In Grandma’s Words part 13 (FGK-75)

One of my most valued artifacts in this house is a buckskin jacket with beadwork sewn on it. I was told that years ago (waaaay before my time) one of the ladies on the reserve who Grandma was friends with wanted to go to a fancy function but she didn’t have a gown that was appropriate for it. Grandma gave her one of hers so that the woman would be able to go, and never thought much of it again. A while later the buckskin jacket was gifted to Grandma as a thank you for the gift of the gown, and the beads that were hand sewn onto it were taken off of said gown. I look at it daily and it serves me as a reminder of how important it is to live life with an open heart, to give freely, and to receive with gratitude. Again, I try to be sensitive to the words that are used. Grandma only every spoke respectfully of our Indigenous neighbours to the west of us, and so I stayed true to the words written because it was what was used at the time.

The jacket
The beadwork

Grandma’s Cheese Straw recipe! My kids grew up eating cheese straws, and they are one of my fondest memories of snack munching as a kid. I agree with her sentiment that it’s a very precious recipe.

All through the years we felt a close tie between us and our neighbours the Indians at Morley. We would contract fencing jobs to them all summer. In the fall they would often help us harvest. And later in November would often ride with the men to help round up stray cattle. I loved our Indian friends and felt I could always trust them. We looked forward to the First of July when they held their annual Stampede in the beautiful natural setting where they had built their corrals. What a magnificent picture to view. We would park our car on the hillside looking down into the corrals, and beyond them the big circle of teepees and tents and their children, cats, and dogs. And back of it all those Gissing blue foothills leading up to the Rockies. Where on earth could you find more beauty and activity? I always felt well entertained. My chickens were just nice fryers by July 1st and I always fried about four or five and along with a salad, cake, and sandwiches that would do us for the day.

My Harry Jacques, the jeweller from Calgary used to have a contest with a prize for the best dressed Indian baby. He very often asked me to be a judge and I wanted so badly to give first prize to everyone there, they were so cute and the beadwork on the buckskin was beautiful. Our kids just loved the first of July and the Morley Stampede.

We always tried to get to Banff or Vermillion crossing for a few days holiday and fishing just before haying. Once we went to Everett, Wash, USA and dug clams just as Percy did when he lived at the coast as a boy.

Family fun time
Family picnic at the ranch
As you can see from the caption “slave labour”. The running joke is that the CL on the brand stands for “Continuous Labour”.

Labour day 2017

Going to the Cochrane parade is one of my favorite events of the year. It’s kind of bittersweet because it means the end of summer, but I’ve got a lifetime of awesome memories attached to that parade. 

My friend in low places was riding in the parade this year. We used to ride in it every year with our Pony Club back in the day. She was a little more professional now 

But even though the parade has grown and we have grown up it’s still the same good fun. 

We sat with my cousin and her family and caught up and shared some laughs. We have been laughing and making bad decisions together our entire lives. 

Happiness. End of summer happiness. 


A little horse girl

My 6 year old niece joined me this afternoon to give Drishti his supplements. Of course, once we got organized to go the wind picked up and it seemed a little storm-like and all of the horses were a little spooky. I think Drishti just likes to hear himself snort sometimes.

This little girl has not spent much time around horses at all, but is fascinated by them. We went through how to properly feed him from her hand and she earnestly practiced on her way out to the field. I was so impressed not only at how well she listened and quietly approached my horse to give him a treat, but how well she listened as I gave her directions to move as the other horsed came tearing into the other field to see what we were up to. She stayed so calm and focused and carried a confidence that made me think here’s a little horse girl in the making.

It’s fun to share something you love with someone you love. That’s happiness.


What I know 

I know nothing about how to ride western. I know how to grab onto the horn, I know it’s totally different from English, I know I’m not very good at it. 

I don’t really know why I spent most of the summer riding my green horse in my Western saddle instead of my English one. I kept thinking that I would learn I guess. And I kind of was, but it’s still not where I’m comfortable. Actually, before I smashed to the ground, I had switched back to English for a few rides and we both were happier. 

I’ll still learn how to ride Western – or at least how to hang on better in my saddle – but I remembered tonight how much I love jumping. It’s what I know. I love that adrenaline rush and the trust that comes with a really good jump. 

I was playing with Drishti and decided to do what I know. So I put together a really rough style jump and asked him what he knew

At first he was a little snorty, but still game to play. 

By the end he was quite enjoying himself. This was about 2’6

This is totally in my comfort zone. This is what I did forever. I know how to play with him with poles and fences. I know how to build up our trust and confidence doing stuff like this. 

And it’s fun. I love it. It’s happiness. 


Slow it down 

One of the best things about life back at home is how we have been able to slow our pace and learn to appreciate the small things in life. That’s something we started to put in practice in Virginia, but it’s so much more enjoyable here at home. 

I was remembering today how before we left Rhode Island we went to walk around Walden Pond and see Thoreau’s cabin. Simplify simplify simplify. Our life back then seemed to be complicate complicate complicate. Slowly but surely we are learning to relax into stillness more and appreciate the small things in life. It’s part of why I love our house so much. It’s so simple, but there’s so much attached to it as well – our heritage, but it’s been our safe place. It’s full of love. 

The boy and I went to church today where they reminded us that when we are broken, instead of trying to fix ourselves (yep) that it’s essential to ask for help. I hate asking for help – but things happen every once in a while that put me in the position where I have to. It’s important to know how to both give and receive help. I needed that reminder. 

The boy made me laugh so hard this morning I was crying. I thought I’d rebroken my arm it hurt so much but I couldn’t stop laughing. We all need someone in our lives who is like that. He cracks me up and I feel so grateful that God put him in my life. He’s happiness 

I’m also grateful for this dude. He is teaching me a lot this year as well. Reminding me of who I used to be, and to keep working for the things I really want. 


Let’s be Italian today 

The boy very kindly accompanied me to an unplanned doctor appointment this morning. Thankfully I have a great doctor and I think I’ll have some better luck with pain management. One can hope anyway. 

Since we were already in South Calgary it only made sense to go to our favorite place in the city- the Italian Centre. We made the bad choice of shopping while hangry but it’s not like any of it will go to waste. Yum. 

We grabbed lunch at the cafe when we were done and it was like we were transported on a mini vacation. 

The boy said it was like we were in Italy, to me it felt like we were at a bistro in Quebec. I miss our Quebec meals and the culture there. We had some good times, and sure learned how to appreciate a good meal. 

When we got home my mom asked if we wanted to go to Bragg Creek for supper and eat outside on a patio. Off to the Italian Farmhouse we went for another perfect Italian meal. 

And best of all, the chef cut up my meal for me – so it came out looking pretty and I could eat it! 

It was a pretty blessed day. I have to say I started it off feeling kind of sore and grumbly. But seriously – what a lot to be grateful for. Good medical care, awesome food, and my tribe. Life is good. That is happiness. 


The boy and his bag

I played a little bit with my boy this evening. It’s the first thing we’ve done in over a month that didn’t involve him getting treats. We started playing the friendly game with a dreaded plastic bag. Considering he started out faking a heart attack to get away from the monster I think we did really well. He sniffed it by the end of the evening. 

It felt so good to get to do something with him again – it was good for both of us. And if I can get him so he’s better on the ground that will make things better in the saddle. 




Baptism ranch style 

The church held their annual baptisms in the creek at the ranch today. It was at my favourite place on earth and it was fun to see people come to God in what for me has always been a holy place. 

It amazed me how much the water had dropped since the last time I was there. The dam the kids were building a month ago had been totally under water then. Not so much now. It sure has been dry. 

No matter what it’s like,  it’s always my happy place there.