Wednesday, March 30, 2011

It's Baaaackk!

Winter. Really thought we were heading into spring two weeks ago. Glorious warm sunny days then we got slammed last week by a huge storm system with hurricane gale winds and a cold front following. Been cold ever since. We had snow cover on Sunday morning and freezing rain this morning. The bright yellow daffodils that tried to bloom over the warm spell are wilted and look very sad this morning. In this neck of the woods, we're usually into Spring by this date. I console my humdrums by telling myself this too shall pass...eventually.

March has felt like a long month. I was in a routine of posting something every Wednesday but then got off schedule from one event (dr appts) or another and just let March roll on by me.

On March 6 I officially passed into my 5th decade. This fifty thing has been more on my mind than any other decade I've crossed into, except for my twenties, for different reasons. In my twenties I was in love with life, and my future husband, and the future it all held. At fifty, well, I seem to look back more than forward lately. That's not the way I want to be but guess it's just the transition. It's really hard for me to say yes, I'm fifty and I've never been shy about my age, except for this time around. 

Those thoughts aside my family gave me a memorable pizza party. I had emailed my sons that I didn't expect them to drive here for my birthday, I was fine with it, letting them know Hubby and I would probably just go out to eat somewhere. Well, #1 son, who lives about an hour north of us, wasn't satisfied. He called me and said it was my fiftieth birthday he thought there should be a celebration. So, bless his heart, he called his brother, who lives in KY, and they made plans to get home for the day. I didn't want to go out to a restaurant just wanted a good pizza, #1 son insisted on bringing a birthday cake, and stay at home to enjoy good company with Hubby,my mom, our sons and their ladies. Best fiftieth birthday ever!

The animals have officially made it through winter in my book. The horses have started shedding although with the cold temperatures I'm glad they didn't really start shedding out until last week. The farrier came at the beginning of the month and everything was great with their hooves. The mud, of course, remains, but I see green of grass out in the fields. Buddy, our cat, doesn't seem to be bouncing back from his steroid injections for feline asthma as quickly. The injection isn't lasting as long as it once did. I'm not sure what our next step is but the vet says he'll continue with the injections as long as needed. I've been taking Buddy once a month. Maggie and Lucy, our dogs, are probably wondering what happened to Spring, well, if they thought like that, but we all know they're just in the moment. Sometimes I wish I could just live in the moment too but I have a responsibility gene which drives me to plan ahead and at least have some idea of what I need to accomplish during my day.

Looking forward to drier and warmer days. They surely have to come some time soon...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Book Review: The Dark Horse, A Walt Longmire Mystery by Craig Johnson

Amazon recommended this author because I read the Joe Pickett series by C J Box. Plus, I think it was recommended due to the variety of horse books I've ordered both fiction and non. I took a chance and was pleasantly surprised.

I looked over Craig Johnson's previous titles in the series and decided to start with this one because horses were part of the main story. The Dark Horse is number five in the Walt Longmire series. I've had the book sitting in my "to read" pile for a few months. When I finally decided to pick it up I was glad I took the chance on this author.

Johnson's style is crisp and witty. Dialogue moves the story forward easily. His characters well defined. The action is just enough without being overdone or interfering with the main plot and sensationalizing the story. The story moves along in the present as Longmire is performing his undercover investigation, then, jumps back four days. At first I didn't think I liked that device because I'm a linear type of reader but after a while I liked the way the story evolved using the technique.

The inside flap reads: "Wade Basard, a man with a dubious past, locked his wife Mary's horses in their barn and then burned it down. In return she shot him in the head six times~or so the story goes."   

Walt Longmire, Absaroka County, Wyoming, sheriff, goes undercover to figure out what isn't quite right about the story.

While undercover as a presumed insurance investigator, Walt infiltrates the town locals, some trusting, some not. Most of the folks Walt talks to are not fond of Wade Basard in the first place. If Mary killed Wade, well then he deserved it. And, to lock her horses in the barn and set it on fire....he got what was coming to him in their eyes. But, the pieces don't fit together for Walt. Even though Mary confesses she did it and was found with the gun in her hands, Walt's gut feeling is that things are a little less cut and dried. 

Walt also discovers that Wade took Mary's prize mare, Wahoo Sue, out to the desert, presumed dead...

Johnson does an excellent job with the horse-man interactions but I don't want to spoil the whole story because Wahoo Sue plays a bigger role than you originally believe at first, so I'll just leave it by saying I let the scene slide because over all it added suspense. It also added to Walt Longmire's character.

One of my favorite conversations occurred as the old cowboy Hershel, Benjamin, the boy from town, and Walt, were saddling up their horses for a trail ride outside of town:

The old cowboy Hershel, "You know what they say about a horse bein' only afraid of two things?"

Walt, "What's that?"

Hershel, "Things that move and things that don't"

Walt also has his loyal companion Dog who is always with him. Dog is apparently of unknown breeding somewhere between a German Shepherd and a St. Bernard. I'm looking forward to getting the first four books in this series so I can see how Walt evolves.

I highly recommend this book and I gave it my top rating of four ****.