The Chicken Chronicles: Meet Bruce

Well, at 15 weeks of age, one of my hens has undergone a transformation. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Bruce (formerly known as Legs):

Bruce (formerly known as Legs)
Bruce (formerly known as Legs)

How do I know for sure?

I’m not entirely certain what I’m going to do about it… I definitely know I can’t kill him. And I don’t want to get rid of him (I’m attached!). I guess we just have a rooster. I need to read up a bit more to find out what the implications of that will be…

The adventure continues!!!

In Memorium: James Horner

The world lost an amazing musician and composer yesterday… in fact, my second favorite, next to Beethoven. I grew up playing French horn, and James Horner was known for some absolutely breathtaking French horn parts.

If you think you haven’t heard James Horner’s music, think again… if you’ve watched Field of Dreams, Apollo 13, Braveheart, Titanic, Avatar, The Mask of Zorro, WillowLegends of the Fall, and a whole host of other amazing movies, you’ve heard his music. Often, the music in a movie is not focused on, yet Horner’s fantastic compositions brought life, magic, sadness, and beauty to the screen. They bring the scene to life.

Music has the ability to move us in ways that words cannot. It transcends words, language, race, and time. Below are a few of my James Horner favorites. Rest in peace.

One of my favorite “angry french horn” songs called “Master Alarm” from Apollo 13:

Braveheart Main Title Song:

“Somewhere Out There” from American Tail, which was sung by Linda Ronstadt:

“Rogue Wave” from the movie A Perfect Storm:

“Death of Titanic” from, well, you guessed it… Titanic:

I also think “A Hymn To The Sea” from Titanic totally makes the movie:

Working Cows

Today I had the very unique opportunity to take Sue out to a nearby ranch to learn to work cows. I’m not gonna lie… I was pretty much terrified. I had no idea how Sue would react (the one other time he was around cows was BuckFest 2014, but I think it was a combination of a lot of different things) and I had no idea what I was doing.

This horse loves cows. Apparently so do I because every picture that shows me head on shows me with a great big grin on my face. Honestly, it was so much fun!!!

We started the day by reviewing the basics – backing, turning, stopping. Then, they brought in the buffalo. Yeah, you read that right, the BUFFALO. Apparently they’re less aggressive than cows are and are a bit easier to learn on. Each of us in the class had the chance to chase the buffalo around the round pen twice. Once I pointed Sue in the direction of the buffalo, he was off! I swear, it’s like this horse found his purpose in life today!

After everyone worked the buffalo, we headed into the covered arena to start working on the cows. Sue and I got to practice cutting a cow from the herd – which sounds easy, but there’s definitely an art. You want to walk your horse in (the goal is to not disturb the herd) and chose the cow you want to separate from the rest. Once you get it out, you want to keep it out:

Cutting A Cow
Cutting A Cow

All of the hard work that my trainer, Sue, and I have been putting in really paid off! In fact, we were actually complimented for our stops and turns today! Here are a few more pictures of us chasing cows around. Also, I learned that a good cow dog is a huge help as well!

Chasing A Cow
Chasing A Cow
He Loves Chasing Cows!
He Loves Chasing Cows!
Making The Turn
Making The Turn
The Chase
The Chase

Today really was an amazing day! I’m so proud of my Sue and absolutely love taking him new places to try new things!

Erin Condren Vertical 2016 Life Planner Review

Those of you who are familiar with the planning community will know what I mean when I say that this year I am firmly on #teamvertical. Those of you not familiar, the Erin Condren Life Planner has historically been a vertical planner – meaning each day gets a slice of the page up and down:

Vertical ECLP
Vertical ECLP

This is different than most planners, which give you a horizontal view of your week… until this year. Erin Condren sent out a survey and listened to her cult members followers – they have both a vertical and a horizontal offering for 2016. Last year was my first year using the ECLP and I thought it would be really hard for me to make the switch… now I find that I can’t imagine going back! My sister just ordered a horizontal planner… I’m going to have her do a guest review once she gets it!

Without further ado, here is my review of my 2015-2016 ECLP!

The Cover

I was so super excited to see they offered a black and white plaid… I’ve been on a plaid kick for the last couple of years and knew I absolutely had to have this one! That’s the beauty of the interchangeable covers – they’re $11 bucks and you can switch based on your mood. They came out with a bunch of new designs, so there are a ton of options! They even did a special Rose Gold planner – complete with rose gold coil and foil cover.

My ECLP Cover!
My ECLP Cover!

The Guts

This is the most important part! I’m a firm believer that no matter how pretty the insides are, if they’re not functional for your planning style, you won’t use it.

First up, the monthly view. There’s a slight change this year – the quotes at the top are gone. This is kind of nice since a lot of people ended up decorating over them. That said, the space is still there for you to write in your personal favorite quotes if you’d like!

ECLP 2016 Month View
ECLP 2016 Month View

Next, the weekly view. There are some big changes here. The first is that Erin Condren removed the “morning”, “day”, and “night” headings. She also removed the calendar on the upper left corner and renamed it “thankful thoughts”. I don’t entirely love it since that’s typically where I put my Fitbit steps tracker, but since I covered it up before anyway, it doesn’t make much difference to me. They also removed the heading just below that – leaving you with space to update how you see fit. I typically use that left hand side to make lists of people to call, things to buy, places to go each week. They’re most likely things that will eventually get “assigned” to a specific day but that I’m not sure about at the beginning of the week. Finally, the fonts are a bit different this year with the number and day names being on the same line. It actually leaves a little more room above the numbers for reminders or weather tracking.

ECLP 2016 Weekly View
ECLP 2016 Weekly View

After that comes the notes pages. The standard lined pages and plain white pages are still there, but this year they’ve added in the graph paper. At first I was skeptical, but it’s starting to grow on me. I’m not entirely sure how I’ll use them yet, but I like the option!

ECLP 2016 Graph Paper
ECLP 2016 Graph Paper

The Goodies

I ordered a couple of notepads, which I love. I also ordered the launch bundle… it came with the new sticker book and a pack of pens. I’m a bit of a pen snob (I typically like for my writing to all be in the same pen – my pen of choice is the blue Pilot G-2 .07). The Erin Condren pens are definitely cute – they’re porous tip and write very beautifully, but I’m not sure how I will use them. I might just use them on the months to color code my appointments.

ECLP Launch Bundle
ECLP Launch Bundle

The sticker book is just okay. I am so spoiled with the sticker pimps shops that I’ve found on Etsy, I think I was expecting a little more from the Erin Condren book. That said, they’re cute and I will definitely incorporate some of them into the next year of planning!

ECLP Sticker Book
ECLP Sticker Book

Turn Around Time

When I ordered my first planner (mid-December 2014), it took forever to print and ship to me. Like it was early to mid January when I finally go it. I sort of expected the same thing this time around since I was ordering on Launch Day. I ordered on June 9th and it shipped on June 11th! I even ordered the customized cover (it has my name on it), which generally adds a couple days, but was thoroughly impressed!

Finally, I wanted to share my referral link with you… if it’s your first time ordering the ECLP, you’ll get $10 off! Just click the link below and follow the directions!

https://www.erincondren.com/referral/invite/annablankenheim0102

I hope this review has been helpful for those of you on the fence or thinking about making the move to an ECLP! Happy planning! Feel free to ask questions in the comments section below!

The Chicken Chronicles: Chickens In The Wild

It’s been a while since I’ve updated the world on my chickens. I’m happy to report that all nine are doing well and growing up fast! I’m also happy to report that to date, I think they’re all still girls. There was one that I was a little bit worried about (Legs), but it turns out that she’s just an early bloomer.

Since I last posted, I made a critical decision… my chickens are going to free range during the day. So, when I open the door in the morning, they’re allowed out of the coop, out of the run, and into the larger orchard. I suppose it’s not complete free ranging since they still have a fence, but there’s probably half an acre for them to run around on. Sometimes they decide to hang out under the coop in the shade, sometimes they go back in. Other times they take dust baths under my rose bushes. I love seeing them run around all day and now they’ve even started approaching me when I take them treats!

I took my camera out to get some “chickens in the wild” pictures the other day… here are the ladies now!

Legs
Legs
Domino
Domino
Stretch
Stretch
Chip
Chip
Cleo
Cleo

Happy Birthday Sue!

Five years ago today, my sweet boy Sue was born. I wish I would have been there and could have seen him as a foal!

As always, as I walked around the corner at the barn and called his name, Sue popped his little head over the stall door… he was hanging out by the fan that he shares with his BFF Cooper in the next stall because fly bites bother them both. I had already decided that my gift to him was a day without having to haul my butt around.

Birthday Boy Sue
Birthday Boy Sue

Seriously, how cute is his troll hair? At first I was a little bummed that my horse didn’t have the long flowing mane and forelock, but I have fallen more and more in love with his tiny little crazy hair! I helped give Banshee, his mama, a shot the other day and she has the same thing!

I pulled him out of his stall and took him down to the round pen for a frolic and a good roll. Because of the flies he doesn’t get much turnout time in the summer, so I figured today would be a good time to play around a bit. He chose not to run (it was HOT!) but did get a great couple of rolls in:

Bottoms Up!
Bottoms Up!
Hanging Out
Hanging Out

I bought a carrot cake cupcake for him… I’ve heard of people making their own horse treats, but read in several forums that horses also like regular carrot cake – probably because of the sweetness. I had a sneaking suspicion that he wouldn’t like it (he only really likes actual carrots), but had to try.

Birthday Cupcake
Birthday Cupcake

I ended up with cream cheese frosting and arena dirt all over me. I gave him an extra scoop of grain before I left to make up for it. We also walked the property for a while and ate some grass.

Dusty Horse Munching On Grass
Dusty Horse Munching On Grass

All in all, I think it was a pretty good birthday for him! I love that boy! Back to our training tomorrow… we head out on the 20th to work cattle for the first time! I can’t wait!

Ten Years Ago Today…

… I walked into Intel Folsom on my first day with the company.

It’s not often I blog about work, but I am pretty proud of this accomplishment. And I’m so happy to be with a company that has treated me so well, for so long, while encouraging me to grow and change. I honestly can’t believe it’s been 10 years… it seems like just yesterday!

Over that time, I’ve bought a house, got a dog, fell in love, married the man of my dreams, went on an awesome honeymoon, went on an amazing sabbatical, and bought a horse. I’m extremely happy to have a company that has supported me through all of the life changes and that has offered perks like sabbatical!

I have also made some truly amazing friends in my time with the company… friends that have been there through hard times, good times, run marathons with me, completed triathlons with me, and shared a zillion other great memories!

Here’s to another fantastic 10 years with Intel!