Another toy for Ryan and me. 

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I borrowed a friends tractor and had a great time grading our back half acre.

We smoothed out the pasture area and created a nice slope in the new barn area where we will be building this summer. Also, spent some time smoothing out the old garden to extend our grassy back lawn.

The new barn area will have a solid run of packed gravel base and pea gravel on top to keep the horses feet out of the mud this winter.  We will also have a hay barn included so that we won’t have to drag the hay on dollys through the rain to the barn!

We are building 12 small structures to make our new barn. Each structure is under 200 ft.² and can stand alone.

I drew so many plans before I finally settled on one. The planning is so fun.

I kind of love projects. 

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!!

What a perfect little paw print!  What I saw while I was organizing my garage :-)

Today (written on Wed. Jan. 25th) I’m organizing my garage! Or I should say I’m supervising the organization of my garage! Ha ha I’m sitting in a rocking chair, in a big fluffy down jacket, telling my son and my niece what to do.


My niece is a real go-getter. She has worked for me many times before. She helped me build my spiral house up on the mountain. I pay her well because she is a very hard worker. She doesn’t let the cold or the wet stop her.

I have two workshops coming up this weekend and I’m feeling a little overwhelmed. I need to get some furniture out of my house, which is too full, and do some cleaning, but my garage where I want to store some of the overflow is full already.

I called Rachel and asked if she had some time to come help me get organized. I was so happy when she said she did. She came right over.

Then my daughter Melanie called and asked if I wanted the minions over today. LOL, the minions are my grandkids. I call them my minions because they are my little helpers who earn video game playing time by working for me!  I told her I was intensely focused on cleaning but I could use the older two today if she wanted to bring them over.

She brought them over and the deal was that they were to help me until it got dark then they could play video games. They helped for a good 2 1/2 hours before playtime. By then I was exhausted and we all took a break and they played games. Later I had them do another little job, then they played some more.

By the end of the day, Rachel had worked for about 7 1/2 hours. The garage was clean, the house was rearranged, I was out $108 to an excellent worker, I was exhausted, the kids had worked, and I was happy that I had accomplished everything I was hoping to. It was a great day!

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.