Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The World Equestrian Games

This past weekend Secret Agent Man and I were privileged to be invited to the World Equestrian Games being held in Lexington. Our state is known, around the world, for the fabulous horse breeding, farms, and of course, the Kentucky Derby.


Our group rallied at the University of Kentucky's research farm for a luncheon and the opportunity to watch the endurance race that was being held that day.


The horse endurance race is comprised of 100 miles and extensive vet checks, for the horse, throughout the course. The horses featured in the race were of Arabian breeding. Not only were we able to view the horses in real time, but the riders wore a global positioning device, enabling the spectators to view their progress on screens placed throughout the horse park.


The finish time is a consideration, but the horses must pass through a series of vet checks during the course of the race. The horses must be able to slow their heart rate, remain strong without injury/lameness, and maintain a positive metabolic rate.





The individual winner of the race was Maria Alvarez Ponton of Spain. She completed the 100 mile course with a time of 7 hours, 35 minutes, and 44 seconds. Her horse completed the course and passed through the rigorous standards to win.



Even more impressive is that Ms. Ponton delivered a baby just a mere seven weeks before this event.


GIRL POWER!



Starting at 7:30 in the morning, the race lasted 11 hours, including the mandatory rest periods.




It is estimated that only about 40 percent of the horses entered actually complete a world endurance event, due to the strict standards for the horses.


Many events are being held at the horse park during the games. If you would like to read more about the games, the competitors, or the horses, you can do so here.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Field of Gold

Fall arrived this past week with a shock. Temps in the mid 90's were the norm for the start of my favorite season. The grass is turning brown and leaves are falling from trees, but only because of the extreme heat.
One plus about this situation is the plethora of golden wildflowers around our farm. My friend and I took a walk to see just how many we could see.
This field has turned to gold due to the flowers. This is a beautiful piece of land. A creek runs along the border of trees in the distance.

This area is in a program to return it back to its natural state. Natural grasses and native flowers have been planted. No livestock graze in this area, like they used to.



We are looking forward to cooler temperatures in the coming week. How is Autumn coming along in your neck of the woods?


Friday, September 24, 2010

You Can Do It

Man often becomes what he believes himself to be. If I keep on saying to myself that I cannot do a certain thing,
it is possible that I may end by really becoming incapable of doing it.

On the contrary, if I have the belief that I can do it,

I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I may not have it at the beginning.
Mahatma Gandhi



Monday, September 20, 2010

Be very, very quiet.....

Saturday night Secret Agent Man decided to take my new camera with him to his deer stand. At this point in the season, he is just scoping out the scene. He did run across two fine little ladies in the field.
Then one walked right underneath him.

And heard the shutter on the camera.


What a sweet girl.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Bow to the Cow

This weekend marked the annual Cow Days celebration here in Smalltownland. Started in the Great Depression, it began as a way to lure business into town. Merchants would give away tickets to their customers. The winning ticket holder would receive a cow, a significant reward during those times. Even today, a calf is given away to a winning ticket holder.
The festival faded away, but was revived in 1973 by our Rotary Club. It has continued to thrive through the years. For two days you can shop for crafts, listen to local bands perform, and eat until your heart is content.
This picture shows just a small portion of the people on our historic town square. Our new judicial center looms in the background.
Toots really got into the spirit of the festival by having her face painted in a Holstein theme.

Today I believe I survived the longest parade of my life. I saw more tractors, horses, beauty queens, Shriners, and the list could just go on and on. Candy was throw to the crowd from politicians and church clubs alike.


The high school homecoming floats were featured this year. Our high school mascot, a dragon, is shown here with our historic courthouse behind it.



This is just one of the most handsome mules ever. He and his partner are typically in parades in our area. They are always dressed in their Sunday best.

This gentleman is a huge talent. He creates gorgeous pottery and always takes the time to teach children his craft.

At the end of our day, Toots and I went into a wonderful, old church to check out the quilt show. We took our time and examined all of the fine work on display.

I have to say that I am totally "cowed" out until next year.





Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Bain of My Existence

Ahhhhh......the lowly cockle bur. I loathe thee.
Your dry, prickly exterior attaches itself to every pant leg, shoelace, and sock in my household.
Not to mention the dogs. Oh, the horror of cockle burs on the dogs.......

Some of you I can pick right off and then again, some of you like to shred when I touch you.

Recently I read that cockle burs do actually have two uses. One, they can be stuck together to create sculptures. Secondly, they can be used as darts on pant legs.

I am so glad my son doesn't read my blog.



Monday, September 13, 2010

A beautiful day in the neighborhood

Sunday was a glorious day here on the farmette.
Gorgeous sun, moderate temperatures, and no humidity made for a wonderful day.
We did finally have some rain on Saturday, but in reality the farm is very dry.

Even when the farm is dry, crunchy, and crispy....



I'll still be glad to take it.



Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pictures, pictures, pictures.....

Ladies and Gentlemen.....my camera finally arrived late Thursday afternoon and I have been high on camera love ever since. I replaced my Canon Rebel with a Canon 50D. Such a big difference in performance and picture quality. I tested it out today by taking some pictures of my niece. All of the shots of her are straight out of the camera. Known on this blog as, "Star", she is a young woman chock full of talent.
She plays the guitar and mandolin and writes her own music. She is such a huge talent all wrapped up in a fine personality. We convened at the old courthouse, located on our historic town square to take a few photos.
I know she felt a little silly as we, (her mom and I), kept trying to tell her how to pose.

My daughter, Toots, just had to get in on the action. She loves to have her photo taken.

We even threw in some silly shots.

And, this picture has nothing to do with out photo shoot. I just couldn't resist the look of old brick being taken over by a vine.

On the way back to the farm I took this picture of proof that fall is really here.

Our local drive-in movie theater is closed for the season. That means I will have to wait months until I can sit in the back of a pick up truck in my lawn chair to view the latest flick.




Tuesday, September 7, 2010

This and That

Today marked the first day of a shortened work week. However, it felt like five Mondays all rolled up into one. I have sold my camera and have just now organized it for the new owner. *sniff*sniff* I am putting the money towards a more advanced model in hopes of improving my photography skills. Mr. UPS is supposed to be delivering it on Thursday. I am already feeling impatient. This photo has nothing at all to do with that subject, just enjoy it anyway.





My husband and son have been working on their food plots in preparation for deer season. This photo is just a peek into their, "work area". Beautiful, no?!



The hot summer dried up leaves and some crazy winds last month have already made some of our trees look barren.






My son, The Deerslayer, has started snake wrangling. I am hoping this is just a passing fancy. Maybe too much Bear Grylls on the telly.




And, on one last final note. If you are driving on a country road and come across a road sign that says, "Egypt", then you really might be out in the middle of nowheresville.



Have a great week everybody!




Monday, September 6, 2010

Fudge Brownies with White Chocolate, Toffee, and Pecans

In honor of Labor Day I decided to labor a bit in the kitchen and make a fabulous batch of brownies. This recipe comes from Jennifer Appel and Allysa Torey, the ladies who founded The Magnolia Bakery and started a cupcake craze. Not only were they famous for their cupcakes, but also for cakes, brownies and cookie bars. This recipe comes from their book, "The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, Old Fashioned Recipes from New York's Sweetest Bakery".

Let's get started, shall we?

You will need the following for the brownie:
1 cup self-rising flour
12 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons vanilla extract

Topping ingredients:
3/4 cup toffee pieces
3/4 cup finely chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups white chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used white chocolate chips.)


*Grease a 12x18 inch jelly roll pan and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium size saucepan over low heat, melt the chocolate with the butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Cool for 5-10 minutes. Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and mix in the sugar, the eggs, and the vanilla extract.



Mix in the flour and pour the batter into prepared pan. Sprinkle the toffee and the pecans evenly over the batter. Bake 25-28 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into center of pan comes out with moist crumbs attached. Do not over bake.



Let cool for 20 minutes and sprinkle the white chocolate chunks over the brownies. Allow to cool to room temperature, or over night, before cutting and serving.

Enjoy and serve with copious amounts of milk....you will need it.



Saturday, September 4, 2010

Small town Friday night

Last night was our first home football game here in Smalltownland. A lot of tradition surrounds this kind of event.


The band comes in to put on an excellent show during half time.




A meeting of the minds occurs before any action takes place. Go Big Green!!!



The players dash onto the field in an explosion of applause and show of school spirit. Then the 10 year old daughter of the announcer gets on the microphone and asks the crowd, in her tiny voice, "Are you ready for some football?"



The best display of school spirit came in the form of this hat.


Secret Agent Man already told me he doesn't want to see this on my head next time. And, yes, we won!!!