Thursday, November 28, 2013


Thanksgiving is on November 28 this year, so in honor of the season here are 28 things I am thankful. P.S. These are not in any "order."

1. My Family. Because no matter how angry or annoyed we get, we still love each other. I think.
2. Hot Water. It sounds silly, but I am so thankful that all I have to do is turn a knob and I get hot water.
(2.1 Dishwashers. Seriously, people take those for granted.)
3. My Personal Horses. I love them. Seriously. I'm so thankful for Lance, WindDancer, Quincy, Cracker, Misty, and now Runt (still deciding on a name).

Quincy, Scout, and I.

4. Technology. This is a love/hate relationship, but at the end of the day I am thankful that I can communicate to friends and family who live far away. Although I still wish I never had to make or answer a phone call ever.
5. Debt. I'm thankful that, other than a few small credit card charges, I am debt free. I couldn't imagine trying to pay off student loans, trucks, trailers, etc. Thank you brain for getting me plentiful scholarships.
6. My degree/Utah State. I miss Utah State University, but I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to gain a higher education. I'm also thankful that I now hold a Bachelor's degree in a field that I love.
7. Where I live. Eastern Oregon is beautiful... but Cornucopia and southern edge of the Eagle Cap Wilderness is especially beautiful.
8. My job. Where else am I going to find a job that lets me travel, ride horses, and make s'mores all summer long? The ski and snowmobile in the winter?
9. My blog. It's like journaling - only public. And better because I can add videos and photos.
10. My GoPro... so I can catch amazing videos of my life.
11. My camera... so I can always capture the moment.
12. Pizza. I love pizza. I love that we make amazing brick oven style pizza from scratch.
13. Friends. You are all awesome.
14. Christmas. It's the most wonderful time of the year. (Except I wish it was sunny and 85 degrees...)
15. Speaking of sun, I love the sun. I love warm weather.
16. Warm homemade bread.
17. The ability I have to bake sweet treats.
18. Ice cream. Nothing beats a good bowl of ice cream.
19. Music. I am thankful that I have the talent and ability to make music and I am also thankful that there is music all around me.
20. The ability I have to travel the world. I'm thankful I not only have the financial means to travel, but that we live in a time when I can indeed travel. I'm also grateful for friends who travel with me (Alexis!).
21. My dog Scout. He is my world. I love him so much!


22. My physical health. I am so thankful I am healthy and have the ability to live an active lifestyle.
23. Christ.
24. The color forest green. Is it strange I'm thankful for the color green? But it makes me happy and I think it is one of the most beautiful colors.
25. Life's challenges and the mistakes I make. I learn from my mistakes and the challenges make me who I am.
26. Laughter.
27. Books. They add wisdom to my life.
28. The earth. It is a place we come to make mistakes, learn, grow and challenge ourselves. It is filled with natural beauty and the physical environment never stops amazing us.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Settling In

I thought I would post some photos of Runt as she settles in.  And yes... I still don't have a name picked out. It will come though.

Enjoying the Sunlight

Looking over the Fence

She's not that tall... I'm kneeling on the ground with her.

Meeting Scout
For right now "Runt" is staying down in Halfway at the bottom of the hill. She's close, so I can just snowmobile down the hill in the winter to see her and play with her.  Yesterday I brushed her (she doesn't like curry combs) and worked with her two front feet. I love getting to know horses!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Multnomah Falls

On the way back to Union I stopped at Multnomah Falls. It was so windy and cold in the gorge, but totally worth the stop. The waterfall is 620 feet high and the tallest waterfall in Oregon. It's always beautiful and I love stopping there!

Black and White Image on the Falls

The Upper Falls

Freezing - But Enjoying the Falls

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Oregon Coast

While visiting my grandma in Salem we took a trip to the Oregon coast. I love the coast and I love seeing the ocean, although I wish the ocean was warm like it is off the coast of Australia.  We drove around Lincoln City and ended up in Newport.  In Newport we ate lunch at the original Mo's and indulged in some amazing calm chowder.

Ocean Seagull

Waves Splashing the Rocks

Standing on the Beach

After lunch we headed to the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.  The lighthouse stands at 93 feet and was originally lit on August 20, 1873.  I think it's a beautiful structure and we saw it on a nearly perfect day, aside from the howling wind.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Sunset from Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

It was such a perfect day at the coast and I was really happy that the fog stayed away! I'm also glad that I got to spend the day with my grandma and had a chance to explore a little more of Oregon.

I almost forgot, on the way back from the coast we stopped at the Drift Creek Bridge which was constructed in 1914.  It is a beautiful red covered bridge. Now all I need is a horse and wagon to go across in!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Salem Center and Family

Yesterday my mom, grandma, and I went shopping at the Salem Center. My grandma found a nice black winter coat and I got a great deal on some sweaters and a pair of a Silver jeans. It was really fun to go shopping in a big mall (something I don't get to do very often) and spend time with my grandma.

After we got done shopping we went to Ken and Carolyn's for dinner. We ate some delicious chicken and rice for dinner. It was great to spend time with family... Oh I almost forgot! Carolyn made some amazing peanut butter chocolate balls from a recipe she found on Pinterest.  I could eat a whole batch of those! 

I am glad I got to spend time with family and enjoy their company!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Boise Snowmobile Expo

Today I battled (unexpected) snow at 5am and headed to the snowmobile expo in Boise, Idaho. I was there to help promote Baker County tourism and Cornucopia Lodge. It was a great expo and we passed out a lot of trail maps and lodge brochures. Hopefully we will see some people head over here this winter to enjoy the magnificent snow! 

I just got back (had to put chains on to go up the hill) and wanted to share two photos Timothy Bishop took this morning at the booth.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Cast Iron Shepherd's Pie

I love shepherd's pie... It's a delicious hearty meal that is easy to make.  This recipe is tweaked from the original found on Food Network.

For the potatoes*:

1 1/2 pounds russet potatoes

1/4 cup half-and-half
2 ounces unsalted butter
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 egg yolk

For the meat filling:

2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, peeled and diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons tomato paste
1 cup chicken broth
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons freshly chopped rosemary leaves
1 teaspoon freshly chopped thyme leaves
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 cup fresh or frozen English peas


Peel the potatoes and cut into 1/2-inch dice. Place in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Set over high heat, cover and bring to a boil. Once boiling, uncover, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender and easily crushed with tongs, approximately 10 to 15 minutes. Place the half-and-half and butter into a microwave-safe container and heat in the microwave until warmed through, about 35 seconds. Drain the potatoes in a colander and then return to the saucepan. Mash the potatoes and then add the half and half, butter, salt and pepper and continue to mash until smooth. Stir in the yolk until well combined. 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the filling. Place the canola oil into a 12-inch cast iron skillet and set over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the onion and carrots and saute just until they begin to take on color, approximately 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add the beef, salt and pepper and cook until browned and cooked through, approximately 3 minutes. Sprinkle the meat with the flour and toss to coat, continuing to cook for another minute. Add the tomato paste, chicken broth, Worcestershire, rosemary, thyme, and stir to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer slowly 10 to 12 minutes or until the sauce is thickened slightly.
Add the corn and peas to the beef mixture and spread evenly in the cast iron. Top with the mashed potatoes, starting around the edges to create a seal to prevent the mixture from bubbling up and smooth with a rubber spatula. Place the cast iron on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 minutes or just until the potatoes begin to brown. Remove to a cooling rack for 5-10 minutes before serving.

*If you are in a hurry you can easily use instant mashed potatoes, although not as good.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Put the Glass Down

My friend Alexis shared this on her blog. I love it therefore I am reposting it here:

 A chemistry professor decided to teach his students a different lesson one day. Holding a glass of water in his hand, he asked the students, “How much do you think this glass of water weighs?” “500 grams!” came a voice from the back. “600,” said another student. “I don’t really know!” said the professor, holding the glass up to make sure everyone could see it. “And unless we weigh it, we won’t know.” With the glass still in his outstretched hand, the professor continued, “What will happen if I hold it like this for a few minutes?”

 “Nothing!” came the reply. “Right, and if I hold it for an hour like this, what might happen?” “Your hand will begin to hurt,” said a student. “Indeed. And what would happen if I held the glass in my hand like this for 24 hours?”

 “You would be in tremendous pain,” said one student. “Your hand will probably go numb,” said another. “Your arm will be paralysed and we’ll need to rush you to the hospital!” said a student on the last bench.

 “True,” said the professor. “But notice that through all this, the weight of the glass did not change. What then causes the pain?”

 The class went quiet. The students seemed puzzled.“What should I do to avoid the pain?” asked the professor. “Put the glass down!” said a student.

 “Well said!” exclaimed the professor. “And that’s a lesson I want you to remember. The problems and worries in life are like that glass of water. Think about them for a while and nothing happens. But think about it a bit longer and they begin to hurt. And if you think about them all day long, you will feel paralysed – incapable of doing anything. It’s important to remember to let go of your problems. Remember to put the glass down!”

 It's easier said than done, but it's a good lesson to remember for whatever seems to be weighing us down in our lives. We have more control over our lives than we sometimes think. Put the glass down.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Meet Runt

Yesterday I saw a post floating around Facebook about a batch of colts and fillies that needed rehoming. I am a sucker for horses - even more so for baby horses! I was of course dreaming about owning one of them... And then suddenly I did. This is all thanks to my friend Jaci; she headed up there to pick up some youngsters herself and I had her pick one up for me too!

I'm glad I was part of saving a little one from slaughter. She doesn't have a name yet so for now I am calling her Runt. She is maybe three months old? Looks like good conformation and more importantly she is such a cutie!  Runt will stay at Jaci's house until I have a chance to get to La Grande and pick her up. I'm so excited! Obviously... I love horses.

She's the little dark bay with the white bald face.

Making Friends

Getting Sorted? Wandering. Running Away. Haha

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cracker Jo

Such a great photo of Cracker & I. (Yes. She's on a rock.)
Cracker Jo and I had a fun new experience the other day. We went riding with Shannon and Twiggy over by MossSprings. I headed up the mountain in the morning, but not before dropping Cracker and my trailer off at Shannon's house. Once I was done packing, we went for a fun ride! (Side note: For anyone that hasn't personally met my horse "Cracker... aka Fire Cracker" she's a little special little mare. For instance, once she flipped over backwards and cracked her head in half.)

Cracker got to experience all sorts of new things on our ride; goats, garbage cans, garage doors, asphalt, mailboxes, yellow lines, and so much more!

I'm glad that Shannon and I got to ride. It was a beautiful day too.

Twiggy and Cracker distracted by a critter in the woods.
You would never know they hated each other.

The Twigster and I

Cracker on a rock. I make her do all sorts of strange things.

Standing up while riding.