Friday, April 3, 2020

Oh Keeneland

Before the pandemic, this was the weekend we had planned to go to Keeneland. The Blue Grass Stakes, one of the last prep races for the Derby, would have been run tomorrow.  One of my close friends and her husband were joining us, so it was going to be a fun one.  We were to leave yesterday.  Today we had tickets to be at Three Chimneys to see Gun Runner.  He's on my bucket list and I loved watching him run in the big races. What a handsome fellow too!

I was so excited as this is my favorite trip of the year.  We have it down to a science. Dinner at Malone's on Thursday night. Friday is a stallion tour, a visit to Liquor Barn to find Bourbon and even a Bourbon Tour if we can fit one in.  And then there's always a visit somewhere along the way to L.V. Harkness. 

On Friday night we go to Dudley's downtown for dinner.  Saturday is all day at Keeneland. Then, exhausted, we return home on Sunday. 

Going to Keeneland is magical.  It's so refined.  People come to actually watch the races.  The ladies are dressed, the men are too.  No drunken stupor here, at least not where we sit.  We had our reserved seats and of course, the outfit.  The weather looks to be almost perfect for this attire.  Oh well!

Subconsciously, I ordered this needlepoint yesterday.  It's out of stock but at some point I will get it.  (Hint, Pip and Roo Trunk Sale going on now, 20 percent off at Louise's Needlepoint.  You can call her to order and there are many canvases on her Instagram (@louisesneedlework).

I guess it reminded me of Keeneland......

Trying not to be Debbie Downer today.  

Zenyatta and Mike Smith - True Love

To lift the spirits, watch this race if you are able.  This is the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic which Zenyatta won. She is the only filly to win the Classic.  Her birthday was this week and she's now 16 years old.  This was her finest hour.  The race will bring a smile and perhaps a cheer. 
Her Breeders' Cup Classic win against the boys is one for the history books. She was in last place (she always came from behind) but this was unreal.  Her stunning victory will make you smile and we can all use one of those right now.  Stay safe my friends.  Stay home.  Enjoy what you have.  Cherish your memories too.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Learning How to Enjoy a Simpler Life

It's certainly getting more difficult to put on a happy face every morning as I try to stay in touch also with reality but at the same time try not to get too bogged down by all the bad news.  These are indeed the times that try men's souls.

These are not normal times and our lives as we once knew it may not return to that normal. Normal may be very different in a year or two from now - we'll have to wait and see what that will look like.  But for now, try to find something positive in life, the joy in the simple things like spending more time with your loved ones than you ever imagined.  Hubby laid out a garden plot for me yesterday while I was working and I did not even know it.  He has tackled every chore on the farm I ever wanted tackled.  He's going to run out of things to tackle very soon!  We enjoy our dinners together, watching The Crown on Netflix.  Last night we dined on pizza by the fire at the cabin. 

Life on the farm is pleasant, peaceful, the grass is greening, the birds are singing.......  We saw a double rainbow early evening yesterday.  A double!

(Pinterest Photo)

Part of me thinks that this virus is nature's way of putting life back on earth where it should be.  Nature is screaming at us - we have destroyed the planet, we've over populated it, we've killed the animals, we've polluted the air, the rivers, the land. "So take this," she says.  And look what is happening now.  Will some of us now begin to listen who have been in denial for so long?

And I love this....... remember, there have many times in our world that we questioned why so many were suffering.  Somehow we all will get through this.....

“And people stayed home
and read books and listened
and rested and exercised
and made art and played
and learned new ways of being
and stopped
and listened deeper
someone meditated
someone prayed
someone danced
someone met their shadow
and people began to think differently
and people healed
and in the absence of people who lived in ignorant ways,
dangerous, meaningless and heartless,
even the earth began to heal
and when the danger ended
and people found each other
grieved for the dead people
and they made new choices
and dreamed of new visions
and created new ways of life
and healed the earth completely
just as they were healed themselves.”
~Kathleen O’Meara
‘And People Stayed Home,’ written in 1869,
after the Great Starvation in Ireland.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The History of the Hasko Tray

I have always wondered about the history behind the wood Hasko lap trays that you often see on Etsy and Ebay, especially the hunt scene ones. I don't own any but have always thought that they'd make great tv trays and are typically very inexpensive to buy on these sites. 

The company has an interesting and illustrious history.  The company, Haskelite Manufacturing Corporation (1917–1956) was a conglomerate of companies based in Michigan. They manufactured haskelite plywood for a wide variety of applications and vehicles. Their office headquarters were located in Chicago but the manufacturing operations were in Michigan.  

The company initially made plywood for World War I military airplane body parts. The plywood later was used in houses, buildings, automobiles and ship construction. Different styles and types of plywood were made for particular niches. The corporation made the largest plywood ever produced, which was used in constructing a particular US Navy boat. A well known use for the Haskelite plywood produced at the Grand Rapids facilities was for the construction of Lindberg's airplane, The Spirit of St. Louis.  

The Hasko trays were made much later on in the company's history and were quite popular. Walter F. Gibian, supervisor of the company's Specialty Division, had the idea for the product. His goal was to make economical serving trays for the general public through mass production. Serving trays were thought to be a "luxury item" up to that time and the trays were very popular. 

The next products Haskelite manufactured were in the toy market under the brand name "Hasko." These consisted of "fortune telling" mystic trays and boards that were so called "talking boards" of the future. These included models of the Mystic Tray, Mystic Egyptian style Board, and the Hasko Mystic Board with different zodiac borders. "Hasko" was one of the prolific producers of these mystic "talking boards" in the world. The Hasko Mystic Trays were introduced in 1942 and the Hasko Mystic Boards in 1944. 

The trays were made much earlier than I expected as they company ceased operations in 1956.  Who knew?  You can find sets on Etsy for less than $25 in most cases. Some even come in their original box. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

At Home Riding Apparel - Tops

Since we won't be horse showing IMHO before July, at the very earliest, I am using this time to work on the basics - transitions, equitation, the dreaded sitting trot.  You know the drill. But that doesn't mean you can't look good and fashionable riding at home, at your barn, or in a riding lesson.  There are so many choices today in riding apparel.  Here are some of my favorites.

We have a Dover Saddlery where I live so it gets visited frequently.  I love the Dover brand for tops.  Their sun shirts are a great value and I highly recommend them.  Currently they have these in pastel colors for spring and summer.  Mine are orange, deep aqua and a bright green.  They hold up well.  See the new ones here.

Ariat also makes a very good sun shirt. I have a deep navy blue one that is the most comfortable shirt I own for riding.  You can't beat the Ariat quality and price either.  See the new ones here.

If you prefer patterns, then try the Kastel Denmark shirts.  See them here.  The Dover store in Lexington, VA has this one in stock.  It's not on the Dover website but they have it there.

I also go to golf wear for my riding tops.  Most of the golf clothing is made for an active lifestyle (wicking) and it often more stylish. I love this top from Vineyard Vines.  You can golf in it, ride in it, wear it for running, running errands.  See it here.

Also love this top from Vineyard Vines, also made for an active lifestyle.  See it here.

Another source is Peter Millar.  Love this top, also made for golf.  See it here.

And I love this Keeneland pullover from Kaeli Smith.  See it here.

Monday, March 30, 2020

More Vintage Equestrian on Etsy

Now is a great time to decorate and there's no better source than vintage Etsy.  Here are some recent finds.....

I'd use this old J.G. Hook scarf as a table runner. 

Love these old pictures.  Perfect for a small corner in the house somewhere.

Love this vintage horse tablecloth.  See it here.

Also love the decanter which almost has an art deco feel to to.  See it here.

Another great horse print. See it here.

And these.....

And this one.  See it here.

Love, love, love this enameled box!  See it here.

Great old brass hook.  See it here.

And lastly, this vintage horse needlepoint kit.  Wow!  See it here.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Life on the Farm

I admit there's some guilt this morning as our life on the farm hasn't changed much during the pandemic.  Sure, we don't go out, but we don't go out that much in normal times.  I work from home already although hubby is furloughed.  But we aren't sitting in a 1500 square foot condo in northern NJ with three kids and two dogs.  I count my blessing every single day.

Maybe this episode will force us all to make changes to live a better quality life.  We made the conscious decision to live where we wanted to live about 17 years ago - the sudden death of a loved one changed the direction of our lives forever.  It was not an easy thing to do - we had to make it work and there were times when life was difficult and I questioned our path, but it was the right journey for sure although it took many years to finally get here.  We had to find work in a place where there really isn't much work - but we found a way.

So how is life on the farm?  It's busy.  It's a lot of work - you need a very strong worth ethic.  There's no time for lounging on the couch binge watching Netflix unless you are deathly ill or have a broken bone (yes, seriously).  It's not for everyone. 

The mornings are early - every morning.  No sleeping in.  The cold doesn't care.  The snow isn't a roadblock.  Even sickness is not an excuse.  The animals have to be fed. Laziness is not allowed here.  Getting dressed at noon never happens.  Manicures?  Not if you live on a farm.

Improvisation is key.  When we lost power for almost two weeks (and thus our water) during an unexpected storm, we made almost daily visits to a local spring to get our water.  It was hard work (and we now have a generator).  At some point soon, we may need to use this skill again. We'll see.

There's no "down time" except maybe in the dead of winter.  In spring, the "honey do" list is quite long and never gets completed one hundred percent. Yesterday I weeded and cleaned the patio, mucked stalls, dug-up and replanted ivy, weeded the driveway, clipped a horse, cleaned out beds by the driveway, cleaned out leaves from under my boxwoods, cooked dinner, rode one horse and planted herbs.  Today - will finish clipping, will ride two horses, will drag my ring and set-up jumps, will start working on my garden, will muck stalls, will vacuum my car, and maybe will have an hour or so to stitch.  We'll see...... My fitbit registers 5 digits almost every single day.  Yesterday about 20,000 steps.  Two weeks ago my all-time record for one day - 31,000 when I re-seeded a large horse pasture on foot.

But the rewards are great......

Be safe!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Needlepoint on Etsy

Believe it or not, Etsy is a good source for needlepoint projects.  Small vendors sometimes sell their canvases here and there are a few stores that sell more mainstream canvases.  Since these all handpainted, it makes sense.  Here are few ideas for projects if you find yourself stitching like made at home.....

Love this Triple Crown winners' belt...

This would make a great pillow.  The DMC thread can be purchased at Wal-Mart, fyi.

Another great Derby canvas.

Love this bunny.  Comes with threads but not the needle. Very reasonably priced too!

If you are a dog person this is a must have.  Love it!

Love this one too!  See it here.

Love this rabbit.  See it here.

This is also very cute.  See it here.

If you want to cheat a little bit then you can buy this vintage canvas.  All you need to do is fill in the background.  You used to buy needlepoint like this many years ago.  You don't have to tell anyone that you didn't stitch the horse.... See it here.

Love this bunny!  See it here.

Love these belts.  See the Etsy site here.

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