he was scared. Not good for this person who has inner ear crystal problems.

Then my daughter sent me a link on Craigslist to a gelding only 2 hours from where we live. He’s not a paint but he looked sweet and my size.

Blaze

Hubby and I went there last Friday and I am now the proud owner of Blaze. He is an 11 year-old gelding that is the perfect height, he is friendly, and when we get some decent weather, I’ll see how well he does riding out on his own. I’ve been going down every day, brushing and messing with him with the saddle, bridle and leading him around. The weather is a mess to try and ride with snow and ice everywhere.

I’ll keep you updated on how Blaze and I get along. I’m looking forward to going on trail rides with my daughter and grandchildren.

My Favorite Place

Oregon Coast

This week I’ve been at the Oregon Coast at a week long writing retreat. I love the beach. The waves curling, foaming, and racing up onto the beach. The roar of the churning water and the shrill cries of the seagulls.

I gain energy from the water, the sand, and this week the sunshine.

Photo of me taking photos

When I’m at the beach writing, I set a goal of how many words I have to write before I take a walk on the beach. That prods me to get writing each morning and keep writing throughout the day. I usually get to walk twice on the beach and in the evening when I meet my goal, I can watch a movie on my kindle. LOL Yes, we writers need rewards even though just getting our stories written is a reward.

Do you see the wolf head on this crab shell?

One of my favorite things to do while walking on the beach is taking photos of pretty shells or unique things I see in a shell, or the way the water made a design in the sand. This may sound like I dawdle when I walk the beach. I don’t. I actually walk fast and when something catches my eye, I take a picture.

And this trip so far, I’ve found 4 sand dollars in perfect shape! I never find a full sand dollar so that alone has made my trip something special.

My sand dollars

I started out writing hard on my story. Mid-week I floundered, but am picking it up today, Thursday and will push through to get this book to the halfway point by the time I go home on Sunday.

I feel for all the people in the Midwest and back east getting hit by winter storms, but this week of warm- 50ish- weather and the sunshine has made the thought of us finally getting winter in SE Oregon something I’m actually looking forward to.

Enjoy the rest of your week and on the 5th, I’ll post my Rafflecopter winner!

Waiting for Winter & a Horse

20190109_091030
our hill 

We had about 6 inches of snow in December that stayed around until a week before Christmas. Leaving us with a brown holiday. No sledding, no building snowmen. It has been brown ever since.

 

Hubby was getting excited when we had several weather reports for snow. However, they didn’t happen. He is now skeptical about any talk of snow in the forecast.

We need the snow. Or warm up and rain like the dickens. In SE Oregon we are very dry.  It will be a hot, fire wary summer if we don’t get more moisture soon.

My Christmas gift from hubby is a horse. The only problem is I am having trouble finding one. I need a horse that is around 15 years old or a bit older, 14-15 hands, been ridden so much that no matter if I ride once a week, once a month or every day, it will behave. I also need one that will be able to go on an all day trail ride.

The daughter who moved down the road this past summer plans to take me on trail rides once a week or at least twice a month. I love trail riding. So the horse has to be able to physically go up and down hills and spend the day walking with me on its back.

appaloosa stallion
Appaloosa

I would like a gelding. I’ve had too many issues with mares. But I’m willing to look at a mare if it has a mellow attitude. I’ve been combing the sale ads. I found a great mare, but the people never responded when I contacted them to look at her. I wish people would take down ads if the horse has sold or at least text you back with sold.  Common courtesy is so hard to find these days.

Horse
Paint

My ideal horse would be Appaloosa, paint, or dun/buckskin. I like horses that have interesting color. But if it’s the right size, attitude, and health, oh, and also price, I won’t worry about the color.

Buckskin horse
Buckskin

Growing up I had a sorrel buckskin mare that I loved! She never had an attitude, went wherever I wanted to go, and came when I called her. She was a good 15-16 hands and beautiful.  I rode her a lot bareback and I was barefoot. LOL We’d cross the Lostine River and head up on the side of the mountain. I’d lay on her back looking up at the sun shining through the cottonwood and aspen trees as she walked along.  I’d spend hours out riding her in the summer.  Sometimes my younger brother rode with me and we’d go all over the hills and mountain side.

I’ve never been one to like riding around in arenas. I only ran my horse when we would race in the lane. A trot was to catch up if I’d been gawking and fell behind.

If you have a horse, what color and breed is it? If you don’t what color or breed do you think is pretty?

Yule Log/ New Year Treat/ Birthday Roll by Paty Jager

For Christmas for my family, I made a Yule Log we had after Christmas Eve dinner. Th first version didn’t turn out very pleasant to look at but it tasted okay. I wasn’t happy and made a second one, tweaking the original recipe. This ended up being made from three different recipes combined to make my newest creation and one my granddaughter asked me to make for her birthday in July.

Cake:

¾ cup cake flour

½ tsp baking powder

½ tsp salt

5 eggs, separated

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp vanilla

Preheat over to 375° F. Grease 15 ½ X 10 ½ inch jelly roll pan; line with waxed or parchment paper.  Grease the paper, set pan aside. Place flour, baking powder, and salt in small bowl; stir to combine. Beat egg yolks and 2/3 cup of sugar in separate small bowl with electric mixer at high speed about 5 minutes or until think and lemon colored, scraping down side of bowl once. Beat in vanilla; set aside.

Beat egg whites at high speed in clean large bowl using clean beaters, until foamy. Gradually beat in the remaining ½ cup of sugar, 1 Tablespoon at a time, until stiff peaks form.

Fold flour mixture into egg yolk mixture. Fold flour/egg yolk mixture into egg white mixture until evenly incorporated. Spread mixture into prepared pan. Bake 12 to 15 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. Meanwhile, lightly sift powered sugar over clean dish towel.

Loosen warm cake from edges of pan with spatula; invert onto prepared towel. Remove pan; peel off the paper. Gently roll up cake in towel from short end, jelly-roll style. Let tolled cake cool completely on wire rack.

cake rolled in towel

Filling:

Makes 2 cups

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/3 cup sugar

¾ cup milk

1 egg yolk beaten with ¼ cup milk

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup heavy whipping cream

Blend cornstarch, sugar, and milk in a small saucepan and heat, stirring constantly, over moderate heat until mixture boils and is thick; boil and stir ½ minute longer. Off heat, beat a little hot mixture into egg yolk, return all to pan gradually, beating constantly. Mix in vanilla and cool to room temperature, beating now and then.

cooking filling

After filling has cooled; whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Fold into the filling. Unroll the cooled cake, spread the whipped filling across the cake and roll up without the towel. Place on plate or platter.  Cut one inch off one end and place against the side of the longer piece. (This will resemble stump or a branch).

I made my “stump” branch a little longer to make the cake fit the platter.

Frosting:

6 tablespoons butter, softened

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa

2-3 tablespoons milk

Stir together sugar and cocoa. Beat butter until fluffy. Alternately add sugar mixture and milk, beating until frosting is smooth and fluffy.  Frost the entire cake. Swirl ends of log and flat side of stump to resemble cut section of log. Run tines of fork along the length of the log or spread frosting to resemble bark.

Can be sprinkled with nuts or other adornment. I fashioned white poinsettias from mints I made earlier.

Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving. Makes 8-10 servings.