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Two weekends in a row of fun, friends and family! How lucky am I?!?

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It was a weekend of learning……

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Learning to build a swing from rope and firewood.

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Learning to build a fire.

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Fishing was good. If you like bullheads!

The girls giggled all the way down the river trying to catch minnows and splashing each other.

Giggling girls usually scare away wildlife but we saw a few feathery friends.

Corn on the cob, bonfires, fishing off the dock, home-made swings and digging for bones (a story for another day!). All things memories are made of!

 

 

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Horses and Their Riders

 

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This is what it is all about!

Last weekend we hosted our seventh (we think!) Kevin Vesey Equine Center horsemanship clinic. And it was the best yet!

 

Some of our riders are pretty serious about their horsemanship.

 

Some are just learning.

 

 

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Family has more than one meaning at our clinics. Most of our riders are repeats; as in every clinic, almost every session! 🙂 We have sort of developed a special bond, knowing each other’s horses quirks as well as the rider’s habits.

And we are family in the conventional sense of the word. Grandparents and grandkids ride together, learning from each other. And, believe me, it is not a one-way street!

And it’s not all about the riding. It’s actually more about the fellowship, at least to Mark and me.

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It makes our hearts happy to have a yard full of trailers.

Fast or slow, seasoned rider or beginner, this is what it is all about. Riding in fellowship with those who feel the same way about horses and horseman. None of us is out to win the world show. We just want to get better at what we do and enjoy our fellow riders, from ages 6 to 66 (disclaimer: I really do not know the age of our oldest riders. Hope I haven’t offended anyone! 🙂 )

 

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Thanks to all the riders, their families and Kevin and his family for making this weekend the best ever. And to Carrie and Chad and Karly and Tara and Johnna for making the work load a lot lighter. Can’t wait for the next one!

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Counting my Blessings

I’ve been told I have a poor concept of time. It’s true. I am lousy at time management. There are only 24 hours in a day. Always have been. Always will be. Yet, I seem to think I can get 48 hours-worth done in a day.

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I think I can tend my pretty flowers (these are not mine, but those of a fellow gardener who also packs too much into each day), ride my horse, clean my house, do my bookwork and plan the next event all without a hitch.

Then I pout and feel sorry for myself when I fall short.

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But if only I would remember that floating down the river in June and July, while pleasant, is not nearly as rewarding as when the days get shorter, the evenings cooler. Then the young raccoons play hide and seek with me as they forage for their evening snack.

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The water fowl tease me by dipping in and out of the water around me.

If only I would remember to count my blessings and remember that as the days get shorter, my time gets freer. As the days get shorter my list of blessings gets longer. I am blessed with a muddy river that brings me peace and solitude. A time away from the phone, the computer, the weeds, and my ever present clock.

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Four-legged Fun!

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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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Non-conforming

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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.

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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?

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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. 🙂

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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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