All Work and No Play

What is that old saying about work and play? oh yeah, now I remember. “All work and no play makes Rebekah a very dull Farmgirl.”

At some point along the line, I developed a tendency to wait for play. Wait until I have more time, wait until I have more money, wait until I have earned it, wait until—-well, fill in the blank with any excuse. I (used to?) have an adventurous spirit, but rarely take the opportunity to adventure. You’ve heard of stay-cations? When you vacay at home or close to home? I guess I’ve been like a stay-venturer. Any adventure I’ve had has been close to home and a one-nighter at most.

Well, Y’all. I had a rough summer. By fall, I was tired. And dull. I felt like my “free spirit” had been sucked right out of me. So, I headed off. To re-treat and re-create. Just me. I went to a horse camp where I would ride 4 days in a row. I thought I’d feel guilty, leaving my family to do this FOR ME. But I didn’t allow that. Nope. I knew that I was frazzled and needed this. It was time for me to play.

And this experience rocked my world. The whole thing. Horses. Outdoors. Nature. New friends. It made me less dull.

To be clear, when I say “horse camp” I don’t really mean “camp.” I mean cabin, with a bed and a bathroom and hot water. I took a coffee maker, some wine, and my riding helmet. The sunsets were provided.

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We rode horses every day, mornings and afternoons. We rode on narrow trails through the woods, down tree-lined lanes, in open fields, across country roads. One day we rode at a state park. We rode and rode and rode. We developed a camaraderie with our horses and with each other.

I had my phone camera, but didn’t do too well taking photos. Most of them turned out like this:

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You understand why? I’m not horsewoman enough to be able to take out my phone, take out my reading glasses, put on my reading glasses, and take a photo WHILE staying in the saddle and holding the reins. I did get a few good photos on the trails. I’ve always liked the “between the ears” shots. Horse people are always posting those pics, so I tried to get the horse’s ears in the picture.
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When I rode up to this old log cabin I was by myself. I got to the side of the cabin and there was a LONG black snake there.

Well, I called the guide over. He told me that they had never ever seen a snake there before. Ever. “Is there something with you and snakes?” I’ll say! Every. Where. I. Go.

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All I did those days was play. No work. Just play. The icing on the cake for this trip was meeting some fantastic new friends. We laughed so much my face hurt.

I took this photo during the most memorable horseback ride of the week. And in my life. Picture this. It is midnight. In a dense forest. No moon. Only stars. In a saddle. On horseback.

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We had to just give the horses their reins and TRUST them completely. Horses see at night; we don’t. They knew this trail through the forest; we didn’t. We just had to LET GO. I was so afraid. The horse in front of me was light cream-colored, yet I couldn’t see him. The night was black and the woods were blacker. The guide had told us to look up if we were uncomfortable. I did and saw the silhouette of the trees against the dark sky. I was nervous and excited. I breathed deeply and tried to find my courage so I could ENJOY this. It happened! I relaxed enough to soak in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. Soon I was caught up in the magical and amazing and wonder-filled thing that this midnight ride through the woods was. At one point, we saw little tiny shining lights on the ground. Foxfire! I’d always heard of it, but had never seen it before. As it turns out, it wasn’t foxfire, it was white phosphorous. “Foxfire” is made of living things that glow in the dark, like mushrooms or other plants. These tiny glow-in-the-dark rocks weren’t “foxfire” but they were COOL nonetheless. The little glowing lights in the woods made the ride feel even more enchanted and surreal. It was like little twinkle lights on the ground in the woods.

When we made it out of the forest and into an open field, I could see better. I could make out the horses in front of me. I could see the stars. As long as I live, I will never forget that dark night horseback ride. I don’t know the words or have the skills to adequately describe the experience.

Once home, I started planning a second adventure: a gathering in our milk house field. This adventure was a stay-venture. The last ATV ride of the season was coming up in our community. My husband and I had volunteered to host the picnic afterwards. We mowed and weed-eated and set up a bonfire spot. I decorated the area with pumpkins and scarecrows. My husband smoked pork all night long the night before for barbeque. I made a special homemade ice cream mix.

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The smoked barbeque was a smash hit.

The homemade ice cream was just a smash. I dropped the container after I poured the mixture into the canister. I was just about to freeze it when I spilled it.

Never cry over spilled ice cream.
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We drove through pastures and saw the breath-taking views that a herd of cows enjoys every day. It was chilly and rainy and wonderful.

Then we got back to the milk house and warmed up by the bonfire. We enjoyed the barbeque and all the fixins. Since my home made ice cream was an EPIC FAIL, we had s’mores instead.
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My husband took requests and we sang songs by the campfire. “You’ve Got A Friend” was one everyone knew.

We live in such a special community, filled with wonderful neighbors. This will definitely become the “First Annual.” It was one of the highlights of my autumn.

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Take time to PLAY. Always. What do you do to PLAY?

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl in the Country, Rebekah

Leave a comment 19 Comments

  1. Diana Henretty says:

    Love it all!!
    Our best memories are the ones gathered around our bonfire, with the grand kids poking sticks in the fire for entertainment, cooking over the fire, chasing fire flies and watching the stars. Funny how simple things can become stuck in our memories as the most precious things!! Hugs from the Ozarks!! Diana, Noel, Mo

  2. Bonnie Ellis says:

    I compliment you for taking care of YOURSELF. We need to refresh for our families, our work and just life. Smell the fresh air and concentrate on us. Good going farmgirl!

  3. Gloria Smith says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time. I’ve never been on horseback. But, recently, I’ve been watching the show “Heartland” on Netflix and now I want a horse! My dad has horses so I guess I’ll have to be brave and take a ride. Really enjoy your posts!

  4. Nicole Christensen says:

    Great post! How much fun would that be?! Beautiful. I love the cabin and the thought of being on a horse in the dark? Kinda scary, but what an adventure! I have a tendency to do the same thing, wait until I have this or that done before any fun. I’ve gotten better at not waiting for fun as I get older, but this is a good reminder.
    Farmgirl Hugs,
    Nicole
    (Suburban Farmgirl)

  5. JoniBug says:

    Thank you!! I never play anymore and I need it desperately! You’re trip sounds wonderful!

  6. Diane Van Horn says:

    All I can say is WOW! You described that night ride so well that I felt like I was there.

  7. As always, great post Rebekah. Husby read parts of it to me this morning while I was cleaning milking equipment. Ah, the night ride (your black photo gave us a good laugh). I had to trust a horse at night with a sheer thirty-foot drop into a raging river six inches to the right of me. I prepared myself to die. I asked my guide, Emil Keck, who was in front of me, “Seriously, I can’t turn my headlamp on? I want to SEE how I die.” He said, “No, the light will only confuse the horse. Right now, he’s seeing the trail with his feet.”

  8. Rene Foust says:

    It all sounds so wonderful!!!!

  9. Dori Troutman says:

    Hi Rebekah,

    Great post!

    When our kids were young my husband and I held numerous horse camp trips and one of the things they did was the night ride. I remember doing this myself when I was a young girl. It is an amazing experience. I’m glad you got away and that it was a perfect experience for you!

    Love that you got to host the gathering of your community. How fun is that.

    Hugs,

    – Dori, the Ranch Farmgirl –

    P.S. Will I still be your Farmgirl friend if I admit that I have absolutely NO INTEREST in ever riding a horse again???? And I had a lovely childhood of horse back riding. My children had a lovely upbringing of riding, lessons, shows, endurance rides, and on and on. And my husband rides and loves his horse. But me as an adult? Nope. No riding. No desire.

    But hey… if you ever come visit me I’m sure my husband will let you ride his horse! :-) And I’ll walk alongside you!

  10. Krista says:

    What a great story and wonderful reminder of what so many of us forget on a daily basis. We get so busy working and rushing our lives along that we forget to truly live and play.
    Your trip looks like so much fun. I would love to take a trip like that myself. Riding a horse in the dark would be such an adventure. Definitely not something you will be forgetting anytime soon. Also your little get together at home sounds so relaxing and enjoyable. What a good way to kick up your feet and enjoy some laughs. No need to worry at all over spilt ice cream. Thanks for reminding me to take a step aside from work to play!

  11. Marilyn Collins says:

    Love the photos and story. You sure have an interesting life. Enjoy your beautiful surroundings.
    Marilyn

  12. Joan says:

    Thanks for the wonderful adventures and thanks for the reminder of what so many of us forget – stop – smell – and enjoy. God bless.

  13. Roksanna Stepebs Anderson says:

    Lovely…the article, the photos, the horses, the tiny glowing flowers (never heard of them). Thank you…I needed all of it…the message, the photos, the fantasy of fairy like travel…

  14. Victoria Hall says:

    Oh my, Rebekah. Do you have any idea how lucky and blessed you are. To live and experience all that beauty every day is just too much!

  15. Denise Ross says:

    Thanks for the incentive to play again. I don’t play anymore either and I know I really need to. Your night ride sounds scary and an rather other worldly experience. I’m planning on riding lessons once a month next year, just so I can begin doing some of the things on my bucket list. Snakes…yuk!!
    To host a ride and camp out sounds a wonderful experience and to live in a community like that would be just amazing. Good on you for taking time out to play and adventure again. I’m sure you’ve inspired many if us who don’t play to do so. Thank you
    Hugs from Australia

  16. Deb Bosworth says:

    Good for you, Rebekah!
    I’m green with envy for your horse adventure! I guess I’d better get busy and plan one for myself! You are one lucky farmgirl. The area you live in is so beautiful. Oh, I found a link for you about snakes. I think the snake is your totem animal…http://www.spiritanimal.info/snake-spirit-animal/ Those snakes are there to teach you something about yourself not to frighten you.

    I could almost hear the horses hooves during your black night ride. And I know the pretty phosphorous lights you are talking about. We have it at the beach! Sometimes when we are walking the beach at night we can kick it up in the water with our feet. And it’s very pretty if you’re in a row boat or kayak it lights the way as you glide along!
    Your community gathering sounds delightful. Wish I could have pulled up a hay bale and sung along with you all!
    Big hugs sister!
    Thanks for the inspiration, always!
    Deb
    PS. We farmgirl bloggers really need to plan a gathering for 2016!!! Where???

  17. Bettina Woodson says:

    I sometimes stray away from MaryJanes’ FarmGirl page…and then I always come back to see what you have been doing. You are amazing. I love your posts…you take the brave steps that I need to take. My goal this 2016 is to have more play in my life…I do quite well on all the rest, and realize that I am missing out on a whole lot of what makes life worth living for. Thank you for blazing the trail…even in the dark! (and what is up with you and snakes??? lol)

  18. Nikki says:

    That looks amazing! Really though I’m just glad that someone else said they could do something for themselves without feeling guilty. You’ve inspired me!

  19. Susan says:

    Enjoyed the photos….jealous. ..havent been on a horse in years. I woukd be too scared of a fall. And iknow whst you mean about tge snakes…..i was always afraid my horse would be spooked by one.
    Especially like the photo of the greenery and the vibrant fall colors. Lovely.m Susana

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