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

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Last Day~

Barn & Pasture~
I thought it would be hard, but when we woke, we were both just ready to be gone!  We'd already signed all the closing paperwork the week before.  All of that week had been spent loading a second U-Haul - 20ft. for this trip & hardly a square inch of space was left by the time we were done!  Donnie's eye for packing was again put to good use, as she managed to get the last of our items to fit inside!  Getting the Bronco on the car hauler at Pat's last evening - was scary!  Only Butch could have gotten it up there!  We only had a couple inches to spare to secure our oversize tires on the trailer!
Farah in her pasture~
 Very rarely does Farah lie down - but this morning she did.  I know - that she knew - it would be her last time in this place.  I hope having other horses near, will make up for the loss of her personal paradise.  While Butch finished the last of the loading - I walked most of the Homestead.  Nika & I sat up on the swing one last time & as I looked around at the familiar surroundings - I realized that the top of the large Hemlock had blown down & was sitting on it's end - just across the trail from the swing.  About 30-ft. of tree top that will need to be cut up & hauled out...  No longer my job!
Big Leaf Maple
 We didn't get to see the leaves get to full color this year, nor the creek running it's length.  Both things that I've looked forward to every Fall.  Finally - it was almost noon when we loaded Farah & were ready to pull out.
On Our Way!
I had to go out to get the final photo of Butch driving the truck, camper & trailer out under the arch - now void of our entry signage.  At the bottom of the hill, the U-Haul with Bronco in tow was waiting.  Donnie came out to say goodbye & it's the goodbye's that were the absolute hardest...  Pat & Donnie had been our very first friends, our very best neighbors & after all these years - like family.

I was a little nervous, driving the U-Haul - it was one long rig with the trailer & Bronco behind!  By the time we were in Duvall & picked up daughter Courtney at the Safeway - I was feeling a little more comfortable.  Son-in-law David came to tell us goodbye & that brought home to us - the finality of our decision.

Goodbye Hoge Homestead - may your new owners treat you with respect, make improvements to your beauty & keep your forest intact.  We will miss you~

This is the final post on this blog.  For the continuation of our life & times - please visit us at the Hoge Home Place!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Hangin' Out~

Quite time on the Homestead!  The quietest it's been in weeks!  Beautiful weather, time to gather up & sort through the items that remain.  Enough items that we'll be taking another U-Haul & towing the Bronco on a car hauler.  Butch has been so impressed with the comfort level of the interior of the new U-Haul truck, that he said driving one will be more enjoyable than the Bronco's rough 4-wheel ride.
Fall in the Woods~
Speaking of my Bronco...  It was nice enough to let me know with some groaning sounds - that the power steering pump was going out - it's in the shop.  Better here - than on the road somewhere!
Nika in Kitt's old spot behind the swing~
Nika & I have even had time for my morning tea up on the swing!  Such amazing days we've been having!  Farah too, has come up to ask me more than once, why we're not going out.  She's been enjoying more time in the pasture.
Farah relaxing~
No blankets for the gold girl!  I keep looking at her sleek coat, summer hair shedding out & gradually starting to lighten.  I'm hoping I can convince her to grow a thick one :-)  I've packed her heavy blanket, rain sheet & mid-weight traveling blanket - but by now I'd usually have a light weight sheet on her.
The barrel rings that make the large wind spinner - Butch made me years ago - came from my Great Aunt's farm in Iowa.  I don't know if we'll be climbing up to retrieve them.  I'd need a huge tree to hang them from.  There are two nice ones - so we'll see.
Creek with water~
The creek is finally starting so show some water.  Not running yet - that used to happen in mid-September.  With the days of upcoming rain in the forecast - I may get to see it flowing yet before we leave!
Black Cottonwood~
The largest of the Black Cottonwoods is starting to turn yellow - they are so beautiful & smell So good this time of year.  Each time I walk the woods now, is special to me.  I find the Cedars I've planted, all growing well enough - my planting - some well over 5ft. tall.  The new owners haven't asked any questions about the woods, but I've left my notebooks & certificates for them, in the Cottage.
Three Fingers~
The view of Three Fingers from up behind the barn - always stunning - will be one that I will miss...  There are many, many things we'll miss - but it's time.  Even when we thought they might not - things did fall into place & we're very grateful for the friends who helped that happen!  Our timing has worked out & I'm enjoying each of our final days on the Homestead~

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Butch & Dave's Great Road-Trip!

This morning, Butch & Dave saw the sunrise in Montana.  There's just something about sunrise in the West~
Dave's amazing photo~
Leave it to these two - to take the route that puts them just where they wanted to be :-)  Not in time for the big rally - maybe not driving a U-Haul - but a great place to make a stop~!
By now, they've traveled well over 1,000-miles - with the Ford U-Haul truck cruising right along!
Dave & the U-Haul~
It's great that even when they don't have much cell phone reception - in most cases they can still sent out a text.
In Town~
They walked the town & had nachos & beer!
Dave & Butch at lunch~
So glad they're taking a little time for some stops!  :-)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Packing Up, Butch & U-Haul Leave & a Birthday!

We spend Friday - all day Friday - packing the U-Haul!  It was crazy, the amount of boxes that we had packed!  Without Donnie - who came up early & later Kyla & Pat - we couldn't have gotten it done!  By early evening - two more friends came up after working all day & helped with the final push!  I was way too busy to take photos, sure wish I had.  After we were done, we managed to find enough chairs to sit!  Next you ask?  Margarita's out of a can & beers for all!

Butch & I spent the night in the camper - both exhausted.  Butch was up & gone with the truck by 6 a.m. the next morning.  He picked up our son-in-law Dave & they were on their way!
To Montana!
 By just after 2 p.m. Butch sent this photo as they crossed from ID to Montana!  The next text was after 7:30 p.m. when they'd stopped for dinner & the night just outside of Bozeman MT.
Cassidy & Cupcakes!
I'd been invited to Granddaughter Cassidy's birthday party.  Hard to believe that she's now 13 & officially a teenager :-)   Courtney served a wonderful taco bar for dinner, then the Poke Ball Cupcakes for dessert!
Cassidy, Mason & friends!
The girls wanted to go see Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children in Monroe.  It was quite the movie!  It wasn't Mason who was scared - it was Grammy!  I told him I was about ready to sit on his lap & close my eyes!  :-)  To just sit in a chair & be entertained was amazing after the last week...

Nika is sticking close - Donnie came up to feed Farah.  Now, I'll be rattling around an almost empty house for a few days!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Travelin' Papers~

As the days fly by at the speed of sound - we're getting all the things done that need doing!  Today, we headed to Pilchuck Vet in Snohomish.  We had our traveling papers to get done & I'd been remiss in getting Farah's teeth scheduled last year.  I thought that it had been August of 15 when we'd last been in - but no - it was February!
Dr. Holohan & Farah
I've known that Farah was putting on a couple pounds - not as much time out on the trails as usual - since I've been busy boxing & packing!  Sure enough - she tipped the scales at an even 1,100 lbs!  Up about 20lbs. from her highest weight to date.  Not that she'll complain!  Her girth still fits in the same hole - so we'll call it muscle :-)  I am happy though that she'll be starting the trip with a few extra pounds.

After over a year - Farah had a hook starting & had formed some transverse ridges on her molars.  The pocket that we'd worked so hard on over the past couple years - had reappeared & was again holding food :-(  Not nearly as bad as originally - but now we'll need a follow-up in six-months to check on it.

Dr. Holohan did suggest a couple things for traveling.   The first was Soft-Ride Boots - the sizing looks interesting & I doubt I'll have time to order, so we may go to the Bony Pony to check on what they might have in stock.  I'm not sure how well they'll work with steel shoes - so more reading to do.  The other idea was to use Back-On-Track Wraps.  These look easy to use & I like the idea of the ceramic power infused into the fabric.

Since Farah has traveled long-distance more than once - without anything & without any issues - I'm not worried.  But we may splurge in the hope of adding to her comfort.  

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Seattle Knights at Rhodes River!

We've been lucky - getting to see both sets of Grand-kids in these last weeks in WA.  Both weekends we were working at packing of course - but we managed to get in some fun too.
Mason, Grammy, Cassidy & Papa
Months ago we'd made plans to take Scott & Karen to Rhodes River to see the Seattle Knights!  One member of the cast - I felt like I knew personally - since Ann had joined our Distance Derby.  We'd been trying to make plans to see the show since last year.
Great table!
Then, our oldest daughter & her husband were celebrating their twenty-fifth anniversary this same weekend - so we included Mason & Cassidy in our dinner plans!  It couldn't have worked out any better!
Mason, Ann & Cassidy
The troupe visited the dinner guests in the restaurant prior to the show.  We were told that it was perfectly alright to yell & shout - & even pound on the table for our favorite players!  Ann & I finally had the opportunity to meet in person!  The entire ensemble graciously took the time to make everyone there - feel like part of the performance!  The place was packed!  Probably the biggest crowd I've ever seen at the RRR!
Mason & Chocolate Cake!
 The dinner buffet was outstanding & the kids topped off their dinner with warm chocolate cake drizzled with chocolate icing & whipped cream!
It was my first introduction to the Warlander breed!  What amazing movers!  A gray stallion was so bold & beautiful that he took your breath away!  They knew their job & gave very nasty looks as they approached each other at a full gallop!  (Much better photos can be found on their website!)
Cassidy & Gina
After the show, the cast came back to visit with the crowd.   Cassidy is a fan of Anime & makes many of her own costumes from Goodwill finds!  She really enjoyed seeing the amazing outfits & armor close up!  Gina's costume & weapon drew Cassidy's attention early on.

There's no way you can't go to this show & not have a Great time!  One little girl approached Ann as she was talking with us, wanting a hug & even getting a kiss on the cheek :-)  As Ann said;  "Now you know why I do this!"  For sure!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Butch's Going Away Party~

After twenty-four years with Sea Con LLC, the company hosted Butch's going away party at what became his signature project - the Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville.   Another absolutely perfect day - first of Fall in the Pacific Northwest.  I think the state is trying to woo us into staying :-)
Here's to Butch!
Many have said over the years that the Sea Con dynamic resembled a large dysfunctional family during a holiday :-)  From the first, when Brian lured Butch away from our steady employment at multi-family properties, into commercial construction, the projects have come & gone.  Red Hook - though - was the one that always stood out.  It was the best place to gather & honor the career of their top Superintendent.
Butch & Dave
Butch & Dave go all the way back to the start & as the years went by - they became the company's senior Superintendents.  Butch's skill on a variety of projects, gained him the job of training the partner's sons as they completed their education & entered the company.   To see these men now handling their own projects & thanking Butch for his mentoring was great!
All hands on deck~
It was a night for story-telling - most at my husbands expense!  :-)  These guys even had stories that were new to me!  :-)  We laughed hard & long.
Cards & gift~
Rob gave a short speech, crediting Butch with his years of service.  Expressions of how much he would be missed & wishing us well with our upcoming move.  It was really hard to say good-bye to these people - years of shared history here - friends all~

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bear at Bracken!

Farah needed a ride, I did too!  Bracken is the shortest drive - so that's where we went.  It's hard - when I have so much to get done - to take the time to ride.  The whole while I was thinking about what I should have been doing at home.
Our rig back at the parking area~
 Farah was threatening to spook at about anything...  Getting ridden once a week is not her thing!  I circled her, then had her back up - which is how we took this photo.  We have our somewhat standard loop now, through what is usually the muddy trails.  Even with all the rain - the trails had held up well.
Dogwood Blooms!
At the shelter, I was surprised to see the dogwood blooming!  Either it's a late blooming variety - or the wonderful late summer weather we've been having fooled it into a second bloom.
Mr. Bear~
Distracted...  As we headed down the hill toward the river - something big & black caught my eye - moving down the lane about 150ft. ahead of us.  For only one second, I thought it was a big dog, but as it ambled along, there was No doubt it was a bear!  I pulled Farah up - got out my camera & took the photo.  The wind was blowing right at us - I was surprised that Farah had very little reaction?  What to do?  He was between us & where I wanted to go!  As he moved forward - we followed - I started singing & by the time we were going past the fence - he had disappeared into the bush.

Such a truly gorgeous day - we went over Tin Bridge.   Now, there was a bitter sweet quality to the crossing, the realization that it might be one of our last times across.
No more bales~
This year, the field of my Green Valley was cut & put into the round bales - a change from last year.
Looking at the new section of trail~
The trees that were taken out are still waiting to be hauled away - but the ecology blocks are off to the side, which opens a short section of the trail.  As I regretfully resigned my position as the Centennial Trail Coalition Chairman - at the last meeting - I heard of the success of the History on the Centennial Trail event.  The most common question asked; was when the Whitehorse would be paved...  I had wanted to attend this event - I could have maybe changed some minds - but life got in the way.
Recently Parks released this information on the trail usage.  "Over 12,000 people annually are already enjoying the trail, but when it is fully ready for use the projections expect almost 15 time as many visitors per year.   Part of the future of the Whitehorse Trail builds on the expectation that Snohomish County needs to be ready for a 25% growth by 2035. As noted above, the most consistent question from people is about the surfacing plan.  The proposal plans to put down a compacted surface adequate for ADA use."  
As you can tell from the photo above, compaction for ADA use is hard - very hard - but certainly not as hard as paving.
 The softer, somewhat sandy surface that was of course my preference - won't happen.  We are in desperate need of a BCH person willing to take over as Equestrian Representative for the Coalition.  There are also upcoming changes proposed for Lord Hill - & Joan too, is in need of help & support.  If no one steps up - the rolling stone - already covered with moss - will be rolling on paving - as more & more of the area's once designated for horses could be lost.
Current surface~
The leaves are already starting to fall & the smell was incredible.  The most optimistic plans now are for the Whitehorse to open about this time next year.  One of the things I'd hoped to do - was to ride it point-to-point :-(
Farah picked up on my melancholy mood... She's watched as we've been cleaning out the barn, all the people who've been visiting - strangers, friends & family.  A big change is in the wind for us...
Dripping sap~
We headed back, we got in Farah's little run - but thinking of that Bear - I didn't let her hit her higher speeds.  I know I've been bored - if I dare say that!  Having ridden these trails for so many years, as riding partners came & went...  Looking so forward to seeing fresh areas, riding new places & having new friends to ride with! 
Post Script~  This ended up as my last ride in Washington State.  It was beautiful, it was fun & it was fitting~ 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

& The Beat Goes On~

The daily rhythm here on the Homestead has remained the same - yet has been inextricably changed forever - in just a few weeks...
Hotel Greenfield
 Four-years ago - when Dad passed & we traveled to Iowa - the seed of an idea was born.  We both felt so at home.  From when we crossed over the Missouri - I asked Butch to pull over - I couldn't wait to get out & breathe in the feel of home!  We both commented on how much we loved the country.  From the time we checked into Hotel Greenfield - everyone we met made us feel like we were long-lost relatives - which I soon found out - I was!  :-)  Word got out that we were in town & soon we were meeting those shirt-tail relatives that remembered me, better than I remembered them!  :-)
Our house in town~
I started school in Greenfield & my favorite early memories of childhood were made here.  When my parents decided to relocate to Boulder - I was devastated - but each Summer either Mom or Dad would drive us out to visit our Grandparents.   I spent as much time as I could on Grandma's farm.  Of course having my mare there was a huge motivator.  :-)  Every Summer too, at one point or another - Grandma would look at me & say;  "You'll be the one to come back."
The Farm~
 A few times over the years, Grandma would write about a farm coming on the market - she thought that 80-acres would be the minimum we'd need :-)  It never happened - the timing was never right.  But now - things have changed - the appeal of living in the mid-west has only increased as we've grown older.

We took the plunge - Butch has been ready for a while now - to back off the hectic pace of the jobs he's been on & a commute that takes a huge chunk out of his life.  Today - he gives notice to his employer (24-years October 11th) & our transition will be rolling!

As we gave up our positions with the local BCH Chapters - news started trickling out :-)  I've already been asked to help with a new State BCHIA!  I also let the AERC know of our change & Monica plans to put me to work!  I've already been invited to a ride :-)

I'll continue posts here - until the day the Homestead is no longer~  Our new blog is up!  A continuation of our life & times.  You can find it at;  http://hogehomeplace.blogspot.com/~
We hope you'll visit us there! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Feel of the Forest~

Today - it was time for Farah & I to move out...  We're both so used to being out on our own - that I think the mare craves it as much as I do.
It was just a stunning day - clear, bright, blue & with that incredible on-shore flow that kept the leaves of the trees dancing all day long.  I'd had a bunch of calls to make this morning - so it was noon by the time we arrived at Victoria's parking.  Several trailers there & as many cars parked along side the road.
Leigh & Kathy left a little while ahead of us - but we came up on them just a mile or so out - spooking Leigh's mare a little :-)  We chatted - Leigh told the story of her encounter with a Bear & bees too - on the same ride! I was pretty cautious going up where I'd heard the bears cross the road.
Even the weeds are pretty~
Farah was on her A-game - we were making time all the way to the monument.  There - we ran into two of our Trailduster friends & again enjoyed visiting.  As busy as I've been - it felt so good to be out on such a gorgeous day.
 We crossed over to the Lake McMurray overlook - Farah took advantage of a phone call I had to answer to continue her lunch break :-)  I could hear the roar of ATV's coming all the way across the valley from the Morgan Horse side of the tree farm.  Farah even stopped once to listen.
Whitehorse & Three Fingers
The little trees that were planted in the clear-cut are growing so fast that I can see this view disappearing in just a few years :-(
The slip & slide~
I walked down from the top on foot, then re-mounted just before entering this trail.  Such a pretty section, Farah's hind feet slid several times.  It's almost like a slip & slide - the dirt is so compacted.  Once it rains - it will definitely be slippery.  I couldn't even see a print from Farah's shoes.
Heading down again~
I wanted to go all the way to the bottom, but we ran out of time, so I took the other trail down to the old road that's mid-way on the mountain.  There were a few blackberries ripe just as we went in.  There's always been something about the feel of the forest on this mountain - even as clear-cut as it's been - it still retains something of the character that it must have had - when it was covered with old-growth.

When we started back up - Farah had the assent timed perfectly!  She leaped into a full gallop & we flew!  I did yell;  "horse coming!" as we blasted up :-)  She's never better than when she's at a full run!  I yell "Yippee" & she turns on the afterburners :-)
Mt. Rainier
We took the main old road back, again running into Leigh & Kathy.  They had the same idea & wondered if the blow-down had been cleared.  We went ahead - I told them if they didn't see us coming back their direction - it was clear :-)  It was & I was rewarded with this view of Mt. Rainier!  Stunning end to a fun ride~