Sunday, February 28, 2010

Gettysburg's Oldest Family and "Dear Diary: I Almost Electrocuted My Horse Today"

I love scouring the net for all kinds of useful (and sometimes not so useful) information to share with you. One of my favorite sites to visit is where there are some amazing discoveries if you like reading up on the people, places and things that preceded us as well as the local happenings going on now.

Here's a fascinating read about Gettysburg's oldest family here written by James H. Allison, M. D..

While you are at it, don't forget to visit the article archives on the left hand side of the site and peruse some of the articles written by Michael Hillman. He has a wonderful, engaging style and I promise you will love his stories, especially if you are a fan of horses. Not surprisingly, he is the creator of as well as the owner of Windy Meadow Farm together with his wife, Audrey. After reading some of Michael's stories about farm life, I found myself chuckling and feeling an immediate connection. Being a horse owner myself I can relate to every single one of his experiences. If I had to choose one to share with you it would have to be"Dear Diary: I Almost Electrocuted My Horse Today."

I can almost guarantee a smile afterwards.

Picture of the Day

Dancer and her best friend, Elmo. They spend all day playing and giving each other kisses.

Words to Live By

"If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do well matters very much."

Jackie Kennedy

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Love The Word Play!

From the Museum of Modern Art, these are called "Art Poems" by Richard Tipping.(If only my dogs could read this.)

And, if this were only possible!
This one is the best....

My Weekend Project

I am always looking for ways to liven up our living space with simple and inexpensive projects. I came across this quick transformation at Rearranged Design and instantly knew how I would be spending part of my weekend...Orange is not typically one of the colors I gravitate towards, but I think I am now converted! I love her choice of colors-its fresh and really pops with color-just what we need on a drab winter day. Here's to being inspired!

Friday, February 26, 2010

That Special Bond Between a Horse and a Human

My cousin sent this to me today in an email, and I felt it was worthy of sharing. Such a beautiful story that describes exactly how I feel about my horse-I know its hard for some to understand-I thank God that I have been given this very special privilege of having such an incredible horse.....My husband often wonders how I can find such happiness in trudging off to the barn every day, in the nasty cold; wind blowing in 50 mile an hour gusts to see my beautiful girl. My heart almost bursts every time I wrap my arms around her neck-I have to pinch myself to believe she is mine, all mine.....Enjoy this story-Happy Friday!

Because of Love

A brother and sister had made their usual hurried, obligatory pre- Christmas visit to the little farm where dwelt their elderly parents with their small herd of horses. The farm was where they had grown up and had been named Lone Pine Farm because of the huge pine, which topped the hill behind the farm. Through the years the tree had become a talisman to the old man and his wife, and a landmark in the countryside. The young siblings had fond memories of their childhood here, but the city hustle and bustle added more excitement to their lives, and called them away to a different life.

The old folks no longer showed their horses, for the years had taken their toll, and getting out to the barn on those frosty mornings was getting harder, but it gave them a reason to get up in the mornings and a reason to live. They sold a few foals each year, and the horses were their reason for joy in the morning and contentment at day's end.

Angry, as they prepared to leave, the young couple confronted the old folks "Why do you not at least dispose of The Old One." She is no longer of use to you. It's been years since you've had foals from her. You should cut corners and save so you can have more for yourselves. How can this old worn out horse bring you anything but expense and work? Why do you keep her anyway?"

The old man looked down at his worn boots, holes in the toes, scuffed at the barn floor and replied, " Yes, I could use a pair of new boots.

His arm slid defensively about the Old One's neck as he drew her near with gentle caressing he rubbed her softly behind her ears. He replied softly, "We keep her because of love. Nothing else, just love."

Baffled and irritated, the young folks wished the old man and his wife a Merry Christmas and headed back toward the city as darkness stole through the valley.

The old couple shook their heads in sorrow that it had not been a happy visit. A tear fell upon their cheeks. How is it that these young folks do not understand the peace of the love that filled their hearts?

So it was, that because of the unhappy leave-taking, no one noticed the insulation smoldering on the frayed wires in the old barn. None saw the first spark fall. None but the "Old One".

In a matter of minutes, the whole barn was ablaze and the hungry flames were licking at the loft full of hay. With a cry of horror and despair, the old man shouted to his wife to call for help as he raced to the barn to save their beloved horses. But the flames were roaring now, and the blazing heat drove him back. He sank sobbing to the ground, helpless before the fire's fury. His wife back from calling for help cradled him in her arms, clinging to each other, they wept at their loss.

By the time the fire department arrived, only smoking, glowing ruins were left, and the old man and his wife, exhausted from their grief, huddled together before the barn. They were speechless as they rose from the cold snow covered ground. They nodded thanks to the firemen as there was nothing anyone could do now.

The old man turned to his wife, resting her white head upon his shoulders as his shaking old hands clumsily dried her tears with a frayed red bandanna. Brokenly he whispered, "We have lost much, but God has spared our home on this eve of Christmas. Let us gather strength and climb the hill to the old pine where we have sought comfort in times of despair. We will look down upon our home and give thanks to God that it has been spared and pray for our beloved most precious gifts that have been taken from us.

And so, he took her by the hand and slowly helped her up the snowy hill as he brushed aside his own tears with the back of his old and withered hand.

The journey up the hill was hard for their old bodies in the steep snow. As they stepped over the little knoll at the crest of the hill, they paused to rest, looking up to the top of the hill the old couple gasped and fell to their knees in amazement at the incredible beauty before them.

Seemingly, every glorious, brilliant star in the heavens was caught up in the glittering, snow-frosted branches of their beloved pine, and it was aglow with heavenly candles. And poised on its top most bough, a crystal crescent moon glistened like spun glass. Never had a mere mortal created a Christmas tree such as this. They were breathless as the old man held his wife tighter in his arms.

Suddenly, the old man gave a cry of wonder and incredible joy. Amazed and mystified, he took his wife by the hand and pulled her forward. There, beneath the tree, in resplendent glory, a mist hovering over and glowing in the darkness was their Christmas gift. Shadows glistening in the night light.

Bedded down about the "Old One" close to the trunk of the tree, was the entire herd, safe.

At the first hint of smoke, she had pushed the door ajar with her muzzle and had led the horses through it. Slowly and with great dignity, never looking back, she had led them up the hill, stepping cautiously through the snow. The foals were frightened and dashed about. The skittish yearlings looked back at the crackling, hungry flames, and tucked their tails under them as they licked their lips and hopped like rabbits. The mares that were in foal with a new years crop of babies, pressed uneasily against the "Old One" as she moved calmly up the hill and to safety beneath the pine. And now she lay among them and gazed at the faces of the old man and his wife.

Those she loved she had not disappointed. Her body was brittle with years, tired from the climb, but the golden eyes were filled with devotion as she offered her gift---

Because of love. Only Because of love.

Tears flowed as the old couple shouted their praise and joy... And again the peace of love filled their hearts.

This is a true story.

Willy Eagle

Something to Warm Your Heart on This Cold Winter Day

I am always looking to enrich my knowledge of the thoroughbred breed and had to share this lovely story.....
From The Thoroughbred Race Horse Blog

Yeah Me Do, winning in California for owners Roy and Sue Andolfo

On February 19, 1983 a grey colt by Macarther Park was born to California racehorse breeders Roy and Sue Andolfo. These long time horse racing owners had high hopes for the colt out of Romantically, a mare trained by Joe Shell who had earned over $21,000 for the Andolfo's back in the late 70's. The colt named Yeah Me Do grew into a beautiful grey gelding that raced in California for the Andolfo's earning over $72,000 . He was claimed from his owners as a 6 year old. A year or so later the Andolfo's ran into the man who claimed their horse and asked how he was doing. They were very disappointed when the man told him that Yeah Me Do had died.

May 2009
Last summer I received a phone call from a man who had an old thoroughbred named Sonny that he had purchased from a killer sale in Cleburne, Texas 8 years earlier. He informed me that even though the horse had been wonderful riding partner for his children he could no longer afford to meet the needs of this older thinning gelding. He had attempted to seek a home for Sonny but with no luck. He tried other horse rescues but was turned down due to the geldings age, which he thought to be in his late teens. He then went on to tell me if we couldn't help him he would regrettably have to take him back to the sale where he had originally purchased him.I offered to take Sonny but when he arrived I was shocked to see he was not just thin, but severely malnutrition. So much in fact that his hooves had actually started to turn loose and most of his teeth were either missing or deformed from being kicked in the mouth a few years earlier. To eat hay he would have to chew, spit it out, pick it up and chew again, and then repeat the process once more before swallowing each bite. I frantically called Dr Gene White from Diamond W Equine and he came to our farm within a few hours fighting rush hour traffic to help our new rescue.

After pulling one tooth that was protruding out from Sonny's mouth and having another one fall out while he was being floated, Dr White wormed and and vaccinated the poor thin guy. We started him on feed slowly and worked our way up with a bran, senior mash and all of the timothy hay he could eat. Within a week you could see a difference in not only his appearance but his attitude as well. I knew he was going to make it.

Horseshoer Pat Burton came and worked on Sonny's feet, the worst he had ever seen. The hooves were cracked from one side to the other not up and down like regular uncared for hooves. They would move each step the gelding took causing severe pain and discomfort. Pat used a product that formed a hardened sole, which made a stable surface for Sonny to stand on and he immediately began to move with more confidence and courage.During this first week I contacted the Jockey Club with the few numbers I could read from the geldings mouth. After several tries and lots of guessing we narrowed it down to one old gelding, Yeah Me Do. I immediately posted the news on the Alex Brown's Horse Forum and to my surprise was contact by Joe Shell, the trainer of Yeah Me Do's dam. He generously donated to Yeah Me Do's care and offered to try to contact his breeders, in which he succeeded. Now retired, but still living in California, the Andolfo's couldn't believe Yeah Me Do was still alive but through photographs his identity was confirmed.

Yeah Me Do continued to gain weight. His hooves grew with the help of a few good supplements and he turned into a beautiful horse once more. We even started riding him a little, bridle-less of course like we do our racetrack ponies.Yeah Me Do's breeders also contributed to his care and rehabilitation. But the greatest gift they have given us was a visit. In December while traveling to see family for the holidays the Andolfo's were reunited with their missing boy that they had thought was dead for so many years. The recognized their Yammi immediately even with his thick winter coat. What a wonderful day it was for them to see their horse after all these years.

One Day, Not Long From Now...

Beach Attitudes
by Robert Dana

Blessed is the beach, survivor of tides.

And blessed the litter of crown conchs and pen shells, the dead
blue crab in all its electric raiment.

Blessed the nunneries of skimmers,
scuttering and rising, wheeling and falling and settling, ruffling
their red and black-and-white habits....

Blessed be the dolphin out beyond the furthest buoy,
slaughtering the bright leapers,
for they shall have full bellies.

Blessed, too, the cormorant and the osprey and the pelican
for they are the cherubim and seraphim and archangel.

And blessed be the gull, open throated, screeching, scolding
me to my face,

for he shall have his own place returned to him.
And the glossy lip of the long wave shall have the last kiss.

I Learned Something New This Week.....

On Monday it was the birthday of the first president of the United States, George Washington, born in Westmoreland County, Virginia (1732), whose favorite foods were mashed sweet potatoes with coconut, string beans with mushrooms, cream of peanut soup, salt cod, and pineapples. He lost all of his teeth except for one by — according to second president John Adams — cracking Brazilian nuts between his jaws. He got dentures made out of a hippopotamus tusk, designed especially to fit over his one remaining real tooth. But the hippo dentures were constantly rubbing against that real tooth so that he was constantly in pain. He used opium to alleviate the pain.

He snored very loudly, and instead of wearing a powdered wig like other fashionable people, he put powder on his own hair, which was naturally a reddish brown. He was not good at spelling and he had a speech impediment. George Washington's inaugural address was the shortest inaugural address in U.S. history: It was only 133 words long and took him just 90 seconds to deliver. You can read it here.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Beginning and the End

What a wonderful way to start to my day Saturday morning-Rick made the best Belgian waffles-Ella thought so, too.The day ended with a gorgeous sky of pinks, purples and the snow looked almost pale blue-beautiful!

The Rescue Mission Rocks!

As the saying goes, "You never now what treasures you will discover!" Weeks will go by where there isn't really anything-but this week, JACKPOT! Lovely sort of not quite red, not quite rust colored velvet-yes, velvet! tufted chairs. A find at $30 for the pair. Think of those beautiful old theaters like the Majestic in Gettysburg with opulent furnishings that just speak luxury and style....I think my grandfather's painting I set in the window was the icing on the cake! Right now I am loving this.

I've Said It Before and I'll Say It Again....

This was one of the sights we came upon yesterday when we were out and about. Only in Adams County

Its Good to See You Again, My Friend

It's been a long time! How cliche to say so much can happen in a short period of time, but here I am, saying this very thing. As I write this, I am getting ready to go out to the barn to see my beloved horse, Dancer. With all the snow its been difficult for her-the paddocks are all knee deep in snow. Thankfully, the weather seems to have turned for the better this past week and she, along with her buddies, has been able to get out for most of each day. (I thought it would be fun to share some pictures from last year; please forgive the glare and the super-imposed view of my camera taking a picture of a picture! I was in a big hurry, lol!)
She and I have reached a special place in our ongoing relationship-can you believe its been almost two years? I believe she now understands that I am hers. The poor thing had been shuffled to two barns before we finally settled at the perfect place. I know in my heart she is now truly happy. Each day as I arrive, she stands at the fence and softly nickers a greeting. (Actually, she is probably saying "Come get me, I'm hungry, its time to eat!" But humor me, okay?) I believe there are few things in this world that come close to experiencing the unspoken bond with a horse.
Often, when I go out to the barn, I am feeling harried and tired from the long day, however just spending a few minutes with Dancer and I feel at peace and happy. While we don't ride every day, I always take the time to groom her and do a little ground work. I often find myself trying to stay one step ahead as she is very smart and is always trying to secong guess me! She tries to figure out what I want from her before I ask. If only humans could be that way.....

Monday, February 8, 2010

Lovely Poem for Today

This Paper Boat
by Ted Kooser

Carefully placed upon the future,
it tips from the breeze and skims away,
frail thing of words, this valentine,
so far to sail. And if you find it
caught in the reeds, its message blurred,
the thought that you are holding it
a moment is enough for me.

"This Paper Boat" by Ted Kooser, from Valentines. © University of Nebraska Press, 2008.

So, She Painted Her First Picture in Quite Some Time...

I call this "Spring Buck" in honor of, well, Spring! Oh, she can't come soon enough this year for me. While my poor husband was outside shoveling the walk and clearing our cars, I was playing inside. I love to paint, however, lately, the winter doldrums have set in and I have been having a hard time getting motivated.
I was approached by Hauser Winery and asked if I would consider displaying some of my work in their gallery-if I can get my act together I might consider mid summer or fall.
While this is a fabulous opportunity, I need to work on building my confidence-there are so many talented artists and I feel my naive works pale in comparison to most of them. I'm not trying to be negative, just realistic.....