Hello Bud, and Spring Travel

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Do you know how to tell when an Albertan believes it’s really spring?

When they’re going for a drive and they don’t throw big snow boots, winter jackets, gloves and a hat in the back seat. Smiley Face.

That’s Mister and I, anyway. We even keep snow-pants and a blanket in the van during the winter months.

Unlike most people, I will miss winter. Not the extremely cold days, but the freshness of a winter walk and the relaxation that comes with the season. It’s a great time for catching up on visiting or inside crafts and hobbies.

For those waiting for summer, it’s no longer wishful thinking that spring is approaching, the signs are popping up everywhere. Flowers and tree buds are sprouting, the geese have returned from down south, and the Jackrabbits are changing back from white to brown in color.

Neither geese nor rabbits would show themselves on Sunday so I could take their picture for this post.

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Even surrounded with snow and ice there is signs of life in the flowerbeds.

Mother nature can’t make up her mind though, and last week’s weather was like rolling dice. Something different showed up each time you looked outside.

Last Wednesday and Thursday were prime examples.

By noon Wednesday the temperature warmed enough that a light shirt and vest was efficient not just inside but when outside.

Born and raised in Alberta and setting out on a road-trip though, my winter coat and snow boots joined an overnight bag in the van. A duffle which contained three layer options of clothing for Thursday’s planned shopping day with my girlfriend.

For two hours, I drove North on dry roads for a night at the daughter’s. The glorious sunshine heated the van interior enough I had to put the air conditioner on from time to time.

Keeping up with weather forecasts is a must at this time of the year, so we checked it after supper. They predicted an overnight cooling with possible precipitation. No big deal, we’re use to that.

I joined the daughter when she set out to do evening chores. She fed and blanketed, “Nugget” her horse. With access to shelters and with him more content outside, he doesn’t spend nights in the barn. The temperature wasn’t expected to drop enough to warrant a quilted blanket but since he had already shed most of his winter hair she put a rain-sheet on him.

Early Thursday morning we woke to about one and a half inches of fresh, wet snow. It continued lightly falling while we drank our coffee, but the weatherman said it should clear by the afternoon so us girls decided to still go shopping. We picked up my girlfriend and by 9:30 am we were heading North for the forty five minute drive to the city.

The snow didn’t stop, instead the flakes got bigger and came down heavier as the day went on. With near zero temperatures the roads and parking lots got slushy and by the time we headed back South, between vehicle spray and falling snow, visibility on the highway was crappy.

Halfway to the girlfriend’s house the weather cleared, and it didn’t look like the area got the storm the city was getting.

I phoned Mister to see what the weather was like at the lake so I could decide if driving home or staying at the daughters one more night. He said, “Sunny and 5 above Celsius, all day.” I drove home that evening. The roads were dry the whole way.

So that was my Thursday, and its two seasons of weather in one day.

I should have taken pictures of the different conditions, but I was too busy enjoying the girls day out.

It’s not uncommon for us to get temperature changes, of ten or more degrees, during a single day. Now, that’s hard to dress for and why I pack more than I need. LOL

Do you get drastic weather shifts where you live?

Lego, and The Kid In Me

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No children were involved in the hands-on part of this post, LOL. That’s right just me and an afternoon of building Lego.

Interesting Facts, you may not know.

-A Danish carpenter, Ole Kirk Kristiansen founded Lego in 1932. He started by making toys and wooden blocks.

-In 1958 he patented and began manufacturing what we know as Lego today, and every block made since then can lock together.

-Lego is the largest manufacturer of wheels, out producing Bridgestone and Goodyear.

-If Lego figurines were real people, they would be the largest population in the world.

As a youngster, I loved playing with Lego. I often built a truck and livestock trailer for my farm-set animals. Oh wow, this might date me. Does anyone remember farm-sets? Maybe they’re still made, I haven’t been in a toy store in a long time. I had the tin barn kind with most species of plastic farm animals, choking hazard size or smaller. The figurines were poised and on platforms so they would stand. There was snap together fences, a tractor and field equipment. It even had rows of garden crops, tools, shovels, and tons of other tiny pieces.

Anyway, back to my main topic, Lego. What I had growing-up was about six sizes, in single or double row blocks, some platforms, and flat pieces. Most were red or white.

Using just these simple blocks meant projects other than buildings would resemble what you were trying for but they were rarely pretty.

In those days, Lego sets weren’t as specific, they simply came in different size sets.

You used your imagination to design things because building manuals didn’t come in sets until 1964.

I remember the excitement when black, yellow and blue colored pieces appeared and specialty pieces started showing up. Like curved corners, clear pieces, different doors and windows, and the little people.

Even back then Lego was a costly toy, so I had little of it, but my cousin often got the newer sets. During visits to his house, him and I would create and build for hours.

By the time, mine and Mister’s, kids were old enough and Lego returned into my life it had changed a lot. The son and daughter both enjoyed building things, and they started with what I had saved of mine and their collection grew from there.

They only got a few big fancy sets, special ones like, a large pirate boat, a castle, and a stable set, to name some favorites.

The kids and I, enjoyed great times together building for hours. It wasn’t Misters favorite thing to take part in because we usually sat on the floor surrounding a pile of pieces or laid on our stomachs propped on our elbows.

Why am I writing about Lego you may wonder?

Because, knowing how much I enjoy building Lego, the Son and his Girlfriend got me a unique set for Christmas.

I was waiting for a chance to build it with him during a visit, but that hasn’t worked out. So yesterday being a cold blustery day, I selfishly built one of the set’s options and enjoyed every minute.

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Have you ever built Lego?

P.S. – Dropped or forgotten pieces of Lego found by stepping barefoot on them is still as painful as it used to be.

Country Life

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What’s that noise?

Faint rustling followed by squeaks and gurgles of a baby fussing came from the feed and tack stall next to the booth where Mister and I sat at the horse event. Exchanging an knowing glance with my husband I went to investigate.

Pictured above is what I found. Our daughter with this sheepish look sprinkling hay on her little brother who was supposed to be asleep.

Our family often jokes about the saying, “Were you born in a barn.” Although not born in one, our kids spent a good portion of their childhoods in either a barn, an arena, or outside and nearby while we did our chores.

Four legs, manes, tails, and everything horse best describes our daughter’s likes.

For a few years, a spring horse took center-stage in our bay window. She spent endless hours in that saddle, her stare focused outside, and her eyes glazed with little girl daydreams.

The toys that entertained her while indoors were all horse related. My Little Pony’s, Lego stable sets, and the jeep, horse trailer and horses for her Barbie’s. Even the multi story, upright, Barbie house Mister made her, of course, had a floor level barn included.

She was happiest outside, even if just watching the horses eat or roam the pastures. As an adult, she still spends her spare time outside with her horse or in the barn.

She recently posted this picture and description on Instagram. (@candie214)

Pretty sure this is why I like watching people ride, I spent hours on those tires.

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If you look close, you’ll see the small child saddle I’m riding in so I could take the edge off “Dr. Pepper” before she rode.

In her I see the younger me. Doing barn or farm chores was, and is, rarely considered work and when given a choice they trump household chores.

To us horses aren’t a hobby, they are a lifestyle. Location has changed this for me since I live at a lake resort now, but it’s still her way of life.

This is “Nugget” Her current, young, Quarter Horse Gelding she’s training.

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We were blessed as parents to have children, especially teenagers, whose passions meant they were happy at home.

Our son’s interests changed from horses over time and if you haven’t already, check out my post, “Our Version of a Norman Rockwell” for a glimpse into what makes the male’s of our family tick.

Did you have a childhood passion?

Do you still enjoy it?

DIY Game Board Craft Project

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If you enjoy playing board or card games, you might want to try “Jokers”. It’s similar to the game “Sorry” the main difference is you use cards instead of rolling dice.

It’s an easy DIY project. Cardboard, poster board, cloth, plexiglass or wood, are some options you could use to make a board depending on what medium you like to work with. Paint or mark squares or drill or punch holes for game play.

Objects used for player pegs or pieces should be paintable or come in a variety of colors, you need a different one for each player.

Player pegs can be golf tees, cribbage pegs, thinner wood doweling cut to lengths, skewers cut, toothpicks, colored straws, tree twigs, or be imaginative.

Player pieces can be made by cutting thicker doweling into discs, paint tiny rocks, checker pieces, or pennies, use buttons, marbles if you drill indents, the choices are endless.

I enjoy working with wood and drills so no surprise I used plywood to make our game. A board can be specifically for 4, 6, or 8 players, or put a combination or all three on one playing surface. I put the 4 and 6 player versions on the one pictured in this post.

Material’s I used

-2′ foot square of 1/4″ fir plywood

-30 cribbage pegs, 5 for each player

-6 different colours of paint

-clear coat

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Making a Board

As templates, I cut six strips of cardboard with the number of holes needed for each side, and spaced for my pegs. Then I centered and spaced them how I wanted them on the board and made marks. Mister cut the corners off giving the square its shape afterwards.

Sections on the board don’t have to be coloured as long as players pegs or pieces are. I outlined strips to match peg colours though. If drilling holes lines aren’t even necessary but I like to paint.

With projects like this, I paint lines, and apply clear coat before drilling holes, otherwise clear coat drips into holes and you often have to drill again to clear them.

Playing The Game

Objective is be first to get all your pegs from the start cross into your home line.

Played in teams, whether 4, 6, or 8 people.

Shuffle together 3 card decks, including jokers, and deal five cards to everyone. (If 8 players use 4 decks.)

Card Count

You need a King, Queen, Jack or Ace to come out of start spot and begin play. (Jokers work to do this, but I’ll explain their full move later)

Once pegs are on the game part (and you can have more than one in play), a ten card along with Kings, Queens, and Jacks are worth ten.

Ace counts as one.

A Eight card means you always move backwards (which if you are in your start hole moving back means you are close to your home entrance, but you can’t back into home)

Seven card can be split in any forward combination between two of your pegs, (good for moving up in home line)

A Joker can make any one move to take out another players peg, even if your peg is still in the start.

A Players turn

Pick a card from the pile of undealt cards, from your hand lay a card face-up, moving a game piece in accordance to its value. (If you can’t move, maybe you have no pieces out of start yet, a card still must be discarded.)

Basic Rules

You can jump past another players peg but not your own.

Landing on a opposing player’s peg sends them back into their start place.

Landing on your partners peg sends them to the base of their home line.

You need the exact cards to get into and move within home slot and cannot jump a peg.

Once all your pieces are in your home slot, you help your teammates get theirs home.

Rather than making a board there is also a slat style. You can Google or search Pinterest for ideas on that type. Some other names to use when searching this game are, Marbles and Jokers, Jokers and Pegs.

There are lots of internet sites with more detailed game play rules plus strategies.

I hope you enjoy this game as much as we do.

Have you made any of your games?

A Romantic Drive, Resort Style

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Our carriage awaits. Because of their narrowness, Mister and I jokingly refer to cruising in a golf cart as a romantic drive.

This picture was taken on Valentines Day. It was a warm plus 9 Celsius, for this cruise with my man. We didn’t even roll down the plastic doors when we went to the storage lot to shovel snow off the boat tarp. How’s that for a romantic outing? Funny thing was, we were content because together we enjoyed beautiful spring-like weather, and it put a taste of coming summer days into our hearts.

After completing the chore we cruised around and snooped at the new lakeside homes being constructed. Then we stopped by T & E’s house for a quick visit and to arrange our next card night.

Here, golf carts aren’t just on the course, they are a preferred choice of summer transportation. Hundreds travel the resorts roads, and their variety is extensive.

One would think with Mister’s vehicle interests our carts would be among those with custom rims, paint, or fancy modifications. But nope, ours are older and pretty plain except for a second seat conversation added to one.

Golf carts out and about in the winter is rare, but not unseen. One family, when they’re here on weekends even pulls an occupied toboggan around. Our kids sure would have been game for that activity when they were young. Wait, as adults they still would if our carts went faster.

Mister gets the above cart out when weather permits which helps break-up the long winter months. It handles well on snow covered roads, and it goes through a surprising amount of slush. With that said, I hope we don’t get stuck the next time we are out for a cruise.

Throughout our years together, going for drives has been a common and enjoyed pastime, although most of them are done in an actual vehicle.

I have had some of the most heartfelt and genuine conversations with family members and friends during road trips.

Do you enjoy going for drives?

Have you shared great conversations with someone while on the road?

 

Wow, Who Knew

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This screenshot of Instagram’s sign page on my iPad caused me issues and almost outsmarted me.

I spent hours which turned into days combing settings; I googled the problem and asked Facebook friends for advice, all with no luck.

When I’m on the iPad I usually hold it in the landscape position, but I have auto rotate turned on for when I use it upright. If I click on the Instagram app while in this position then turn it this is what happens. Instagram never switches to a full page, and only getting half a page meant I couldn’t access my picture library on the bottom, and therefore couldn’t post pictures. It frustrated me to no end.

By accident, I stumbled across the solution and its simplicity amazed me.

Who knew, if I turn the iPad first then press the Instagram app it opens to a full screen. LOL

Now, I can and will update my Instagram account.

Check it out if you like photos of, oceans, lighthouses, marinas, mountains, farm scenes, lake scenes, animals, sunrises, sunsets, and much more.

Don’t let technology outsmart you, stay persistent.

Thought I’d share this encase someone else is having the same problem.

Have a good day.

Our Version of a Norman Rockwell

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Wrenches and grease, are items often involved when Mister and our son are bonding. That’s what I call the time they spend hunched over or laying under a vehicle as they solve an issue or replace a part.

In our family a picture like above would make a more realistic Norman Rockwell scene.

Mister and the son share a fascination and knowledge for anything motorized. Finding the right word to describe their hobby is tricky. Even, hobby, by its definition is misleading, because many things they work on out of necessity not choice. Sometimes the chore is physically taxing, and by their muttered words they don’t always enjoy what they’re doing.

What I know, is they can often listen to a sputtering engine, guess what’s wrong and fix the problem.

They can recognize a vehicle’s make and model with a glimpse of the grill or taillights. Mister more so with the older ones while the son has a keenness for exotic cars and newer models.

They dream and envision building the perfect shop, like the daughter and I do an extravagant barn.

The son drove tractors, lawn mowers, etc. long before having his licence. Behind the wheel of the family 4×4 truck he used gallons of fuel as he practiced in the field while Mister and his father baled hay.

Having children in high school can cause parents stress, but we were fortunate because of this interest our son developed. Instead of wondering if he was partying or getting into trouble, we could look out the back window up towards the shop and know him and his friend were inside. The distance between neighbors in the country allowed their music to play and the shop lights to burn long into the nights while the two of them tinkered on vehicles.

Our sons car which he’s had since late high school. Mister and I were on a trip when we got a call that him and his oldest sister found it for sale.

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This is once it was home, and they removed the worn engine.

Then on a cold snowy winter night, as a family, we pushed and loaded the car onto our flat-deck for its ride to the high school the next day. There the son and his friend put a new motor in as a grade 12, Shop Class project.

After a few more changes, and additions this is how it turned out.

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As silly as it sounds we’ve always named our vehicles, the son calls his car, “Sueño Azul,” “Azul,” for short. That’s Spanish for Blue Dream.

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You know you have a car guy in the family when a picture of his daily driver, above, is enlarged and showcased on the wall of his home.

Encourage your children to have an interest or hobby and be grateful and embrace the opportunity if it is one you can enjoy together.

Does your child have a interest or hobby?

Did they pick it up from you or your spouse?

 

Habits, Good or Bad

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Does anybody else have their next day planed before going to sleep? How common is it being a regimented planner, or do most people get up and let their day simply unfold?

I can’t imagine doing that, not even on vacation.

Since grade school, I’ve made daily, weekly, monthly, even seasonal lists. My theory for how this started relates to my horse competing and training days.

Oh so long ago, at age seven, I got my first pony. Star, and I are pictured above.

My parents didn’t have a horse background. Check out my Bio Page for how this came about. Our family lived in the city, so the little gelding was boarded at a local stable.

I fell in love with everything horse, and by age 10, I entered my first Barrel Racing event.

Passion kept escalating, and it became apparent I wasn’t going through a phrase like people suspected. In a few years I out-grew the Shetland, and a slightly bigger gelding, an ex-chariot racing pony replaced him.

There never was money for riding lessons, so I read all I could, listened, observed, and studied others who rode at the stable. Occasionally, I would ask an experienced mentor at the barn questions. With trial and error, I began the self-taught venture of re-training my racy mount and honing my horsemanship skills.

Learning this way came with great benefits, I gained a feel, or understanding of horses. Often, I could sense changes in their behavior before they became issues.

Together, the feisty Welsh-Thoughbred and I became accomplished at showing in Western Pleasure, Equitation and Trail classes.

As a teen I worked part time and saved for a young, unbroke, registered Quarter Horse. My parents surprised me when they paid the remainder owing and had him delivered on my fourteenth birthday.

For me, this is where planning and setting goals really began. Still, without outside help the gelding and I worked hard. Together we learned, and became a very competitive and successful duo in Western and English flat classes, Jumping, Driving and even gymkhana events.

Many other horses and breeds followed in my almost 40 years of showing and training.

I believe daily goal lists began because of the need to plan and schedule conditioning and fine tuning between shows. It was vital to have horses peak at the right times while giving them their deserved down time too.

I may no longer strive to perfect a horse’s training but the habit of making, to do lists, carried into all aspects of life.

I thought this behavior might ease when we retired at the lake but it hasn’t. What has changed are items on my, to do list. They’re simpler, mostly hobbies, crafts and chores. I’m not as structured, getting distracted from a chore happens often and is no big concern. Some things remain on a list for long periods before getting checked off.

But a day without getting even the smallest thing accomplished feels like a wasted day for me.

Do you plan your day or week in advance?