Thursday, September 29, 2011


A few months ago, we had an escape day and went to a huge aquarium.  To my surprise, Beep was transfixed by the fish.  Cabbage and I spent a long while pointing out different fish to her, letting her crawl over exhibit rocks along the edge of the glass, and holding her up to "ooooh" and "aaaaah" over fish.  But to be honest, the best part of the day was watching these two:

The photo below is also from that day, and it always makes me laugh. 

I've come up with a few captions:

Flipper Goes to the Dark Side

Reasons Not to Play "I've Got Your Nose" with a Dolphin

Rabid Dolphin Wows Fans

Toddler Giant Towers Over Terrified Dolphin
What would you call it?
(I'm sure you woke up this morning and said to yourself, "Self, I really hope I get to play "Name That Picture."  What can I say?  I aim to please.)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Really Great T-Shirt For Guys

Cabbage is freakishly hard on clothes.  He spends hours each day working in the heat, challenging mortal fabrics with sweat, abnormal amounts of dirt, and sun. 

This means his laundry is horrific, but he's an exceedingly good t-shirt tester.  He needs shirts that withstand sweating and staining, wash easily and dry quickly.  Anything that survives his lifestyle is pretty much gonna be a good product.  To that end, he's done an extensive review of activewear tees this summer.

First, the gold standard: Under Armour
Under Armour makes great activewear clothes with a nice feel and great cooling and wicking action, but the price tag of $30-$40 was too much for his barn clothes.  I can't say he actually wore their activewear tees because we balked at the price.  He loves their cold-weather gear and recommends it for deer hunting.

Fortunately, there are a couple of good low-cost options which are actually Cabbage tested and approved.  I now give you Cabbage's favorite activewear tee: 

The Men's C9 by Champion. Available at Target, it's $10.99 online. 

Men's C9 by Champion® Tech Tee - True White

He loves this shirt, even when it's 100 degrees out.  The material holds up well, blocks UV rays, and looks good even when wet.  He says it's very breathable so it feels cool, and we all like that it washes easily.  Score! 

It is important to note they are an "athletic" cut, which apparently means they run incredibly small.  Cabbage usually wears a large, and he had to get a XXXL.  That's pretty ridiculous, but he wanted a t-shirt, not a bodystocking.

A close second on Activewear Tee Wars:

Wal- Mart's Dri Star Active Tee. $6.47 online.  (seriously, can you beat that price???)

Starter - Big Men's Dri-Star Active Tee

This shirt offers a little less in quality, especially in the feel of the fabric.  I'm not sure if it blocks UV rays, and it does seem to stain a little easier.  Still, it wicks moisture, feels cool, and he often wears them under another shirt. Unlike the C9, this shirt runs close to normal sizing.  For the pricetag, this is a phenomenal deal!

So there you have it.  Two tees any guy can sweat in!  These would make great presents, stocking stuffers, or just "here you need this" kind of gifts. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Adventures at Lunchtime

I like Red Robin burgers as much as the next person, but I really never thought of it as a fun place.  Until, that is, I was there with Beep.  It turns out Red Robin is totally, completely crazyfun.

First, there is coloring.  WITH TWO CRAYONS.

Interspersed with staring at people in other booths.

Now, I hate it when restaurants sing Happy Birthday to patrons.  I maintain that nobody really wants it to happen.  When did anyone ever say "I had the best birthday EVER.  The servers sang to me!!!  It totally made my whole year!" 

It's disruptive to everyone in the general vicinity and annoying to both me and, well, me.  Super irritating.

I saw how Beep looked at it, though, and I was momentarily converted.  Why not sing Happy Birthday to someone?  It's fun!  And clappy!  Even with crayonhands!

After the birthday extravaganza, it was back to the coloring, this time with the beatific glow that accompanies taking real joy in other people's happiness.  Cuz that's what happens at burger joints.

 ...And then she moved on to discovering the joys of two-fisting it.  She's equally good with both hands, which has me mildly concerned about her future collegiate minor in beer drinking.

Next up on the Red Robin agenda was tasting a lime.

Mohawk?  Don't mind if we do.

Then came the best part of lunch: the pre-meal fry basket.  Since we're such fastidious, our-baby-must-always-look-perfect kind of parents, we naturally put her in a high chair with bib, baby utensils, and other responsible accoutrements.

Cabbage definitely did not use a fry to wipe the ranch from her mouth.  He didn't. 

Ok, yes he did.   

Did I mention we had been dragging this baby all over creation for hours?  It's true.  By this point she'd missed one nap altogether and was an hour past her second nap time and two hours past lunchtime.  The feeling of dread and impending doom was growing.

The above lack of napping/eating/planning pretty much guarantees Toddler Armageddon.  Remember that scene from Indiana Jones in the Raiders of the Lost Ark, when Indy is running like hell in front of the huge boulder which exists only to crush the sparkle of light from his eyes?  Now imagine Cabbage and me (combined) as Indy and the no-napping-no-lunch baby monster as the boulder.  It was gaining on us, and we were about to be flattened.  The fries and ranch were like giving Indy a Segway with a jetpack.  

Well, that was a trip down random lane. 

My point is, Beep was entitled to have as many fries as she wanted.  Our parenting strategy focused on survival: heavy on the fries and ranch, light on the table manners. 

Whatev.  Just keep on keepin' on, Best Baby in the World. 

And thanks for bringing your own brand of happy to lunchtime.

[This post is seriously not sponsored by Red Robin.  Our baby just likes to eat there.]

Monday, September 26, 2011

Until We Meet Again, Cankles

Remember Cankles?

I'm happy to report that things have resolved themselves. 

First of all, yes I was applying poultice with a bag over my hand because I am apparently unable to remember to purchase latex gloves.

Fortunately my mother reads this blog, and took matters into her own hands.  I am now the proud owner of a brand-new box of 200 gloves, shipped in fresh from Colorado.

Sam's life has also improved since last week. 

Day 1: treated with cold hosing, poultice, wrap, and 2 grams of bute (I forgot to mention that before).  Bute is a painkiller and anti-inflammatory, like aspirin.  It's good stuff.

Day 2: Looking better, but still pretty swollen.  By then, the swelling had moved down and around his lower leg so I was glad I'd already started treating those areas.  I repeated cold hosing, poultice, and bute but did not wrap him.  I'd have preferred to keep him wrapped one more day, but it was a practicality and scheduling issue.

Day 3:  Suddenly much better!  A residual bump from the point of impact remained on his inner leg, but the rest of the swelling was 90% gone.  Hooray!  I did more cold hosing, but nothing else.

Goodbye, cankle!

 Day 4: A tiny bump remained (and may, for a while) so I started applying some ointment to hopefully keep reducing it.  Other than that, we're back in business.

Look at that pretty, slender, non-cankley leg.  Bueno.

Once again, poultice (and cold hosing, wrapping, bute) wins over evil.  Viva la mud!

Horse dorks: Are you poultice-believers or do you prefer furacin?  Do you cold hose or ice boot?  Wrap or not? 


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sweet Harvest

Tam!  She says, and smiles and nods.
My baby wants to see her friend, Sam.

Meet Sam.  He's a lovely, spoiled, hyper, immature, athletic, high-maintenance, sweet horse. 

To be more specific, he's my horse.  My relationship with him is sometimes complicated and always in flux, depending on what we are working on, how distracted I am, and how independent he's feeling.

Sam loves me (and he should, after more than six years, two life-saving hospitalizations, one surgery, a year off, and about 18 million horse treats).

But he really loves Beep.

Sam has been a part of Beep's life, almost since she was born.  Her very first outing as a newborn was to the barn to see him.

I've always considered myself the teacher, Beep's guide, and the intermediary in their interactions.  I assumed she'd need the help for quite a while... probably until she was old enough to sit astride him and grasp the reins herself.

I never set out to embed my daughter with a love of horses.  I just wanted her to experience horses (along with the rest of the world), and I took my cues from her. 

Beep was a tiny baby snuggled in a carrier on my chest when I started holding her hand to run it along Sam's neck.  Her tiny fist in mine, we'd stroke his red coat.  Then I'd hold her up high, alongside his tall neck, to let her experience his scent and the tickle of his mane on her face.  He'd respond by curling his neck around to encircle me and the baby, his deep inhalations ruffling her peach fuzz as he learned about her. 

When Beep was just a few months old, I'd hold her hand open and encircle her palm with my fingers.  I'd place a treat on her palm and guide Sam to gently take her offering.  Her eyes would widen at the soft tickle of his lips politely, tenderly lifting the cookie.   

The other day I held my 18-month old daughter in my arms and watched as Sam ruffled her hair with his sweet, hay-scented breath. 

It went on and on as he sniffed and snuffled and she giggled and patted him. 

Watching the two of them, I suddenly realized they have their own relationship.

They didn't need me.

So I took a step back, and watched, and let them do their thing.


I thought back about all the times over the past year and a half when it was really difficult to juggle a baby and a big horse.  It was a challenge to safely carry my tiny baby while handling Sam, and I often worried that it was too sunny, or too hot, or too much for her to deal with.  Often, my back would hurt from the carrier, I'd regret postponing nursing, and wish I hadn't pushed myself or my baby to make this extra stop on our way home after a long day apart from each other.  Many days, we stopped to see Sam not because I was excited to, but because I had a responsibility to him. 

In time, as I learned what worked for us and Beep gained strength and the ability to hold herself up, things became easier and simpler.  She became a better passenger and then a participant.  Our time at the barn together is now really fun and I love seeing Beep developing her horse sense, her love for horses in general, and Sam specifically. 

When I think back to those early visits, I know now that I was planting the seeds not only for Beep's assimilation into our lifestyle, but also for her relationship with Sam.  So yes, I planted seeds, but they have taken root and have already grown more beautiful than I could have hoped.      

This?  This is a sweet harvest.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Stalkers' Choice

I'm trying to choose between some new tag lines for my life. These are the current frontrunners.

Cabbage Ranch: 100% half-assed.

Cabbage Ranch, where everyone is messy all the time.

Cabbage Ranch.
Kill that scorpion while you're here.

I can't decide. Guess I'll wait until one of those rises to the top.

Speaking of waiting for inspiration, I'm hoping you can help me out. I'm feeling How-To ish, and I'm asking for your input. What do you want to read about?  
-More favorite recipes: perfect popcorn, best-ever green chile, or how to cook a really good bratwurst.
-Ideas for small and wonderful gifts.
-Are you interested in finding out how to clip a horse's face? How to have your horse help you make a great piece of artwork?
-Need to learn about changing a diaper or making baby food?

And my favorite (and really the only thing I may be qualified in):
-How to have a baby with negligible hair.

Leave a comment asking for something on this list, or suggest something related that you suspect I might be able to pull off. 

I know, that narrows the field considerably.  But I have faith in you.

Yours truly,

P.S. If you have any trouble leaving comments, check out this tutorial.  If that doesn't work, try setting your browser to allow third party cookies.  You can also contact me at cabbageranch[at]gmail[dot]com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Blessed Rain

I've been a little bitter about our incredibly searing, scorching, never-ending, ceaselessly hot summer.

You may have noticed.

I feel justified, though.  Texas has just had the hottest summer on record- ever- anywhere in the U.S.  More than 50 days over 100 degrees.  And not only that, we're in the middle of a severe drought so everything has been unbelievably, dangerously hot and dry.

Recently, this culminated in a terrible fire in central Texas, which burned more than 1,500 homes.

Every day, whenever we drove anywhere, there was smoke rising in the sky.  It signaled fires in fields, canyons, and on roadsides.  It signaled evacuations and fear. 

We prayed for rain and safety for people, animals, and homes.  We prayed no fires would find their way through the limestone hills near our home.  We live among scrub brush and cedar, the very fuel fire craves.   

We feel blessed that none of this (so far) has affected Cabbage Ranch.  We did, however, have a scare at Sam's barn when a grass fire next door threatened to force evacuation of that big boarding facility.  I was at the barn until after the all-clear and got home that night after 11:00pm, my head filled with the fragility of our safety. 

Cabbage and I stayed up late making evacuation plans for Cabbage Ranch.  First, we double-checked our insurance.  Then we moved a few more things into the fireproof safe and parked the horse trailer in the middle of the driveway where it's ready to hook up at a moment's notice.  We know either of us can load our horses, even under duress.  Almost daily, we've had calls from worried neighbors as we all fear for the safety of our homes and animals.

Things are looking up, though.  We actually had rain the other day! 

I had to run around taking pictures of it.  It has seriously been months and months since we had anything close to this!

Finally I couldn't stand it and I ran outside and stood in the driving rain to watch it run down our driveway and toward the barn. 

I didn't even care that it meant I'd be dealing with days of muddy floors and boot tracks on carpeting.  There were more calls from neighbors- this time, rejoicing over the rain!

That wasn't all, though.  The next day, this gorgeous sky rolled up.

It developed into gusts of wind, flashes of light, and then these clouds...  Which had us getting out the weather radio...

And then we lost power, so we sat inside and cuddled Beep and listened to the rain.  We celebrated with Annie's cookies and beer.

The storms weren't enough to decrease our fire danger, but we're still grateful for every drop.  In the middle of a drought, there's nothing like blessed rain.

Cameos and Owls

I rarely shop for clothes, but this week I've been beset by a fit of needing something *new*.  In my quest for a new shirt, I found a couple of other things I felt called to buy.  Naturally.

These earrings are my new love. 

They're antique cameos with a cat's eye bead dangling below, and I just love the apple green color.  The jeweler converted them from screw-ons to dangling earrings.  I'm so glad she did, because now my life is complete. 

They're by Harley's House, which had a booth at our farmer's market.  Don't ask me when veggies cozied up to earrings but I'm so glad they did.  Harley's House has cute stuff, but it looks like these were one-of-a-kind earrings and you can't have them.


HOWEVER!  There are lots of similar earrings on EtsyLike these.


And then, in a startling twist of fate, I found another pair of earrings I liked.  This time, at Old Navy.  Have you seen their new accessories?  Super cheap, tons of variety, and definitely cute.

But these owl earrings?  They take the cake. 

Because I am a horse dork/Beep mother/Georgie person/Cabbage wife and not a pro photographer, I was unable to get a good picture of them.  

Not the first time you've noticed such phenomena here, I'm sure.

Photographic shortcomings aside, the owl earrings are incredibly toothsome.  Even better?  They cost $7.  No typo there- SEVEN DOLLARS!!!!!  I just can hardly contain myself.  

I wasn't able to find these earrings on the Old Navy website, so you'll need to check them out in person.  Never before has accessorizing been so accessible.

I still haven't found the elusive shirt that launched this shopping spree (for me, this is indeed a spree), but hey- I'm up two pairs of great earrings. 

Not too shabby.