Cowgirl Up on

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Trailer Floor Is In

We got the floor boards all in and screwed down today. Not an easy task as the pressure treated boards are just a tad bit wider than the boards we removed. Paddock Boy used the sawzall to trim the first one on the left side. He switched to the planer for the one on the right side. It worked better, but made a bigger mess with the chips from the pressure treated boards dumping everywhere. Not something we want the Little Cowboy to be playing with. I really wish there were some more environmentally sensitive ways of doing projects like this.

Also got mats cut and set in the tack room. They were recycled from the mats I removed from the walls.

The Herculiner has been applied to about half of the necessary area. Paddock Boy used the full gallon and we purchased another gallon this evening. May even need more for an additional coat to go over the first. This is nasty stuff. Sticky, smelly, nasty and not something you want the dog or kid messing around near. Yet another thing that isn’t exactly “green,” but in the name of physical safety, it is something that needs to be done. Paddock Boy said we're not doing this again (implying the next trailer will be a new one < vbeg >).

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Friday, August 29, 2008

Please Vote for This Book!

Forgotten by Leah Anderson contains photos of rescue horses and all proceeds go to Save A Forgotten Equine. Buena, Ariel and I are featured in one section of this book.

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Now THAT’S a Small House!

There are small houses and then there’s an 84-square-foot house on wheels in Olympia that Dee Williams calls home. Click on the image to be linked to the video segment from King5’s Evening Magazine.

If you’d like more information about Dee’s little house, send her an email at Dee . boxcar @ yahoo . com (remove spaces).

For more resources, check out these links that Dee sent to me to share with folks:

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Working on a Few Things

I have a couple of irons in the fire so-to-speak when it comes to posting. Without giving anything away, let’s just say that they will involve horses, projects and a few other things. Didn’t want folks to think I had completely disappeared.

Yesterday Paddock Boy and the Little Cowboy did some more demolition of the Casa Siesta. More of the windows have been removed. And I did sell those corner jacks last week on CL.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Can We Fix It? Yes, We Can!

To borrow from Bob The Builder...

Here is the progress today. Boards purchased. Old boards removed. Rust scraped. Rustoleum Gloss White partially applied; ran out after 4 cans, need more. Do-it-yourself Herculiner roll-on bed-liner purchased for putting on trailer walls.

Considering the rot I found at the back of the trailer and around a few screws in the boards was the worst of it, we’re probably doing a job that didn’t quite need to be done yet. However, the few holes that I have found and the amount of rust that I have encountered makes me think that better now than after a serious problem shows up. Once we get this all done then it’s time to tackle the wiring, but we’ll leave that to the professionals.

Sunday is a day off for the most part as we are heading into town for a Mariners game.

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Happy “Birthday” Buena!

August 23rd is the birthday that I have given Buena. I was recently informed by a relative that used to live in the area that she came from that it is pronounced boo-eh-na and not the proper Spanish pronunciation of BOO-AY-nah. Oh well. I don’t like to think back too much on where she came from. It is pretty irrelevant these days.

I did want to show those of you who don’t know our history some old pictures and video from the day I first set eyes on her and the day that she arrived home.

First catch and groundwork:

She’s come a long way from being a scared 3 year old filly destined for a Canadian slaughterhouse. Here she is today:

Buena 2008
Photo ©2008 Gayle Hoffman/KCD

New pictures and video as promised:

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Not Just Horses

We have a variety of critters here. This is Chester and he’s the one most frequently hopping in my lap when I am sitting here.

And in the spirit of LOLCats:

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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Argument Against Grain/Sweet Feed

This is the absolute best study I have seen to date. It doesn’t really address the physical or long term health implications, just the trainability ones. It’s yet another supportive argument that grains in many circumstances are not proper horse feed.

Sweets make young horses harder to train in MSU study

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Monday, August 18, 2008

One Last Experiment

I wasn’t able to track down any blackberries or huckleberries this past weekend, much to my dismay. I missed them by about a month probably. It’s just too hot over in Mason county to get any decent berries in mid-August. The search was “fruitful” none-the-less!

I came back from my very short walk with a very large amount of Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium and Mahonia nervosa) berries! A rather large bucketful in fact. And de-stemming Oregon grape berries is so much easier than currants! I had it done, with the help of one of my aunts, in less than an hour! I haven’t weighed the berries, but a one gallon zipper bag is full and sitting in the freezer awaiting it’s destined recipe(s).

While out on my search for berries I always find myself admiring how unspoiled certain areas on the forested hillsides are. The Oregon grape bushes were thriving Under the shade of the Douglas fir, madrona, shore pine and western hemlock, as well as the salal and many other plants. One that frequently catches my eye over in that area is a shrub that has bright orange fruits this time of year. At other times it has adorable flowers. And the leaves are distinctive. The last time I identified it I didn’t lock it very well into my memory. This time I will as it will be posted here for all of you to see, as well as for me to refer back to in the future!

Smith’s Fairy Bells/Lanterns (Disporum smithii (Hook.) or Prosartes menziesii) supposedly do have an edible fruit, but I have deiced that I am not going to sample it until I have a large quantity in front of me at one time. Each bush doesn’t produce much fruit so far as I can tell. I do hope to get some growing here in the treed area of our yard. It reminds me of native low-growing plant trillium that we have here in the Pacific northwest. My very wilted specimen:

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Hot August Nights

It’s been sweltering here. Time to get away from the farm for a couple of days and head to the beach!

Boating and fishing:

Some hydrangeas:

Evening boat ride:

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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Winding Down

The berry season is starting to wind down around here sort of. Our blueberry bush is loaded and the Himalayan blackberries are just now starting to ripen up. However, I got skunked on Sunday looking for huckleberries or blackberries up in the mountains.

We were at a pretty heavily used area for a mountain bike race and there had been a Backcountry Horsemen prize ride the weekend before that. No berries to be found in the camp area. Plus, my son wanted to ride in the kids’ race so we couldn’t stray far from the start/finish line. He got second in his division. :)

Last night I made a batch of blueberry syrup (with berry bits) from the berries that Paddock Boy and the little man picked. There are still more berries, but most will probably be frozen to use in muffins and pancakes through the winter.

I think my canning may be close to wrapping up. Only blackberries and huckleberries would spur me back into action. And I soooo want some blackberries!

We’re heading to The Cabin this weekend and maybe I can find blackberries over there, but usually they are well done and gone by now. I’ll be looking pretty hard, though!

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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Trailer Deconstruction

I didn’t focus on the floorboards today. Today was the day to finish removing those wall mats. My trip to the hardware stores (yes plural) eventually provided me with that illusive T25 star bit for the power drill.

In no time I carefully removed the screws holding up the mats and used a vise grip to pull the mats of the walls and out of the trailer.

Then I removed the vinyl and padding from the center dividers. All of the above exposed areas of rust and “cancer” that was starting to get out of hand. I even punched through the skin on a few places; most of them aren’t of major concern, but one or two are.

The eventual goal is to get the rust treated with a solution which prevents it from getting worse and then primering and hopefully having Rhino Lining Tuff Grip™ applied to the interior of the walls. The result would be strength and dent prevention and also a reduction in weight of the trailer due to not reinstalling the mats that were the original installation.

Here are the pictures of the floor boards after I did my poking and chiseling of the dry rot yesterday as well as the mat and padding removal today.

Wednesday is empty the tack room day. Not sure if I will get to the point of pulling out the carpet and the tack box, but I hope that I get that far. It has to be done before we pull out the boards since I am pretty sure they run the full length of the trailer.

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Next Projects on the List

There are always projects awaiting around here. Some are more pressing than others, but they all need to be done.

We have our old camper, nicknamed “The Casa Siesta” that we have decided to part out and junk. It is 31 years old and has seen better days. Paddock Boy and I honeymooned in it. It was our $400 wonder. We got lots of good use out of it, but its most recent occupation was growing mushrooms. Not good. Now we are taking it apart piece by piece attempting to recycle as many parts as we possibly can. So far so good.

My other major project that needs to be done is to put a new floor in the horse trailer, and get the removable dividers back to being removable! We have had it for a few years and it has its original floorboards.

On our recent trip around Montana I just never was comfortable with some of the squeaking I heard in the floorboards. We only had Buena in there, but still, I had minor panic attacks flashing through my head. I pull up the mats at least yearly to check the boards and I knew there was a little rot going on already. When I started taking out mats and checking the boards yesterday not much was a surprise. I don’t like seeing any rot, but the wood in the floor isn’t pressure-treated so some is expected since the trailer is 14 years old.

During my dismantling I broke a star bit on the power drill. Off to replace that today. And I also stripped the manual version of the star bit on the screwdriver. Rusted screw heads and too much strength/torque I guess. :)

Pictures and progress reports to come.

Oh, and one set of used HiJacker camper jacks are for sale. Make me an offer.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Mmmint Jelly

Peppermint to be exact.

Followed by spearmint late this afternoon.

Maybe I’ll try chocolate mint or pineapple mint.

Yes I do have all of those varieties. Some were pictured in my herb garden photo.

Paddock Boy may not partake of the mint jellies since he has some flashback/bad memories of mint jelly with some sort of liver as a kid. I don’t blame him for curling his nose. Just means more jelly to share. He calls me the “Jelly-Making Fool” this year.

A few folks had guessed serviceberry earlier in the Mystery Berry Game. I doubt that will happen this year as we have very few berries left on the two bushes out back. Maybe next year. I sampled one of them and they are similar to a blueberry, but the texture isn’t and nice and the seeds are a little bit larger inside the fruit. There are still tons of twinberries to be had on the four or five other bushes out there.

However, my plan is to score some blackberries or huckleberries on Sunday up in the mountains!

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In Search of Goats

During our recent preparation for the class we did quite a bit of cleaning up around our place. Seems like we’re always doing stuff like that. With ten acres and nearly two of it being our immediate living area, it isn’t long before it gets out of control. Taking a ten day vacation in late June doesn’t help.

Our soil type here is very fertile and grass and weeds grow everywhere. We once had a nice little lavender bed in the front of the house. It’s not so nice now. Having containers in front of the barn makes it a bit easier, but most of our containers aren’t exactly the most attractive. Heck, they were free, left by the previous owner (a landscaper who left all his empty black pots). At least we are recycling. We have given away scads of them, but still have lots more.

In my blogging around, I came across the Crunchy Chicken blog. One of the features was the book Food Not Lawns, which I promptly placed on hold and got from the King County Library System. I have barely started reading it, but it got me to thinking. Thinking more in depth about stuff I already was thinking about.

Anyway, back to the weeds and stuff. Paddock Boy was running the weed whacker and the Billy Goat mower in an area that gets overrun with morning glory, reed canary grass, wild cherry saplings and American elm saplings. It takes a great deal of work, fuel and time to get each section under control, and even then it is a short-lived proposition. At one point, Paddock Boy declares “This is ridiculous. I almost think that the hassle of goats would be worth it.” This isn’t the first time goats have come up in our discussions.

We have lots of invasive species here. Himalayan blackberry being the main source of our frustrations. So, we are now on the hunt for some goats. I am perusing craigslist for free/cheap goats that need homes. The goats will be well-cared for, but they will be staked and tethered during the day and well-protected at night. The goats also must already be disbudded. We would prefer younger goats so that we can do some training to be good around kids and dogs and horses.

Got goats?

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Successful Class

I am very happy with how the Hay and Forage Class came together at our place. The weather cooperated, thankfully. There were threatening thunderclouds over the foothills and mountains to the east of us, but the most precipitation we got was a slight sprinkle here and there.

I don’t think the full amount of people showed up for the class. The attendance was capped at 50 so that everyone would be easily able to hear the presenters. We had quite a few empty seats.

Harris Statema and Dr. Bob DeWard had the audience fully engrossed and I think folks realized the importance of testing hay to know what you are really feeding your horse(s). I know that in my few short years here where we grow our own that it has been truly interesting to see the differences from year to year.

Please stay tuned to this blog, the Horses For Clean Water web site and to the King Conservation District web site for more information about upcoming classes and farm tours, as I have a feeling that the nutritional offerings may increase in the future if the interest is there.

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Hay and Forage Class Is Full

I have been informed that the class is full! Woo hoo! Thanks for your support and I will keep you posted as to how it goes and whether on not it will be repeated in the future. If you are coming, please bring a comfortable chair.

Stay cool!

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Monday, August 4, 2008

Mystery Berry Game

It’s my first blog contest! OK, I haven’t come up with a prize, but maybe the prize should be a sample pack of my syrups, jams and jellies that I have been making. Here are some pictures of the batch of jelly I made tonight, from berries picked here on our place.

I will only give a few clues about the kind of berries they might be. You can look at the pictures as your first clue and then know that this is a “native” species found in the Pacific Northwest.

Another hint, which I don’t know how helpful it will be, is that a few cedar waxwings tried to land in the bush while I was picking and I scared them away when I stood up. They hung out in a nearby birch tree the rest of the time I was picking.

This batch is slightly bitter. I have sweetened it with some 100% apple juice. And there is no recipe, at least not one that I could find on Google or anywhere else on the internet. There may or may not be clues in my links to other sites, blogs and stores. Anything is fair game. < Very Big Evil Grin! >

If anyone guesses the berry type and has a clue as to a good recipe to use these berries in, I have at least one more bush of them I can pick. Otherwise I leave them to the waxwings and other birds, since that it the reason we planted the bushes in the first place.

Leave your guess in comments and any correct guesses will be winners. I have plenty of jams and jellies to give away! :)

And here are some pictures of Buena, Buster, Shadow and Ernie from this afternoon to keep my posts kind of back on the horse topic. It was pushing 90°F today and is supposed to be warmer tomorrow!

I’ll keep this game open for at least a week, or until someone guesses what the berry is.

Well that was fast!

But I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised with all the smart ladies that put up their guesses. Cathi and Brenda, horse owners in the Puget Sound area, both correctly guessed twinberry. Here is some information:

Lonicera involucrata

Twinberry Honeysuckle

Las Pilitas Nursery

Lonicera involucrata

The Flavors of Home

So there you have it! Not particularly tasty, but the result is as black as night and if we don’t eat it, we can put it out for the birds to eat in the spring. I am guessing that Bullock’s orioles and other berry-eating birds will like it.

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Buh! Buh! Buh! Buh! Blueberry Jam!

Tasty, tasty blueberry jam. Combination of our blueberries and some from my parents’ house. Not quite as good as the blackberry syrup, but still yummy! My son got to show Gramma how the KitchenAid juicing attachment works and “poops.” Since it helps to grind up the skins and he wanted to show Gramma, we gave her a little demonstration. I used the skins and seeds that would normally be thrown out to make jam instead of jelly. Those skins are also what gives the jam its great dark color, too. This was a full sugar batch, so those diet conscious folks (the grandpas and a few others) will need to be careful!

We’re pretty close to being ready for the class on Wednesday. It’s not too late to sign up if you are interested in coming. Amazing how much work we got done outside ripping out weeds, mowing and such. I much prefer that outside work to housework inside!

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Free Class Here at Our Place

Updating this post to get the class more exposure. Check out more information here on this flyer.

Understanding Forage, Hay and Equine Nutrition

Wednesday, August 6, 2008
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Rockin’ Circle C

Are you interested in learning about how pasture management meshes with health issues on horse properties? Do you know what a hay probe is and how to use it? Horses For Clean Water and King Conservation District will show you and will also have an equine nutritionist and an equine veterinarian on hand at this weekday evening event. Learn how you can borrow the KCD hay probe to take samples of your hay. Hear from some experts about feeding and understanding forage and nutrition. Meet resource specialists who can suggest options for pasture management problems, soil testing recommendations and weed control options. Plus, meet the landowners who manage the pastures for growing hay and grazing.

To register and receive directions contact the King Conservation District at 425-277-5581x122 or e-mail Paul Borne.

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Surprise Strawberry Jam

What do you do with a huge bowl of leftover strawberries from a birthday party? Why, you send them home with me and I whip out a quick batch of no sugar added strawberry jam. Of course!

That batch of blueberry jam or syrup is on tap for tomorrow! And I have tentative plans to go huckleberry or blackberry picking next weekend with my sister-in-law.

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

West Nile Virus in WA State

Washington State Department of Agriculture News Release: Aug. 1, 2008
Contact: Jason Kelly (360) 902-1815

West Nile virus found in Moses Lake and Prosser area horses—first cases in 2008

OLYMPIA - West Nile virus (WNV), a potentially fatal disease in equines, has been confirmed in two horses, one in Moses Lake and the other in the Prosser area, the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) announced today.

These are the first confirmed cases this year of horses contracting West Nile virus in Washington. Last year, eight horses were confirmed for the disease, all in Yakima County.

Washington State University’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Pullman reported the positive test results to WSDA today.

The 24-year-old gelding quarter horse in Moses Lake appears to be recovering. The Prosser horse, a five-year-old quarter horse mare, has been euthanized. Neither horse was vaccinated for WNV.

“The best way to protect a horse from West Nile infection is vaccination,” said Dr. Leonard Eldridge, state veterinarian. “Horse owners with concerns should contact their veterinarian for information on vaccines and annual booster shots.”

Eldridge also recommended that horse owners take measures to reduce mosquito populations by removing standing water from yards and barns and changing water in troughs or bird baths that could be a source of mosquito breeding.

West Nile virus is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito and can infect people, horses, many types of birds, and other animals. Humans cannot contract WNV through contact with an infected horse. Infected horses do not spread the disease to other horses or animals. Mosquitoes become carriers when they feed on an infected bird.

Horses that contract WNV may show signs such as loss of coordination, loss of appetite, confusion, fever, stiffness and muscle weakness, particularly in the hindquarters. Many horses and other animals contracting WNV do not become ill and show no symptoms at all. About one-third of horses that become ill die.

Veterinarians and horse owners should report potential cases of West Nile virus in horses by calling the State Veterinarian’s Office at (360) 902-1878.

More WNV information is available on the following Web sites:

The Washington State Department of Agriculture Web site is at

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Friday, August 1, 2008

The Reality of Owning Horses... least in southern California.

Slow Economy Takes Toll on Local Horse Owners

08/01/08 | Susan Valot
89.3 KPCC Southern California Public Radio

Thousands of horses and their owners call Southern California home, particularly in South Orange County and the Inland Empire. It’s expensive to own a horse; and it’s getting more expensive, as gas prices, feed prices and other costs skyrocket. KPCC’s Susan Valot reports. Read the full story here.

Or listen to the story here.

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Did Someone Say Beach Ride?

Some girlfriends and I have decided we need to reconnect and do a beach ride and camping trip in September. It’s been a while since we’ve all gotten together as a group. We’re all pretty close and all have similar good horsemanship goals and ride together in clinics as much as time and budgets allow. We’re pretty lucky in that respect. Not a lot of folks have quality people to ride with and support each other. And our tastes and backgrounds and ages differ quite a bit, as well as our skill-levels. Makes for amusing e-mail and campfire conversations! We’ve only been conversing in e-mail, so now it’s time for that campfire gathering!

Riding at the beach can beach great and it can be awful. Just like anything, it’s all what you make of it. I will give a few stories here, and share some pictures.

Ariel at the Beach

I was pretty lucky to have taken Ariel to the beach on two separate occasions.

The first trip I took to the beach was to Westport/Grayland, WA the first weekend in September of 2001. That year I had met a gal at a Ray Hunt clinic that I audited and she had graciously offered us a place to camp near Westport. My surfing husband and I took her up on that. It was shortly after we were married and we were making a dual trip of it; he was surfing in the early morning and late afternoon while I rode during middle of the day. We basically took turns napping in the camper.

That year, little known to us, a Washington State Parks employee was visiting the very same beach parking area that we parked at. He happened to take a picture of Ariel tied to our trailer and our dog Dune snoozing nearby. He later painted a watercolor picture from that photo. I stumbled on the original photo in a web banner on the WSP web site section on trails.

I e-mailed the webmaster for the site asking about the origin of the photo and that’s when I found out that the webmaster himself had taken the picture. He told me about the painting and pointed me to his web site showing the painting. I offered to buy a print from the painting, and much to my surprise he said he wanted to give me the painting, for free. Needless to say I was shocked and honored. The painting now graces one of the walls in our living room. A much-cherished memory of our time with Ariel, and Dune who passed away within a year of that trip, even though he didn’t make it into the painting.

This was one of Mark’s very early works and I just checked in on his web site recently and he certainly as come a long way artistically and technically from then!

In 2004, before we got Buena, our family took a trip down to the Oregon coast to a great campground at Nehalem Bay State Park south of Cannon Beach. I wish we had a nice state park like that here in Washington that had horse facilities. It almost makes me want to move to Oregon. Seriously! The corrals were great, the spaces were awesome to pull in with rigs and you can’t beat a hot shower after a good day of riding at the beach! Reservations are accepted, and most importantly recommended as the place is booked almost a year in advance for horse camping.

That year, we made a 4-day trip of it. Traveling across state lines meant having correct health papers, just in case. And there was no sense in going that far for just one or two days. I recruited a couple of good friends (from the group previously mentioned) to join my hubby, son, our dog, Ariel and myself.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon and got settled into our camp site. Here is Ariel in one of the corrals:

Once the other gals arrived and we all grabbed some dinner we saddled up for an evening beach ride right at sunset. It was one of the more interesting rides I had that weekend. Ariel was barefoot and there was a bizarre occurrence in the sand there at Nehalem. It was squeaky! I kid you not! The dry sand made the most bizarre, and quite loud, squeaking sound as the horses made their way on the dune trail out to the wide open beach. The wet packed sand closer to the surf wasn’t noisy, but that really dry stuff was. Ariel was a bit “up,” as she usually always was, but it wasn’t long before the group of us was making some seriously speedy tracks on the beach. Occasionally we’d move towards the water, but at sunset and with the dark quickly overtaking daylight, we didn’t want to get into any trouble. As it was, we rode until past dark and couldn’t find the exact trail between the dunes back to camp. We made it without issue, but we made note better throughout the rest of the weekend where the trail access points were to and from camp.

We had a great weekend. We rode two or three times a day. We spent great time around the camp fire eating yummy food a sipping wonderful beverages. We had good weather for the most part, after all it is the Pacific NorthWEsT coast. And coming home, I sort of took the truck, camper and horse trailer through the pick-up window at Wendy’s in Longview/Kelso...the manager was not happy, but his employees were laughing hilariously!

Here are some great pictures from that trip:

And here are some additional shots of Paddock Boy getting a ride in on one of my friend’s horses:

Buena at the Beach

In June of 2005, a larger group of the previously mentioned girlfriends took a trip to Westport/Grayland beach., the same area that I had visited with Ariel. We had decided not to camp, but make a day trip out of it. Looking back, it was a fun trip, but that trip convinced me that day trips aren’t the best thing to do when you live three plus hours from the coast.

Coming from various parts of western Washington, we all arrived at the parking area pretty much around 10 a.m. We were blessed with sunshine and moderate temperatures, the fog and low clouds just burning off as we readied ourselves to ride.

We make our way out to the beach. Many horses hadn’t been to the ocean, and probably a few hadn’t been on sand or in such a wide open area. Many of us took our time heading for the water. Eventually I managed to get Buena into some small tide pools and we did a lot of serpentines. In my early days of finding horsemanship, I would have drilled into the ground with one-rein stops, but I have since found that forward and serpentines is much better. Keep in mind, I maybe had 30 rides on Buena. I only had started her under saddle back in October 2004 and also had only ridden in one of Buck’s foundation classes in the November clinic here in this area. I had been riding, but Buena was (and still is) very green. I probably was sneaking rides more often than not, but I was having fun and that ultimately is what the journey is all about since I don’t ride for a living!

Back to the tide pools. The tide was going out that morning and there were plenty of tide pools and sand bars to be had. Miles and miles of them and a few hundred feet from the hide tide mark out to the surf. Our groups was pretty spread out. Some horses doing better than others, but everyone staying safe and having fun. At one point I was pretty removed from everyone. The nearest folks were probably a quarter of a mile behind me and working on keeping their horses mentally with them. Buena and I started going into bigger and deeper tide pools. We were doing pretty well...until we weren’t. Doh!

We entered into a large tide pool at the shallow end and as we worked our way towards the deeper end it got quite deep. We were up to Buena’s belly. Not a problem, that is until Buena decided she wanted to jump up to the top of the sand bar on our right. Normally, an unexpected jump isn’t a problem, but when I had my reins way too long and a foot goes through...well, I think you can see what is coming. I complicated matters by pulling on that right rein while she was lunging in the deep sand and water. The result? We went down. I came out of the saddle, complete submerged in the deep salty tide pool. Buena struggled a couple of times to get to her feet. She managed to get up and jump on top of that sand bar. I unlooped my lead from her leg and proceded to do groundwork and lead-bys and drive her in and out of the tide pool until she was okay about it. Eventually I got her to stand in the deep part of the tide pool and I remounted, very colt and wet, from the sand bar. We rode in and out and around the tide pool for a few minutes. No big deal. But the look on Buena’s face was priceless. She definitely did not like cold salt water and sand in her ears any more than I did. And she was completely submerged when she was down and flailing initially.

By the time I had gotten myself out of the tide pool and started the ground work a few friends had caught up with me. No one saw the fall and until they got up close, they didn’t even know we had taken a swim. They just thought I had gotten off to do groundwork. Once remounted, a friend helped me empty my boots of most of the water and we proceeded to catch up with everyone else. This is only 45 minutes or so into our ride!

My friends were so accommodating that we all headed back to the trailers to try and get me some dry clothes and also let my saddle dry out a bit. I managed to scrounge up dry clothes and put the wet ones in a spot to dry out in the back of my truck.

On our way back out to the beach about 45 minutes later I realize that my 60 foot rope that I had for a good 8 years was missing. The keeper on my saddle broke. And I also realized that one of my silver bracelets I had been wearing also was gone. Paddock Boy had given me the silver barbed wire cuff bracelet as a gift. I was bummed about both. I separated off from the group and beat tracks out to the area I thought we had been in to look for the items. Much to my dismay, the tide was coming in and it had rapidly overtaking most all of the tide pools. *sigh*

The rest of the day was uneventful and quite fun. We took turns doing all kinds of things and also challenging each other to races. This stretch of beach is pretty much uninterrupted for about 20 miles. Lots of room and much less crowded than the very popular Ocean Shores area on the north side of Grays Harbor.

Late that afternoon we went back to the trailers completely exhausted. To compound matters, the all sat our bums down in our camp chairs in the sun and rehashed our stories and sipped a cold beer. A decision was finally made, for those who stayed that late, that we should grab a bite of Mexican food for dinner in Aberdeen. It was pretty close to 6 p.m. at this point. By the time we all got to Aberdeen and then at dinner, it was around 9 p.m. We had two to four hours, depending on where we lived before we got home. Uh oh. It was one of the longest drives ever. And my eyes were heavy from being exhausted, and satisfied, by the events of the day. Once I hit the urban lights of Olympia I managed to catch a second wind. I pulled into the driveway that night at 12:30. I got Buena settled back in with Ariel and then went inside and collapsed into bed. I don’t recall if I showered, but I must have as the salt in my hair was crusty!

The next day was spent cleaning my take and my new chaps from all the salt and sand they had absorbed during our swim.

Wow. This turned into quite the book! I have been back to the beach with Buena since that day, but I will save that for another post and another day.

Jelly-making Post Script – I made a batch of currant syrup the other night. Last night, I whipped out a batch of blackberry syrup from the measly cup and a half of juice I extracted from the berries from my parents’ house. I must say, I really love those wild blackberries. I need to get me some more! Just licking the spoon and the pan while cleaning up...I was in blackberry heaven! I need to get me some more of those little black berries!!!

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