That's me, with one of our Shetland Ponies on Sunrise Trail Farm, and my older sister, Julie. I remember those red cowboy boots, ordered from Texas! I was pretty lucky to grow up with a herd of ponies, pastures, woods, and a creek to play in.
Our barn burnt down when I was in second grade. One of my father's talents was being an auctioneer, and just like that - all the ponies were gone.
They wouldn't let me keep even one pony. My animals were gone! We had one old dog. No ponies, no barn cats.
The barn burning was one of those defining moments of my life. I wanted those animals back, especially the horses.
Finally, I got a 13-hand bay pony for $150. His name was Rebel. In those days, people let their kids pretty much do whatever, as long as they were outside and not tracking dirt in the house. Being deliriously happy but clueless, I went riding around with the bit halfway down his mouth. I didn't have a saddle, so riding bareback, I learned to hang on, and when I fell off, I hung on to the reins, or else I'd be walking back. Rebel would gallop toward the creek, stop, put his head down, and off I'd go, right down his neck.
It would have been nice if I'd had some riding lessons. Or knew how to adjust the bridle so the bit was in the correct position so I could actually stop Rebel from running hell bent for leather whenever the mood struck him.
This is where the Grit started. Did I mention him running away with me, stopping at the edge of the creek so I fell off over his head?
NO! I wanted that pony more than anything. Those secrets were mine, and boy did I learn to hang on.
I did learn to ride. I had more horses come into my life. I learned English, Western, and went to bigger shows like the New York State Breeders Show, State Fair, The Palomino World. That pretty Palomino gelding with the parade saddle was responsible for building a lot of confidence. Nero's Brandy lived to be 38. He's buried in my yard, and I miss him every day.
WHAT ELSE DO I ENJOY?
Cooking, especially baking. See the ever growing recipe page.
Quilting, although since I've become a full-time writer, with a back-up job substitute teaching, the closest I get to sewing is admiring my fabric stash, or projects I've already completed. Someday.....
Gardening: There is nothing like growing your own food. I was in the grocery store the other day, and a gentleman was buying a small, cellophane bag of bite-sized potatoes. I didn't bring it up, but he must have seen my expression. He said that he liked small potatoes, and I said, "I do too, but I haven't bought a 'grocery-store' potato in years.
As usual, when I say something like that, a noticed the slight 'eyebrow raise'. What kind of wierdo am I? LOL!
I have a good place to store them, I keep it about 40-degrees, and it's a cycle of planting in the spring, summer, and late summer. I eat the medium storage varieties first, saving some for planting. I just dug up the last of them in mid-October.I can tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, green beans, dilly beans, chicken, beef. Sometimes I make corn or zucchini relish. I make all of my own jams and jellies, except for fruits I don't have: apricot and red raspberries. A few years ago, everyone's strawberries were awful due to the weather, and I resorted to 'store-bought' strawberry jam. A top-of-the line brand that you'd recognize. Jar lids have a check pattern......What do they do to that stuff? Jam is fruit, sugar, pectin, and that's all you need!
My Little Orchard: Growing fruit trees is difficult, a science all unto itself. Most of mine have lived, some die for no apparent reason. I'm still waiting for my standard size Northern Spy apple tree to produce. Maybe next year!
Butter and Sugar corn, for the freezer. Not a single worm! That's a first.
Peaches and Plums on a table topper I made years ago. Plums from the tree
are a flavor that you can't get in a store.
Willie, my Border Collie, and Ebony, adopted Lab, are my shadows. Willie's littermate, Peanut, likes to be a loner.
LEFT: My outdoor office in the hay shed. I had to put an Easy-Up in there to keep the glare off of the laptop screen. NOT good for phone interviews because roosters might crow in the background! LOL!
RIGHT: Isn't this gorgeous?
I had to grow this popcorn in a new garden plot hundreds of feet away from the Butter and Sugar. It's also 110-day corn that got planted a bit late. So I think the ears should be bigger. Anyway, I'll let you know how well it pops!
In the meantime, I love admiring the colors.
Country Livin' is for me
(cue the Green Acres theme song.... no, wait, I'av always lived in the country!)