Friday, January 20, 2012


I'm honest about the fact that January is my least favorite month. It's long, well, feels longer than the other months. It's dreary and cold where I live, though this year has been oddly warm and snowless. I find myself depressed because I'm on a wind down from the holidays and I tend toward SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). While my goal for 2012 is to have a positive spin, gosh, January tests me every year.

Right now, I'm thrilled to be past the midway point. I can see the light at the end of January. People around here are saying winter is passing us over this year with temps up and down from 20's to 50's. There's still plenty of time for winter weather, I'm not falling into that frame of mind. 

To ease my dismal mood, I called my horse-friend. I hadn't talked to her in a few months. We've been friends for the past eight years, met when we were both working at a riding stable. Horses, and our animals, are our common denominator but we have other things in common too.We can pass an hour, easily, talking about our horses and animals. She tends to feel the same way I do in January, bluh. We talked about attending Equine Affaire in April. The crazy things our horses did the past few months. Information either of us may have acquired concerning horses, new trends, new clinicians, new ways of using our time with our horses. It's a good "visit" when you come away smiling and January doesn't feel so darn gray.

So, if you're like me and suffer from January-itis,the best advice I'd give is to find those things that make you forget how long January can feel. The things I've done include: phoned a friend, groomed my horses, watched the squirrels and birds take advantage of the buffet I've provided, taken short walks with my dogs outside, read an uplifting book, watched an uplifting movie or TV program (if you can find one). Also, remember, January is only thirty one days and by March, it will be a memory. 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

GMC's Heartland

Last year I stumbled upon a really cool television show, Heartland, on GMC. GMC is the Gospel Music Channel, but there are family oriented TV shows on the network, it's not all gospel music. I am very picky about the TV shows I watch and there aren't very many that interest me. I am so thrilled to have found Heartland! I look forward to the airing on Thursday nights at 9pmEST. There's also an encore at 10pm EST. The show is well made, well written, and well acted. The stories are believable, realistic and visually captivating at times. The series was made a few years ago and GMC is currently showing Season 2.

The TV series, Heartland, is based on the book series of the same name by Lauren Brooke. I've not read the books. Amazon notes that the books are for ages 9 and up. Well, let me tell you, this 50 year old girl is hooked! Even my husband has been watching it! There is something for everyone in the characters and the storylines.

The series began, and I don't think I'm spoiling anything, as Amy, the young heroine, and her mom, are trying to rescue what they believe is an abused horse.On the way home, with horse, Spartan, in the trailer, there's an accident. Amy's mom is killed. Spartan is traumatized. Amy blames herself for her mom's death because she begged her mom to go after the horse. Amy wrestles with the "if only" and eventually starts working to bring Spartan out of his trauma to ease her own pain. 

Amy's mom is a well known horse trainer/horse whisperer, and believed Amy had the gift for horse training/whispering as well. Amy had never trained horses on her own, always with her mom's guidance. The story moves on as various characters are introduced. Grandpa, the gruff, no nonsense cowboy who realizes ranch life is changing, but longs for the old days. Lou,the older sister who gave up a high profile job in New York to help out at the ranch after the tragedy. Will she stay? Will she go back to New York? Mallory, the sweet neighbor girl who sometimes gets in the way but means well. Ty the handsome, bad boy, trying to make right his past wrongs by working at the ranch. He's not so good at horseback riding and no one lets him forget it. As the seasons roll on, more characters emerge. Lou and Amy's father, Tim, a rodeo star who's trying to connect with his daughters again, decides to settle down close by. Ashley, the rich girl who's mom owns the local riding facility. Kit, the barrel racing gal who tends to come between Amy and Kyle because neither one of them want to admit they have feelings for each other. Caleb, the aspiring rodeo bronc rider who decides Amy is worth his time, but just can't quite keep from lying to her.
The horses are always a centerpiece of the story, in some way, which I love.The show was done intelligently. It's respectful but not sappy. It's clean without being preachy. The young people are up against various trials like most teens and find ways to work it out. They get into trouble but the consequences are always dealt with in an appropriate way.

There aren't many TV shows worthy of praise these days but I give the highest marks to Heartland. If you can't get the the TV show, the DVD's are available at as is the book series.

album promo image for Heartland

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Wildlife Rescue

Yesterday I heard the telltale thud against the back sliding glass window. Sure enough, there lay a pitiful bright red cardinal on the porch floor. Head turned backwards and not moving. Didn't look good. I hurried to get a pair of gloves and a towel. If the little guy didn't die instantly, I may be able to keep him warm until he revived himself. I've been through this before. I've learned if the bird has any chance, and is only stunned from the impact, thirty minutes to one hour will tell the tale.

The temperature outside was a very cold 20 degrees and the wind was chilling. I decided I'd place the little guy in a cardboard shoe box I found in the closet. A new pair of shoes that didn't fit anyway. I'd place him in the box, wrapped gently in the towel, in the back room of the house and close the door. Buddy, the cat, was asleep in the bedroom at the other end of the house and hadn't moved an inch so I wouldn't have to worry about him. I'd check on the cardinal every ten minutes. Before placing the cardinal in the box, I held his fragile body in my gloved hands. I could feel the life still there. His tiny heart beating and I could see he was still breathing. I was encouraged with this one.

On Saturday, a Red Bellied Woodpecker met the same fate, but he didn't fare as well. I got to him in the same amount of time but no heartbeat. Nothing. He was still. I held him in my gloved hand, lightly wrapped in a towel, for quite some time but it was clear, he'd passed on quickly. I quietly took him down by the creek, laid him underneath the giant white pines and in a bed of pine needles. Covered him over and let nature have him back. As I stood there admiring the bright stripe of red on his head, I wondered how many other people would bother? Probably not many, but we have a rule around here, we respect wildlife in death and life. If we can help we do. He was a gorgeous bird and his final fate saddened me. I felt responsible because he slammed into the glass door, but realistically, I know it wasn't my fault. My husband said he'd noticed two RBW flying around like they were arguing over territory a little while before the crash.One of them won the battle, one of them didn't.

So, I was hoping the little cardinal's fate would be better. I checked the box about every ten minutes. By about the third check the cardinal had set himself in the towel like he was nesting,which I found as a good sign. I closed up the top of the box and waited for the next check. 

When I checked the fourth time, he moved his head when I opened up the box. I didn't want to disturb him too much, we were on the hour countdown. As noted, if he wasn't up and flying within the next 15-20 minutes, he probably wasn't going to be. 

The last time I checked on him he seemed alert. I then decided to move the box outside, open it up and if he was going to survive, he'd soon take off. He sat on the towel, inside the box for a while longer. I checked on him a couple of times. I figure he could hear the other birds, see them flitting by above him. Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer and with my gloved hand I gently went under him. Surprise, he jumped on my hand. Now I realize this is a wild bird, he has no clue I'm trying to help him. I remained calm, lifted my hand up slowly to the railing of the deck thinking he might choose to perch on something solid. Within a few seconds, he flapped his wings and flew off to the trees. My wildlife rescue a success this time around.

Both of the cardinal photos courtesy of JJS (aka my photographer husband)