Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Christmas "Wreath"!

Horse "Wreath"
I'd posted photos to Facebook, but when Butch got home last night - he asked if I'd posted something to my blog?  I hadn't!  Here's how it came about...  I'd heard about Pinterest for a while before I decided to join & set up a page.  That done, I started looking around & finding some really beautiful, interesting & smart ideas from everywhere!
One of the first photos I found~
Looking at different decoration ideas I ran across the pin above.  It looked like a lot of work & I wondered what they'd used for the wire base?  I pinned this to my page & soon it was re-pinned by someone else.  Checking out her ideas - I found the pattern for the base.
Pattern sold at Amazon.com
Without the time to order one, Courtney & I had already scheduled this day to make our wreaths at Machias Nursery.  I emailed my husband & asked if he could possibly find some wire & make me one?  He's been my "go to" guy for a long time now!  :-)  He came home with the wire re-bar that's used in brick installations - currently going on at his construction project!

He cut & bent by hand a freehand version of the pattern above!  That's when I got worried & really thought I'd taken on more of a project that I was up to!  I'd also sent another photo to Chris at Machias & she recognized the greenery for the mane as White Pine.
White Pine mane
With plenty of greenery - all fresh - (Since we were making these a week earlier than usual.) I had what I needed.  I'd searched for ribbon, without any luck - but Chris had found the nice dark red with a burlap look.  Once I had it home - I remembered that I have a amber, diamond cut glass piece & that worked for the eye!

It took all afternoon to get put together - but for my first attempt & I'm pretty happy with it!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Thaw~

Ice melting~
It was actually a little icy, muddy & mucky today...  The plans I'd looked forward to for today were cancelled last evening...  So - since it wasn't raining yet - I did what I do when I'm happy, sad, disappointed, etc. - rode!  The trailer wasn't hitched & I didn't want to take the time to haul out, so we just headed out again from home.  50 degrees felt positively WARM!
Wetland through the trees~
I still haven't cut my trail back in - to be able to visit this large wetland again & it's been a very long time.  Still on my to-do list!  Lots of memories of Grandson Ben riding Jas.  I'd bring hot coco in a thermos & the two of us would enjoy that & a cookie!
Farah at "lunch"
It was our usual ride, out to the gas lines - before we left it had started to sprinkle.  I started Farah a couple days ago, on a Magnesium supplement that's been recommended by two friends.  I was hopeful that it will improve her outgoing attitude! All was fine until we started back, when the usual head tossing accompanied by lifting the front end off the ground & leaping into the air on the way to a canter started...  She's usually much better when we're on our own - more animated with other horses - so I'm still hopeful that I'll see some improvement.
The trail back~
The shades of gray, with low hanging clouds seemed to highlight all the rust colors of the Salmonberry.  The air smelled so fresh - a combination of the fallen leaves musty smell & diluted wood smoke.  Definitely - smells associated with Fall!
New Beaver Dam!
I took a little detour & we busted through some brush & soft footing to check out the small creek that has been getting wider!  Found the reason it has!  The Beaver have built a nice new dam & have now started a nice, new wetland!  Just beautiful!  Would make a nice place for a cool dip in the summertime!  I just hope that someone doesn't come up & start trapping them all again!
Pilchuck under clouds~
As we dropped down the hill, the rain was moving in over the mountain!  A light breeze came up & again - the freshness of this gray day was so refreshing!  It felt So good to get out, be out & be riding my favorite girl - even if we were airborne half the way home :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Over 1,400 miles, Bracken Trails Gone & Great Ridin' with Friends!

Trail Gone~
With the rest of the week a busy one for me & the weather supposed to turn - I wanted to get out again today & knock off the ten-miles, that stood between me & a very big mileage number!  Pat & Donnie were game to ride, Sharon & her daughter Beth were too! 
Another trail gone~
Bracken seemed a good idea.  I'd been told that it was being logged like "crazy", but as we started out - everything seemed normal...  We rode over to the far side of the power lines, where there were a couple very nice, long trails for trotting.  One minute we were on the trail, in the next was a sign saying that logging would be heavy between 12/27 & the first week of Jan.   Then - beyond that - we hit the actual work area.
Pete's trail too - Gone...
It was very treacherous going - through the slash on the ground & heavy track from the excavator...   We were thankful that things were frozen - because otherwise I doubt we could have made it through.  With warmer temps it will all turn to very deep, heavy mud.  After all the years we've ridden here, all the time that's been put in on maintaining these trails - to have three very nice, long used ones torn to bits is really - by anyone's reckoning - devastating...
On Tin Bridge
 So, we headed over to the Whitehorse trail & Tin Bridge.  The level of water in the Stillaquamish was really low!  The week plus of dry weather shows here!
Top dressing the rock~
Another surprise waited for us here!  At least it was a positive one - the heavy rock on the trail is being top dressed with dirt & fines.  Very fine fines...  I'm hoping not so fine that they turn as hard as concrete when they settle?  More questions for our Snohomish County Park Rep.  We'd discussed this at the Centennial Trail Coalition meeting last week, but I had no idea that the work would commence so quickly!  Sadly though - the hole that I've wanted filled for a long while now - will probably be put off until spring.
Distance Derby Team #120!
We headed back, the sun was sinking & the temperature dropped.  I was watching my Garmin & just at the break spot - it rolled over the ten-miles I needed to top 1,400~  Yippee!  So much fun to reach the goal & have friends there to share it with you!
Pat, Beth, Sharon, Donnie & Connie
As we were coming back to the trailers, Sharon said;  "Gosh it would be nice if someone was there to take a photo of us."  Luck was with us & there were two other riders just loading their horses to leave.  They were nice enough to take our photo!

One of days where I would have normally been saddened by the logging & loss of such beautiful trails, but the upside is the continuing work on the Whitehorse & having such good friends to ride with!

Monday, November 17, 2014


Cold & Crisp!
I'd hoped to have a riding buddy today - but that didn't happen, so since I'd expected an early start, I decided to wait an hour then head up to Victoria.  There the roads, though frozen rock hard - at least are not slippery.
A light layer of ice on the Wetland~
We were the only ones on the mountain I think.  I started out slow, giving Farah plenty of time to warm up & she still wanted to gallop up the first hill :-)  I put my jacket on the back of the saddle & rode in a thermal shirt, flannel shirt & fleece vest.  My Polartec Wind Pro riding pants did the trick & my legs stayed warm.
Iced up~
The one "trail" that we do use in the winter months - that goes up the east side of the mountain - was so very frozen that Farah was slipping every step.  It's in shade most of the day, so I'm sure it will take a few days of warmer temperatures before it thaws.
Looking SE
Once we crested the top though - the opening of the view was worth the climb!  I looked forward to every bit of sunshine that we rode in - to warm up from the cold of the shade!
Whitehorse & Three Fingers
The zoom on my new little camera is a touch longer than on the old one.  With the temperature inversion, there's a slight haze.  Even so - I was amazed that hand held & sitting on a horse - this photo came out as clear as it did!
The Cascades~
By the time we got to the Monument for our lunch break - the day was about as warm as it would get.  The haze was sitting below the tops of the Olympics & gave the view a whole new dimension.  Not quite a purple mountain majesty - but certainly many shades of blue!
Farah hears something!
Shortly after I took this photo, we ran into two other riders!  They were bundled up to their ears too & out enjoying the sunshine regardless of the cold!  We moved on - dropping down the hill to the lower road.  From there Farah insisted that she knew a trail that we'd not taken in forever.  I let her have her way.  Frozen solid I couldn't see where we'd be doing any damage!  She was right!  We found a shorter way back up to the top!
Mt. Rainier
Again, I took the way past the upland meadow - still planted with the bio-fuel fast growing trees that haven't grown.  The ones planted lower down have been cut down - I'm thinking these will have the same fate.  It was worth it to get another photo of the Mountain!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Freezin' Up!

Very Cold!
With all the blazing sunshine, I just had to ride!  It was just 40 when we left home & once we were up in the shade of the forest, it got very cold - very fast!  The ground is already freezing up - puddles now frozen over too - but Farah easily broke the crust for a drink.
Further along~
 I'd started out without any particular plan - thinking that I wouldn't be out too long.  It was just about 1:30 p.m. when we left - I was sure that even with the shorter days, I'd have plenty of time to go out north to our usual break spot before turning back.
The downhill ~
What I didn't figure on, was how much slower the going was - with the trails rock hard & icy in many spots.  At the top of our downhill - I dismounted & walked/slid down as Farah did the same.
Finding the green stuff~
At our break spot, it sure wasn't any warmer, especially with the sun sinking low to the west!  We turned back, I wanted to make sure that we'd get back before it got too dark, since it was so slippery.
Toward the power lines~
In many places - we'd hit a cold spot & I do think that the temperatures are variable dependent on the terrain.  I wanted to stop by the north wetland to see if it had started to ice up yet.
It hadn't - it's large & there was a lot of water flowing in from the creek.  Mirror smooth & as beautiful as I remembered.  Once we were back in our woods I decided to check out a trail that had been blocked by a gate a few years ago.
Gate & Mountain
Of course it still was, but it was nice to see the last of the sun on Deer Mountain.  This mountain had managed to stay forested until about 2 years ago.  Now it's being clear-cut at a furious rate.  As part of the original view out our north living room window.  The cedars we planted at the bottom of the pasture many years ago, are tall enough that they mostly block the view & that's actually OK ...
Temp inside the barn~
We got home at 5:10, & it was dark!  It was also Cold!  Farah hadn't even broken a sweat & really seemed to enjoy getting out.  We've worked out a bit of a deal!  I ask her to stop for photos & she gets to eat!  Works for us both!

 Joyce gave me a camera that is very similar to the Nikon I'd been using, but with a couple more pixels.  So far - it hasn't had the tendency to blur photos for absolutely no known reason!  Of course numb fingers don't help!  :-)