Grand Canyon, Mindful Living, Photography

Elemental

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Exploring the elements of earth, air, water, and fire through the landscapes that surround us.

The inspirational post at The Daily Post, for this week’s photo challenge, is from Arizona. After seeing their photo from Sedona, I could not force my brain to stop thinking about Arizona.

The desert have always been very attractive to me. I’ve spent a lot of time in the desert (not so much in Arizona, as in Nevada.) It’s on my list to explore more of Arizona’s desert. At some point, little by little.

The two photos in this post is from the south rim of the Grand Canyon. My daughter and I went there on a road trip, a couple years ago. Experiencing the grand canyon is something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. No photos can give the experience justice. The overwhelming feelings that takes you out of space and time. I need to go back soon!

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Love,

Ms Zen

Mindful Living, Minimalism, NorCal, Northern California

Satisfaction

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Something very few people know about me is how much I enjoy beautiful leather. I enjoy polishing my boots and tack. I enjoy the scent, the feel, the almost meditative task, and the result of course.  It’s certainly a zen thing to me!

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I sometimes buy old saddles on craigslist, and yards sales, and work with them for weeks, until the result satisfies me. This is one of the fenders on such a saddle. Isn’t it beautiful?

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This saddle was very special to me. It was a gift. probably one of the best gifts I ever received. I wished that I’d kept it. It was a little too big for me. If I was just sitting still at a walk, it was extremely comfortable, as soon as I needed to do some work, or ride at a faster speed, not so much. I did use it for a couple years, before parting with it. Looking back, I wished that I’d kept it for sentimental reasons, but life didn’t allow that at the time. I don’t want to have a lot of things, but the things that I have does fill me with satisfaction. I make sure of that, or else I replace them. There’s so many little things that fills me with satisfaction every day; that my dog always come when I call her, my daughter’s beautiful laughter, my garden, my dreams, my friends, good health, nature, kind eyes, a brave horse etc.etc. I love the theme of this week’s photo challenge! Looking forward to see the other entries.

Happy Friday !!

Love,

Ms Zen

Mindful Living, NorCal, Northern California, Photography

Unusual

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You can find this little cutie at Animal Ark Wildlife Sanctuary, Reno (NV.) It is most unusual for me to share photos of exotic animals. They are by no means a part of my daily life. The theme for this week’s photo challenge is unusual, hence this photo. My daughter and I had a most lovely visit at the sanctuary this spring.

I’ve been participating in the weekly photo challenge with different blogs, for a long time. Lately my life have been very busy, in a very good way! During this busy period of my life, I’ve decided to at least create one blog post every week, and the photo challenge is very inspiring to me. I don’t want to miss an opportunity to join the fun. I love seeing, and scrolling through (most of) the entries every week, stopping to make a comment when something catches my eye. I really enjoy seeing what other photographers from all the corners of our beautiful planet see through their lens. The connections I’ve made via blogging have taught me a lot, and I have met some of my new friends in real life.

 

Our Outer world reflects our inner commitments. If we want to know what we’re really committed to, all we have to do is look at our lives. We are, whether we are aware of it or not, always creating exactly what we are most committed to.

The choices we make are ALWAYS in alignment with our deepest commitments.

By examining what we have and what we don’t have.. we are able to uncover and see what we are TRULY committed to. – Debbie Ford

 

…but to make a long story short, my dream of a small homestead is turning into reality. Soon this blog will be filled with photos of hard work, sweat, and beautiful zen moments from my own place! I can’t wait! For the moment my head is exploding with ideas of how to best utilize 3 fertile, usable acres. So many wants and needs 🙂

 

Love,

Ms Zen

Horse Training, Mindful Living

Mustang Collage

I’m a horse girl. I’ve always been. The first story about me escaping to the neighbors draft horses, is from before my first memory. I learned to read when I was 5 years old, and read all the horse books available in the library of my town, and the two closest cities (both fictional, and non-fictional books.) As I grew older I started to hang out at the closest riding school, as often as mom would allow me to. On school holidays I volunteered taking care of horses in another stable, getting up at 4am to walk 3,5 km to get there, for the pleasure of feeding someone else’s horses in the morning (without being paid of course.) I saved ten years to be able to purchase my first horse. I’ve attended many clinics with famous, and non-famous trainers. I’ve observed horses in pastures, and in the wild for thousands of hours. I borrowed pieces of knowledge from different centuries, countries, and horses, like pieces of a puzzle, putting them together in my head. One of my girlhood dreams was to gain the trust of a wild horse. It became more than a dream. Two and half years ago, I got the opportunity to put my theories to work.

 

Rebel Day 9

 

The young gelding that became my friend, was approximately 3 years old at the time. There was never any force involved in our friendship. He wanted it as much as I did. The collage in this post is a mix of photos from our second week together. I had my camera take a photo every 30 seconds, during one of our short training sessions, using a fence post as a tripod. I’m a firm believer in many short sessions, to not ever let a young horse get bored. The most important goal being that every session is a positive experience. Slow is fast with horses, and a good foundation is everything, if you want a partner you can trust.

 

“You can never rely on a horse that is educated by fear! There will always be something that he fears more than you. But, when he trusts you, he will ask you what to do when he is afraid.”
– Antoine de Pluvinel (1555-1620)

 

Getting to know a horse born in the wild is slightly different from getting to know a domestic horse. I’ve noticed that my touch was easy to accept, but new materials, and sounds that he wasn’t used to from the wild triggered his flight instinct in a fraction of a second. The jacket that I am wearing in the photos became a monster on a windy day, a few days after these photos. I thought that we had a developing friendship going on, and was completely taken by surprise when he charged at me with bare teeth one morning. He didn’t listen when I told him with my body language to stop, and back away (by making myself HUGE.) He literally ripped the jacket of me, lifting me off the ground, and shaking me. Using his teeth to bit by bit get the monster off me. Everything happened really fast, as it often happens with horses. I concentrated on breathing calmly, and not panic, when I realized that it wasn’t me he was attacking. I have no idea how long it took for him to get the monster of my back. It felt like forever. He would not stop until he finished his task. He took the biggest piece of my jacket (my new winter jacket was now in several small pieces,) and galloped to the other end of the enclosure, throwing it up on a fence post, while stomping the ground around the monster, kicking up a lot of dust,  before slowly trotting over to me. That was it. He was as calm as could be, wanting some scratches for a job well done …

I spent six months becoming his friend, before showing him a saddle. I gave him about a month to get used to the saddle before the first ride. When I did start riding him he never bucked once. My personal circumstances changed, and I was forced to let him go. I will forever be grateful for his friendship, and what he taught me. When I have the right setup for another mustang, hopefully sooner than later, I will definitely adopt one. It is an experience you can’t imagine in your wildest dreams.

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

PS. I’m not a horse trainer, just a girl who loves horses very much. I do not recommend any training method. Anything, and everything that involves a big animal like a horse is potentially dangerous. Anything you choose to try is on your own risk.

Mindful Living, Minimalism, NorCal, Northern California, Organic Gardening, Photography

Transitions, Change, And The Passing Of Time

For this week’s photo challenge, share a picture that symbolizes transitions, change, and the passing of time.

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This morning when I went out to water my garden, I discovered the very first flower, on one of our watermelon plants. It’s a little special this year. I’ve grown watermelons successfully many times, but never in a container. Previous years I’ve leased acreage for gardening, and we’ve had more watermelons than we could eat ourselves.  My daughter really wanted watermelons this year as well, but we didn’t have a place to plant them in the ground. Growing them in containers is somewhat an experiment. The rest of my garden (tomatoes, squash, basil, oregano, cilantro, peach, fig, pomegranate, and cherry) is thriving in containers. We’ll see if we get any actual melons, but the flowers sure are beautiful.

The photo could be seen as a transition, and change in several ways; The change from gardening on acreage, to container gardening in a small space. The change in the growing watermelon plant, as the first flower appears. Of course in my head I have a bigger change, and transition in mind. Saving money by not leasing acreage for gardening, is taking me closer to my goal of having a homestead of my own, where I can grow the majority of our food myself. A place where I can firmly plant my trees in the ground, and build something that will last.

Looking forward to see the other entries in this week’s challenge! Have an awesome weekend!!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

Mindful Living, NorCal, Organic Gardening

Weekly Photo Challenge: Order

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This time of the year a lot of my time is dedicated to creating order in my garden. To organize my container garden in to a system. My system is based on the different plants need of sunlight, shade, and water. They are planted in rows, and/or groups, depending on their needs. In the photo above you can see the barefoot peach trees that I planted a couple weeks ago. They are already getting leaves, and seem to thrive in their sunny spot, in the middle of my garden. The tan smart pots in the back is home to young bell pepper, and squash plants.

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I planted 8 different varieties of heirloom tomatoes this spring. Unfortunately they are only semi organized …my daughter played with the labels. They are neatly transplanted to bigger containers, and organized in rows, with sturdy cages around every plant. However, because of the little label incident..I do not know where the cherry tomatoes are, or where my green zebras are, or any of the other varieties..We’re having surprise tomatoes this year! LOL. It’s interesting, some of the plants are really small, and some are 5ft high by now.

My garden is all organic. Some of the plants that are more prone to get damaged by different bugs and insects, have mint planted around them. You can see mint on the left side of the fig tree (below.) Mint is a great plant to sow here and there. It helps to keep bugs away, spread easily, and is delicious for cold drinks, in food etc.

The vegetables usually needs to be water 1-2 times every day, while the container fruit trees needs water every other day when it’s more than 90 degrees, and less often if it happens to be cooler (very rare during the summer.) My garden is constantly changing every year. I like learning about different vegetables and trying a few new ones every year. The number of fruit trees I have is also changing. I give some away to friends, sell a couple here and there, plant some new ones etc.

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The planting season starts in the beginning of April outdoors, (February-March if I have access to a greenhouse.) In the beginning of June I’m usually done with the planting. I just finished organizing the garden for this year. Now all I’m doing is watering, weeding, and fertilizing, and harvesting of course.

Bring it on! Let it grow! I’m ready!

The more though I put in when it comes to organizing my garden during the planting season, the easier it is to take care of the garden the rest of the year. My goal is to eventually have produce all year round.

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Cherries are in season right now. The cherries in the photo above are Rainer Cherries. They are sweet and very delicious. I’ve been stocking my freezer with Rainer Cherries, and Sweet Dark Cherries for a couple weeks now. It’s a tedious work to pit cherries. It’s well worth it! I usually put the pitted cherries on a tray, and put them in the freezer for about an hour, before freezing them in quarter sized containers. In that way the freeze quickly, preserving all the nutrients. It’s a great way to preserve them without adding any sugar. They are great for snacks, or in smoothies all year round. (I even freeze some of the pits. I’m saving some seeds from the fruit/vegetables that I enjoy the most, to be planted later on. I’m slowly building my own seed bank. My goal is to one day have a “real” homestead.)

I enjoy the order of the different seasons. Here in northern California the gardening season is long. At some point during the year, you can grow almost anything you’d like. You can have a spring crop, a summer crop, and a late fall/winter crop. That is one of the things I love the most about California.

My garden is my happy place. Right now it’s my favorite every day zen spot. It’s where I center myself, and find my balance. I hope this week have been wonderful for you!

Subscribe below, and feel free to copy the strategies that fits your zen. 

Love,

Ms Zen