Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Kennel

Nestled in the woods here on our farm is a project that has been a year in the making. When Bear got sick and we almost lost our farm, we had the decision to either change things dramatically or walk away so we sat down and discussed what we would do. My aunt and uncle whom I love dearly ran a dog boarding kennel when I was a kid and later in life, I ran one here in Swanton for three years. We already had the building which had been used as one of our barns so we started laying out plans of how we could do it and how much it would cost and we went to work on creating a small, friendly kennel. We gutted the entire barn, poured concrete, created an office, a small animal room, a waiting room, a kitchen, put in drains and a septic system, a bathroom, etc. Drywall, months of painting and trimming out each room, fencing for play yards, and so on and so on. I am tired just thinking about it but with the help of our daughters and son in law, we opened last spring. Im happy to say that we built it and people came. In fact people still come, bringing their lovely dogs to stay in our new kennel. I can't travel as much as I used to however I am fortunate to have it and look forward to spending time with the dogs every day. Aside from one person, we have enjoyed everyone who we have met and the best part is that its ours and it is a project that continues to grow. Yesterday, I created a Bear Back Ranch and Kennel page on Facebook in an effort to give dog owners tips on finding a kennel that suits them and have had many compliments on it from family and friends. That made me smile because I know how much work we have put into this little venture and what it means to us to be successful. So if you're local, visit us and if you are not, visit us on Facebook and see the photos of the inside. It's a new chapter in our lives that brings us joy and offers us a new beginning after some pretty rough times.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tena's Take

Good morning!
Getting ready to head down to Equine Affaire and spend time with old friends. (all my friends are old once I hit 50!). Haha. Then on to Quarterfest in Tennessee to kick off a new venture... The Cowgirl Posse Radio program with my buddy and now co host, Emily Jo Peak. I also have a new column called Tena's Take at http://www.couturecowgirl.com so please stop by and read some of my articles there.

Aside from that, all is well. Staying busy and having fun! Gotta run.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How To Find Me


I havent been here in a few weeks but this is not the only way to find me and see what we've been up to lately.
I invite you to join me on Facebook under Tena Bastian
My fan page on Facebook is new and you can find me under Tena Coker Bastian
I am also on Twitter under, you guessed it...Tena Bastian

I will catch up here as soon as I get a bit of time but until then, please join me at the above places. Thanks. Happy St. Patricks Day and Thank you GOD for the warmer weather!!!!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Snow Falls Gently... WHAT!?

Snow falls gently like feathers after a pillow fight. Spring is upon us. WHAT THE HECK?! Enough already. Even I can no longer find inspiration in this winter or the snow or the cold. I want spring! The view from the back of my horse? I havent been on a horse in too long. None of them want to play in a foot of snow. My hubby, Bear, the eternal optimist, looks at me each morning and sees the toll that the lack of sun is doing to my mood and says "Honey spring is just around the corner." I put the pillow back over my face and scream because its either that or strangle him!

We have five acres which to some of you doesn't really seem like a lot but take that 5 acres and spend almost 20 years putting in fencing, a dog boarding kennel the size of the house, bushes, trees, various other obstacles and then try and remove endless amounts of snow from that same 5 acres. Now add to that the hoses and dog toys and tennis balls that I continue to hit with the steel blades of the snow blower and it becomes an Olympic event! Those tennis balls fly clear into the neighbors yard! The hose however, got tangled up in the blades and shut her down cold! By the time we get the hose out of the blades, there is an additional 4 inches of snow so you start over again.

I have been on the internet so often this winter that the Twitter folks and the Facebook friends are now family. I know what each are doing at any given time throughout the day and have even adopted a few and claimed a few more as brothers and sisters. The neighbor posted that she saw four robins in her yard but it is snowing so hard, I can't even see her house!

I said to the dogs yesterday, "Lets go feed the horses". This is something I say every day and with great excitement, they plow through me and run to the barn. Yesterday, two of them ignored me and the third one went upstairs and hid out under my desk. Last week I decided to venture out to the grocery store and got in my car, turned on the wipers and because of the ice on them, they shredded and all I had was the plastic frame of the wiper.

I tried tanning, had a hot flash in the tanning bed and almost passed out. Thought about driving down to Nashville for a few days and they got a snowstorm. Changed all the lightbulbs in the house to 100 watters which worked a bit until I got the electric bill. I need spring. I NEED to be warm. I NEED Bear to lose that positive attitude and say "Honey, lets run away from home and go somewhere warm". I need to know that the neighbors first robins are not buried in the snow or dead from the tennis balls that the snowblower launched at them! I NEED just a hint of green grass, a bud on a single tree or a peek at the sun for more than 2 seconds. I NEED all this white stuff to head north to Vancouver where a Twitter buddy tells me they are wearing flip flops in February. I need to go visit my new brother Keith in Texas or my new sister Emily Jo in Alabama but guess what, they have snow too!

I need to go to Mexico and drink some fruity drink with a little umbrella. Most of all, I NEED to lose these coveralls and winter coat and layers of clothes that weigh a ton. I need an attitude adjustment and I need to mow the grass. Snow falls gently my ass people! It comes in blinding snowstorms, in inches, in feet, and it doesn't go away. March is just a few days away so the view from the back of my horse is winter! I say we leave it in the rear view and just keep riding. PLEASE someone come dig me out of this unforgiving winter and take me to a happy place.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Square pegs and Round Holes

It is a scientific fact that our thought process is broken up into two basic categories... right brain and left brain thinking. Each of us falls under one or the other category with a rare few of us who are equally able to think with both sides of our brain without suffering through total meltdown.

The left brain person is analytical, processes thought through reason and sticks to the fact. Shit happens, they deal with it and they move on, never to think about it again. They are good at math, science and see a situation on a single plain. They are rarely descriptive and do not tend to "get" exageration or sometimes even humor.

The right brain person in creative, sometimes tend to exagerate such as "a BILLION" of something instead of the left brain thinking of "exactly 238" of something. They are descriptive when telling a story and insert emotion into a story such as "Oh my gosh, I was so frightened". Their humor is sometimes misunderstood by the left brain thinker and they are perceived as eccentric at times. They may not be good at spelling or math but they will tell a good story.

I am a right brain thinker and my husband is a left brain thinker and here is a perfect example of a typical conversation that is lost in translation... We are standing in the line at the grocery store behind a man who is listening to me recount my hectic day to my husband. He smiles as I tell Bear about fighting with the insurance company in an effort to get them to pay for his most recent hospital stay. This is left brain thinking and it wears me out completely. Bear says
"When we leave here, do you want to go to Wal Mart and pick up a few more things?" I say
"Honey, all I want to do is go home and release the girls", referring to the fact that my bra is too tight and I need to take it off. The man chuckles as he gets my attempt at humor. Bear responds by saying
"I walked them before we left home!" In his active left brain thought process, he thought I was being literal and referring to our two dogs, "the girls". The man in front of us is now laughing to the point where tears are streaming down his cheeks, obviously he is a right brain thinker and sees the humor in the misunderstanding.
"Never mind". I tell my confused husband.

Sitting in H&R Block the other day while my tax person, Jody is asking me questions such as,
"Now what percentage of your home is your office and what percentage of your property taxes and insurance goes to the kennel?" My creative mind is thinking about the total "math" of the questions and suddenly goes completely blank. She keeps talking and my brain has shut down in defense of avoiding the thought process that is required to answer her questions. Suddenly, all I am hearing is "Blah, blah, blah" because I have inadvertently tuned her out. To me, being a right brain thinker, I am a square peg and Jody is trying to engage me in a left brain conversation which to me is a big round hole. Folks, no matter how hard ya try, you can NOT fit a square peg into a round hole!

Right brain thinkers or all of us square pegs want to tell a story, we want to elaborate on the details and not try to analyze them. We don't care if the math adds up or if the words are spelled correctly, we want to describe the perfect summer day, not sit with a calculator and figure out exactly what time the sun rose and set. We want to be out riding our horses instead of figuring out how much fencing to buy to build them a corral. We want to play, not evaluate and we want to take off our bra at the end of the day and release "the girls" and we want our husbands to understand that we are not referring to walking the dogs!

Lately it feels as though this square peg has been shoved into too many round holes in her every day life. Taxes, paying bills, balancing the checkbook, dealing with insurance companies, I long for a cold drink, some island music and a sunny beach. I long to tell a story without having to explain every detail, I long for time with another right brain thinker so they understand me without having to explain myself. I long for all the round holes to either expand so I fit in them better or close completely so I dont have to worry about fitting in where I dont belong.

Aside from this blog, I havent had time to write a single creative word since my last two books were released and I am bursting at the seams to set aside all my left brain tasks and just give in to a few days of creative thinking! That is the view from the back of my horse...a world full of other square pegs and the demise of our lives being bogged down with responsibility, endless round holes that we just can't seem to fit into. I LOVE all the left brain thinkers in my life but if you are a right brain thinker, give me a call now and then and dream with me, lets talk about everything but nothing too important or analytical. Let's not get sucked into those round holes and forget how to play. I don't have all the answers to the questions that are being asked of me but I can tell you a story! I can't tell you how to balance your checkbook but I can tell you where to hide it for a while so you just dont have to deal with it. I can't tell you what time the sun rises and sets but for the time between sunrise and sunset, I can sure as hell take you on a horseback ride that won't ever forget! So if you are a right brain thinker, go play and let the left brain thinkers be repsonsible for the details.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Corey and Megan

Greetings ya'all!

When our family gathered as the years rolled on, I always looked forward to all my neices and nephews but Corey and Megan made me excited to see another holiday. Why?, you might ask. Because they were as crazy as me. These two girls made me laugh ALL the time. We would all hold hands and grandpa would lead us in prayer and God help me, I could not look at Corey or Megan. Making eye contact with either of them would start the giggles. Not just us but it had that ripple effect that would make its way to my daughters and their brothers and before ya know it, grandpa would be giving us the "evil" eye for giggling during his blessing. Oh we were always sorry but that never stopped us from giggling. Once at Christmas, grandpa accidently said "Lord we are here to celebrate the DEATH of Christ"... Now we all knew he meant the BIRTH of Christ but we giggled none the less.

Even when these two were really little, they were funny. At a birthday party for grandma, Megan ate like 1000 chicken wings while Corey and I cracked up! Ok so maybe it wasnt 1000 but ya know I tend to exagerate and I promise it was more wings than any little girl should ever consume. She weighed about 50 lbs or so at the time! Teaming up for Easter egg hunts, wedding preparations, whatever the occasion might be, we were unstoppable!

The years flew by and they both grew up and got married and Corey has a son, Wyatt who is adorable. Both married husbands that I adore! The thing I miss is seeing them as often as I used to. We will still get together and giggle now and then but life gets busy and silly little girls grow up and now we will have to settle for text messages and emails.

The reason my blog is about Corey and Megan today is that these two girls have taken their awesome talents for design and have each started their own line of clothing and today, I celebrate the women that they have become and I wanted to share their new projects with you. Corey is older by like two minutes (exagerating again) so we will start with her. www.Regencyprep.blogspot.com is her blog until she gets her website up and running. Please go there and see her awesome clothing line and my fellow cowgirls... she has some western stuff coming soon. The rock and roll guitar is my fav so far. Please check it out.

Your next stop should be www.robertandmegan.blogspot.com which is Megans blog until her company website is up and running. Her new business is "Angelic Endeavor: A Breath Of Heaven." These precious little dresses that she designs are so incredible! Please check them out and say hello while you're there.

So today, the view from the back of my horse are the two little giggley girls that grew up when I wasn't looking and I can not tell you enough how very proud I am of them and how much I love them. They have become talented independant women and business owners. Watch these sisters closely because I promise you that they are going to set the world on fire with their talent!!!

Corey and Megan, thanks for making my life a little more silly and a lot less serious. I hope you never lose your sense of humor and that your lives will always have a place for Auntie T. Love you.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A Horse To Fill The Void

For over 15 years, I looked out my widow to see Beau, our stallion looking back toward the house in anticipation of the next time I would come out to play and I smiled. When I was in a hurry and the bugs were biting, I would pick up a bottle of fly spray and he would meet me at the fence, line up to be sprayed and turn around when I asked so I could get the other side. He would stand in the palpation chute / bathing chute and when I tipped my head to one side, he mocked me. Tip it to the other side and he would do that too. Nod my head and he nodded. Tap his nose with the end of my lead rope in a halter class, and he would stretch his nose out and show off his beautiful muscled neck. He didnt come to us knowing all these things because horses arent born to please you. It is respect that is earned and paid for through the hours you spend with them.

His little barn was the first one we ever built here and now it stands empty. Not completely because Bear had this idea that if we parked the tractors in there, it wouldn't look so sad and lonely but try as I may, the tractor doesnt meet me at the gate, doesnt bring me its halter when it wants to come out. A tractor doesn't smell like that horse that just got a bath and is drying in the sun. A tractor doesn't fill the void left by a horse that was part of who you are and then died. When I pick up the fly spray, the tractor doesn't line up at the fence and make me laugh. Tractors have no personality really and always break down when the grass is long and needs to be mowed. A horse will eat all that grass and doesn't require near as much maintanance as a tractor. The tractor doesnt even fit in the damn bathing chute!

Sure I have considered putting another horse in his paddock to fill the void but my options are limited. In the other paddock, there are 3 horses. Cher, my old mare from Texas, Hootie, Beaus son, a gelding that is very cool but young and green and prefers to be with his mother. Then there is Nova. Ahhh, Nova the paint came to us a short while ago from a friend who had to part with her and by golly, she is a pretty mare for sure! Nova came out of the trailer kicking and rearing and basically being a mare. Beau was a stallion and I would take a stallion over a mare any day. Catching Nova is no problem because the moment you enter the paddock, she comes to you immediately. With pinned ears and bared teeth! That is until she sees the bottle of fly spray, then she runs circles around you kicking at you all the while. If there is food involved, she pins her ears and attacks you because she is sure you are going to take it away. If you try to get near Hootie or Cher, she attempts to get around them to rip your face off. No amount of time with her has ever proven to be enough to break her of being a bitchy mare and if I moved her to Beaus paddock, Bear, hubby on blood thinners would make her his project and the only person she hates more than me is him. We already spend far too much time in the E.R. as it is.

I miss the days of foaling mares and new babies and foaling parties sitting up with friends til the wee hours of the morning waiting for a mare to foal. I miss breeding season with Beau because he was so easy to handle and so willing to just do his job and go back to the sweet horse he used to be. I miss his entertaining manner and his genuine desire to please you.I miss the way you could just crawl up on him and he would sidepass me down the rail in just a halter and lead rope. I miss Beau. The view from the back of my horse is all the wonderful years we had with him and how beautiful he was.

The fact is that no horse can fill the void left by another horse that you loved and lost just as no other person can fill that void. Horses are different just as people are and try as you may, you can;t replace them. I would love nothing better than to put a nice dead broke gelding in that corral so when things get tough in life and I get a minute break from taking care of everyone, I can renew my soul by just riding a sweet horse instead of risking my life with the mare from hell. Yesterday, I wnet in to scrub the water buckets and fill them and sure as I am standing, here she comes. Nova, ears pinned and teeth bared ready for a fight. Close behind her was Hootie, Beaus son who had enough, I think and as she approached me at a full trot, he chased her off to the back of the pasture and then walked slowly over to me and stood there to be loved. It was so nice to see that Hootie has inhereted his sires sweet nature and loving attitude. I spent almost two hours with him, brushing him and as I did, Cher came over and took her turn and it did make me feel better. Slowly, Nova came over and I thought to myself, there is hope for her yet. I waited until she got close enough to put on a halter and lead and she stood quietly. Hootie stood close as if to tell her, behave or I am going to kick your ass. I brushed her, combed her mane, led her around while Hootie and Cher followed and then removed the halter and lead rope and turned her loose. Ears pinned, teeth bared, she kicked up at me as she ran off. Mares. Some are just not loving, easy going horses and certainly not the horse of choice to fill the void here.

For now, the tractor will have to fill the void in the front paddock where that lovely stallion used to live. The carrots and apples will just continue to pile up there because try as I might, that damn tractor will never actually eat them. None of the halters really fit well and for sure, that piece of shit doesn't smell like a horse. The neighbors are beginning to worry about the extensive amounts of time I am spending talking to the tractor and complaining a little about the sound that Beaus brushes make on the metal, like fingers on a chalkboard. Someday, hopefully in my lifetime, I will find a horse that I can put in that front paddock and I will look out the window and he will look back at me in anticipation of a good ride. In the meantime, I will work with Cher and Hootie and even Nova and when spring comes and the tractor sheds its winter coat, maybe it will shed out to be a beautiful palomino color. Hey, it could happen! On another note...Laura, stop stalking me. Haha