Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Bree's Tennessee Trip...

After the 4H Fair was over and we recuperated - and got everything put away - which seems to take 2x as long as dragging it all out - my parents came to town -

They spent a long weekend here and then took Bree back with them to Tennessee - it's an annual thing - Bree and my Mom do all sorts of stuff together. This year I went down to get her on Thursday, we spent Friday antiquing and then Sat went North towards home 2 hours to my Brothers' Family house, spent the night there and then started home on Sunday while stopping off to visit the Strawns and see all the babies (including Boce Boy) and then headed home.

In years past (this dates back to 2003) - My Dad used to tease Bree about his FIFTY horses vs her ONE horse - (his 4 wheeler) - he built a box on the back and would take her for rides out in their woods and such. This year, he "tested" Bree to see if she was strong enough and had long enough legs to drive it herself! Well... Here you go:

My Dad (Bree calls him "Poppa") - surveying her technique!

My Mom and Bree - Bree loved being the "limo" driver and shuttling us all over the place - Notice the box on the back and keep in mind she USED to fit in there - infact both Bree and my Niece would fit in there together (arrggh, I'm getting old!)

Bree showing Poppa how "strong" she is (She is going to kill me for posting this one - but oh well - too bad - so sad)

And of course, her threatening to run me over since I told her I was going to post that picture...

She had a blast - She is getting so grown up!

While at my Brother's house, it is our "annual" go out on his boat on the Lake of Egypt - it is a power plant lake which is nice because it is pretty darn clean and the average temperature is around 83 degrees - delightful!

The kids (including my Brother) had a great time swimming - (notice Bree without the life vest on IN the water?) another first -

On the way back in, my Brother always lets Bree drive at some point - this first picture is from 2003 (the first year out on the boat) - look how little - she has to sit on his lap to see - Look how short her hair is -

This year driving, she's too TALL to sit on his lap, her knees hit the dash!
I love her concentration!

Sunday morning, we got up and headed again North towards home and stopped an hour later at Paige and Barry's - we got to see how big Boce has gotten, said hello to Thor, Teq, Twist and Sly - Fonzie was hiding - I think he saw Bree's size and said "unt uh, no way, I'm not getting roped into that again and hightailed it off somewhere to hide!)

Then we went to the farm to see this year's babies and all the Strawn kids out there - they are looking SO good! I still say I'm stealing Radar one of these days!

After a lunch to which Bree drank 4 full Chili's sized glasses of Dr Pepper (it was hot out at the farm) which caused us to stop what seemed like every 20 minutes for her - (reminds me of Paige's story about BS and going to Canada) we got home around 6:30 Sunday night -

We all had a great time and have a ton of memories!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

2008 4H Fair... Last week of July

Thankfully this year the 4H Fair wasn't as hot as years past! The Grundy County 4H Fair is held separate from the regular county fair as the fairgrounds are just not big enough to house both at the same time.

Bree shows horses. That is her only project (despite prompting from me) -

This year the plan was for Bree to ride Jessie (my filly) in the 'slow' events (pleasure classes, etc..) and to show Tess in the gaming.

Well, you know the saying about 'plans' - Jessie came up lame in her left rear that even after getting injectable bute (in the vein) 2x a day for 3 days leading up to the fair. So, like any good 4H'er, must improvise. Bree used Jess for the Halter and Showmanship classes (Sr Halter Mares - as "sr" in our 4H world means 2 and over) - and placed 7th out of 21 - not bad... considering the filly is SO lazy and just wasn't going to trot to the judge even with the ring steward throwing sand at her from behind. (It IS nice however, to know, hauling her somewhere for the first time that she is as laid back and non-caring about her surroundings elsewhere as she is at the farm).

The riding classes were all about Tess - can you say "zoom, zoom, zoom"? ha! Bree did trail with her and WON - LOL. She took her in English Pleasure and English Eq (as Tess can do an extended trot not like any other - from all her games trotting) and won Eng Eq! Reserve in Eng Pleasure.

Bree didn't ride in the WP classes as that would have been too funny - also she wanted to "save" her for the gaming classes - no problem - she could have ridden all day long and that mare wouldn't have run out of gas.

She placed reserve in the reining as Tess just won't flatspin for Bree - (Bree's leg are long for a 10 yo but not quite long enough to convince Tess that she MUST flatspin)

Then, the gaming - Bree's forte' - She won all 5 classes - (barrels, poles, fig 8, plug and keyhole) - There was some pretty riding going on - the fastest I've seen them go and controlled with some beautiful turns (not all - but flashes of awesome). She won some neat class prizes and also the gaming highpoint award which she'll get at the awards dinner in November.

Skeeter (B/O) got creative and spray painted the gamers.. ha - like the flames shooting out? The pictures look black and white - but they're not - its just that games were at night and getting dark - so I had to do what I could to lighten them up - also that's why there is not alot of them!

I love the focus on Bree's face here - Tess ran a perfect and I mean perfect figure 8 pattern - it was just beautiful!

During the Poles, Tess has developed a "bad" habit of wanting to dart in between poles 5 and 6 instead of turning the end pole (I think she's so smart that she figures she'll get a better time - hahaha) - anyway, Bree has to direct her forward and a scoish OUT so Tess gets the picture that Bree is the driver - but, this is one of my favorite "butt" pictures - look at how Tess is using her hind end - which may not seem like a big thing - but, (no pun intended) the fact that for 3 years she was working off her front end almost exclusively and now transitioning to use her big bum, this is what we're looking to see.

I like to see Tess hunting the turns -

As usual, Tess, sleeps between classes and walks in and out quietly of the arena - which I like most of all - no hyperness, no antsy-dantsy, rearing, geared up behavior -

Bree has her room decorated with her purple ribbons and even though didn't get to show much in the performance classes had a good show!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Tweener Time....

I had to take a short hiatus from the "summer in review" series as my SIL and Niece arrived here last Wednesday and Mom and Dad arrived last Thursday. Mom and Dad AND Bree left today to go back to Tennessee. Every year they come to visit and take Bree back with them for 5 days-ish and then I drive down and pick her up.

So, that's why there was no new continued posts.. So this one is a "tweener" post - between the county fair (last blog post) and the 4H Fair - next blog post..

Of course, there was knitting between the Fairs!

I just don't know why it is, but I just like knitting socks. How many socks does a person need? I can't answer that, yet, as I just keep knitting more! I have Bree even well stocked!

But, I knit these 2 in the 'tweener' time..

These are called "Embossed Leaves" by Mona Schmidt. I used a yarn called "Pagewood Farms - Yukon" in the Fabulous Fall colorway (get it - Fall Leaves?) - The yarn is SO SO SO soft (has bamboo in it!) They are comfy.

Then I made a Cookie A pattern called "Mingus" and I used a yarn I had not used before called "Zen Garden Bamboolicious" - think it has Bamboo in it - ha! It is the Blue Lagoon colorway. This pattern is not as complex as you think when you first start it. I enjoy the challenge. It's getting harder and harder for me to knit "plain" socks anymore (socks without a lace pattern or something challenging). I guess this is a good thing showing my advancement in knitting, but, kind of excludes lots of patterns to knit!

Been watching the Olympics alot this weekend, and it seems like the faster and more exciting they swim, the faster I knit. I should get alot done in the next 10 days - LOL!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Holiday Horse Show...

Ah, Fourth of July, BBQ's, Fireworks, Picnics, and Horse Show? Not necessarily what you think of - but, Bree rode in one on the 5th... It was the Grundy County Fair -

The GCF Grounds are small so they do not combine the county fair with the 4H fair (not enough room) and we usually do not get to go to this fair/show because in the past we have always been in Oklahoma City at the Appaloosa Youth World Show. This year since Bree has been working diligently on transitioning Tess to "running" we didn't want to confuse the mare by making her trot at the Worlds.

So, we instead went to the County Fair and she got the chance to "debut" Tess running. Bree likes to run - she has that need for speed. Tess LOVES to run. I am amazed how much this mare who you would NOT think has gas - has the gas! The thing I like best is that she is NOT one of those horses that when it goes in the gate gets all "antsy-dancey" or hyper or uncontrollable - calmly walks in, calmly walks out and when out and Bree stops her, promptly goes to sleep and stands nice and still.

The entry fees for the classes were steep ($20 per) and payouts were 1st place 50 and then decrease by $5 out to 8th place. They only had ONE Youth class (18 and under) and that was barrels. I didn't have high hopes being that on this first show 'venture' running against adults, that placing was going to occur.

What can I say. I was wrong. Bree participated in 3 "team" events (Pony Express 2x - 2 different partners) and the Toilet Paper race (not the typical tp race - a timed event doing a lap around a barrel as fast as you can without breaking the tp)

Drumroll please.... The results:

Not the most perfect of form on barrel no 2 but a cool picture!

I love the look and focus and concentration on her face in this picture coming home and giving Tess the "gas" signal!

She placed 4th in Barrels in the 18 and under!

The next event is the Pony Express which is a team ride - the first rider holds the 'baton' - in this case a rolled up towel with tape around it and runs a lap around the arena as fast as they can and then they have to hand off (within a designated stretch) the 'baton' to the next rider who does the same thing. Bree rode in this class twice - Once with Skeeter (barn owner) and the other with Madison another gal from the barn. Bree and Skeeter placed FIRST and Bree and Madison placed third - ALMOST 2nd. Their time was 29.65 - second place was 29.6

4 Again against all riders!

There was also the typical "Bribe Your Horse" class - which we knew Bree had better run as fast she could as her mare is a chow hound... No issues with her chasing food! The "sad" part was that they had just for this show put 5 loads of SAND in the arena and it was over your ankle deep - the kids could hardly get thru it - but it was funny to watch... The Chow Hound and the kid took 2nd....

Can you all read Tess' mind? It goes something like this, "Give me the food, food I say, I'll run you over to get the food, give me the "dang" food!!!" hahaha

Ok - Now I just LOVE this picture... It's like one of those where you have to play - "find the 'x' in the picture" - In this one, it is "find the KID" in the picture..

Poles we had a touch of an issue - Tess has decided that when going down the lane toward the end pole on the opening stretch that to save time she is going to try to dart between the LAST 2 end poles instead of turning around the actual end pole - silly mare - but she's trying to get a better time - so who can fault her? Yea, right. Anyway - so they took 8th with Bree having to correct her on that - but, still in the money..

The other team event was the speed toilet paper race - in the past this was more like a pleasure class whereby 2 people hold opposite ends of a strip of tp and walk, jog, pleasure horse lope, etc.. until some break their strip and the one team left wins - but this time you had to race down and around the barrel and back with your team member without breaking the strip of tp! Bree and Skeeter competed in this race together and took 3rd.

Somehow I missed getting a photo of Bree in the Keyhole event - and she took 5th. It was good to see that even running Tess can put the breaks on to make a turn like that!

It was a great first outing for the two of them.. They brought home a $232 paycheck and after entry fees - Bree netted $125 - That was REALLY cool! I think they are going to make a great running team with some fine tuning and time!

Monday, August 4, 2008

The week between the horse show and July 4th

So, it was a quiet weekend - ok, not quiet but more quiet... We were getting prepared for a July 5th speed show - the first show that Bree was going to be running Tess.

So, I tried to get caught up on my knitting endeavors. The gals and I (Jill, Becky, Lisa, Val and I) went to the big sale at "The Fold" - a cool knitting and SPINNING store out in Marengo. About an hour plus away. Since they were having their sale, I contacted the owner and killed two birds with one stone. We took a "drop-spindle" class and then shopped and took advantage of the sale.

A drop-spindle is a hand held twirly (think of the old-fashioned tops that you spin on the floor) all decorated and made from cool different types of wood. You use roving (raw animal fiber) and attach it to the hook on the spindle and spin the top with one hand and hold the roving in the other to make yarn. If you spin it "thick", then you have a one ply yarn and if you make it really thin, then you make several of them and twist them together to make a plied yarn (lots of sock yarn is either 2 or 3 ply).

So, I like sock yarn, yes I do - so I practiced the thin. It's hard to do with my shoulder as I hold the spindle with my right hand to spin and use my left arm to hold the roving and spread it thin to get really fine yarn. My left arm is the 'bad' one and it just aches after a while. But, I do like doing it - yea, like I need ANOTHER addiction. A forsee a regular spinning wheel in my future. I've actually found internet plans for my oh so woodworking Dad to maybe make.. LOL! Something else for him to shake his head at me about!!! (More about spinning wheels in the future!)

So, bought the spindle and the roving and only played with it once since (something you need to take time to do and I'll do more when Bree is back in school) -

Lisa has taken off on hers - she's an over-achiever for sure!

Also, we shopped. I picked up this yarn called "knitters without borders" and basically a percentage of the cost of the yarn is used for charity. So, by purchasing it I helped someone. I knit the new pattern called "Spring Forward" by Linda Welch with it. The yarn is made by Socks That Rock. Unfortunately, the pattern doesn't show too well - but, I think the color striping is way cool.

I haven't used anything close in this colorway - it is pretty cool and it was a pretty easy "knit" - I like them, they're comfy!

I'll have to take a picture of my spindle and what I've spun so far for a future post!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

First Horse Show of the Season...

The weekend after we were home from Wisconsin Dells and after I finished my socks.. Bree was invited to show with my most favorite horse trainer (specifically pleasure horses) in the whole world!

Back in the fall, Bree and I took my friend, Stacy, (not "vet" stacey - but trainer stacy- notice the difference in the spellings of their name.. LOL) - to a sale in Veedersburg, IN (just across the IL line from Danville, IL). I have been to other sales with Stacy and she just has this "knack" - for lack of better word - of picking out young diamonds in the rough (horses that is) - She has done it many times and makes them into these phenomenal, wonderful western and english pleasure horses!

Well, there was this Appaloosa. He was a youngster - probably 3 or 4, poor thing had been hauled probably from sale to sale. He was SKINNY with a capital SKINNY, he was beat up from being trailered, and he was spotted! (Stacy has a soft spot for Appaloosas). He was sweet, kind and she just saw a light in him that no one else noticed. She liked the way he "moved", she liked the way he "carried" himself. She just "liked" him. She bought him for nearly nothing. That was in September.

In the fall and into the winter she worked with him some, but mainly gave him some needed and deserved TLC and lots of food. She STILL liked him!

Towards the end of April this year, she started training him and working with him and took him to a show or two just to see how he would react, get him worldly, and in general give him a test ride. She liked him even more!

So, she asked if Bree would like to show him in June. Well, that's like asking if a horse likes apples. OF COURSE!!!!

Since we have not shown WP and EP (western and english pleasure) in several years - Stacy fit Bree up with all her show needs: Chaps, shirt, saddle, english attire right down to the boots - Stacy is a "wee" thing and Bree fit into all her goods nicely. Bree practiced with Kelo for several days before the show and the day of the show she practiced some more...

And... And... Introducing Bree and Kelo

This is Bree and Kelo riding in the Youth class to which she WON the class! It was so cool. She won a payout of $8.40 for her placing - which even paid for her class. Don't they look good together?

I love this picture of them walking out to get their prize after winning the class - the way she is looking at Kelo just sums up what a fantastic job Stacy has done with him and what a great horse he is..

And can you say "happy kid" - this was toward the end of the day - she did NOT want to get down.. LOL! She asked repeatedly if we could "buy" him... Smart kid!

The next 2 classes are English classes. She took 2nd in both (behind an Arabian who goes more typically english - which is ok)

Look at the nice extension in his legs - can you say "wow"! For a 3 or 4 year old, not cared for diamond in the rough... "wow"!

Look at the little effort it takes to ride him.

And a gratitious shot of the super person who made all this possible - Miss Stacy...

Thanks Stacy for a great show and more in the future!!!!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

I have found that I .....

I have found that I can knit in the car. This is HUGE, BIG, GI-NORMOUS... Because I am probably one of the most car sick type of people out there.. I cannot even read a MAP while driving... So, imagine my amazement when I found I can knit while in a car (and to clarify - I DON'T mean when I'm driving... LOL)

But, here's the PROBLEM... I seem to be the one doing the driving.. So, even though I CAN knit in a car, I don't get the chance.. bummer..

I have knit this summer - socks, socks and more socks.. who doesn't need socks? One might get a hole in it and then the other is either relegated to the back of the drawer to someday possibly get matched up with another loner or it gets tossed because it is one of a kind.. So, by knitting socks.. I'm making sure come fall/winter/spring I have every color, kind, yarn, pattern, etc.. of socks available to me..

One of my knitting group friends, Joy, asked me just how many socks I have knit for myself... Umm.. I counted. 8 or 9 - that's not too many - one per day with an extra (or two) - what's wrong with that? I do knit lots of "footie" socks for Bree - as she doesn't like the taller ones - but, being that her foot is nearly as big as mine now (in length - not girth), she has been known to steal my socks on the needles and claim them as her own..

It's hard to knit socks for others who do not live "closeby" to try on.. I did a pair for my brother for last Christmas - but, had him around when I started them to get a feel for sizing.

I know - I think I should create a "plaster mold" to sell to have someone who you want to knit socks for use for a model of their foot. I'll be RICH I tell you RICH! hahahaa

So, I did finish these: I LOVE them.. one of my favorites - both in yarn and pattern - (unfinished picture is in a previous blog post) and then when we were in Wisc Dells - I wanted to have some knitting with me that wasn't real complicated that I could just toodle away on - so I made myself a pair of the sorbet coolers (like those I make for Bree) - just a tad taller up on the ankle..

Waving Lace by Evelyn Clark and Jen's Knitting Like Crazy - Crazy Soft yarn...

And my Sorbet Coolers - using Knit 1, Crochet 2 Soxx Appeal which I really, really, really, like this yarn - with the wool and a touch of elastic - it is actually nicer to work with than the fixation (in my opinion) and softer I do believe - at least that's what my feet tell me...

Thanks to my model, Miss Bree, for use of her legs while photographing all the neat socks!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Summer in Review...

I feel like I am writing the typical back to school, "What I did on my summer vacation" paper.. LOL.. So, instead of trying to jam what seems like a year into one blog post - I'm going to do one a day until I get caught up.. Then again there might be some "random" musings along the way as well..

Bree got out of school on June 7th (I think - seems like years ago - hhahahaha)

There was alot of rain here in June - a ton, so much in fact, that the Tommy Bartlett water show lake was completely wiped out when the road bordering it gave out and drained the lake everywhere else than where it was supposed to be. Those poor people. I didn't know until the news reports that that lake was a man-made one -and thus was going to take a long time to basically rebuild. It is also the same lake that the Wisconsin Dells "Ducks" uses. Why is this all important and what does this have to do with our summer in review?

Well, because. Bree and I were invited by one of her friends along with another Mom and her twin girls to go to the Chula Vista Waterpark at the Wisconsin Dells 5 days later - free of charge. (Dad got free passes for rooms, park fees, etc..) What a nice thing to share.

So, 3 Moms and 4 Girls (all who just finished 4th grade) headed for the flooded area of the Wisconsin Dells.

We had a great time, the water park was fun and very nice. The rooms were spacious and well kept. The company was great too! Us Moms floated around the lazy river and Kathy (the host Mom) and I went down a giant drop slide - it was fun. (Lisa - the other Mom took some pics - but I don't have those to PROVE I did it) - And then Kathy and Bree (the bravest ones) went down this bizarre, U-shaped waterslide that dropped you down one side - and you went up the other side, back down BACKWARDS, and so on and so forth (kind of like those U-shaped skate board ramps) - I thought they were going to die from screaming. They only did that ONCE.

We didn't get to ride the Ducks, but, still had a great time!

We were planning to check out on the last day and spend the afternoon at the waterpark before heading home, but, I spotted in the newspaper some possible road closings (as in the one we would be driving to come home) and did some research and sure enough so much rain was falling (we didn't realize being indoors) that the I-94 main Hwy was being threatened.

So, we changed our plans and headed out earlier. We hit 2 MAJOR rain, thunder, wind storms and then pulled off to refuel - and just as we were walking into the gas station they were telling us the radio had just announced the road being closed - 15 minutes PAST where we had just come thru. Whew... (I had my big rig so wasn't worried too much - but Lisa had her van and that could have been trouble)

Then we hit another REALLY nasty storm at Rockford and finally made it back home. It was amazing that there was a 30 degree difference in temperatur (hotter) in roughly a 2-1/2 hour drive.

This is a picture of the girls.... near our patio at the resort. In the evenings at the resort they do a campfire where you can roast marshmallows and make smores - YUM!

So, that was the first week of summer vaca.