An Unexpected Ride

My younger sister lives halfway between where we live here in Dayton, Ohio and where Bob’s parents live in western Virginia (NOT West Virginia), and I love to visit when I can.  She and her husband, high school sweethearts, live on a farm.  They grow alfalfa, have horses, pigs, and chickens, and kids (the human kind).  They sometimes also have bees, though those have been hard to keep alive in recent years.

This last trip I took to Virginia, I left right after work in the evening, and I planned to stay the night at my sister’s farm and hit the road again early in the morning.  That evening my brother-in-law invited me to stay a little longer and go horseback riding in the morning.  Heck yeah!  The remainder of my road trip was instantly delayed. lol  I hadn’t ridden in years and this was a big treat!

The next morning, it took about an hour to saddle up three horses.  My job was to brush them down before the saddles went on.  Pretty simple really.

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This is my sister above.  I’m not really sure what she’s doing in the stall.  There are 5 horses in total, plus one mule.  You can see the mule on the right in the photo above.  He’s nearly as tall as the horses, though in this photo he’s standing downhill.

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This is Max, their first horse.  He’s a Tennessee Walker and a bit spirited.  This is the horse I rode, and Max likes to be in the front.  Let me tell you, there are LOTS of BIG spiders and giant webs that he walked me straight into!  Egads!!  After a few of those, my brother-in-law told me to walk Max over to a prime branch and had me break it off to use it as a shield.  It really helped.  Some of those spiders were creepy looking and their webs thick.

We walked mostly.  But when the terrain was uphill or downhill, spirited Max would start cantering.  It was fun. I loved every minute of it.  So long as I stood in my stirrups as he tore through the woods, it was an easy glide.  At one point, we had to jump a small stream at the very slanted bottom of two hills.  This doesn’t intimidate me too much.  When I was a young girl, my sister and I went to Girl Scout summer camp a couple summers and always chose horseback riding as our themes.  As girl scouts we practiced cantering and jumping at the same time, and I from this I had definitely experienced a fall before.  But this jump was a walking jump, just a bigger one than I practiced when I was a kid, and we made it. 🙂

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Here we are, after our return.  The others are peering through the fence behind us.  When the horses heard us returning, they neighed at each other across the holler and Max took off cantering home.  Apparently it was a big day for the horses, as well.

(I promise, I’ll be back to writing about gardening soon!)

 

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Late Summer Joys

Late Summer has been super busy!  Between vacation to Cumberland Lake with the family and two trips to Bob’s hometown amid the Appalachians, just trying to keep up with work and garden harvests has been too much.  I haven’t had much time to even think about blogging much less find time to sit down and do it.

So it is with a grateful heart that I sit here this morning, with my second cup of tea and my fingers tapping away at this old familiar keyboard.

Where should I start?!?

Fishing of course. 😉

Fishing in Virginia is so much better than Ohio.  The day we went to Burke’s Garden, it was HOT.  That’s not a great day to fish. Still, we caught a handful between us, even if they were mostly bass that were too little to keep.

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After a while, I did what I’m known for doing… and that is wandering off in search of interesting things to photograph.  Check out this not-so-little mushroom.  I have no idea what kind it is, but it looks like some little bug has carved it’s top.

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All summer I have been seeing dragonfly after dragonfly. They’ve become a novelty.  I even see them on hot, hot summer days at work in the parking lot.  I guess the heat coming up form the asphalt below acts as a sort of water-looking mirage.  One day I counted at least 7 of them flying about!  They run back and forth, covering their territory over and over, looking for a meal.  Every once in a while another dragonfly comes around and off they go, zooming in twists and turns, each trying to chase the other off and win the territory.  I find them extremely difficult to photograph.  But at Burke’s Garden that day, I finally snapped one photo that I could zoom in on for a recognizable shot. 🙂

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While Bob was gone to Virginia spending time with his folks, the collards were due for another harvest.  I’d never done this before, but he left me with some verbal instructions. Plus, I’ve seen him do it a number of times.

After cutting the largest leaves from their stalks, I brought them inside and rinse each one, meticulously picking off egg sacks and any worms I found.

Tomatoes were also picked, but those I took to  Virginia on my return trip to pick him up.

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After washing and stacking, I cut each stem out and composted them.

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As this was done, I stacked the leaves up in a flat pile.  And when the pile was tall enough, I rolled it up tightly as shown below.

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Next I cut the roll of leaves length-wise.

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Then there was a couple long flat stacks which I chopped width-wise to create little pieces as shown below.

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After this point, I didn’t take anymore photos. But it’s just about done anyway.  I put the chopped collards in a salad spinner, rinsed them, spun them (love that part!), then vacuum sealed them and tossed them in the freezer.  It was the first time I’d used the vacuum sealer, too.  But overall, it was a job well done.

When we want to eat them, Bob thaws them and cooks them for well over an hour in  beef broth with a little bacon grease added in.  I’m sure he puts some seasonings in as well, but I’m not privy to that process.

And that’s enough for one blog post!  I have enough material from the past month to write a couple more, and hopefully I’ll find more time soon to do just that.  For now, I’m enjoying the cool fall air that came in with the fall equinox, right on time.  As of this morning, the air conditioner is cut off and the windows open.  Loving it!

Wishing you a joyful day wherever you’re at! ❤

Mini-Update

Summertime means gardening to us.  But for most folks, summertime means  VACATION!  For the past three or so weeks, both of those have been in play for us.  Right in the middle of harvest after harvest, we were out of town quite a lot.  And that also meant, I’ve been too busy to write posts!  After all, I also still work full time (as a computer programmer).  I haven’t been too busy to take pictures though, so there is plenty content waiting to be written up, if I could just find the time!  Of course, there are always plans for my time…. such as, this evening I’m going shopping for some emergency preparedness supplies and making up kits for our cars and adding to our house supplies.  Half the day tomorrow is also filled up, and… well, there’s always grocery shopping and meal prep to be done for the week ahead.  For us, harvest time is the busy season.  I am so thankful Bob is able to be our head harvester and canner (among many other roles), because without him, I would never get it all done!

For now, I am looking forward to settling in at some point, sipping a little wine, and relaxing as I write about all the photos I’ve been taking the past few weeks.  Stay tuned!

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