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Take a walk in Blue Bell Woods listen to the sounds around you, of bird song and bees. Smell the flowers and the scent of Spring in the air. Every year is a new beginning and every day a blessing

"Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts." (Colossians 3:15a NIV)I would love to hear from you, if you don't have a blog you can still comment, join google it's free. I appreciate hearing from you.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I am not gone...............

"I give you this one thought to keep -
I am with you still - I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone
I am with you still - in each new dawn."

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poem attributed to Mary Frye

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oneida Point and around..............

Today we went for a walk in the woods. It was a gift, a lovely sunny and warm day and it's October. It has to be one of the last we will get so we just had to get out and enjoy it. First of all I wanted to drive up on Miller Hill just off Dunn's Farm Road. It was an unpaved road through the woods and looks out all over Lake Michigan. We could not walk to the overlook because we had Tristen with us so the view was somewhat impaired by the electric pylons. I had no sooner taken the picture than a Bald Eagle flew right in front of me. I could not get a picture as the camera was still processing the last shot. This view shows Sleeping Bear Bay and Sleeping Bear point. The Bay is where Glen Haven beaches sit and the coast guard station lighthouse.

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Close up of the first picture

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The road below is Dunn's Farm Road. I have cut that out of the picture though. The next one is the road through the woods. It takes us out by the Homestead near Point Oneida.

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This area is in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Most of the farms have been bought up and are now preserved. We took Miller Road and walked through the fields and into the woods.

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So here we go, off through the fields that have been mowed to make a lovely trail, and it is well worth the trip to the lookout. With a 2 year old there was not much hope of seeing wildlife but that's OK. This is cougar land, they have been seen as well as scat being found

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Then off into the woods. It was such a beautiful day and with the sun shining through the trees was just perfect for walking. Tristen and Gerry had their walking sticks.

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It is a bit of a walk to the lookout for little 2 year old legs but he made it all the way and up the hill. There is a seat at the top but he only stopped long enough for a picture.

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There are lovely views and I bet on a clear summer day its spectacular.

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You can see Lake Michigan and through the fields and farms below. I love the clouds in this shot.

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We found the old Werner Family cemetery overlooking Lake Michigan. It is well taken care of and loved.
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So then I took some pictures of a few of the farms at Point Oneida. Tristen got a piggy back ride back to the car because he was tired. These farms and barns are now owned by the National Park service. There are many more but we will show those another time.
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This is the D.H Day farm a local landmark that can be seen from the top of the dunes and all around.

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A bonus for us was by the Dune Climb, we saw what looks like a Muscrat nest or a Beavers den. I think its a Muskrat though.

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Then it was lights out for our rosy cheeked cherub who was no doubt dreaming of fun filled days and the things he had seen and done.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Moors..............

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Evil winds blow cross the moor.
Boats get scuttled upon that shore
Such pounding of great hideous waves
Echoing through subterranean caves.
Lightening cracks and thunder rolls
Deep underground like awakening trolls.
Mists and rain roll in banks of fog
Imagination sees the red eyed dog
Devils hounds glide and bay
For unwary travelers who carelessly stray
Out on those moors all wild and cold
Pay heed to the stories by firesides told
Light windows with candles to guide folks back home
The moors on such days are no place to roam.


JKS Oct 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011

Poem by Robert Frost....

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Whose woods these are I think I know,
His house is in the village though.
He will not see me stopping here,
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer,
To stop without a farmhouse near,
Between the woods and frozen lake,
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake,
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep,
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

-- Robert Frost

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Bridget...............

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Bridget was a tiny toy poodle with a personality as big as a great dane. She was naughty, and took pride in it. She was a flirt and the whole neighbourhood loved her. She loved to dress up.
When she came to us she was under one pound. She fit easy inside my hand. The lady who bred her brough her in a tiny carrier. She brought bottled water, food, her baby toys and blankets. She came with her first hair cut. You could tell she was well loved from day one. When she hurt herself one time I felt so guilty that I had betrayed the love that woman had for this tiny creature. She got over it by the end of the day (she fell off the back of the couch)........Bridget was 5 when she died. It was a terrible accident a little boy of about 2 went to hit a ball with a plastic bat and Bridget went for the same ball and so he hit her. I am sure it broke her neck. I could not believe it. Bud next door rushed us to the vet and Dr Burke did his best to save her but, it was not to be. After loosing Buttons not that long before it was almost more than I could take. Bridget.......Dr Burke chose her name from the few we could not decide on. Her best friend was a huge dog that walked by every day. Some days we walked together and would stop at all the neighbours so she could flirt. She would go up on peoples porches to greet the cats or dogs and have people admire her. She would look in car windows and in peoples doors in case she missed someone who might have wanted to see her.
I will always remember every one of my poodles, they are all special. It almost killed me to loose Buttons and then Bridget too. We have a small poodle now named Brea who reminds me a lot of Bridget so sassy and funny enough the other one Bella is quite like Buttons. We have 4 poodles now but none replace those who you loose. They just give you another one to love.

Friday, October 14, 2011

More about Lady..............

My horse was named Lady....and she was NOT!!!!. A lady that is. We have had some good times together her and I. When I was almost 40 I decided I would like to learn to ride. I signed up for a few lessons for myself and also my kids. We only went a few times before the boarding place was sold. The horses too. So I bought Lady who was my lesson horse, for 600 dollars. I was told she was 16 years old. I also bought a 1/2 share in another horse named Spyder. My friend Mary was the co-owner and said mine was the back half.
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Well, we had some good rides and some not so good rides. Spyder was more of a gentleman but the boys rode him. It was great taking the boys out and watching them learn to ride. Sometimes Laura came too, but not often as she was married by then. We would go out on the trails and fields around Golden Valley and I can still see us all in my minds eye. The kids grew up and my friend and I shared Spyder until he died at a good old age. I remember once he had "an impaction"....the vet said go get enemas and so I did. Six of them, I felt compelled to tell the cashier that they were not for me. Anyway, never having had the need of an enema I was not aware that you should get the air out of the syringe before sticking it up the horses butt. Well I think I almost blew out Spyders eyeballs with the first couple the pressure was that great, but he was very good about it and it did the trick too. We had to take turns walking him around and around, and I also had to put my hand/arm up his bum a few times to drag stuff out to move the blockage, but in the end it worked really well but was not one of my prouder moments. Poor old Spyder.
Lady and I with my friend Mary would go on trail rides through the woods. We would plod along on the way out with lady and Captain both eating the leaves along the way very relaxed and contented. There was an alterior motive for that because when they let go of the branch it would wipe us across the face. Did I say she had a sense of humour? well she did!!!. I am sure she would say to Captain "watch this" and snicker. Like when I started to learn to jump........we always started at a trot and would come up to the jump all enthusiastic and nicely balanced to go over and she would stop dead and start eating grass. Lucky for me I was balanced enough to stop too and looking like a limpet on a log, unlike my friend Mary who would sail over the jump without her horse. Captain and Lady shared the same humour you see. The little kids at the stable held a wedding for them they had been together so long. So it was that Lady and Captain got married. She even had a veil and Captain a bow tie.
Captain would enjoy it when we went out into the fields for our lessons instead of the arena. We would go around nicely in a circle learning to perfect the moves we were learning or whatever it was we were practicing then all of a sudden Captain would stop and casually eat grass. Mary would very elegantly slide down his neck and plop to the ground in front of him whereapon he would give a huff and snort and trot off as if to say "you just dont learn do you". She didn't either. I dont know how many times Mary was told not to feed the horse in the tie stall while grooming but she knew best and continued to do that until one day I saw her come sailing out into the barn landing on her bum in the aisle. "Well" she said." He has never done that before." as she walked off nursing her bruised posterior and ego.

Lady on the other hand was always trying to out wit me, not too difficult really......but I was a little more aware than Mary. I never did learn to canter. Lady would get going nicely until I was almost confident and then she would quickly change direction, run into the center of the arena and stop dead with me hanging on her side. "Dont let her so that" my instructor would say...........well listen woman the horse is bigger than me and she does what she wants. Not exactly true because I have seen 6 year olds canter the old bag with no trouble whatsoever. Its just me she has fun with.
Her relationship with me?. She was always the boss and was paid in carrots and apples upon demand.
I have to say that I thought that riding would come natural, it looks so easy. Then I got on for the first time and found out its not that simple. I am still puzzled about that. You are not a passenger you are supposed to be in control, to guide, to command.
It was not at all as I thought I mean, you have to learn another language. I ride English and its all control with seat and leg......well its supposed to be. Lady learned English really well especially the word NO........ as in "You want me to do what? NO!!!"....shes not so good with the rest of the language unless it involves food. I do know this........she could read my mind. On the positive side we never ever had a problem catching our horses to come inside to "work". They knew there would be lots of carrots and apples and other treats. In fact the other horses would volunteer to come in as well.
I must confess I have a problem with forcing my will upon an animal. She knew it. She took advantage of it and she laughed. I loved being with her, grooming her, the smell of her. I love that warm furry smell of hay and horse sweat. Walking with her. Yes some days when she was older I would just walk with her and not ride at all, so we would both get exercize. She was a large puppy on a leash. Just being with her was a privilege.

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Lady had a great life and she lived to be 41. When I would clean the stalls I would leave her loose outside and when she was done with her breakfast she would come back inside to bug me until I give her more food or a treat. She lived at a friends house at the end of her days with two nice big fields and two friends. So there were just 3 stalls to clean and she would come in and hang out with me. Go through my pockets if she could........and get into the hay and grain bins if she could before I saw her. Nothing like bending over and having a horse push your butt so you almost fall flat.

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I wonder if she remembered our days out on the trails, jumping logs and exploring places with Spyder and Captain. Both of them have been gone now for quite some time. She would be very slow and plodding on the way out and we would ride for an hour, sometimes longer, but the witch knew when we changed direction and would try to rush home. So the ride back consisted of lots of tight little circles and running up hills to get her to slow up some. I loved her running up the hills but admit that I hated coming down again and we would ride as much along the tops as we could until I could find the gentlest slope back to even ground.
I remember one day she ran away with me I have no idea why. I actually got a good canter going and thought "hey this is great" except that the barn was swiftly coming upon us along with the main road and the log yard and I knew that we would not make the turn, well I knew she would.......I would not and did not relish coming off at speed. I was very proud of myself that I was calm and could reach forwards to grab her rein close enough to turn her up the next hill and turn around. I got off and walked back shaking and glaring at her. Mary had already abandoned ship and was walking back beside Captain. Mary didnt want any of that. Anyway, I made Lady walk really slow the rest of the way so she had to wait for supper. I know, I hear you ...shame ...shame ...shame..........she won again. Sigh......my instructor said I should have got back on and ridden her home but, well, I am a coward. Mary spent a lot of trail time walking. If she saw or thought she saw a deer off she would hop. Not me I could not hop back on like she could I needed something to climb on. She always said that Captain would spook if he saw a deer. It was Mary who spooked most of the time, but Captain had been known to do some good spooks. Lady always stopped and thought about it long enough for me to reassure her.
One thing I must say in her defense, not that she needs it. She trusted me. If I asked her to walk over something scary, she would stare at it and stop when I would say "go on its OK" she believed me and would step over or onto anything. She would never spook, she might tuck her butt under but she would always go and when Captain had a fit she would always be reassured by me.
My instructor said if I wanted to learn to ride well I should get a different horse. I could not do that. She was mine for better or worse and I loved every moment of it. We were friends. I never became a good rider and I am not unhappy with that. Lady has been gone three years now and I still miss her and the smell of horses and all that goes with it.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Happy Birthday...............

This week is a week for birthdays.
Happy Birthday Carrie. Carrie is wife to Justin who will have his birthday two days later. Have a great time together you guys. I love you both very much. Relax and enjoy some time together.


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Justin will be 40 this year, my baby boy is 40 oh Lord am I getting old.

kids helping

Monday, October 10, 2011

Imaginings......

I love fantasy, actually I love imagination......I love the idea of fairies and unicorns, mermaids and the beauty beyond what we see around us in the natural world. On a cold crisp day in England when the hoare frost is on the trees and the hedges.


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The spider webs are frozen and look as though they have been decorated with a million diamonds.....I can almost believe. The beauty of new fallen snow when the sun shines upon it, how it twinkles like fairy dust it's like an old fashioned Christmas card. The sun makes a mist that swirls around the trees like some fantastic dragons breath.


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Once I walked in a forest in England when it had rained and it was foggy with a low mist in the trees and so quiet. I could almost imagine long ago wolves quietly padding amongst the trees. Ancient beings hidden in the mists of time. I love that feeling, not quite seeing something at the edge of my sight, not knowing if it was really there. That is when imagination flys free and anything can happen.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Country Life........bike rides and footpaths.

When I was a child I never owned a bike. I did try to learn once when Sylvia borrowed her mums bike. Was a bit of a challenge being an adult bike, my chin and hands were at the level of the handle bars, and I could see over the top on the up swing only. That made for a very wobbly ride at best. So when my friend Sheila wanted to go on a bike ride we were just a bit dubiouse. Still it did sound like fun, so we all borrowed bikes. Margaret and myself met Sheila at the top of Houghton Road, Sheila lived in Dunstable so we rode to meet her. That in itself was a challenge. I think we pushed the bikes through the town as we just were not accomplished enough to deal with traffic. Come to think of it there may have been a lot of bike pushing that day. Anyway we were off, out into the countryside, not a lot of traffic so we felt safe and even began to enjoy ourselves. We headed down past Dunstable Downs and out beyond, when we got to the Green Man pub we needed to decide if we should keep going straight down past Devils Dike and Ivinghoe Beacon, or turn and head into some small villages. It was a lovely day and so far without incident, I was just getting the hang of it. About that time we began to think, we had to go back the same distance that we had already ridden.....oh no.....we decided we better go back after all. Well, it had been fun going down the hills, now time to go back up....we pushed most of the way. We decided that we would take a short cut across the Green Lanes an old Roman Road no longer in use but a footpath now and beautiful....we pushed the bikes as far as where we left Sheila and Margaret and I headed home.

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Well the Green Lanes made me think of weekends with my Dad. All the footpaths and bridle paths have been there forever and as long as they are used, there they stay. They go across private lands and farms and through villages. So a fun thing to do on a weekend was to keep those paths open. Dad would carry clippers and trim back the brush as we went. It left an impression on me. Most of the footpaths are marked on a map and when the wheat grows in the fields you will see a trail through the middle of it, there would be stiles to get over fences so that gates are unneeded and cattle and sheep stay where they should. There are loads of different shapes and sizes and that in itself is quite interesting. Common land was always available years ago where people could graze cattle and kids could play. So keeping the tradition of the foot paths and the bridle ways open in modern times is a challenge but most of them have survived. It makes for a great day out, take a picnic and blanket and choose a nice spot under a tree. Back then we could drink from crystal clear streams, watch the birds and rabbits and just enjoy a day in the sunshine and fresh air. As a child I knew the names of all the trees and wildflowers, the birds and their eggs. I spent so much time alone in the fields that I knew where to look and how to recognise the types of nests and the colours of the eggs.


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Most kids had an egg collection. We knew to never take more than one egg and to leave anything that only had a couple in it, to be careful not to touch the nest......we could compare our collections and most kids knew the natural world around them and appreciated the beauty of it. I think one of the things I always loved most about England and the countryside I grew up in was the history and traditions. I learned about the hedgerows and what an awesome ecosystem they were as well as a work of art. I grew up around farms and over the years grew to appreciate farm life, how hard but how rewarding it can be.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Cats..............

Well love them or hate them they are always entertaining. We have had several over the years. They have come to us in round about ways, they choosing us rather than us choosing them. Our latest addition to the family is Boots. She came here pregnant a couple of years ago now. We took her to the vets and got her spayed. I know, horrible thing to do but............we could not deal with kittens and our vet said she was not far along and he would rather do this than put kittens to sleep later. Why do we avoid saying "kill" that's what we do.
Maybe some day I will tell you about our other cats Buffy (the mouse slayer) and Beatrice both much loved and now departed. We have had visiting cat cousins over the years and they have always got along with our poodles of the moment. We have always had poodles.
Well now, this Boots..........the one who escaped and was cocky enough to not want to come back in when we discovered her outside, that is until the rain started and she was howling pathetically. Anyway, she is back inside and back to her usual tricks.

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So one of the things I like about cats is how they think they are so cool. Boots came sauntering into my bathroom the other day. Rubbed along the shower, rubbed on the cupboard and chinned the shelf and sauntered over to admire herself in the glass doors. She was rubbing along those and looking at two chain belts hanging from the door nob when I moved my foot. I swear she levitated about 3 feet off the ground, jangled the belts that clanged on the glass scaring her even more. I believe she kicked in her after burners and shot out of the room backwards at a level of 3 feet off the ground. I was laughing so hard I didnt see her land. No longer the cool kitty but a kitty of twice its natural size and shape. She then proceeded to clean herself and stalked off in a huff. Hehe..............

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Facebook..........

I know a lot of people do not like Facebook. I do. I have had so much fun finding and getting reacquainted with old friends and relations. I started a group to talk about Houghton Regis, the village I grew up in. Now that is fun. We are talking about old friends and memories and I think everyone is having a really good time. Its always good to get to know cousins again and especially those in other countries. Well, in my case they are all in other countries now. Some are in England and some in Australia. The people who grew up in the village though including cousins are the most active. The village has changed from a small farming village to a town with its own mayor. I remember it when there were thatched roofs and gas lights. Hard to believe looking at it today. Most of the lovely old homes were demolished for factories or shops. Such a shame. They pulled down a beautiful 400+ year old Tithe Barn to build a housing estate for London overspill.

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The picture below shows new fangled electric street lights and the one above still has the gas lights. Notice though, no traffic. Ahhhhh so nice. Most of those houses, if not all have gone now.


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It's such a shame really that a sleepy quiet village had such and end.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Visiting Alexandra................

Laura and me go out to visit quite often and take Tristen. He seems to like going there to the cemetery. Today I had a wreath that I found on Monday when I was out for the day, so while Tristen wandered we got that placed and we checked out the flowers. The mums were still doing well but we left the fake ones anyway because they will be good for several weeks. I need to get some pansies and some Spring bulbs to put in.
Tristen enjoying a walk........

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Tristen came running back when he saw the brush to sweep off the stone. He loves that job, and he helped to set the wreath. He is so helpful.

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He then pointed to the picture of his mum and himself. Laura asked him who is that? and he said Mama. So he sort of knows in a vague way but how much he really knows is anyone's guess. All I know is that he is happy to go there and its a place he likes to visit. He aways has a good time and so I think its a good way to leave the door open for later explanations when he asks questions.

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After that he just skips off looking for sticks.

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There is a lovely apple tree close by and so we picked a few and he ate an apple.

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The colours were pretty and the squirrels were busy.
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They are getting fuzzy and busy storing up food for winter.
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We try to make every visit a fun and positive experience for him. I believe that dwelling on her loss is not healthy, we have had that experience with one child in the family already and do not want to make that mistake. Its a matter of keeping it all in perspective. Allowing him to know his mother without having him form an unhealthy obsession.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Autumn Weekend.....................

Saturday was a wonderful Autumn day, couldn't have been more perfect. The sky was that wonderful blue so often seen this time of year, no clouds in the sky. We intended  going for a ride out to the Sand Dunes, it was a bit nippy, just how I like it. I wanted to take pictures so we would look for a pumpkin patch. Well we had not got far along M72 towards Empire when we saw pumpkins at Gallagher's market. We stopped miracle of miracles as the hubster usually just sails on by all the things I want to see. Low and behold they had the farm open for a Fall harvest time fun day. So we got out to take pictures of pumpkins and Gerry took Reina and Tristen back to the fields while Laura and I admired the pumpkins

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The two kids had a blast back in the fields. There was a huge apple tree. I dont think I have ever seen one so big. I took a picture of the apples hanging  on it. The farm was full of crates of apples and fruits and vegetables. Wonderful things.

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I think that its wonderful that Gallagher's open up their farm to people and share it all with us. The kids loved the animals too. I managed to find a couple of butterfly's that I will share later and some wooly worms. Reina found one and made it her new friend. Tristen was fascinated by the pigs, he did not like the smell. They had sheep, pigs and bunnies for them to see. This guy was strutting his stuff
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This may be the reason why

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Apart from the animals there were wonderful sunflowers growing these left for the very happy birds. Remind me to put in some happy sunflowers next year.

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Here are a few of the animals and some fun times in the fields.

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After we left the farm we got back on track and headed out towards Empire. As we got to Golden Valley I saw that Mary Frixen's car was there. Now many years ago I started taking riding lessons there at Golden Valley. I ended up buying my horse Lady and have known Mary since then. A wonderful lady. Anyway we thought the kids would enjoy seeing the horses and so we stopped. Mary was surprised to see us, its been awhile. I told her about Alexandra dying and me having Tristen. She gave me some carrots and told us what horse they would be safe going to see. Tristen loved the cat Marmaduke who followed us out into the field to see Spotty. Reina wanted to sit on him so bad and so we let her.

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After we left Golden Valley, and we actually got away from there without any problems from Mr Tristen. We got on track again and after getting a nice cup of coffee and apple juice for the kids we headed to the beach. Yes I know, a cold day for the beach, but its a great time for the beach. That means no people and we have it all to ourselves. The colour of the water was just beautiful a soft turquoise and then shades of teal further out. White horses and everything..........there had been a lot of wind storms the last several days and so the beach was full of beautiful stones. We just love to look for special stones. Tristen likes to throw them in. We didn't want to look for stones with Tristen there because I didn't want him getting wet and we knew he would sooner rather than later. So we headed out..............Gerry had to chase him down to get him back to the car. His only meltdown of the day. He was struggling so hard he came out of his pants (Tristen that was not Gerry)
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When we got him back into the car he very quickly dozed off to snoozeland. We had decided to eat at the Hayloft instead of going home and as the little one had to be coaxed awake he was in a daze. So he was nice and behaved well. They have wonderful wet beef burrito's and with a Margarita as well it finished off a wonderful day.