4Shoes 'BOOKENDS'; Morgan Horses

4Shoes 'BOOKENDS'; Morgan Horses
“Hold fast to dreams, For if dreams die, Life is a broken-winged bird, That cannot fly.” ~Langston Hughes *pictured: '4Shoes Bookends'

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Memories of Gold

"Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or to usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky."   ~ Rabindranath Tagore
One day soon, there will be more free time again to write stories & enjoy internet visits with people whom we may never meet in person, & yet, who are friends just the same. 
In the meantime (like most farm & country folks) I am kept busy with happy chores in my gardens &  hours of loving toil in the summer kitchen putting up 'goods' for the winter pantry. I tend to the hens twice a day, & must admit that those gals take very little work for the steady supply of fresh eggs. 3 times a day I go look after the rabbits, who take a lot more time & work but who are endlessly cuddly & cute & make me laugh every day. Morning & night is feeding time for our two little pigs, Schnitzel & Chops, who will eat anything I put out & are such clever creatures. 
Our little band of horses are sleek & happy, though they have a decided smell of campfire from standing out in the hot smoke smudges that are the only reliable bug deterrent in this bush country. Each of the 3 are always happy to go out for a ride, so long as we don't ask in the middle of the day, which gets the equine equivalent of 'the finger' every time.
Each night, before I drift off to sleep, I take time to be grateful for our bountiful life, for our happy & healthy children, and for the love & commitment that Mr Shoes & I have for one another that just keeps growing deeper every year. 
Today Mr Shoes is busy converting 2 more free entertainment units into bunny hutches - just one more thing on the never-ending list. We have hauled our hay for the winter & will haul straw bales out of the fields in August.  With the help of his brothers, Mr Shoes has put in another thousand feet of fencing in anticipation of the arrival of our 3 miniature Herefords in September; 2 shelters are on the drawing table that must be finished before winter as well. 
2 weeks from now we will be hosting our 9th annual Family Gathering weekend here on the farm & there is always such a lot to prepare for... From meal planning to sleeping arrangements, & everything in between. 
It can all be so chaotic, but the memories are so golden.
"A happy marriage has the tranquility of a lovely sunset."  ~Ann Landers
 My wish for each of you this summer is that you are also busy making golden memories to treasure. 

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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Fairest of Them all

I wish I were the lily's leaf
To fade upon that bosom warm,
Content to wither, pale and brief,
The trophy of thy paler form.
~Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Yet, the great ocean hath no tone of power
Mightier to reach the soul, in thought's hushed hour,
Than yours, ye Lilies! chosen thus and graced!
~ Felicia D. Hemans
Gracious as sunshine, sweet as dew
     Shut in a lily's golden core.
       ~Margaret J. Preston

Friday, 22 July 2016

Name That Bud

No, I'm not talking about that kind of bud - I'm talking about this bud on a lovely bush whose name I have forgotten, the little identifying stick having been long lost from where it once was stuck in the dirt at the base of the plant. Notice the ants? Those creepy little buggers make me think it's a variety of peony, but given my aversion to bugs of all kinds & knowing the need for ants to help peonies open, why ever would I have bought one? At this point, possible early onset of Alzheimers might be a reasonable guess.
This is the same bud photographed after dark. I especially like the little pink & green bit on the right that couldn't decide whether to be a petal or a leaf & so presented as both. *1000 Bonus Points to anyone who can, positively & with authority, identify this flower!
The same little bud as a blossom, 2 days later. You can clearly see pollen scattered all over the petals by the hummingbirds & the bees. I watched as one fat bumblebee buzzed among the blooms carrying such a big pollen-bomb between it's legs that I seriously wondered how it could fly carrying such a big load! Wish I'd gotten a good enough photo of the bee to share but, even weighed down by it's bounty, it flew faster than I could follow well enough to snap.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Lazy Days of Driftwood

As a former west coast resident, I've collected a lot of ocean driftwood that I find beautiful & use decoratively in my gardens. This log (pictured earlier this year among the yellow lilies that were just then popping up) has been the corner post of one of the flower beds since moving here. I saw it bobbing in the sea while touring the many small islands & spits off the east coast of Vancouver Island in what seemed like a very small boat; I was on the lookout for snags & seals (neither of which you want to run over in a boat). I leaned so far out of the boat to catch hold of it that I very nearly fell in! Many people would think I'm crazy, but I still think it was worth the risk.

Monday, 18 July 2016

The Heart of Life

"When you reach the heart of life you shall find beauty in all things, even in the eyes that are blind to beauty." ~Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, 17 July 2016

God's Handwriting

"Never lose an opportunity of seeing anything beautiful, for beauty is God's handwriting."  ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Cat-Napus Interuptus

"I is tired. Get it? TIREd? Hmph. Leave me now, humourless Human, to catch another 43567 winks."
 "I is retiring. Get it? ReTIREing? Okay, now I see that you are just hopeless, because everything I just said is clearly comedic gold.  ZZZZZZZzzzzzzz...."

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Roosters on Guard

This little copper rooster is one of a pair of hose guards; they keep the hose outside the edge of the flower bed there (when I drag it around to the front) so that the hose won't damage any of the plants or knock over any of the unique pieces of driftwood sprinkled around through the flowers.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

4Shoes Family Life

Over the weekend our little Slipper brought home her very serious beau, Combat Boot, to meet us. That is a round trip of 30 hours to spend 3 days with us. We observed this young man very carefully & questioned him rather intensely; we have come to the conclusion that he is everything that she told us that he is, & then some. He looks at Slipper as though he cannot believe his good fortune, & she is even more beautiful with that glow of true love on her face. My favourite part of this picture is how you can see that they are smiling, beaming really, at each other as they go in for that kiss.

#SavingForTheWedding

Friday, 1 July 2016

Canada Day Irises


Happy Canada Day ~  The True North Strong & Free ~ Hug a Veteran Today
The Irises in my gardens were originally given to me as a clump by my best friend in Edmonton & relocated from her garden to mine north of the city. When we moved to the 4Shoes, the irises (dug up & potted) traveled along in the horse trailer tack room. The first thing I did after we arrived here was turn out the horses; the second thing I did was to transplant the Irises that always make me think of Tash & how much she means to me. Thanks to my friend, the 4Shoes gardens are able to split & share lovely Irises to gardens from here to the US border.