Four-legged Fun!


Last weekend was the best! The QCS Ranch hosted the annual fall Kevin Vesey Equine Clinic. Twenty-five riders ranging from six to sixty years old, along with their four-legged BFFs, walked, trotted and loped through the weekend.


We learned basic skills for getting our horses to pay attention to us.

We pretended we were turning cows, barrels and doing spins. We worked on issues we have with our horses (or maybe issues they have with us!).

We were reminded how to look through a child’s eyes.

Sometimes we sat still and listened.

But it really wasn’t about learning new horse skills. Or fixing problems. It was about spending time with old friends and making new ones. Being with people and critters with whom we share common interests. It was about breaking bread together, laughing together and resting together. For me, it was a wonderful break in the midst of a whirlwind of fall’s work and baking season. For me, it was the best weekend ever!

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Happy 50th! And Happy Mother’s Day!


Fifty years ago today Mom received her Mother’s Day baby. NDNathan, which means “a gift from God”, became one of the tools God used to mold my parents into some of the most patient, forgiving, supportive parents imaginable.

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I wanted to say all sorts of birthday things for Nathan’s 50th birthday. But he says them just fine himself, without words. Just like he did for 48 years.

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Which leaves me with just “Happy 50th Birthday, little brother!”

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And Happy Mother’s Day to a truly remarkable woman, who accepted the challenges she was offered and came out better for it! I love you!

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This is my official rebellion. After all the comfort food from fall and decadence of the holiday scene the food shows and lifestyle magazines take it on themselves to tell us to cut out the cream and use skim milk, mash avocados to replace butter and replace sugar with agave.


Come on! This is winter. In North Dakota. One of the most miserable winters in recent memory. And I am supposed to eat vegetables and go carb free?


I’m sorry but that is not how my ancestors survived winter. So  I am officially rebelling .


I will not conform. I will use cream. And butter. And sugar. And I will survive this winter. I may not be able to fit into my skinny jeans (lol!) but I will survive!

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To everything there is a season 

One day the bees are feeding on the nectar of sweet Campfire roses. The next day a dusting of snow reminds us that our short northern season of growth and renewal is shifting to our long season of hibernation and rest.


Black-eyed-Susan is tired, ready to let her seeds settle in and prepare for spring.

Beavers are preparing for winter,

Cutting down trees to fortify their dams. 

It’s time to come off the river,

Put on my boots, and start thinking kitchen. 

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Happy Place

I have a new happy place. I’ve always enjoyed the Mouse River Park. It is quiet and peaceful. Not much to do but look at the flowers and watch the river flow (or not flow!). But now I have a new reason to enjoy the Park.


For years I have wanted a kayak. I finally took the “plunge”! Now I can truly enjoy the river in peace!


After about 10 trips out I got brave enough to take my camera. My nature photography has a way to go! But this kind turtle took time out of his busy schedule to pose for me. 🙂


As I floated around a bend in the river, the grass rustled and this doe slowly wandered away from the river’s edge.


But my favorite part is the birds. I have decided this is my very own blue heron. He (I’m not sure about its gender) has often been waiting for me just inside the refuge. As I paddle by he flies around the bend and waits for me to follow. On Sunday night I paddled up further than I had before. He chose to turn back downstream at the same time I did.


Then he waited for me at each turn again. I’m trying not to believe I am annoying him (I’m sure I am !) I’d rather think he is guiding me!


And this is the other reason the Mouse River Park is my happy place!



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Just a Rock

It’s just a rock.


But it’s not just a rock. It sat in front of our house when we were kids. I would lead my pony up to it so I could get on her. She would stand nicely until I crawled up onto the rock. Then she would move her hind end just far enough away so I couldn’t jump on. So I would get off and reposition her. Then I would crawl back onto the rock. She would wait……..  You get the point!

It’s not just a rock. It is where Nathan sat for hours on end, waiting for Dad to drive back into the yard. Or ponder life as the summer grew old, knowing it was time for school (and time away from home) to start again.

It was the perfect size for a small girl to crawl onto her horse. And the perfect shape for a small boy to sit and think and wait.

It’s not just a rock. It’s a very special rock; one full of memories.

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Happy New Year

The calendar says that New Year’s falls on January 1. But we each have different ideas of what constitutes the beginning of a new cycle, the start of a 12 month .journey. Tax preparers finish their marathon on April 15, so I assume that the 16th is a new start for them. The American Quarter Horse Association starts re-tallying points earned at shows and other special events on August 1. Do major retailers kick off their year on Black Friday?

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For me the first week in March brings in the new year, the new cycle of crazy, another round of the familiar sense of miracle in new growth.

A new opportunity to worry about the weather. And to have faith it will all work out. It always does! It’s amazing how nearly 50 years of worrying and watching has taught us that it always does come out right in the end. 🙂

Welcome to my New Year! A year full of new miracles, new smiles, new memories, new life.


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Miss you!


It’s been a year.

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It seems like it was yesterday you slipped from my grip.

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I still haven’t figured out why.

But I am so glad we had you as long as we did!

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Miss you bud!

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There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. Albert Einstein.

During this post-holiday, dead-of-winter time it is hard to see the miracles in things. Everything is just so ordinary, so every day.


It takes a real effort to remember the simple gifts we are given. The miracle of seasons, the insulating value of snow, the moisture it carries.

The feeling of relief when the long, cold winter has passed. 🙂

Then there is the miracle of our critters. The miracle of how “the outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man”. -Winston Churchill. How the loyalty of a dog brings such a sense of peace and securtiy.

Another miracle that never ceases to amaze me is how you can put flour, sugar and butter together and come up with so many different, unique, wonderful treats!

And then there is the miracle (and love) of family. Big and small. Old and young. Present and gone ahead.

But the miracle I am waiting for now is of renewal, of watching a tiny seed sprout, push out itty bitty leaves and grow into strong, green, smile-inducing plants.

Here’s to miracles, great and small, ordinary and extraordinary, noticed and unnoticed!





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Learning Curve

Last weekend Mark and I went to a Stock Dog clinic. It was tons of fun.

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I sure wish I had focus like these dogs! She would have done anything to get a chance at those sheep!

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Belle was one of the better ‘listeners’.

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And Masey was already a pro. Too bad the photographer still has a few things to learn! 🙂

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Campbell and Kaelene Forsyth are the presenters. They are ranchers from Manitoba who compete on a national level with their dogs. But they know how to teach on whatever level the students needed. Couldn’t have asked for better teachers!


Looks like these boys have a bit of learning to do!

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