The Hill Has Eyes

zombie-flamingo

October Changes To an Innocent Pink Flamingo

I was the last one left awake inside the darkened house. On my way to bed, I entered the kitchen. An almost full moon cast enough glow in the back pasture that as I passed the patio doors, horse silhouettes on the hilltop came into view.

Their poses stopped me mid-stride. Staggered in line, they stood all facing the same direction with their heads held high, ears pointed forward.

I mimicked their stillness. Each beat of my heart came faster than the last as I waited for them to return to grazing. I knew what their actions meant when they didn’t. Something or someone was up there.

Should I wake my husband? No, I could handle this. On tip-toes, I jogged to the back door. I grabbed a flashlight, slipped my bare feet into cowboy boots, and covered my knee-length satin nightie with a quilted flannel barn shirt.

The yard lights were already off and I didn’t touch the switch. Outside the flashlight remained dark in my hand. My goal wasn’t to scare away, what or who, intrigued the horses. I had a hunch about the goings on up there and hence a plan in mind.

Again I tip-toed, this time across the backyard. My caution worked, the horses interest never diverted my way. When the barn became a barrier between me and them my pace quickened. Now, only the hill remained an obstacle, and if I stayed low and quiet, I should make it without drawing attention.

The closer I got to the top, voices became louder and clearer in a hushed yet understandable two person conversation. Although odd for the situation, it was laced with barely contained laughter and giggles. I had figured right. I knew these culprits and what they were doing.

Familiar with the surroundings, I crept forward unseen. I waited and listened getting a sense of the person’s whereabouts.

When they sounded near, I sprung from my crouch behind a fallen tree with a roar loud enough that the snoopy horses spun and fled down the hill.

Caught in the act of innocent revenge, two of my best girlfriends almost dropped to their knees with startled screams followed by muttered curses.

On this late Saturday in October, the husband and I had arranged for these two besties to do our evening chores under the pretence we would be away. When in actuality we spent hours staging the barn as a haunt in favor of Halloween’s approach.

We strung rubber bats in the darkened paths to light switches. Rubber mice and snakes got placed and positioned in or on things they needed for feeding the hay and grain.

Dressed in dark coveralls, the husband and I hid concealed by the water-tank behind the barn. From there we heard them encounter our gags and props, and their squeals and comments entertained us. The most fulfilling reaction happened when they slid the back door into the hay shed open. We had a stuffed bedsheet rigged to fly at them like a ghost and the shrieks that caused made our efforts worthwhile.

To have this plan work, our truck had to be off the yard. That afternoon the husband had driven it up a steep trail and parked it in the bush by the back pasture. We figured it could stay the night there and so we planned to retrieve it the next day.

Knowing my girlfriends, when I saw the horses acting strange and watching something, I guessed they had figured out where the truck was.

When I jumped out and interrupted them, it already had balloons tied to the mirrors and streamer decorated bumpers. The toilet paper wrapping had just begun.

I’m uncertain how long the three of us exchanged stories, laughed and visited that night on the hill, but the sun rose not long after I went to bed.

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Halloween for me, brings on fond memories like this, of fun times with family and friends.

With our young children, we did the traditional, dressing-up, decorating the yard, and door to door “Treat or Treating.” Although, being in the country meant we drove them house to house. Often a couple dads or moms rode together while the spouses stayed home and handed out treats. A get together at one of their homes afterwards usually followed.

Once our daughter and son got older, we traveled into the city for “Fright Night” at Fort Edmonton Park. Either our kids brought along friends or we met the oldest daughter, her husband and their children there.

Actors and volunteers haunted the historic buildings and sites with different levels of intensity. They handed out treats to the little ones, and had activities scattered within the park. We enjoyed hay rides, blazing bonfires and hot chocolate which warmed our chilled bodies. It was always a great time.

As a family we loved dressing-up for Halloween. It took weeks to plan and put together costumes and often we had themes for the night in the city. Here are a couple.

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From “Tombstone” the Earp’s & Doc Holiday

wizard-of-oz-halloween From “The Wizard of Oz”

Have you ever decorated a homemade haunted house or yard?

Or Have you been through one?

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Swinging With a Changing Family

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Family, a treasure in Life.

These family dynamics might confuse you at first, but I will explain.

  • Our son’s niece is six weeks older than he is.
  • The oldest daughter was pregnant with her first child when I was pregnant with our second.
  • The age between our daughters is greater than between the oldest daughter and myself.
  • I’m the same age as my son-in-law.
  • I have Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren, yet I’m not a senior by government age standards.

I’m sure you’ve begun to figure it out. My husband has a daughter from a previous marriage. We are a blended family, nothing uncommon there.

Why I wrote this post is the fifteen years between my husband and I, and how that sometimes brings confusion to a story.

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Generations, close in age means fun times together

I won’t use their names in stories so here’s a brief, who is who, and how I will refer to them in future posts. For instance, I will call my husband, “Mister.”

  • Mister’s daughter, (my stepdaughter, but I have never liked that impersonal label) will be “the Oldest or Oldest Daughter.”
  • Mine and Mister’s daughter will be, “Our Daughter or Youngest Daughter.”
  • Our son being there is only one has his title sewn up.
  • The Granddaughters I’ll number, oldest being GD 1. She’ll love that title, but girls you’re all number 1 with us. (Technically, they are my step-grandchildren, but I have never and will never consider them anything but ours.)
  • Our one Grandson makes that simple.
  • We have three Great-Grandchildren (GGC’s) so far and I’ll number them as they came into our lives.
  • When I speak of a adopted son or daughter, it’s an endearment not a legal scenario. These two children, adults now, and their mother have been entwined in our family for near thirty years. They are too special for the title of friends so we refer to them as adopted. Their dear Mother, who we greatly miss since her recent passing, was often jokingly referred to as, Misters Other wife.
  • Our cute four-legged Grand animals have given me permission to use their names.

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Some of the Grandchildren having fun with their Aunt and Uncle (I keep telling them they need to try this now that they’re in their twenties & thirties.) 

Over the years a couple minor hurdles have presented themselves, but the closeness and good times our family enjoys is worth every gray hair and smile line.

Often strangers have had comical responses to our age difference. I’ll share one reaction that we still joke about.

A towering male opened one of the heavy doors with thick glass covered mesh windows. He paused while two younger females with him entered. One hung back a step, her stride slow and hesitant.

Inside they faced a long, vacant and quiet hallway. When the three started walking the man’s cowboy boot heels clicked on the polished floors and two sets of squeaking sneakers joined in.

The two females shared a glance and actually giggled at the odd, rhythmic loudness.

They turned into the room marked “Office” and stepped to the reception desk in time for their scheduled appointment.

A smiling elderly woman led the trio to an inner office and gestured to three chairs. Behind the desk a man in a suit rose from his chair. Before they sat, the high-school principal shook the male newcomer’s hand.

“So, Mr… are both your daughters here to register for school?”

Mr… pointed to one female and replied, “This is my wife, and this,” he pointed to the other, “is my daughter…”

The principal turned colourful shades of red. Speechless for seconds, he shifted his feet and adjusted his suit jacket. He then voiced an apology, and we all sat.

The interview began, and during it the principle never once made eye contact with me.

Conclusions like this never bothered us. Awkward stares are also common when all the family is together and eavedropper’s hear people being addressed by their titles. Like if, I answer to both Grandma and Mom when young adults, close in age, call to me.

My skin has thickened with time, and I learned to brush aside unjust assumptions and judgements strangers sometimes make as to why we are together. We are where we are today because of 38 years of love, hard work, and combined efforts.

Age is only a number. True, but changing with age is inevitable. We enjoy our days and years together and simply tackle new challenges as life brings them.

Have you experienced a blended family?

Have you experienced love with an age difference?

Derailed

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Sorry readers, but Monday’s scheduled post will be a couple days late.

Getting a shed expansion up, closed in and usable before the snow comes is priority for my husband and myself. I’m hands-on when it involves building, it’s one of my joys.

Every passing year though means tackling a chore like this needs more hours. Our bodies ache from the unusual and continuous activity, slowing us down, and at the end of the day there is no extra energy.

I’m not complaining, I’m happy we can still do this type of work and we are almost done.

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Sunrises Or Sunsets?

This or That Thursday is here again ! 

Which Do you Enjoy Most?

Join in the Fun, Put your preference in the Comment Box.

dsc01443          sunset-fence

Sunrises                         OR                        Sunsets

I love the beauty in both, but my favorite are Sunrises.

As I sit in the living room, coffee in hand, there is something special about witnessing the horizon come alive with color.

Yesterday, when I woke in darkness and waited for my coffee to brew a thought struck me. I wonder if I prefer sunrises because of habit and convenience? My chair faces a south, south-eastern wall of windows so it’s impossible not to notice and admire the brilliant display. Our patio doors and kitchen windows face west, yet I rarely catch the sunsets because they are at my back.

Now I’m curious, and I’m going to make a point of catching the sun setting. Maybe I’ll schedule washing dishes at that time because the view from the sink looks out over a pond.

I better clean windows and have a camera ready, I feel there’s going to be some picture taking done.

What is your preference?

Do you think location or memorable situations can sway the choice?

Let’s see which is more popular. Put a quick or explained response in the comment box.

The next regular Blog post will be Monday.

Branching Out

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The family tree has a new branch.

Early Wednesday, October 12, another Great Grandchild entered our world. A 8lb,15oz baby girl. We’re thankful both mother and child are healthy and well.

Even though she is the youngest Granddaughter’s first baby, this sweet little one already has a big/little brother waiting at home for her.

She’s a lucky girl, and her life is off to a great start by having a loving Mother, Father and Brother, not to mention the extended family all excited for their future together.

Congratulations to the proud parents.

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Family Time

thanksgivingWorking up an appetite

The weather remained warmer than usual. It was into October and snow had yet to appear. Pictured above is us years ago taking advantage of a pleasant fall day. It didn’t matter to the family what date was on the calendar. We worked, we laughed, we got the job done.

Spreading aged manure, turned fertilizer, may not be an average, Thanksgiving activity, but we were together and had fun. By days end we appreciated satiating our hunger by filling our belly’s with a tasty meal. What more could we wish for?

I have no classroom certificates stating I understand how a mind works, but I speak from life experience.

Goals and achievements vary as much as people themselves.

Focusing on your positives rather than envying what others appear to have, is a vital step toward happiness.

If you’re ever having a rough day, or feeling down, take a moment to list three things you are Thankful for. Don’t simply say the usual or big items, really think about your choices. Let’s say, you drive an old vehicle not the one you desire, you might say you can’t be thankful for the piece of junk. Well, if it’s getting you from place to place it deserves thanks.

If you don’t think the small things are important, the bigger things won’t be as valued either.

My mother always said, “Somewhere there’s someone who would love your cast-aways, no matter what shape they’re in.”

Here are three things I’m thankful for at this moment. The company I had this weekend. The hot coffee I’m enjoying this morning. My comfy chair faced where I can view the coming sunrise.

 

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Thanksgiving Supper

“Happy Thanksgiving” to everyone reading this.

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I’m fortunate and forever grateful for my family and friends.

Where The Heck?

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A spontaneous post of relief. We are not going crazy. Not yet anyway.

The situation started a couple days ago when the husband and I were building a shed base for an addition. It came time to cleanup for the day, and oh oh, did the keys just get locked inside the truck? No problem, right? We’ll grab the extra set.

A quick search of the key basket ended without success.

Now both sets of keys were missing. Peeking through the truck window we don’t see the first set. They must be on the ground somewhere.

We had to leave for a night away and both needed to get ready so he would scour the area where we worked while I took my shower.

A half hour later I had stuck my head out the door for a progress report. He snarled, “Would I still be looking if I’ve found them.” Okay, maybe it was a dumb question.

Then we heard a faint jingle. His jacket had an odd bulge. What the– The pocket lining had a hole and there between layers of cloth and stuffing we discovered the keys. Problem solved.

Not quite, where is the spare set?

We put the problem on hold until we returned home.

A new search began. Our cottage is not big, we head off in different directions to check all the logical places. Nothing. Well, darn it.

Maybe I left them in a previous purse I used? Nope.

With no luck, we’re stumped. Are we losing our minds?

Then he tells me there’s also a missing coat and thinks the keys are in one of its pockets. Neither of us can recall seeing that particular jacket all summer but a coat can’t disappear, this will be easier to find then a set of keys.

We dig through closets, nooks and crannies, the shed, trailer, the other vehicle, we’re defeated. Our mystery now involves two missing items.

It’s days later, the search is still ongoing. Again, we ask, are we losing our minds?

This morning in a text conversation, I mentioned our dilemma to the youngest daughter, maybe he left his coat at her place, I typed.

A miracle happened a short time later, she texted me back, she found the coat and keys!

What a relief.

Funny how all summer we hadn’t realized the keys or coat had gone missing and it’s also funny how once we knew it bothered us to no end, even though the items weren’t needed.

Passion or Simple Pleasure (Horses)

 

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Passion Started Young

Crossing the threshold into the building I inhale a long, slow breath through my nose. A hint of sweet alfalfa hay greets me first, then it mixes with a scent so unique, I can think of nothing to compare it to. This odor can cause people to crinkle or cover their noses with distaste, it makes my heart flutter with joy though. The smell of horses is refreshing, revitalizing, and overpowers my daily worries.

Moving deeper into the barn I enter the tack room. My nostrils twitch with delight at an added fragrance. Leather, some new but most aged and oiled. A rich homey scent that candle and cologne manufactures try to duplicate but in my opinion they never quite succeed.

The sight of work worn saddles always triggers my admiration but in this room it’s reflection that causes me to pause. I know by experience the number of hours, days, even years it took to get them broke-in to their current comfortable state. A few, I’ve owned for over forty years. Fond memories surface, and I crave another ride.

            I no longer live in the country where I spent hours a day with the horses, yet I’m thankful I can still return for visits. Now though, it’s the youngest daughters new horse “Nugget” that greets us with a soft nicker.

Nothing soothes the soul like the satiny feel of a horse’s coat or the unbiased companionship formed when you show them kindness.

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“Nugget” for short

The above paragraphs may seem like a dramatic explanation of a simple scene, but it comes from my heart.

What I feel for these majestic four-legged creatures is, Passion.

Long-lived and Forever Strong.

If you ask a horse owner, “So, do you ride Western or English?” And their answer is, “I have a saddle with the thing in front to hold onto when it gets bumpy.” I think it’s fair to assume they own a horse for simple pleasure, it’s not their passion. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just an observation.

These are 2 of the previous long time family members.

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“Bear and Cisco” R.I.P.

Do you enjoy Horses? 
Are you passionate about a hobby?
What is your hobby?