It’s the Little Things.


(Many of you are asking me if I’m OK and where have I been – thank you for caring!  The only power I’m going to give to this is to say that some entities are doing their best to take the joy out of Horse and Man for me (the blog, not the fund-raising Foundation).  The blog is supposed to be a fun thing that I do…  I’m waiting to see where it all settles.).

Sometimes, it is especially important to notice all the good.


You might have heard about the atmospheric river headed towards California… well, actually, as I write this, the atmospheric river has descended upon us.  I can hear it and feel it quite clearly.

Now I know that California doesn’t see the weather that the Midwest or back East sees during this time of year… so, don’t think we are complaining when we mention the flooding, electric outages and mudslides that are soon to happen – .  Nowadays, no matter what the rain causes in CA, we simply all reply, “Not complaining, we needed it”.

Having said that, this afternoon, I did run around to make sure that everyone had lots of dry food, all the covered areas were secure and dry… and that the barn sump pump was functioning.  (The barn was constructed directly in line with all the downhill water flow from every acre in Grass Valley – or so it seems – , so all the water flows directly into the barn.)

As I was doing this, I had so many happy little thoughts, I wanted to share.

Atmospheric River mud. I’m not complaining, just letting Mo demonstrate what water does to dirt.

Here is Finn, who looks like a ghost for some reason in this photo… this is what water does to a photograph taken through a wet window during a rainstorm.


First, if you have never heard the sound of horses eating contentedly, go have a listen.  In fact, I’m always surprised that “horses eating contentedly” isn’t one of those SLEEP SOUNDS listed on your nighttime app.  I love this sound and the comfort it creates.  To have all these equines here, chewing simultaneously (and emitting happy sounds), I feel very fortunate.  So, as I was running around, dodging rain drops the size of golf balls and totally soaked – hair stuck on my eyelashes and wet down my neck – I smile as I listen to them eat.

I feel very happy that they all have good food.  There was a time in Paso that the hay was very scarce… but here, there is plenty of quality hay.  Yes!

Oh, and the barn!  Having not had a barn for 6 years, I am constantly happy about the barn.  For me, having a place to put a sick horse or a new horse or a scared horse – is the BEST.  Also, a hay storage room (OMG what a treat!) and a feed room … stalls… all of it.  I am very grateful.  The days of tarping. hay. are. over.  I say “Hallelujah” with extreme gusto here.

It isn’t the most glamorous barn, but it is perfect for what I need. It is rigged just right and I LOVE IT. For this, I am very grateful. –This is Mo, totally drenched, wondering if his dinner is ready yet. He refuses to come in one second before he has to…

And the trees…  Having not had any trees at the Paso house, having so many trees here, is a blessing.  Of course, the entire town is fearful of downed trees right now with this storm.  PGE has been patrolling the area, looking for any tree they can cut away from their lines…  But for me, a downed tree can take out a fence, but if a tree does come down and makes a mess, what once provided shade, now provides shelter and firewood.  Another gratitude.

We have so many trees here and I am grateful.

Water… as I was filling the troughs this afternoon –  in case the power goes out – I was very thankful for all this water.  Some of you might remember that the well at our Paso house was great when we purchased it, but just 5 years in, the wine industry had sucked the aquifers dry and we had to drill a new well.  So, I’m very grateful that we have water (and more brought in tonight and every day for the next 7 days through this very hearty atmospheric river).

As I was feeding, I noted my ridiculous dogs running and barking… and although I miss my Scoutypants like crazy, these dogs are entertaining.  I’ve never had amusing dogs… I usually have guard dogs like Scouty.  But it just so happened that now we have these goofy, long-lived, totally safe and joyful mutts.  I miss having a big, lazy protection dog – but these two are hilarious.

Natty is a GSP/McNabb Lab. He is joyous at all times. He is the happiest dog on earth. –Vivey is neurotic and manipulative and soulful – and can get to the front gate in about 3 seconds. She is Treeing Coon Hound and pitbull – and looks like neither.

Which brings me to the visitor I had today… The tree evaluation guy from PGE walked right onto the property, ushered in by my non-protection dogs.  He came to the front door to talk about the trees that needed to be cut, which is a sore subject for me.  The crews have been cutting any and every tree within very wide perimeters (indiscriminately and with total power to do so – grrrr!) since the huge wild fires that took out the town of Paradise a few years back. Evidently, PGE lost a huge lawsuit so now all trees that even wink at a power line here, have to come down.  It is very sad to see big, sturdy, not even leaning near a PGE wire, come down.  But, I am thankful for this guy who took the time to explain why each tree had to go.

During my chat with the PGE guy, we were leaning on the fence which neither of us noticed was FULL of ants on a very busy ant highway.  We both jumped back at the same time and started swatting!  Luckily, I was only bitten three times and had the right kind of salve to take away the sting.  Another grateful moment.

I am thrilled that I have all of this good land so I can let some horses roam free – get into fights with friends they’ve had all their lives (eye roll) and then land in detention – glad I have a detention paddock.  I have the space and the room and I LOVE this. I’m thankful for the fencing and the land.

And, as I type this, a tiny spider came gliding down from the wood beam above my head.  Luckily, as I watched him descend, he slid right onto the side of my keyboard.  I scooped him up and put him on a houseplant.  Why didn’t I dispatch him?  Well, I don’t believe in taking the life of anything I cannot resurrect.  Don’t wreck something you can’t fix… .   And I’ve been watching the IG channel of Tiana The Bug Lady who has made me see spiders differently. Also, Howie the Crab.  Clearly a crab is a spider from the ocean… Anyway, I’m thankful for what I’ve learned.

Finally, as I walked into the house this evening, I’m thankful for the roof over my head while it epically rains here, I’m thankful for the firewood from all of the downed trees, I’m thankful for the dogs at my feet, the food in my refrigerator, and for YOU ALL who so kindly have been asking me where I’ve been.

Although sometimes big things get in my way… it is the little things that matter.

As the atmospheric river slams into CA, I am thankful that I have lots of (wet) oak wood to burn in my wood stove… We are all warm, fed and contented. Thank YOU for caring about us.


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4 comments have been posted...

  1. Kathy A Johnson

    Enjoyed this post so much, and I agree that horses eating contentedly should be in sleep sounds. I’ve taken a couple of videos on my phone of my horse eating, just because I love that sound!

    Also feel the same way about PG & E and trees. My mom passed away last year, and while we were in the process of preparing her property for sale, I got a call from the landscaper to ask what I wanted done with all the wood from the GIANT oak tree in the front yard! Apparently, PG & E had come and chopped it down. It broke my heart because I loved that tree, and I had had no warning that the chopping down was taking place (probably because they tried to notify my mom who, for obvious reasons, had been unable to respond!). Fortunately, a neighbor wanted the wood, and I didn’t have to pay to have it removed.

  2. Joanne Stefanyshyn

    Thank you for this wonderful, thoughtful post and accompanying pics. I understand perfectly the disruption and angst caused by the cyber-issues you’re experiencing, so please do not feel pressured to try and get back to the “way things used to be.” Massive change is upon us.

  3. Bunny

    The two reasons I do not have a blog about country life in western Oregn, despite repeated requests to do so, are the relentless onslaught of “technical difficulties” that overwhelm most bloggers; even worse, the terrifying level of cyber attackers, causing many in the blogosphere to just plain quit. I am hoping you are not subjected to either one. I cannot even begin to understand what is going on in the world in general and the USA in particular and believe me, I’ve tried to get at the root of what I have started to think of as cyberterrorism.

    I really enjoy your blog and hope you are able to continue, but I would understand if you decide to follow a different path. Privacy — and especially safety, particularly for your four-legged family — are paramount.

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