Not long before moving from the suburbs to the country, our wee little Apple started talking about horseback riding. We held her off for a while as we didn’t even know where to begin with it, let alone the fact that I am (was) deathly allergic to horses. But since then, our equestrian has been born.
Once we made the move it was pretty hard to keep her away. Not only do our neighbours own a horse barn and we can see the horses out in the paddock from our front porch, but we are less than a kilometre from some amazing stables, Stratford-Fox Run. We first heard of them from a couple of teachers at our old school who board their horses there. So, we got in touch with them and started Apple off with a summer camp, to see if she even was able to ride. From the first day she has wanted to live at the stables.
From camp we went to lessons and now only a year and a half later, she is doing some in-house equestrian shows. We feel/fear her love of riding and jumping will take us to some shows out of house, but we are hoping to hold off on that for at least another year.
In school she has to do a project on fitness and when she first told her teacher she was going to be showcasing horseback riding, there was some question as to how much fitness was involved. Apple was quite convincing and explained to her teacher how there is stretching and posture and muscles used to stay on the horse involved. She was giving the go ahead and I was asked to capture her riding for her project.
As I don’t often shoot in horse arena’s there is a learning curve for sure. In the winter they aren’t as bright, adding to that it was quite a cloudy day. So, I think, not so bad for a first try and now I know what to do for next time, as I am sure there will be a next time.
And needless to say watching her ride so closely, I can see how much work it takes for both horse (this is actually a pony that Apple is riding) and rider to accomplish. We are definitely proud parents and on the good side, the more time I spend at the barns, the less my allergies act up.
And because we can’t ignore this handsome fella, meet Chubbs. He came sauntering over to see us after lessons were done. Nothing like a frolic in the snow for this guy.
My cousin passed away recently and so unexpectedly that it leaves just a wee little hole in my heart. We had not seen each other in person in many years, however, we had some great phone calls. Some on purpose some accidentally dialed.
Way back when, he lived with us, I think I was around 10 or 11, but I remember him staying with us and it was like we had a brother for a while amist all us girls. I would like to say he was here for a year, but it may have only been 6 months. For some reason I related to him in ways that I did not with others. He was a straight shooter, no fuss, no bs, if he disagreed with something he let you know or called you out on it. He was a gifted man with a generous heart.
Not long after he lived with us, he left the East to work in the forestry industry in West. Not an easy life to live in a remote town, but he did it and did it successfully, only returning to the East a handful of times over the years. It is there that he married an amazing woman and created a family. A family to be proud of.
Last week he would have turned 54, to me that is just too young to say goodbye. He left behind four wonderful children, who will miss him dearly but will carry him with them where ever they go. My heart goes out to my younger cousins who must go on without their Dad. He may not have done things the way others would have but that just wasn’t his way. He was the guy who danced to a different tune. He would give you the shirt off his back if you said you needed it, even if it was his only shirt. His laugh was contagious and his smile will forever be ingrained in my mind.
You will be missed. Until We Meet Again.
Two of my favorite images I have of him (both scanned from film prints taken 25-30 years ago).
1984 Rehoboth Beach, Delaware
1989 Bella Coola, British Columbia
This is such a delayed post, but I just had to write about our first experience in a Hybrid car. The Ford Fusion Hybrid to be exact. If you remember we tried the Fusion Ecoboost in August, well a couple of weeks after that we tried out the Fusion Hybrid. For the most part the Fusion Hybrid drives like any other car. There are a few things though that you really need to pay attention to to get the best economy out of your car. The Efficiency Leaves, oh my, the better and more efficient you drive the more beautiful green leaves you have. Well, let me tell you that I wasn’t exactly driving efficiently for the first few days. Add to that that my battery wasn’t being charged properly I had to figure out what all the symbols meant and how I could get it all back.
I started off with figuring out how the charging for the battery worked and once I found out that the battery charges from the braking of the vehicle, I then figured out that I needed to brake more efficiently. No hard stops, I had to treat the car a little more gingerly than I am used to. Also I should add, in my defense, that I drive a much larger vehicle that requires a bit of a heavier braking foot to stop, especially when we are packed for a trip. So, braking. Got it. My battery remained nicely charged after I figured that out.
Now to grow my leaves. I again had to treat the car a little more gingerly, no fast starts, no passing trucks, but cruising nicely made for a much more efficient ride.
I did take the Fusion Hybrid on a small road trip to Merrickville , ON with the children. They LOVE the car, the seats were comfortable and the ride is smooth and quiet and J was able to sync his iPod to the stereo and be our back seat DJ. I enjoyed the ride, nice and smooth for sure, with enough power to pass if needed. Hubby drove it a few times as well and also enjoyed it. We tried to compare it in our minds with the Fusion Ecoboost and we both agreed that we are not Hybrid drivers and that we loved the Ecoboost more.
Why would we love the Ecoboost more? We found that overall we had better fuel economy in the Ecoboost, something that is important when you are traveling on the highways a lot. And we found that there was just too much going on in the dashboard of the Hybrid. I am pretty sure you can change what you see, but I didn’t have time to play with all of the settings in the dash to figure that out. I found I was more concerned about my braking power and growing leaves than I should have been, thus taking me away from my actual driving. If we were looking for a hybrid for city driving then the Fusion would be it, but for now I think we need to stick with out full on fuel cars and pay attention.
Special thanks to Maxine at Thornley Fallis for giving me the fabulous opportunity to drive these amazing Ford vehicles. One thing I can say for absolute certainty is that these are not the Ford cars I drove as a teenager, Ford has come a long way in 25+ years and we are so impressed that we are still having that ongoing discussion on whether or not we will be switching up one of our cars for a Ford. Stay tuned….