The  Golden Girls have picked up a shadow. A young appaloosa, new to the pasture has adopted them. Like many other newbies, Tosh, short for Macintosh, has found safe haven with Pepper and Chickadee.


This boy is not even two years old and didn’t know thing one about life in a herd.

Truth be told, some of us thought Tosh was a bit young to be thrown into the pasture to fend for himself for food and community. The dominant horses did their usual yee-haw and giddy-up on him, chasing him and kicking each time he approached. He’s got the kick marks to show he tried. But Tosh is just a little too young to understand the ways of the herd.

Instead he chose to hang out with the Golden Girls.

Pepper may have given him “the look,” ears laid back accompanied by a snort or two, but that would likely be her only protest. So Tosh quickly learned he’d found a place of safety. It was probably a lot like being with his mom. And these two mares have been so good at taking in strays. Their maternal instinct is strong.



Pepper and Chickadee have allowed Tosh to tag along as they wander the pasture. He’s found a place of safety where he can ease himself into herd life. He’s also learned about getting treats. That one came quickly!

Occasionally we’ve found him hanging out with some of the other horses, but then he returns to his safe haven. It’s like a human toddler venturing out away from mom to learn about the world, and then returning to home base.


Come to think of it, Tosh is a toddler of sorts.


Watching this latest drama unfold in the pasture has made me reflect on the people and places in my life that offer me safe haven.

I am blessed to have a rather long list— long enough to customize depending on the situation and what I need. I have friends, family, and mentors, all of whom are willing to make themselves available to me. And I have many places of comfort—places that hold and soothe me, both in the natural world and in my home.


Like Tosh, from time to time, each of us needs people and/or places to comfort us, to offer us safe haven from the storms of our life.


The time will come when Tosh no longer needs the safety offered by two old mares.

As he grows into a strong young gelding, he will likely leave them to take his place in the larger herd. But until then, they have his back.

And don’t you just love them for it?


As a parent, I was never big on using threats to coerce my son to behave. I wasn’t one of those mothers who gave away her authority with comments like, “You just wait until your father gets home. He’ll deal with you.”

Just typing the words gives me a rather creepy feeling.

But in the spirit of honest and transparent communication, I must fess up to something.

It’s about Miss Pepper.

In her old age she has apparently decided that she doesn’t really have to do what I ask of her. At least not all the time.

For example, when I ask her to walk back through the gate into the pasture when she’s finished eating, she will sometimes balk. She’ll stand stock still and look at me with an expression that says, “Nope, I’m not going back. And you can’t make me.”

Then she plants herself and waits for my next move.

And yes, I’ve done the recommended horse behavior things.

“I know what you’re doing,” she screams with her eyes. “And it won’t work.” She’s well-versed in horse whisperer techniques.


I stand in front of her applying pressure to the lead rope, not yielding until she steps forward. She takes one TINY step and stops.

We do this frustrating little two-step for awhile, until, and this is important and maddening, Rick walks toward her. He doesn’t even have to do anything.

His presence alone prompts her to move. She hustles herself through the gate easy as pie, leaving me dumbfounded.


“Really? Girlfriend we need to talk.”

She ignores me.

I try again.

“Seriously Pepper this is 2014, the twenty-first century. Remember women’s lib? Feminism?”

That logic is lost on our Miss P.


I don’t know if it is that Rick is bigger and stronger than I am—definitely the alpha of our little herd of two, or that she is just messing with me.

Or maybe a little of both.

I suspect any serious horse people reading this are shaking their heads in disgust. They’d be justified.


With horses, and life, it is always something!

I’ve been off my blog schedule this week and I know that’s never good for you readers who expect me to show up when I say I will. I hope you’ll understand when I show you the reason.

We had a wedding this week.

A rather impromptu, but gorgeous, wonderful affair.


Happy Couple – check

Lovely Summer Evening – check

Beautiful Setting – check


Ring – check

Supportive Friends and Family – check


Official Documents – check


Feasting – check

Toasts – check


Big Love – check


And now altogether can you help me with the Big Sigh!


Back on schedule next week. Promise!



I miss a lot when I choose to stay tethered to my computer or planted in front of the television. When I’m working on a deadline or doing something much less important like surfing the Web or checking Facebook I lose track of the beautiful world around me.


Last night we were later than usual getting out to feed the Golden Girls.


The day had been beastly hot and we were mired in a heat coma, unable to lift ourselves from our chairs, waiting, we told ourselves, for the day to cool down before we ventured out.


A storm was brewing to the west with ominous pewter colored clouds building over the foothills.

From our vantage point at the pasture we saw the most amazing clouds.

Watching a storm build when you are at a safe distance is an awesome experience. The occasional bolt of lightning sliced the darkened sky and we could hear the rolling of thunder in the distance.

In front of us, Pepper and Chickadee happily munched on grain, a chorus of frogs sang from the now-full pond, horses nickered in the distance and life seemed pretty much perfect.


As Pepper, our slow eater, chewed her final bits of grain, the first raindrops fell. We led her back to the pasture, loaded things into the car and headed for home.


As we drove away I realized how relaxed I felt.

The stress of deadlines had melted out of my body and I had renewed enthusiasm for everything. Some of my best ideas come when I’m with the horses.

So why is it that on some days I fight going?

I don’t take the time to get myself outside, reconnected with nature. And more important, reconnected with myself.


We humans can be so stubborn can’t we?


Is there a place in nature that you’ve missed lately? Is today the day to reconnect?

Wishing you breathtaking cloudscapes and chirping frogs to guide you.



Gettin’ a little patriotic at the pasture.

Happy Birthday America!

Hope you are having a wonderful holiday weekend.


Our good friend Jack, aka Amigo, has been put on a diet.

His people don’t want him grazing all night, so this blue instrument of torture (from Jack’s perspective) is what they use. It comes off in the daytime so he’s free to nibble grass to his heart’s content, but at nigh, it’s frustration to the max. He hates it.


They have good reason for doing this. Jack has navicular disease which means in both his front feet, the navicular bone is deteriorating. It’s quite painful. His people have gone to all sorts of measures to help him feel better. And chief among the things that help is losing weight.

So it makes sense.

That is to us humans. To Jack, not so much.


For those of us who are a bit weak in the willpower department, Jack has something he’d love to sell you. Cheap! 1-800-get this off me!


Some days the simplest of things give me the most pleasure.

Lately I’ve been sitting on my back deck watching the robins stuff themselves on ripe berries from our Serviceberry trees.

I’m telling you these are happy birds.

They glide in, land on a branch and begin plucking the red, ripe fruit and offering satisfied chirps as they go. Sometimes the chirps are more like squawks.


My husband thinks the birds get a little tipsy from the overripe berries.

So be it. It’s summer after all!


This experience is short lived as the robins can devour every last berry in record time, which makes it all the sweeter for me. It’s become one of the summer events I look forward to each year.


I love this up close and personal intersection with nature.


Are there summer nature events that fill your soul?

I’d love to hear about them. Just leave a comment in the section below.


P.S. I tried many times to get a picture of the birds in the berries, but they were having none of it. Every time I got close, off they flew. I guess you’ll have to use your imagination on this one!



When it comes to eating, Miss P. is a dawdler. She likes to take a bite, look around as she chews, then take another tiny nibble. It take a long time for her to finish a pan of grain.

Sometimes we are short of time and try to speed up the process.

Never a good thing with horses.

They sense our impatience, and then either get stubborn or twitchy.

Horses are great mood barometers.

Handy dandy biofeedback on four legs.


Rick figured out that if he holds the feed pan for Pepper, she will usually focus on eating.

Though wiith her nothing is a sure bet.

She likes it that way – wants to keep us on our toes.


The horses are a constant reminder for me to stay grounded and paying attention to the present.

I realize that there are few other times in my day that I allow myself this luxurious gift of focus.

And I wonder why.


Sometimes in the garden. Often while doing my art. Sometimes while cooking.


Where do you find yourself best able to live in your present tense?

Waiting for the vet

Waiting for the vet

The Golden Girls had some dental work done yesterday. Had to have their teeth checked and “floated.” This essentially means grinding down any teeth that have become pointed so that the old girls can eat properly. It’s not the most pleasant of experiences. It involves light sedation and a lot of noise from the grinder.


Long ago I promised Miss P. that I would never publish a photo of her in less than flattering circumstances. It seems the least I can do for my old friend. So I will not photograph her dental sessions. Wouldn’t want to be photographed when I’m in the dentist chair either!


I do feel better knowing that teeth have been checked and the girls will be better able to chew their food. Turns out Chickadee hasn’t got many teeth left. Kinda explains her messy eating habits.



In the meantime, look who I found lounging in the tack room.

Is that cuteness personified or what?


Take a peek at what my husband recently sent me. Gorgeous, isn’t it? No it’s not diamonds or rubies or a trip to Paris. It’s not even expensive chocolates.

It’s sunset at the pasture–a photo he took sometime when I wasn’t with him.

A view he knew I’d like.

And I do. I like it as much as all those aformentioned things. Probably even more.

You see, he gets me, and that my friends is worth everything. If you are in a similar relationship, you know exactly what I’m talking about.


Isn’t it wonderful?


To my way of thinking, having your partner understand you deep at your core is a huge part of a healthy relationship. A deal breaker, even. You’d think everyone would have it. But sadly they don’t.

Makes me all the more grateful.




P.S. Today is Friday the 13th and a full moon. Apparently this is significant and won’t occur again until 2049. So make it special!



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