"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Chosen

While my husband was in the hospital a nun popped in one day.  In full habit with a backpack slung over her shoulder, Sister Mary Lucy was a sight for sore eyes; a comforting presence.  She was older than we are, (but probably the same age as the older I get I suddenly find out that people I think are older than I am, turn out to be younger than me.)

She was a serious sort and a nurse I think, as she carefully looked through all the iv's hanging on the pole. She had notes too that she perused.  She asked a few questions then reached in her pack and pulled out some cards of Jesus with prayers printed on the back.  She recited some of them.  We began to talk.  She had lived and worked at the Vatican for 10 years and commented on the Pope's visit to the U.S.  She is a fan.  She talked of times when millions of the faithful came to St. Peter's Square.  I looked in her eyes, her countenance.  I couldn't help but wonder how her life had brought her to this spot, the kind of person she was.  All business, she never smiled.  Three times the door to the room opened and quickly shut.  "They'll come back." she said.  I could tell that the nun's run the hospital and expect reverence from the staff.

She went back to her pack and reached inside for more Jesus cards which she then realized she had already done.  At that point, my husband's hip was hurting and he rolled over onto his side.  I accused him later of playing dead.  She walked over to his bedside and began to feel around his back and shoulders (he was down to 100 lbs.) and I think massaged his back and bones.  

She then read a piece of paper (she didn't know the author) in a very thoughtful manner.

The Blessing Of Unanswered Prayers

I asked for strength that I might achieve;
I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy;
I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men;
I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life;
I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I had asked for,
but everything that I had hoped for.
Almost despite myself my unspoken prayers were answered;
I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

I can still hear her voice reading it.  She was so appreciated by me.  I must send her a note.  Though I am not religious, she gave me peace and wonder that day.  Bless you Sister Mary Lucy.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Amidst The Chaos Comes Calm

I've been away for what seems a very long time though I know it hasn't been.  My husband has been in two different hospitals and all that goes with it.  I feared a couple of times that he might be dying.  It was a sobering period. Pneumonia in both lungs, malnutrition, dehydration and the infectious disease all came into play at the same time; the perfect storm. You lose your sense of real time, don't know what day it is. This is how rattled I got. I had driven to the barn to lock up the animals, and I usually stick my cell phone in my bra for a pocket.  When I got back to the house, I started frantically searching for it as I talked to my son, then finally figured out I had it up to my ear. We'll discuss more about that later, but my husband  did get the feeding tube while there and it is so easy, I wonder why he didn't do it sooner (but I know the answer to that.) 

During those dark and crazy days, I'd come home in the evening to feed the animals.  This Great Heron has taken a fancy to me and comes to the nightly feeding frenzy of fish, turtles and such.  He's fearless now; comes not for the smorgasbord, but to dine on the little fishes that are waiting for me.  This brazen, ungainly fellow belly flops down suddenly into the water and comes up with a fish in his beak then struts around with it before deciding to swallow the poor little fry. 

 The moon on the pond (notice the inquisitive little turtle head poking out of the water) was the early blood moon later on that night. It was nice to see that all was well and as it should be.

We closed on the new city house the next day after my husband made them release him from the hospital.  Plan B was to sign at the hospital. Oh those poor nurses and doctors. The worst, hard-headed, terrible, awful and stubborn patient on the planet has become a darling once again.  Happy as a lark even though he may never be able to eat or drink again.  Can you imagine?  Our lives will change.  I went out and bought frozen tv dinners so I won't be eating in front of him.  We'll figure it out. 

It is a beautiful day.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Season Of Change

As you can see from the above pictures and my newest header photo, I am quite the gardener.  I try to do it all and have gardened for the past thirty or so years.  

This summer has been different.  The weather was awful.  I lost many fruit trees and the blackberry vines died back. I really don't know what happened to them.  The garden struggled along and many of the crops failed (even the re-plantings.)  That, and with my husband being too sick to help, I got little to nothing from the garden.  

It is such hard work to then get nothing in return.  I can no longer crawl around nor bend down for long periods; the most I can do is scoot along on my bottom.  I think the time has come.  If it isn't in a raised bed, it won't get planted.  The weeding alone is nearly an insurmountable task.  Everything does taste better from your own garden though and isn't covered in chemicals.  

My new house has very little room for vegetable gardening.  Maybe a few pots here and there.  I've been calling it a cottage, but I looked up that definition and it really isn't.  My style of decorating is cottage style, or in reality, eclectic I'd say.  

It is funny about buying a new home.  I had to have a large lot (no neighbors too close) with privacy, no carpeting, no garage doors taking up the front part of the house, and on and on.  So, all that went out the window when I saw the new house.  You can't get everything you want unless you build your own house and I am way past that stage of life.  So, changeability seems to be the catchphrase for me.   Think I will have to have a vegetable garden at my daughter's house.  Seems I'll have to hold on for the ride in this new phase of life where plans change just as soon as they are made.

Friday, September 18, 2015

All Buttoned Up

My realtor just texted me and said, "it's a done deal."  I am relieved beyond words (but still want that check in my grubby little hand first.)  Now, on to my new cottage, which I am never leaving.  The farm will have to wait for another day.  I'm thinking of hiring an estate sale service.

See the above?  I have gallons of them.  One reason moving is nearly an impossibility for me.  I have too many collections, er, stuff I don't need, but love.  I'm going to try and go the minimalist route in my new cottage - and we'll see just how long that will last.  I need new furniture and there seems to be a lot of mid-century modern out there, but I am not going for the plexiglass furniture as I think it will be out by next year.  Just want it comfortable.  I have already decorated the powder room in my mind - in an Oscar de la Renta wallpaper, but it says only to the trade, so I'll have to figure that out. I want to do wood floors and have to paint over some red walls.  I may end up with a few nice lawn chairs scattered about.  Oh well.

Hip Hip Hooray!

Type buttons into the top left hand corner to see some of my buttons up close.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rest Time?

Rest for the weary? No, I'm still kicking - at least for the moment.  What was supposed to be a time to finally breathe or catch my breath is not to be.  The house we sold didn't close yesterday.  I could hardly wait for the day after all the work, packing, cleaning and stress. A typo, or something like that, has caused a delay.  The buyer lives in California and has bought it as an investment property so papers have to be sent overnight then back, etc.  

All utilities, etc. were to be disconnected today.  The insurance was to end today so I've been on the phone trying to re-instate it this morning.  There should be a way to fine the buyers for this.  At least for the pain and suffering it has caused.  They are now telling me maybe Friday.  Who buys a house half way across the country for an investment property?  The money from the sold house goes into the new house.  I can't stand the worrying, of course, worry is my middle name so one would think it would roll off me like water from a duck's back.  But oh no, the fates are going to make me pay for another few days.  Jeez! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

One Woman Band

I am tap dancing just as fast as I can.  Don't have time to even look for photos etc. to blog so this one says it all.  

Moving is horrible.  I have packed an entire house by myself (my husband is too sick and I don't want him to have to do anything if possible).  I have nightmares that the deal will fall through and I won't be able to get my new house.  That, and just the sound of a man's voice has me tensing up.  My ear actually hurts from all the phone calls.  They really get you with early termination fees for nearly everything - like internet, security, etc.

Contract negotiations, inspectors etc. for the sale and all that and more for the purchase.  My brain really cannot handle all of this.  It is in fog mode.  I'll be back posting when I can, but I still am reading your blogs if not able to comment, but soon, hopefully.

And, here is food for thought.  My son mentioned the other night, "Mom, you have ten times more stuff at the farm than this house."  I can't even go there.

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Bought A House

I only wish it was this English thatched house, but it isn't.  I, who know little to nothing about business, real estate, taxes, legal proceedings and paperwork, etc., went to an open house yesterday and with much gnashing of teeth, bought a house.  Let me explain.

This is not something I would ever do.  But, never say never.  We are in the process of selling our city house.  Let me add here that the moving process and packing and sale, sucks.  I rarely ever move and in fact, we've lived at the farm for 33 years.  Yet, we needed another house in the city.  My children and grandchildren live there, and my husband works there 3 days a week.  First, my daughter-in-law suggested we go to an open house on Saturday.  I loved it.  I went home and couldn't quit thinking about it.  Everyone, except my husband, who said it'll still be there (he's old school and doesn't know how houses sell in that part of the city), said if you want it you'd better make an offer or you'll lose it.  Where it could take a year or two to sell the farm someday, city houses go fast.  

So I took my daughter and her babies back Sunday to look at it.  Many lookers were there.  We went back out to the truck and I agonized over whether I should put in an offer or not.  I thought I would have a panic attack, or worse. I am the type of person to overthink everything, have to research and weigh things carefully. I finally got up the nerve, texted my husband that I was going to put in an offer on a house and meekly knocked on the door, ready to flee at any moment.  I am a spineless wuss I'll admit.

I took the seller aside and told her I'd like to make an offer.  We went into her office and I told her I would offer full price and asked for a floor allowance.  I don't do carpet; have to have hardwood floors throughout.  She agreed and she asked me to read contract first (it was legaleze and my brain was foggy and eyes glazed over).  She came back in and we proceeded.  Her husband called her out.  Seems the wife of another looker told her husband what was happening and they quickly wanted to make an offer.  The seller then told me the other people offered full ask with no allowances.  What could I do? she asked.  I had to up my offer with no allowances, but told them that was all I could do.  The other man that was making an offer, told them he'd beat whatever my offer was.

I thought I would die.  I, who know nothing of such proceedings and am a milktoast pushover, waited for their reply.  They were looking at me, trying to decide what to do for a long few minutes.  Then, the seller's husband said he didn't want to get into this bidding war, and was going to go with me. 

I died.  But, I got through it, though didn't sleep at all last night and am still running on adrenaline.  It nearly slipped away from me and I got it by the skin of my teeth, within seconds really.  They've already had four more offers they had to turn down.  The man that lost out was devastated and wouldn't leave.  Kept wanting to up the anty.

So, my husband didn't kill me.  We've been at the bank this morning filling out forms.  They want copies of everything financial and contractual etc.  Buying a house in the US is crazy, with all the inspections, closing companies, mortgage companies, inspectors and appraisers, etc.  Is it so complicated in other countries?  

I love English thatched cottages which mine is definitely not.  But, I loved the house and felt it was the one.  What I didn't tell you is that it was the first one I've looked at which is why my husband was so opposed.  "You can't take the first house you look at!" he said.  I know.  It is weird, but I just knew it was the one and was afraid of losing it and I just about did. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Cautionary Tale

Some posts back, I wrote about wondering what is really going on behind the scenes of our blogging community.  I mentioned that no one wants to hear about bone spurs or anxiety disorders, but is it really all flowers and beautiful tableaux?

The farm where we live is in a hilly, forested area.  There are ticks.  Never saw anything like it.  I myself have had eight so far this year.

I digress.  My husband has been sick and symptomatic for four years.  He has these 'spells'; that is what he calls them (though I've learned they are called flares.)  He'll be fine one minute and the next he spikes a fever, become so cold he covers up in blankets on 100 degree days, will have chills and be just literally in bed, weak as a puppy.  They would disappear just as fast as they'd come.  He would go to the doctor, a general practice MD, who would put him on Amoxicillan and send him off.  He'd get better for a while, but the spells never went away.  

One thing that has compounded the problem, is that in 2001, he had surgery, chemo and radiation treatments at MD Anderson hospital in Houston for a stage four throat cancer.  He made it, but from the radiation treatments, his throat opening now is the size of an ink pen making swallowing a daily trial.  He has his throat stretched occasionally, but mainly the benefits now are to keep it from closing up further.

In the US, you have your main doctor, then see specialists for other things.  None really know what the other is doing.  They simply don't have the time, which, is why I think his primary doctor never figured out what was going on.  You really do have to be your own medical overseer/researcher.

My husband has gotten sicker and sicker, is down to 105 lbs. and finally has hit rock bottom, literally unable to work some days.  Did I mention he is a terrible patient and hard headed?

I was reading a book about a woman with malaria and told my husband that their symptoms were very similar.  I did some research and there were actually 20,000 cases in the US last year and that number is growing.  Then, I started researching tickborne illnesses.  I couldn't believe it; there are so many different kinds and the list grows daily.  I finally convinced my husband to request a tick panel test from his doctor.  The results came back positive for Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Ehrlichiosis both of which can be fatal if left untreated.  Doxycycline was prescribed and it made him horribly ill.  Bedridden and with high fever.  He couldn't even get in to see his primary physician to see if he was having a drug reaction, so he won't be seeing that doctor again.

Meanwhile, to get in to see an infectious disease specialist, you have to be referred by another doctor.  We got him in within days through another friend of his.  The new ID doctor has been a blessing.  Very competent and thorough.  After all new testing and urging my husband to get a feeding tube as it is so important in fighting ID, he said the tests would take about 2-3 weeks for results.  

Imagine our surprise when he called my husband the next day and said he had gotten some results back.  His C Reactive protein was at 17 (normal is around 1.) and more importantly, he got a test back for Bartonella henselae.  He said it was off the charts; he'd never seen a higher number in his 30 years of practice.  He wanted him to start that night on azithromycin.   He doesn't think he has RMSF for it probably would have killed him left untreated for this long, but we'll see whatever other co-infections there are.  He saw a gastroenterologist yesterday, but the earliest he could schedule a feeding tube was November.  

By the way, Bartonella henselae is a proteobacterium that is commonly called Cat Scratch Fever.  Research is sketchy and it could also be transmitted by ticks.  One thing I've learned from all of this is that diagnosis of many infectious diseases is in its infancy; after many diseases like malaria et al were eradicated in the states by new drugs in the 1950's, research fell off, monies dried up and very few went in to the practice of infectious diseases.  The Walking Dead is closer than we think.

We are finally hopeful now to know some of what is going on with my husband's health.  Some nights when he drags himself off to bed, I wonder if he will be alive in the morning, so severe are his symptoms.  I've even watched the rise and fall of his chest to see if he is breathing at night.  

The cautionary tale here is do your own research.  If you have strange symptoms that can't be diagnosed, request tests or a referral to an infectious disease specialist.  You wouldn't believe what all is lurking out there.

PS ~ we've been married for 43 years and don't know what I'd do without him.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Dust To Dust

I've had this textile for some time now.  I don't even know if it is Japanese or Chinese.  As you can see it is disintegrating.  

It was nearly impossible to photograph.  I took it outside for the light, but feared it blowing away in bits.  The 'thread', silk I am certain, is finer than a human hair.  It seems to be bonded somehow to a paper like backing, then attached to some kind of board.  Notice the white paper with the silk attached to the right of her chest.

There was a boy beside her.  Notice the background of a stairway to the right and stone walls and pavers on the ground.

The upper left is beautiful with it delicate florals.  What I thought were flames must in fact be drapery of some kind.  Did they even use drapery back then?

Their little shoes and dress should tell where they are from.

Again, my limited camera skills and no knowledge of how to photo shop etc. can't show much more than I have shown.  Can't imagine how someone made this so long ago.  So sweet, but sad it won't last long.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Mellow Yellow

Well, I started out this post and was going to title it bitch, bitch, bitch.  With all the hard work on the gardens this spring and summer, we'll be lucky to get much.  The rare spring and early summer torrential rains did a number on the vegetables and fruits and now an outbreak of tomato hornworms has killed/denuded most of my tomatoes, my favorite fruits in the home garden.

But, the weeds have no problems growing.  I've had poison ivy already this summer and the ticks are in plentiful numbers.

I did see a baby Buddha's hand last night on my citron tree.  After nearly losing everything in my greenhouse this winter due to the propane heater running out of fuel, I have a few different citrus trees putting on some fruits.

May be able to make some more limoncello this year.  I could drink that whole bottle right now (but it would kill me).  But, then, I think, in spite of the 100 degree temperatures we are having and will have through August, it really isn't that bad.  I can take it.  I'll just stay in the house for the rest of the summer, or as they say about when life gives you lemons...

I'm going to the city today to see my kids and grandkids.  That is what I need.  Oliver chilling way back several summers ago.  He just turned 6.  How did that happen?

Isobel is excited to play in the sprinkler and she'll be 8 in September.  Will wonders never cease?

And my baby bumblebee, Penny Lane, is about to turn 6 months old.  What more can a person ask for?  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Turtle Time

It's turtle time again at the farm.  You can see how exciting a life I lead here.  Be that as it may, I do get a kick out of feeding the fish and turtles every evening at one of the ponds.  I have many water turtles there, but the meany snapping turtles have become quite bold.  Before I knew it the other eve, one had sped out of the water and was two feet away from my feet before I noticed it.  There is a male and female.  And, they love leftovers.  I called them meanies because they usually only like live baby fish that are waiting for me at the edge of the pond when I arrive and they are considered an aggressive species.  Their ancestor, the Alligator Snapping Turtle, can weigh 250 lbs. but thankfully I don't have any of those in my ponds.  They usually stay in streams and rivers.

They can stick their necks out very far and I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Here is a young Red Eared Slider turtle coming for a snack.  There are many of these in the pond.  Unlike the box or land turtles around, their feet are much larger and webbed for swimming.  Some of them have become very friendly and used to me while others float offshore with their heads above the water waiting for me to toss slices of bread their way.

This one decided to try Thai noodles.

When the other one appeared, it decided to score the chicken tender and quickly swam away with it.

So many cute creatures at the farm right now.  Tiny tree frogs, peepers and toads about the size of your little fingernail are everywhere.  I wonder how many we've squished.  A box turtle was feasting on some of the fallen peaches this morning and of course, the crows were calling me.  I was watering all the potted plants, it was 8:00 am and I was sweating like a pig.  It will be 100 degrees today and I won't be going out again until this evening to feed.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Where The Wild Things Grow

With the unbelievable weather we've had this year so far, about the only things we are going to harvest are the wild things.  Wild flowers, fruits...  I picked these wild plums from an old grouping of trees that haven't produced a crop in nearly 3 years.  I had nearly given up on them, thinking the trees too old and that they had stopped producing.

I've been watching them since spring and find the deer under them daily as they love to eat the plums.  They are finally ripening and I picked nearly two gallons this morning.  It was cool and windy.  Such a treat after weeks of having to stay inside most of the day.  I can't do 100 degrees.

I'll make juice of these for jelly and our 5 month old grandbabe Penny Lane.  It really makes me wonder about the old saying feast or famine.  Can you imagine how the farmers had to depend on the weather and whatever, to feed their family throughout the year?  The wild blackberries did just so so this year as did the mulberries.  The indians that used to live around here were nomadic and roamed the plains; would set up new camps, perhaps following the food sources?

There will be plenty more of these.  I'll let you know if I am covered in chiggers tomorrow.  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Got Nothin' But Pomegranates

It is so hot at the farm, I can only stand going out in the early morning to water and check out the plants and trees.  It is still in the 90's after dark, and did I mention the humidity, which makes it seem much hotter - the heat index they call it on the television.  I don't want to know that it feels like 110 degrees outside.  It makes it worse.  

Nevertheless, my pomegranate shrub/bush is coming along in this heat.  First, the beautiful colored flowers.

Then, the petals wither and fall off.

Then the fruit begins to swell.

And here is my adolescent fruit.  It's about the size of a golf ball.  Last year I only had one fruit and this year many more, though 50% of the fruits failed.  I will be gifted with several this year though.

If so inclined, you too can grow pomegranates in a pot (gets too cold here in the winter to plant outside).  Just look up Logee's Greenhouse @ www.LOGEES.Com.  Be careful though.  They have so many things the gardener cannot turn down.  Patchouli plant?  Vanilla bean orchids?  Cinnamon bark plants.  A greenhouse full of different citrus trees?  It is addicting.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


I didn't know it until I was older, but I am a perfectionist.  Early on, I thought perhaps it was a good quality to have.  


Perfection is unattainable. Nothing is ever as I wish it was; it's never good enough.  The pie might have had a more symmetrical lattice crust on top and on and on and on...

Being a very curious person, (I believe I told you I used to read encyclopedias for fun), I have leaped into everything that interested me, headfirst, without fear or abandon (every mother's nightmare wild child).
It is how I learned.

This could go on and be too lengthy, so I'll cut to the chase.

On my creative side, my oil painting has always been a thorn in my side.  Never have been satisfied with my work.  I have always used the old master's glaze technique for it was what interested me (and was the only one I knew how to do). 
Just like a carpenter's tools or a surgeon's instruments, an artist's brushes too have specific uses.  You must know which brush to use.

Over the years I have come to love modern/abstract art.  Picasso is a personal favorite and a more recent artist, George Condo.  My list is long.

I've always wanted to do some modern paintings, but didn't know how.  I bought handfuls of palette knives and don't have a clue as to the use of each one, and it will be a steep learning curve. 

So, I went and bought the largest tubes of oil paint I could find, a regular sized canvas and went to town on it.  I had a ball.  I learned something too.  You need a good underpainting/drawing to start with.  Oh, I do love shortcuts, but, well, you know... another lesson.

I'll show you a tiny bit of the painting - a heavy impasto and just trying to get total canvas coverage like with the old technique.  It has been a lot of fun and I'll keep trying.  My goal is to do some very large canvases.  I told you. Dive right in there head first.

Did you notice the hand model?  It will be holding the title of the painting.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Da Vinci

In my humble opinion, Leonardo Da Vinci was the greatest human being in recorded history.  Now, I know everyone has his or her own selected person.  I could not say enough about him here nor list all of his genius and talents to prop up my selection.  But, I read a few factoids that I didn't know and thought interesting. 

I love his horse studies.  He designed one that was never finished.  Someone, somewhere was going to finish it.  I'll have to look that up.

And because of my devotion and love for dogs, I love his dog studies.

Of course, you know which dog study is my favorite.

So, here is a tiny list of things I didn't know about Leo.

1.  Da Vinci and Michelangelo were frenemies and rivals and would cause serious, reality show worthy scenes in public places by insulting each other.

2.  Researchers at universities studied the Mona Lisa painting with face recognition software and concluded that ML was 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful and 2% angry.

3.  Ever the animal rights activist, Da Vinci enjoyed purchasing caged birds so that he could set them free.

4.  Da Vinci was also a committed vegetarian which was exceedingly rare in his day.

Bill Gates purchased Da Vinci's Codex a few years ago for $30 million dollars and has loaned it to museums around the world.  So many things interest me about Da Vinci I really wouldn't know where to start.  I was in the Loire Valley in France a few years ago and didn't even know he was buried there.  I would have loved to visit his grave site.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Gracie The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Here is my Gracie.  A real beauty.  Very large as far as horses go.  Must have been all those graham crackers, apples and carrots (her favorite treats).

Her story began out back on the other side of the fence.  No one took care of her.  She had a black mane and tail and was a darker gray color and about 1 1/2 - 2 years old.  I started feeding her.  I shant go on about the lowly neighbors, but I continued to feed her for years, medicating etc. at enormous expense I might add.

One day an old nag appeared, named Brownie.  Came from a farm up the road.  They didn't feed her either.  Being the alpha female, she'd eat Gracie's food and bite her, so I started feeding 'Brownie' too.  For years I might add.  I found out during that period she was 28 years old.  I wormed and medicated her too; took care of her abdominal abscess.  Unlike Gracie, Brownie is very skittish and has been on her own for a long time, though now I can pet her and apply fly repellent.

A divorce was occurring at the farm on the other side of the fence, so they asked if I wanted to buy Gracie.  I thought and thought; we'd have to fence off some acreage and build a stall and tack room.  But, at the time you couldn't give horses away around here and I didn't want her packed up in a trailer and shipped to Mexico, where they cruelly and gruesomely kill horses and send the meat to places that eat horses.  

So, I bought her.  She came alone and missed Brownie terribly.  Can't imagine why, but they called to each other all the time.  Gracie was so lonely.  Nearly tore down the new fencing we put up, slashed herself on it etc. If you look back to the first picture, I went around the new barbwire fence with a pair of pliers and pinched each barb so she wouldn't hurt herself again.  I could go on and on and on about my time with Gracie.  I'd tell you about the time she was pissed at me for trying to push her back so I could get through the gate to feed her.  She bit the soft, fleshy upper part of my arm and I believe the pain was worse than childbirth.

Meanwhile, Brownie found her way over to Gracie's pasture and I let her in.  Still feeding them both.  I talked to Brownie's owner and he said, "Oh, you can have her."  Now, who wants a semi-wild horse that is about to kick the bucket?  More on this in a minute.

Here is the serendipitous part of the story.  I got this print years before Gracie or Brownie came into my life.  They look exactly like this, down to the star on Brownie's head.

I made this life-sized paper mache horse before I met the mares.  As I said, when Gracie first came, she was a darker dapple gray, with dark mane and tail.

The time has come though. Carrying heavy feed bags and bales of hay are too burdensome and backbreaking and did I mention very expensive?  This old gray mare definitely ain't what she used to be.  I am trying to find a forever home for Gracie.  Don't want her passed around or mistreated and ending up in a slaughter house.  Though I want Brownie's owner to be responsible for her, he will probably drive her straight to the place where they dispose of old horses.  I fear it will be like signing her death warrant.

I am trying to make my life less complicated.  A move to the city - yes, leaving my farm after more than 30 years - is in the offing.  Hard choices and decisions lie ahead.  

This weekend, though, I am going to my little home in the city to rest and relax, to see my children and grandchildren and friends; to eat out and see a movie, go to Whole Foods and Barnes and Noble, Hobby Lobby and other city things I love to do.