January 2014 Digest

January is over and OUT! Here are a few posts to get you up to speed on our adventures for this month! The following are some excerpts from my journal, plus embellishments where applicable.

Monday, January 6 – My first Acrylic Painting

On Monday I made up my mind that instead of crushing candy in my spare-time (Candy Crush, my ‘one’ weakness) I would do something different. So I pulled out my painting collections that I had in my craft drawer upstairs. For homeschool we have Friday as an “Arts & Crafts day” so my daughter and I went out to Hobby Lobby and picked up random activities we either knew how to do or would like to try. Among my personal collection I had various canvas painting articles. I decided to started the “Gazebo” painting. I did ok, but was unsatisfied with some of the colors. So I left it for a while, just stopped looking at it. When I came back later I decided it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was. So I worked on it a little bit more until Jason arrived, then I got to a stopping point and left it. Tuesday I was feeling a bit of anxiety worried about how I couldn’t quite get the gazebo how I thought it should look, like the actual picture I am referencing. So I decided to watch some painting instructional videos. I watched this guy “Shaeffer Studios” and he’s pretty good. He kept referencing Bob Ross so when Jason came home and mentioned Bob Ross’ name once more I decided to look up his paintings. WOW! Talk about talent. This guy was really good at what he did. Very gifted and talented! I was blown away with the ease he seemed to just construct things out of nothing in ways your brain may not be able to perceive things possible, but he did it over and over. I only watched about 15 minutes (3 videos, 5 minute segments) and that alone was jaw dropping. I decided that if I was ever going to paint again I had better stop watching Bob’s videos. I have a long long, long, long long way to go before I could even come close to his talent! Wow! I watched another guy paint a Caribbean Beach and that was nice, but I found I did not like his style. My problem is that I seek perfection in what I do and if I can not achieve I simply do not do it. So there! That’s probably not a good way to go about things. Like my weight loss, horse training, house running, clothes sewing, my list could go on and on. So then that Schaeffer art guy, who I am now subscribed to his You Tube channel, posted a video on “Not being a perfectionist.” LOL All this did was confirm that this was indeed my problem. I guess I just need to keep trying. So I went back today and sat at the little table easel and worked on my painting some more. I was quite happy with the improvements to my trees and foreground. Watching Schaeffer Arts had helped me get that perspective down, but then I did something silly! I white washed the gazebo. :/

I guess I really did not need to do it, but I felt it necessary! I white washed it all down and now I have to wait for it to dry and repaint it. I didn’t completely wash it in white I washed it in sort of a lavender color that was supposed to be a soft blue. Oh well, the painting said that shading should be in Lavender so I figured that would be ‘ok.’ The sun is gone down now so I plan to take a critical look at that gazebo tomorrow. I may also watch some more videos and see if I can improve on this game. I was happy to make some of the colors richer and bolder which was part of my desire. I was disappointed to take the pretty blue in the sky to sort of a lavender too, but I will plan on sorting it out tomorrow. It may be Friday until I’m completely through with it. I plan to finish though and Jason said we should frame it. I want to go to Michael’s and browse their painting section. I’m sure there is some kind of art supply place online that might have better deals than Michael’s anyway. I’m not quite sure I want to take this on as a hobby at this point anyway, although I do love drawing and painting. I have some ideas for things I’d like to paint already. I also know that I am quite critical of my work though so I will proceed with caution.

A few days after this post I did finish my painting. It took me about 8 days. I decided not to linger or be too critical and “just finish” it. So at one point I said, “I’m done,” and I literally had to fight the urge to go back and correct it. Now that it has sat for a while I really actually like what I see. I guess (you ladies will understand this) it’s like a new hair-do. At first you look at it like “it’s all wrong and needs help” but in a few days when you adjust to the “new look” you love it. So I am moving on to my next BIG goal. See the pic below.
My next painting, I now, have drawings of boots… everywhere!!
Preliminary Drawing, Don’t whine about my grid lines, it’s my drawing! 😛

The following pic is from Feb 9th, but since it is relevant I will post here. I chalked in the above drawing. I think it turned out nice. 🙂

I was originally unsatisfied with my “boots” drawings so I have been drawing boots EVERYWHERE. Here is another pair I drew… this one, although I didn’t care for it too much, helped me to finally see where I was going wrong.
Birthday Party – Laser Quest!
Sunday, January 19, 2014 – Bday Party at Laser Quest 
On Sunday, we headed to Laser Quest for Alayna’s birthday in Newington, CT. It was a lot of fun. We played 3 games for MLK weekend. We invited 3 other families but only Audrey and her two girls, Sara and Julia. They had never played before, but seemed to catch on and enjoy the game immensely. We followed up with Pizza after and then headed back for the house. They bought Alayna a Sketching set. She loves it! I made a video and it pretty much sums up the day so without further adieu.. watch the video below! 🙂


Wed, Jan 22, 2014 – Alayna’s Bday
This day was Alayna’s bday! We woke up to a wintery blanket of snow.
What the dogs look like when they come in the sunroom (aka mudroom) covered in snow. This is just the boy Aussies, Ronen and Ty.
Jason had taken the day off and we weren’t sure if we were going to go to a class we had schedule to go to with the Blash girls to do art. I got a message from my friend Audrey and she said “it’s on, see you there.” So Jason went out and grabbed the snow blower, he had to change the belt on it which took a while, then he went out and snow blowed the driveway. He was very happy because it didn’t take much time at all. The last time he ran it, it did not run. He was very upset and frustrated. He called the man he bought the snow blower from and told him what was going on. He told Jason, try changing the belt. So he did and it worked! Yay!
So we went to the painting class and we were late by about 15 minutes! Oops! So we started the class, I wasn’t planning on joining in but the art teacher Dolores asked if I wanted to, I said, “sure.” I thought ‘why not?’ So I joined in with them painting a Penguin. It was pretty fun.
Afterward Jason treated us to Cracker Barrel. The restaurant was nearly empty.
According to Alayna’s request, she got Cracker Barrel for her Bday lunch!
We had planned to possibly take Alayna to go Bowling, but when we asked her she said she did not care to do so because she would just be bowling gutter balls (even though we reminded her she could use bumpers). So we asked her what SHE wanted to do and she said she wanted to go home, chill out and watch movies. I believe she wanted to get online with her cousins. So we did just that, we came home. She requested Alexander’s Golden Greek for dinner. So we planned to go back out and pick that up later. When we got home we did chores, and I discovered we were out of our Maintenance Dog Food. So I told Jason that when we went back out to pick up dinner he would have to also swing by Tractor Supply. So what happened was, around 7PM Jason went to town, picked up the dog food and then on the way home he called me and I called in our to-go order for The Greek restaurant. In a nutshell, we went home and watched movies and called it a night! 🙂

Friday, January 24, 2014 – Unexpected Visitors…?
Wow, as if my week couldn’t have more drama…
So I won’t go into the “other” drama cause some things are best kept private but… Let’s just say for now that YHVH looks out for His own and that His timing is uncannily perfect!
So our routine this AM was nothing out of the ordinary to start. I do morning chores and then come in for a bit and around 10-11ish I go out and grab the mail and drop hay for the horses and check on everyone. Then I potty the dogs (sometimes before my rounds, or sometimes after it just depends) but today I pottied them first and decided to take one of my Aussies with me. He is one known to get bored so I thought I’d “treat” him and let him accompany me on my rounds. 
Ronen, one of my sidekicks. One of my little vigilantes! 😉
This isn’t something I “normally” do, but for “whatever reason” I took him with. I was a little late going out, closer to 11:10 today because my daughter and I were doing our Bible Study and it took a little longer than normal. Once it was done and the house dogs pottied, I headed out. Also, normally I go get the mail first and then go to the barn and then go inside, but for “whatever reason” I decided to take the pre-soaked beet pulp down to the barn so that I wouldn’t forget it later (as I have been doing) as we soak it in the house since the water in the barn is shut off since we have sub freezing temps right now. We have heat tape, but hubby said “just to be on the safe side” so we have to tote water back and forth . Anyway, so for this reason I went to the barn FIRST. I dropped off the beet pulp, dropped hay for the horses and let my “barn dog” Natsar out to potty. Then my Aussie, Ronen, myself and Natsar walked to the front gate to grab the mail AND get the trash cans (today was trash day). As I approached the gate, I was about 10-15′ from the gate a black Toyota Camry drove up and sort of started to turn into my driveway, but then they driver saw me and quickly turned back into the road and drove off. Now, people turning around in our driveway is nothing out of the ordinary, we have a Y-shaped driveway and people turn around here all the time. I’m not a big fan of it and I’ve seen other similar driveways put up signs that say “No-U Turns” and have considered that for our place, but anyway… my first thought was, they must have needed to turn around, but saw me standing there, so they felt uncomfortable turning and went down the street to turn around again. The only “interesting” thing that caught my attention was that the passenger, a young lady, maybe in her late teens/early 20s looked like she was out of her seat belt and was moving around a lot, and when they turned back out into the street she turned and looked directly at me like a “deer in the headlights,” a face of shock sort of, as they drove away. I did think it was odd, but given the fact that people turn around in our driveway as a commonplace thing I dismissed it, went out and grabbed my mail and the trash cans and came back in and chained the gate. I walked back up to the barn to put Natsar back in as it is very cold today and so I put him in “his stall” because he stays on a tie out in the barn when we are not outside with him (to be sure he doesn’t wander) and with his tie out he has been known to open the barn up if his tie out catches the door. I didn’t want him to open it up because it was sooo cold and the horses were staying in the barn today to be certain they stayed warm.

When I finished up there, I closed up the barn and went up to the house through the back deck. I walked up and around the back to the sunroom. When I arrived at the sunroom, with Ronen on lead with me I saw THAT black Camry, at my gate, the girl passenger was OUT of her vehicle and opening my gate. I didn’t feel good about this now, I was thinking it was curious before but dismissed it and now they are back? Odd…to say the least. I whisper a prayer of protection as I turn and head to the gate to find out what these “travelers” are up to. Ronen is by my side, somewhat oblivious to what is going on. He really didn’t see the people. As I got 1/3 of the way down to the gate the girl saw me, was startled, jumped into her vehicle and her male accomplice, the driver, backed out of my driveway. Again, curious… curious that he would back out instead of turn and go out the “Y” of the driveway. Since they have now driven off, I decide that … to be certain I am not imagining the reason for my “concern” I would tuck myself near a tree and observe to see if they return. Not even ONE minute passed and sure enough, they passed back by going the opposite direction. I’m not sure if they saw me, but I watched them as they drove past, both of them staring HARD at my house and scanning my property. Strange and a bit unnerving, that they would continue to try to gain access to my gated property even after they have seen that the property is not vacant. So I buzz back up to the house and get into the sunroom and I call my husband AND I call the Police department to report “suspicious behavior.” The main reason is that over the past few weeks since December there has been reports by my neighbors of some vehicle break ins and petty theft. Also in town there have been reports of drug activity, so we have been keeping an eye out.

So now I’m back inside, I’ve told my husband to phone me and I’m on the phone with the Police giving them my account. They are concerned and send out an officer to check out the area for the vehicle and the description I gave them. I was unable to get a good look at the license plate, I tried my best but it was just too far away. I was a little unnerved, ready for a fight I guess, but I was fine. Although I was shaking like a leaf (probably a combo of coffee and adrenaline). So we warm up lunch, by now it is 12:30ish and I sit in the dining room with a direct view of the driveway to be sure I don’t miss any activity. Sure enough, 12:40 rolls around and they stop by AGAIN. This time, they stop at the right branch of the “Y” driveway, no doubt to get a good view of the house from the road. I had surprised them twice before, so I guess they were a little unnerved about my whereabouts on the property now too. So they pulled in, without turning the steering wheel if that makes sense. They positioned themselves so as to be able to look down the driveway, and then they pulled back out in the road and drove off again. I immediately called the police again to report it. The police officer said that they sent someone out. I told him, I have been sitting here watching my driveway since we got off the phone last time and I JUST saw them stop by now. So meanwhile my daughter called my husband and he jumps in the vehicle and heads home. He staked out the house from a neighbor’s home hoping to see the vehicle and get the license plate or something, but we did not see them stop back by.

After I got off the phone with the Police I ducked back to the barn and let Natsar out of his stall and tied him so he could come out and bark in case these people managed to gain access undetected to me. My daughter mentioned that “they could cross the pond since it’s ice.” That didn’t make me feel good, haha. At least with Natsar watching the barn area he would alert us if there was anything we needed to tend to. I was certain of that.

So, that was my drama. Nothing has happened since and we have relaxed our “gate watch.” I thought I had gotten a good look at the girl that was the passenger and surmised that I had seen her before. I have no definitive proof, but it looked like they were possibly trying to sneak past us and go to the barn, maybe to raid my tack room? Why else would they continue to try to gain access even though “someone was here?” Strange. The girl looked like someone I had spoken to on FB that was selling a saddle and a lot of other things, like she was in need of some money. She was a passenger in the vehicle which was not the one she described to me in our conversation. Anyway, we’ll be keeping an eye out. I locked up my tack room for now and have taken steps to secure the property to the best of our ability. So we’ll be keeping an eye out. I also notified our neighbors of the suspicious activity. Ugh! I despise thieves! I’m sorry they don’t have money, but don’t take my “money” to make up for that! >:-/

Sun, Jan 26, 2014  – A Doggy Visitor

This morning Jason and I were startled awake by Natsar barking from the barn. Jason scanned the barn area and Natsar’s line of sight and saw a Husky dog down by our barn. Jason said he was going to go run it off, I said, “no lets catch it and find out who owns it.” Well I went out to catch it, in my pajamas, and it wouldn’t let me catch it. I soon found out it was a boy. He was hiking his legs on everything. He seemed quite familiar with our property, he walked through the gate with ease and there were pawprints in the pasture indicated the path he had taken. I followed him out into the pasture and he did not ‘run’ but just stayed out of reach. I tried to convince him that I did not mean him harm but he wasn’t buying it. He knew that leash meant entrapment so he kept his distance. I was nearly frozen to the bone so I returned to the house to warm up and he galloped after and then past me. I thought he might let me catch him now, but he did not allow it still. Jason was waiting for me in the house. I came in and he said he would try to catch the dog in the barn. When Jason went back out, the dog was gone. We didn’t see him again the rest of the day.  Jason was feeling crumby so when we got back in the house I made him an essential oil “bullet” of 1:1 ration oil and the following oils: Oregano, Lemon, and Thieves.

To this I added Oregano for an extra immune boost!

I made a pot of coffee while he snuggled under a blanket and I joined him on the couch. Alayna came down stairs. I actually passed her on the stairs because I had gone to my room to change into warmer clothes. When I passed by her room, her door was open wider and I saw Rolf snuggled on her side in her blankets. He really likes Alayna and he likes her snuggy blankets. So I closed her room and left him there because I knew he would not let her fall back asleep, haha, buggy kitty … do your work! So I went back downstairs, and Alayna showed up. Jason was beginning to feel better and not only did he feel better but he was full of energy! He went out and fed the horses and then he came in and cleaned the house. We swept every inch, and then he fixed the vacuum cleaner and vacuumed the floor. It was a quiet day.

So this concludes the month of January, it was a mile a minute. If I wrote about every little thing, you would not be able to keep up. haha! Yah bless you all, until next time!


About Maritza

We are a small family of 3 and a bunch of critters.We love God, our Country and it's foundations. We made a BIG move from Texas to Massachusetts in May 2013.This blog captures our 'new' life, there is never a dull moment. There is a lot of charm and character in this place and I plan to unveil it all and bring it to you in the painting presentation of word pictures and more.
This entry was posted in Aussies, Australian Shepherds, birthday party, God, Homeschool, horses, Laser Quest, Livestock Gaurdian, Maremma, Prayer, Protection, Snow, snow blowing, snow plowing, Southbridge, strange visitors, Texas. Bookmark the permalink.

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