Body by Ryan

Source: Body by Ryan

I am pressing this post by my daughter Melissa Cochran, an artist who delights in painting funny impressions of some of the characters my kids have created in our wacky goofy family fun.  Click on the source link above to see the painting evolve and check out the video at the bottom of her blog post to see a hilariously funny family video my kids made one year, highlighting an abusive exercise instructor!  Horrible!!

Horse Lover From The Beginning

Me riding Trigger

My mom says I got my start loving horses when I was about two years old. She set me on a spring rockinghorse at a friends house and I screamed when she tried to take me off to go home.

One day, she says, I cried all the way home.  When we finally got home and she got me to tell her what was wrong, I said, “I want to horse and I know I can’t have one.”

Finally after years of yearning and dreaming of horses, and reading every book the school library had about them, I bought my first pony.  He was a shetland stallion named Trigger.  I was 12 years old, had started babysitting for 50 cents an hour, and had the $20 needed to buy him.  My dad knew the guy down the road who owned him, and set the deal up for me.  I was able to keep him in the barn and corral he had been living in, for free, until I sold him.  I paid for his food and trimmed his feet myself.  The little barn and corral was about a block away from my house.  Sheriff Lily owned the land and after I sold my pony, he donated the land to the city.  It is now Lily Park.

Looking back, I am grateful for the opportunity my parents gave me to have something I wanted so dearly, and to let me pay for it and have the responsibility.  I don’t remember much of the twice daily trek to feed and care for my pony, but I do remember laying on the bales of hay in the barn while Trigger munched away on the hay I had given him, listening to the hundreds of little raindrops on the roof of the small, one stall barn.  I was in heaven.

Ryan on the Dingo (or) Playing in Poo

I rented the Toro Dingo yesterday to make post holes with the auger and to widen the little road going into our backyard with a little front loader. As I was working I realized, “Hey, this would be a fun thing for Ryan to learn how to do.” So I called him out.

While on the dingo, Ryan took out an old stump for me and consolidated the manure pile. Who said work can’t be fun? I love tools!

Getting the Teenagers Involved in the Barn Building

My daughter Juliana’s friends came to help build the barn!  These are friends from her homeschool group.  They donated their time as a service project.  I am so grateful for their help.  They each came for several days and helped for many hours!  What a great learning project for them and a great help to me!!  Thanks Ephraim, Isaiah, and Stephen!

Building a Barn With Kids

From playing in the texture of the hardened cement,

To driving the screws after the board is set in place,

To filling in the gap’s above the cement, 

Kids can feel, and be, useful on a project like this.

My daughter Melanie and her husband Kevin set all the vertical post in place for me because I wasn’t physically able to do it. Then I offered to watch her kids, knowing that they would help me do the walls whenever I had a little energy to work on it!

We work for a little bit then they get 30 minutes video game time before the next small job.  When there 30 minutes is up, of playing time, they can do something else or come ask for another job so they can earn more time. This seems to work very well for everyone.  They like to stay at grandmas house because they get to play, and having them stay with me is easier because they help me work. Of course I just love hanging out with them anyway!

This reminds me of when my children were young. They were always helping me with projects. They learned a lot that way too.