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

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Walk In the Woods~

Since we did not get the hoped for sunshine today, I'm posting a slideshow/video of the sunshine that we enjoyed so much last Tuesday!  Yesterday, I found the tops eaten off my newly planted onions.  The little bunny appeared again last evening!  Two Beagles, a 1/2 Coyote & a rabbit???  What's wrong with that picture?  :-)

As if that wasn't enough -- the slugs had been out in force to eat on my Dill & "Chocolate" Basil!  Back to Lowe's this morning for more supplies!  More wire for the "Invisible fence" installation, (Not enough wire is included for five-acres.) to keep the beagles Home!  Rabbit wire for around the garden, to keep those cute bunnies Out...  Pepper spray to dissuade any further "pests" from enjoying the fruits of my labor!  Told Butch that there's a reason that I never plant much of a garden!  He says when I finally get to enjoy those onions or zucchini, that I will change my mind!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Getting some "Action"~

Dog that attacked me...
May 4, 2010 - as I rode Khari up our road, the dog attacked - I managed to snap this photo with my phone.  Khari was whirling in circles the dog trying to bite -- the owner finally came out & gained control of him.  Guess it was my fault for riding on the road?

Yesterday, after waiting all day on Tue. for Snohomish Animal Control to return my calls, or come by - (They had re-scheduled to pick up my Witness Statement on Tue. morning at 9:30 a.m.)  At the advice of a friend - I contacted the Everett Herald.  Mr. Eric Stevick returned my call & listened to my story.  Within an hour of taking with him, I received a call from Gordon Abbott of Animal Control.  He explained that the deputy that originally was working with me had been sick.  Since he was already in the area, he would come by & pick my statement up.  http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20110526/NEWS01/705269896/0/BLOG08#

I've found out some interesting information while researching this.  First - dogs in WA do not need to be vaccinated, not even for Rabies.  Vicki Lubrin, Snohomish County Animal Control Manager, who returned my call today -- told me that will change in January of 2012, but there are no enforcement's written into the law.   I'm told that the investigation will be completed within the next few days, when I can email for the results. 

Second, the way the RCW's are written;  if you trespass onto private property & you are attacked, you are within a gray area of the law.  Written as though the dogs are fenced in as part of the property - as ours are.  In this case, the dogs were not enclosed with the property boundary, but on it --  they escaped their enclosure to attack me.

No dogs running at large now?
With the article appearing in the paper today, all of my "adjoining landowners" have put all their dogs who usually have the run of the road - away...   But not before one of them decided to do his duty on our rubbish bin that was out for pick-up today!  You can bet that if I'm charged with my dogs "running at large" I will be instrumental in logging dates, times & taking photos of all the other dogs who do this every day!  :-)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Good Dogs!

My faithful Kittaka~
I'm looking for some rays of sunshine today!  Something to brighten my mood!  On the plus side, my fingers are working a bit now!  My hands aren't hurting quite as much, no sign of infection so far!  Negative side, didn't make it to Mt. Adams - hold reins for 50 miles?  I don't think so!  Now, I find out that Klickitat is cancelled :-( 

What to do?  Let my hands heal enough to ride again!  Three day weekend coming up!  Visit to see our baby Granddaughter tomorrow!  

As for Kit, she has always stayed home, always guarded & protected me, always been cautious of strangers, but has never in her life attacked anyone, let alone her own species!  She's put up with a series of four Beagles over her life span!  I love her happy "cry", miss her howl & enjoy every day of her company! 

Monday, May 23, 2011


My hands...
I've hesitated posting this, but my fury knows no bounds.  Rascal found a tiny place in our fence where we hadn't been able to put electric wire & pushed under the fence on Fri. morning.  I got there just a second or two after he'd escaped.  As I found the "spot" Mischief did too & was down & out in a instant!  I ran to the house, got the leads, walked up the road to our property corner.  Before I walked along our west fence, I looked over to the area where the "adjoining landowners" Pit Bulls are confined.  They were both behind their fence. As I got to our NW corner I called & Rascal came right away, followed by Mischief.  I attached the leads & started back toward the road.

I heard a sound, turned just in time to see both the Pit Bull's loose & coming at me!  I was down in a ditch along our fence when the larger one attacked - going for Mischief.  He picked her up in his mouth & started shaking her back & fourth.  She started to scream!  I went nuts & just dove in, he didn't have on a collar so there was no way to pull him away from her.  His body had my legs pinned against the fence.  I finally got my hands on her & raised her over my head as he turned toward me.  In that instant I knew I would be next, so  I threw Mischief over our fence.  His owner had come out & tried to gain control of him, both of them falling on me. 

I got up, got away & saw Rascal running for his life from the other dog.  The first time by he still had his collar & lead on, but the second time it was gone & the other dog had taken up the attack too.  I yelled for him & he ran towards me, I caught him up in my arms, as the owner stood between me & her dogs trying to get them to go to the house.

Once home, I put Rascal in his kennel & looked for Mischief.  She was on the porch, covered in blood & didn't know who I was.  I put a towel around her & we drove to the Vet.  (That's where the photos of my hands were taken.)  She was SO lucky to be young enough that she had enough loose skin & only has one puncture wound.  Mischief is having difficulty with her hind legs, but I'm told she will recover.
I also filed another report with Animal Control.  These are the same dogs that attacked my niece's dogs last April.  They were eventually declared "dangerous" by Snohomish County & supposed to be confined at all times.  Evidently  the strength of the confinement enclosure was not checked.  When I asked the "Senior Enforcement Officer" today if the dogs had been vaccinated, she replied;  "They think so."  I asked her when she would KNOW & she said; "Tomorrow - if they are home..."
Friday evening & called 911 again & asked if a deputy could go & find Rascal's collar & lead.  When he came to my gate he had "attitude" to burn & told me that he had been at the "neighbor's" where they had told him that I had been trespassing!  He was so rude & belligerent that I'm going to the North Precinct tomorrow to file a complaint against him! 
Now, I'm nursing my hands & waiting to see what happens next.  I shudder to think what would have happened if someone hadn't come out of that house!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Mountains, Flowers, Sunshine & Skyla!

Glacier View Nursery
On Wed. visited with the "Northern" daughter & Grandchildren!  What a perfect day to be in the "Washington Alps"!  This little nursery has to be in the most beautiful location in the world for views!  The name is so fitting -- owners are so friendly & the stock is first rate!
  Then!  The Big Surprise of the day!  Skyla's SMILE!  Have to do something I rarely do & post my first ever photo of the first ever smile for me!  Mommy said it was a brand new expression!
Ms. Skyla's smile!  :-)
Out to enjoy more sunshine today!  Planting the garden!  Onions are in, also Dill, Oregano, Thai Basil.  Potatoes & Carrots next!  Bringing Khari home too!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Summit of Mt. Pilchuck!

Mt. Pilchuck Outlook, Oct. 20, 1991 - Connie, Butch, Abby & Jentry
After we moved to the "Homestead" our long-time good friends Guy, Mary Ann, Michael & Jeremy Stitt came to visit!  I was showing Guy the view out my windows of Mt. Philchuck on a beautiful, crisp fall morning.  Guy - said;  "Wouldn't it be great to hike up there & see if we could see your place from the top?"  Butch jumped right in & agreed, as did the boys!  We packed up, drove up to the parking area & started hiking, hiking, hiking.   Was so much fun to see the yellow hand prints on the rocks to mark the way.  Views were spectacular, until the clouds started moving in!  The higher we climbed, the more we moved into the clouds.  
Not daunted, knowing that we were closer to the top than to the bottom -- we continued on!  When we looked up at the outlook on the top & saw the size of the boulders that we'd have to scramble over, Jentry was Not happy!  The gaps between the Boulders were very wide & Very deep in many places!  Fine for people, but not for small Beagle dogs!  
Never a bunch of quitters -- we began the scramble!  Finally -- Jentry & Butch came up with the idea of putting Abby on Jentry's back.  Jentry -- (Who has hiked since she was able to walk -- cutting her teeth in the Colorado high country.) was undaunted.  Abby was Determined!  She put her paws over Jentry's shoulder, crouched low to Jentry's back & hung on.  We used to say that she was the most "defiant" Beagle in the world & there was no way she wasn't going!

Guy, Michael & Jeremy
We all made it!  What a thrill!  No view though :-(  All that way & those high hopes, only to have them dashed in the cloud cover...  Never mind!  Two other hikers were eating their lunch in the lookout.  Abby couldn't' have been more EXCITED!  If you know Beagles at all -- you know there is nothing in the world they won't do for food!  Abby went through her entire repertoire of tricks & entertained us all!

Butch hiked up again with my brother Jim & our niece Nora in July of 1996, but I haven't been up higher than the parking area since.

Just so you don't think that I've given up hiking -- I've hiked up to the summit of Mt. Sanitas outside Boulder, with my brother - twice now.    Most recently Aug. of last year.  I knew that Mt. Philchuck was roughly a "Mile-High".  I also know that Denver is called the "Mile-High City".  It's fun to look up at the summit of Mt. Philchuck & think that Boulder's elevation is roughly equivalent.
Boulder from Mt. Sanitas - Aug. 22, 2010

One mile = 5280 ft.

Mt. Pilchuck - 5340 ft.
Granite Falls - 391
Elevation gain - 2166

Mt. Sanitas - 6863 ft.
Boulder, CO - 5430
Elevation gain - 1357

Interesting to compare --  certainly more challenging for me to climb Mt. Sanitas, short, steep climb & I'm not used the elevation.  But Mt. Pilchuck offers a longer climb & more gain!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Plants, Pots, digging in the dirt!

My Mini Garden
I copied this idea from Machias Nursery & love the way it turned out.  The small tree is a "Wilma" Goldcrest Cypress - not a miniature variety, but I can replace it if it grows too large.  I added Irish Moss, "Donna's Miniature Mugo Pine" &  "Jean Iseli Hinoki Cypress"  both only grow 1" per year.  They can be kept small by pruning too..   With the addition of a favorite rock or two, a small "critter" etc. you can enjoy a very nice garden - in miniature!
One of my favorite evergreens are the many varieties of Hinoki Cypress.  They are very slow growing, have interesting shapes & are hardy in our climate.  
(Butch & I made the "Sun Stone" several years ago when we spent the winter in the Greenhouse with a glass saw & made several stones.  (They do not winter well in the open, so most that we gave away a gifts are now gone.)
One of my favorite pots~
Another thing to watch for, at least if you're interested in pots, are the unusual ones.  They can be hard to find & if you do find them -- sometimes pricy.  But if you bring them in during the cold months, they will last forever & look better each year as they "season".  The one above is a favorite.
Almost done~
This hill has a small little weed that seems able to re-seed itself every year...  I have Sedum Angelina started there & have transplanted ferns  & bush blueberries, but decided to gain the upper hand & weed the upper area.  Sprinkled Preen over the soil to hopefully control the weeds returning, then covered the ground with cedar shavings.  Next I have to weed the lower area, carefully pulling the weeds out of the sedum!  I'm adding additional blooming ground cover to eventually choke out what weeds may grown back.  Plan to put some larger rocks there too, when it stops raining!  The Doadar Cedar Aurea variety -- should be a beautiful focal point when it gets a bit larger.  The cedar shavings will darken too.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Khari on Vacation~

Khari & Ziggy
What a place to enjoy being a horse!  The farm is so green & beautiful this time of year!  Here we thought Khari would be happy to have some companionship...  But NO!  She's pinning her ears at Ziggy & trying to boss him around at every opportunity!  Ziggy on the other hand, just ignores her nasty looks & pinned ears!  His years of experience ponying race horses has given him the ability to handle the worst any mare can hand out! 
Khari looked up as we drove in, then waited for us to approach her.  I think that she missed us!   I know that we've been missing her!  The dogs were disappointed that she wasn't here for her dinner, since they all "share"!  :-)  We have had the habit for years now of sitting out in the evening, with the dogs & horses.  It's our commiseration time as a "family".   We felt her absence.

Once this next round of rain is over, I'll be back in a saddle -- notice I didn't say;  "the saddle", since I'm not sure how my saddle situation will resolve!   I may be riding Klickitat in Dean's 40-year old stock saddle! 

When Dean was working with me - I learned that to handle a horse, you must be secure. When I started riding Khari, the first few times I was told to correct her, I was terrified.  Finally, I realized that I could - without coming off, when I was riding in his saddles!  Even though we've been a team for quite a while - I still loved knowing that I had that edge.   Of course this lesson has recently been driven home!  Hoping my saddle sells soon - so I can go shopping yet again...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Jumping to Conculsions~

Khari at Victoria on the 10th
The why may have been answered.  I for one, still jump at a chance to attach human emotions to our animal companions when things aren't going quite right!   (Sometimes it's fun when things are fine too.  :-)  Khari may not have just lost confidence, but may just be having reactions to pain.  It's amazing how many times I have to be reminded that 90% of the problems we have with our animals is pain related.  

I started thinking along those lines & asked for Dean's expert opinion.  After a thorough evaluation, he found pain in Khari's loin area, possibly going back to the use of my old saddle that had been bridging.  Once the pain was relieved, there was a noticeable difference in her attitude.  She has never been a stoic type horse when it comes to pain. We've decided to give her a few vacation days on the farm to enjoy the large spacious pastures, visit with her old friends & just be a horse.  The other upside, is that I get a break from chores :-)

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

I Rode ~

Our ride Route~
Tuesday - Beautiful day, but not the best of rides...  The bugs were out in Force!  I came home with large bites all around where the edge of my helmet meets my forehead!  Khari was spooking at almost Every step...  I kept her to a walk, as was alone.   Every time I tried to pick up the pace, the shying/spooking would increase even more...  Thought it would take me forever to complete my planned route with all the circling we were doing.  She's not the same horse she was & I'm not sure why.  On the way back, my friend Liz called.  I was talking to her, sun was shining through the trees, gorgeous.   At a walk, Khari suddenly violently stopped & 180'ed!  Why you ask?  A small piece of bark on the trail...  At that point my frustration rose to the boiling point!  I asked her "WHY???  WHY???" but she had no response...

Yesterday a friend stopped by, I was telling her the story of the dirt-bikes, ATV's, unexpected noises, gunshots, new remote controlled vehicle noise (Khari freaked!) that we came home to...  All originating from the "neighbors" to our north...  .   We've had to move her out of the barn.   (Butch built a small "Stable" as close to the house as we could put it...)  The way she now grabs a mouth-full of hay, dragging it out of her stable into the "open" so she can continue her vigil of these same "neighbors".  As we watched, Khari's nervousness was plain to see.  Patty said;  "She thinks there is bad ju-ju over their!"  "She looks miserable!"  Sad thing is... she does...

It's been over a year now since we started having difficulties with the "Adjoining landowners from hell..."   (The stress of which I still firmly believe contributed to Jas's final colic & her death...)  I'm starting to think that these things are what is at the root of Khari's problems.  My fine, strong mare isn't really able to relax at home any longer & has lost her confidence...

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dancing Horses!

Friesian Stallion
A beautiful Andalusian
Yesterday as we were leaving Snohomish, we drove past the Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant.  In the parking lot a Mariachi Band was playing & several horses were dancing!  What fun!   We had a great time watching the horses & admiring the tack!
Beautiful Saddle Bag
With Silver & Gold inlay
The owner came out to ride!
Spectacular Andalusian Stallion
Lots of mane & tail here!

I spoke to his rider/owner about the possibility of a breeding & he was interested, after seeing a photo of Khari.  No - I probably won't...  but oh how tempting!  Can you just imagine all that mane & tail?!  I might even take a break from Endurance & do more parade riding!  :-)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

What the Well-Dressed horse wears in Western Washington!

Khari in her new Weatherbeeta "brown" blanket :-)
Khari managed to hang-up a hind leg in her "everyday" rain blanket trying to hit the bugs that were attacking her belly.  While trying to free it, she ripped the back corner & stretched the buckles to the breaking point!  Good news, she freed her leg!  :-)  

Today we went shopping for a new spring blanket & fly mask with ears!  The gnats have been terrible in the evenings, unless it's raining -- which is "most" of the time.  I'd like to get her into a bug sheet, but no point until the rains let up.  Instead I have to use wipes on her belly & had been rubbing "Swat" onto her ears.  

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Smoothing out the "Ride" ~

Views of the Sound & Olympic Mountains
We enjoyed a mid-week sunshine day yesterday!   Joyce called to ask if I wanted to ride from her house & that's always "yes" for an answer!  Joyce is the very finest at finding trail & making any ride feel fresh.  We did some climbing & checked out some old logging roads that ended at a turn-about.  Even though it starting getting hazy in the afternoon - it felt very warm & humid.  The bugs were out!

I've been having issues for a couple months now, with Khari spooking & shying.  I think I've tied this to leaving my deep seat saddle & using the old Big Horn with a flatter seat.  I feel & indeed AM less secure in it, the seat has no "ride-ability" (see earlier post)I have to consider that she's picking up on this & taking advantage -- which we all know that any Arabian worth his/her salt will do!

Also, we went from fit & ready for a 50, to me on the injured list for four weeks, missing that first ride.  Khari went from working - to vacation time -- so of course that excess energy has to be put to some use!  :-)

I've been discussing these problems with Dean Essex, DVM who told me to stop using the stick & go back to circling.  So, at the first in place powerful spook - on paving, the kind that sends your spine up into your brain case...  we circled!  We circled some more!   We stopped, I put the mare into "neutral", took a Deep breath & gave her the cue to walk-on.  Seemed to work!  Instead of elevating the energy level, which the stick can do...  it was significantly lowered!

Next, we trotted out onto a clearing with lots of left-over logging debris.  Khari has seen this type of thing Many times, but she started shying to the right, shying to the left -- as I'm fond of saying -- looking for a reason to spook.  NOT!  We stopped!  We started circling, circling, circling.  Stop - Deep breath & walk-on!  Worked again!

When Joyce, riding Jesse - started a 14 mph gallop, we followed & I felt like I had Khari's brain firmly between her ears!  It ended up being a really Great ride!  I felt empowered again -- having a tool that I'd forgotten to use that Worked!  Let's hope I can build on this, built on my fitness & get to a ride yet this season!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Whitehorse Trail Tour~

Good turn-out of trail users & committee memebers
What a perfect day to walk the trail!  Sunshine & +60 degrees.  We probably started with at least twenty people in attendance, when we met at the Old School Park in Darrington.  We followed Railroad Ave. from the park, north through town, past the IGA store & down to where the signage is in place for what will be a very nice trail head.  Next we carpooled on to the next stop, down a road just east of the Rodeo Grounds.
Section of trail open for use
I turned on my GPS to log both locations.  The Google Earth images aren't very up to date, but you can still get the idea by the little lines of black/white squares.
The trail parallels Hwy 530
By the time we were done at this second location, Butch & I had to leave to visit our new Granddaughter, so were sorry to have missed the remaining stops -- though I am familiar with the one's closest to Arlington.  The first six six miles of the trail is passable/useable as you leave Darrington, going towards the 27 miles of trail that will eventually take you to Arlington.  Amazingly -- there are 16 old Railroad bridges that will need to be planked before the trail can open the entire distance.
A section where the hillside is sliding into the river~

Darrington is working hard to attract more tourists to the area.  The development of this trail should certainly help to support that goal!  http://www.darringtonwatourism.com/