Inspiration Just Wandered Into Our Yard

Young bucks playing in my back yard.

We have been here in Monument Colorado since November.

The FIRST DAY we arrived was mid October. It was dusk and we had to unpack a few items to then race back to Provo Utah.

Right next to the house I spotted a GIANT buck. Is it a buck? I don’t know – I need to learn the right words. That’s the one I’m sticking with right now (correct me, I don’t mind).

He stood there, 30 yards away, watching Randy and I unload our belongings. Staring.

Over the few months we have seen pairs of 2 (at most, never more) bucks roaming through the back ravine area.

Today we got our socks blown off when 8, maybe 10 bucks visited to raid my bird feeders!
 
Randy and I stood paralyzed just watching these majestic creatures move slowly about. There were a few young’uns with them. The chain of command was pretty obvious too.

First Arthur (I named him that today) arrived and stood alone munching away. Off in the distance more bucks began emerging from the wooded area and ravine. SLOWLY.

I started taking photos from indoors and wanted to go out and see what I could do without a dumb window between us.

The FIRST click of my Canon 7D and they all bolted!! Dang it!!

Back inside I went…and they returned.

I got some moving pictures (video) footage which was neat. I also got some amazing photos of them being THEMSELVES!

Arthur backed off and let the others in on the grub. Look at his antlers – the base of them are so scratchy looking!

Frank, the one that you will see was talking to me, stayed the longest.

I named two others: Bill (he waited off on the edge for eternity) and of course you can’t miss Brad (he has a tilted antler… likely going to fall off…I wonder if that hurts).

Two sets of boys were knocking antlers. I noticed their little tails were wagging sort of like Kona’s when he’s having fun. So, I’m going to assume they were playing, not fighting.
 
These creatures are why I drive the speed limit around here. Our roads are rural and winding. We live around 7,000 ft and the weather here has been snowy and cold AND in the 60’s.

What a start to the day!


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My dog’s happiness came FIRST

Can you see Zoey? Apparently she can’t see me either…or hear me.

Today I was headed out on errands (which we have to thoroughly plan in advance because of the distance to civilization). Last minute I decided to bring Kona and Zoey with me. I’ve been taking them with me for the past 4 days just for the fun/stimulation of riding with the windows open (the weather has been 50-60 and sunny!).

We got my errands finished and I stopped at an open field to let them stretch out a little… then I remembered there was this dog park a customer told me about near a mountain I’d hiked with Randy. I figured (wrongly) it was just up the road.

I had a lot I needed to get done and WAS going to leave the dogs at home and sit at a coffee house with good signal and no distractions and get it all done…but I had them with me and they were being SO GOOD! I got my GPS up to find this amazing dog park (according to that customer)… “it’s amazing! it’s got an agility dog park that is about an acre and then there are 7 acres where the dogs run freeeeee!”

Kona was going to write me a Thank You Note after this one, I bet.


He waited for me FOR A SPLIT SECOND! Off he went to check out all 7 acres.

I get off the freeway (which I hate being on because EVERYONE starts at 75mph as a minimum…LIMIT?? WHAT??).

The gps took me UNDER a set of rail road tracks, over two sets of track (I do not like to do trains at all). I was in a panic that a train would come through and actually started sweating.

Then the GPS took me to a dirt road – remote – by myself I’m driving in my POS 1999 Camry that squeaks, rattles and rolls forward (miracles)…oh and it stops when necessary since I discovered I was at 1% on my brakes and HAD to get them fixed!!

The dirt road had pot holes the size of filing cabinet drawers (open) everywhere.

I was zigging and zagging…then I saw what looked like a Trail Head entrance.

I rolled up and into this super muddy and snowy and icy parking lot where there was ONE car and a trail bike rider cleaning her bike/gear (or prepping to go). I pulled into the SOUP of mud and remembered Randy had just washed Zoey last night (crap). Hmmmm…I saw the agility park off in the distance and slowly navigated the pothole parking lot and mud to that parking lot. Two cars. Well two TRUCKS.

I saw the 7 acre area entrance and it looked LESS muddy. I parked close as I could without looking like I was “Hollywood”** (Shannon).

Opening the door I stepped out INTO the gravy level of mud in my regular running shoes. Clearly I wasn’t prepared for this. My shoes were sucked into the muck for a split second. I definitely hesitated sitting back on my seat and glanced in the rearview mirror at 2 sets of anxious and excited eyes with tongues dangling down in anticipation. CRAP. I have to do it.

I hauled myself up and out balancing with the door open.

My car locks automatically/randomly and I have locked myself out ONCE – now I’m paranoid and careful…and paranoid…and paranoid…and careful. If I dropped my ONLY key I wondered if it would work in the ignition (to myself, no one was around…Kona was focused on the 7acres).

SLOOOOWLY I opened the back door to release the hounds. Kona bolted out and I stopped Zoey planning to carry her tubby butt over the mud to the dog park “free range” area. Like a purse that is way too full and ALIVE she “let” me place her on my hip while I shut my doors – triple checking I HAD MY KEYS IN MY POCKET. I think I check every 4 minutes out of habit.

I carry her to the middle pen area that most dog parks have to stage their dogs removing the lead. It was just as bad but on an angle and I had to walk UP slippery mud to get to the 2nd door and release Kona. He was busy smelling every piss spot – like EVERY SINGLE PISS SPOT.

I was losing hold of Zoey and she was getting more wiggly. She’s is sort of like a big Cheeto that rotates at this point. I’m SCREAMING at Kona (pissed because he AGAIN is ignoring me). He felt the “Imma ’bout to take my shoe off and throw it at you” energy and nonchalant-like wandered toward the second gate.

Kona meets a new friend.

Zoey was slipping down to my thigh area and I hurried to secure the chain/gate.

More Uphill and it is a miracle I wasn’t sliding down every 2 steps up would be one step sliding back.

Zoey CONTINUED to wiggle. THERE WAS NO PLACE TO SET HER DOWN that wasn’t a pocky-muddy-mess. The “snow” was a trick – beneath it was goo quicksand-style mud that would suck your boot off.

I looked for “dry” areas and set her down as carefully as I could. She did ONE MORE ARCH-TWISTY-WIGGLE to get her balance and landed on HER FREAKING SIDE. MUD. MUD everywhere.

I just started laughing out loud – Kona looked at me then continued seeking/sniffing every piss spot on the entire perimeter of the 7 acres.

About 40 yards in Zoey has left a poop and LUCKILY I had poop bags because another patron was standing there akimbo with her two big dogs watching me to MAKE SURE I PICKED UP THE POOP. I laughed again.

This was a comedy, right?

Zoey did not dig getting dirty and muddy and she slowed her roll. Kona, not so much. He was in olfactory HEAVEN. Once he got bored smelling THE FENCE he leapt off toward a dog that was there and tails were wagging.

Zoey went EVEN SLOWER and now she was doing her “I’m blind and I’m deaf” move stopping for 30 seconds just looking around “lost”.

I had to double back to convince her we’d only go PART of the 7 acres, promise. I guess she understood me because she picked up the pace a bit.

I decided to hang a hard right and go across the entire field toward the other fence. It was basically a replication of the parking lot and my feet were soaked inside my shoes beyond caring anymore.

I just WALKED into it all knowing the dogs were going to destroy my car.

We made it across then back to the pen area.

I got two super happy dogs into my car which is definitely destroyed (the back seat anyway). Of course Zoey, whose head was NOT muddy…just up to her neck area and under carriage, decided to shake over and over.

Mud specks are everywhere.

So, all of this today because I put my dog’s fun ahead of my busy life too.

Wait, is there a problem?

It was WORTH IT because they had a blast and are now curled up snoring in front of the fire place. Awwwwwww…

Life if pretty OK today.

** Parking “Hollywood” was created at our business 805 Boot Camp when one particular boot camper showed up to a parallel parking (along the road) situation and we watched her (there were maybe 12 of us) scoot into a spot nicely. The “Hollywood” part was because the opening was good enough to fit 2 cars but she put herself SMACK in the middle. For the record, she got a good chuckle out of it when she got up to where we were standing and saw…she even got a Golden Award for it! This is Shannon and her Momma who also got a Golden Award for keeping a food journal for a RECORD BREAKING amount of time (I cannot remember how long – like 60 Tours or something!!!).

Momma Jo and Shannon aka “Hollywood” getting their Golden Awards at 805 Boot Camp

Crazy Spinach Salad

Crazy Spinach Salad by Sarita Shoemaker.  Vegan Nutrient Dense Easy Recipe Quinoa Spinach Raw
Oh YES the house smells like a fresh veggie farm!! The edamame…I keep “tasting” them. YUM!

Crazy Spinach Salad
Heart Healthy, Nutrient Dense, Vegan, Easy, Salad

# Servings: 4 (maybe 6 if it accompanies another dish)

I bolted off to follow a Cookie and Kate recipe but did not have all of her ingredients so I made my own up below using her amazing idea.

Turned on my Steve Miller Band (highly recommend The Stake, Living In The USA because they’ll make the salad better).

Ingredients

1 yellow beet, peeled and julienned
4 carrots, shredded in food processor
6 cups of spinach (rinsed and stems removed then sliced into strips)
1 avocado, diced
2C cooked and cooled edamame
1 1/2c cooked quinoa
1T hemp seeds
1T roasted sesame seeds

Dressing:

3T Braggs Apple Cider vinegar
3T lime juice
1T EVOO (I will not use this next time, it’s not necessary – I’ll use a T of water)
3/4c chopped cilantro
1T maple syrup
3/4t coarse black pepper

Directions

1. Set all of your ingredients out on the counter BEFORE you any further – seriously!
2. In a small food processor place all of the dressing ingredients and chop/cut until it is a liquid. Set aside in container then place in fridge to chill.
3. In a giant bowl (as big as you’ve got) place all of the vegetables and toss to blend.
4. Continue to toss and add the seeds

1. and quinoa.
2. Place in serving bowl.
3. Put in fridge to chill.

We don’t like a lot of dressing on our salads so we will spoon it out.

23 Feb 2019
By Sarita Shoemaker

Simple Potato Vegetable Vegan Soup

Ingredients piling up in my bowl. NOT ONION OR GARLIC though.

POTATO and VEGETABLE SOUP
SUPER SIMPLE
Vegan

Instant Pot, High for 20 Minutes

Ingredients

5c of water
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 corn on the cob kernels
½ Poblano pepper

3c diced potato (I got purple fingerling spuds at my grocery – they look like sausages I think)

1/2c chopped parsley
1/2c chopped cilantro
3/4c frozen green peas
1c shredded mushroom
1/2c shredded green zucchini
1/2c shredded yellow summer squash
1c kale, sliced into small strips
1/2c shredded carrots
1c uncooked brown rice WELL RINSED!

Spices
1 vegan bullion cube (I used Chick’n flavor)
1T drizzle EVOO
2t cumin
1t oregano
1/2t rosemary
1/2t thyme
1t black pepper (coarse)
1/2t pink himalayan sea salt
1/8t cayenne pepper

Start:

Chop Onion and Garlic place in separate bowl (glass or metal, it will change the flavor of plastic)

CHOP EVERYTHING ELSE UP and place in separate bowl.

Blend your spices together using a fork, set aside.

Turn Instant Pot on SAUTE.

Add onions for 1 minute then garlic for 1 minute stirring constantly to soften them.

Add half the veggies, stir well.

Add 4 cups of water.

Add spices, stir well again.

Add remainder of veggies.

Stir (duh, right?). Try to get everything immersed in the water.

Add rice.

Add last cup of water and press rice into the mixture well.

Place IP lid on, turn to steam release off.

Press MANUAL.

Set for HIGH.

Set for 20 Minutes.

Just enough time to get your kitchen put back together!

When done cooking I normally let my IP sit for a little longer and allow the steam to release on its own. If you choose to hurry the process when it is done cooking and timer has gone off just be safe with your release valve. Wear oven mitt and to avoid spraying steam everywhere drape a lightweight (like a bread covering towel) kitchen towel over the top (only one layer).

Please let me know how you like this recipe!

Thanks!

Sarita

PS: Your house will smell SO GOOD from start to finish. Nothing as good as chopped fresh produce then all of these spices.

10 Incredibly Important Concepts A Business Owner Should Know How To Do

Over the past four decades I have helped businesses move forward toward a goal or dream using one of the following Guidelines.

Personally I enjoy the concept of plotting out a course. Just ask my husband and kids. If it is “chart-able” you can know I’m figuring it all out (from managing a product launch, manning up a tech support crew to going on vacation…I even plan out my grocery shopping to make sure my squishables are not on the bottom of the cart and I use all of my coupons).

Logically you want to streamline your efforts, especially as a Business Owner.

I’ve worked in all levels: International, National, Local, Small Business.

Each of them required the same forethought and structure.  Human Resources are always involved in my plans and they are the biggest expense! Don’t waste your Human Resource time, energy and leverage!

Organizing your plans and ideas will help you in the long run. It also allows you to DELEGATE actions or activities.

Update: Each Guideline has individual steps with a time frame to completion determined at the beginning/start and during planning.  This can then be turned into a Critical Path (another business tool I adore).

SARITA’S 10 PRODUCTIVE GUIDELINES

Strategic Plan Guideline
Purpose: To have a larger point of view, a 30,000 feet up point of view (as my friend Maggie Kestly often referred to), of a long term goal and the larger broad ideas in accomplishing it.

Tactical Plan Guideline
Purpose: To dissect the broad sweeping steps to smaller segments, still managing the connection between Strategic planning concepts.

Program Plan Guideline
Purpose: To take one goal, plan or target in the Tactical Plan to completion using smaller steps.

Mini Program Guideline
Purpose: To untangle Program Plan targets on a smaller and quicker scale.

Launch Plan Guideline
Purpose: A One-And-Done plan to bring a product, service or person into the view of the correct potential customer base.

Customer Retainment Plan Guideline
Purpose: To refine an operating machine within a company so it never loses touch with a customer and results in continued allegiance and business as well as referrals from that customer.

On-Boarding A New Team Member Guideline
Purpose: To bring a new Team Member in and give them the basic knowledge and direction needed to be a contribution to the team with exact steps to follow. Sometimes these must be done in a specific order.

Learning Process Guideline
Purpose: How to educate a Team Member (new or experienced) on a topic utilizing multiple points of view on the subject as well as hands-on demonstration along the way.

Event Planning Process Guideline
Purpose: To create, promote and produce a productive event.

I am adding the following because I wish there were more races that would get people out moving across the planet.  Not only is that helping the humans doing it, you can make it a Fundraiser for a local charity or fellow human (or animal) that needs help!

How To Produce A Foot Race (Road or Trail) As A Fundraiser (or not) Guideline
Purpose: To gather people together to run a set distance safely for Fundraising (or profit).

HOW CAN YOU GET A GUIDELINE

YOU write it!

Pull yourself away from ALL distractions.  Get a pen and paper (or if you prefer to use a computer, go for it – just DISCONNECT FROM THE INTERNET). 

Go to your library, clear your schedule for a day or two and WRITE YOUR IDEAS down.  If you have a partner, do it together!

If you need help, find someone that has experience in this and hire them to help you!

The time and energy will be worth it.

You WILL accomplish big things with a chartered plan of thoughts, actions and events. 

 

MY OWN BUSINESS

I think this all came to the surface for me because I’m starting out on a new journey and opened a business.  I’m doing my own strategic planning right now and I am excited to put time and energy and deep thought into how I want every moment of my life to be productive.

Yesterday I began telling a few of the associates I work with that I gave my 2-Weeks Notice.  Their first reaction was shock.  How could I leave this big stable company?  It took so much just to START and it seems everyone is tethered to a paycheck just to survive.

“Wait, what are you going to do!?”

“I’m opening my own Toy Store.”

“Where?!?!”

“Here, in Monument Colorado.”

“For real!?  Really?!?  That is so awesome!!”

“Thanks!!  I’m super excited.”

We continued “conditioning” or “facing” the stock shelves humming along quickly.

“What if it fails?”

“It won’t.”

I’ll be updating more about this as I get my own Strategic Plan spelled out and I hope you, my dear readers, will help me! 

You are definitely on my mind for, if at least, just encouragement to stick with it and MAKE IT HAPPEN.  I think I have found something that works with my personal goal: to work for a company that makes the world better.