Monday, July 30, 2012

life + luther

I don't have too much to say. Other than life can play some horrible tricks on the most unsuspecting.
 Yet even in the blackest of nights stars do shine, and they shine all the brighter, untouched and defiant of the dark. Like Martin Luther, they seem to whisper, "Here I stand."

 Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.
A strangely suitable mantra for my present situation, though for a different reason than Luther's.

When my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the Rock that is higher than I.
Psalm 61:2

Here I stand.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

time marches with the vegetables

Our first fruits! Two bright and cheery little cherry tomatoes.
the corn so tall and the beans so... bush-like.
baby cucumber
I really am not one for eating veg; I like carrots and occasionally the odd leaf of lettuce. But I must say that fresh cucumber and lemon and lime slices in ice water is the best thing since someone decided to put frosting on a cake.
it's hard to believe that our squash plants were just seeds a month and a half ago. Now they're great, spidery monsters taking over half the garden and churning out foot long summer squash like a machine. I do believe we'll have to get creative in the kitchen if we're to keep up. Or we can do what (I think it was) my grandma did and leave the mountains of extra squash and zucchini on the surrounding neighborhood's door steps in the dead of night.
On the weekend LB and I headed to the park with a bunch of my friends for the first annual event of 'Chalk in the Park'. I was actually surprised by how many people turned out, for as small as town is. There were two hotdog vendors and everything! 
Anyway, we requested two sidewalk blocks (128 square feet gah!) because we had a Plan.
 Complete and entire landscape in fine detail. Above is a small part of my contribution - Llyod's Llama Farm. I was in charge of all the farms (I also did an Al's Alpacas later on) and animals, and I had a lot of fun with me llamas and alpacas.
little brother chalked us an awesome mount rushmore under some equally awesome fireworks.
 i never got a photo of the whole thing completed - kicking myself - but we ended up winning in our category, so six and a half hours baking on the pavement were not for naught.


Thursday, July 5, 2012

A cowboy's playground

Sometimes I feel celtic, somedays I feel cowgirl. This week has been all American cowgirl.
 Where I live Independence Day is more like a week, with PRCA and ranch rodeos, a {creepy} traveling carnival {complete with ex and runaway convict staff! That's what I think anyway.}, parades, fireworks, and country music competitions.
They call rodeos a cowboys' playground, and it really is. I went to the ranch rodeo where local ranch hands compete in teams in a wild list of events including sorting, calf branding {using powdered instead of hot irons}, bronc riding, team roping, and my favorite: wild cow milking - which is just about as crazy as it sounds.
I found my friend in amongst that crowd and sat next to her on the wet grey seats {we had some crazy weather just before: torrential rains, hail, swirling clouds, the whole shebang} just as the sun tinted orange. We had a great time picking out all the horses we said we'd steal if we ever got the chance and taking pictures each of them. I took 197 pictures that night.
 But there was one little mare... a sweet tiny little blue roan who was really getting after those cows. When her rider bailed off to go help a teammate tie down a cow, I was ready to climb over the fence and ride off with her :) I could just imagine it too... galloping away.... that poor dude running after us and tripping over his spurs.... yelling at me, and me being all, "Finders keepers, loser! Yehaa!"
Watching the cowhorses do their jobs was pretty amazing. I bet most of them could have done it without the riders. They'd pin their ears and stare those mad cows down, and if one sneaky creature thought it could slip by -- bam! -- pivot & charge, my beauty! they'd have that sucker back in the bunch faster than a mad cowboy who'd lost his horse to a maniac chick from the grandstands.  
Okay, this is how it goes: I love this dude's horse -- pretty, pretty buckskin! And my friend loved his authentic wide brimmed hat and magnificent mustachios, sadly not pictured. But they were magnificent.
All in all, he got our vote for Best Dressed Cowboy. Although I must say, the team with the matching striped ties were a nice touch.
 {I have just realized I'm using 'dude' way too much; i.e. more than once every million years}
Due to the hundreds of fires in the surrounding area, a serious burn-ban has been placed over pretty much the entire Midwest. And that means no fireworks for us. LB was of course heartbroken. All the  hill cities and monument parks that normally have huge pyro-celebrations were dark and silent this year. But somehow the rodeo association got permission to shoot off their flaming glory show. I think half the state showed up to watch twenty minutes of thunder-and-stars, the whole city fire department standing by.
We watched from on top of a hill, and I got a few photos....though wether or no I'll post them, I'm not sure. Jack and I had a few disagreements about the dark and it was pretty far away. I'll look at them and se if there are any worth sharing.
Regrettably, I missed the annual 4th of July parade downtown yesterday, but I guess I really don't need another 70 pictures of horses belonging to other people anyway.
It ended up being one of the best Independence Days for I got to spend it it the lovely company of my lovely friends whom I never get to see and especially because my little missionary friend from Ukraine has come home to stay at last and yesterday was the first time I'd see her in ages!
We had a picnic at one of their house, walked down to the coffee shop {how strange it must be to live in town where everything is in walking distance!}, ordered fruit smoothies & iced mochas, picked up another friend who works at the coffee shop, peered over the fence at the afore mentioned creepy carnival, crammed seven people into said friend's car a drove back to the house, and continued the day with music: piano, fiddle, ukulele, mandolin, tambourine, egg, and voice. Lets just say that by the end of it we were all gathered round the piano belting out Battle Hymn of the Republic like some Baptist ladies choir.
Glory, glory, hallelujah!
Glory, glory, hallelujah! Glory, glory, hallelujah!
 His truth is marching on!  
Afterwards I got to bring my little missionary friend home and we immediately went to go and hang out with the ponies. Back in Ukraine she used to take riding lessons from a dressage guru who also was a Parelli instructor. So my friend has got me started on some Parelli exercises and I am liking it. Especially because all of my horses have strong personalities.

So that was my Independence week! I hope all of you, whether American or not, had a lovely one as well!
to see more of my photos from the ranch rodeo, click here.