Sunday, November 29, 2015

a visit with Bella

yesterday K left her job at the barn to have a private training session with Bella, and her owner (and my dear friend) John.

Bella is a beautiful, young Irish Draught that John purchased at an early age. she is currently boarding not to far from our home, and it has been a treat to watch her grow up. (she is about 2 1/2 now)

John led K through some training exercises and then let her to to work with Bella. K had so much fun. she really is a natural at this. it is amazing to me how an 80 lb girl can manage an 1000 lb animal without fear. John explained to me that it is all about posture, and confidence. this kid has both.

A visit to Bella

A visit to Bella




* please note that the whip does not touch the animal. in fact it is kept at quite a distance, and is used simply as an extension of the arm.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

on ice

Ice skating


Ice skating

hooray for outdoor ice rinks. old skills that return in a snap. and friends that help you up when you fall down. xo

Friday, November 27, 2015

weekend to do


ice skating with friends
visit with Bella

around the house
holiday lights!
shelving in shed
turkey wildrice soup

*our annual "we're all dressed up so let's get a photo!" photo :)

Thursday, November 26, 2015





once again john, you're a "damn fine" cook xo

our pie list this year:
pumpkin x 2
chocolate pecan
banana pumpkin
rustic apple
brown sugar cranberry

Saturday, November 21, 2015

weekend to do


claire vivier monogramming at nathan taylor pop-up at the village
violin recital (gavotte in g minor :: j.s. bach)

around the house
move more mulch!

Sunday, November 15, 2015


I just can't get Paris off my mind. and I keep revisiting images from our last trip there (now 4 years ago).

Paris :: day two

it also has me thinking about the world our girls navigate. post-9/11 children, coupled with their access to media, terrorist attacks are part of their vernacular in a way they've never been part of mine. K seemed completely uninterested. E - who has a great affinity for Paris, and since a little girl, has talked of living there one day - retreated to her room and turned on Edith Piaf's La Vie En Rose*. how does this shape them? how will their generation deal with the mess that's been made? will they find the solution?

Paris :: day three

may Peace be the victor

*this song was not anticipated to be a hit for Piaf - but, released 1947, in the wake of WWII, it resonated with a population looking for a rosy view...

Saturday, November 14, 2015

weekend to do


fight a cold

around the house
spread mulch (do you know about ?)

Thursday, November 12, 2015



I'm not sure who took this snap at our wedding 16 years ago. but I've held onto it. I love it. the smiles.  the glimpse of sunset. the way d's brother is looking at my parents. it was such a night about family. still tugs at my heart.

happy anniversary, cowboy. xo

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

"innate proclivities"

i've been thinking a lot lately about why we do, what we do. why we love, what we love. why we fight for, what we fight for.

is there a correlation between my "crazy" over public eduction and the fact that my mom and grandma were both school teachers? (and my mom has gone on to write policy for the government?) my grandfather started a rural school to ensure the children growing up on farms were getting the education they needed.

i have an overwhelming need for open space. prairie sky. but ocean works as well. the horizon in view.

E wants to be a photographer. she has always had a good eye, and paid careful attention to composition and detail.

K wants to work with horses. oh horses...

this horse love that has become part of our lives.

i was going through one of my paternal grandmother's photo albums this week and came across pages and pages of horses. on the backs of some, the horses names. "Pride". "Jumper". "Kate". so much part of my parents' lives. not though, of mine. (remember when it started...)





"Pride - the horse favorite of Bartley farm"

what genes trickled through us all to take us where we are?

read: Genius, Genes and Gusto: How Passions Find You

my mom's family, farm-life and horses remembered in part, here

Friday, November 06, 2015

weekend to do


more el nino prep at the barn
equine center celebration at pierce college (including our favorite - the parade of breeds)

around the house
clean outdoor furniture to store for cold weather (could it finally be here?!)
pick-up trim paint

Thursday, November 05, 2015

post-hallowe'en bake

our street is usually hopping hallowe'en - but this year, with the holiday on a saturday, many of our neighbors went to parties and left dark doorways that didn't draw the trick-or-treaters down to us. and so we were left with a bag of mini reese's peanut butter cups. we usually donate candy to the operation gratitude halloween program, but they don't take chocolate. what's a mom to do? ;)

of course I turned to google. and found this. (and this. and this. and this.)

with a bunch of very ripe bananas in the fruit bowl, and feeling that this was at least kind of healthy, I went with the banana bread...

peanutbutter cup banana bread

peanutbutter cup banana bread

it smelled amazing. looked great. but ended up with mixed reviews. d liked. k didn't. e kinda. they all said they prefer my traditional banana bread. (I'm on a restricted diet right now, so didn't get a chance to try it.) in the end, I was just glad to get the candy out of the house.

ambitious kitchen - peanut butter cup banana bread

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Hallowe'en 2015

we had a jam-packed holiday weekend, working the ranch's Haunted "Down the Rabbit Hole" House on Friday...

preparation for Queen of Hearts
Halloween 2015

Cheshire Cats
Halloween 2015

and Trick-or-Treating and a big neighborhood party last night!

Halloween 2015

Rainbow Dash
Halloween 2015

Halloween 2015

I asked K over the weekend if she ever wished our house around halloween was a little calmer, and we just went out and bought costumes. i got a resounding "no!". so glad they both share my love for this holiday. they helped design and prepare the ranch, and last night's costumes. K was very particular about her costume and how she put it together. (shout out to D for his skills with fabric paint and a glue gun!) and E did all her own make-up both nights.

hope all had a safe - and fun! - Hallowe'en. and hello November!