Invasion

Warning: Although it might seem that I am profiling in this submission, I am not—all of the statements are true to the best of my knowledge.

Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone are truly two of the most beautiful places I have been. I am also pretty sure that I saw more French people there than I ever saw in France.

I have always stood up for the French. When everyone would say how rude they were, I recounted all of the positive experiences that I had with the French when I visited Paris. They would go out of their way to be kind. Not so much in Yellowstone—at least the ones I met. I thought it was odd, maybe the fresh air did something to their mind. Who knows. One instance in particular:

To begin, Yellowstone has got the BEST souvenir stores on the planet. They have great stuff. I had piled up T-Shirts, coffee mugs, an assortment of hats for Reed, and waddled over to one of the registers. As you do, I picked the best line. After years of practice, I have learned the criteria for the best line—it does not mean shortest or longest—you have to look at the items that the person has, and if they have cash or credit. Cash always goes faster. I placed my bets, and went behind what I calculated to be the best line.

As my mark paid and started to walk off, someone JUMPED in front of me. I peered over Reed’s moose hat. I was shocked—you just don’t JUMP the line. I had seen that he had been in another line, and yes, he did arrive in the line area prior to me, but he placed his bets, and obviously, was unaware how lines moved in the States. He bet wrong.

So let me paint this picture a bit brighter: If I was at the grocery store, and this happened, there would be a mutiny. You don’t just automatically get to go first based on your arrival time in the line area—you make a choice as to the line that you want to go in and you COMMIT. If you get lucky, a line might open and you can move, or you can move if you see one moving quicker, but you don’t leap in front of other people because you were in the general vicinity first. Wars have happened over smaller things. If this had happened in any Walmart in my home state of Texas, arms might well have been drawn or the line-cutter might have been pelleted with a six pack of Bud. News articles raged in the press when Obama, the PRESIDENT, cut in line at a barbecue joint in Texas about a month ago—NO ONE gets special exemption to line etiquette. Such an act makes National news.

So here I am—dumbfounded. Of course, I was unarmed—I was in a National Park. I was worried that if I did something that might seem aggressive, I would get thrown OUT of the park, and I had souvenirs to buy and hadn’t gone through any of the geyser attractions yet; however, I could not let this go. I did have my bear spray, but thought that might not be wise, so I coped out and said: “Excuse me, what are you doing? This is not the way it is done!”

The cutter looked at me with designer looking frames, and I instantly knew he was French. I could just tell—he was dressed in Marmot outdoor wear—way too fancy for an American on a day out hiking with the fam, and anyway, we all knew the rules of the line. “Well, this is the way I do it,” he retorted in his snub French accent.

I almost dropped my son’s moose hat, ceramic mug, souvenir travel mug, sweatshirt and t-shirts.

I was speechless—for a second.

“Maybe in France, but not here. Your lucky I only have bear spray and don’t know how to use it!”

The French-tourist-line-cutter looked at me in bewilderment, and he was now speechless. Hopefully, he realized what a gross cultural misstep that he just made.

I stared at him defiantly and gripped my coffee mug. If necessary, I would smash it over his designer glasses. At least then he couldn’t see the souvenirs that he was buying illegitimately in front of me.

Silence. Nobody around me, not even cashier said anything. I know that they knew I was right. I really wish I had known how to use the bear spray.

I watched him as he walked out. I noticed he was alone. He obviously didn’t even have any French friends. Not that I felt sorry for him.

I recounted the story to my husband who had been completely oblivious. As we then went to the geysers, I preened my ears for accents and different languages. I was just waiting for the next offensive action. I was on defense. Zero Tolerance.

Folks seemed to be on their best behavior. I did note that the Americans were the most polite, but then I could understand them. I was also clutching my bear spray.

When I made it to the Bitterroot Ranch where I was teaching for the week, all the guests had arrived except for one group—the French. The owner complained that the French were ALWAYS the late ones. One of the guests commented that they had probably been rude to someone and they gave them wrong directions. I felt slightly validated.

Consequently, they never arrived. They are probably still doing loops around Yellowstone.

When I reached the desk at Delta and had to surrender my bear spray (they won’t let you take it home with you, even on checked luggage), I asked the agent at the desk what they would do with it. She said that they donated all bear spray to the boy scouts. I told them that they could keep it behind the counter—just in case there were any French line cutters that needed a spray in the face. I knew one in particular, and really hoped secretly that he cut there and pissed off the wrong Delta agent.

There will be more on Yellowstone, it is worth two blogs.

P.S. I am not prejudice against any nationality. I am prejudice against rude people—wherever they are from.

One of my favorite things about Wyoming was the food! It is a hunter and fisherman’s paradise. While we were there, my husband Jim did some fishing, and caught some trout. He had to release those; however, we had some great trout at the inn that we stayed at after the clinic. This is how they prepared it:

Pan Seared Trout

Ingredients
• 2 pound rainbow trout fillets, scaled, cut into 4 ounce pieces
• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons of dill
• 1 tablespoon of paprika
• 1 1/2 teaspoons of cayenne pepper (or less if you don’t like to live dangerously)
• 2 teaspoons kosher salt
• 2 teaspoons black pepper
• lemons
• melted butter



Directions
• Rub fillets with olive oil, and season with the spices. Let marinate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
• Heat heavy skillet on high. Pat dry fillets with paper towel. Add 2 pieces at a time, skin side down. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes until skin is crispy. Flip to other side, cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Serve skin side up.
• Drizzle with lemon juice and butter
Hungry Horsemans trout recipe

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Independence Day

I have marked out the last four years of my life by what happened on Independence Day.
Let me preface this: These years were not speckled with fireworks, hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill in friend’s backyards. There were no parades, no red white and blue cupcakes. In all of these years, I have been traveling- except for one.  That was the first one.  Here we go:

Fourth of July 2010.  I was pregnant with Reed and thought that I might transpire of heat exhaustion before I actually gave birth in the hot and humid midst of South Carolina.  Jim and I had a baby bar-be-que and then set out to the Big Mo.  The Big Mo is a completely renovated Drive in Movie Theatre nestled in a peach orchard about 10 miles from our farm.  They have a great concession stand.

We decided to take Scout since they were having a dog costume contest and parade.  Bad idea.  We dressed Scout in an American Flag and left for the show.  Scout wasn’t interested in the movie, the parade, or the concession stand.  What she was interested in was going after all of the other dogs in the parade that were at the concession stand.  As you can gather, we left early.

July the 4th #2:  Reed was born and we were up North- the landscape for the rest of our 4th of July adventures.  Jim had to leave for work, of course, a few days before the 4th.  We were in New York- which seems to be where we are end up a lot on the fourth- so we stayed at an RV park close to the Rochester Airport.

We always seem to meet one person from SC when we go to a campground- and they are always camping next to us!  As we got things set up, we started hearing some very scary music from the center of the campground.  Campgrounds love to have theme parties- this one was karaoke.  I don’t think I need to say much more- there were men that really needed to wear shirts but weren’t who very likely drinking beer for most of the day, and this was later in the day, so they have their liquid courage up.  They were belting out the toons, and the kids were playing in the opposite direction.  There were 100 separate little parties going all over the campground- but lights out and no noise after 8:30- campgrounds are very strict on that.  We had to go to bed early anyway because, as usual, I had to wake up at the crack of dawn to take Jim to the airport.

The next year, Jim was off somewhere for work and my friend Barb volunteered to drive with me and Reed, who was now 2 from New York to Colorado where I would be teaching that summer.  Let’s just say that trip deserves its very own blog, and will get one one day. After literally the craziest road trip ever, we ended up in Pagosa July 3rd.  I was too exhausted to even go out the next day!

Last year we spent the Fourth in a scary campground- actually it looked more like a crime scene then a campground. This time in New Hampshire- there is definitely a trend going here with the campgrounds and places starting with an N.  I am pretty sure some of the residents had been there for some time.  The pool definitely was a bio hazard at this point.  I kept Reed on a short leash as well as Scout- well, at least I tried.  She escaped the camper several times and went running by the “house” where the “indoor pool” lived.  On closer inspection, she was going after the rats that lived near there.

We left shortly after.

This year was different.  We were in New Hampshire (theme) but no camper, no rv park.  We arrived at Ladd Farm the day before the 4th and got our horses all ready for the parade in town.  We then got rained out.

So much for Fourth of July

However, if I were in one place long enough where I could actually cook something, I might do this:

I love Lemon Squares, and even though they aren’t red, white and blue they remind me of the summer and the Fourth of July! Here is a great recipe and simple!!

Crust:
6 tablespoons of butter- cold
1/4 Cup of powdered sugar
1 cup of flour

In a mixer blend the butter, powdered sugar, and flour.  Pat mixture gently into a 9”x9”2” pan.  Bake in a preheated oven at 350 for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.

Filling:
3 eggs
1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of flour
4 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
zest of 1/2 lemon
powdered sugar

-Mix the eggs lightly with an electric mixer.  Add the sugar, flour, lemon juice and zest.
-Pour mix over the hot crust and bake for 20 more minutes or until it appears firm.
-Remove and sprinkle with powdered sugar.  Loosen custard from the edge of the pan when it is warm so it does not stick- cut into squares- YUMMMM!!!!

The Hungry Horseman
-who is on a diet but this isn’t on it!

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Texas…the land of the taco and other wonderful things

I took a trip to Texas a couple of weeks ago.   I legitimately went there for work, but I always carve in lots of time around those events to visit family and eat.  As many of you know, I am a Texan.  I grew up in Corpus Christi, the homeland of Whataburger, and where breakfast tacos are considered a food group.  Every Texan knows that Bar-B-Que, Whataburger and tacos or a combination there of are vital resources and enough for anyone to live happily ever after.

Let’s talk a little about Bar-B-Que in Texas.  It is very different to what they call Bar-B-Que in South Carolina.  In Texas, it is all beef, and the sauce is always tomato based.  I love it.  I can generally pick up the scent of the smoker from miles away, and I zone in on it like a bird dog.  It’s amazing.  If you try to explain to a Texan about South Carolina bar-b-cue- that it is pork…all mustard based…they look at you like you are out of your mind.  I remember ordering my first sandwich in SC- I cried when I saw the pork with sweety-glazed mustard sauce dripping all around it.
Texas photo
I also have extra sensory powers when it comes to picking up the scent of a good taco stand.  I can feel the draw from miles away, lock in, and there I am.  It is actually pretty scary.  The last taco stand that I descended upon on my trip from Austin to Uvalde was in front of a car wash (see pic).

Of course, the components to the taco are paramount.  Homemade tortillas are non-negotiable.  The tacos in convenience stores even have homemade tortillas.  I tried to explain to a certain taco stand that in South Carolina you cannot get fresh tortillas- the lady looked at me- dazed and confused and replied, “then what do they EAT?”

Texans really have no connection to the outside world.  And what I mean by the outside world is any place outside of Texas.   When I was growing up, my family thought it ridiculous to consider leaving the homeland.  Texas is not a state- it’s its own country.  They are patriotic, of course, to America, but they are Texans first.

This is how I grew up.  The only reason I left Texas was because I wanted to be around trees, not weeds that masqueraded as trees- i.e. mesquite “trees” which make damn good firewood for cooking, by the way!

So I landed, after a bit of drift, to South Carolina.  I love it here, but I miss my homeland.  Here is a recipe from there- I actually never had it until my last return trip.  It is easy but spicy- not for the faint of heart!!!

Spicy Shrimp Wraps

Ingredients:
Baconnot peppered unless you like it really hot!
Large Shrimpone per piece of bacon
Jalapenoes½ one per wrap- seeded!
Cojita Cheese this is a special hard, white Mexican cheese.  Most major groceries carry it
Limes
Toothpicks soaked in water

Directions:
Marinate the cleaned shrimp in lime juice for an hour or so.  Grill the jalapenos- I leave them whole to do this.  Throw a little olive oil on them before you put them on the grill.  When you take them off of the grill, you should be able to take the skins off easily. Then cut them in half and take the seeds out.

Take one piece of bacon, roll one shrimp, a slice of the cheese and half a jalapeno tightly.  Secure with a toothpick.  After you have prepared them all, put them on the grill and cook until the bacon is thoroughly done.  Serve with slice avocados and squeeze lime juice over them.  Also yummy with queso and quacamole!!!!

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Raising Reed

As many of ya’ll know, I have a three year old son named Reed.  As many of you also know, I have no prior experience raising children.  So basically, I have no clue as to what I am doing.  I try to apply natural horsemanship principles and techniques whenever possible, but as with my dogs, I am just not as disciplined with him as I am with my horses.  I find myself doing crazy things that I used to see other crazy parents do before I had Reed. Then, I thought that they were crazy.  Now I understand.

For example: Yesterday, I took Reed for his first swim lesson.  I had my i-phone charged and ready to get the entire experience immortalized and digitized.  I think- I know- that I was more excited than he was.

Because we live in the boonies, it took us 45 minutes to get to the Hilton Garden Hotel.  The swim school took over the pool that was slightly bigger than the Jacuzzi to teach little ones like my son.  It was probably a good use of the pool- when we entered, it was happy hour, and everyone was at the bar- the pool was abandoned.  The one poor man that was trying to relax in the Jacuzzi was quickly driven away by the shrieking children.

As we waited by the side of the pool at one of the table and chairs, another lady and her child settled in next to us- Reed’s swim partner.  I knew from the second I saw her she was going to be trouble.  I developed this instinct from years of teaching clinics- I can spot the ones that are going to be a problem a mile away.

Reed grabbed a pool noodle, put it down next to me, and then stood on it- balancing- and I helped him a bit so that he wouldn’t fall off.  I didn’t think anything of it- he plays on tractors, trailers, balances on barrels- he is a country kid.  He lives on the edge, and I actually think it is kind of cool.  The other mom gave me the “look”- the “look”  being- you are endangering your child’s life, and he should be taken away from you look.  She then, obviously trying to hold herself back, told me that he WAS going to slip and fall and crack his head opened.  She  had seen another kid do it just last week- probably her kid’s old swim partner.

reeds first swim lessonI didn’t even think and retorted, “He has incredible balance, and he is fine.”  Uh-ohhh- opened a can of worms now.  She then had to tell me about how incredible balance HER son has, and not only that, he is incredibly talented in general, and even SHE doesn’t let him balance on pool noodles despite his amazing balancing abilities.

I didn’t take him off the noodle.  I figure, if his feet are in one place and he is focused, it is better then him wildly running around the pool area.  That was definitely not allowed.  There were no signs about pool noodles.

Reed elegantly stepped off of the pool noodle when it was his turn to swim, and I gave the other mom and satisfying smirk.

I followed Reed to the steps of the pool and sat down along the edge.  Remember, I had to get the whole thing on video.

As the lesson started, it was fairly obviously who the natural in the water was.  Reed grabbed onto the pool noodle in the water and was kicking away.  His bubble blowing under water was superb.  He threw the blocks on his mark- not outside off the pool like the other kid.  The coach had to tell the other kid to not be crazy several times where Reed was focused, riveted.  I have it all on video.

The kids’ mother- who I might add was very much overweight- had not gotten up.  She was texting away, talking on the phone, probably reporting me for child abuse.

I encouraged Reed- clapped for him- did a little dance- told him what an AMAZING JOB he was doing.  I was posting pics on Facebook- sending pics to his dad.  When I look back, I realize I was one of those crazy parents that I see at my nephew’s little league games.  The few instances that he did not listen to his coach, I reinforced.  You talk about a helicopter mom- I was flying low and I am sure that the coach could feel the wind of my chopper.

At the end of the lesson, we debriefed with the coach.  The other mom quickly explained that she didn’t want to interfere with the coaching and that’s why she was not encouraging her son..jab jab….. guilty conscious, obviously.

Speaking of feeling guilty…fast forward one week, and I am in Texas visiting my cousin Allison.  When Allison and I spend time together, we always do a lot of cooking.  This visit, we decided to do some throw back recipes that our family recipes and things we enjoyed making together.

The following recipe is one that we loved to make on the weekends- when we were young, had time on our hands and were broke!  This is a really cheap recipe to make and delicious!  It was one of the first “international” recipes that I ever made!

Samosas

Ingredients:

Crust: I use the Pillsbury refrigerated roll out pie crust, but my cousin likes phyllo dough- so it’s a personal preference!

Filling:

4-5 medium potatoes

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 fresh green chili, seeded and finely chopped

1 cup of defrosted frozen peas

1 tablespoon of ginger- I use the stuff in the tube that you can get it the spice section, it is easy and works the best!

3 tablespoons of Italian flat parsley

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon of coriander

1 teaspoon of garam masala

1 teaspoon of ground cumin seeds

½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper

1 tablespoons of lemon juice

4-5 tablespoons of olive oil or oil of your choose to cook potatoes and veggies

Peanut oil or oil of your preference for frying

Directions:

Boil the potatoes with the peels on.  Drain and put aside.  Peel and dice when they are cool.

Take dough out and let it warm up a bit.

Sautee the onion in the oil until translucent. Add the peas, ginger, green chili, parsley and a few tablespoons of water.  Cover and cook for a few minutes until the peas are completely cooked.  Add the potatoes, salt, coriander, garam masala, cumin, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice.  Keep heat on low and mix the spices gently with the potatoes. Taste and add salt if needed.  The flavors will marry the longer it is allowed the sit.  If you are short on time,  you could prepare the somosas the next day.  If you have time though…

Stuffing the samosas….

Lay out the dough and roll it til it is as thin as you can get it- if you are using phyllo dough, use a few sheets so it is a thin layer.

Cut the dough like you are cutting a big pizza- then roll the pieces like a ice cream cone.  Fill it with the dosa filling, and make sure the seams are sealed well.  When they are all done, fry up in some peanut oil our oil of your choice!  Fry until light brown!  At Indian restaurants, they serve these will all kinds of yummy sauces.   I usually make a greek yogurt dip with some fresh garlic, lemon and dill… yummers!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DisneyWorld

My husband still reminds me that night when I found out I was pregnant, I started planning our first pilgrimage to Disney.

reed and donaldI went to Disney several times as a child, and, of course, loved it. I didn’t recall the parking, the crowds, or the $5 pretzels.

I started planning our trip 6 months out.  I wanted to make sure I had every minute planned out for maximum park amusement experience.  I do remember my brother plotting our days- which rides we would go on first, what transport we would take to get there to optimize our time- my brother was the smart one.  I just wanted to have fun.  Now that I was 35 years older, I recognized the benefits of planning ahead.

Six months later, we finally arrived in Orlando.  Driving from the resort to Disney sparked childhood memories, and when Reed saw the huge signs with Mickey, he went crazy.  I had been endoctering him on the Disney characters for months now.  Like a stream of ants, all of the mini vans and our Volvo obediently followed the parking attendants and parked side by side like a synchronized swim team.  A sea of strollers proceeded to the tram pickup.  After the 20 minute odyssey via tram then boat, we finally got to the gate.  Tigger was signing autographs, so I dragged Reed to the line (I had also forgotten about the lines). 10 minutes later, it was finally our turn. Just then Tigger had to go on a break.  His helper that led him away told us he needed some Tigger Biscuits but the lady behind me knew better- she explained to her son that Tigger needed to go on a pee break.  10 more minutes later, Tigger reappears.  I have Jim in place with the camera, and the iphone ready for back up as well as our Disney photo pass.  I was ready to photograph memories NOW.  Reed wailed.  He was terrified of Tigger.  Of course, I still got pictures of him withering and screaming under Tiger’s paws.  It had to get better.

kelly and reed and mouses I will say that it did; however, that Sunday, I believe, must have been International Day.  Nobody spoke English except for us, the lady behind me in line for Tigger, and the attendants.  And, consequently, all nations decided to descend on Disney that day.

All was not lost.  After flying through the air with Dumbo, It’s a Small World, the Ferris Wheel and several other rides at Fantasy Land, we headed back to the parking lot on the tram.  I know now that I had pushed Reed too much by insisting that we ride “It’s a Small World” before we leave.  He started flinging himself around the tram, bit me, and then I told him no followed by a little spank.  He immediately started screaming to everyone and anyone that his mother was hitting him.  Thankfully it was International Day, and nobody understood what he was saying.

reed and teacupsNeedless to say, the food at Disney was EXPENSIVE, so we made food ahead of time and brought it and ate most of our dinners at the condo.

Here is one great make ahead recipe- this was handed down from my Great Grandmother- my mammy- it is so simple and very affordable.

Creole Steak

Ingredients:

2 lbs or so of Chuck Steak- really well marbled- more if you have a bigger family!

Flour

Salt and pepper to taste

Vegetable or Canola Oil

1 Small can Tomato Sauce

Worcestershire Sauce

First, with the steak(see pic)

creolesteak

Cut it in small pieces, and then salt and pepper and dredge through flour.  (see pic)

 

 

 

 

You’ll need a glass of this. (see pic)

 

 

creole steak1

Glass of Wine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, put 5-6 tablespoons of oil in a sauté pan and brown the meat. (see pic)

 

 

Brown meat in oil

Brown meat in oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Take meat and oil out of pan.

Now its time to make the GRAVY- don’t worry, its not that hard- just follow these directions very closely:

Add 4 tablespoons of oil back in the skillet.  To that, add 4 tablespoons of flour, stir and brown slowly.  Take the pan off the heat and SLOWLY add water and stir with a whisk until you have gravy.

 

 

creolesteak4Now, add this to the gravy:  1 small can of tomato sauce and a few dashes of worcestershire sauce.  Add salt and pepper to taste- now, the tricky part, and trust me- slowly add more water until the gravy is THIN.  THIN.

 

 

Trust me- like broth thin.  It is going to cook a long time…..

 

creolesteak5

 

 

Put the meat in a dutch over and then cover the meat with the gravy- the gravy should barely cover or almost cover the meat.

 

Cover and cook for 2 to 2 ½ hours at a 350 degree oven.  Check from time to time to see if you need to add water.  Serve on a large pile of Mash Taters!  Bon Appetit!~Kelly

 

 

creolesteak6

 

 

 

 

 

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…..The Rest of the Story

I meant to finish this story over a month (or two) ago, but time got away from me.  That happens routinely to me.  Part of the reason for that is I have NO free time.  I am either traveling to teach, trying to spend time with my horses or chasing things- like Reed or Scout.  Yesterday, I ended up chasing Scout through the Wagener High School hallway with the ROTC trailing me to help corner her.  I did catch her and decided at that moment when Scout ever dies I am just going to get another Mastiff.  They don’t move near as fast and have a short flight line.  And since it is almost Halloween I thought I would entertain you all with this picture of Scout!

kellys scout in raincoatSo the story that I am going to finish is about how this whole Parelli thing started.

After the friendly Parelli person whose name escapes me helped me finally get my horse in the trailer, I decided that I needed to:

  1. 1. Go out and buy an orange stick- they obviously had magical powers to get your horse in a trailer, and I needed all of the help that I could get.

2.  I needed some lessons with this Parelli lady.

At the moment that I was planning all of this, the lady that owned the facility where I boarded and trained came rushing out- almost as wild as the dust devil that ripped George’s run in shed away- and told me that THAT woman was not allowed at the facility.  Apparently, Pat Parelli was the anti-Christ, and if I wanted to stay there, I couldn’t work with her.  Then I explained- and this is when I got officially kicked out- that she was the only one that could help me.

kelly farm collage1Luckily, there was a facility close by that would take me- and I could ride George there (since I didn’t have my magic orange stick yet or a lesson).

My Parelli gal came over several times to help.  I was finally able to wave my stick around and get him in the trailer. I felt like I was now some kind of a genius, an expert at Natural Horsemanship, and no longer needed anymore lessons- I could take it from here.

Then, on that same day, this newsletter that said SAVVY UP showed up at the barn.  It had a picture of Linda Parelli jumping a picnic table with a halter- which I thought was really cool.  I opened it up and there were the O’Connor’s- eventing royalty- and their students and Parelli students jumping HUGE jumps!  The difference between the Parelli students and the eventers was that the Parelli students were doing it all bareback and bridleless.

Needless to say, I was impressed.  I couldn’t even get my horse around some of those jumps with a mechanical hackamore!

Well, of course, now I needed to learn how to do THAT.

The lady that I was working with explained that THAT took awhile- I wasn’t even level one yet!

Soon after I received the newsletter, my mother received a postcard about a Parelli clinic in Orange Grove, TX.

At that point, I had moved back to Corpus Christi, my hometown, to teach.

My mom didn’t know why anybody would want to go to Orange Grove for anything- but oh well, she thought I might give it a shot.

Since I could now load my horse with a wave of my stick, I bundled him up in the 100 degree weather (it is always hot there), complete with bell boots, shipping boots, fly mask, and his short bus helmet.

kelly and traileringWe arrived, popped out of the trailer, and headed to the arena.  The “arena” was a fenced in area with hard, black, clumpy ground.  There was no way I could put George in there- he might injure himself, I thought (even though he was an eventing horse, I was VERY cautious about footing which I know sounds crazy!!!)  So I decided to watch for a bit.

There were people already in there “playing” with their horses.

It all looked very alien to me.  Here were these people, walking forwards, and there horses were moving away from them in what seemed like a half circle.  The horses had their ears pricked forward and their eyes were bright.

“What are they doing?” I asked.

They explained that they were doing the Falling Leaf pattern and their horses were looking like that because they were asking them a question.

Ok, now I felt really bad.  My horse had NEVER looked at me like that.  I just ordered him around!

Now I had to learn THIS to!  When would this ever end!

More to the story, later……………

All this writing has made me really hungry.  Since the story is based in South Texas, I thought an enchilada recipe would be in order.  I am actually going to teach my Canadian friends to make it this weekend- they can get all of the ingredients there.  Sorry there are no pics- I promise they are REALLY GOOD!

First of all, you have to make the sauce- it is sooo good:

¼ c of canola oil

¼ c of all purpose flour

½ tsp of black pepper- or a bit more if you want

1 tsp salt

1 ½ tsp powedered garlic

2 tsp of cumin

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp dried oregano

2 T chili powder

2 Cups of chicken broth- I use low sodium

Directions:  Heat the oil in a skillet on medium.  Stir in the flour and keep stirring until it’s a light brown.  Add the rest of the dry ingredients and cook for about a minute- constantly stirring.  Add the chicken broth and stir until the mixture thickens.  Turn the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for 15 minutes.  You can add a bit of water if you want to adjust the thickness.

Put the sauce to the side and get everything ready to assemble the enchiladas.

You’ll need:

3-4 T of canola oil

10 corn tortillas (or more if you make really skinny ones)

4 cups of chedder cheese- I like sharp and I grade it- its better that way.

1 medium onion diced

-Have a bunch of paper towels ready

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

-In a baking dish- around 7”-9”, put ½ cup  of the sauce on the bottom

-In a small skillet, heat a tablespoon or two of the oil. Get the oil really hot.  Put your tortilla in for just a few seconds, til it is soft, then flip it and do the same.

-Put it directly on a paper towel, then blot off the oil with a paper towel on top.

-Put the tortilla in the baking dish and on the edge of the tortilla, but a tablespoon of onion and ¼ cup or less of cheese there.- roll it up and lie is seam side down.  REPEAT until they are all done, and then put the rest of the sauce on top- you can top the enchiladas with onion and cheese or whatever!

Bake for 15-20 minutes until bubbly- don’t over cook, they will get crusty!

 

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Scout…..Part II

scout

She is shaking!!!,”  The look at me with disdain, and Scout, through her cataracts, confirms their notion.  “You are so mean!!!” This is what I get on a daily basis when I walk her in a campground or through Petco.

 

 

“It’s Wishbone!  Can I pet him?”  Scout shakes convulsively and lowers her head.

“She is looking for an upgrade!” I tell them.

Off they go- I am such a bad mother, obviously.  Just let us adopt the little thing!

Little do they know.

As I explained earlier, my Jack Russell is incarnate from a famous serial killer- do I know who yet?  Not quiet- but pretty certain.

 

scout on farmHere is a day in my life:

Scout locks me out of my camper not once but TWICE with my son in the camper.  When she finally gets out, she high tails it to the petting zoo- I know this because I see everyone that was at the pool now standing up and STARING at the petting zoo. Everyone at the petting zoo is screaming, and a three year old dad (who is wearing a tropical shirt and flip flops) has Scout in his left arm and the goat in his right.

 

 

This only translates into TROUBLE.

I race down there, non chalantly of course, to see what is going on.

“She was hanging off the pig’s ear!!!!” 

I grab here, apologize as usual, and make a run for the camper.

We head out at dawn.  Hopefully, not to be tracked.

Last week there was the pet parrot, which I will not get into.  I will say, I warned them.

People don’t always believe me- but I think that is why serial killers can be serial killers- they blend in.

I have been on the road with Scout for four months now.  Tomorrow we will be home, and she will be there- after this summer, I think permanently except for the odd trip to the Piggly Wiggly.

Traveling’ tzaziki!

Some of ya’ll know that I lived in Greece for a while during college.  I loved it- particularly the food!  One of the things I loved more than anything was a yogurt dip- thankfully, we can get good greek yogurt now…

1 tablespoon of finely minced garlic (or less if you don’t like garlic that much)

2 tablespoons of fresh dill (or more!)

2 tablespoons of olive oil (or less if you are on a diet)

1 tablespoon of lemon (or more if you like it!)

salt to taste

½ a cucumber- skin it and really mince it

1 ½ cup of full fat greek yogurt- mix it with some sour cream to make it really creamy!

Smear wooden bowl (or plastic if you don’t have a wooden one) with the garlic- add the lemon and salt- then add the cucumber.  Next: yogurt and sour cream then dill.  Olive oil goes last and drizzle a bit on the top.

YUMMMMM….Great on grilled veggies or ANYTHING!  I love it with warm pita bread.

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The Ultimate Predator

I have always been pretty good with horses, but never with predators.  This includes men and dogs.

kellys blog picture for AugustScout, my Jack Russell Terrier, confirms everyday to me that I have no business attempting to train predators.

Scout is a serial killer.  I am pretty convinced that she must be reincarnated from some famous serial killer madman.  When she is locked in on the kill, there is absolutely no reasoning with her- she cannot see or hear anything else.  After the kill, she always begins shaking and going through these crazy tremors like she is transferring to another personality.  Definitely thinking she is bipolar or something like that.

The good news, or bad news for some, is that Scout is an Equal Opportunity Killer- she mainly kills rodents (all kinds- as I said, non discriminatory- possum, mouse, rat, squirrel, raccoon, groundhog, skunk- she has been known to venture into the realm of small deer, cats (she stopped that a while back when she got thoroughly slapped down by our barn cat Bubble Gum), and rescued geese. Oh- forgot to mention, she also chewed a pig’s ear off once.  Poor pig is still earless.

Her list of kills crosses many state and International Lines- including Canada. I am sure on the varmint MOST WANTED list, Scout is at the top.   I can just see some little possum dressed like the guy from America’s Most Wanted highlighting her.  I could just hear him tell the crowd… “ Be very careful- this one is highly dangerous-We cannot pinpoint her to one location. We do know that she has a very unique way of killing and NEVER leaves bite marks- she may have an extra digit….She is constantly on the move, and for that reason, we believe she is a traveling circus clown dog.” Then you see a mug shot of a Jack Russell with paint on her face being held by a clown in a clown truck.

Needless to say, a huge amount of my time is intercepting her before she causes another international incident.

Today was one of those days.

We arrived to the campground early to have a few hours of peace and family time before we had to go to sleep early.  We had to wake up way before the crack of dawn to get my husband and Reed to the airport.

Scout, of course, foiled our plans.  As soon as she saw a weakness, she shot through the camper screened door and took off. I went running after her in my clogs- we raced past the sign that said DOGS MUST BE LEASHED, did two laps around the pool, ran through two backyards, alongside the highway, and ended up alongside a creek with a loose chicken.  Scout was in full kill mode.  I ran to go and apprehend her- she raced into the brush in hot pursuit of the chicken.

Somehow, the chicken eluded her and ran back to the coop- where the other chickens were.  Scout was hot on its tail, and within no time had it in her toothless jaw.  After a lot of screaming and scurrying, I managed to grab Scout, extract the chicken which now had a huge bald spot, and take my Jack Russell, mouth full of feathers, back to my campsite.

Less than 72 hours prior, she caused another such incident at my friend, Adrienne Cohn’s.  Scout was in the backyard, where we were relaxing on the porch- the calm before the storm-within a few seconds of Adrienne’s husband, Andy, saying “There is no way Scout can get out” she had leapt through a crack about 2 inches in diameter, and was after something- the something happened to be a skunk.  Andy, in a full run, threw off his golf shoes and socks and went for her; Jim went running alongside- they both stopped in their tracks when they realized that she had cornered a skunk.

I can only imagine that this is similar to Robert Downy Jr. in Sherlock Holmes- Scout stops- analyzes the situation briefly, plans her attack in a step by step sequence and then goes after her prey- it is all clearly premeditated- and she always wins.  The skunk latched onto her cheek, Scout allowed this for a few seconds (obviously toying with it to suck it in) then reared up, swiped it with a hard left with her paw, then grabbed its neck and shook it to death- the best that she can do with no teeth.

kellys scout getting deskunked

When Jim brought Scout back, they smelled BAD- I mean really BAD.  She had gotten hit head on.  Imagine that- a full on attack after being sprayed head on with the strongest mace you can possibly imagine.  Not even the best Navy Seal can do that.

Adrienne sprang into action and ran to the store- the same skunk had sprayed her chocolate lab 4 times. This was not her first rodeo.

When Adrienne returned, the de-skunking began.  Jim peeled off his shirt and put on a trash bag as a shirt and slipped on plastic gloves- it looked like he was getting ready to work in a meth lab or something.

2 hours later she was fairly de-skunked.

Note: Scout is 12 years old, is recovering from being caught in a hay bailer in Canada, and has cataracts.  I cannot imagine what she could do in her prime.

kelly scout haybailer accident

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Scout went running off to kill the skunk, we were in the process of making ribs.  This is an awesome recipe….

Rattle Snake Ribs

http://www.recipelink.com/msgbrd/board_17/2011/MAY/1450.html

The Hungry Horseman

 

 

 

 

 

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How this Whole Thing Started…..

People ask me all of the time how I got into natural horsemanship- and I always tell them at the beginning of any of my clinics…

kelly's july ontario clinic

 

 

 

 

 

11 years ago I had no idea what natural horsemanship was- Seriously- no clue.

I was eventing at the Preliminary/Intermediate level on my Thoroughbred George, and we either did really well or really badly.  We did really well if I didn’t get mad at him, or really bad if I did.  I know that sounds awful, but that is the way that it was.

So one Sunday, I was in my house waiting to set out for my jumping lesson.  All of the sudden I heard this horrible wind and a thunder of hooves.  I looked outside, saw my horse George quivering in the corner of his paddock.  His run in shed had disappeared- I presumed he had been standing under it a few minutes before.

In Texas- where I lived at the time- we have these little thangs (that is how we say things in Texas) called Dust Devils.  They are little tornadoes.  They move thangs like horses’ run in shelters and then go away.  They deposit these thangs in people’s driveways and that- they are very naughty- kind of like the trolls of tornadoes.

Anyway, that is what had happened.  So I had a scared horse and no shelter.  As far as I was concerned at the time- NO PROBLEM! He will calm down eventually, and I can hunt for my shelter and put it back up.  This was before I had a two year old son and was crunched for time.

I proceeded to go and get my horse and lead him to the horse trailer which- just to let you know- he never really liked in the first place.

As he exited the gate, he saw the horse trailer and stopped.  He planted his feet.  He was not going ANYWHERE.

After 30 minutes of attempting to drag my 900 lb horse to the trailer, I realized that this was just not going to work.  Even with a chain around his nose.  As it always happens in this situations, around 30 people just appeared and tried to shove my horse in the trailer.

He was not having it.  After another hour of 30 predators trying to chase him in, George finally started rearing and really fighting.  I called it quits, sent everyone home, and realized my fate- I would be living here for the rest of my life, never go to another show again- and that was just the way it was.

Over the next week, I persisted.  Bribery didn’t work.  I would put a bit of hay and sweet feed just at the near edge of the trailer, and he would sneak a bite and run back.  He knew what I was up to.

Kelly english jumping george

 

Finally, one of my neighbors- that lived at the “Parelli barn” got my attention.  Where I was training and boarding at the time was a very traditional facility.  We rode around in the dressage arena and held our horses in a death grip and then jumped them wildly around the jump field.  We had to time our rides to when our neighbors were not bouncing a big green ball around their horse, walking across a flapping tarp or, better yet, going through a “car wash.”  We had no idea that they actually rode their horses- all we ever saw them do was play with them with all this crazy stuff.

So when the gal from next door idled along the “Berlin Wall” next to me and slipped me a scrap of paper under the fence, I was slightly suspicious.  “Psss…” she said…”I know someone that can help you!”

I was game for anything, and frankly, desperate.

I nonchalantly- yet quickly- walked over to her, and took the slip of paper.

“Who is this lady?” “She helps us with our horses, and I think that she can help you!”

As I said, I was desperate, so I took the piece of paper and quickly marched back to my house and called the number.

Someone answered,  “No, she is not in…she was in the hospital…”

I wondered why she was in the hospital- maybe she was a trainer that got hurt?  “No….she is a nurse…”

OH? I thought, was she going to drug my horse…no problem (remember, I was desperate!)

“No…she is a Parelli student, and willing to help!”    Parelli…hmmm… I thought- tires?  Oh!  I remember now- that is who the lady that owns the farm calls the Anti-Christ, and she has his book!

Again, I was desperate, and made an appointment.  She showed up the next Sunday.

I found one of the orange sticks and rope halters from one of the boarders at the barn (this was contraband- they were not supposed to have those sort of things at our barn!) and I provided it to the nurse/trainer/Parelli student.

Within 15 minutes, my horse was standing quietly in the trailer.  Needless to say, I was speechless.

I knew I needed one of those sticks.“It’s actually not about the stick, “ said the nurse.  How often would I hear that in my future?

So that is how is started.  More later.

RECIPES ON THE ROAD

Here is my first installment of RECIPES ON THE ROAD

While I am traveling, sometimes I don’t get to a grocery store for a while because:

A.There isn’t one

B.  I am to busy

C.  I have a 2 year old-refer to b

So consequently, I have to dig around in the fridge and find something.  A few weeks ago, I dug around and found the following ingredients:

  1. ½ a white onion that needed to be eaten!
  2. A tablespoon of garlic (hiding at the bottom of the veggies)
  3. A couple of tablespoons of Butter (I had been to Canada and they sell butter in huge hunks- luckily they didn’t bother to look in my trailer when I went back into the states and take it away!)
  4. Heavy cream- yes, I mean it.  Didn’t say this was low fat- like ½ a cup!
  5. Parmesan Cheese- I probably used ½ a cup but I didn’t meaure!
  6. Linquine- enough for 3 servings
  7. Smoked Salmon- I used whatever I had left- which wasn’t a lot- maybe ½ a cup
  8. Olive Oil (2 tablespoons) I always have this and Salt and Pepper

Directions: Sautee the chopped white onion in butter and olive oil.  Have the linquine cooking separately.  When the pasta is ready, drain, and put aside. When the onion is starting to look good- kind of glassy- throw in the garlic- not for long, you don’t want it to burn.  Then put in the heavy cream- when it starts to bubble, add the parmesan cheese.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Throw in the cooked pasta and toss.  Taste and add whatever.  My husband loves this dish, my hips hate it but it still taste good!  Good on a cold night when you need some comfort  food!!!!

The Hungry Horseman

Kelly

 

 

 

 

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My Glamorous Life

IMG_0956

I think that a lot of people are under the impression that my life is glamorous.  As I write this, I am sitting in a campground that spans about 5 acres and am surrounded by at least 500 people in campers and tents parked 10 inches from each other.  Everyone has a Boston accent except for me.  The campground is located across from Santa’s workshop.  My son is watching Elmo for the 800th time, and I have it memorized.  In fact, when my computer drowned on Monday, my first panic attack came when I realized that Elmo was in the DVD drive- how was I going to explain to Reed that the computer ate Elmo?

I do get to drive around a lot and meet all sorts of people at the clinics that I teach as well as at the campgrounds that I visit in between.  It is usually the in between where the real unglamorous stuff happens.

This week, I caught pneumonia, a sinus infection, my computer drowned in a drop of water, and my trailer slide would not go out- all within 48 hours.  I spent all of July 3rd in a Camping World.  They told me that they could not fix my trailer that day- so I decided to do a sit in with my 2 ½ year old running up and down in the entry way.  They caved.

3rd blog pic for kelly

The campground that we landed at- Indian River- which sounded very exotic, was not a campground, it was a crime scene- and looked like a staging area for some episode of Criminal Minds.  The residents happened to be very pleasant, but the reception area was caving in, and the pool hadn’t seen water for a long time.  Although I will say we had a lovely river view.

 

While we were hooking up to leave the crime scene, my son asked me, “Is Daddy hooking up?”  How does he even know what that means?  We definitely travel and camp a lot.

We dropped my husband off at the airport for him to commute to Germany for work this week, and then we were on our way to the Lantern Resort- I highly recommended Family Campground across from Santa’s Workshop.

As I pulled into the resort in my rig (which is quite big), I did catch a lot of the men’s attention- by my driving skill.  I will admit to it, it was tight.  When I landed in my spot, I had a herd of men around the truck complimenting me on my driving skills.  On the hay wagon ride with Reed several hours later, more men complimented me on my driving.  All of the women remained tight lipped.  I remember one time when I drove my rig with my son in the back through New York City and stopped in Long Island, a trucker pulled up behind me and said he had never seen any woman drive that well and professed his love to me. Horses, driving trailers, it’s a skill set.

I will say that I could drive trailers all day long and teach a clinic with 10 riders on 5 crazy horses and not get a bit tired- however, taking my son solo to Santa’s workshop did me in- particularly the water park portion.  Sheets of freezing New England water were dumped on us at no certain time when the “big bucket” filled at the top of the water park.  I screeched and ran for cover.  My son shrieked in sheer delight.  He insisted on going up to the biggest slide there was which required going through lots of water obstacles in route.  Keep in mind there were a gazillion kids running everywhere.  After an hour of this water torcher, I begged him to go with me and eat ice cream and watch cars- I was desperate!

I admit- I am not a perfect mother, I try.  Horses are a hell of a lot easier.

 

 

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