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

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Another year!

Original Birthday Greetings from daughter Courtney, talented founder of Duvall Handmade~
My birthday was something I was never fond of until my amigo Dean reminded me years ago - of what the alternative was!  Since then - I've Celebrated every one with gusto :-)  The day started with birthday wishes via PM from eldest Grandson Ben!  Flowers, card & balloon from my husband too!

 I was on the road early to Smokey Point Chiropractic - it had been well over a year since I'd visited after Farah & I had fallin' off the bridge.  Since I'm still working on feeling better - it was time to see if my ongoing headache & vertigo could be alleviated.  Dr. Jay helped - I'm set up with a new treatment program & really hopeful that it will help!

Some light shopping - picking Valentines cards for our grand-kids, then a really nice, quiet lunch with Linda.  After pouring morning rain - the sun appeared as I drove home.   There was a big box waiting!
My new Saddle Bags!
I'd been looking for saddle bags, large enough for a bottle of wine!  Thinking ahead to this years trip to Cave B!  (These were highlighted in the Feb. 2015 issue of Western Horseman Magazine.)  Insulated, with plenty of pockets for lunch & bottles of wine too!
Great Card!  :-)
 That small unknown singing group from Duvall, called to sing me the birthday song!  There's a new baritone in the ensemble!  Another call & a beautiful sweet rendition by our youngest Granddaughter, Josie!  Butch was home early - we ended the day with a fun dinner with friends in Arlington!   I looked through every birthday greeting that I'd received on Facebook - too fun!  So nice to be remembered on that one day of the year that makes each & every one of us special!

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sunshine Came Softly~

Farah 9th Winter~
Still not 100% - it was incredibly hard to see a day like today & not be riding.  I'm so scared of the return of the vertigo.  I made a pact with myself to not ride again until the congestion is totally gone & it's not.  I am gradually gaining strength - but if I do much - I'm whipped.
Rear view~
With temperatures warming up to close to 60 - it was a perfect day for Farah's long overdue bath.   Then - a good excuse to get some photos.  I keep a lightweight sheet on her, but we'd had several hard rides & she'd done some sweating.  She's finally shedding too - the arena dirt brown hair is coming off!  :-)
Light on her feet!
It felt so good to be out in the warm sunshine, as usual I got soaked too - but - no complaints!  Such a spring like day - scrubbing away to loosen all that hair was the closest to fun I could get without being in the saddle. :-)  There's so much good to be said of bathing a horse - running your hands over their body, you can feel so much more than your eyes can see.
Enjoying what grass is in the yard~
 Farah is as rock hard as she can be.  No lumps, no bumps, no swelling - sound as a dollar & working nicely as ever off her rear end.  Lots of flick with those hind feet too, as Dean would say.  I'd hoped we could go to the ride the end of March, but the date conflicts with two other commitments we've made :-(
Ah sun~
Instead, I'll just hope I can feel like myself again soon!  I've lost a couple good endurance riding partners over the years.  Our schedule of riding during the week doesn't help.  We've planned some great horse camping adventures & I look forward to that!  Maybe an endurance ride or two?

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Simply Stupid~

A week ago Monday I came down with the start of a cold.  I'd worn myself down driving 2,800 + in nine-days.  Then, volunteered at the Tractor Supply Grand-opening in Monroe for the BCH - exposing myself to the public.  I tripled up on my Del-Immune & by the end of the week, thought I had it kicked.  Not...  Woke this Monday with so much congestion in my lungs that I called my GP & went in!  He was shocked & they entered me as a new patient - I hadn't been in since 2012.  Thankfully my lungs were clear - he told me to stop at the pharmacy for sudafed (yes I had to sign) & Ibuprofen. 
Well on our way~
I did all that!  Waking today - to sunshine coming in the windows & with the congestion mostly gone - I decided that of course I could ride!  It had been over a week & that is way too long!  Saddling up took more effort than I expected - Farah is finally starting to shed, but we got it done!
Farah's worried look~
Not wanting to overdo - I thought that our short loop would be plenty.  I dressed in warm pants & a thermal shirt.  First, I was cold, chilled but OK.  Farah wanted to do some trotting & by the time we'd reached the power lines, I was hot!  Way too hot & sweating under the thermal pants.  I wasn't feeling very good either...  Farah could tell & had a worried look...
Looking south~
Oh well, I'm stubborn & could see no good reason that we couldn't continue on - go up to the apex of the loop & start back.  As we broke to the open, our friend the Red-Tail Hawk, flew away from the woods & perched on one of the towers.  As I tried to get the photo, I about fell off Farah - feeling very dizzy.  I was so thrilled that he sat long enough for me to get his picture!
Red-Tail Hawk
 Then the cold chills hit.  I'd gone from sweating to freezing in minutes.  Still stupidly stubborn, we continued on to the top of our loop, where I dismounted.  I decided the only thing to do - would be walk & try to warm up.  I walked & Farah followed, putting her nose in the middle of my back to herd me along.  The walking did help, but I knew I'd have to remount to make any time getting back home.
Washington Red Cedar draped in moss~
By the time we were back at the new Beaver Pond, I was felt like I was paying double for my bullheadedness.  I had to remount to get through where the bulldozer had torn things up - Farah was sinking in 6".  The vertigo was terrible, every step she took I felt like I was going to fall off...  Soon though - we were back at the top of last hill & it was a relief to be able to walk again.
Pilchuck covered with fresh snow~
The extra time I'm taking with Farah to work on our calmness really helped today.  She only got excited twice & when I backed her & asked for her head to go down - she responded & again walked like a lady.

Once home, I could hardly unsaddle.  By the time Butch arrived - it didn't take him long to realize what I'd done :-(   Especially since I spent the evening violently ill...  Today - I'm going to take it easy!  Easy I say!

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Grandson Ben is 16!

Detailing Ben's truck~
This milestone is a huge one - both for Benjamin & for us!  It seems like yesterday - that bright January day when he was born!  Our first grandchild & first Grandson!  There was absolutely not a baby in the whole world any cuter!  :-)
Papa with Ben~
Ben lived close enough that we could see him several times a week.  It wasn't long before we had our weekly Thursday overnight stay.  Ben was so charismatic that when we took him to the local restaurants - he charmed the wait staff to the point that they had his appetizer; of black olives & mozzarella - ready by the time we walked in the door.  He learned all the animal sounds & entertained everyone by reciting them.   One of his first words was;  "Ball!" - he usually carried one with him & "Hi!" was a close second.
Ben & Jas 2001
 He was on Jas from the very first & she kept a close eye on her favorite boy!  I swear if he'd tried to fall off she would have caught him!  :-)
2002 - Ben operating the track hoe with Papa~
 He loved getting to operate the heavy equipment that Butch had on a job site :-)  There wasn't much of anything that he wasn't willing to tackle!
2003 - Ben & Grammy
 He's the apple of our eye - the eldest of our now excellent group of five Grand-kids!  The start of some of the happiest, busiest years of our lives!   As my friend Petra was so fond of saying;  "The gift of old age!"

To celebrate, we met with the Peters, in Mukilteo to race Go-Karts at Traxx!   Wow!  Did we have fun!  It was frigid cold in the building - I could have easily worn my thermals - so decided to take the pictures.
Here they come!  Ben, Uncle David & Papa
 Uncle David won the first heat, he's the video game Wizard & his driving skill was first rate!  Ben enjoyed sliding out on the turns & scaring me!  :-)  He also got the warning flag a couple times!
Ben sliding around the corner!
By his second race though - he had it down & took second place, even against some experienced racers that included his Aunt Courtney - always a lead foot!  :-)
Leaving home, Ben at the wheel
So...  It was a little bittersweet to get in the cab of our grandson's truck for my very first ride with Ben at the wheel!  I had to ask myself - where did those years go?  They seem to have flown by in the blink of an eye!  At least until today - when I looked back at some of the photos.  As many as I take - there are never enough to capture all the happiness we enjoy as Grandparents!
At the Diamond Knot Alehouse~
As we were sitting at the dinner table yesterday - I realized that not just Ben, but Mason & Cassidy too - are moving right into their teenage years!   Skyla & Josie are our second-generation of grand-kids & even though they are now farther away - we plan to continue to enjoy each & every year, each & every minute we can with all five of our Excellent Grand-kids!   

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Good News for our Lineal Trails!

Proposed New Parking Area~
I've been very appreciative, of being elected as this year's Chairman of the Centennial Trail Coalition.  The first time - I think, that an Equestrian has held this position.  Of course Russ, Division Manger at Snohomish Parks had a rue smile on his face.  He knows well, that my main goal is to obtain further parking for all user groups - but especially for our horse trailers!

The last year or so has seen the advent of an influx of a few homeless tents, trash etc. just east of where the Whitehorse Trail converges with the Centennial.  The park Rangers do their best to keep the mess picked up.  The Sheriff's dept. has moved the squatters off on several occasions.

A private property owner has built a ramp up from the Cemex property to & over the Whitehorse Trail.  One of the park Rangers, spoke to the managers of Cemex - to find that they are interested in increasing the availability of access for trail users.  The hope is that with more use, the area will be less inviting to the homeless...
Tent on private property~
 My last ride there in December - I saw only one tent & a few piles of trash.  I know several people who refuse to walk through this area.  When the river rises, the homeless move to higher ground, which is the trail.

So, with diligent work & the prospective cooperation of the private, corporate & county entities - we may someday have a place to park that will give us access to the length of the Whitehorse Trail going east toward Darrington & the Centennial Trail - for almost 7-miles north to the Nakashima trail-head.  Both beautiful stretches of trail well suited for horses.  Fingers Crossed!