Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Another Whitey adventure....

Yesterday afternoon my husband called me from work and asked me if I wanted the good or bad news first. That didn't sound good at all. I asked for the good news first..of course. "I found Whitey!" My first thought was WTF! 
To make a long story short. I had a lot of errands to run yesterday. Many of them included visits to different stores. Whitey couldn't go with me. I thought that he would have more fun playing with Stella (Phil's dog) in the woods, than he would have waiting on me all day. Therefor I asked Phil if he could go with them. 
Whitey went with Phil and Stella. He was secured in the back of Phil's truck. Stella and Whitey did have a lot of fun running around and playing while Phil worked. On the way home Whitey decided to jump out of the truck! He jumped out of his collar and took of. It was on a gravel road in the woods, but still. He did not come when Phil called his name. (He's not very good at listening at him. Stella isn't very good at listening at me either. It's so obvious that they choose to listen to "their" person.)
After searching for Whitey for a long time Phil saw a man sitting on his porch with a phone in his hand and Whitey next to him! He was about to call the number on the collar = my number. I don't know what I would of done if someone called me and said they had my dog! I would probably thought Phil had an accident or something..
Whitey was lucky and got away with some minor injuries from his adventure. ..
(When Whitey is with me he always rides in the car/truck. Anyways, I'm going to get him a harness today AND he's getting a chip!)

Monday, February 25, 2013

Looking for pasture in Northern California!!

Lately I've been very busy trying to organize pastures for our horses. It meant many hours on the roads driving between Napa, and Shasta County. During this winter we've had more horses than ever before, and the pastures haven't been enough for them all. We've been moving them around, trying to utilize the richest pastures for the horses that needs it the most, and supplemented with hay ~ a lot of hay! With these hay prices we buy hay for more than $500/week. Considering that most of our horses are on pastures that is a lot of money. We're looking to buy/rent/lease more irrigated pastures.The winter time is hard on many of the older rescue horses we have. They've had a very rough life and several are in their twenties. Most of these horses benefits from a combination of a free choice of high quality hay, and nibbling on the pasture grass that's available. 
I'm looking forward to a more practical solution to the pasture issue. That would mean more time actually taking care of and riding the horses. Do you know of available pasture land (around 100acres or more would be preferable) in Northern California? Please send me an email mmarianorthcutt@gmail.com! Thank you!


Friday, February 22, 2013

Hayley and Whitey

These two are the very best of friends there can be.
I love watching them together.
It doesn't matter what Hayley does,
Whitey is always extremely
gentle with her.

Because of how sweet and kind Whitey is, it really took me by surprise
when a grown man almost crapped his pants today, when we walked by..
I walked Whitey on a leash,  he was literally right next to me.
Somehow his appearance really scared this man ~
A puppy, on a leash, walking foot next to his owner,
wagging his tail. We exchange a few words,
but I realized that the man just wanted us to
continue our walk. Poor man.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Hiking in Trinity National Forest

We saw many interesting rocks in the creeks. Gold?

One of my "mini adventures" last week was a hike in Trinity National Forest (http://www.fs.usda.gov/stnf/). We parked the truck on the top of a hill. The day of the hike was an unusual hot day for the season, around 75 degrees and no wind. 

Remote wilderness

Shasta-Trinity National Forest is the largest National Forest in California. The terrain varies a lot, from open landscape and mountain peaks, to deeply forested wilderness. It's a total of 2.1 million acres! The fact that it's possible to spend a life time there and yet not see everything amazes me. 

Surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks, in every direction.

After parking the truck I ate a light meal (a nut/granola power bar, a banana and some water with electrolytes.) A very excited Hayley sat in the Baby Björn http://www.babybjorn.com/us/products/baby-carriers/baby-carrier-original/original/, on my belly. She kept begging me to hurry up; with her wordless, beautiful baby songs. She loves the outdoors so much, and she can smell an adventure around the corner. The dogs were very excited too! They ran around all over the place. At the same time they kept an eye on us all the time as well. 

Whitey resting on one of the rare flat spaces we passed by.
I packed a couple of bottled waters in my camera bag. I did my best to not bring one single thing that I wouldn't have use for. I was planning for a strenuous hike. This part of the National Forest is heavily forested. There's pine trees, oaks,  manzanitas, hazel nut trees and a lot of black berries. I'm sure there are mountain lions and black bears in the area. They are everywhere, but I didn't see any this time. I often see bears, but I've only seen a mountain lion once. I did see deer and markings after wild pigs. I was carrying my Glock to be on the safe side. The good thing with bringing dogs is that they wouldn't let any animal (or human) sneak up on me. 
We started to follow a trail that went deep down to the heart of the forest. Our goal was to find a river that we've seen on the GPS earlier. The trail disappeared after a while. I could hear the water clearly and choose to continue anyway. I knew exactly where I was compared to the truck above me and the highway below me. 

The trail we followed the first ten minutes,
with beautiful Manzanitas on the sides.

Chicken of the woods. Have you tasted them?
Did you know that you can survive on these if you have too?

At this point I had to carefully choose every step I took. I was very happy that "I travelled light". The day got hotter and hotter. It was a very step climb down. On some places it was all mud, on other places it was thick with blackberry bushes. I didn't take a lot of pictures here, I focused on getting us down safely. Hayley was having a great time! I had a good time too. I had to stay very focused. The sound of the water was getting louder and I knew I was close. I could hear a lot of frogs as well. Stella and Whitey found a good place to climb down to the water. 

Whitey drinking water from a creek. I poured water over Hayley and me
several times to keep our body temperature down. It was hot!

We only followed a trail for the first ten minutes,
 after that we made our own way.

When we found the creek, (it wasn't really a river) I scooped up water over me and Hayley. She liked that! Not once on the hike she complained about anything. She just loves being outdoors so much. She's looking around all the time, nothing passes by unnoticed to her eyes. 
We heard a waterfall not to far away and followed the creek for about half a mile until we reached the waterfall. Stella jumped up on the rocks next to the waterfall. She stood at the top locking down at the rest of us, "Aren't you guys coming? It's fun up here!" Unfortunately she lost her footing as she jumped down and landed on a rock, on her shoulder. It looked like it would of been very painful. She screamed a  little bit but didn't even limp. 

We followed the sound of flowing water and frogs.
It took us to this water fall.

We rested for a while next to the waterfall. I took some pictures, before we started to head back to the truck. The whole adventure of going down to the creek and finding the waterfall had taken about two hours. I decided to take a shortcut out to the gravel road I drove up on, and follow the road back to the truck. It took about one hour to walk up the road, same steep climb, but up this time. A lot easier to follow the road though!

We passed by some green, lush meadows too.

Hazel nut trees every where.

It was a wonderful day, I can't wait to get back to "the great outdoors"! There is nowhere I feel as present in the moment as I do in the wilderness. I need to go out there every now and then. It's like fuel for my soul. I feel blessed that Hayley enjoys it as much as I do.

Stella and Whitey always have energy to play!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Clover Creek Preserve

Clover Creek Preserve

So this is the last week of the writing class I'm taking. Honestly, I haven't been writing as much as I would of liked. I've been on so many adventures these past weeks. I have lots of stuff to write about that's for sure! Not talking about the thousands of pictures I have to edit. No day have been the same as the day before :)
Hayley and I stayed at a hotel in Redding (Northern California), for almost a week. We've been on many mini adventures. At least one every day. We've found some new favorite places. Some in neatly organized park like settings, like Clover Creek Preserve. 
Clover Creek Preserve is an easy accessible park, close to central Redding. In fact it was only a 10 minute drive from the hotel we stayed at. Hayley, Whitey and I walked a couple of miles there almost every day.
It's a small park, only 128 acres. The land is flat and it has many trails. There's a lake in the middle of the park, some hills and oak trees. Every time we've been there it's been rather windy. It's definitely worth a visit despite the wind. The views are truly amazing. You are surrounded by mountain peaks in all directions; Mt Lassen, Mt Shasta and Trinity Alps. The best views are of Trinity Alps.
Dogs has to be on leash at all times. Good training for Whitey. I don't use a leash very often.
Two days ago just before we reached the parking lot after our walk, we met a girl with two giant pit bulls. She had one in each hand. We heard her long before we could see her: "BAD", "You're so bad", "Bad boys"…etc..When we did see her she was torne between the two dogs that wanted to walk in different directions. (They obviously walked her and not the other way around.) We hurried in to our car before she had to let one of them go. We didn't stay to watch the disaster. The park was crowded, the weather was nice and many families choose to spend the afternoon there. 
I hope that she got her dogs back under control shortly after we left. Neither of them seem to be aggressive, only playful. But they were huge dogs and could easily ran over someone.

I'll be back tomorrow with a story about another more adventurous adventure! A strenuous hike in Trinity Alps. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Did someone actually try to steal my dog??

The cut behind Whiteys leg

I've been out of town for some days. Today when I came home I started to unpack my car. Hayley was asleep so I brought her in to the house. Whitey was sitting on the driveway. I went back and forth to the car with all our stuff (read: dirty laundry..)
Through the screen doors in the living room I watch two Mexican men step out from a white Van they parked on the opposite side of the road. They walk over to our side, and on to our drive way. Whitey approach them with a wagging tale. He just LOVES every one. I walk towards the door to see what's up. I didn't recognize the men. For a few seconds, while walking from the living room to the door in the mud room, I don't see what's happening. 
When I open the door, the men disappears and Whitey runs to me screaming. He has a wound behind his right, front leg. What happened?
At first I thought they kicked him for some reason, but after thinking about it for a little while it doesn't seem realistic. It looks like a cut. Like if someone put something (wire?) around him. Did someone actually try to steal my dog?
Everything happened so fast. I didn't get a good signature of the men and I didn't see the license plate of the car. All I saw was that they looked like Mexicans and drove a white Van.
I'm a little upset. It's kind of scary. Whitey loves to sit on the driveway or on the porch, just looking at stuff but after this I'm afraid to let him out of sight. 
I'm very thankful that nothing worse happened.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Where There is Trust There is No Need for Force

My rescue horse Trigger on our back porch.
During the two last months of my pregnancy
I didn't ride my horses but we spent a lot
of time together.

Todays post is dedicated to one of my obsessions!  One that definitely fuel my creative ideas and force me to think outside the box. I'm talking about the strong urge I feel to not use any kind of physical force when I handle horses. I want them to chose to be with me. Sometimes this is challenging. Especially since I often work with rescue horses. Horses that's been abused or neglected. These horses don't trust humans, for good reasons. It takes time and creativity to win their trust. I feel very passionate about doing that, winning their trust. I guess you could say that it's an obsession I have. 
It would be fairly easy "to make these unruly" horses (they often have issues that could be seen as bad manners) to obey. That's not what I want to do.  
I try to give them a good horse life, a life similar to how wild horses live. I want to give them as much freedom as I can. My horses live in herds on big pastures. I give all new horses a lot of time before I start riding them, even the horses that are trained for years. I prefer to have a foundation to work from. "Rules" that feels good for both me and the horse that I'm working with. These "rules" can be different depending on the horse's experience, age, breed, knowledge and personality. 

Trigger likes to follow me around when
I work in the garden. In this
picture he hangs out with me
when I'm working in the garage.
The choice to handle horses using my head rather than muscles, requires a lot of creativity. Its often challenging and that what's I thrive on. The sensation when you can interact with a big, powerful animal through feel is amazing. It's worth all the efforts to gain the trust of a skeptical animal. I'm not an extraordinary horse person in anyway. I'm just a regular girl that has loved horses all her life. I had the good fortune to be able to observe and interact with many horses (and wise horse people as well.) 

Horses makes me humble. I noticed that I have to trust a  horse before he can even consider trusting me. My closest horse friend, Trigger, didn't let me touch his head when I got him. After getting to know him I found out that his tongue had a deep cut, after a sharp bit someone used on him. He's mouth is completely healed now and he accept having a bit in his mouth, but his is happier without it. Trigger and I have a deal: I ride him without anything in his mouth and in return he trust me to make good decision. It's been a long time consuming road to come to this point in our relationship BUT definitely worth it! It feels very good to know that we've come to this point of mutual understanding completely without force. In the beginning Trigger questioned most things I suggested, now he is very eager to please. You can make a horse obey with force, but to truly make him your friend you can't use force. To make friends you sometimes have to be creative. For me this creativity is addictive and sort of an obsession. It's so rewarding! Why do it any other way? 

Trigger, (Hayley!) and I in Eldorado National Forest.

Do you want to know more about Trigger? 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A new life

A year ago I met a very anxious dog. At night she was locked up in a tiny crate, in the dirtiest, smelliest house I ever seen. The dog was also very dirty. During daytime she was tied up most of the day. She was sad and unhappy. Sometimes her owner would take her of the line she was tied up to (they explained that she always was on the dog run because she ran away if she was loose. They lived on a 20acres ranch....) When the owners were out of state my husband and I watch the dog. When we came she was tied up on the dog run all tangled up. They did not leave any food for her, for the two weeks we were going to watch her. She didn't have water. 
The times I saw her off leash with the owners they always nagged on her (screaming her name like 100 times/minute.) She was almost more uncomfortable off leash. I felt very sorry for her.

Stella, Whitey and Charity (the dog in the story) this week.

Two days ago I had the pleasure to meet the same dog. I almost didn't recognize her. She had a new owner. A beautiful, happy, confident, clean, respectful dog came to meet me. Very happy to see me. There was something familiar with the dog, but I didn't recognize her immediately. I had to ask if it was the same dog. She gained some weight and her fur was sparkling, thick and shining. The biggest difference was her happy confidence. This dog was living the life! 
It made me very happy to see what an excellent job her new owner done loving her, and giving her her life back. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sustainable Living

Riding Boots, City Boots and Dress Boots

Making our lifestyle as sustainable as possible is very important to our family. There are many small, but important ingredients in a sustainable lifestyle. One of them have to do with the amount of things you buy, and what you do with them.
We're trying to think before we buy new things. Do we really need this? When we do need new things we prefer to buy quality that last a long time, rather than saving a few bucks and have to buy new things in a near future. I rarely go to sales. For me it's cheaper to buy just what I need, in good quality, at a full price. Rather than buying tons of low quality crap that will brake and need to be exchanged. 

I do not own a lot of stuff, clothes, books or anything. What I do have I really like. If I don't like it I give it to charity or sell it. 
I own four pair of boots. That's all the shoes I own. One pair for riding, one pair for every day life (like going to the grocery store), one pair that goes well to a nice evening dress and one pair for hiking. Later in the spring I will buy a pair of sandals, the last ones broke at the end of last season.
The hiking boots don't need any maintenance. The other three pairs need cleaning, some oil and water proofing. I really enjoy taking care of leather. It smells so good. I like the smooth feeling on my hands while working the oil into the leather. I love the result; shining, waterproof, good looking boots (or saddles, headstalls, reins, belts…)

It feels good to take care of my family's equipment. It feels good because I know that they appreciate it. It feels good because I know the equipment will last a long time, to the benefits of the environment and our family's economy. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Adding pieces to my new (life) puzzle

The pictures in todays post are from last weeks adventure
 in Siskiyou County, Northern California.

I feel like I'm constantly on mini adventures. My life is an adventure. I guess it's partly who I am ~ a citizen of the world. I like action (but I like sitting down reading a good book too!!) The other reason why my life is an adventure have to do with the man I choose to marry. He is a little bit of an adventurer my dear husband. Things are always happening around him. He always have at least ten different projects going on. For the most I really like it.

Cattle Ranch near Montague, CA.
I love how the clouds rests on the mountains.
It's a magical landscape. I would love to hear some
 local stories about old times in this part of CA.

My challenge is to make sure that my own projects doesn't die in the process. Luckily one of my biggest passions is photography. I am bringing my camera with me every day. My camera is sort of a second journal. I am good at uploading my pictures to the computer, for the most I do it the same day, or at the latest the day after. When I edit my picture, the "adventure" that I captured comes back to me. 

I took this picture on a ranch close to Yreka, CA.

Sometimes it's "only every day magic", sometimes it's rather exciting stuff. I love taking pictures when I'm out riding my horses (or other peoples horses that I train.) I usually don't bring my big camera. I use my iPhone when I'm on horseback. It works pretty good. 
I've taken some of the best pictures in wilderness areas that would of been pretty hard to get to without a horse.

Trinity Alpes
Lately my daughter, my dog, my camera and I have been traveling around Northern California a lot, due to my husbands business. I love the landscape, the interesting people you meet and the food (that sometimes are as interesting as the people who serves it..) I learn a lot while I'm on the road. Since I'm not a native Californian I feel that I want to learn as much as possible about the local history, what people do for a living, what kind of crops the farmers grow on different places, what kind of trees I see, the names of the mountain peaks that surrounds me etc. I love adding more pieces to the puzzle. I always loved being able to see the whole picture. I want to know about my surroundings. Otherwise I can't feel at home. I'm slowly getting there, a little bit more every day.

Montague, CA

I took this picture driving from Etna, CA.

When my children ask questions about things they see, I want to know the answers. Maybe I won't tell them the answers every time. I like them to gather knowledge on their own. But I want to know the answers.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Everyday routines that makes me feel good

I took "my office" with me out to the
pasture today.

Today I decided to write about things in my daily routine that makes me feel good. These are things that I'm trying to get in one way or another every day. My days never look the same. I'm living a very active life. I have several places I call home. I travel a lot. I have children and animals, things happens that I can't foresee. 

My "daily routine" is my foundation for well being. Therefor these things are very high on my priority list, no matter what's on the schedule, or where I am. 

                                It's a good day when:
  • My husband and I get to spend at least part of the day together. 
  • I have time to play and laugh with my children.
  • If I can make a positive difference in someones life. Add a little happiness in one way or another.
  • Smelling the warm, sweet scent of a horse up close, that always makes me feel good inside. Connected to nature.
  • On a perfect day I have time to meditate and exercise outdoors (ride a horse, hike, take the dogs for a walk, run, play with my children etc.)
  • Taking time to capture every day magic with my camera AND share it with others, makes me happy.
  • Eating healthy food makes me feel good and gives me energy to last the whole day.
  • I really enjoy writing on my blog too. It makes me humble, grateful for what I have and it helps me to keep track of my days (especially those days that fly by at 100miles/hour.)
  • Communicating with likeminded people - on the internet or in real life adds a lot of happiness and joy to my life.
  • Exploring new places adds flavor to my daily routine. It can be on foot, on horseback, going by car or plane. Even such a simple thing like walking the dogs in a new park adds something worth while to my day.
  • Learning new things is very exciting and keeps me alert and hungry of life.
  • Last but not least, baking is something I really enjoy. The creative process and the joy of serving things I baked to my family.

What do you have in your daily routine that are critical for your well being?

Monday, February 11, 2013

My First Business!


I'm taking a writing class http://rowdykittens.com/digitalwriting/, a few days ago our teacher, Tammy Strobel, gave us a writing prompt. One inspirational word to spark our creativity. The word was MEMORY

I've been on the road the whole week and I couldn't do this exercise until today. When I started to think about the word memory a raging river of memories; some angry, some sad, some fun and some unforgettable moments took place in my head. 

The first, strong memories that came up in my mind were pretty dark (they all had to do with death and betrayal.) I rather focus my energy on more positive memories. I have many of these too!

I finally decided to write about my first business. To me this is a very positive story. I decided to write about my first business because I learned a lot from it. It taught me how strong I am. It taught me how to make my dreams my reality. 


I was 15 years old. I wanted some money of my own. I needed some money. I needed them for security. My step father often punished us in different ways, especially when he was drunk or stressed. One of his favorite ways was to make us eat strange food (like only onions for dinner), or let us go to bed without food. (Thank god for the free meals we ate at school every Mon-Fri!) 

I really needed some money of my own.

It all started with an image in my head. I could see myself in another position than the one I currently had. When I was a teenager I was basically a slave in my step father's house. My step father lived with his mom and dad until he married my mother at the age of 30++. He was the laziest, greediest, completely uneducated, violent, drunk and evil person you can imagine. He was also a priest..After my mothers death (when I was 12 years old), my two younger sisters and I lived alone with this man.

Here is the beginning of my story towards reaching my dreams. The story that finally lead me to the life I enjoy today.

I manifested the new image of myself, an image of me ~ me eating food I enjoyed, me wearing clothes I liked, me doing things I enjoyed (like riding horses, traveling  and snowboarding.)

I decided to start a business. What kind of business can you possibly succeed with as a 15 year old school girl?

We lived close to a retirement home for senior citizens. Next to the retirement home there were several apartment complexes, for the elderly gentlemen and women that still could manage to live by themselves. 

I put my best clothes on. Walked over to the first apartment complex. It was a cold, windy day in September. I had a pen and paper in my hand. I knocked on every door. I asked everyone what kind of favorite bread they enjoyed the most. (Bread is a very important part of the traditional Swedish kitchen. We eat bread to everything.) I wrote down names and favorite kind of bread, in my notebook. 

The following Saturday my alarm woke me up at 3am. (My step father was still past out from last nights drinking.) I baked (from scratch) all the different breads on the senior citizens favorite list. It was five different kinds.

I walked over to the apartment complex at 8am, with bread, still warm from the oven. 

I gave everyone two bread rolls each, of their favorite bread. I gave them the bread for free. 

Many of them were very touched and some even cried.

I talked to each and everyone for a couple of minutes. Before saying good bye I asked them if they would like to subscribe (for a small fee,) to fresh bread every Saturday and Sunday morning. I got 20 subscribers on that first day. Within a couple of weeks it doubled. After doubling the number of clients I couldn't except more subscribers. There weren't enough hours in the mornings for baking more bread before my step father woke up.

After paying for all the ingredients (I bought them myself and carried them home on my bicycle,) the profit was about $100/weekend. A lot of money for a 15year old (at least it was a lot of money for me). 
I'm afraid I didn't knew how to pay taxes!

I still enjoy baking! ~ http://bakethebestbread.blogspot.com

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Northern California

I really love Northern California! The further north the better. I can really relate to the landscape. I feel free and at home. The landscape is very similar to the mountain region in northern Sweden, where I spent most of my life. 

My husband had a lot of work in Northern California  lately, and sometimes I come with him. This week we've been in Redding, Red Bluff, Mt. Shasta, Weed, Little Shasta, Yreka, Montague, Gazelle, Fort Jones, Etna and several other beautiful small towns. I've taken many photos. They are still on my camera though. The pictures in todays post are all taken with my iPhone. Just to give you a little taste of the beauty of Northern California.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Separation Anxiety

Hayley in the light of the early morning sun,
shining in through the bedroom window.

There is nothing like being a mother. It's definitely true what everybody keeps telling you before you have kids, life will never be the same again. It will never be the same! It's much better! Never the same, totally different. You sleep less, work harder AND have more magic in your life. Seeing the world through the eyes of my son and my daughter when they discover new amazing things, there's nothing that possibly could compare to that. 

Right now Hayley is having some serious separation anxiety attacks whenever she can't see me. She's OK with other people holding her and playing with her, as long as she can see me. She loves people, she always smiles and flirts with everyone she meets (just like her daddy.) I've always said yes when people wants to hold her, much more so than I did with my first born. I guess that I was a little protective with him. With Hayley I've tried hard to share her in every way I can. Still, I'm the one spending 22-24hours/day with her. She does sleep in her own room, but if she wakes up I'm there in 2sec. I believe that breastfeeding creates a very strong bond as well. I'm still breastfeeding her. Evolutionary it all makes sense. I am her comfort and the one providing food. 

Hayley 6 months old

I'm  not super stressed about it. In other cultures babies spend most of their first year/years with their Mom, barely separated at all. Yes, it would be easier if she could spend time with other people sometimes without being super upset. (She's getting more and more upset, two months ago anyone who picked her up got the biggest smile.) I've decided to just let the phase pass, slow down my life (as much as I possibly can……) and bring her along. I did that all the time until very recently. I think that she's telling me that she liked it better that way and therefor I should listen to that. I know that this will pass too. My battle method is basically to minimize the separation as much as possible until the phase passes naturally.

Any thoughts about separation anxiety and small children? I would love to hear them!

A little earlier 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Perspective and Technology

I'm taking a writing class. It started today. The name of it is, "Writing in the digital age". I've always been an outdoor person and the fact that I started to use computers in1992 is a little contradictionary to my person. In high school it was only "the nerds" that were interested in computers. I was a snowboarder and did not fit well with "the nerd" stereotype. Therefore I believe it surprised some of my friends when I choose "Advanced Computer Science" and "How to Build a Webpage" as side classes. I actually had a "blog" in1995. I didn't know about the concept of blogging, of course. What I had was an online snowboard diary. I see no difference in what I did back then and modern blogging, except everything is a lot easier to do now. 

Technology actually has a great impact on my every day life. I'm still an outdoor person. I need to be outdoors everyday, otherwise I feel sick. Still I also find myself using a lot of modern technology while practicing my outdoor activities. I always have a GPS, for safety. I sometimes use a GoPro (a little film camera you can attach on your head/helmet/board etc.) to film my adventures. I have a Nikon D5100 to capture my animals and the magical sceneries I encounter on my adventures. I have a MacBook Pro to edit/store pictures and for blogging.

My husband Philip

I met my husband online, on a horse forum (discussing a cross country ride), before meeting him in real life. I also met other amazing people with similar interests online. Like Cindy Hartzell, one of my guest bloggers on http://discoveringranchlife.blogspot.com. I first "met her" on Facebook. We've been discussing horse related topics for over a year now. Last weekend Cindy and her husband, Bruce, came and stayed with us over the weekend. It was awesome to meet her in real life. I love the networking opportunities that the internet opens up for likeminded people. That's the major reason why I like blogging.

Cindy and Bruce Hartzell

I'm very excited about this writing class I'm taking. Today's assignment was about events that affected our perspective.
There are several life changing events that changed my perspective, and made me reevaluate them over and over again. 

  • I remember being12 years old and having my whole existence turned upside down. My mother died in cancer. 

  • A few years later when I was 19 I ran away from home to escape the rage of my violent stepfather, and the captivating cult he belonged to.  

  • The number one thing that changed my life forever is of course the birth of my two children. Life is never going to be the same after being blessed with the gift of motherhood.

  • Moving to another continent, leaving family, friends, a good job, my culture, country and native language also opened up my mind to different points of view I never imagined. The most challenging thing for me is probably the language. Going from being a teacher to not being able to express myself the way I want to is extremely frustrating. 
  • However my hope is that the realization that I can live my dreams despite my past, is the one thing that has the biggest impact on my life. That's what I want to capture with my camera and write about. 

All these events are about finding freedom. In that process, nature is where I have found that freedom and peace of mind. My horses have enhanced my connection with nature.

I'm well aware of that all these themes affect who I am and what I write about. 

Trigger and I, in Eldorado National Forest.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Dreams Do Come True

Angela Carte (in the middle) was surrounded
by supporters the whole evening.

Last night Napa Valley Horse Rescue had their first fundraiser. Founder Angela Carte has been rescuing horses for ten years. Last year she rescued 75 horses from slaughter. Her dream is to start a therapeutic riding program for terminally ill children. The fundraiser was to make that dream come true. She picked the perfect place for her first fundraiser; The Black Stallion Winery in Napa. I'd never been there before and was happily surprised by the warm and welcoming atmosphere. The rooms filled with horse art of different kinds; old saddles, equipment, paintings, pictures and statues. 

part of the dining area

Wine Barrels

The event was well organized. Everything from the logistics, the live and silent auctions, the food, wine and music was well thought out. I believe that all guests finished the evening with a good, warm feeling in their heart and Napa Valley Horse Rescue got some funding for their therapeutic riding program. 

After The Party

I was the event photographer for this fund raiser. Please feel free to email me if you attended, and would like some pictures of this great event: mmarianorthcutt@gmail.com.

Bartenders for the night.

Marshall Law Band kept the party going