The Big Question: Is Ringo Gender-Challenged?

The farrier was here Saturday to trim the horse's hooves. His border collie, Gunner, took a likin' to Ringo. The only problem? He liked Ringo a bit too much, and they're both of the male gender....


Saturday Morning Walkabout

We woke to a heavy rain, unusual for Kansas this time of year. Come to think of it, we've had an awful lot of rain this time of year! By August the grass is almost always brown, but this year, it is a lush green and it has been hard for hubby to keep up with the mowing. The heavy rain soon turned to a soft patter, and then disappeared. I did a short little walkabout, and here's what I found...

Diptera Tabanidae... I call them "horsefly horribalus" for the bites they inflict. Wikipedia says: Often considered pests for the bites that many inflict, they are among the world's largest true flies. The bite from a larger specimen is extremely painful, especially considering the light, agile, and airborne nature of the fly. Unlike insects which surreptitiously puncture the skin with needle-like organs, horse flies have mandibles like tiny serrated scimitars, which they use to rip and/or slice flesh apart. This causes the blood to seep out as the horsefly licks it up. They may even carve a chunk completely out of the victim, to be digested at leisure.

If you click on the photo to enlarge it, you can see the mandibles. Ugh. I hate the bites they leave behind on our poor horses. We are constantly spraying the horses with Ultra Shield fly spray, which is supposed to last about 14 days. Um-hum. Yeah, right.

Here are some prettier things I found during my walkabout...

Everyone was right about my flowers...
they have thrived since our damaging hail storms!

Our neighbor to the south was busy putting up hay yesterday.

Ye olde outhouse still stands.... for now.
I think it will be the next outbuilding tear-down, soon.

Wishing everyone a happy Saturday,
wherever you might be!

Not All Chicken is Good for You

In my quest for more fruit, I stopped by the grocery store last night after work. As I stockpiled my hand basket with bananas, grapes, and apples, the very fried smell of chicken assailed my nostrils... my nose led me to the deli in Dillon's, where they had piles of freshly fried chicken, on the bone and boneless. I do not know whether their chicken had 0 grams of trans fat or not; I just knew that I was salivating in front of their deli case and I HAD to have a piece.

And so it was, 3 blocks later, I had finished my solitary strip of crispy fried chicken. It was delectable, but alas, definitely NOT on my current mean strict diet plan.

Tonight I will assault my body with the P90X program again, this time the plyometrics segment. This segment is over an hour long. I think it's pretty safe to say I will not be completing the entire hour, or I will certainly find myself in the local ER. Keep me in your thoughts, that I live to tell my story on Friday. :)

Pond Walk

Last night, I did abdominal exercises using the P90X series. Ugh. Let me just say I felt as if I could vomit after 30 minutes of extremely intense ab moves ... and since I haven't worked out in at least 2 years, I really felt this workout. Only 30 minutes, but towards the end I could barely make the moves. I am really feeling it today!

I will say that after a week of eating right - no fast food, very limited processed food, and lots of fruits and some veggies - I feel so much more energetic, already! It's amazing how the crap we eat can sap our energy.

Tonight, I was going to work out my arms using free weights, but then switched gears at the last minute. It's only 88 degrees here in Kansas (yes, that's cool for us this time of year!), so I grabbed my camera and Ringo and I headed for a walk around the pond. Hey, walking is good exercise and in spite of the "cool" temps, I still worked up a good sweat!

Update: I lied. I went out to hubby's shop and dodged the wasps to retrieve some 7 lb hand weights, and I still did my arm workout (in the house!), in addition to my walk around the pond. I feel very accomplished tonight now. :-)

I think the intricate parts on this wasp are amazing...
and to think how easily we squash them!

Click the photo to enlarge and see detail

There are lots of sunflower varieties growing wild
around the pond and in the pastures

Ringo... smelling the flowers

And finally...Murphy grazing contentedly under a big, blue Kansas sky

O Sweet Clementine!

I have decided to mend my bad eating ways. So this cookie-eating, donut-stuffing, pizza-loving gal is joining the ranks of such fine and inspiring "dieters" (I use that word loosely - there is no such thing as a "diet", just eating right for life!) as Smart Mouth Broad. If you know SMB, then you know her saga of losing weight - exercising with her Wii Wii, her Daughter #1's (aka the Food Nazi) strictly enforced Zone diet, and SMB's sudden gradual switch to the South Beach Diet. Why, she has even given up sweet tea *gasp*.... I can NEVER give up my sweet tea. Never. Ever. Ever.

Mind you, I have not worked out or ate right in about 2 years. So this is a large undertaking for me. But I have tons of motivation (finally). When we were tearing down that outbuilding last weekend, and the day before when we were cutting down tree limbs and lugging them to a burn pile, I felt like I was literally lifting one foot to put it in front of the other. I felt exhausted before I even began. This is so not me. I have always been game for outdoor work, and usually love it. Now granted, female hormones were working their lovely magic on me this past week, and I do believe that had something to do with it, BUT I also know that I have gained at least 20 pounds since my move to Kansas and I do not like my lack of energy and how tired I feel at the end of a workday. Hence my motivation to lose weight and get back into my smaller jeans. I want to feel energetic and know that I'm eating healthy, especially "at my age".

Then, there's the challenge. I felt the burning need to take up that challenge about 3 summers ago, and to break the plateau that had always plagued me. I could never seem to get below 118 pounds to 115. I am only 5'2" (yes, I am severely vertically challenged and need a chair to reach just about anything in the house), so that weight suits me perfectly. I felt healthy and I felt like I could do ANYTHING once I got down to that weight. It inspired me, and made me feel way more confident. I was jubilant when I got down to 115 the summer of 2006.

The challenge this time around? Well, I am older for one thing. I am pushing 50 in another year and a half. So, I want to prove that an almost-50-something gal can be slim and trim. I started this past Monday with cutting out all fast food. I always find that when I stop eating fast food, it takes about 3 days or so for me to lose the craving for it; once I get past those first few days, I find I no longer crave it, and in fact, it sounds disgusting to me. Challenge one, accomplished!!

Challenge two: Eat right. So now that I've virtually starved myself since Tuesday, it's time to figure out what to buy at the store and plan my lunch while at work, so I don't eat dumb. A co-worker was eating clementines a few days ago and gave me a bite. I am food-stupid much of the time, and I'm reluctant to try new things. For whatever reason, I just popped the piece of clementine she gave me right into my mouth, and from that moment forward, I couldn't get to the store fast enough to buy some clementines! Yummy a thousand times, and oh so easy to peel and eat. I bought a bag yesterday and had two clementines for lunch. As I write this, I'm salivating, so excuse me while I go grab a clementine to snack on....

Now, on to challenge three. Take up a workout regimen. I had a friend at work copy some of the P90X workouts for me. If you've never heard of P90X, then take a look here. I watched the ab portion of the workout a few nights ago and was blown away. This stuff is going to kick my arse. But I will go slow and pace myself. If there's one thing I've learned in my lifetime of working out, it's that pushing myself in the beginning is self-defeating. I will end up so sore and unable to move that I cannot workout for a few days, then I somehow fall off the wagon before I even get started. I know better than to let that happen.

I also have an olympic weight bench and a TotalGym. But they are in hubby's shop. And there are also spiders, big spiders, out in his shop, even though he does spray for bugs. I'm not sure I want to work out in his shop. There is just no room in the house for these monstrosities. And I love my olympic weights -- I've always preferred lifting weights to cardio. And you know if you build muscle mass, then your body has to burn more calories to maintain that muscle, hence you lose weight faster! I think I'll bring some of my free weights into the house - a compromise.

So, this is my plan for the next few months. My main goal is to feel better, to have more energy and zest, like I used to. Of course, as a side goal, I hope to look better, in and out of my jeans. I'll let y'all know how it's going!

cartoon from

Our Busy Weekend

Ugly, dilapidated, almost-falling-over outbuilding - GONE!
(Yes, those are mattress springs laying on the ground - they make
a good ground flattener to drag behind the truck!!)

We spent Saturday and Sunday working on the property. The weather was gorgeous -- this time of year in Kansas, it should be in the 100s (today it is). This past weekend we were in the 80s. Perfect for outside work! Most of Saturday we were trimming trees -- many had limbs hanging down from the last two storms. We had a huge roaring bonfire with all the tree limbs! Then hubby decided to treat us to dinner, so we drove to Ponca City to run some errands and eat mexican. I had a yummy margarita. :)

Then on Sunday, we decided to tear down this outbuilding - the last two storms had weakened it and we were afraid the next storm might send it flying all over the pasture. I was so glad we finally tore this down! Before fall, we'll tear this fence out and put up some horse-friendly fence; we will also enlarge the pen that is off to the left (it's not really visible in these pictures).

I apologize for my absence in blogland and on Twitter and on Facebook; I just signed up for Facebook a few weeks ago (due to peer pressure) and I honestly haven't had the time to learn the ins and outs. With my new full-time job, I find my evenings are consumed with home maintenance and keeping the animals happy. I know with the advance of winter, I will soon have more time for the internet! I'm not gone - I guess you could say it's just a temporary leave of absence.