Friday, April 30, 2010

Life With Wrangler

If you have been visiting here for awhile, you have already met Wrangler, and may have seen some of these photos already. He is a favorite around here. I went into the pasture for a photo shoot a few days ago and he followed me everywhere, making it difficult to get pictures due to his nose in my lens.

He moved in with us in August 2008. He kept suffering major injuries and his human mom at that time, couldn't deal with him. She called me, we brought him home, and I wondered, "What did I get myself into?"

This was the final straw for his previous owner, when she said 'no more'.

This was the first one and it was almost healed, when........

next he did this to himself. She was never real sure how he was doing it, but he was continually getting torn up.

Over time he healed well. We were finally able to turn him out with the rest of the herd, he made friends and played well with others. No further injuries for a year.

Jerry started riding Wrangler one year ago and we were pleased with his good nature and calmness. This was his first ride and he calmed right down after a couple of little half hearted bucks. What a little sensible sweetie.

Fast forward to this winter/spring. Wrangler is 3 1/2 years old now and getting spunkier. We have plenty of calm quiet times with the herd grazing peacefully together.

And then there are the days when he is full of himself and wants to play, play, play. The other boys will play rough with him. The two mares do not want to have anything to do with the rough stuff and they let him know.

Sometimes things get too rough and we find these kinds of things and can only guess what happened; such as, one wild colt getting to tough with the above 'old boy'.

He loves to run and certainly enjoyed playing in the snow this winter.
Wrangler is a Paint Horse, colored white and brown, not so easy to keep the white parts white.

Wrangler and Cort share breakfast most mornings.

As a three year old horse, he is losing his intermediate incisors. That bottom one was very loose and he was wiggling it with his tongue, just like a child with a loose tooth.

Later the same day the loose tooth is gone and the adult incisor is peaking through the gum. Sorry, I didn't bother washing the grass from his mouth or brushing his teeth before taking pictures.
Wrangler totally skipped the terrible twos, but he has saved it all up and is a feisty, 'full-of-it' three, almost four year old.

He suffered this recently, a short, deep gash to the shoulder. I think he tried to play his silly colt games with a certain mare and she wasn't going to put up with him.
Patched him back together.

Two weeks ago we drove an hour to meet up with a group of friends for a trail ride. Here are Jerry and Wrangler ready to go. What I did not get a picture of, was Wrangler taking off as Jerry put his foot in the stirrup and dumping Jerry flat on the ground, on his right side, on his damaged shoulder, which promptly and fully dislocated.....
-with a worried crowd of friends and strangers surrounding us, I was able to pop that baby back in. I am getting too used to doing that. Then, our MD friend wanders over and asks, "what's up", he missed the fun. However, did request that we wait next time so he can watch.
SOOOO..... Jerry says he is fine, attempts to climb back on the crazy three year old, and before he can get his second boot in the stirrup, that colt goes into a wild bucking episode that would thrill a rodeo audience. And for the first time ever, I get to see Jerry bucked off a horse. It wasn't pretty.

But he kept on smiling.
We didn't go on that ride......

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


Piles of hail, rivers of mud and water.

"Sorry Cort, I can't make it stop."

Baby, it's COLD out there!

A storm hit this evening. Driving rain, screeching winds, thunder and hail. I am rather fond of my new baby tomato and pepper plants and I am worried for their well-being. Tristan bundled up, grabbed a flash light and an arm full of sheets, ran to the garden and covered the tomato cages for me. The apple trees were beginning to blossom, morning will reveal the extent of damage suffered by my little orchard.
The electric blanket has warmed my bed, I'm headed that way now.
Happy Trails to you!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Homework Can Be FUN

Class assignment: find, identify and describe 50 different California Wildflowers.
Two months to complete project.
Three weeks left. Areas covered so far include; central valley, our foothills, foot hills further south, coastal area, canyons, American River banks, our yard and pasture and road sides.

Tristan, Cort, Carson and I spent four hours in the forest 30 minutes from here "working" on homework.

We found TEN new varieties on this outting AND we had a 'blast'.

No dust on these muddy but happy trails!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Winter Gardening

My daughter sent me this and I treasure it as my gardening slogan (plus it is cute). We are beginning our third year of gardening here at the log cabin in the woods. We started with red clay-like pine needle laden soil. Our first veggies were greatly prized but not very abundant.

With hard work, two years of compost, and rich, black, aged horse manure plus a whole lotta luck; we are eating fresh salads with home grown lettuce already. I picked the above bowl of greens this morning.

Amy attempted a winter garden this year. She planted spinach, brocoli and lettuce. Only the lettuce grew.

And it is growing well on the upper level of the garden.
We have a two-tiered vegetable garden. Last year the lower level supported a variety of squash
that grew surprisingly well. Early in the winter I roto-tilled several loads of compost and manure into the lower level, planning to plant squash and melons in the spring.

This is the lower level. Bunches of lettuce have come up without being planted intentionally; must have been from those seed heads I tossed in the compost pile the past two years.

Two weeks later these plants are growing and thriving, no work - all luck.

and as we know... my garden needs all the luck it can get.
Happy Trails to you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Jerry and I are members of the Backcountry Horsemen of California (BCHC). The purpose of the organization, in part, "shall be to perpetuate the common sense use and enjoyment of horses in America's backcountry and wilderness". The group is made up of regional 'units' involved in education, service, and the love of the backcountry. The yearly state Rendezvous combines classes, training, contests, clinics and competitions all in one busy weekend in March.
We made it our first camp out of the year, packed up our tepee tent, grub, some clothes and headed to Merced.

Jerry enjoys being camp cook and that's fine by me. He gets up first to get the fire going, and by the time I crawl out of my bedroll; hot, strong, camp coffee and a hot breakfast are ready.

The last time we went to rendezvous, we took our horses and entered a few contests. We decided to go without animals this trip. I had forgotten how much simpler camping is without having a string of horses to care for, I enjoyed it.

We both entered some of our photographs in the Western Art Show. Amateurs, we enjoy photography and take a lot of pictures. Three years ago, Jerry entered one of his photos and was awarded a third place. This year he entered one photo and ........ drum roll please....

He was awarded FIRST PLACE in the photography division. Yeehaw.

I earned a THIRD. woo hoo!

also an honorable mention.
Just in case you were wondering, yes there were more than our few photos entered. If you can see the little green sticker on my black and white, you'll see entries already numbered in the 30s when we brought our pictures in.

It was not our typical camp out, our little camp was squeezed between campers at the Fairgrounds. We were in a perfect spot to watch the Trail Trial Classes in the Arena.

There were groups competing in the Dutch Oven Cook Off. It sure smelled good out there.

These very cool Iron Mules were used to teach packing techniques. Jerry hung out here a bunch, sharing yarns with the 'old timers', learning a new knot or two, and sharing a few tips of his own.

We both completed enough 'Gentle Use' classes to earn our first pin. There were great classes and awesome speakers. The core classes I took included, Gentle on the Trail - with Campsites - Concepts - Stock Management - With Plants and Animals. Mostly common sense stuff but with so many more people enjoying the backcountry, we feel it is so important to be very gentle on the land so it can be enjoyed for generations to come. We learned camping concepts as kids in my family; don't pick the flowers, leave things cleaner than when you arrived, no littering and pick up other's litter, a big thanks to my Mom and Dad.
It was a fun weekend. We came home and Tristan had a new Science Project from his teacher.... find, pick and identify 50 California Wildflowers. yep, that's true, pick 50 wild flowers... we discussed gentle use of wild plants and I loaned him my digital camera to capture images instead. I offered to write a nice letter to his teacher, he passed on that.
Enjoy your trails, but please don't pick the Wild Flowers.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

A Peaceful Easter at Home

Happy Easter.  We four had a quiet, peaceful day at home.  My extended family in Michigan had plans to  get together at Mom and Dad's today and I hope each of you enjoyed a great day of visiting.  I also hope that your weather was better than ours.  Around noon the rain blew in on heavy winds and our moat is functional once again.   All morning we spent quality time outdoors together working on fence lines and stacking wood. An early afternoon dinner was yummy and enjoyed by all. This evening has been very relaxing; our wood stove keeping the cabin cozy, the scent of baking cinnamon raison bread filling the house, while wind and rain dash a pleasant rhythm against the tin roof .

I have spent two hours attempting to load some Easter pictures for you.  Most were pleasing spring-like pictures, honestly.  Very reluctantly, I have given up on them and what you are about to see are the last two pictures I had planned to share.  often Sometimes our internet connection up here in the backwoods  is frustrating and I just throw my arms in the air and give up. 

We had a busy month of March and once again I was stunned to find it was time to turn the page on the calendar already. 

Happy Easter everyone.  Peace to all.

Foot wear of the day.

No, not the full moon on Halloween.  This was our sunshine at it's brightest late this morning.

Happy April Trails.