the not so fast burner

We got the news that our barn will be going up sooner then later. Yay!! It won't be long and we will have a building on our property. Before the barn shell can go up, we had to do something with a nearby ginormous pile of cleared wood.

our barn isn't going to look
like this much longer
You may recall we were originally thinking the wood pile would be perfect for a bonfire party. However, the temperature was very cold. In the single digits. Not exactly outdoor party weather, even with a warming fire. Getting rid of the pile had to be put on the fast burner, so Brad & I were it. 

With the necessary fire permit in hand, things were about to heat up. Brad was like a kid in a candy store. He has always been a bit of a redneck pyro maniac. Not the crazy unsafe kind. We quickly figured out the pile wasn't going anywhere fast. It would have to reduced, one burn day at a time...

there is a fire in there somewhere
There were a lot of stumps in the pile, a recipe for a smokey stinky messy fire. It was hard to enjoy. I am SO glad we didn't invite anyone else. The smoke kept changing directions & was so thick it was tough getting close. We had pictured a nice big fire with flames going straight up. We may try for a group bonfire later, with a different brush pile that has more dried timber. It is in a field corner out of the way, so no rush.

Brad shifted the brush pile around for days. Moving stumps on, moving stumps off, dumping snow here, dumping snow there. Every move was based on what the fire was doing, and when he could be there. Brad reassured me (like 100 times) the fire was safely contained at all times.

The first day, when the fire was at it's peak, was a looong day...

finally some decent flames
the core
barn foundation is behind the fire (on right)
restarting the fire with a blow torch
guess he's not much for rubbing sticks together
thankfully our house of hay didn't catch on fire

I left for a while to take care of the dogs and bring food for Brad. It was dark by the time I got back. The first thing I noticed, was our colorful tree. It still lights up :)) It is the tree above, under the red arrow. 

a welcome sight
The fire was really going now, there was no way I was leaving Brad at the land alone. It was raging, so I kept myself amused by taking photos...

After the flames died down, Brad started messing with the fire again. I was afraid he was going to catch the bobcat on fire! 

I thought he was completely nuts for getting so close!! Just look at what he was doing...

At a distance it looked like he was on top of the fire, and was pretty darn close. Note: Brad has spent endless hours running a bobcat for years, and is a very skilled operator. He knows the machines capabilities, and knew what he was doing. 

I know I am totally weird, but I was in awe with the "fire eating grappler"!! It was sooo cool the way the smoke was backlit, and swirling! The light patterns were constantly changing, now I was like a kid in a candy store!! It was a night to remember...

To this day, the fire continues smoldering off/on with a little help...

eight days later, the pile is almost gone
I don't think I'll ever get another opportunity to photograph something so wicked awesome emerging from the smoke...maybe at an event/show. I've seen rodeo's use smoke at the preshow, but not remotely to the same degree. I certainly hope to never photograph an out of control fire, they are so dangerous and sad. Maybe at the next bonfire? Who knows.

My camera & truck smelled like smoke for days, but it was worth it. Now, we are ready. Let the barn building begin.

the grappler


relive & record

As this past year wrapped up, I found myself feeling nostalgic. Dates change, and chapters of life move onto the next. It makes me kinda sad. What the future holds is anybodies guess. There isn't anything anyone can do about time passing, but look at the bright side. We are still here.

I find it so interesting, barely anyone wrote year end Christmas letters, year end review blog posts, or new year word affirmations. I am also pretty sure I am the only person still making Christmas Cards by hand. Sending off for a digital photo card doesn't count, altho much more fancy & efficient. Things that make you go, hmmm.

I don't do New Years Resolutions perse, but I do try to get things sorted out in the direction I want to live my life. A fresh (re) start. Of course this could be done at any time, but starting with new numbers for some odd reason is more inspiring. 

2017 is going to be one of the busiest years of my life, and already too many things are filling up my time. Some are self inflicted, others are obligations. It doesn't help I am a liker of most everything, except brussels sprouts and coconut. 

My plans are to continue blogging. It helps me relive & record life, and sort things out. I enjoy staying connected to you guys & appreciate the friendship!!

For some silly reason, I took on a 365 day photo challenge. Good idea, bad year. I've always wanted to do one. Supposedly they help a person find their style. Something I've always struggled with, even in art school. Jack of all trades, master of none. That's me. 

I want to grow my photography. Being creative makes me happy. I am taking the challenge one week at a time. To give you an idea of how it's going, I just might call it good. Already. If you are interested, you can find my related challenge photos on Instagram & some on Facebook. Links on side bar. I'll share a few photos here too. I only wish I could infused more equine photos. Horses & dogs are among my favorite things to photograph. Patience. Have I mentioned I need to work on this as well? 

Once our horses live with us, I can only hope my equine photography will evolve. I did see our horses twice this past week and rode both days. Before the frigid cold set in. Our long distance visits just aren't conducive to taking outdoor photos, especially in winter. These days it's get them in, get on and get outta there. Koda is being very good, altho I am not asking a whole lot of him.

Way too many other plans swirling around in my overactive head to share them all on here. The most obvious and important one, is building a homestead. That just might be easier then sorting and moving without 18 years of junk! In some ways, I am looking forward to it. Kids these days (ha ha, how many times have you heard that) just don't appreciate keepsakes like we do - so why am I saving them? I thought they would mean something. I don't want so much "stuff" anymore, I want experiences. To relive and record. Memories for years to come, that don't collect dust.

This year more then others, I seek balance & efficiency, and the ability to say no... 

Day 3 of a 365 day photo challenge
Life is for the living, and I plan to live more this year. How about you?


don't let the sun fool ya

It was nice to see the sun, after such a rainy Christmas. Brad had the day off, so we were able to visit our horses in the daylight. I was really looking forward to seeing them, without the lingering stillness of the dark. 

Temps were in the low 40's (F) I thought we might end up peeling layers off and riding in sweatshirts. Silly me!! It was sooo windy and sooo wet! Someone knew it would be sloppy, and brought snow boots. I was thankful & got to keep my feet dry! 

Brad sledging through the wetness & wind

to bring in Koda & Nemo

We had an uneventful ride, just the kind I like. We haven't been working on anything in particular, just connecting. Our rides have been much shorter with very little loping, if any.

When I only ride once a week, I feel like we are starting at the beginning and it's not fair to ask a lot. I should probably rethink my rides, and get some type of plan of action going. If I am bored, you know Koda is too. 
It's harder to get motivated, when you don't know what conditions you'll be riding in. Guess a person could do two plans of action. One for more space, and the use cones if needed, and a back-up plan that can be done with restricted "shared" space. 

I am going to revisit my post with indoor riding ideas it's got some great links & ideas from readers in the linked comments.

It was surprising to see Koda's breath so visible near the end of our ride. Didn't think we really did that much. Must have been the figure 8 with extended trot on the cross. We did two 'er 16 if you are doing the math. Apparently Koda thought it was more like 64 ;)

horse eating end of the arena
requires listing ears
After our ride, the boys got to munch on yummy flavorful carrots from our garden. I dug the last of them before the ground froze. They last pretty good and taste much better then store bought. Just ask Koda & Nemo & Cierra what they thought of their Christmas carrots!!


Merry Christmas from me to you

2016 Handmade Christmas Card
(cover & inside greeting)

This year my handmade Christmas card features a photo of our family dog (actually Brad's heart dog) and two of our grand dogs. Three very special dogs that share a bond, in very different stages of life. 

Merry Christmas friends, and may the New Year be one of progress towards whatever makes your life complete. Wishing you happiness & health in 2017!!