November 30, 2008


I let the goats out of their pen Saturday morning, like I do every weekend. It gives them a chance to munch on some fresh greenery and spend some time with their best pal, Blue Dog...they romped and played all day Saturday, like normal....late Saturday night, I heard Blue Dog that hour, that would normally indicate one of two things...a horse or horses are loose, or company has arrived (expected or unexpected).

I got up and verified no horses were out, and that we had no company, and went back to see, from time to time Blue Dog will just bark....I've woke up to him standing at the fence, barking at Treasure on the the other side....for no other reason than to annoy him, and everyone trying to sleep at that time....that is a rare occurrence though, so I tend to take his late night barking seriously enough to check it out...even if he cries wolf from time to time.

When I went out to feed this morning, Fiddle greeted me, along with Blue and Boomer....I found it odd Banjo was not among them, but chalked it up to the rain and him probably being too comfy to venture out with the rest of the gut told me different though....Banjo LOVES his Fiddle...and although Fiddle could probably do well in life without him, he would cease to exist without her around...he loves her THAT I looked around, and called for no avail....and promptly set my mind to 'denial' and went about the day....I was hoping for the best.

When I went out to feed tonight, Fiddle was still alone. I penned her up and did an extensive search of the property. I searched every building, every pasture, the hay fields, under the cars and tractor....I combed over the entire property and found no sign of Banjo anywhere....I checked over Fiddle and Blue for any scratches, cuts or other signs of conflict....nothing....I am going to patrol the woods around our property tomorrow, in the light....I am preparing for the worst.

UPDATE: (12/2) Our neighbourhood has been canvassed, and still no sight of Banjo....please keep your positive thoughts coming! It is possible he just wandered off and got lost....maybe he'll show up once he gets his bearings and finds his way back home. He is wearing a collar with our phone number on it too...

Thanksgiving Update & Pics!

We're HOME! 3 planes to Cali + 3 planes back = 1 exhausted family!

What a GREAT time we had visiting family and friends though. Our trip started with a not too hurried exit from our casa...We were on time and ready for this change of scenery! Unfortunately, halfway to the airport, I realized I had forgotten my digital camera AND video camera!!! Talk about disappointing....I was distressed, and forced to relinquish dreams of capturing this annual event on any form of presentable media. The only other option we had was my phone....the camera built into my phone, that is! sigh....sorry folks, the following pictures are the result of my absent mindedness! Hope they don't make your eyes cross and hair stand on end! I did photoshop them to the best of my ability to help purty the little boogers up just a tad...still...I am hoping some of our family and friends will send some better pics soon!

One of Little Brat's favorite things is the bus ride to the airplane...she was so excited about it that I could not even get her attention for this pic!

Of course, Little Brat can do things "ALL BY HERSELF" now....she hands off her ticket to the airline steward and is on her way!

What I did not capture on camera was the security fiasco we endured...about halfway through our cross country trek, LB got a bit over-tired, and that means extra-hyper....she attempted to swing from those stretchy pole-to-pole thingies that keep the lines separated...I got her off those before they all came tumbling down and got her focused on getting her shoes off for the x-ray.....she SEEMED occupied with that task, so I turned my head for a moment to take off my own shoes and next thing I know security is hurrying towards us saying "no, no,no!"...."wow", I thought to myself...."people sure are unruly today!"....only to realize .2 seconds later she was actually aiming her distress at MY Little Brat....LB had managed to take off her shoes quicker then a fox in a hen house and make a b-line for some giant spraying contraption beside us...I still do not know what it was...but it sprayed her...and I gathered from security's tone that was NOT an acceptable thing for her to have, I gather her up and place her behind me...this way, I go thru the metal detector....then LB....then Daddy....well, in all the spray gadget drama, I forgot to remove the orange juice from my purse...we had gotten off a flight with the OJ, and actually had to leave security and then re-enter security just to get on our next ride...sooooooo, security pulls me aside to question me about the liquid....immediately, LB goes shooting through the metal detector....daddy has to call her back, but now he is flagged as a result of her 'diversionary tactics' and also pulled aside for closer checkout....Where does that leave LB? The stinker that started this whole mess? Playing with security, of course....having a grand ole' time at our expense....long story short, we survived, and made it to our next flight....

Once boarded, I found it ironic that the first thing she pulled out of her seat pocket was the safety procedures booklet...she reviewed the instructions thoroughly....describing to me the pics of the airplane in the water and on fire....she didn't buy the water pic though...she knows airplanes are not supposed to be in water....for the fire pic, I was amused as she she explained "You gotta call 911 if there is a fire"...she must have learned that in school!

LB and her sidekick Bixbee got all buckled up for takeoff.....or as LB puts it "BLASTOFF!"...

We arrived in Redding and made tracks to my good friend Kate's place....there, we had dinner with her super cute family! Kate got some great pics of all our brats romping around, so I hope to get a few to post after the Holiday weekend!

We had an opportunity to visit my sister and her family as well...we met her fiance' for the first time, and also her baby boy, Cayden! What a fantastic little man! I was totally taken with all that baby pudge, and had to exhibit extreme self control not to bite, squeeze, and/or pinch at it the entire visit! Just LOOK at those cheeks! BEGGING for a squeezin'!

Here's a pic of baby Cayden with mommy and daddy...

And here is Randi somewhat sharing HIS toys with, there was a tad bit of jealousy on LB's part for all the attention baby Cayden was getting....especially since Mommy couldn't keep her hands off him! SOMEONE doesn't like to share Mommy too well! Like a good girl though, she can turn on the charm when the camera is on her...

G-G-Ma and G-G-Pa's was our home base for the visit....we shopped and cooked Thanksgiving dinner with Aunt Sandy. My cousin Sarah got in a lot of great play time with LB they are drawing on the driveway with some complaints from the neighbors.....yet!

Uncle Casey showed up, and LB took to him like fly's on must be his resemblance to Gpa Craig, cuz she ran right into his arms when he arrived!

Uncle Travis was also there, and something about him made Randi get all limp and silly.....LOL...every time he picked her up she did THIS...what does that mean???

G-ma Kathy was there to divy out the spoiling between her grand-baby's....yes, LB had to share her too....this was a tough trip for the LB...lots of lessons in SHARING were had!

Last, but not least, G-GMa and G-G-Pa hosted this crazy, rambunctious and unruly crew....I'm not sure how they survived it all, but they were still conscious and breathing when we departed...I checked...they'll need the next year to recover from this visit, I'm sure!

So, with our hearts full of love and appreciation for the family and friends in our lives, we boarded on our plane back to cold and rainy Virginia....we are already looking forward to doing it again next year...except maybe fewer layovers next time around :)

Happy Trails!
The Roehl's

PS...G-Ma Kathy's dog had puppies a few weeks before we arrived....they are Toy Fox Terrier/Miniature Pinscher cute as can be! LB was absolutely FIXATED on this little girl in particular....we agreed that if G-Ma did not sell her before Christmans, that Santa may be delivering it to her! Trying out names already....I like "Teeny Turner"...or "Delta Dawn"...or maybe "Cowgirl"....hmmmmmm

November 24, 2008

Cali, here we come!

We are getting our happy bottoms up in the wee dark hours of the morn tomorrow to begin our cross country trek to California! We try to get back to see my side of the family once a year, and what better time than when everyone gathers for the Thanksgiving Holiday!? My mom, grandparents, aunt, uncle, brothers, sister and brand new baby nephew will be there! I can't wait to see them! It's going to be a quick trip for out Tue, grocery shopping Wed, hanging out with our peeps Thur, and return to the homestead Friday....I'll have lots of pics to post upon our return, so stay tuned!

Safe travels to you and yours if you are joining us on the road this Holiday....

Happy Trails,

November 23, 2008

Thanks to you....

and all you do....this is a great time of year to show how much we appreciate those that have made an impact on our lives....a time to recognize that our experiences with each and every one of you has made us more aware of our own impact on those around us....

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a Godsend and they are. They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, & our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life. . . . . . .whether you were a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Happy Trails,

November 19, 2008


DAY #1: DAY #2: MYTH: I am stronger headed than a horse...

TRUTH: I am NOT. See picture for proof. One of those eyes is not like the other!

Happy Trails,

November 18, 2008

Farewell Gpa Craig...

....we've enjoyed every second of your visit...and look forward to seeing you again next fall!

Boomer, Blue, Jake, Delilah and the rest of the herd are going to miss you too Sadie-Dog! Keep Gpa safe on the road back to Cali!

I know we are ALL going to miss you terribly....but none so much as the Little Brat, your partner in crime...

Peas in a pod...

Lots of Love and Appreciation...

Leah, JR, Randi & the rest of this wiley bunch!

Thank You Gma Lizzie!

....for all the wonderful hand-made sweaters and pants you sent!

Love, Randi

November 16, 2008

Tots and Card Games.....

Leave it up to a 3 yr old to come up with new and exciting ways to make use of tired old card games...
Case in point: Apples to Apples
Apples to Apples was a gift that we've brought out from time to time to play with the kids....but for the most part, it lives a boring, dull and dark life in the game cabinet with the rest of the under played, under appreciated games we don't play. Today, however, the Little Brat gave this game a new meaning in life....LB spread the cards about the room, and dove in! She is pictured here making 'card angels'....she also enjoyed swimming in the 'card pool'....and finally, these cards also made great confetti in her display of 'hip-hip-hooray'!!!!
A toddlers imagination is 100 times more interesting than those silly card games anyways...but you know the best part of the whole event? She cleaned up all those cards when she was done....without being nagged.....when I wasn't even around!
I love my brat.... A LOT.
Happy Trails,

Gator Girl...

Some will tell you that weekends are for relaxing, but you won't hear that around these parts! Our weekends are for catching up on projects around the farm, and NOBODY escapes without pitching in...not even our precious Little see, she has a Gator....and we don', while the makers of this handy little toddler toy might have had fun and games in mind when they developed this little machine, Mommy and Daddy have other plans....plans that include breaking child labor laws and putting the Little Brat to work helping to get the job, the job is cleaning up old wood around the place....
Here she comes now....all loaded up with pint size wood debris to load up on the trailer!

She's coming from the paddock behind the barns, where we recently took down some old fencing and replaced it with purty new boards....

Mommy did put down the camera long enough to help the LB out and toss all those boards with nails in them into the trailer...don't need any injuries making us unproductive! There's work to do dadgumit! Little Brat knows the routine.....
Step 1: Put the tailgate down...

Step 2: Grab the offending wood debris......(Notice LB with Mommy's sweater on....notice LB's jacket on the front seat of her Gator....Why is it that a Mommy's light sweater always seems to be warmer than her winter jacket? I don't think it is...I just think she likes to see Mommy shiver!)

Step 3: Toss said offending wood debris into the trailer...

And do it all again! Thanks for the hand LB!

Happy Trails,


Is it still reining...

...if you are riding a CAMEL?

Happy Trails,

November 10, 2008

Banana Boat or Bust!

Well, it was bound to happen...whenever something new comes into the house, it must endure a ritual that none are too good to escape. Whether it is the cat laying on it, in it, or under it.....or Randi spilling it, folding it, playing with it or marking it up...everything must pay its' exceptions....

I was hoping my brand new living room furniture would change the tides though...that it would escape the trials of our households' curiosities and make it for a good long while without incident...a month maybe? a year? Is that too much to ask? Apparently it is....because this is a month of firsts....and not all great ones....and in less than a month, our brand new leather sofa has gone from new and shiny, to just another markable surface for the Little Brat to make her sharpie's not like we worried about this type of incident happening....LB has never drawn on anything she was not meant to draw on in the past...but like I said, this is a month of firsts with her....and I am starting to have anxiety attacks at what else she could possibly have in store for us!

Here's how it went down last night....LB and I were kicked back on the leather loveseat watching a scary movie...she LOVES scary movies, just like her Mommy....all was great until I peered over at her Daddy on the nearby sofa and caught, out of the corner of my eye, what appeared to be dark lines on the leather beneath my the reality of what those lines were most likely made from sunk in, I gasped the biggest, saddest, most gut wrenching gasp I have ever mustered...Until that moment, I don't believe anything has caused me such a sudden startle...not the scariest movie I have ever seen has even caused me such a reaction! JR thought I was being attacked by a bizilion killer bees! I jumped up from the sofa and turned on the light....and to my utter dismay, she did it....she had dug thru my crap (craft) table and found the markers....ALL the pretty colors! And proceeded in painting a landscape of lines and ziggles all over the leather....I promptly inserted my thumb into my mouth, curled up in the fetal position on the floor, and rocked back and forth until the funny farm people came to get me....JR, in the face of such a traumatic event, actually took control of the situation and removed all but a small amount of the marker with a leather cleaning wipe....Thank God for that, cuz I was too busy throwing an overgrown toddler tantrum about it all, and could not see past my alligator tears to be of much use....meanwhile, Jr also put LB in bed, so as not to cause her great emotional injury over seeing her mother playing 'a raving, irrational lunatic'...Of course I have a feeling he will have no problem TELLING her about it when she gets older....he's a nice guy, but not THAT nice.....Trying to find my inner peace ....I know it's in there somewhere....

Now we still have those faded marker lines on the couch to get rid of...and I have recovered from my anxiety attack overnight, so I actually did a little research this morning and found this great info on removing marker stains from leather couches! Banana Boat is more than a sunscreen, it is now my best friend, counselor and anti-anxiety drug...I am stopping by the store tonight to stock up and see how it does on our leather...hoping for the best!

UPDATE: Lordsy Mercy, it's a miracle! I tried a small spot of the Banana Boat Sport Spray on an inconspicuous part of my leather loveseat and, lo and behold, the remaining marker stains came off without even scrubbing! My leather did not fade, the finish does not seem to be dulled, and the sunscreen left behind a pleasant aroma of sun, surf and sand....*inhale* ahhhhhhhhhhh. Hmmmm, I wonder if it will also help clean tough spots off my leather tack?!!?!

Happy Trails,


November 08, 2008

When Leaves Fall...

Sweep Happens...

Not even the handsomest of manly men could handle THIS many leaves we just tidy up our gathering places and leave the rest to mother nature to deal HOA approval needed!

I love living in the country....

Happy Trails,


Randi to the Rescue!

As we peered out the back window this afternoon, we saw what looked like Blue in doggie distress!! What to do? Call the Ambulance? A Vet? A Burial Service?

Nooooooooooo, RANDI TO THE RESCUE!!! It's a good thing this multi-talented young lady just happened to be in the area sweeping up leaves....It's Blue's lucky day!

"Don't worry Blue, I've seen this technique on TV before....Now, gimme a kiss!"

"Thank you little girl.....I'm feeling much better now!"

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh......*strech*...all is once again right in the world.

Happy Trails,

Yummy In My Tummy: TOAD IN A HOLE!

You may know this concoction better as "pig in a blanket" or "egg in a basket", but round these parts they go by the name Toad In A Hole! This is another family favorite that the Little Brat can get her hands into...she loves to help prepare the bread and she can eat two at a sitting without a crumb left behind! Here is our super short cast of characters....
Toad In A Hole:
PAM (or similar) non-stick cooking spray OR Butter
Cookie Cutter

First things first, set your cookie cutter in the center of the bread and press firmly until it cuts all the way thru...
Next, pull out the piece of bread that was just cut and set aside....the cleaner the cut, the easier it is to remove without tearing your bread!

LOOK! A TOAD in a HOLE! (See where we got that name now?)...

Next, butter the bread and place all parts on a skillet...If you are using PAM instead, it will suffice just to spray the skillet and set the bread on top...let set until a golden is important to put the bread onto the skillet as soon as possible, to prevent Little Brats from grabbing a quick bite before it's all done! (See red arrow....I wasn't quick enough!)

Once golden brown, flip all bread parts and add the eggs...let set until the bread is golden brown and the egg is cooked mostly thru....then, flip the bread with the egg over to finish up cooking the egg on the other should only take a few seconds....

And WAH-LAH....serve your Toad In A Hole with the 'hole' as an's a yummy treat!

You can't be too young or too old to enjoy this filling treat...Enjoy!
Happy Trails,
Leah & Little Brat

November 06, 2008

Fancy Update: Ground-work

Fancy has settled in with the rest of our wild and wacky herd here at Westwood...She got her first new blanket last week....girls love their clothes, and she is no different! She really takes to getting all dressed up in her new digs...
In addition to being prissed over on an almost daily basis, she has been put to work! Ground-work, that is...Ground-work constitutes all the training and interaction you have with your horse that teaches them manners while being handled and prepares them for their future as a riding horse...We work on our communication, respect, and responsiveness, among other things... Fancy had some work before she came to us, and so we started a little ahead of the game...she already willingly lifted her front feet to be cleaned, and had no problem with putting on or removing her blankets....Check, Check! Now we can move on to other things....
I have been working on those pesky back feet. As I move from picking up and cleaning out her front feet, I keep my hand on her body, reassuring her we are going to be best of she gives her back leg to me, I lift it up in short intervals and place it back on the ground...I do this repetitively until I can hold it up for a longer period of time and get it cleaned out...I repeat the process on the the other side...she is coming along well, and should be all set for her farrier appointment a couple weeks from now at the rate she is see, it is not nice to throw a horse at your farrier that does not have good manners when it comes to picking up their can be dangerous for your farrier, and your do the ground-work ahead of time so everything goes smooth and happy for all involved!

After I finish working with her feet, I move on to teaching her to respect my space and be responsive to my commands....horses learn best by consistently applying a 'pressure and release' apply pressure, until you get your intended result, then you release the pressure to reward the horse....applied accurately and consistently, this training technique guarantees results! In my experience anyways....Below, I am applying pressure with my thumb behind the girth area. The reason I am using my hand and applying direct pressure, and not just waving my hand around is because everything I do on the ground, should translate to cues or commands I expect the horse to obey when I finally get into the saddle...when I am riding her, I am going to apply leg pressure to this same area and expect the same result...she will move her body away from the pressure, and I will release it...rewarding her for her responsiveness...if she does not move, I simply apply more pressure until she does...then release as a reward....

We make sure to do everything on both the left and the right sides...she is responding well and moving in both direction on cue...

We also practice walking, trotting, stopping and turning 'in hand', or 'while being led'...this develops good ground manners while being handled...she is staying beside me, listening to my voice commands, and responding in turn wonderfully....our communication is really improving!

I ended the ground-work this night with some exercise on the lunge line....I give her verbal commands for the walk, trot, and canter....I want to be sure she understands my verbal commands entirely before I ever step on her, that way it is easier to communicate with her when I do finally get into the saddle and she hears and recognizes my voice commands...lungeing also serves to build strength and endurance in the absence of riding time.

Fancy was the perfect pupil this night...when we finished up, she got a good rub down, her new blankie, and a tub full of grain....

Stay tuned for more updates of Fancy and her training progress!

Thanks to Vickie for taking these pics for me!

Happy Trails,

Leah & Fancy