Wednesday, October 29, 2014

And so it begins

The holiday season.  In just a couple of nights, the little ghouls and goblins will be out in full force...begging for treats.  :)  We don't get trick or treaters at our house; not one single little monster in almost 20 years.  But of course, I have some candy on hand.  Just in case.  

With the weather turning seasonably cooler and much wetter, our thoughts naturally tend to focus on inside.  Cozying up the home, lighting spicy scented candles, fires in the wood stove and soup in the kettle.  This too, as much as the holidays we celebrate, are tradition for us.  

The horses are coming inside every night now, they're already accustomed to their new routine.  Sure doesn't take them long.  They've added longer, warmer coats and most are sporting a nice layer of mud as well.  *sigh*  Ladde in particular...chocolate-dipped and most pleased with himself.  

The farrier was out this week for their last trims of this year.  We pulled Missy's shoes once again for the opportunity to allow for foot expansion and better circulation.  And it's working...she has good, quality heel growth.  Her heels are much more open and no curling in and no under run appearance.  That's exactly what I had hoped to accomplish.  We're also going to try a new drug on the market that's supposed to work similarly to the drug Tildren; although much less expensive, it's specifically marketed for navicular.  It's an IM injection given in three different locations.  I ordered it yesterday and should have it today...can't wait to give it a try!  The manufacturer reports that we should have maximum improvement at about two months, so we'll see.  I'm hopeful, but remain realistic as Missy's diagnosis of navicular was several years ago.  But I have to try, she's a fun little mare to ride and has way too much life to stand around in a pasture.  I'll keep you posted.

Hope you're ready for the holidays because here they come!!!  I was in Walmart yesterday and their entire garden center area is full of Christmas stuff.  Uggh!  What is up with that!?  Every year it's crammed down our throats earlier and earlier...just makes me want to detach from the commercialism all the more, and savor the quiet peace of it all.  

Happy Halloweeney everyone!!!  

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Dazed days and grey skies

Long-range weather predictors had forecast a warmer, drier fall for the Pacific Northwest.  I was sure hoping for that Indian summer, but alas we're just plain wet.  *sigh*  Our weather is warm, wet and windy.  And because of several wildfires in our mountainous areas last summer...landslides are an issue.  Not where we live, we're in the valley, the lowlands; but some of the areas that are common thoroughfares could get dicey if the rains continue.  

Overall, we had a hot, long and very dry summer.  A couple of weeks ago everything in our area was brown, no grass and just dead weeds.  However today, our grass has grown to 8ish inches tall, it's thick and lush.  In our yard that is.  Not so much in the pastures, but the green blanket effect is there, the horses just keep it nipped short.  Amazing how quickly our grasses rebound with just a little bit of moisture.  The rains we're expected to get today and in the coming week is more than a little bit though...1-2" today and tomorrow alone, with plenty of wind.  Our weathermen are super excited.  They actually have something to report.  

We kept the horses inside today.  Just doesn't make any sense to have them outside getting soaked and trying to crowd together inside the shelters.  That's when difugalties take place.  Harley will get new wounds and Kadie and Shad will get pushed outside.  They could go to the other shelter, but they always want to be together.  So...our evening will be spent doing double-duty in the stalls.  Most of the time I don't mind it, but I haven't been sleeping very well, and I'm tired.  Just plain tired and a bit cranky today.  Business at the clinic remains slow and that doesn't help.  Having nothing substantial to do all day does nothing for my energy levels after I get home.  

MH and Justin did get the pellet stove installed last weekend.  For a while there, it was touch and go.  The auger that feeds the pellets was totally frozen, and they'd almost given up hope of getting it freed up when it broke loose.  They did a thorough cleaning and re-painted the top and front areas of the stove.  It looks beautiful and is working wonderfully now.  I'm so glad because replacing it right now would have been out of the question.  It's the little things that make me happy!  Warmth is one of those things.  :)

This week we're picking up our winters' supply of bedding and then loading up the truck with junk that we need to haul to the dump soon.  And aside from cleaning out my garden boxes, hopefully that will be the end of outside "getting prepared for winter" projects.  The season has come for inside jobs, and heaven knows there are plenty of those too.  That's a good thing I suppose, because as I've mentioned before, being idle makes me crazy!  Before you know it, the holidays will be upon us.  Just where has this year gone to!?  I know, I'm like a broken record on that subject!!  

Well, that's it for now.  Tonight the little blue sleeping pill will be my friend, and hopefully I'll get a good nights' rest and as my momma always used to say..."Tomorrow is a brand new day!".  

Blessings, Lorie

Friday, October 17, 2014

Always happy for "Fried Eggs"

:)  That's what my old Spanish teacher, Mr. Schibel used to call Fridays.  Always makes me smile to think of him, he was a cool teacher and made learning fun...not that I remember much of what I learned from him.  Just sayin' 

Guess that old saying is true.  "If you don't use it, you lose it".  Could be said of many things I guess.  Anyhoo...

Lava flow

Wickiup Lake
Our weather has taken a turn for the wet.  Monday was cool, but dry.  Tuesday was heinous.  Lots of rain, and some wind.  Enough to cause damage in some parts, but not in our neighborhood.  Warm and very, very wet.  Wednesday was a gift.  Such a perfectly beautiful Autumn day!!!  Today is overcast, cool with a few showers.  And I just realized I've lost a day.  Hmmmmm...oh well, blame it on a memory relapse.  Anyway, you get the message.  We're cool.  Autumn has arrived.  Moving on...

Lovely thunderheads

This campground is appropriately called Lava Campground.  We just visited, did not stay here.

Of all the places we stayed, this was my absolute favorite!  Gorgeous campground, rivers, trails...heaven.  I could have stayed here for a week and been happy.

1 of 2 creeks that rushed into this main river

My girls loved this river too, shallow and not too fast.

What are ya gonna do?

Earlier in the spring/summer, this is a big river, has a boat ramp for fishing.

Well, the hubs has finished the granite that will go under our pellet stove in the living room.  I haven't even seen the stone yet.  Picked it out from pictures.  Should I be worried?  Nah!!  Justin is visiting for a while and is helping his dad install everything as I type.  So, hopefully it will be a done deal when I get home.  I'm most anxious to have the pellet stove it for those evenings when it's not terribly cold, but you just want to take the chill off the house by pushing a button.  Yes, I'm lazy - no guilt here.

I will just need to rearrange the furniture, yet again.  *sigh*  I'm not sure why, or how I've created such an issue with the furnishings arrangement, but I have.  Probably all those extra pieces of stuff I purchased last spring...what was I thinking???  And the hubs is no help in this department.  At all.  The coward runs in the other direction when I ask for his opinion.  Men!

So...guess I know of at least one project that will occupy some of my time this weekend.  Seriously, there is never a shortage of projects to take up my time.  When do I get to stay in my pj's and lounge around on the couch watching movies and eating popcorn??  I deserve that, right!?  

Crane Prairie Lake

Crane Prairie...mrducks

View from our camp site - we had dinner guests

There were 7 deer, a couple of families

The 2nd rushing creek that flows into the river.  Was so beautiful, pictures don't do it justice.

Just above the rushing water

I had so much fun exploring!!

More reflections...

On our hike, we found this bridge, but it was a bit slimey and I'm a chicken.

Little Lava Lake

The next lake down was Lava Lake.  Much bigger than Little Lava, and this one has a hiking trail around the entire
perimeter.  The dogs and I made it about 1/3 of the way...just beautiful.

Mt. Bachelor in the distance

Coming back into civilization.  The valley with Bend in the distance.

See where the pellet stove goes?  *sigh*  Any ideas on furniture arrangement would be welcomed!
I forgot to mention that after our little ride with Missy and Laddmonster last Sunday, I got out old Eags for a while.  I worked him very lightly in the round pen, got him all supple doing his flexion exercises and such, groomed him, picked his feet, saddled him...and I rode him!  Well, riding is a very loose term here.  But I did get on him, moved around a bunch, asked for movement, release of the hindquarters and such.  He is a good, calm boy.  But, oh good grief, is he lazy!!  I'm not sure if he senses my hesitation in my cues, or if he's afraid to make a mistake and get punished, or if he really, really just doesn't know anything!!  He's slower than a slug in January.  *sigh*  I shouldn't complain, because I can work with that.  It's sooo much better than being a hot rod and having to constantly work on controlling all that speed.  At one time, I would have preferred that, but today I prefer quiet and more calm.  Me and Eagle, we're pards.  I was more relaxed than I've ever been on him.  Not totally comfortable mind you, but much better than ever before.  Progress.  Or as Ray would say, perfect practice makes perfect.  I'm pretty sure if Ray were watching, he'd have plenty of orders to bark my way, and he wouldn't call our progress perfect, but oh well.  :)  How I miss that man!!  But I have to rely on memory and lessons learned, and just do my best.  Our best.  Overall, I'm pleased with Eagle.  He is so ready for that next step.  Riding.  And (very) slowly, but surely, we're getting there.  He trusts me, and that to date, has been my first priority.  Onward we will go.

I've thrown in some random pictures for your viewing pleasure (or not).  Some (finally) from our remodel and some from our vacation.  Yes, more vacation photos...I told you I took a lot!!
I took a lot of before remodel pics too, but not sure where I've stashed them.  But soon my pretties, very soon I will be posting before and after shots in the same post.  I don't do anything fast anymore!  

Hope you all enjoy a grand weekend, and I hope you're enjoying this change of the seasons as much as I am.  

Blessings all!!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

For everything, there is a season

Is it me, or does that baby seem too big to be nursing?  Downtown Sisters.
I've been doing a lot of reflecting lately.  I've spent time just looking around me, and really looking at all the things, the people and the animals that surround me every day.  I am blessed.  And I am so very, very thankful for everyone and everything in my life.  *sigh*  I am overwhelmed and humbled by the abundance in my world.

As is true to our nature, we have been using our off-time away from the paying jobs to prepare and re-organize for life spent indoors.  You've heard me describe it before, as squirreling.  But it's more than that.  It's a shifting of ones' focus on living differently.  It's about the fluffing of our nest, the cozy-ing of our home in anticipation of shorter days and longer nights.  It's all about trying to make everyone in our little world, including ourselves, comfortable and harboring a feeling of being nurtured.

My hard working husband has spent countless hours cleaning the horse's barn.  He washed the wood, swept away cobwebs, removed old bedding and cleaned and organized everything.  And last night, for the first time this fall, our horses were lined up, all ready and waiting, to come inside for the night.  We always chuckle that we don't decide when the time is right, they do.  In the late spring, they just refuse one evening to come inside, they want to remain outdoors.  And we just go with it.  Thus begins our season of "not cleaning stalls".  So last evening they came inside to freshly bedded stalls, fresh water and their hay.  And something else, that they haven't had since late spring - a bit of grain with their vitamins.  Eagle nickers at me, and then looks over the top of his wall at the grain barrel in the adjoining room.  It's right there mom...  and we oblige.  I just smile and feel all warm inside knowing that this little measure of something special, gives them such joy.  It really is the simple pleasures in life that bring us happiness.

Reflections on the beautiful Metolius River, where we spent our last night on vacation
 I've pretty much picked everything from the garden, except for some herbs that remain.  If we're lucky, we'll get enough sunshine to ripen the last of the tomatoes on the vines.  Oh how I'll miss those garden fresh tomatoes soon!  But I've done what I can to preserve what bounty we've had from our little vegetable patch for this year.  The beef that we bought last fall is almost gone.  We've got a couple of roasts, a couple packages of steaks and about six pounds of hamburger left.  We're debating on whether to buy some more or not.  I can no longer eat meat purchased at the grocery stores.  I've been spoiled by good, organic, home-raised beef and simply would do without, before eating the mass-produced stuff.  I need to do some research, or better yet, talk with my gardening guru friend, about what is the best way to put our little garden boxes to bed for the winter.

Yesterday, hubby borrowed our neighbor's tractor and pushed up our manure pile, cleared some blackberries growing where they shouldn't be, and covered our little camper to protect it from the elements.  We are always on the look-out for a great deal on a smaller tractor equipped with a bucket, but are so thankful for our wonderful neighbors who are willing to lend us theirs when we're in need.  Where would we be without our neighbors?  I'm so grateful to them for their generosity!  I always have to get creative for new and hopefully, appreciated ways of thanking them.

We took a little ride around the neighboring fields on Ladde and Missy on Sunday.  Missy, as usual, was a delight.  Calm, sweet and willing to go wherever I pointed her.  Ladde on the other hand, *sigh*  was a bit of a pistol.  I truly believe he thinks himself to be an Andalusian stallion, with his high-stepping leg action, beautifully arched neck and snorty way of breathing.  Beautiful to behold, but not so much fun to ride!  So...back home we headed, to the round pen, where Ladde's excess energy was put to use in a different manner.  A little loping, lots of trotting and changing directions had him "chillin" in no time at all.  Second time through the fields was a much more appreciated and down to earth horse.  Ladde was back.  Andalusian stallion was gone.  :)  We enjoyed the ride and took in the splendor of the lovely afternoon and the fall colors all around.

And as predicted, just about bedtime it began to rain.  We're supposed to have rain throughout much of the next five days, but today is just cooler and overcast.  The rain felt nice for a change.  I sure hope some of the areas that are drought-stricken get some much needed rain soon.

So far October has been just lovely.  I find myself anxious for that first frost, and the brisk days that welcome a sweater.  Oh, and we did get our brush pile all burned up last weekend.  Whoohoo!!  I love getting things done, and feeling a sense of accomplishment at jobs well done.

Reflections on Little Lava Lake

I just threw in a variety of some more shots from our Central Oregon vacation.  Most of my pics were taken using my little Canon, but you can't help but notice how much improved color and clarity comes from the Kodak.  I don't carry it with me very often because it's bulkier, but the picture quality is much better.  
You're probably a little sick and tired of all the vacation pictures, but there's plenty more where these came from!  :)

Until next time,
Blessings all...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

A little vaca, a little squirreling

I'm going to try and not go overboard with the picture posting.  I took so many that it's really amazing, even to me.  I got a little carried away.

So these pictures are all taken along the scenic route called the Aufderheide, named for a man who did a lot of forest preservation work and was highly respected in his lifetime.  The road starts out on the McKenzie highway and goes south, basically up and over the mountain range following alongside the South Fork of the McKenzie river, and once over the top, you're now driving alongside the Middle South Fork of the Willamette River.  The Willamette is the same river that flows (albeit much larger) through our little home valley, appropriately named the Willamette Valley.  I'm thinking that the Willamette here, is renowned for fishing because of the many trails leading down to the river, and all the absolutely beautiful pools.

Here and below we are just about at the summit of the Aufderheide pass, in a meadow where we happened upon an old cabin, and below a Forest Service cabin that can be rented.  It even has a horse corral out back.  There seems to be a lot of trail heads in this area, but I'll just bet the terrain is very, very steep wherever you would go.

Here we are in Box Canyon Horse Camp.  We had the entire place to ourselves and this is a free campground.  Amazingly enough, there was no evidence of horses having camped here in a long time.  There was grass growing in the corrals and there was no tell-tale horse poop anywhere.  Quite sad really as this is a beautiful and well-equipped camp ground.  Too bad it's so far from home.

Box Canyon is at the summit of the pass and is appropriately named for the ginormous canyon that runs along the south side.  I believe this is where the South Fork McKenzie veers into another direction and the road now is following the Middle South Fork Willamette.  The dogs and I took a walk alongside the canyon until my fear of heights won out, and we had to turn back.  We spent the night here, all alone; and darkness was overwhelming and the silence was deafening.  At some point during the night, it began to rain.  So peaceful sleeping to the pitter-patter of rainfall on the camper roof.

The rain continued throughout the morning hours as we headed down the mountain, stopping many times to take pictures and check out roadside camping locations.  It was just beautiful.  I felt more relaxed than I've felt in a very long time...

Driving through an old-growth rain forest on a winding, quiet mountain road in the softly falling rain is very peaceful, and we just loved it.

This is the end of the Aufderheide, in a very small town called Westifir.  The old covered bridge is solid and nostalgic and reminiscent of days gone by.

From here, we headed to Oakridge.  We needed to find a laundromat and wash the blankets we used on the couches for the dogs.  Rain and dogs do not mix...

So while there in Oakridge, while our laundry dried, we went out for lunch.  Chinese food, hot tea and a little quiet time were in order.  Perfect for a misty, cool Oregon day.

Back on the road, we headed East towards our next destination, Odelle Lake.  The rain had picked up somewhat and driving wasn't exactly enjoying, so we decided to book a cabin for the night.  I forgot to get any pictures of our adorable little mountain cabin, but it was well-equipped with a bedroom, kitchen, wood stove and best of all...a hot shower.  *sigh*  Who could ask for anything more?  We wiled the afternoon and evening away in our PJ's, reading, dozing, lake-watching and just enjoying the downtime.  Just before dark, the dogs and I headed outside for a little walk down by the lake and up into some trails.  The lodge has horses there, so we even got in a little horsey schmoozing time.  By this time, I was missing our ponies pretty badly!

The next morning we enjoyed breakfast at the lodge, overlooking the lake and taking life easy.  The next short leg of our trip would take us further east, up and over the top of the Cascade Range and into Central Oregon - the drier side of our state.  We passed Crescent Lake and the Crescent Ski Resort, again climbing to an even higher summit on our journey.  Then it was a northerly turn onto the Cascade Lakes Scenic Biway where there are too many lakes to count.  A different kind of beauty was in store...

This is the area near where I'd like to move to.  This trip did nothing more than to reaffirm my desire to move east of our mountains to this drier climate.  This area is home to numerous beautiful high mountain lakes, several gorgeous rivers, great sport fishing, hiking, horseback riding, Mt. Bachelor ski resort, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and so much more.  A very active lifestyle is what this area is all about.  And when it does rain, there's no mud - the volcanic soil soaks the moisture in and that's it.  Some day...

So, last weekend we did get another cord and a half of firewood with the help of our hay-hauling high school boys.  They sure do make short work of things!  We took down our swimming pool and have it stored for the winter, sniff.  My hubby's home today cleaning out the garden shed and reorganizing that, next on the list for purchase and storage is stall bedding.  I hope to get 3 tons, which hopefully will take us pretty much through the winter.  We've picked out a piece of granite for the re-installation of our pellet stove in the living room.  Hopefully we'll get that put back in soon.  After that, we'll need to get 1 ton of stove pellets for use during the coldest part of winter.  I guess I really have to face it.  Summer's over.  Autumn is here.

But by our weather this past week you sure wouldn't know it!  I miscalculated our recent/current daytime temps when I said lower 70's.  What is correct is the low 80's, even the nights are still quite warm, having to leave all the windows open and the ceiling fans going.  I'm certainly not complaining!  The mornings are a wee bit cooler, and we even had a little fog this morning, but it's fantastic weather!!  We're planning on a load of junk to the dump soon...where does this stuff come from!?  And I'm still hoping to get some apples for preserving soon...always something to keep a body busy, right?

The leaves are falling and the colors are continuing to emerge as we get further into this glorious season.  We're hoping the burn ban is lifted soon so we can fire up the debris pile we've been adding to all year long.  That's always a fun Autumn chore.  The smell of smoke in the air...aahh, I love it!

Hope you're enjoying the change of seasons as much as we are!  If all else fails, we may put all projects on hold and go for a few rides on our horses before the rains come.  That is what I really want to do!  Work can wait!!