Red dirt and green grass

Driving through northwest Oklahoma the last two days made me miss it an awful lot. There is nothing prettier in my mind than red dirt and green grass. The stark contrast between the green and red along with the blue skies makes my mind feel at ease. Heck even the brown/gray grass of winter paired with red dirt is more interesting to look at than the soils around here.

Here’s a couple photos I took several years ago. Enjoy.

The view near Alabaster Caverns in northwest Oklahoma.

Old school

I’m a sucker for black and white photos. Old or new, they just do something for my brain. Recently I found It’s a website hosted by the Kansas Historical Society that has historical collections available to browse. From photos to books and much more, there’s a lot to be found.

I found some old cowboy photos and other subjects in Ford and Clark counties, another one from Comanche County caught my eye. I even found where our home is located in a plat book from the early 1900s. Very neat stuff, and I have gotten sucked in by the website (almost as bad as I have by Pinterest).

Here’s some of the pics I found.

It’s just a horse

If I had a nickel for every time I heard the phrase, “It’s just a horse” I might be able to buy another one. My horse is far from just a horse (at least in my twisted little head she is).

My mare, Sweet Heart Slew turns 20 today, and as she was standing it the fog this morning, I thought of all the times and trials we have been through in the 14 years I have called her mine. See my earlier post, Impending doom here.

Here’s an appropriately titled poem, Just a Horse, I found online. I am unsure of the author since it was not provided.

From time to time, people tell me,
“lighten up, it’s just a horse,”
or, ”that’s a lot of money for just a horse”.
They don’t understand the distance traveled,
the time spent, or the costs involved for “just a horse.”
Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a horse.”
Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a horse,”
but I did not once feel slighted.
Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by “just a horse,” and in those days of darkness,
the gentle touch of “just a horse” gave me comfort
and reason to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it’s “just a horse,”
then you will probably understand phrases like “just a friend,”
“just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.”

“Just a horse” brings into my life the very essence of friendship,
trust, and pure unbridled joy.
“Just a horse” brings out the compassion and patience
that make me a better person.
Because of “just a horse” I will rise early,
take long walks and look longingly to the future.
So for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a horse”
but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future,
the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment.
“Just a horse” brings out what’s good in me
and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not “just a horse”
but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being
“just a woman.” So the next time you hear the phrase
“just a horse” just smile, because they “just” don’t understand.


My husband

Since Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and the totally made up Hallmark holiday is intended to make you remember the loved ones in your life, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about my husband.

I remember the first time I saw him, and that is a major feat for me since i have such a horrible memory as it is. It was during my junior year of high school in 1996. We had horsemanship classes at the community college together. My sister and I went together, and happened to meet two guys from Bucklin. I don’t think we officially started dating until later that summer, but we ended up as high school sweethearts and then after our freshman years of college, he broke my heart.

Bucklin Prom, 1997.

But it wasn’t permanent, we were on again, off again, and on again until shortly after I graduated from Oklahoma State. We both had a lot of growing up to do. I broke his heart and we somehow managed to figure things out. Back together for good in 2002 we started living together. It wasn’t the best thing in some peoples eyes, but it was what we had to do to be together since I was living in Oklahoma and he was still in Kansas. The first year we co-habitated was difficult I will admit, as was the second. But we stuck it out. In 2009 we decided it was time to get married after seven years of living together. The most common reaction we got, “It’s about dang time!”

A change in location and job brought us back to the area and more changes came and went. Our little family now numbers three people, five horses and three dogs. And now often times we get so bogged down in the routine and challenges of life/marriage/family that we often fail to express our appreciation to one another. So, here’s my list of appreciation to my husband.

1. Hard worker. I have no doubt my husband will provide for us. He doesn’t like to sit idle, and always has an idea for future projects. However, this often leads to less time spent together, but I guess in the end it is worth it.

2. He’s a planner. He’s always thinking about how to improve areas of the home place. Whether it be tacking on that missing tin on the falling down shed or deciding where to put horse pens or how to make it so the driveway doesn’t flood and we don’t track mud in the house.

3. Level headed. He’s the one who doesn’t get mad quickly or hold a grudge. He can bring me down from the threshold of anger that very few people can. He doesn’t stay mad very long (often times this makes me madder, but I have learned how to pick my battles).

4. Humor. He’s got a sense of humor that is all his own, and has his own way to make me laugh.

5. Unconditional love. Even when I’m at my worst and not the most pleasant person to be around, he’s still there. And that I’m truly thankful for. It’s amazing he’s put up with all my crap for this many years.

Our little family, Christmas 2011.

Fair weather cowgirl

I normally try to give my horse some time off during the winter for two reasons: 1) it’s normally too dark to have much time to ride after I get home from work; and 2) a break is good for her and me too. However when February rolls around I try to get back into some sort of routine with my horse.

As I look at the calendar today is already Feb. 10. Where did the first ten days of this month go already?? So, that means I have roughly 35 days to get some rides on my horse before the first big barrel race I would like to enter – the Barrel Bash at Hutchinson, Kan., March 16 to 18. Really don’t want to be the out-of-shape barrel racer flopping around on the back of her horse looking like Whiplash the monkey.

Our last run of 2011, Christmas Cash race, Amarillo, Texas.

That’s all fine and dandy since my horse is finished and doesn’t require any tuning on the barrel pattern. But when I get home from work and its 40 some degrees and the temperature is dropping, my recliner has a way of sucking me in as does the fuzzy blanket.

I used to be the kind of person who couldn’t wait until 5 o’clock and I would race home and get on my horse. But since it has gotten colder and I have got some age on me, my drive to be horseback in the evenings has waned. I hate that it has happened, but what can I do? Some people wonder where their mojo has gone, me I have lost my motivation. If someone finds it please send it back to me. I will pay shipping. However, I don’t think my mare would mind too much.

My mare during the December 2011 snow.

People watching

In my book, people watching should be an Olympic sport. If I’ve got an hour to kill and I’m in a populated place, I can be easily entertained or easily distracted depending upon my mood or the work that needs to be done.

This morning I’m sitting in the Denver airport waiting on our flight to Nashville. We are headed to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Cattle Industry Convention and Trade Show. Since being here I’ve seen practically all walks of life – from people like me (ag folks) to young families, older folks, military people and of course the people who work in airports.

Denver is a far cry from where we departed from this morning. We left the Dodge City Regional Airport ahead of schedule for our 6 a.m. flight. My boss Holly and I were the only two on the plane. Security was a breeze and I was kind of shocked how official they made their jobs seem. A short jaunt to Garden City to pick up the other 16 passengers and we were on our way to Denver. Pretty sure I couldn’t hear myself think over the engines on the little Great Lakes plane, but we made it safe and sound despite a few bumps where I was certain my stomach was going to drop out of the plane.

Now back to the task at hand… I’ve got people to analyze. Too bad I can’t see far enough to get a good look at everyone!