The weekend is almost here and it looks like the weather is going to be nearly perfect. Blue skies, warm breezes, 80 something, and perfect for a summer ride. The best way to spend your weekend is on the back of the most beautiful animal God has blessed us with. When you are in the saddle you can forget the world around you, you can feel the mountains surround you, and you can get lost in the beauty of a sweet summer day. We love to get the horse out and ready to follow the trail wherever it leads. We look for treasures along the way. We might find some old antlers a deer lost some time ago, we may come across a crystal clear stream we have never seen before, we might happen on a raspberry bush full to the sweetest raspberries you have ever tasted. We never know what we are going to find as we ride but we always now what we will bring home.
We always come home with a smile, a feeling of contentment, and the enjoyable serenity that only a summer ride in the mountains can bring.
We are ready to kick up our heels and spend some time getting immersed in our western roots. We’re looking forward to some breathtaking bull riding on Friday night, an event that is sponsored by Pine Country Feed. Bull riding is all about the thrill, which is right up our alley. There is nothing quite like the cool mountain air, stars in the sky, hang on until the buzzer goes evening that you can only find at the Evergreen Rodeo. Come early and stop by the Pine Country booth where you’ll find the sassy style you have come to expect from our store. The Evergreen Rodeo is the official beginning of the western summer, so put on your hat, pull on your boots and get your fist around a turkey leg – it’s rodeo time!
There is something about horses and kids that make for a great marriage. It is a lovely picture, the mammoth being, meekly deferring to the tiny one, the one that could be swept away with one aggressive snort. Yet they stand together, nose to nose, one in deference to the other, because the horse, in its four legged splendor seems to understand that this smaller than average two legged creature is precious in some way, a treasure of some kind, and their keeping is a tremendous responsibility. It is the gentle and wise heart of the horse and innocent nature of the child that makes the mixture ideal, even magical. See them together and you will feel a smile spread across your lips, a lift of happiness in your step. Their gift is the perfect combination of generosity and delight and they are meant to be together.
The recently released film, War Horse, directed by Steven Spielberg and adapted from a children’s novel written in 1982 by Michael Morpurgo, tells the story of a horse loved and raised by a boy in England prior to and during World War I. There is always a fear in animal movies that the film will endear a creature to the audience then snatch it away in a poignant ending scene. There is a tendency in film makers and some writers to believe that children need to face the harshness of life by dealing with the death of a pet. This hopelessly shortsighted philosophy has ruined many a novel or movie over the years for those of us whose hearts are shredded most easily by the suffering of an animal. It is our pleasure however, to inform the hesitant movie going public, that though the story of the War Horse named Joey, does take the gallant creature through seemingly endless difficulties, facing the full onslaught of a devastating war, the audience is rewarded with a victorious ending, which makes it worth the price of admission. There is nothing more gratifying than beating the odds, and Joey’s story lets us beat them soundly.
Horses are often called upon for a variety of therapeutic reasons, and one of the most inspiring is the Excelsior Youth Center in Aurora, Colorado that uses Equine therapy for girls who have suffered great rejection and abuse in their young lives. It hasn’t been defined scientifically, but there seems to be something in the horse that makes them know when they are dealing with a fragile damaged being who needs their gentle assurance. The horses develop relationships with their riders, making the girls feel worthwhile and yes, even loved. As the director puts it, having this great beast waiting for you, happy to have you back, acknowledging that they know you, gives these girls whose young lives have offered little security a chance to trust again. The teachers and counselors at the center are continually amazed at the healing that the work with the horses encourages in the girls, and the girls make it clear they have found a place with their four legged friend where they are safe. The Excelsior Youth Center houses and educates over 100 girls currently and their equine program is in jeopardy for lack of funds. There are those who can help. If you are one, we invite you to visit http://www.excelsioryc.org/ and invest in something that counts.
There’s a reason I’m a cowgirl, actually a few reasons. It’s about the horses which sometimes are more human than people, and about that relationship of trust with an animal that speaks to your soul. There’s an independence in riding and thinking and being part of the sky and the trail and knowing that you belong where it’s just a little bit wild. I like the feel of jeans that are saddle worn and boots that can haul during the day and dance after dark, and I like being part of a great sorority of women who have stood for family and hard work and knowing when to let their hair down. It does my heart good to know that I live in a country that was settled by people with spirit, men and women who valued the cost of freedom and who believed in making their own way. Cowgirls are so much more than the blingy belts and the sassy hats and the jeans that are made for curves, but all those things say that we are who we are and we’re proud of it. Give me my horse and my home, and a man who can keep up with my dreams, and I’ve pretty much got heaven on earth.
Thanksgiving is past and we are staring Christmas in the face, the lights, the trees, the packages and all the excitement. There is nothing quite a like a mountain Christmas on the ranch with horse drawn carriages and dark pine forests. Don’t let the splendor stop at the front door, bring it in and settle it on the hearth, right next to the rocking chair draped in Grandma’s quilt. Pine Country Feed is addicted to Christmas and helping you make your home the joy center it is meant to be. Simple, chic, loaded with rustic outdoor charm, you’ll find just what your house needs to say Christmas done right. There are items for the tree, the table and something perfect to take you to those holiday parties in style. Start your Christmas with a trip to the place that puts you in the holiday spirit the minute you walk through the door – Christmas at Pine Country Feed!
What could be better than a store where you can buy feed for not only your horse or your dog, but you can get groceries for your goat, your bird, your chickens and your llama? Nothing, unless you could also buy a pair of sterling silver earrings, and perhaps a designer handbag, and what about a hand tooled saddle and some killer jeans, and a rug made of hand tied leather strips. Pine Country Feed is not your ordinary feed and tack store. It is a feed and tack and dog toy and cowgirl fashion and home accessory and turquoise bracelet watch store. Stop in for pellets for your stove then take a gander upstairs and see if you don’t find the belt of your dreams and some handmade natural soap to go with it. Pine Country Feed offers you an eclectic, “I have to have that” shopping experience and it all comes together with a big “welcome you home” atmosphere where you can shop for your horse and your wife in one fell swoop. Brilliant!
With Thanksgiving in view we feel we must give another nod to pumpkin – the magical food of autumn. It is good for so many things, and comes conveniently unfettered, already pureed in cans from the grocery store, making it simple to use even on the busiest cooking day of the year. Of course pumpkin pie will be on the menu for much of America next week, as well as pumpkin cookies, pumpkin cupcakes and pumpkin bread. Some interesting dishes that we have come across are pumpkin squash lasagna, and spicy pumpkin ravioli with a touch of habanera pepper (go to Martha Stewart online). Pumpkin brings high nutritional value to your table being high in vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and dietary fiber besides being low in calories, with only 83 in an entire cup. The biggest unexpected plus about pumpkin is what it does for your dog. If your four legged family member suffers from a sensitive tummy, causing picky eating or diarrhea, a tablespoon of pumpkin with their regular food can make a huge difference, and we speak from experience. Your dog will love the somewhat sweet taste and it is good for the coat, eyes and bones, not to mention, everyone’s disposition!
So it’s your turn to host the clan for the Thanksgiving extravaganza and you’re trying to decide if there is a way to get the house in presentable “haven’t seen these people in a year” shape without tearing the whole place down and starting over. The key to your success is in the details. When you clean your house remove all of the current accent pieces, the ones you have had out since you moved into the house, and start fresh. Clear the pillows from the petrified sofa and the colorless vase from the mantle and begin your adventure into tasteful, always inviting, cowgirl chic. A pillow with leather fringe and a pounded metal, bling ridden receptacle for your mums will bring new life to the old walls, without the hours of work that you should spend making your pies. Dress your house for the holiday in a way that will have them stopping and smiling and thinking how truly clever you are. Pine Country Feed will set you up in a quick morning’s stop, and send you on your way with a treasure trove of wow!
Out on the range, when there’s nothing to answer but the call of the wild, and the only clock you have is shining overhead, things seem to make sense. The little things start to matter more and all the other stuff kind of gets lost in the dust.
In 1873, immigrants David Jacobs and Levi Strauss, combined their talents and resources and came up with a new phenomenon, called Waist Overhalls, more commonly known as jeans. From this first creation of denim thread and metal rivets, the single most popular clothing item in the history the world has taken shape, and variations are endless. Brilliant because of their durability and style, practical because they last forever and get the job done, jeans are synonymous with hard work and high fashion all at the same time. When women finally started wearing “trousers” in the forties and then “slacks” in the fifties, a proper pair of women’s jeans weren’t far behind. Cowgirl Tough Jeans have taken the jean world by storm, doing their well-fitting best to make women’s legs look longer, behinds firmer, and all with a sense of wild west chic. Pine Country Feed has the good sense to carry a product that goes so far in making women’s fashion about comfort, style and ease of care. Proud to carry the Cowgirl Tough brand, Pine Country is the place you’ll find a treasure around every corner.
There is much concern over dwindling hay supplies and everyone is looking for alternatives. Equipride and Equilix are great products that provide digestive improvement from their unique blend of yeast, enzymes, prebiotics, vitamins and minerals that help maintain health while reducing costs because feed is digested more efficiently. Equipride and Equilix products are available at Pine Country Feed. Mention this post and receive $5 off 25lb bucket, $10 off 50lb bag, $5 off 50 lb lick tub and $10 off 125lb lick tub. Discount good thru 11-13-11 Here are some other really great benefits for your horse:
- Improved digestion
- Up to 25% less forage needed
- Helps combat digestive colicing
- A shiny and healthy hair coat
- Stronger, faster growing hooves
- Promotes blood flow to the lamina
- Better lubricity of joints
- Strength and endurance without getting hot or high
- Increased energy, vitality and stamina
- Improved temperament and calmness
- Hard Keepers gain weight
- Bright clear eyes
- Boosts the respiratory, nervous and circulatory systems
- Helps regulate blood sugar levels
- Overall health improvement
Check out their website for more information www.sweetpro.com
If you are interested in this product for your sheep, goats or cattle… just ask - Pine Country can special order lick tubs for your specific needs.
Hollywood loves horses, in every form. They love the horse that can win a race, or the horse that stands by his man until the last shot is fired. They have given us talking horses, horses that fly, singing and dancing horses, carousel horses and horses that have broken our hearts. They are the favorite means of transportation in an entire genre of movies, and most of the favorite film stars of the forties, fifties and sixties ended up on a horse at one time or another. Horses are back in style on the silver screen with westerns making a come-back over the last fifteen years. Today’s westerns are more violent and the main characters never bathe, but one thing is consistent with the early western. The best friend of the cowboy, rancher, farmer, or settler is still the horse. The west simply wouldn’t have been settled without them. The four legged beasts are beautiful, noble, intelligent, usually gentle pictures of the soul of an era that was misbehaved, poorly planned and truly brutal. When everyone else was spitting, drinking too much, gun fighting in the streets, the horse brought a grace and sureness to America’s wild picture of the west that makes us love them. They are the spirit of what we wish we could be; strong, sleek, peaceful. And they do talk by the way – you just have to listen really carefully.
How about taking some of that Wild West ingenuity and spicing up the office – the place where the same work gets done every day and the brain begins to atrophy. We are told that the office requires professionalism and it does, but professional does not need to be synonymous with a “gee, I hope the parole board grants me an early release”. There is no place where the manifestation of your personality is more important than in your office, because remember, you weren’t hired to fill a chair, or because you were exactly like the person they just got rid of. They saw a spark in you, and you need to fan that ember into a nice warm fire that tells the people you work with that things are going to happen when you’re in the room, so they just better get ready. Hang cowboy hats on the coat rack, and wear one from time to time, put a painting of a horse in a full out run on the wall opposite your desk. It will remind you that there is life out there waiting for you. Hang spurs on the doorknob and throw an Indian blanket over the leather side chair. If someone questions whether or not you are behaving in a professional manner, explain that you absolutely are – a professional cowgirl.
So we have recently found the choices for big cinema entertainment wanting, and we have finally put our finger on the problem. The movies tend to parade leading men across the screen who obviously spend a good portion of their time in the gym, not necessarily bad. But we are bothered by the fact that only a small handful of the real leaders could manage a ride on a horse. They simply wouldn’t look right astride one of the glorious equines of the Hollywood 40s and 50s and we can’t even imagine most of them being able to get on the horse without major injury. Cowboy movies, the real westerns that put the country west of the Mississippi on the map, needed men to be rugged, not fit necessarily, but tough, and since the horse has been removed as one of Hollywood’s main characters, that element of grit, of rock solid, take no prisoners, don’t make me pull my six shooter persona has faded to black. There have been a few westerns in the past decade that have proven that there are a few of those boys left, but too few to our liking. Somehow being able to download the secrets of the defense department before the guy in the suit walks into the room just doesn’t give off the same aura as a man who can control his horse with the reigns in his teeth, riding at the speed of locomotion, while he wields both of his guns with the accuracy of a sharpshooter. Imagine.
If you’re beside yourself trying to decide what to be for Halloween, worry no more. Be a cowboy, in a long duster and hat with boots and spurs, and it might be helpful if you could pack a six shooter. It is said that houses that have been converted from barns to houses are often haunted by cowboys of the early west. They are never mean or scary; they just kind of reside in the barn/house harmlessly watching over the place. People who lived in one such house said that they often heard spurs jangling on the hardwood floor, and there was a distinct smell of horses and hay and well worn tack in the kitchen. One woman, awake in the early hours of the morning, saw one of the duster clad apparitions walking down the hallway between her living room and dining room and as he passed he looked her way and tipped his hat then vanished through the back door. It’s good to know that true to form, the cowboy, even a ghost of a cowboy, is friendly and polite even when he is haunting a house. Have a great Halloween weekend!
Last spring about zillion of you bought our baby chicks and ducks which we are assuming means you have eggs by the dozen. You can only eat so many omelets so we thought we would suggest a visit to the Manna Pro site where they are offering a free download of egg recipes from their web followers – www.mannapro.com- click on the download for the Egg Cook Booklet. While you’re there be sure to enter The Happy Homesteader promotion for a chance to win a free $5,000 Backyard Homesteader Makeover. The Manna Pro site also offers some great tips for cleaning and storing your fresh eggs, nutritional information for raising goats and pigs, and a word about raising rabbits. We thought while we were at it we would re-publish our recipe for Cast Iron Eggs just to give you one more choice.
Melt two tablespoons butter in a cast iron skillet on your stove top, add one cup of sliced mushrooms and cook until tender and dark brown. Crack eight to ten eggs on top of the melted butter and mushrooms. They will be crowded and the uncooked whites will overlap as though they are running together. Sprinkle with garlic salt and course ground pepper and allow the eggs to cook undisturbed for about four minutes. Cut two ripe tomatoes into thin slices and lay overlapping on top of the eggs. Allow the eggs to cook for three more minutes on the stove top. Finally, sprinkle with one cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Place the skillet into a 350 degree oven and let bake for six minutes. Serve by scooping out onto plates with a large spoon – no slicing.
Academy award winning actor, Henry Fonda, awarded the sixth “Greatest Male Film Star of All Time” by the American Film Institute, played a variety of roles, in films that are considered classics, worth seeing again, like Jezebel, Twelve Angry Men, Grapes of Wrath and Mr. Roberts. He was a classic actor, always underplaying his role, but owning the screen nonetheless. So when the American Western became the film genre that everyone wanted, Henry Fonda found a way to make it work. In some ways he wasn’t believable as a cowboy. His features were a bit too refined and his voice had a compelling gentle timbre that didn’t ring true in the old west. Still, he pulled off some of his greatest roles in the saddle in The Tin Star, How the West Was Won, Fort Apache and Warlock, carving out for himself a place as the rational cowboy, the one who thought before he pulled his gun, and perhaps that is what movie goers came to love best about him. He brought civility to the dusty streets of Hollywood’s Wild West, and a bit of un-fussy refinement, and that was refreshing. He wasn’t one of those actors who seemed to be born with a Stetson on their head, but when he decided to wear one, it fit.
Take a guy who had an odd way of talking and an even odder way of walking, who couldn’t finish college because a body surfing injury made him lose his athletic scholarship, whose application to the Naval Academy was rejected, whose first real job paid him $105 per week, and whose given name at birth was Marion, and what do you get? You get one of the top three most popular film stars of all time, and the only one to make the list every year since the poll started. John Wayne, who was too tall and broad to really fit into the Hollywood scene, but ended up with lead roles in 142 films, and is now thought of as a legend for his work on the screen, didn’t start out with aspirations of stardom. The celebrity came to him after nine years of bit parts, one in which he played a corpse, and hours mentoring with stunt men about riding horses and straddling fences and taking a fall in a gunfight, and his “don’t mess with me” attitude when he refused to work with a major film maker because he didn’t like the way “the guy had treated him when he was nobody”. His stardom came from the way he owned the screen, the fact that he looked like he was born on a horse, the distinctive intonation in his voice that he didn’t even try to change, and the fact that in all but one of his roles he played a rough talking, heavy drinking, fight at the drop of a hat, good guy. He brought us bigger than life characters and better than life stories and he did it without being “discovered”. He just stayed with it until the screen was ready for John Wayne, and that took a few years.
We have often wondered what it is about the legendary American cowboy that is so appealing to the world of 2011. They were people covered with calluses and basically held together by dirt, they rarely had money, many of them drank too much, they smelled of sweat both human and equine, they thought of spitting as a conventional past time and guns were their favorite accessory, and yet we love them and sometimes wish we were one of them. It is something about their grit, their willingness to keep going when the herd has run amuck, their quiet way of owning the room, their “not afraid of hard work, get it done” attitude that we think of as American fable. We want them to win, to get the girl, to love their horse, to kill the bad guy – and we want to believe that they do it all with the best of intentions and a heart of gold, because they belong to the roots of who we are. They are fully American and totally bigger than life and that makes them the center of our dreams and the thing we love to believe in. Just a bunch of guys who wrestled cows and rode the range and we can’t get enough of them.
There is something about horses and kids that make for a great marriage. It is like the story of the gorilla who loved the kitten, the mammoth being, meekly deferring to the tiny one, the one that could be swept away with one aggressive snort. Yet they stand together, nose to nose, one in deference to the other, because the horse, in its four legged splendor seems to understand that this smaller than average two legged creature is precious in some way, a treasure of some kind, and their keeping is a tremendous responsibility. It is the gentle and wise heart of the horse and innocent nature of the child that makes the mixture ideal, even magical. See them together and you will feel a smile spread across your lips, a lift of happiness in your step. Their gift is the perfect combination of generosity and delight and they are meant to be together.