Friday, October 6, 2017

Hay in afternoon light

I've been waiting all summer to get our hay cut.  It finally happened this week.  I'm not sure why this has been so important to me. But it has.  Now I can ride my horse and not wonder if I'm stepping in a hole.

Hay and horses. It's hard to beat the smell of good, fresh hay. My pre-teen memories with hay emerged tonight as I looked at the late afternoon sun setting behind the hay rolls.

I spent my weekends and most of my summers with my daddy on this farm. He knew he didn't have to do much to keep me happy and out of his way—just put me on a horse.  I would wait patiently on old Tobie for the baler to spit out a row of square bales, not big round ones like the photos here.

Tobie and I would trot around the bales.  That was fun, but the most fun was jumping them. We jumped and jumped until daddy would tell me to go put her up.

I love living here in my farmhouse on our family land.  It is my hope that I can pass it down to someone who will love it as much as I do, as Daddy did, as Cathey Dandridge did, as his mother Mary Eliza Cathey Dandridge did, as her father Mathew Lafon Cathey did.

Here's to hay and horses.

My farmhouse in Barr

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Time to kneel

I have several odd, little chairs in my home.  My husband and I have picked them up at estate sales, junk shops, and some were handed down to me. One of my odd chairs is a prayer chair. I found it at Katie's Antiques in Independence about 10 years ago. She wasn't sure if it was a valet chair or a prayer chair.  So I did some research.  

Valet or butler's chairs have a slope to the top bar to accommodate hanging a suit coat or shirt and keeping the shoulders in shape.  It may also have some compartments to hold such things such as a clothes brushe or shoe polish.

Mine is a prayer chair.  They have been in use for many centuries.  Some are fancy as the example of a beautiful 19th century walnut kneeler (  Below, top.

I was thrilled to find this example, which looks just like mine, on eBay of a pair of French prayer chairs from the late 1800s. Below, lower.

My chair needed a little pick-me-up.  How appropriate.
So does my prayer life. I have only felt the need once before to be on my knees, praying for my country daily. 

That was after 9/11.  Today I pray for peace and healing for our wonderful country. Will you join me?

My chair after cleaning and painting with Miss
Lillian's Chock Paint in Chanel. (available at Miller Station)

Friday, August 18, 2017

Animals, plants to be affected by solar eclipse

Mexican Petunias waking for the day
Too much, in my opinion, has been written about the upcoming solar eclipse, set for Monday, Aug. 21.  Yet, here I go with another story from a non-human perspective. It seems that Monday's solar event will have an effect on plants and animals.

As an animal owner—horse, dogs, cats—this concerns me.  Not enough for me to go buy them protective eyewear, but enough to take note.

According to articles on this subject, dogs and cats do not usually look at the sun, so they shouldn't be so much at risk of eye damage. They can experience behavioral changes such as excitement and confusion.

Horses could seek shelter as they would during an upcoming rain storm. I found a good source on this subject in a recent National Geographic post.

A more dramatic effect is expected for spiders, bees and other insects.

Not as much research has been done on plants, but scientist seem enthusiastic about studying this aspect of the eclipse this time around.

I found this interesting article on NPR's (National Public Radio) website.

I have two plants in my backyard that are especially photosensitive. My Mexican Petunias open in the morning and bloom all day, losing their flowers around dusk.  It will be interesting to see what a mid-day nap does to their blooms.

Four O'clocks beginning to close this morning
Just the opposite, the four o'clocks don't open their hot pink flowers until about.......four o'clock or late afternoon. Their blooms can last until morning.

On Monday, you might catch me in the yard taking photos of these plants to see if they are misbehaving, but I WILL NOT be observing the eclipse in any way. As a person who has lost central vision in one eye, I cannot warn you enough to protect your precious vision.  Go inside and watch it on TV.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Naysayers have gone too far

I just may have to take a vacation from social media for a while.  Of course, I might have to post a horse, quilt, or kid photo.  I am very discouraged.

While going through my morning newsfeed, I read that wearing flip flops is extremely hazardous to your health.  They put too much tension on your toes.  Better to go barefoot, the article said.  They are full of thousands of bacteria since sidewalks and streets are dirty, where people spit. Yuck! Just one bacteria can make you sick, they say.  Well, don't all shoes touch those same surfaces?   Are you sure you want us to go barefoot?

I scrolled on down. I learned that even though my doctor recommended I take a vitamin D supplement, thousands of people are taking vitamin D supplements, unnecessarily.  I don't drink milk, and my sun bathing days are over.  I'm taking my vitamins.

Just as I prepare for 10 days of outside time, I am told that chemical insect repellants are deadly to people.  So should I take my chance with Deep Woods Off, or battle it out with Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or get a bite from a Lone Star tick? What about Lyme Disease?
Squirt, squirt.  That was me, spraying my ankles with Off. 

The list is endless. Seems I am blowing my hair dry the wrong way.  Looks like I am offending my hair follicles by fluffing them from the wrong direction. My dog is eating the wrong food, and I am not using my iPhone to its full potential. I'm also not moisturizing my skin right.

Every day I see headlines like, "10 signs of cancer," "10 signs of toenail fungus," "10 signs of vitamin deficiencies."  Didn't they just tell us we were wasting our time on vitamins? These social media people are making hypochondriacs of us all.

The last straw was when I heard on the radio that a "scientific study" has proven that eating cereal out of a round bowl was not as good for you as eating it out of a square bowl. This is especially bad if you eat standing up.  Siting down with your square bowl to eat will make you feel fuller and help with digestion. Who has square bowls? I'm doing good to drink a deadly Diet Coke and a fiber bar on the run. Who gives a rat's ______?

I give up.  I think all the "scientists" should just quit thinking about all this stuff. If they are scientifically-inclined at all, please go find a cure for cancer, heart disease, or something else really important.

I'll take my chances and continue to eat from round bowls while wearing my flip flops.


Thursday, April 27, 2017

Sam's passing closes an era for Patterson

Portrait of Sam painted from a photo following one of his last good hunts.

Sam Patterson, a white field pointer, died today, April 27, at his home in Barr, Miss.  He would have been 13 on his birthday in May. Raised by avid hunter and sportsman Mike Stephens of Coffeeville, Sam was a 2004 pup who came to live with Howard Patterson, who would be his friend, master and handler for nearly 13 years. 

Sam first hunted quail on the Dandridge property that now belongs to the Patterson’s. When local quail hunting became scarce in the area, Patterson took Sam on several hunts in Arkansas.  The team served as dog handlers at many corporate pen-raised hunts in Arkansas.

The dog excelled in wild-bird hunting and made several trips to Texas to hunt on leased land near Midland, Texas.  He became a camp favorite there where sometimes 50 dogs were used daily. 

"I even let Sam go to Texas one year without me," says Patterson. "My buddy Mike picked him up, and Mike and Bruce Hawkins of Morrilton, Ark., had a good hunt out there with him.

"I had to tape his feet to protect him from the nasty Texas burrs," said Patterson. He describes his dog as always good-natured and ready to work.  "He loved his job."  

Sam was quite a clown at home.  When he saw someone approaching his kennel he seemed to "talk" much in the dialect of the cartoon character Scooby-Do, to the amusement of the family and grandchildren.

The old white dog was never registered or the held a field trial championship, but he was at the top of his game in his sport.

Sam’s death marks the end of an era for Patterson. He and his brothers grew up quail hunting with their daddy, the late A.M. Patterson. There is no such thing as wild quail hunting in this part of Mississippi anymore.  While Sam enjoyed the Texas and Arkansas hunts, it was never quite as good and a Sunday afternoon hunt right here in Tate County.

Patterson's sister, Tupelo artist Robbie Boyd, painted Sam's portrait for her brother for a Christmas gift three years ago.  When Patterson saw it, he was touched.  "Look at that eye," he says pointing to the painting.  "I've seen him look at me like that a hundred times.  He would point a bird, and hold, and then cut his eye back at me like,'I got 'em, your turn next.’"

For the first time in our 37-year marriage, our dog kennel is empty.  Sam closed that chapter for us.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mustang Photos

Waiting for adoption
Visit for full story and photos.

Mustangs come to Panola County

I hope you will visit the website of our new community magazine, Hills & Harvest. I recently submitted an article that they published online at  Here are a few more photos that were not on the site. Let's support this new business venture.  Go H&H!

Irene O'Conner of Smart Balance Equine, LLC., in Nesbit adopted a mustang mare that day.  You can visit her Facebook page for more information.  Here is her story.

Info on adoption
"Foxy a two-year-old BLM mustang mare gathered from Conger, Utah in July 2016. She will be available for adoption for $125 with a completed application to Bureau of Land Management once she completes all of her TIP requirements. Minimum requirements are to be caught, haltered, lead, groom, pick up all four feet, and load/unload from trailer. She is well on her way to meeting those plus some, and will make someone a nice mustang! I'm located in Nesbit, Miss. She's currently about 14.1 and still growing!"

Foxy Lady

Monday, March 27, 2017

I am always struck by the beauty of this poem.  I don't know about the midnight ride in the meadow, but the rest rings true for me. I'm almost there.

When I Am An Old Horsewoman

I shall wear turquoise and diamonds,
And a straw hat that doesn’t suit me
And I shall spend my social security on
white wine and carrots,
And sit in my alleyway of my barn
And listen to my horses breathe.
I will sneak out in the middle of a summer night
And ride the old bay gelding,
Across the moonstruck meadow
If my old bones will allow
And when people come to call, I will smile and nod
As I walk past the gardens to the barn
and show instead the flowers growing
inside stalls fresh-lined with straw.
I will shovel and sweat and wear hay in my hair
as if it were a jewel
And I will be an embarrassment to ALL
Who will not yet have found the peace in being free
to have a horse as a best friend
A friend who waits at midnight hour
With muzzle and nicker and patient eyes
For the kind of woman I will be
When I am old.
-Author Patty Barnhart
* * *

Sunday, February 12, 2017


If you are not a fan of horses, specifically Appaloosas, in North Mississippi, you might want to skip this blog.  I introduced you to Bayley last fall, my first horse in 14 years.  Well, I have done it again, gotten another horse. My friend told me she had a pretty solid-colored Appaloosa mare named Hayley.

At 12 she hadn't been ridden. One day at her house I sat on the tailgate of a truck as the farrier trimmed this beautiful big girl.  I watched her hard.  We made a deal, and last week she went to a new trainer in the area.  Let me tell you why I had to have this mare. Why at almost 62 I am planning to ride a horse that hasn't been ridden? We have history.

In 1963 my daddy, Hayley Dandridge, went to New Mexico to bring back a string of brood mares to go with his Appaloosa stallion, High Spots Pride. Many of these mares were grade mares or quarter-type.  In those days you could register an Appaloosa colt if one of the parents showed Appaloosa characteristics: white around the eye, striped hooves, and mottling on the belly or nose area.

He drove in late one night with this load of mares in a stock trailer with a goat in a crate tied to the fender of the trailer.

The most promising of these mares was Miss Pie Fuller, a bay with a lot of white in her face. She was already in foal Chief Waggoner when she came to Tate County.

Miss Pie Fuller was the centerpiece of Dandridge's
breeding program.

Chief Waggoner

The result of that breeding was Red Angel, a sorrel mare with snowflakes on her hips. Broken as a two-year old, Angel was a favorite. I rode her at Saddle Club shows in Western Pleasure, and my 4-H Leader Jimmy McLain rode her in speed events.  (Showing was not as disciplined then as it is now, and that's an understatement.)

Red Angel as a two-year old
She was bred to Joker's Thunder, a strongly-marked Appaloosa and produced a solid chestnut
Dale Hancock and Bill going after a steer.
mare that we named Joker's Stormie.

Back to Saddle Club shows, Daddy let me show Stormie in pleasure. To this day, I still say she was the most natural moving horse I ever rode.  When people cornered Daddy at the side of the arena ready to make a deal, he would wait till the price was right, and then say, "Oh you know she's an Appaloosa, not a Quarter Horse."  This made him laugh when the offers were suddenly withdrawn. He didn't want to sell her anyway.

Stormie was bred to Colida Bill Hancock, an Appaloosa World Champion cutting horse, owned at the time by Dale Hancock. He was later owned and ridden by local large animal veterinarian and friend, Dr. Jim Taylor.
Stormie as a three-year old

Co Couer d'Alene as a yearling

Co Couer d'Alene doing her job as a
super brood mare.

Finally the breeding worked and we got Co Cour d'Alene, a loud-colored black and white filly who turned almost leopard in her later years. I had starting riding her half sister Fleur e'Alene, when she died of fertilizer poisoning.  About the time Couer d'Alene was ready to be broken, Daddy was devastated to learn that she had tested positive to Coggins.  Testing for that disease was new to our area. He lost several horses to that disease. But Co Couer d'Alene showed no signs of the disease despite testing positive. Local health inspectors allowed him to keep her as long as she was quarantined and not nose to nose with another horse. Coggins is a mosquito-born disease. She had to be far away that a mosquito could not bite her and then infect another horse. 

And that was her life for many years. She had more than 10 colts, and none showed signs of the disease.  After Daddy quit using her, he allowed her to go to other breeders if they strictly followed the health regulation.

One of those breedings was to a horse named Big Shannon.  That breeding produced Colida's Mr. Hayley, bred by Mike and Linda Putt, and named for my Daddy's line of breeding.  Mr. Hayley was the sire of my newly-found mare!

Her breeding on the Colida side goes back to Appaloosa Royalty including PrinceShannon, Princes Jim, Prince Plaudit and Plaudit, himself. (Below)

I have horse papers in our files that go back to 1961 on these horses, I knew them by name, knew their coloring, their temperament, their pedigree. To say I was thrilled to find Miss Hayley in my friend's barn is an understatement. Some kids are drilled by their parents on flash cards in math. I got drilled on Appaloosa pedigrees which explains my lack of math skills.

So I hope my Appaloosa friends will appreciate this blog. The rest of you will have to wait for a book review.  Or maybe some on-the-trail pics.  Here is Hayley's Plain Jane, never ridden and now a 12 year old, in her second saddling.  New trainer Michelle Kuester is getting on board.  Lots of ground work and good manners came from her owners Mack and Cathy Hayes.

Thanks to Pie Fuller, there are countless nice horses scattered over this area.  Some have gone on, and some are out there on the trail.

Hayley and Michelle Kuester

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Home alone spurs fits of painting

This photo from Miss Lillian's website was my inspiration piece.
Anytime I have a few days to myself, I paint something. It's just a tradition with me. Howard never knows when he gets home what color he will find.

One year I decided to paint our upstairs hallway and stairwell. It is about 20 feet from the top of the hall upstairs to the bottom floor.  I looked at my options.  The upstairs hall was not the problem; the stairwell was. When I got as far as the extension roller would go, I had to make a plan.  I would have to paint as I went up the stairs.  To keep from getting paint in my hair, I put a pair of clean undies on my head.

About halfway up the stairs, something occurred to me.  He was going to be gone for two more days.  When if I fell down the steps and killed myself  or knocked myself out and whoever found me had to see me with a pair of panties on my head.  It was a bad visual.  But I escaped injury.  That was ten years ago before chronic back pain was my constant companion. I am not so adventurous now.  I stick to iron gates and small pieces of furniture. And that's what I did last week.

Here is my inspiration piece. (above, right) I thought it was beautiful.  It is distressed and painted with Miss Lillian's No Wax Chock Paint, sold by my friend, camping buddy and project adviser Lisa Cox.  She has the paint in her booth at Miller Station.

I'm hesitant to paint furniture.  I spent several of my first housekeeping years refinishing furniture that came from my Grandmother Dandridge's attic.  If I hadn't claimed some of those pieces, they would have perished in the fire that burned the house to the ground in 1981.  Pieces that are really fine, old treasures will not be painted by me.

Here is my original piece, which I bought at Katie's Antiques in Independence. Always happy to promote my friends who have unique businesses in the area.  Shop Local! (top, left)

My piece is a library desk/table.  I could tell it had already been refinished, so I didn't feel too guilty about re-refinishing it. This table was a nice little antique, but it had not been very expensive or was it a family treasure.

Day One by myself, I sanded the surface lightly before painting it with Miss Lillian's Just Duckie. I added Cashmere metallic paint.

Day Two, second coat of Duckie and Cashmere. My bedroom is a mess while all this is going on and one of the silky terriers found a new use for drop cloths, if you know what I mean.  Yuck.

Day Three, added Miss Lillian's glaze in Burnt Umber.  The inspiration piece used similar but different colors of the same product.  The sides of the table have cane panels, and I left them their original color but highlighted them with Umber. By now, Howard is home and I'm not through. He is good about the bedroom being a mess.

I decide that I used too much Umber, called Lisa, and she advised me to add more Duckie.  I'm almost out at this point. I had to add water to the jar and shake it to have just enough.

Day Four, I'm sick of this table and the bedroom mess. The dogs are tired of being banished to their kennels. The additional Duckie dries and I'm heading for home stretch.

Day Five, I touch up the metallic paint and any blue spots that are yelling at me. I break out of the Miss Lillian products and seal the whole thing with Polycrylic Sheer Satin sealer.

Yeah!  I'm finished.  It's not quite as good as the inspiration piece, but I like it.  I see some imperfections but they don't bother me enough to do something about it.

The mirror is part of a bedroom suit that I use upstairs.  It was handed down to me by my Great Aunt Ruth Cole who lived with us after she retired from Northwest as Dietician for the Cafeteria.

Next time I'm alone, I'm just going to read a book.

Finished project!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Neely-Dorsey recognized as Mississippi Literary Ambassador

Congratulations to Patricia Neely-Dorsey who has been honored by Senate Concurrent Resolution 569, recognizing her as a Mississippi author and poet, as Literary Ambassador for the State.

It is so nice to hear good things about our Mississippi.  We knew these things all along, but through positive thinking from people like Patricia, maybe the rest of the country will share our thoughts.

Patricia Neely-Dorsey is a 1982 graduate of Tupelo High School in Tupelo, Miss., and she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Boston University. She is the author of two books of poetry, Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia and My Magnolia Memories and Musings. She calls both books a “celebration of the south and things southern.” Neely-Dorsey currently lives in Tupelo with her husband and son. 

Patricia Neely-Dorsey is asking that her poem Meet my Mississippi can be considered as the state poem.  "This poem can be used as a teaching tool for all ages and as a way to highlight some of the very best Mississippi has to offer," she says. "It contains references to our rich literary history as well as references to our musical and cultural history."

Meet My Mississippi

Faulkner's Sanctuary
Eudora's home state
Elvis' birthplace
The bulk of the Trace;
Sprawling beaches
Along the Gulf Coast shore
One blues man's crossroads
And inspiration for more;
A ride down the mighty river
On the American Queen
And some of the most
Beautiful countryside
That you've ever seen
She's music and melodies
And the mockingbird's songs,
By valor and arms
And faith ever strong:
She's magnolias blooming
Around Jackson's capitol dome
And the sweet scent of honeysuckle
That forever says "home"
She's My Mississippi
She's "The Hospitality State"
"Go Mississippi"
You're a true State of Grace
             Patricia Neely-Dorsey 2013

Thank you Patricia for allowing me to use the words of her poem Ancestors in my first novel The Carving Place, which I hope will be published this year.