Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Dawn to Dusk

We've had three days of rains, sometimes coming down in solid sheets of water, other times gentle sprinkles. Winds too. The ground has drunk it up, broken branches litter the yard, and the chorus of frogs at night is awesome. We are all so happy to have rain.
The weatherman says we'll enjoy warmer temperatures and dry skies for a few days. Which translates as 'fog in the valley' for a few days.

Early this morning on my drive to work, I just had to pull over, get out of my truck,

admire the view and snap a few photos. Nice drive.....

Too soon, I am down in the valley, the Central Valley that is, not the same as a pretty little valley one imagines nestled lushly between two mountains. The foggy drive down here just doesn't do much for me. Bleak.

But look! Time to head home after work and what a reward!

Happy Trails to you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


This morning's chores included breaking the layer of ice on the horse, mule and dog water buckets. Thankfully, no frozen or broken water pipes or lines.
Water lines are shallow here and pipes rather exposed because we just really don't get much in the way of freezing weather.

So most of the plants which appeared perky and blooming just yesterday, have frozen into a wilted mass. Even the gnome looks cold.

I have bunches of these also melted and mushy looking.

Our little hummers don't migrate, they hang around all winter. This cutie pie has been teasing the boys lately, I've been watching their antics and know their regular hangouts.

Not so brightly colored in the early morning light. This fellow perches high in an oak tree just behind the house. He's quite tame and will feed with me standing very close. He is also very vocal and quite aggressive chasing the other hummingbirds about.

They perch on their tiny branches all night long, while their heart rates and body temperatures drop very low. In the first morning light they start moving, their little hummer metabolism speeds up and they quickly need to feed. I didn't actually take a Hummingbird's temperature or heart rate myself, of course you knew that. I have several feeders out and will make sure there is always plenty of liquid energy available. They just seem so fragile, I feel bad for them out there in the cold.

....and glad to come in and warm myself in front of a toasty fire.
The cold weather is supposed to continue and we are hoping for the rain that looks promising within the next few days. Things are very dry here, this is supposed to be our rainy season.

Keep warm.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Winter Morning: January 12, 2012

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy.

Sunshine in my eyes can make me cry.

Sunshine on the water looks so lovely.

Sunshine almost always makes me high.

IF I had a day that I could give you,

...I'd give you a day just like today,

IF I had a song that I could sing for you,

.....I'd sing a song to make you feel this way.

John Denver, 'Sunshine on My Shoulders'

Happy Birthday Amy!

Sunny Trails..............

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jerry and I decided to spend the last three days of 2011 doing one of the things we most enjoy. Not snow skiing, there is NO snow. The weather had been dry and clear all of December, perfect for camping and riding. We hauled two of our horses north three hours to Oroville where there is a nice Equestrian Campgrounds near the reservoir. Although it is winter and the leaves are fallen from most of the Oak trees, the Live Oaks and pines lend a bit of green to the hills. The camp was empty, we had our choice of sites. This place is usually best in the spring, by May the temperatures can reach the 100s, been there, done that. Fall can be nice but very dusty, winter is usually very wet with muddy, slick trails. This December weekend was good.

We rode the trails each of the three days we were there. The first two days were cloudy and very chilly, nice riding weather. There had been just enough previous rain to keep the dust down. Both horses were eager to go. That is my view of the world atop 'Rock'.

We rode from late afternoon until sunset on day one.

Day two was overcast and cool. From sections of the trail, the resevoir can be glimpsed. It's at it's winter's low mark, but there were still plenty of boats out there, big ones. The trail meanders through the foothills; woods, meadows, creeks and the lake.

A nice clear stream to drink from.

This pleasant rest area is halfway on one of the trail loops. We didn't stop to picnic but I did get the travel journal out of the mailbox and jot a message that we had been there. I always enjoy reading what the other riders and hikers have written.

Of the three days riding, the last day was the best. Still chilly but the sun shining brightly and a clear blue sky. We rode a couple of hours before packing up camp and heading home.

This is NOT the camp we packed up that last day of 2011. This camp that Jerry and I had set up in the Colorado wilderness in 2006 illustrates how I most love to camp. Roughing it, an outdoor campfire to cook over, close to nature. In 2000 - 2001, I spent almost a year traveling and camping across the USA with a dog, a horse, a truck, a horse trailer and my tent. A great adventure. Several months ago, Jerry and I began discussing taking a month long vacation this summer, traveling through the western states with a horse and mule each. I was imaging trailering to different wilderness areas, 'packing in' our camp supplies on the mules, you know 'roughing it'.

Well surprise, surprise, surprise....... This is how the ol' cowboy of mine pictures traveling across the USA. Gag...... pampered.

Our new traveling hotel. Four horse stalls in back and in front the human's living quarters complete with shower, toilet, kitchen, couch, table, microwave, surround sound stereo, television, air conditioning, heat, bed with mattress, running hot and cold water...... CAMPING???? Who kidnapped my mule-skinner, cowboy, macho-man husband? I want him back!!!

There he is riding away with crazy cowdog Cort. This man who dragged me up the mountains in November after our first (and last so far) snow to ride horses in the freezing cold has morphed into a luxury seeking camper. I am bewildered. I am planning to bring my tent and bedroll along on our trip and pray it doesn't rain much. I guess if he wants to cook in that indoor kitchen, I'll still eat his meals. Maybe I'll even use that shower, if I have to.

Happy Trails however you travel them!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


A new year. 2012 sounds so science-fiction-type futuristic. I still want to say 19--'something'. We have working vehicles that were born in the 1990s, are they considered antiques? I am pleased when I get a senior discount. Fifteen years ago I thought how dreadful it would be to ask for senior discounts, worse yet if anyone asked if I qualified; now I am pleased. I am excited that my husband got hearing aids and can hear the birds and frogs (and me). A new year. Another trip around the sun. Some things changing; comfort in the things that remain the same. I hope to make the most of each new day, each passing week, the months that so swiftly slip by and each new year I may be blessed to travel.

May each of you be blessed on the trails you travel this new year.