Be Free

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Favorite Blogs

I was tagged today by Sheri which was a surprise and quite exciting! Made my day! I don't know exactly how to reciprocate, though. Instead of 'tagging' them, I'm going to just mention some of my favorite blogs and then let them know that I did:

Sheri's blog is
I love seeing the gorgeous picture of Sheri in purple, I think taken by her sister, that greets me whenever I log onto her blog. She has so many interviews with fascinating people (authors are always fascinating to me, and especially Christian authors). I visit her blog to find out how Sheri is doing, and what she is doing, and it awes me all she accomplishes even without factoring in the lyme impediment. The farm pictures are my favorites and I never tire of looking at them! There is something very soothing about seeing animals on pasture. Those who haven't had that experience, need to. I love seeing animals living their lives naturally. And Sheri's blog has a wealth of current links to so many matters that matter to me! If you go visit her blog for the first time, be sure you check out the farm section!

Amy's blog is
She doesn't post often, but her wallpaper and photos of herself, her son and her wonderful husband cheer me immeasurably. I could look at them all day! Amy is gifted with a camera and when she does post, I am always thrilled by the images she chooses to use for illustrating her text. Her perspective on things is unique and compelling. I am glad she has a blog and I don't tire of visiting it, even if I'm seeing the same post for quite a while. If you go to her blog, note the at their level angle she gets on things!

I began following the Pioneer Woman a couple of years ago. I think anyone who has been to her blog knows why. There is something for everyone there. I like the posts of the animals and her children best. Her photos, too, inspire me.

Because of the bloggie awards I found
I like her photos of her animals and the stories she tells about them. I've learned a great deal about small farming from her posts and the comments her followers make when she is trying to figure out how to deal with the daily challenges of milking goats and/or cows, raising chickens, housing them...etc. She writes well, too. Her stories are skillfully crafted, short and always amusing. I benefit from studying her brevity. If you check out her blog, find the video at the bottom of the page, titled A Sheep's best friend. (Really funny bouncing lamb playing with dog).
Oh, and my favorite story was It was hysterically funny to me and also thought-provoking. And the photos are just amazing (consider how one gets such photos when you look at them). Do look at it!

A co-worker recommended to me a blog by a friend of hers.
She's working from home and therefore gets to devote much time to the pursuit of a healthy lifestyle. She's attempting more than I'd likely try, but someday, I'd like to do some of the things she's mastering. Her blog gives accounts of her learning curve. Very detailed ones. I like her writing style and her pictures, too.

After the Rain

Cooler cows, lovely sky, celebratory dung beetles and cheering frogs. I saw a frog yesterday (while feeding in the rain) that was about as big as my foot! Not a toad, a frog. Didn't get his picture, though. We are all so thrilled to get the rain (2.25 inches)! I wish there was a way to tell those dung beetles how much we appreciate what they are doing for us; but they really only care about what they are doing for themselves. I took a picture of this one and told him to keep on rollin'!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Eulogy for a vacuum cleaner

It says a lot for my hub's understanding of me that he did not protest when I took these photos. He seems OK with me getting over-attached to inanimate objects. I also get over-attached to animate ones, but that is more acceptable in most circles. This story may be a bit too graphic for some viewers, but I did try to leave out the grittiest parts.

Many many years ago (more than half as long as I have been alive), I decided I'd purchase a vacuum cleaner to vacuum my horses. I was living in NM at the time in a house without running water. There was no simple way to get dust off my horses (and there was an abundance of dust on them, believe me). I had seen horses at shows being vacuumed. That's where I got the idea. While I was home visiting the first summer (1980), I went to a local vacuum cleaner store and purchased a refurbished Eureka canister vacuum for $65. I was told that new it would have been over $300. Even so, $65 was pretty pricey for something I intended to use as grooming equipment. I bought it and took it back with me to my primitive residence in NM.

During the subsequent 31 years, I used it possibly twice for horse vacuuming and hundreds and hundreds of times for more typical purposes. I cleaned the church with it (because unlike the upright the church owned, it allowed me to vacuum the fabric on the pews and the window sills and under the pulpit and behind the commodes). I cleaned houses I lived in. I cleaned houses that others lived in. Sometimes there was some really gross stuff that vacuum sucked right up without complaint. Occasionally it did sort of choke, but with persuasion it would gulp down dust buffalos, dried up dog poop, spilled cheerios, dead roaches, shriveled lizards, flea eggs...(you were warned this might get graphic, but I'll stop since the list gets worse). This vacuum ventured many places more expensive and pampered vacuums were called to go.

In the 90's I found that the bags for it were no longer sold alongside the bags of more contemporary models. I was distressed to think that I would have to give it up because I couldn't get bags for it! Then I found the 99cent stores had ended up with the remaining H bags and I bought up all their packages at 3 for $1. I bought so many that it was possible to change the bag every time I used the vacuum. Thus, when I turned on the machine it didn't have that dust mold stink that most vacuums do (because of the stuff still left in the bag's innards).

Anyway, that vacuum was my faithful helper when folks who were moving out had to clean up their apartments before the landlord came to evaluate and decide whether their deposit could be refunded. It could reach drapes, venetian blinds, cobwebs on ceiling fans, mouse droppings in the bottom of ovens, spiderwebs along the baseboards, mud clods in the garage...

While we lived in our barn for three years, it could get under the tightly jammed furniture, under the fridge, under and behind the washing machine, up on the top bunk bed, along the top of the door frames, on the steep fact, I could stand on the stairs and vacuum off the top of the fridge, bookshelves...

Since we've been in our house it continued to serve until a couple of months ago when it began to make a screeching sound in protest: a sound I could not ignore. I told Kevin I thought something awful was wrong with it.

Last week we took it to the vacuum store on Lamar: the store that occupies the same building that used to be the Chicken Shack. The owner himself turned the vacuum on, heard enough to make his diagnosis; he said with certainty the motor was dying: the heart of it. The metal body was still in decent shape (with a few dents and a seal slipping and the on-off switch cover gone). The hose was fine (it was actually the only part I'd replaced in 31 years; it was comparatively new). The expert commented on the metal attachments (since the newer ones are plastic). He said that it was up to me whether I wanted to have a new motor installed or just buy a new machine. He readily admitted that a new machine would not last like this one had. He said that a newer one would have better suction.

Then, he told me that he thought the actual hose and tools from my old machine could be mounted on a new Eureka Mighty Mite. He showed me that cute little model and suddenly it seemed less like I was giving up my buddy, and rather more like a transplant was being done.

I realized as I stood in the valley of decision that I had no photos of my faithful ol' pal. So, I took some to remember him by.

I can't explain why I care about such things emotionally. I didn't even give the vacuum a name. Maybe it has something to do with living alone (or without other humans) for so many years. But, whatever the reason, I do have a deep appreciation for the gifts God gives (including the tools, vehicles, shelters, AC!...)

It just doesn't seem right not to express my gratitude for the vacuum I bought on a silly whim 31 years ago that has allowed me to serve others and keep the outdoors at bay wherever I am.

Although I left the body on the counter, I carried away a descendant wearing the hose and wand of his great GREAT grandfather Eureka!

The LORD provides what we need if we keep our hand open!

Above we see the new Eureka (yellow) silently awaiting the transported hose.
The transplant was quick and seemingly painless.
I didn't ask what would become of the old body. I didn't want to know.
A few of you may recognize this (I made allusion to it in the story).
The Mighty Mite is hoisted on board for the trip home with us. He proudly sports the tools of his famous predecessor.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Spared an Ordeal

SPARED AN ORDEAL. We ought to realize that God spares us OFTEN from worse troubles than we need endure. Scripture says we should let the day’s trouble be sufficient for the day. Some days are more troublesome than others. But, even the hardest are tempered by Him so that we can bear up through them. Sometimes we are called to go through things that seem pointless. Frequently. Because He does keep me from such troubles at times, I know that when He doesn’t take me around them, but has me go through them, that trail is by His leading and His purpose. Thus assured He is determining what I should suffer and what I need not, I rejoice when I realize He has spared me from something unnecessary. Sometimes such reprieves are from perilous tumbles; other times it is from sheer tedium or frustration. An example of the latter follows.

Last week I went into our tackroom to get alfalfa pellets to take to the cows who were in our ‘big field’ (I hoped). I knew they might not actually BE in that field because they had found a low enough place in the end fence (pushed down by our resident does) to get over into the ‘bottom’. So, I expected they were somewhere in that 15 acres (10 of which is not visible) and I planned to just stand at the top of the big field and call them. It was of course, extremely hot and I was hoping they would come quickly when I called. But, when I came out of the tackroom with the bucket in my hand, up walked the cows! I was stunned by the exact timing. If I had come out 10 seconds sooner and gone over to the field (which is across our deep, brambly, poison-ivy infested, wooded arroyo), the cows would have been back at the house; (they had gone through the fence and come up the backside of our property). I would have been searching through 15 acres, with no view through trees, behind the pond berm in the heat. I’d have hunted and hollered, and when I didn’t find them and I would have feared they had gotten over into the neighbors’ fields or gone out on the highway. It would have been a time consuming, steamy, worrisome trip and at the end of it, I’d have found the cows right where I’d begun. Then, I would still have had to get them back where they belonged. Whew! . I doubt this little entry conveys my relief and gratitude, but the LORD spared me much hassle by timing ’when the cows came home’. The cows, because of His ‘steering’ were led to safe pasture instead of wandering into danger. While I was saved from working my way into heat-stroke. Countless times I’ve seen how He smooths our path even though it leads us through treacherous terrain ; this was just the most recent. (Lynn Margason, June 2011)

Monday, June 6, 2011

Horse Quiz #1

We have gone over all of the questions on this test.
The questions are UNDER each picture. Do not answer on this page. Instead, either print out the test or make your own answer sheet. Do not seek help. Answer from memory.

Q.1a What is this man doing? a) driving b)vaulting c) longing
Q.1b Why is he doing this? ________________________

Q.2 What are the spots on this horse called? ___________

Q.3a What gait is this horse doing?______ How can you tell?

Q.4a What is the long hair on this horse's neck called? __________
Q.4b What gait is this horse doing? ______________ How can you tell?

Q.5a What is this horse doing with her head? _________ Q.5b Why? _______

Q.6a What are Buck's ears saying?_____________________________
Q.6b What are Ellie's ears saying? _____________________________

Q.7a What kind of bit is this? ________________Q.7b How does it work?
Q.8a What gait is this horse doing? _____________
Q.8b This gait is called a _____________ when riding western,
Q.8c and a _______________when riding English.

Q.9 Is this rider riding a)hunt seat b)dressage c) flat seat
Q.10What is this horse doing? ___________________
Q.11 What is the part of the horse called between the ears?
a) poll b)withers c) forelock
Q.12 What colors are the horses above?
a) palomino, buckskin and chestnut
b) palomino, red roan, bay
c) palomino, red roan, chestnut
Q.13a Are this mare and foal the same horse color? ____
Q.13b What color is the mare? __________________
Q.13c What color is her foal?___________________
Q.14 What is this horse doing? ____________________

Q.15a Is this horse afraid of the bear?_______ How can you tell?

Q.16a What do you call a person who does this to horses? ____________
Q.16b What is he doing? __________________________________

Q. 17 What gait is Buck doing? _______________________

Q. 18 What is this horse doing? _____________________

Q. 19 What gait is Buck doing? _____________________

Q. 20a What kind of bit is in this bridle? _______________
Q. 20b What is missing on this bridle? ________________

Q. 21 This horse is standing a)straight b)square c)parked out

I keep hoping that things I'm teaching are being retained by riders as well as the horses. Alas, horses have far greater retention.