I wanted to play with Lucky today, but it's kind of hard to do when my coat keeps blowing up over my head and my hat comes off. So we opted on letting them OUTSIDE (I use caps to write it that way because it's so exciting for the horses when we do that. I put up ropes to keep them away from the drive and the road and let them OUTSIDE the fences...where the grass is always greener.). Generally, on a windy day, they don't go too far from the barn. Things are banging and flopping around. Trees are thrashing and there's tiny white caps on the ponds. Lots of changes for them to deal with. Today was no exception.
Every time the wind would gust and something would flap or whap, in they'd come to check with me. "How about it Ma? Everything OK? You still on look out?" I'd stop whatever I'm doing, rub whithers and breath deep, smile at them and say " It's alright. I've got your back." I love the response I get. Lucky usually takes a deep breath, licks a little and goes back to eating. Apache sighs and sometimes nickers to me in his lovely, deep base voice and then goes back out to move Willow around. I think he's probably one of those horses the cowboys around here would say has a lot of cow in him. Parelli people would say he's a Left Brain Extrovert who loves to move himself and loves to play games.
After chores I went out with the camera to see if I could get any good shots of them. I love it when the wind is blowing. Their manes and tails are always flying up in the air. It makes them look so dramatic. I call those type of photos "bodice rippers" ... kind of Gothic and romantic. My guys are so mellow most of the time now that dramatic photography is not the norm. Usually they spend most of their time grazing, grooming each other, rolling in the mud at the edge of the pond and sleeping in the sun. Not a bad life!
When I went out, they did too. It's easier to be brave when all the herd members are out together. All of us, John and Apache, Lucky, Willow and myself walked down the path and out into the tall grasses. The colors were beautiful today! The grass heads are all that early Winter deep golden brown and orange with some areas verging on purple. As the Winter goes on they'll fade until it's all silvers and faded browns in February. I don't think I've gone out my front door even one time since we moved out here without looking around me in awe. It changes from day to day and sometimes from hour to hour. For the first time I understand Andrew Wyeth's quote " I think I could paint a hill every day of my life."
We walked around, stood around, sat around and turned around that East pasture of ours for a good hour. I did take pictures...lots and lots of pictures. But I still can't post them yet, unfortunately. I've bought my new photo shop program, but it's in the mail and won't be here until next week. It's another lesson in patience for me, something I'm not always very good at. But here's the exciting part for me. I've learned to just hang out with my horses on their time line, matching their energy and going where they want to go. John's getting the hang of it too. It's amazing how much it relaxes you when you do nothing except just be. I highly recommend it to everyone as often as they can. Just between you and me, you don't really need a horse to do it either (although I think they enhance the experience for me in ways I don't have words for.).
#5 TIME, 7 Keys to Success and #2 RESPECT, Qualities of a Horseman
Since it's been a mellow, albeit windy, day I thought I would share my all time favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe with you. They're great with a mug of hot tea on crisp, cold, November days.
NANCY'S SUPER DUPER EXTRA SPECIAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
1. Heat your oven to 375 degrees, set out your cookie racks for cooling and butter your cookie sheets (I use the paper from the sticks of butter. There's just enough butter left to grease up one sheet perfectly.)
2. Mix together with a fork : 2 sticks real butter, 3/4 cup turbinado OR demera sugar (organic if possible) , 3/4 cup dark brown sugar, 1 tsp sea salt until nice and creamy.
3. Add to that mixture 2 nice big, rich country eggs and a tsp or 2 of real vanilla and beat it until it's fluffy.
4. To that add : 1 and 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup whole oat flour OR 1 cup unbleached flour, 1 tsp baking soda and mix it in SOFTLY, GENTLY just until moistened. If you've read any of my other recipes, than you've already heard me say that you have to be gentle with whole grain flours or the cookies get tough and dry pretty quickly. If you "put your heart in your hands", then you're doing things right.
5. Add a bag of chocolate chips (about two cups), and if you're feeling fancy add some chopped nuts (a couple of handfuls) and maybe some chopped candied ginger, the real deal (again, try to buy organic if you can) Mix gently until things are folded in nicely.
6. Use a teaspoon to dip out generous portions on your cookie sheet, placing them a good inch or two apart so the cookies won't spread in to each other while baking. The mounds should be about the size of a large walnut.
7. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes according to your oven. In my oven it takes nine minutes. Your cookies should be a rich, deep, golden brown. I cook one sheet at a time, but if you have a convection oven you can do two sheets at a time.
8. Slide the cookies off the sheet right away on to your racks to cool, after you take them out of the oven (duh Nancy!). Be prepared to have legions of hungry children and spouses knocking each other out of the way to get to the first ones. They're delicious any time, but in the "totally awesome" category when they're hot from the oven. Oh, and if you have a half coyote/half dog living with you, DON'T LEAVE THEM UNATTENDED. You'll come back to find absolutely nothing left on the counter...every crumb licked off along with spoons, bowls, cookie sheets and spatula. And you'll clean up the aftermath for two days afterwards too!
Today is my youngest son's birthday. These were his favorites when he was a boy...and a man too! HAPPY BIRTHDAY BEN!
It's almost December. I love this time of year! Enjoy the cookies and pass the recipe on. It's meant to be shared.
I am ever yours, Nancy, smiling REALLY BIG TIME, mellowed out on horses and chocolate.