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To Realize The Value

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 26, 2013 14:55

 


Photo Credit by Andrea Lawrence
http://andrea-lawrence.artistwebsites.com/
Follow me on Twitter @FridaysMyDay
www.facebook.com/alawrenceartist.
http://painterskeys.com/pal/andrea_lawrence/

http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=26

To realize
The  value of a sister/brother
Ask someone
Who  doesn't have one.
 
To realize
The value  of ten years:
Ask a newly
Divorced  couple.
 
To realize
The value of four  years:
Ask a graduate.
 
To  realize
The value of one year:
Ask a  student who
Has failed a final  exam.
 
To realize
The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.
 
To realize
The value of one month:
Ask a mother
Who has given birth to a premature baby.
 
To  realize
The value of one week:
Ask an  editor of a weekly newspaper.
 
To  realize
The value of one minute:
Ask a  person
Who has missed the train, bus or plane.
 
To realize
The value of  one-second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident.
 
Time waits for no one.
Treasure every moment you have.
 
You will treasure it even more  when
You can share it with someone special.
 
To realize the value of a friend  or family member:
LOSE ONE.
 
Author Unknown


J. J. Voss, Saskatchewan Recording Artist interviewed by Andrea Lawrence

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 11, 2013 12:12

J.J. was raised on a farm in rural Saskatchewan and has toured to promote his albums  "Hillbilly Storybook" and "Show 'em Who's Voss" which was produced in Nashville.  J.J. has had the pleasure of warming up for Johnny Reid, The RoadHammers and had a showcase spot opening for Raul Malo (The Mavericks). J.J.'s debut single "It's a Pride Thing" has received radio play across Canada, and his video is being shown across Canada and the United States. J.J. is considered a blend of Country, Americana, and Folk Rock.  This young singer is gaining popularity and will surely be very successful soon! If you have a function coming up this summer and need a great performer, you better book him now!
You can find him on Facebook at:  
http://www.facebook.com/JJVoss
or
https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/show-em-whos-voss/id534271818

Andrea: When I first met you, you were doing the sound for other bands at the Pump Roadhouse in Regina, Saskatchewan. At what point did you say to yourself, 'hey, I can do this' or when did you pick up a guitar and decide you wanted to go into the music industry?
J.J.:  Well, the time that I worked at the Pump was probably three or four chapters along the road in my music career. I started playing in bands when I was 15 years old playing the ‘bar circuit' when there was such a thing. We toured Western Canada when there were six night gigs. I was the lead guitar player for a bunch of different bands over the years. As that scene started to die out, and dwindled from six nights to five nights then down to just weekends, I realized it was drying up and wasn't feasible any more. I was also getting older too, but it was a good experience for me in my 20s and it was a good way of learning my chops, develop my ear and learn about the industry, and it was a lot of fun.
Andrea: So it was good for you to understand what you were getting into after with your own band?
J.J.: Oh yes, as that would down and it was not feasible any more, it was either get a real job, or figure out some way to stay involved in the entertainment field and the music industry. That was when I started to develop as a mix engineer.
Andrea: Did you enjoy that time, did you have fun doing that?
J.J.:  I really do enjoy working as a mix engineer.  If there is a great band on stage, I have as much fun behind the sound board as I would if I was on stage.
Andrea: Did you meet a lot of good people through that time?
J.J.: I made a lot of connections through the years, working at the club, because they brought in a lot of touring acts. The club was committed to doing live entertainment, and they did all types of different genres from punk rock, country, blue grass to metal and everything in between. It was a great way to connect with people and I met people in the industry from all over the place with different backgrounds.
Andrea: So did that help you along in choosing your new career in which you put out an album of your own in 2008 called "Hillbilly Storybook"? Can you tell me a bit about that?
J.J.: That album was almost like going to university for me, what I was learning as a sound engineer I started to apply as a recording engineer. I started to get involved in digital recording. I took the knowledge that I had learned in one field and applied it to the next. I basically kept evolving and morphing and leapfrogging into different areas. For me I was side guy in cover bands for years and years, and then I got involved behind the scenes as a production guy. In the back of my mind as a little kid I always wanted to be as singer songwriter, and a solo recording artist, but for one reason or another I never jumped out and pursued it. In my late twenties, I got to the point where I had the experience in these different things and then it was natural. I thought, now I'm ready I can do this on my own. I didn't have a big bankroll to work with and everything I've done this far I've had to finance on my own. It was a logical step.
Andrea: Out of the songs are on "Hillbilly Storybook", can you tell me what was your number one on that album?
J.J.: I wrote three of the six songs on that project. Again that was me just learning how to do it and I was a very novice songwriter. The first song I ever started and finished I put on that album. From being a kid I always dabbled and wrote stuff down but I never really finished, and didn't know how to. I didn't have the discipline or the resolve to do it. Finally I had reached a point where I said I have to do this. I sat down and the first song I started and finished was called "Holy Man".  I got inspired and started to write the song  after all hell started to break loose in the Middle East after the attack happened on the World Trade Centre. I knew nothing about foreign politics and nothing about the Middle East. It was so relevant at the time and interesting but I had no idea what was really going on. I bought a book called "Holy War Incorporated" because I want to learn about it. It was dry, tough reading, but after I read this book, it really started to make sense, and inspired me to write the song.
Andrea: So you come from a small farm in rural Saskatchewan, can you tell me about that?
J.J.: Yes, it is about an hour north of Regina.
Andrea: Is that where your family still is and your roots are there?
J.J.: Oh Yes!  *smiling
Andrea: So you are familiar with farming and ranching?
J.J.: We still own and operate a little farm.
Andrea: Do you have a horse?
J.J.: Oh yes, we have three horses. The one horse, my dad and I bought together when I was about 13. Her name is Blaze and she's a feisty Arab!
Andrea: So you have to ride her more often then, is what you are saying?
J.J.: Oh yeah, I’d love to!  When I was in my teens, I rode a lot!  but my biggest obstacle was my allergies and  they seemed to have gotten worse as I got older. Now I really have a hard time being able to be around the horses.
Andrea: Oh No!  I bet you were glad when they cut out smoking in all the bars.
J.J.: Oh Huge difference, yes! It's too bad because I love animals and I love horses. My allergies vary with different types of animals, but especially with horse sweat.  In the summer, it is not even possible for me to ride. In the winter time I can go riding, but I have to be careful not to rub my eyes or touch my face or anything. But I still have the love and still have the horses out there. It's all good.
Andrea: That's too bad it is not wholesome and healthy for you to be out there for the most part!
J.J.: Well Dad still has a team that he hooks up every year.
Andrea: Does he do sleigh rides and stuff like that?
J.J.: Oh yeah, every year at Christmas time.
Andrea: In your Bio it says that your heroes include Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, and Steve Earle. Can you pick one, and tell me what inspired you about that person or why they are your hero?
J.J.: Steve Earle! He has to be the cornerstone just for the fact that, at the time when I was most impressionable growing up, his music was hitting me and it spoke to me right at that time. I became an avid fan and I followed him since I was 11 years old. I have every recording he's ever done, and well, I know too much about the guy.
Andrea: Now what do you consider your music to be is it country or pop or a mix?
J.J.: I try not to get too caught up in titles or branding it, but if you are trying to make a career or a living out of it, you do have to think about the business aspect of it. The reality of it is in Canada we have country music radio or modern rock or else classic rock. I am somewhere between southern guitar rock, and 90s country that was produced by Steve Earle, The Mavericks or Dwight Yoakam. That whole era between the mid 80s and early 90s is what really influenced the way I sound today. That's the music that I dig.
Andrea: So who do you write for when you write? Do you write for yourself or do you write for other people?
J.J.: Well right now I'm writing for myself.  because I want to write songs about things that I want to say as an artist and things that effect me.
Andrea: So, true stuff?
J.J.: Yes.
Andrea: What artist do you think you resemble most and why?
J.J.: Oh, Paul Thorn! When I found his music, it basically stoked the fire in me like it did when I discovered Steve Earle’s music. Paul is incredibly intelligent and the deals with very deep topics and sensitive issues, but he does it with a tongue in cheek humour,   but it's not stupid humour it's very intelligent. He looks at situations from a unique angle; (most often from the underdog’s point of view) our culture tends to see everything in black and white.... Good vs. Bad.   Paul’s writing highlights that there is good and bad in everyone....  We’re all human.
Andrea: Can you tell me about the song “Whiskey, the Tree and Me"?
J.J.: That one is a very personal tune in regards to my family. Around ’95 (I believe it was) my cousin, Nathan, was playing broomball during a phys Ed Class at school. He lost his feet from under him, hit his head on the ice and was knocked out briefly. They got him up, he walked it off and he seemed okay. He went back to school with a headache, A little while later he passed out in class. They rushed him to the hospital, but he had an aneurism and within 24 hours they had told the family that he was brain dead.  The family made the tough choice to take him off of life support a few days later, the accident happened on December the 18th, and we buried him on December the 23rd.  The twist to this already tragic story, is that he was born Christmas Day, and yet we had to bury him so close to his birthday, it really hit me on the way home. He was my first cousin. I mean, we weren't close like brothers or something, but it really left an impression on me. I thought, “Man, what is it going to be like every year, come Christmas time,” (and really, for the whole month of December) to think of him, with every Christmas cheer. It has to be hard to be his parents, and re-live that over and over, every year. I came up with that song title that day. It was about four years ago, on Christmas Eve, that I finished the song.
Andrea: Did it take you that long to find the right words?
J.J.: No, I guess maybe I am just a terrible procrastinator, and I just said I have to finish this already and I finally finished the thought.
Andrea: I know you are passionate about it, because I could tell when you performed it. I knew by the way you sang it that it was a personal song. That is why I had to ask you about it. I am glad that you are deep enough that you can write about stuff that is personal to you.
J.J.: Well that goes back to my heroes, the people who I look up to as song writers. They are not afraid to write about  Tough, personal topics, I think it helps with healing.
Andrea: Now, another song I really like is "Joanie The Jehovah's Witness Stripper". Can you elaborate on how you ended up with this song?  *Laughing

J.J.:  Well I can't take credit for that song!  That’s a Paul Thorn Song, who I mentioned earlier. He wrote that one, I heard Chris Cummings play the song during one of his shows at the club that I was working at.  I FELL in love with the song, and just had to record it.   What makes it authentic for me, I suppose is, that on my dad's side of the family, there were 9 kids and there was a split in the family back in the 70s. The family was Catholic. My grandma and my three aunts became Jehovah's. I was born in ’75 and had never met them until I was in my teens, and when I did, they were handing out pamphlets! The whole religious thing was a sensitive subject to my family. It was a real issue growing up. I didn't know half of my family, and my uncle didn't even go to his own mother's funeral because of this, the song isn't taking a poke just at Jehovah Witness', I have a hard time with organized religions in general, Now don’t get me wrong, I respect everyone’s personal belief systems... and spirituality and I, myself, have my own beliefs, and I consider myself spiritual too. I just have a hard time with the “business” of religion.   To wrap this up in a nutshell, when I heard "Joanie The Jehovah's Witness Stripper", I knew it was so me, I had to put it on the album.
Andrea: Well, I absolutely love the song and I think it’s priceless. I go on to your websites and Reverb Nation and listen to it again. I had to ask about the song because I often hear people say "WHAT?" when I talk about the song. I am sure you get a lot of that!
J.J.:  Well in fairness to the JW’s, in the song "Holy Man" I’m pretty critical of main stream Christianity as well.   Some might think it is an anti-war song, and to some degree I am anti-war I suppose, but the song more about using people’s faith systems to manipulate them into War.   I believe if a country is going to go to war, there had better be damn good, unavoidable reasons to do so.   With our leaders painting Muslim’s as terrorists  and Christians as the good guys this does nothing but perpetuate hate..... When the whole concept of Religion and “God” is supposed to be about Love.     If Nations were to send 30-50 year old people to fight wars,   I don’t believe they’d happen very often. Instead we send 18 or 25 year old kids, who are hell bent to be somebody..... Easy to point and shoot.

Andrea: Now, if you were interviewing yourself, what kind of question would you ask yourself, and how would you answer it? What would you like to get OUT THERE?
J.J.:  Ha ha- that is a tough one, because I talk a lot! It usually a matter of getting me to shut up and put things concisely, so that is a real tough one to answer! I suppose I should have to ask myself what do I hope to accomplish or what are my goals?  Or why I am a solo artist or why am I as passionate about song writing as I am. I think it is because of the artists that I look up to. Artists like Johnny Cash changed the world and spoke to people and dealt with very touchy subjects. I think Steve Earle followed in his footsteps. Those two were the most prevalent in my world.
Andrea: If you had to pick an artist and ask him questions, who would it be?
J.J.:  Oh, it would have to be Paul Thorn. I met him briefly in October, and I had a couple of good conversations with him, but he is such a complex guy and his past is very interesting. His father was a Pentecostal Minister. Paul touches on spirituality throughout his work, and he takes pokes at hypocrisy surrounding organized churches. Still, he has very strong beliefs.  I would like to ask him if he recommends that I stay clear of the church that he came from! He is so clever in the way that he crafts his songs, you don't really know for sure, but he gets you thinking! Paul is dealing with topics that are pertinent to me right now.
Andrea: Can you tell me about your time in Nashville?
J.J.:  Nashville is a wonderful place and very beneficial in helping me develop my song writing skills and get further ahead. It's an inspiring town, and every time I have gone, I come back with a really good song. I will sit at home and come up with nothing, but there’s something in the air that is just inspiring in Nashville.   I have had the privilege of writing with some very good writers. I am learning a lot about getting started, and finishing. One great analogy I had heard, is “get the frame work done” we are not putting in carpet or hanging curtains, we are just framing the house. It's a matter of getting the blue print of the song, getting the arrangement worked out, and tweaking it afterwards and finishing it.
Andrea: Was it a good experience for you being in Nashville then?
J.J.:  Yes, the town is very welcoming, and the people there want to help you, they make you feel so welcome because they want you coming back.  A songwriter will wake up in the morning make his coffee and his jobs is to and write a new song. You can run out of  ideas just like I have at home, but when you have somebody coming in from elsewhere bringing new and fresh ideas, it’s  what helps keep that town moving. Everyone wants to see you get further, because it is a networking town. You know someone who knows someone and everybody winds up climbing higher on the ladder.
Andrea: Did you get to meet anyone famous while you were there?
J.J.:  Oh, yes, lots of people, like Jacob Dillon from the Wallflowers, Robert Plant, Rodney Crowell,  Raul Malo, Jack White, Lucinda Williams, Paul Thorn, Steve Earle
Andrea: Wow- you met Steve Earle, that's like a dream come true!
J.J.:  Oh I have got to meet him a few times now. This time was a different setting. He was at a night club (and he hates night clubs), he did not want to be there! I felt a little sheepish about approaching him “like a Fan” but I just had to. I stopped him and bugged him for a picture. You could tell he wanted to get the heck out of there, but he took a picture with me and away he went.
Andrea: Do you have anything you want to add or perhaps give yourself a promotional plug here?
J.J.:  Sure, look me up on line, I am pretty involved in the social media world, I am on Facebook www.facebook.com/jjvoss  and Twitter.www.twitter.com@jjvoss   Go to my website www.jjvoss.com  and check out my music  if you like what I Do then you can check it out on iTunes or order it off my website, and I will send you an autographed copy! Thanks for the interview- it's been great!
J.J. Voss
306-537-4377
jj@jjvoss.com
www.facebook.com/jjvoss
www.twitter.com@jjvoss
www.reverbnation.com/jjvoss

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April Kae - Singer & Horse Owner interviewed by Andrea Lawrence

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 23, 2012 07:00

 

Let me start by saying that April was wonderful to take time out of her busy life to let me do this interview for HOT.
I started by asking April what her weather was like in San Diego, California, and when she replied that they were at about 60 degrees there this morning, I almost cried. I explained that is was t-shirt weather here and that it was about minus 20. We both had a laugh and with that I broke the ice and started the interview.
Andrea: April, I see by some of your music that it is quite upbeat and your bio says that you are a pop-dance edge, would you ever consider writing a country song since you are a horse loving girl?
April: Yes, lots of people ask me that because they think horses, country. And yes, absolutely! I write all kinds of music so sometimes I write whatever I feel like writing, so sometimes it comes out being R & B and sometimes I write RAP, but I need to focus myself in one genre right now, but that isn't to say that in the future I might come out with a country album. I like to surprise people and I am really up for anything!
Andrea: It is also good to keep your options open and not be stereo-typed as well.
April: That is true!
Andrea: Obviously you are a pretty busy girl. Do you have your own horses?
April: I do. Right now I have 2 saddlebreds, one is my mom's and one is mine. My horse is named Silver. He is grey, but he is a very unusual colour of grey for a saddlebred, he is almost all white. Most of the time a saddlebred will be a dapple grey or a darker grey, but he is cool, really cool!
Andrea: So what do you do with your horses; Do you go on trail rides or show?
April: Well sometimes, yes. I compete in horse shows in saddleseat. I actually had a horse show last weekend and I won both my classes. My horse does everything though. He has done all the divisions that we have, which is rare because most horses only do one or two of the divisions. I also take him out on trail rides, and we have a huge arena where I keep him. He loves to do that. Silver is actually 22 years old, but he still acts like he is really young! He and I have competed and we have won a championship for the Pacific Coast Circuit, so we have done pretty well together in horse shows as well as just hanging out at home.
Andrea: That sounds like a lot of traveling to get to all those shows.
April: Yes it is, but we mostly just do the ones in California, but occasionally we will go over to Arizona, and we did do one in Las Vegas, so yes, we do travel a lot. The world championships are in Kentucky.
Andrea: It makes it all worth it when you do win, to make that drive. You have to be proud of your horse and proud of yourself as well.
April: Oh yes, the feeling is great, and wonderful!

Andrea: Now, back to your singing career April, I read through your bio and I was wondering if you had ever produced or choreographed your own videos?
April: I co-produced the video that I have coming out now, but basically I don't do the editing or anything myself! I did come up with the story board, and then we shot it and then I helped with the editing. We have one video that I have coming out now, and hopefully some more in line in the future. The current video is due to be released sometime early next week. * the week of December 10, 2012
Andrea: We all know cowgirls can dance, so that is why I had to ask!
April: I can, I can dance, I am not a choreographer, but if you give me the choreography I can do it!
Andrea: Well we all have strong legs if we ride!
April: (laughing) Oh, for sure!
Andrea: With that being said, if I can put you on the spot, if you were interviewing yourself, what kind of question would you like to ask yourself? I mean, what would you like to have 'put out there'?
*both of us laugh here and Andrea says: No pressure April!
April:  Yes, I know, but that is a weird question, because no one has ever asked me that before! I would like to talk about the things that I have going on right now. I would also like to talk about my life and the things that I do, and I would like to talk about my animals, because it is not just, horses I have. I have dogs and, well I have had all kinds of animals! BUT, my passion other than music, is rescuing animals. Recently, on Thanksgiving, I found a stray dog who I took in, now I have three. I have two blue pit bulls and one miniature poodle that is on my lap right now. I am trying to find her a home. She was emaciated, and had a horrible skin condition when I found her and now she is doing great. In the past couple of years, I think she is the fifth dog I have rescued off of the street! I do devote a lot of my time to rescuing animals. I don't go out and adopt them, I just seem to find them all over, and it seems like they are always coming to me! I end up re-homing them, I can't keep all of them.
Andrea: No, especially if you are traveling! It is hard to have a lot of pets, unless you have somebody that you can trust to leave them with?
April: Oh I do! My mom and my boyfriend are both really great about watching them! This little poodle, I can take her everywhere with me, but the dog I found on Thanksgiving is 75 pounds and she is a handful!
Andrea: She probably loves you to death for rescuing her though?
April: Oh she is great, and I know it is going to break my heart to give her up, but I have to say to myself that if I kept all the dogs that I rescued, then I wouldn't be able to keep rescuing them.
Andrea: So, with your music, you said, "Through my music, I want to be empowering for women, appealing to men, and set a good example for young girls.” Can you elaborate on that for me, as I think that is a very important part of your biography for you.
April: Its hard growing up as a young girl, and getting bombarded in the media with the image that you are 'supposed' to project as a woman, and what you are supposed to live up to, and I found it difficult. I found that there were many times when I was growing up that I had just wished that I was a boy. I was so frustrated with being a girl because there was things that I couldn't do, and then all these things that I was supposed to be doing that I didn't want to do, and so I just want to show young women, and women of all ages really, that you can be yourself and that you don't have to fit into a stereo type of the 'typical woman'. You don't have to do that! Also, you don't have to try so hard to be beautiful, there is that too. You know, I don't want to, and I always say that I don't think I would ever get plastic surgery. If I did, I am certainly not the kind of person who is going to walk around lie about having plastic surgery! There are so many celebrities that do that. Are you trying to say that you are perfect, and that everyone is supposed to be perfect? Young women grow up thinking they can never attain that. That is where I am trying to go with that. It is really important to me, because I struggled with all kinds of things, being a young woman in our society, and I just want to do what I can to help the people that are growing up, and tell them they don't have to feel that pressure that I felt.
Andrea: That is a good attitude to have, and I am proud of you for taking that stand and helping. I know, because being a country girl, that had to go to school covered in hay and stuff, I got a hard time all the time! I look back now, and realize that I am just so much better off than the ones that harassed me!
April: It's probably because you have a healthy lifestyle, where you go outside and do things, and I just wish that kids could take the time to be kids, and not worry about growing up so fast. I wanted to grow up really fast when I was a kid. There is eight year old girls walking around with makeup and heels on now, and I just think, I wish you would take the time to be a kid. You have the rest whole rest of your life to have to wear makeup and heels- just enjoy being a child!
Andrea: The horse industry here in Saskatchewan definitely pushes youth and youth equestrianism, to keep the kids into something wholesome and healthy like that rather than getting bored and going to parties and things they shouldn't probably be at in the first place. I am not saying there is not drugs out in the country, because we know there is, but with that being said, where do you stand on drugs and that kind of thing?
April: Oh, I am really anti-drug. It is hard to be anti-drug in the music industry, and I don't drink, and I don't do drugs, but it is almost like you miss out by not drinking and doing drugs. So, it is really hard because people are all getting together and they are all going to go hang out and smoke and drink, and if you don't want to do that, then you kind of stop getting invited to things. It was hard for me through high school, and its hard now, but, you know what, at the end of the day, it is so much more important to me to be healthy and to NOT succumb to peer pressure than anything! I am not going to do something that I don't believe in, just to get ahead. It not important enough to me. At the end of the day I can feel good about my decision. In San Diego there is a lot of drug problems because we are close to the border. I have a lot of friends whose lives have been devastated by drugs. You know, people who have died, people who have gone to rehab, and people who are unable to live up to their potential. I have seen it so many times that I am so put off by the whole thing. I actually wish that more kids could see the effects of what drugs actually do to you instead of just hearing about it or having someone at your school lecture about it. The kids just think we are over reacting, but when you see it for yourself, it really becomes a reality.
Andrea:  I have to give you kudos again, because look at where you are now because you didn't drink and you didn't do drugs. You can take the world by the hand and lead the way if you want. I think you are very beautiful, and wouldn't have any problems having someone believe you with the way you speak about it, and how enunciated you are about those issues and I think it's great of you.  
April: Thank you.
Andrea: What is being normal to you? What is a normal day?
April: *Laughing- Well, ok, I get up, and I go to the gym and I work out. I do dance classes. I run around my neighborhood and sing while I am running, and people think I am really odd. It's necessary because if you are going to be touring and performing, you need to be in that kind of shape! I spend a lot of time playing with my dogs and taking them out on walks. I go out to the barn, at least twice a week right now because I am so busy, but I used to be out there every day, but I just can't get out there as much now. I spend about eight hours a day working on things I need to do. I make a lot of phone calls, and do interviews, and I write music. Lately, I have been spending a lot of time pushing my music, and my song is coming out, and I have a new release, a single, coming out at the end of December or early January. I also have a video coming out next week, and so that takes a lot of getting the media ready for it and post it all on social media like twitter and facebook, so that takes time as well. Someday I might have somebody help me with all that, but right now it is doing a lot for myself! I try to make time for my creativity as well. When you are so busy with the work stuff and accounting and all that which is for my business that I have set up, it's hard to be creative, so I try to limit myself to a certain number of hours a day that I am working on business, and then spend the rest of it being creative. You can't force creativity! Sometimes nothing comes, and I just sit there and I don't write anything. That happens. Sometimes, I write something great as well!
Andrea: That is when you need to just go surf the internet and find a picture or story that inspires you. Like doing something nice for someone everyday can really inspire people.
April: Yes, doing those things can really tap into your creativity.
Andrea: One thing leads to another, and before you know it you will have 15 songs written!
April: Oh yes, when the good stuff happens, it flows really fast! I know that you are a writer and you can identify with that. When its good, it happens really fast. You know, if you are spending hours and hours trying to think of something it just going to be a throw away!
Andrea: Yes, you might as well put the pen down and go make a latte or something! Now, you mentioned that you have a boyfriend, is he into horses, or what does he do with you?
April: *laughing - Well, he is into horses NOW.  He wasn't before and he had never ridden before I met him. So, I put him on this horse, and it was the only horse I had at the time that I could put him on, and she was kind of nervous and jumpy. I was leading him around and kind of giving him the 'pony ride' which was all I was going to do, but he said "No No, I can do this myself!" So, I was like ok, if you are going to try to be macho about it, you can go ahead and do it yourself! So, he kicked her and said Giddy up,  and she just took off! Well, he stayed on, and he did a good job of staying on, but he was terrified, and after that he had more respect for the process of learning how to ride! You can't just do the cowboy thing! You know, people think it is like in the movies where you just get up there and kick a horse and the horse goes! That's not really how it goes. My boyfriend is a great guy though! He makes it to all of my horse events and all of my performances that I do and I really appreciate that.
Andrea: It nice that he is supportive, and that is good. He even babysits your dogs when you have to go do something. 
April: Oh he is even more of a dog lover than I am. I couldn't be with someone who didn't love animals. It just wouldn't work. He is such a good sport when I find these stray dogs, he is like 'alright, we can keep them in the house and I will help you feed them' and everything, so he is a great guy!
Andrea: That really helps you to be able to budget your time well too. Do you get to spend time with him with all the stuff going on?
April: Oh yes I do! One of the things I like to pride myself on is that I am really good at organizing my time! So, when I am spending time with him, that is all that matters. I don't bring work into our relationship in that way. If we are going to have a date night, I am NOT on my phone. I turn my phone off. It is important to keep a well rounded life. I know that breaking into the music business is incredibly hard, and takes a lot of dedication, but I would drive myself insane if I didn't do anything else but that! I don't think it's healthy! I try to spend as much time on it as any person who is starting a business, which is a lot of my time, but it is important to dedicate time to my relationship with him, dedicate time to my family, which is really important to me as well as my friends and my animals of course. As long as I have that going on, I am happy and I am able to manage it.
Andrea: Well this is where I ask you to give yourself a much deserved plug and tell me where these great horse people can read up on you some more, or ask you any questions.
April: My song that is out now is "The Writings on the Wall" and it is available on itunes, and the video that is coming out is for "The Writings on the Wall", and it was partly shot in Las Vegas and part in San Diego, at a place called the Belly Up, where a lot of high-profile artists come to perform. I got to do the club scenes there. The video is awesome and really fun. It has some little twists in it that are kind of cool and different, so that will be up on youtube and on vimeo as well by next week. Also the new single I have coming out, I can't talk too much about, but it is very beat driven and very dancy. It is going to make you want to dance. It also has another really wonderful message that is very empowering to people. It's a song about moving on from a relationship and finding your own inner strength. It is like the theme right now, even though I am in a great relationship, it is a theme that everyone can relate to I think, and it is a really good theme. You can find my music on http://www.aprilkae.com/ and my face book is  http://www.facebook.com/aprilkaemusic and my twitter is https://twitter.com/april_kae#.

http://www.tunecore.com/widgets/show/94757


Andrea: So in the future if any one has any questions for you they can look you up on facebook and ask you?
April: Yes, I am always on facebook and twitter so if anyone has questions or wants to comment or just LIKE my page, I would really appreciate it. It's nice to get the encouragement and feedback from fans.
Andrea: That helps you to design which way you are going to go next as well.
April: Oh it does! I ask questions to my fans a lot.  I'll say that I am going to do a cover video,  what song do you want me to do. Afterwards, I will look through all their answers and pick one of their ideas that I like. I definitely pay attention to what people want me to do.
Andrea: That is good for productivity on your part as well. It is nice to have someone who gives back a little bit as well to the community like you do by empowering young women to make them realize that it's not the way you have got to be, it is the way you want to be.
April: That is a great way to say it. That is definitely true.
Andrea: Well I think I have taken up enough of your time, and I thank you for doing this interview.
April: Oh, it was nice talking to you this morning as well. Thank you!
After speaking to April, I found that she is a very passionate woman. She truly believes that people should be themselves and not have to 'conform' to what today's society portrays in television and movies. She loves spending time with her horses and other animals and smiles whenever she talks about them. To her, right now, her music and the message she is sending through her music are truly important to her. Please watch for this wonderful woman's songs and videos in the near future, and feel free to support her thorough the purchase of her song "The Writings on the Wall" on itunes.

Contact April Kae:
http://www.facebook.com/aprilkaemusic

https://twitter.com/april_kae#

http://www.aprilkae.com/

Contact Andrea Lawrence:
http://andrea-lawrence.artistwebsites.com/
Follow me on Twitter @FridaysMyDay
http://painterskeys.com/pal/andrea_lawrence/

http://www.horseownertoday.com/vendor.aspx?vid=26

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Music

Letting Money Get the Best of Us By Avery Waite

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 18, 2012 08:13

In 2008, thoroughbred racehorse Eight Belles finished second in the Kentucky Derby, one of the world’s most prestigious horseraces. However, shortly after crossing the finish line, she collapsed in pain from two broken ankles and was euthanized on the track. A similar fate beheld Ruffian in 1975, Barbaro in 2006, and Raspberry Kiss in 2009. While these stories are well known, many people fail to realize how often these events occur. On average, 24 horses die each week at American racetracks. Many horses are drugged to block the pain they feel or to increase performance while they race. Since 2009, the injury incident rate has increased and trainers at United States tracks have been caught illegally drugging horses 3,800 times, a vast underestimate of the problem considering how few horses are actually tested. Why do we overlook the fact that many racehorses are pumped full of drugs, forced to run long distances at a young age, and often die of broken bones or heart attacks on the track? It is time that we help protect horses from people’s desires for economic profit.
The desire for money is the root of many problems in horseracing. In order to increase race attendance, racetracks have added casino gambling to their operations, resulting in higher purses. This provides an incentive for trainers to enter horses that are not ready to race. Trainers also push horses beyond their limits from a very young age with the hopes of having the next winner of the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, or the Belmont Stakes, as these races can generate millions of dollars in profit. People start training their horses between one to one and a half years old in order to be contenders in the major races. However, at that age, horses are not physically mature. Training horses before they have matured can cause common racing problems like lower-limb ailments and injuries. Early training also reduces the average horse’s lifespan from mid- twenties to about six years old. In addition, if a horse is not generating revenue, it could be one of the 10,000 racehorses that are shipped across United States borders to slaughterhouses every year.
After Eight Belles died in 2008, Congress received promises from the racing industry to make the sport safer. While safety measures like bans on anabolic steroids have been enacted, assessing their impact has been difficult because many tracks do not keep accurate accident figures. While there are many people who take great care of their horses, there are others who severely mistreat them. To improve the current situation, stronger regulations must be implemented concerning the use of drugs in horseracing. In England, horses cannot race on drugs, and breakdown rates are half of what they are in the United States. Therefore, banning drugs in races is a good first step towards providing better lives for racehorses. Gambling at racetracks should also be monitored and reduced. If there were not so much at stake, trainers would not feel the need to risk horses’ lives by forcing unfit horses to race. Finally, we should limit the number of races a horse can run every year. This would decrease the stress placed on these young horses bodies that are not fully matured. It would also lessen the number of deaths that occur on the racetracks each year by giving horses longer breaks between races.
What I have learned to love most about horses since I began riding at age seven, and what I miss about them now that I am in college, is the bond that we are able to form with them. They are so powerful and can easily harm people, yet when treated with care and respect, they are eager to do their best for us. Unfortunately, many people take advantage of the trust that horses instill in us. It is our responsibility to ensure that horses have the best quality of life. In order to prevent horses from suffering a similar fate to that of Eight Belles, we must stand up for horses and help make the sport of horseracing safer and more humane.

 

Avery Waite is a sophomore at Duke University majoring in Public Policy and Global Health
To contact Avery, email her at avery.waite@duke.edu

"West" Wins Prestigious Swedish Design Award 2012

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   October 25, 2012 08:54


The prestigious Swedish Design Award 2012 goes to WEST, the new Swedish book about the American West. WEST is the work of Lars Strandberg (photo), Lars Åberg (text) and Ronnie Nilsson (design). The winner in the award’s book category was announced October 18 at the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm.

US critics call the book ”gorgeous”, ”stunning”, ”extraordinary”, ”marvelous”, ”lovely, lyrical in that cowboy way, unsentimental, and true”, ”uniquely perceptive and querying” and ”a definite ‘must have’ book”.

”A particularly incisive and beautiful coffee-table book”, Cowboys & Indians magazine writes in its October issue. ”WEST delves beneath the surface with a poetic investigative zeal. It’s a wide-open European perspective on the wide-open American spaces.”

This is a success story worth noticing. Two Swedes, writer Lars Åberg and photographer Lars Strandberg, travel extensively in the American West and with designer friend Ronnie Nilsson they produce a book with their impressions. US publisher Gibbs Smith immediately releases it, in English, without any prior publication in Sweden or in the Swedish language. And this European take on one of the most American of topics seems to make the reviewers all excited:
www.larsaberg.se/eng/Review.php?recordID=30

If you have questions about WEST, please contact me (the writer).


Lars Åberg
Långgårdsgatan 1
211 21 Malmö
Sweden

phone +46 705 24 45 45
email info@larsaberg.se
www.larsaberg.se

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book review

"Cowboy Beans" by Ol Shepp

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:26

Cowboy Beans

By OLShepp

 Food is our fuel and everyone is pressed for time, even cowboys.  Protein needs must be considered every day and especially during physically stressful times. Because protein is needed not only to maintain energy levels, it also is needed to help control hunger and maintain lean muscle mass and muscle replenishment for hard working cowboys and cowgirls facing extreme conditions, students learning, and anyone thinking and working hard all day.

When I knew Pops, he was in his later years and his days of punching cattle were numbered.  His concept of food was drastic and his ideals are the most basic of cowboy cooking.

 

“It’s just food.  You’ve gotta eat it, doesn’t have to taste good.”  Pops declares as he heaps ‘Cowboy Beans’ on each plate around the campfire.

‘Cowboy Beans’ not only tastes good it is loaded with protein and carbohydrates that we all need for energy to work hard, and to concentrate and ride all day in the pouring rain .

 

Cowboy Beans

·                 Brown 2# lean hamburger, drain and set aside (protein 20 grams/85 g serving, 244 cal )

·                 1 large can baked beans   (protein 14 grams / 1cup serving, 382 cal )

·                 1 small onion chopped

Bits of 1 slice of cooked bacon crumbled for flavor

1 small can diced tomatoes (fresh tomatoes when available).

I heat ingredients, until hot and bubbly @ 350, about 20min.

 

*Ingredients are listed for convenience sake.  Cowpokes living far from town are not allowed the luxury of always having fresh ingredients.  I have listed alternative fresh ingredients along with the good-old standbys.  I do recommend always using the fresher items when available.

 

*Serve hot with a fresh tossed salad and my kids love this with corn-on-the-cob.

Protein consumption of between 10-35 % of total caloric intake, diminishes hunger and ensures maintenance of healthy muscle tissues.  Protein is required to maintain energy balance, satiety and nutrient intake to promote health and support lean tissues in order to reduce risk of chronic diseases.  Good quality proteins that are low in fats; fish, lean meats, poultry, whole-wheat cereals and grains, nuts, seeds, fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy are essential to everyone’s wellness.

Good food and happy tummies are a “cowboys” preventive medicine.  You Cowboys like to eat, and will come in from a busy day for a good meal.

 

Reprinted by kind permission of OLShepp, lives with her family on a ranch in Wyoming where she cooks and writes for the health of it.  www.cookingforcowboys.com , provides simple recipes for healthy cooking on a budget.

 

 

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General

Cooking For Cowboys by OLShepp

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:20

 

 

I, like you, dreamt of being a cowboy as a kid roping calves and riding like the wind.

 

 

 

Cowboys are no more healthy than anyone else.  Cowboys do get the flu and they should get vaccinated and visit the dentist on a yearly basis.  However, most of you cowboys and some of you cowgirls whom I know do not see a doctor regularly.  And certainly not when it’s something that can be fixed with a sip of  whiskey, an aspirin or a horse pill.

 

 

 

Most cowboys reside too far from town to mess with the trip for preventive medical efforts like dental check-ups, vaccinations etc.  Self-sufficiency is this terrible disease that we cowboys have of not letting anyone tell us what we need nor what we don’t need.

 

 

 

Time is another factor to consider today for us cowboys seeking preventive measures.  A full day must be set aside for trips to town with lists stretching into the neighboring county.  Imagine the fences wasting away, the water wells gone dry, the irrigation water wasting while you were wasting time for a check-up.  Cowboys don’t do this.  We go to the doctor when and only when we’re broken.    Sound familiar?

 

 

 

The “Cooking for Cowboys” column originated as a cooking column.  My research logically began with recipes; the recipes I had in my collections, my mother’s collection, her mother’s and so on.

 

 

 

The recipes discovered are grand, the stories behind the recipes are entertaining and the characters are divine.  The tales that unravel while I research and write become much more than recipes, much more than cooking.  The people who do the cooking, the nourishing, do so much more.  Much more work, love and living go into cooking for cowboys than you ever imagined.

 

 

 

*********************

 

 

 

 Reprinted with kind permission of OL Shepp, thanks!

 

Living on the family ranch in Wyoming,  OL Shepp writes of love, laughter, life and sometimes her cute kids, or maybe a horse or two.  When she's not cooking for cowboys and cowgirls.  Read more of OlShepp's @ olshepp.wordpress.com & cookingforcowboys.com

 

 

 

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General

Creation of a Functional Kitchen by D'Reen

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:13

   I thought I should start at the beginning. For some this is one of the most terrifying, mind boggling events of our lives. Yes this is about the creation of a functional kitchen..  I am not talking about bottled water, frozen dinners and a microwave, no my friends  it is buying equipment, stocking your pantry and passing on American Idol reruns  to make some delicious and may I also add healthy dishes. Do not get me wrong this is not an inexpensive venture but like buying a car if maintained will be very affordable, manageable and have great results. If you do not make an attempt you will be doomed to a life of drive-thrus and frozen  dinners..

First we need to purchase some basic equipment for the kitchen.

Fridge and stove is a good start. Then maybe add a few gadgets like a rice steamer and a food processor but RESIST too many gadgets we need room on the counter to work.

Cutting board

Set of 8/10 st.st. pots at least a 2qt. 6qt. and a fry pan (non stick is a good choice)

Strainer

Box grater

Measuring cups and spoons

Spatula

Mixing bowls

Wooden spoons

Pastry brush

Can opener

Whisk

Chef’s knife, paring knife and bread knife

And of course a set of 10oz. wine glasses!!!!!! Oops personal preference  8oz. would work too….

This will give you a great start. Do not get me wrong there are a lot of fun gadgets we will need later in our food travels. Just be sure that when you go shopping make it fun, try on your tools do they fit well in your hand? is the weight  comfortable? If your tools are not right you will not use them.  So take the time and pay a little extra for  good  kitchen equipment and most importantly does the color  match your ipod dock?

Now you are excited, super excited so when you get home tonight and tear off your clothes grab that vegetable peeler and peel those carrots, and potatoes and feel proud of yourself because you are on the food adventure of your life.

Next we will stock the pantry and the spice rack.

www.dreens.com/

 

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General

Your Hurricane Action Plan

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:12

 

Check out Public Safety Canada’s site, www.getprepared.ca, to find out how to prepare for any kind of emergency or potential disaster. On that site you’ll find lots of information about how to make your personal emergency plan and what you should put in an emergency kit.

Here is an action plan of what you need to do before a hurricane becomes a threat:

1. Learn about hurricanes – Find out if hurricanes could be a threat to you. Visit the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s website to learn as much as you can. Go to the Climatology section of the website to learn if you are in an area that is visited by tropical cyclones and to see what such cyclones have done in the past. In particular, visit the section on Hazards and Impacts, which outlines the four basic threats posed by hurricanes or tropical storms in Canada:

2. Secure your home - You can make your home more secure and less vulnerable to storms. Once you know your vulnerability or areas of weakness, you can take steps to protect your family, pets and property.

First, make sure that you have the proper home insurance, which covers for specific losses where you suspect you are vulnerable. If insurance companies suspect that you are more vulnerable in certain ways, this will be factored into the amount of risk they are willing to take. This will in turn be reflected in the cost of your insurance. Doing whatever you can to reduce your vulnerability could also reduce your insurance costs.

Second, put the time and money into strengthening the areas where you are vulnerable. For example, if you already know that you have a basement flooding problem during heavy rain events, you can seal your foundation or other areas where water is finding its way in, build drainage ditches to divert water away from your house, and make sure that you have a working sump-pump. If wind is your greatest threat, you can strengthen the exterior of your home to keep wind from breaking in by doing things like protecting and reinforcing your roof, windows and doors (including garage doors). Construction experts can advise you on your exact needs. There is little you can do ahead of time to protect your home or property from storm surge and large coastal waves. The best thing you can do when storm surge or large waves are on the way is to move away from the coast.

Third, if a power outage would cause serious problems for you, you may want to consider having a backup generator that will supply enough power to meet your essential needs (like in the case of essential medical or supportive equipment). Most emergency plans focus on being self-reliant for the first 72 hours after disaster strikes, but if your needs extend beyond that, then this must be part of your personal plan.

3. Develop a family plan – Make sure everyone knows what to do, where to go and how to stay connected to information sources. Your family's plan should be based on your specific vulnerability to the hurricane hazards. Keep a written plan and share it with other friends or family.

Check out Public Safety Canada’s site, www.getprepared.ca, and let them help you create your own personalized family emergency plan. It will highlight things to consider such as

  • safe exits from home and neighbourhood
  • meeting places to reunite with family or roommates
  • designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable
  • contact persons (close-by and out-of-town)
  • health information
  • place for your pet to stay
  • risks in your region
  • location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve and floor drain

4. Create an emergency supply kit - There are certain items you need to have regardless of where you ride out a hurricane. It’s important to keep it fully stocked with what you need and for everyone in your home to know where it is kept. You can either buy an assembled kit or create your own from things commonly found in your home. You should also consider an emergency car kit.

Public Safety Canada’s site has details of what to put in your home emergency kit and your car emergency kit.

5. Information sources – Make sure that you know where to get the latest weather forecasts and public announcements from emergency managers. During a disaster, battery-operated radios are the most reliable way to get information. However, in the days leading up to a hurricane, these websites will provide the best up-to-the-minute information:

National:

Provincial Emergency Measures Organizations (EMOs):

Regional Weather Forecasts:

 

 

Tags: , ,

Your Hurricane Action Plan

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   August 3, 2012 09:10

 

Check out Public Safety Canada’s site, www.getprepared.ca, to find out how to prepare for any kind of emergency or potential disaster. On that site you’ll find lots of information about how to make your personal emergency plan and what you should put in an emergency kit.

Here is an action plan of what you need to do before a hurricane becomes a threat:

1. Learn about hurricanes – Find out if hurricanes could be a threat to you. Visit the Canadian Hurricane Centre’s website to learn as much as you can. Go to the Climatology section of the website to learn if you are in an area that is visited by tropical cyclones and to see what such cyclones have done in the past. In particular, visit the section on Hazards and Impacts, which outlines the four basic threats posed by hurricanes or tropical storms in Canada:

2. Secure your home - You can make your home more secure and less vulnerable to storms. Once you know your vulnerability or areas of weakness, you can take steps to protect your family, pets and property.

First, make sure that you have the proper home insurance, which covers for specific losses where you suspect you are vulnerable. If insurance companies suspect that you are more vulnerable in certain ways, this will be factored into the amount of risk they are willing to take. This will in turn be reflected in the cost of your insurance. Doing whatever you can to reduce your vulnerability could also reduce your insurance costs.

Second, put the time and money into strengthening the areas where you are vulnerable. For example, if you already know that you have a basement flooding problem during heavy rain events, you can seal your foundation or other areas where water is finding its way in, build drainage ditches to divert water away from your house, and make sure that you have a working sump-pump. If wind is your greatest threat, you can strengthen the exterior of your home to keep wind from breaking in by doing things like protecting and reinforcing your roof, windows and doors (including garage doors). Construction experts can advise you on your exact needs. There is little you can do ahead of time to protect your home or property from storm surge and large coastal waves. The best thing you can do when storm surge or large waves are on the way is to move away from the coast.

Third, if a power outage would cause serious problems for you, you may want to consider having a backup generator that will supply enough power to meet your essential needs (like in the case of essential medical or supportive equipment). Most emergency plans focus on being self-reliant for the first 72 hours after disaster strikes, but if your needs extend beyond that, then this must be part of your personal plan.

3. Develop a family plan – Make sure everyone knows what to do, where to go and how to stay connected to information sources. Your family's plan should be based on your specific vulnerability to the hurricane hazards. Keep a written plan and share it with other friends or family.

Check out Public Safety Canada’s site, www.getprepared.ca, and let them help you create your own personalized family emergency plan. It will highlight things to consider such as

  • safe exits from home and neighbourhood
  • meeting places to reunite with family or roommates
  • designated person to pick up children should you be unavailable
  • contact persons (close-by and out-of-town)
  • health information
  • place for your pet to stay
  • risks in your region
  • location of your fire extinguisher, water valve, electrical box, gas valve and floor drain

4. Create an emergency supply kit - There are certain items you need to have regardless of where you ride out a hurricane. It’s important to keep it fully stocked with what you need and for everyone in your home to know where it is kept. You can either buy an assembled kit or create your own from things commonly found in your home. You should also consider an emergency car kit.

Public Safety Canada’s site has details of what to put in your home emergency kit and your car emergency kit.

5. Information sources – Make sure that you know where to get the latest weather forecasts and public announcements from emergency managers. During a disaster, battery-operated radios are the most reliable way to get information. However, in the days leading up to a hurricane, these websites will provide the best up-to-the-minute information:

National:

Provincial Emergency Measures Organizations (EMOs):

Regional Weather Forecasts:

 

 

Tags: , ,

General