Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Battle Park, Big Horns, Wyoming

Magic weekend in the Big Horn Mountains. Rode to 11,000 feet to overlook Solitude Lake. So quiet you could hear the waterfall 5 miles away. Not even a bird chirping, just the clouds floating on air. Crossing rivers and rocks. Galloping on my horse Chance for the first time and second gear is quick! Rode 20 miles in 3 days. Love being in the middle of nowhere with no place else to go. Dogs, horses, living in my cedar lined trailer. Watching movies at night and the moon rise and set in the early morning. Horse whinnying telling me it's time to get up, have coffee and give them hay and feed. Brush them down, saddle up, and go out for the day, picnic packed in saddle bags. Meander here, there, till I get lost and the horse finds its way home. Nothing better.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I Can't Spell!

I Can't Spell!

Remember weekly spelling tests? Are you an adult who still says, "I can't spell!" Here's some lesson plans that will heighten students' awareness of spelling through environmental literacy and ensuing discussions.

Spellilng treasure hunt: Assign the students to gather examples of spelling errors they see in everyday life. It might be a "Quik Mart" convenience store or a misspelled billboard or marquee. It may be a word in a newspaper article. It might be on the back of a cereal box, or in an email from a friend. Give them a week to find as many examples as possible. Perhaps they might spend a class period looking at each other's work or their own and playing editor, looking for misspelled words. Students can often tell you which words they have misspelled but don't know how to correct them.

Next students share their findings. Talk about how language is fluid and why it's spelled the way it is. It is a combination of languages and is not spelled the way it sounds or phonetically as many students have learned. As a result, many students are convinced they are "bad" spellers.Teach them they CAN spell and that the word "can't" is a four letter word, one which is unacceptable to use in your classroom.

Discuss linguistics and why the English language is said to be the "most difficult" to learn to spell. It derives from a host of other European languages. The word "beautiful", for example, comes from the French word "beau" meaning handsome. Talk about the not only the etymology of words but discuss how irregular the language is in its rules and variations. More words break the rules we learn early in school than follow them-- such as "when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking and the second is silent." Consider the word "bread' or the sentences "I will read that book today" vs. "I read that book yesterday." Refer to Constance Weaver's book on literacy Reading Process and Practice
as an excellent resource.

For that night's homework ask students to make a list of the words they have the most trouble spelling and another list of words that are not spelled the way they sound, words such as "knock." The following day have students gather in small groups, compile their lists and report back to the full group. Write the words on the board in bright colors for students to copy, save and study.

Additionally you may ask them to make a list of "new" words they use in everyday language such as in their texting with acronyms such as ROTFL meaning rolling on the floor laughing. Make a list of homonyms, words that sound the same but are spelled differently. Talk about how language shifts, changes and grows simultaneously with time. Ask them to think about when they use different language codes in varying circumstances-- with their parents, at a job interview, with their friends.

Teach mnemonic spelling aids to help them to remember commonly misspelled words such as arithmetic. "A rat in the house might eat the ice cream." Unusual sentence which makes it memorable. The first letter of each word n the sentence spells the word arithmetic. Or, the word 'stationery" meaning a letter that goes into an E-nvelope, so that they remember the word is spelled with an "e" not an "a" in the final syllable. The word "stationary" with an "a" is a homonym meaning "immovable." Ask if they know any other tricks to help remember hard words.

Add to their board list of compiled homework words the most commonly misspelled words such as the word "definitely." Explain the meaning of the core word "finite" and how the prefix and suffix create the final spelling. This leads to a discussion of roots and affixes.

As the teacher, if you are a good speller, have them try to stump you by asking you to spell words they consider difficult. Let them choose words from the dictionary. Make it a game which shows them you are a lifelong learner and someone who cannot spell every single word correctly either. Laugh with them and at yourself and meanwhile enhance your spelling skills and theirs.

Finally, have a spelling bee between two teams using the word compiled in the lists from the discussions.

Spelling isn't easy but it can be both interesting and fun. For more fun with spelling have students visit the following online sites: http://www.monsterfacts.com and http://www.kidspell.com

Billings students CAN spell and have fun learning how.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Daily Coyote, my second book review

Ok, so getting started and trying to keep pace with my new job at Examiner.com. Please follow link at bottom of article as I am paid per view. OOO, never thought I'd be a pay-per-view item! Hot! *insert wicked laughter*

lemme know your thoughts but more importantly, paste and copy or click on this link into your browser..


Thanks much for your participation and support. I need a following here to earn much needed income.

I also enjoy the writing and will be doing 3 articles per week. Good practice and a new genre for me.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Writing for a Reason

Well, wonders never cease. Got hired by Examiner.com to do book reviews and local commentary articles. Hope to work in some young people's writing in the future and suggestions for all age groups for books. May do, for example, one on elementary school age great books, followed by middleschool recommendations and then hs. May suggest books for boys, girls and both. I know some great adolescent lit and since it's back to school time thought it might draw good attention.

They will set up a website for my reviews and articles. I am paid according to number of views or hits. Not much but it gives me a reason to write every day, having a deadline of 3 article submissions per week. They take time and thought, of course. It's a new writing genre for me, so please feel free to be honest and critique. I want them to be engaging, not trite, and encourage people to read or not read the books I review. My other article commentaries I hope will be funny or informative or both..and of interest to a wide audience.

Here's a stab at my first book review..please tell me your thoughts as you please. Thanks much. And prepare to be Mr. and Mrs. Clicks a LOT so I can make a bit of dosh for all this work, which I enjoy but hey, spare change is nice too. More importantly the writing practice is good.

Ok, I'll be quiet now and let you read.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery, is the buzz of literary blogs and online social networks, for good reason.

Set in Paris, the novel addresses timeless philosophical themes surrounding how we know what we know, or phenomenology and the meaning of life. At the center of the conflict is the question: “What matters most?” and the author crafts a satisfying denouement. A good storyteller would be high on the list of this reviewer. The novel is poignantly written, funny and complex. It's also a page turner, albeit at a reflective pace. It evokes thought long after the last page is read and the book quietly closed.

54 year old narrator Renee Michel is a Parisian concierge for a posh apartment complex. Renee is quintessential in her role as a doting, obedient servant while hiding a deeply literate, intellectual mind. Paloma is the12 year old daughter of wealthy and busy parents, typically filled with teen angst and mind dissatisfied. Life is pointless, she broods. She vows to find just one valid reason demonstrating life holds real purpose, or to commit suicide on her 13th birthday. Subsequently out of boredom, Paloma finds an unlikely friend in Michel. They share introspective natures, lives of voluntary solitude and isolation, a love of books and a disdain for the lack of authenticity in the outside world. The self described “old, ugly woman” and the adolescent girl begin communing over afternoon tea at Michel's kitchen table.

The juxtaposition of the disparate class and age related points of view weave a riveting and unusual story. Each character's daily experiences cleverly intertwine and display the universal nature of the "human condition." When Ozu, a prominent Japanese filmmaker and a favorite of Paloma's, moves into the building, the story's plot and themes become even more culturally diverse and intriguing.

The writing is exceptional though requires attentive reading and a fairly elevated working vocabulary. Barbery artfully intersperses references to classic film, music and philosophers including Husserl, Marx, Mozart, Kant and Slingblade. Through these references and enriched by the variation in life experiences and worldviews, the characters explore the meaning of life, or lack thereof. As different as the characters appear, (facade being a keyword) they nonetheless “connect” in significant ways.

This book often made me laugh out loud and cry quietly. Any novel that can evoke that intensity of emotion deserves high accolades. It is dark, poignant, humorous, clever, thought provoking and entertaining. Barbery's fans eagerly await the release of her second novel on August 25th. The Elegance of the Hedgehog belongs on the top of your current "must reads" and may be the literary jewel of this decade, seriously.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back at the Ranch

Some days are better than others. I figure they're all pretty good, no matter, as long as you're not in the hospital or some horrendous thing.

The Big Sky still fascinates me and watching the horses interact and just being in a different place to live for the first time in a long time. Wanderlust, I have..case you don't know me too well, or at all.

Going to start just going out and seeing things I haven't seen. Cody, Wyoming. Collect river rocks down at the Yellowstone River. Read a book on some mountain or have a picnic down some empty path with a view.

It doesn't matter.

Life is out there...I'm gonna start living more of it again.

I cannot wrap my life around someone else's all the time. Even if that's what's requested. It's not in me. Part of the time, grand. All the time attached to the hip, no. Sorry.

Anyhoo, attitude is good and Gracie is eating and drinking.

Horses are the best companions of all, though they too can be obstinate.

Everybody needs to relax!

That includes YOU, and you, and you too.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

It's just Life Afterall..

Upon my return from Michigan, my horse Gracie had to be taken to vet hospital for 4 days. High fever, high respiratory, refusal to eat, dry and muscousy shit,low white blood cell count.. you get the idea. She nearly died and isn't out of the woods yet. Got her home and she's eating grass but very little grain. Will eat carrots, a bit. Little water. Melancholy horse. Hanging head. Droopy. My baby.

Oh yeah, this post was supposed to be upbeat. She's eating something. That's the good news. Temp is back to normal. Had all other horses checked and they seem o.k.

I have just read an article about horse ulcers as per my neighbor who saw a program on it by happenstance last night. The symptoms match her behavior and the causes could be somewhat aligned...it takes an 11 foot endoscope to detect but is fairly easy to cure but if not, can cause death. So, will talk to vet tomorrow and see what he thinks and if he has the equipment. He's a good, kind, thorough vet who ranches himself and loves his horses and lives and breathes his work. Nice guy with a calm and thoughtful demeanor. Easy to like him and trust his competency. But he was a bit baffled as to what happened to her and what may still be wrong so it's worth a go to discuss. The Internet is a useful tool at times and the source is reliable, scientific based. American Assoc. of Equine Practitioners.

Too much info.? It's just things one learns I'm spouting and I know, preaching to those who know.

Went to see a Trace Adkins concert last night at the Billings Fairgrounds. Rodeo is next week and bull riding. Trace represents much of what draws me to certain people and places. He played my favorite song "You're Gonna Miss This" about a kid leaving home, getting a first apartment, struggling but living their own life for the first time, and feeling that struggle, and the Dad says "yeah, you don't know it but you're gonna miss this." It's a lovely ballad with violin and piano accompaniment. Enjoyed that bit. But I haven't been to a concert in eons. LOUD. The thump was beating in my chest like it was my heartbeat. Weird feeling and no, thank you. And stand up the whole time as everyone in front of you is standing up. I like to sit and listen and then sometimes dance in one spot a bit. And they PUMP smoke, for effect, into the audience. Now, I smoke but this stuff makes me CHOKE. Are they nuts? Just cause it makes some star look more like he would in a smoky bar and add some sort of ambience? Puh!

Moan, moan..I got some water and dealt with it.

People watching in large crowds is always a good diversion.
There was one old grandma in a white knit cap..had to be in her late 80's. Retarded son with her drinking beer and tapping offbeat but thoroughly enjoying himself. Good for ole Mom...Nice thing to do. I think a smaller concert hall would be better for Mom, or grandmother and whomever she was. Someone else had a TINY baby in the front row. Baby's ears will definitely be affected and WHAT are the parents thinking?

So, back at the ranch...

I like to write. It helps. Tom is working on the tractor. I'm sure that helps him.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Bouncing after butterflies and dancing with waterhoses

Sometimes life is just fun and funny if you get on with it. It's damned hot here. How hot is hot? The water coming out of the hose is as hot as a shower you would NOT step into. The faded cedar boards on the deck are too hot to step on barefoot, though I do and just get over it mentally. The temptation to sprinkle one's toes while watering plants leads to pinching back and watering simultaneously and a light showering over the head, enough to partially soak my t-shirt. I start laughing and playing and it becomes one of those wonderful life moments..on a day I didn't wanna walk out there in the 100 plus degrees heat. I have already mucked stalls and cleaned water tanks and fed horses extra hay and put up a new salt block and natural fly spray three times, an apple visit, switch pastures, etc. It's fun stuff, but damned hot and not probably not something most people would like, but I don't mind. Chop wood, carry water, look a horse in the eye...rub your hand over their face and have them nuzzle you.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the young English Springer, Pete, literally springs out the door and starts hopping and dancing and spinning, as he is known to do. Suddenly I look up and he's bouncing with a yellow butterfly and it's flippin hilarious. What a great thing to catch. Like watching a real live Tigger. I laughed out loud.

My plane was cancelled inadvertently and airlines could care less. I am stuck for another 6 days after postponing 10 already due to stupid flu and series of antibiotics. So I make the best of it and watch dogs chase butterflies and play with the hose. It IS summer.


Thinking of you out there...my friends.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Pause for Breath

Well, sometimes one feels like writing, has time and something to say. Then you have to go life a bit of life fully before returning. And if you get out of the "habit" of writing every day, you're not really writing, you're just playin and spewing, I imagine. That's ok with me. Sorry dear readers, all two of you. Sigh.

I continue to be amazed at the beauty of this new place, this Big Sky Montana that I am beneath.

I audibly comment at the sunrises, sunsets, cloud formations, storms that blow in like an angry Northern Norse God...black and ominous, winds up to 60 mph from zero. Rain that sounds like pitchforks and hammer handles.

And the mosquitoes will carry you off, draw blood through jeans. And oh are they plentiful. I had heard that about Alaska, but had no idea it was like that in Montana. Downside.

The horseback riding is fabulous, early mornings before the heat comes. The smell of sage and pine. The vistas. The birdsong. The attention to the moment, going up and down canyons and crossing steep knolls. My horses are muscled and happy to be out, maybe more than I am. Nah. I'm the one riding.

I go home in two days and will be pleased to be in my own bed. see my friends and family, go to the Big Lake, be HOME home. For a week. Not long enough probably but maybe too long. Never know. I know I like having my very own retreat that is my comfort. Always weird being there without my little dog Abbey though. She's gettin old now.

Here's a pic of a cowboy with his little dog on his tractor. It drew an AWWW, outta me and I grabbed the camera. I see stuff every day here that's indigenous to this area and it's just fun and different, like all places in their own way....

Friday, June 26, 2009

Letters in the Post

I must say it's really grand to move somewhere and then write letters to friends far away and receive cards back. They are like gifts in amongst the bills. And I am reminded of how many people I really care for and who care for me. It's easy to forget when your friends are spread from Michigan to England to Tasmania to Missouri to Arizona to Oregon to California to Texass to Florida and so on. I always think, like most, that I only have a handful of really true friends. But moving away assures me I have many more than that and maybe many more than most and that's a a really great feeling. Especially when I don't have siblings and only a mother and father as family still alive. I once again feel very blessed by my friends who are all very unusual and great people. I have lived many places and gathered a great group of people I call family friends. Sappy girl. Yup, I am, and always have been. But it's true and I just thought about it a lot today.

Monday, June 22, 2009


I simply feel very blessed. Nam myoho renge kyo. All light. Grandmother's death day is summer solistice. Told her to go to the light and she died at noon on the longest day of light in the year. Every year there are celebrations all over the world. And this year I saw an Indigo Bunting on her day and I know it was her. Have your doubts if you wish. I don't.

It is so amazingly beautiful here. Take your breath away gorgeous. And around every turn is another vista, as dramatic and as different and as special as the one before. The vastness cannot be captured in words. I've taken more than 200 pictures and cannot bring myself to delete any of them. It's surreal. Camping on top of a mountain on the Indian Reservation, not another soul in sight. Just natural ooooah. Coyotes singing like I've never heard. Lightning shows that made me force myself to keep my eyes open till wee hours watching in awe.

Waking to dawn at 5 a.m. and feeling totally alive.

it's something. That's all I can say.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Second Verse Edited and Cut to the Bone

Well, Billings Gazette is going to publish my article, edited to almost nil, due to a world with short attention spans and longer article only good for BAD news, case you never noticed. I'm thrilled to be published again though anyways on my first try.

Here's the short version...

LOCALS BE PROUD by Virginia Little, Ph.D.
I recently moved to Montana from Michigan.I am writing this article because I know how when you live in a place for too long, it's easy to forget what's right in front of you.

Shortly after arriving in Shepherd, I found the Pryor Cafe in Huntley. The waitress, Robin, immediately made me feel welcome with her friendly, sharp-witted personality. The cook, Kurt, aka Eddie Haskel, makes his own sausage and customizes each order.

The woman at the Huntley Post Office offered to send me a vest which matched the fabric of my Cowgirl purse. I was a complete stranger to her. Her generosity astounded me.

The next day I met Becky, the owner of The Trading Post in Huntley. She politely declined to purchase the decorative horseshoe picture frames I make but suggested I could receive The Yellowstone County News for 3 months free as a new resident.

I had to go to the emeregency room for an allergic reaction. My new neighbors immediately insisted I call if I needed anything. Very reassuring.

Other neighbors offered their roping arenas for my use anytime, even after I nearly got trampled by a stampeding horse while taking pictures. They weren't worried about me being in their way, only that I might get hurt. Again, folks looking out for someone else before themselves.

Not only does Montana have unsurpassed beauty with its mountain vistas, abundance of BLM horse trails, dramatic sunrises and sunsets, and winds rippling like waves through prairie grasses--the people are kind, generous, and thoughtful. It's unusual in these times and deserves commendation. Montanans are a great example of why we will survive these difficult times.

Locals: You live in a small town with a big heart. Be proud. Kindness matters and can change the world.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Life on Horseback

Here's where I picnic. Tom, my Cowboy and Gracie, my sleepy baby...

Life in Living Color

A day on horseback..

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Out here in Montana

Written by Virgina S. Little, PhD., Technology and Education, Learning and Change in Human Systems

Hello Readers:

I’m a gal from Kalamazoo, Michigan; Yes, there really is such a place. If you’re old enough you may recall the Glen Miller song, “I Got a Gal in Kalamazoo-zoo-zoo-zoo-zoo”.

Slightly over a month ago I moved to Shepherd, Montana with my two horses and my little fox terrier. I’ve always loved the West and have previously lived in Nevada, Arizona, Colorado and California.

Every morning I sip my coffee at the Pryor Café and read the Yellowstone County News or The Billings Gazette amused by some of the headliines and bylines from the area. Kurt, the cook, makes me homemade sausage and plate size pancakes or poached eggs with green chiles. He spoils me with his cooking and light hearted comments which start my day with a smile.

Robin, the clever and cute waitress made me feel at home the first time I walked in the place. She tells me stories about her granddaughter and laughs about life. I’m sure her humor and charisma draws in many customers. I watch the men in cowboy hats or caps and flannel shirts give her hugs. One she calls “grandpa.“ Now that she knows my truck, she has my coffee waiting for me on the counter as I walk in. She’s good at what she does and likes her job. She works hard. Unusual these days.

I listen to the locals banter over politics (primarly based on the support of the far-right conservative and hard for a moderate liberal to tolerate but I listen and try not to comment too often.) As I hear them kid each other about this and that, it’s clear they’ve known each other a long time. There’s a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere where people can joke around without taking themselves too seriously.

I decided to write to the paper about what it’s like being a recent transplant because I know how when you live in a place too long, you sometimes forget the magic of the place and what’s right before your eyes.

I ride my horse most days out at Shepherd Ah Nei. I don’t know what that means in Indian yet, but I mean to find out. The prairie wildflowers are all in full bloom in a full array bright colors and types. Peeking above the tall grasses which ripple in the wind, coyotes pop up their heads and pointy ears before scattering off over hillsides. Antelope (aka speed goats) run along with whitetail deer and away from the horses. Each time I’ve been out I’ve seen a bright blue Indigo Bunting, just one. They’re good luck, my grandmother once told me and rare where I come from.

And the sky, oh yes, The Big Sky, reaching from horizon to horizon with mountains beckoning in the distance. Mares’ tails clouds sweep across the gleaming bright blue and shade the afternoon sun.

My Cowboy and I sit under pines and look down at canyons and up and out at the mountains while birds sing symphonies to us. The song of the meadowlark is unmistakable, sounding like a robin who has had singing lessons.

It’s the kind of beauty that brings a feeling words cannot touch. It’s similar to Great Lake Michigan. You can tell people it’s like a fresh water ocean with real waves and so vast you cannot see across it, but they don’t really get it till they’re there.

The Yellowstone River, higher than ever in history, carries trees downstream by the sheer force of nature. It’s something to behold. Under the water are hidden treasures, agates, which a kindly bearded fisherman told me you find by standing towards the sun so you can see them glint. He found three and gave them to me. I was as excited as the first time I found a geode on the banks of Lake Michigan when I was a little girl.

“Thanks a lot!” I exclaimed. “I like little river pebbles too. I glue them on horseshoes.”
“Well, if you see my truck down here again, stop on down. I have a whole collection of little rocks I’ll give to ya.” Wow, I thought. That’s really nice. I smiled and said, “Bring me rocks and I’ll make you a horseshoe picture frame.”

There’s a real sense of community in Huntley and Shepherd. When I first arrived I had an allergic reaction to bug bites and had to go to emergency. The next door neighbors called and said if I needed anything not to hesitate to ask them. Made my mother and I both feel a lot better knowing somebody was watching out for me, especially being so far away and having just left not so long ago.

The neighbor guys practice roping and offered to let me ride in their arena anytime, even after I got in their way taking pictures and nearly got trampled by a stampeding horse. I found it so exciting to watch. Apparently they are extremely good at it. I notice their oversized heavy silver belt buckles and championship saddles. They teach the younger ones how to rope as well and are patient, understanding, good teachers. I should know. I trained teachers for many years.

Then the other day I stopped into the Huntley Post Office. I had a couple packages to mail and needed some stamps. The woman behind the counter noticed my small purse made of a red cowgirl fabric.

“Where’d you get your purse?” she asked. “It’s really cute.”
“A friend bought it for me in New York City for $4,” I replied, “Can you believe that? I found a neckerchief in Wall City, South Dakota and it cost $15, three times what the purse cost! Go figure.” We laughed, shaking our heads.
“I have a vest of the same fabric,” she offered. “I should mail It to you.”
I thought she was kidding. It was just so nice. I was just a stranger.
“That’d be great,” I said, “I’d love that. Could I pay you for it?”
“No, no” she scoffed. “I’ll send it on to you. I have lots of vests.”

Later that day I recounted the story and found myself wondering what it might be like if the whole world was full of such generously kind people, those who would offer a hand to a complete stranger, or a vest or a box of rocks. I reckon we wouldn’t have so many troubles if that were so.

It simply seems to be the norm in this part of Montana, particularly Shepherd and Huntley. But I also have to mention Shipton’s Big R in downtown Billings where the staff is more than helpful and friendly. Recently a young girl who works there gave me a Cruel Girl special gift assortment intended for those blowing a wad on Cruel Girl clothing. They didn’t have the jeans I wanted but she gave me the gift anyway. Just plain nice of her and rare in these days and tough times.

That same day at the Pryor Café, I met Nancy, the woman who owns the local Trading Post in Huntley. She carriers a remarkable array of goods: clothing, jewelry, antiques and more. I had some decorative horseshoes I’d made for fun and to sell for a bit of pocket money.
Nancy told me she had too much merchandise in her store already but to stop in and sign up for 3 months of free issues of the Yellowstone County Newspaper. She suggested I watch the paper for the Art in the Park and wished me luck selling my “art”. Another good turn and good wishes and one which prompted the writing of this article.

I find it quite remarkable. It seems to be “The Way” here and it’s to be commended. July 25th is National Cowboy Day. Here’s a version of that “Cowboy Code” that seems so engrained here:

An Old Cowboy's Advice
* Keep your fences horse-high, pig-tight & bull-strong.
* Keep skunks & bankers & lawyers at a distance.
* Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Don't corner something that would normally run from you.
* It doesn't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about is never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't botherin' you none.* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance.
* Sometimes you get, & sometimes you get got.
* Don't fix it if it ain't broke.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, & a lot of that comes from bad judgment.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
*A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deer Tractor.
* Live simply.  Love generously.  Care deeply.  Speak kindly.

Remember: Be glad to live in such a beautiful and warm place in a world where most people just look out for themselves. Think I’ll stay for a spell, if you don’t rightly mind.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Home, home on the range...

Indigo Buntings. Good luck. Small bright blue bird which is where I get my name Indigoginny. Favorite bird. See ONE every time I ride. Good luck, that. Grandmother told me so. Rode for 5 hours today. Sore butt but wonderful ride. Up and over rocky hillsides. Across wide plains. All the wildflowers blooming in a myriad of colors and styles. One white with three petals and orange and yellow center. Like a wild lily. Lots of purple, yellow, orange, white, but all different. Bright orange butterflies. Smell of sage. Meandering. Looking out at the horizon instead of down at the ground.....a cowgirl's dream day. Came home and made a pork roast, gravy, roast potatoes, salad with avocado, onion, cheese, fresh greens, corn on the cob dripping with butter, real butter. mmmmmmmm....Big cowgirl butt. Yup. Like to eat...and play and work.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Under the Big Sky

When they say Big Sky Montana, they aren't kidding. It's like being in a 3-D planetarium. The horizons are so far off, as far as the eye can see, and strewn with mountains in a 360. Rode out for a couple hours yesterday and saw antelope, aka speed goats, and a coyote popped up his head and ears before scurrying off. It's like being in an old Western movie. No people. Just sage, prairie flowers, wildlife and the breathing of the horses. I love to gallop on the wind. I really do.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Time and Trust

Worked with Midnight, a rescue horse, Paso Fino, this morning. First time he let me touch him. The fear in his eyes cannot be mistaken. I can only wonder what horror this poor horse experienced. He jumps at the slightest movement. Runs and hides behind the other horses whenever possible. He's so sweet and gentle and majestic. Who could have had the wickedness in their heart to do whatever they did to him? Unthinkable to me. We both have trust issues so maybe he and I can learn from each other.
The two horses in the front are Roman, on the right, and Rocky, left. Midnight is in the back, as per usual. Roman is only 3 years old and huge! Bigger than my 9 year old gelding, Chance, who is too tall for me to touch his ears. Roman is like a big puppy dog. When he is lying down, you can lay on top of him and rub his ears. Sooo sweet, he is.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Alone but only a bit lonely

Moved to a new state where I don’t know anyone. Surrounded by the comfort of my horses, the mountains, my little fox terrier. Only the sound of the keys tapping, horses squealing as they get to know one another and establish who’s alpha. Only one mare and four geldings. Two quarter horse paints, a Rocky Mountain, a Tennessee Walker and a Paso Fino. Beautiful to see them run, play, fight in the 60 acres of pasture out my window. Too cold and wet to ride right now. Life in Montana begins.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Holy horses!

Farrier came and shod the horses today. My gelding, Chance, reared, bucked, did NOT want his back feet touched. Battle finally won with yes, a big alpha struggle. He may weigh 1200 pounds and is so big I cannot touch the top of his ears, but I won out in the end. Some days though it feels good to be tired and to win a battle.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Big Sky Girl

I finally found my way, to Montana and to this blog. I just moved here, know no one, and the tapping of these keys may allow my head to quiet, getting the thoughts out. And new places inspire new words. So, I will write. But tonight, I am finis.