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

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sunshine & Thunderstorms!

We head back toward that For Sale sign from yesterday~
I've had to amend this post to include mention of Earth Day!  Our first on the Homestead - we planted trees & still are!  :-)

I really didn't expect to get in a ride today...  But the early afternoon was so pretty & even though the clouds were moving fast, there was plenty of blue sky.  So - I saddled up again & had a plan to check out the trails to the south - since we'd gone north yesterday.
Pilchuck Creek
Though it's hard to see under all the green - the creek flows through here from it's headwaters further up.  This land is home to the headwaters of no less than three different creeks - along with the numerous wetlands that I love so much.  Coming to our old "Clover Hill" the creek was beautiful!
Farah gets a drink~
 Pilchuck creek used to be full of Salmon.  In the fall - the banks would be covered with dead fish.  We were wading through one year - when one splashed unexpectedly & spooked our horses.
The creek flowing~
We went down the two trails that I re-discovered a few months ago to the place where the old bridge has fallen in - or been removed.
Farah was just Great!  She went through water up to her chest, then dropped down into a small ravine full of flowing water & a small waterfall!  The entire ride she worked on a loose rein & even in the middle of a heat cycle - used her head.  From this point - we made the turn to go back.
Caught by the rain!
Back in the future development - the rain hit!  One big dark cloud right over our heads - small hail pellets too.  We parked under the trees until the worst of it blew by...  Then started up to the power line & north.  The rain let up, the sun returned & my shirt actually started drying out!  Farah hit a good trot on our way back & I got chilled from the breeze :-)
Rain is Moving IN!
By the time we'd crested the hill - it was obvious that our good time was coming to an end!  It's just so gorgeous these spring days - that I'd spend All my time out riding if I could!  It seems so many riders get wrapped up in the conditioning aspect of riding...  For me - it's all about the Ride!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Another Amazing Day~

Looking south along the valley~
After mowing in the rain on Sat., then enjoying just a beautiful Easter Sunday with family, I was ready to go riding!  The weather report wasn't too promising, not promising enough to plan a ride with Lynn.  Instead, I decided to head out from home & see what changes there were on my northern route.
Elderberry Blooms
It is without doubt Western Washington's most beautiful time of year!  From now through May - it becomes so richly green & growing that the negative ions immerse you in happiness.  My enjoyment is only increased when I'm riding  Farah - who's becoming a great horse!
Trillium's still blooming!
In the deep, dark woods - I found this amazing Trillium.  It was almost a foot tall!  From the woods, we headed down the steep, rocky hill.  Everywhere were signs of dirt bikes.  The trails were torn up & when I went to go around the locked gate - a "new" trail had been dozed through the bushes & around the gate - making it very easy for us to get out to the power lines.
Looking up the way we'd come down~
Once down, we crossed the creek to head west & north toward the spot where we take our break.  It seemed sudden when I heard the sound of dirt bikes - Roaring - through the silence of the day!  It sounded like they were coming up behind us & with maybe only a 75 ft. line-of-sight, I put Farah in a gallop to try to get to the wide spot before they caught us!  Scary!
The loudest of the bikes
I'd dismounted & Farah was grazing when two dirt bikes & the quad above - crested the small hill & came at us.  Farah whirled in a circle, then stopped to face them.  When they spotted us, they stopped & shut the engines off.  I walked up to talk & the three of them were nice enough.  So we made a plan & I reminded them that I'd been riding here for a Very Long time & that they'd need to be a little cautious.  They agreed!
Final surprise
My final surprise of the ride, was to find this For Sale sign where I go around this gate & head for home.  It looks as though the original owner/developer is now trying to sell the parcel just to the south & west of the Homestead.  It hasn't had any of the improvements done that the other section has, so I can still hope that it will sit.
The view from the top~
The storm clouds were gathering & the sky darkened as we headed for home.  At the bottom of this hill - a pair of Goldfinches were flying across the road & into the trees!  The male was so bright - but too small & quick for a photo :-).  We met Butch at the gate - just as the rain started!  Good end to a good ride~!

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Glory of Green!

Down the Trail~
After days & nights of pouring rain - it was so great to see the clouds part & the blue sky appear!  Both Lynn & I were itching for a ride - so met at Lord Hill about noon.  It was still cool & the clouds were stubborn - but we didn't mind!  In just a few days - the buds on the trees were opening & the flush of light green assaulted the senses!  Then - there was the smell!  Of fresh air & fresh green & growing everything!
A new trail!
The BCH & Boy Scouts - along with other volunteers have been working on a new trail!  We took it to the point where it stopped, then turned & found another section to follow out.  It led around the lake & past a beautiful, full wetland.  Here though - the smells were of Skunk Cabbage!  Lots of water was flowing everywhere & the river was Full!
Green & glowing Wetland~
At times Lynn wasn't too sure exactly where we were - or where we'd come out - but we didn't care!  Farah started out ornery - but I'm paying attention - staying on task & letting her know that I'm not going to allow it.  Soon - she settled down & gave me a really nice ride.  In places she sunk deep into the freshly plowed dirt - but each time lifted us up & out without any fuss.
Lynn & Sophie
We rode down to where Lynn remembered an old homestead - the trees planted way-back-when were in full bloom!  The grass is so lush that each time we stopped all the mares wanted to do was graze!  The bugs were terrible though - swarming us any time we were anywhere close to water. We'd sprayed the horses down, but next time I'll be spraying me too!
 Ah Spring - how sweet it is!  We both felt truly blessed to be out on the trail on such a glorious day~

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Mustang! Fifty-years Young!

My 78 Mustang
Proudly considered an "All-American" Car - I grew up admiring the Mustang!  When I started commuting to work & had to shop for a car - the Mustang above caught my eye!  After the test drive - it was a done deal :-)  We purchased this bright orange beauty in the early 80's used - with a 302-cubic inch 4.94L German made port & polished engine.  Before long it became obvious that the engine needed work, so after discussing options with my Dad - we decided to have the heads bored, replace the cylinders & increase the power.  With the removable t-tops - it was a blast to drive!
1990 Badlands
 We made several long distance trips in "Sunny".  But one of my favorites was when Jentry was on summer break & we drove to Iowa to visit my Grandparents.  On the way there & back we made stops at every interesting site we could find.  Devils Tower, Custer's Battlefield, The Badlands, Corn Palace, etc. :-)

"Sunny" was famous too!  Appearing in the 1984 movie Starman with Jeff Bridges at the wheel!   I drove Sunny many miles through the 80's - but by 1992 - it was time for a change!  We'd moved to the Homestead - I was working in Bellevue & on the road constantly visiting my portfolio of Condominium properties & attending board meetings.

I tried several different cars - but Finally one day a friend who'd noticed that I was driving a different car almost every day asked;  "Why don't you just try another Mustang!"  A light bulb went off!  Before Butch knew it - we were not just car shopping - but shopping for another Mustang! 
Smokey & Sunny - rear view
When we found the 86 GT with the 5.0 engine & I took it for a spin - literally - almost doing a full circle when I hit the gas... in the middle of Harbor Point Blvd. - it was love at first drive! (Sunny was sold to a guy I'd worked with - who'd long admired her.)
From the front~
"Smokey" was FAST!  I just love fast :-)  I would race my drive-time on some of my trips home.  My favorite long-haul was from Mercer Is. to the gate at home - with a record of 42-min.flat.  That was leaving Mercer Is. about 9 p.m. & was back in the day - when you could actually drive on I-5 & be one of the only cars out there - especially in the express lanes.
"Smokey"  86 Ford Mustang GT
But - there was the day I was coming up out of the south - turning onto the newly re-done I-90 bridge heading for the office & cruising...  when I caught the blink of bright red flashing lights behind me!  As I pulled over, the biggest, meanest looking real "Smokey" I could have imagined got out & approached my window.   I gave him my biggest, but sorriest smile ever & apologized for letting my foot get ahead of my brain.  He cited some sobering statistics about how speed kills & let me off.  By doing that - he's forever reminding me to slow down!  Way more effective than a ticket would have been!

Totally worthless on snow or ice, especially on Bellevue's hills...  The day came, I was working closer to home & actually had time to ride my horse.  Butch wasn't there to take us out with the horse trailer.  I didn't like driving the full size truck - so - I made the tough decision to trade Smokey in on a 4-wheel drive Jeep that would pull the trailer & get me somewhere in the winter.  I knew it was a Big mistake when I heard the squeal of the tires as the lot guy drove it off :-(  The Jeep's transmission soon went out & I decided that I wanted a Ford back!  That's when the Bronco entered my life...  It's Not the same - but it does the job & does it well!

One day in Snohomish though - I saw a black Mustang - with a leather interior the exact color of my saddle.  So - you never know - one day...  one day... :-)  In the meantime - I can dream about getting one of these!  50th Anniversary Edition.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Saddle Time~

Heavy clouds, cool breeze~
I was very happy to be heading north today to meet-up with Linda for a ride.  I was hoping that saddle time would help.  There is the healing process that occurs whenever you lose someone - it takes time, lots of time & each day has to be taken at face value.  Riding is invaluable to anyone who appreciates just how much good a big, warm, horse can do for our soul.  Count did his best!
Count & Linda
Linda managed an almost smile & we enjoyed every mile.  At least as long as Linda's phone didn't ring with another problem that she was supposed to solve for someone.  Funny - when you need people to step up - it seems you end up giving them a hand anyway.  Regardless - we caught up on the local news & enjoyed what ended up being a decent day.  No rain!
Farah enjoys her fresh Salmonberry leaves~
As I took this photo - Linda reminded me that no indeed - this was not random browsing...
Count too~
It's "Trail Clearing"!  OH!  That makes all the difference - it's your state-of-mind!  What great horses we ride!  Not only do they take us miles & miles - they clear trail!  With all the use the trails that are supposed to be closed are getting - it's a good thing that someone is doing some clearing!  :-)
Prunus emarginata
 Today - we enjoyed the Wild Cherry trees!  Now in Full Bloom & smelling so sweet that they fill the air with their richness!  This time of year it's as if Washington explodes with Green!  You think this state is green - then comes Spring & you learn that what you thought was green - really wasn't!