Archive for the ‘darling’ Category


There’s an unusual amount of traffic heading up my road today.

I’d already been to Darling’s room once, encouraging her to climb out of bed and get ready for school.  This was round two…


…so why was I getting such an enthusiastic response from my half asleep teen buried deep beneath layers of blankets and pillows?

Because I just informed her that school is  closed due to flooding, that’s why.

Our mounds of white mud are melting away, creating havoc when combined with the torrential rains that have joined the warming weather.  I heard the rain pounding down all night long and knew I’d wake up to flooded stalls this morning.  The snow was so deep that it was at a higher elevation than the barn, and as the packed snow and ice melts, it has no choice but to run directly into the bedrooms of my horses.  And so I shall have quite the mess to clean up.

Had it not been for City Boy’s phone call, I’d not have known school was closed.  I’d have shuffled Darling out the door and left her waiting for the bus in the pouring rain.   Eventually she’d have come home looking like a drowned rat.  City Boy had been on his way home from work when he heard the news on his radio.  Just as he was calling me, he came across a road closed sign and had to make a detour (which explains the traffic in front of my house this morning.)  When he finally made it home, he informed me that our road, too, is flooding.

Of course, there’s nothing like a good natural disaster to get me out with my camera!

It doesn’t appear all too impressive here, although if our road has this much water, I’m certain the river will be great fun to photograph.  I’d best get Darling up so she doesn’t miss the excitement!


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Global what???

It’s everywhere. That light, fluffy and deceptively alluring objectionable white stuff has covered my world and created once more a Winter Wonderland. Wonder, as in wondering why the heck am I not living where global warming is having a greater effect???

Over the course of the past week we’ve managed to collect at least 18″ of the dreadful four letter S word, with temps plummeting into the single digits here in the valley, lower still once you head into Little Canada (north county) where the wind blows.

This morning after feeding hungry horses and sheep, I grabbed my camera and took a few photos in the pre-dawn moments. Despite the cold, I was determined to capture the horror of my situation here and share it with you.

Darling’s mind has completely gone. Snow madness, I suspect. I came inside and found her editing a video she’d shot of herself riding Sandy out in the snow…she had her arms stretched out like she was an airplane as he jogged in circles.

“What the heck are you doing?” I demanded in my best mother voice.

“I figure this is the time to try riding with no hands; the landing’s got to be softer!”


I am currently training a new horse for the Northwest Extreme Mustang Makeover!  If  you’d like to keep up with what Darling and I are doing on a more regular basis, please visit the Mustang Diaries.

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Last week Darling and I drove down to Burns, Oregon, where I picked up my new Mustang Makeover competition horse.  It was lovely.  The sky was blue.  There was no mud.  Sure, it was a bit chilly, but it was better than the mud that oozes through the holes in a farm diva’s boots back home.

While there we took a drive with a friend up to the Steens Mountains where we were blessed to come upon a large herd of horses.  Wild horses.  No fences…just thousands and thousands of acres.   It was a desperate horsewife’s dream, to be surrounded by mustangs so close you could nearly touch them.  And yes, I do mean we were that close!  And yes, I do mean wild!  But we were quiet, not disruptive, and while the older stallions watched with suspicion from the top of the ridge, the younger horses stuck to their guns and continued to graze peacefully while we lustfully filled our cameras with images of this oh-so-amazing experience.

Back home, however, the skies are nothing like they were in Burns.  They are gray and dripping and dreary and threatening to snow on us.  They have created mud that sucks even my beloved muck boots from my feet when I go outside to work the horses.

Yesterday I was working with the new boy, Steve Holt!, and once finished I found I’d gained 20 lbs from the mud that was now caked on my jeans and sweatshirt.  I got the brainy idea that I should grab Darling’s little camera and video myself.  But when I played it back,  I looked stupid.  Not the normal embarrassing stupid that I normally look like…I haven’t got an issue with that…I was just totally dorky!  I couldn’t figure out how to delete the video, though, and wouldn’t you know that Darling found it?  And she’s threatening me with it!

“I’m  going to call it, The Stupid Things My Mother Does,” she said with an evil grin as she ran off with my embarrassing moments.   Some gratitude from the kid who gave me stretch marks, or who’s most embarrassing video of her I deleted for all eternity.  Now I’m wishing I’d kept it so that I had something to blackmail her with!

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The sun was shining and City Boy had the day off; it was a perfect day for traveling before the winter rains set in.

“Come on, City Boy!  Let’s get Darling out of bed and drive to Winthrop!”  So we drug Darling out of her warm, snug bed and loaded ourselves into the car and set out on our journey over the mountains.

The highest point in the drive came a couple hours into our journey at nearly 5500 feet above sea level.  Prior to the completion of North Cascades Highway, Native Americans used this corridor as a trading route from the Eastern Plateau country to the Pacific Coast.  In 1897 a road was roughed out to Gilbert Landre’s Cabin.  I don’t know who Gilbert Landre was, but from the sounds of the Dept of Transportation page I found with that bit of information, it sounds like maybe I should.  In any case, it was a slow and laboring task, to be sure, as it  wasn’t until 1972, nearly 100 years later, that the highway was officially opened.

Winthrop is a quaint little western town settled in the late 1880s.  I’m pretty sure the streets were not paved back then, but they did manage to keep the boardwalks through town.  High above the town on a bluff that overlooks the Methow Valley sits a little museum with buildings that were once scattered about the region.

Can you believe six people lived in this tiny thing?

By the time we arrived at the museum, we’d been in the car nearly four hours and had climbed a steep hill.  Darling decided she needed a nice long soak in the tub.

Of course, the whole purpose for driving to Winthrop is not the beautiful scenery, the quaint western town nor even the nice, hot bath (although if they’d been so kind as to provide water and bubbles, that may have been more appealing!

No, the real, one true reason for driving over the mountain range is this:


That’s right!  My parents drove over for ice cream when I was a kid and now I’m dragging the CityBoy and Darling over for the same reason.  City Boy is confused…he wonders if we have ice cream on the left side of the mountains that doesn’t involve and 8 hour round trip?  Darling, however, is totally on board and is crowned the new Ice Cream Diva!

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Play With Your Food!

Growing up, I was a picky eater.  There were a lot of tastes and textures I just didn’t enjoy.  Which is why I often was in trouble for playing with my food.  I’m not really sure why they call it playing with your food, are you?  I mean, it’s not like you stand up the little noodles in the goulash and pretend they’re people in a parade or fighting in a battle.  (Okay, maybe there was that one time…)
But mostly I’d just take a little bit of food and swirl it about on my plate in an attempt to make it look like I’d actually taken a bite.  Never seemed to fool my mother, however, and I’d get the, “Don’t play with your food!” comment at least once a week.
I have to admit I enjoy being at the top of the food chain.  Meat has always been where it’s at for me.  Meat and potatoes; good, hearty farm food!  No sissy dishes for here; the only thing I eat that’s French are my fries.  Take me out to a fine dinner and you’ll still see me pushing around the noodles in an effort find the beef.
Here at Carpenter Creek, however, things are different.   I was visiting a new blog where there was a photo of a young girl laying in the straw with a cow, and the comment by the blog author was how she thought that’s how a beef or dairy cow ought to live before their time was up.  And I couldn’t agree more!   Which is why I’m always telling Darling to “Go play with your food!”, and she has always happily obliged!
  Jeu avec votre nourriture!
(Play with your food!) 

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Happy Birthday, Smurfette!

Darling rides Boon 

Today is Darling’s birthday.  As is customary, she’ll be showered with gifts in celebration.  But I’m the one who went through the agonizing labor.  I’m the one who carried that 10 lb, 3 oz beach ball of a baby around inside of me, causing stretch marks and sagging body parts that playtex cannot put right ever again.  Why is it she’s getting all the attention?

Perhaps it’s because she was born looking like a smurf.  We called her Smurfette for a good many years.  Darling was growing at a pretty good rate while inside my body.  Due on Jan 1, the Dr. tried to induce labor just prior to Christmas.  He said she was getting big, and a 7 lb baby would be easier to deliver for everyone involved (but mostly me, right?) than an 8 lb baby.  I’m sure it had nothing to do with the fact that he didn’t want to be called in during the holidays.  But Darling didn’t want out.  She was snug and comfy and pretty darned stubborn.

Darling and Honey…the US Olympic Swim Team 

I got through Christmas with no signs of a child wanting to enter this world.  City Boy was anxious.  Not that he was looking forward to another screaming infant in the house, but he wanted the tax deduction.  But still…Darling wasn’t budging.  New Year’s Day came and went with her perfectly content to stay where she was.  The Dr. did some more measuring and felt we really needed to try to induce labor again.  I was on board with that idea.  I could feel elbows and knees in my ribs.  My belly was swollen up big enough for most people to think I was having twins.

Early  in the morning of January 3, I went into the hospital for some drugs.  Good drugs.  Drugs that would make this little monster living inside of me want to exit.  I sat and waited for them to take effect.  I waited.  And I waited.  And the little monster slept, because it was too early in the morning, after all, and monsters rarely get out of bed before noon.  The Dr and I were both determined, however, so more drugs came at noon.  And this time the little monster got angry.  It began clanging around and raising an almighty ruckus, and I turned to City Boy and screamed at him words that would make a sailor blush.  He still has marks on the palm of his hand where I dug my fingernails deep in an attempt to make him feel the pain I was going through.

Darling dances (sort of…) 

For four hours…four long, wretched hours that monster banged and clanged and clamored inside me.  And while I was sure I was going to give birth, the rest of my body yawned and said, “Nope, not today.”  So the Dr came and gave me another drug.  “This one should knock off the pain so you can get some rest tonight.  If it’s real labor and not just the petocin, then you’ll probably have a baby tonight.  But if it’s the drug, you’ll be able to relax.”

I wanted to kill someone.  Anyone.  Didn’t matter who.


Once the pain killer hit my blood stream, every muscle in my body went limp.  I could breath.  I closed my eyes with a sigh of relief…and felt my water break.  The Dr came running back in and started telling me to push.  Okay…

“Are you going to push?”

“Huh?  Oh…yeah…push…”

The happy drugs, you see, were working and I was feeling no pain.  I barely felt any contractions.  And that was a bit of a problem, because that poor little monster was trying to enter the world and needed to be helped along by a pair of forceps wrapped around her face.  And that is what turned it blue…and caused us to call her Smurfette.

Darling during one of our hikes last year.

So here we are, 14 years later.  Her face is no longer blue, but she still doesn’t like to get out of bed before noon.  Of course, she won’t really be 14 until later today…and she’s completely bummed that the first day back to school after Christmas is always her birthday, so that’s where she’s at right now.  But tonight?  Tonight we shall celebrate!  In the meantime, I’d better go buy her a birthday present.


Happy Birthday, Darling! 


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Yes, it’s come to a squealing, screeching halt.  The little life brakes have been applied, giving me whiplash and sending me to the chiropractor.  My camera’s autofocus has died.

That’s right, you heard me.  Dead.  Gone.  No longer.

Sure, there’s manual focus, but have you tried using manual to get shots of your animals playing?  Life just doesn’t work that way.  You get blurry animals.  Animals photos that make you so dizzy you want to put your face to the toilet and puke.

See?  You though I was joking!
See you when you get back from the toilet…

Perhaps the Grammar Nazi or City Boy can figure it out for me.  In the meantime, I’m stuck here in the dreary weather with nothing much to photograph outside anyway other than rain.  And I’ve already taken photos like that, who needs more?   Certainly not I.

So instead, I’ll venture back into my creepy, ghostly files and see if Darling likes the results…

 Okay…that last one?  She wasn’t really there when I took that photo.  And last night?  As I was sitting here in the dark?  Yeah…it kinda creeped even me out a bit.

I hope my auto focus is back in focus soon.  In the meantime, if you’d like to journey through a handful of mustang photos that are in focus, why not make a trip on over to Mesteno Wild Horse Photography and let me know which photos you like best?

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