Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Into the Forest

Boy howdy, has life been busy.  I've been having migraines pretty bad again, and traveling to Spokane for appointments and other things, plus working on some jobs at home.  

Scout was thinking about eating the tractor when I left it parked in the pasture. This was on his birthday, I think.  He's a teenager now!  The big 13.  Crazy.  He's still such a big baby.

 
I went on a fishing trip with a friend up by Sandpoint.  We didn't catch anything but I loved seeing some of my old haunts from when I was 13ish.  I used to go stay up there for a couple weeks every summer with my best friend's family.  I'm hoping to go up this summer and rent one of their family houses on the lake with my friend.  We've been friends since 4th grade.  I love her.

Of course I took pictures of the dog.  This is Bella, my hunting/fishing/working buddy's dog.

This is me not catching fish on the Pack River.  I want a little fishing pack like that.


This is me not catching fish at a tiny lake.  Kelso lake maybe?  Or Granite lake?  I can't remember.

I had to totally clean out the inside of my trailer and fold up the tack room to get some cabinets, and I won't bore you with pictures of that, but check out what I did on the outside!  I think it looks much better without the rotting decals.  But I am thinking about getting other decals.  Maybe custom made.

It's a lot of work getting the decal adhesive off.  Still working on it.

Juniper, so cute.

Huckleberry.  Growing back his hair I took from him.  He's doing well despite his liver tumor.  Catching mice and even a rabbit.  Going hiking and finding moose legs. He's not done living yet!

My buddy showed me how to push a post into the ground when it's soft.  Not super easy, but maybe easier than digging a hole.  Maybe.  They don't just go in.  You have to rock it and mash it and bash it... We broke one off.  But I'll have a hitching rail near my firepit/hangout area once I finish that project.
He also came over and used our tractor with just the bucket and the small box scraper that we have, and fixed our crappy driveway that has had huge lumps and bumps and puddles for 16 years.  Two hours to fix something that we've been dealing with for 16 years.  Nice.


The Harvard elk herd.  I see them every morning that I drive out there, and it looks like they're there in the evening too.  I wonder how well the person who owns that field likes them eating the sprouting hay.  But I sure like seeing them!  Oh, actually this field is for grazing cattle later, but they are also eating up a fancy hay field just past those aspens.

We got a little boat.  It sprouted legs!  We floated it in our biggest pond, which isn't very big, to see if it leaks.  It was so much fun!  Like sailing in a bathtub, but everyone was smiling and laughing, and even the dog (Orion) loved it.  I can't wait to take it out for real.

Then I laid in the grass because my back hurt, and I became a cat bed.  These two cats are so great.  We got so lucky the day we adopted them.  Sweet as can be, and very efficient murder cats when it comes to mice.  That's Elvis on the left and Suki on the right.

Bella's long mane is a bit of a problem.  This happens ALL the time. 



I got it all worked out - a couple big witches knots like that and a lot of dreadlocks hidden underneath at the top.  Then I trimmed the bottom just enough that the wind won't catch it and twirl it.  I hope.

I didn't trim her forelock.  It is just naturally looking awkward for some reason.  But her eyes are still so sweet and beautiful.

And now we have Buster.  I startled him to get this picture.  Poor guy!


I finally put up my slow feed hay nets!  The girls are getting fat already.  I need to separate them and get them off grass.  Juniper was the first one to be curious and brave enough to check them out.

MudPig Scout wasn't far behind though.  Food is everything to him.

Everyone peacefully eating.  Orion wants to be a horse.  He even tries to eat hay sometimes.  Scout is behind me in this picture.  He's the most likely to try to steal everyone's feed, thinking maybe theirs will taste less like vitamins, I suppose.  

Orion again, being bendable and sweet and oh so happy. 

My niece is showing off the marshmallow in her pocket.  Uncooked.  If it was cooked that would be soooo bad.  She also got her bellybutton pierced recently.  It looks great on her.  But she had the gross audacity to say to me, when I told her bellybuttons gross me out, "What is a bellybutton but our first mouth?"  Ewww.  Her grossout thing is ears, so I started talking about earholes. 

Buster, it turns out, brought home from our camping trip fifty billion ticks on his underside.  So when I went to ride, I decided I shouldn't saddle up.  I spent an hour picking ticks off, sprayed him down really well with fly spray to kill the nasty beasts, and we went for a hike instead.


Mullein cigar anyone?


This postholing in knee-deep snow was SO hard for him.  But they were short stretches and he didn't quit on me.  What a guy!

I love this picture.  Donkey time.  Thinkin' about it.  I needed him to come down this steep bank so we could cross a trickle of a stream instead of going over it on the road where the snow was way too deep for Buster.  He did it no problemo.  I think he knew the alternative was that postholing, deep, horrible snow.

We took an after-hike break with coffee with too much condensed milk (I keep it in the trailer because it doesn't have to be refrigerated), smoked salmon made by my buddy's wife that was to die for, crackers, and some jerky for Orion and treats for Buster.


This picture should have gone above with the other marshmallow picture.  This is how you make smores when you can't have graham crackers.  My kids are smart.  :)

My niece and I went out to one of my sister's favorite trails the other day.  There was so much magic there.  I realized this past week that a lot of my stress is from not being able to get out to the forest.  That is my normal.  I just need to be there and breathe it all in.  I'm so glad the snow is melting.  Soon I can get my horse trailer in there and Buster and I will have adventures


Some big critter used this cedar tree as a scratching post.  You think bear or cougar?  I thought it could be deer rubbing their antlers, but in the second picture you can see claw marks.  I think cougar.


A forest spirit greeted us along the trail

Lungwort on a cool red-barked tree.  I don't know this tree.  I wonder if this is the inner bark, and the outer bark had fallen off.  It just isn't a tree bark I've seen in the woods.  Beautiful red, though.

I love the big cedars.  Throw my head back and open my chest and take a big deep breath and really, really appreciate them.  Thank them.  Thank all of the forest.  

I am thankful for so much.  The sunlight, the green, my dog. The air.  My ability to get back out to where I feel whole.  I need this.

Love and a triangle sparkle rock.  It amazes me how many tiny green things persist through the winter, under the snow.  They don't die back and come again, they are there all along, whole, waiting for the sun to come back.  I don't know how they do it, but I am impressed!

This is my chapel.  This is my Home.



















Sunday, March 28, 2021

 We went back out to Escure Ranch for John's birthday and found our way to the "otherworldly" lakes out there.  I didn't have a good map.  I thought we were at Turtle Lake when we were really at Wall Lake, the final destination, so we went a couple miles more than we needed to. 12.5 miles in 6.5 hours.  We're not going to win any races.  We walked a lot of it, well over half.  My feet were killing me, I wore the wrong socks.  So I think I walked about a half mile barefoot.  That was fun.  Buster would never step on me.  Scout would rip my feet off.  Luckily John has to put up with him.





The Artist at Work (Hahaha)


I'm really glad I don't have this much trouble building fences.


Cheezy selfie smile!  Crazy camping hair!  Oh and hey there's my heart monitor.  Only 4 more days and I can get rid of it and soak in a hot bath.  Careful showers are dumb.



Cookie Buster

I had to go hike around that corner, then I sent John to go see.

Nubbly rocks.  Hey, it's the little things in life.  I forgot to put on my other glove in the morning, so I wore one glove all day.  :)  My daughter made them for me.  More happy little things.


Bare feeties. (My nice holster is in getting the bullet holder bits adjusted for my ammo.)

Not sure I'm too happy about the length of Buster's toes...  Wonder what's up there.  Maybe I distracted Verle by talking too much while he was trimming.  Naw, never!

On the Edge

The cliffs on this side are just as high as the other side.  Buster didn't mind.  The water lapping below was the coolest sound, echoing off the cliff walls.




Cautious drinks.  Very thirsty boys.  This spring is cool, piped right into the big trough.

Scout is ready for the croc-a-gators.  Running stance activated!

The previous day we got there late (don't even ask, John got stuck on the phone a lot for work, I had to do pretty much all of the loading up after doing all the shopping, got the truck stuck TWICE and had to tow it out with the tractor, and Scout tried to kick John so I had to kick his ass soundly, etc)  But we got there!  We took the boys out for an evening ride and thank goodness the drunk fishermen were leaving as we rode out.  Screaming kids rolled in about the same time but that family turned out to be really cool.  I'd love to hang out with them if they didn't live a couple hours away.

I like Buster's ears in this picture but I was really taking a picture of the moon just above the hill (click to embiggen).


I love the Western feel of this picture, especially the grass by the fence post and the tenacious little sagebrush on the rock.  The moon looks so small in pictures compared to reality. I wish Buster's ear shadow hadn't shrunken somehow.

Here you can see Escure Ranch under the rocks across the creek.  I mainly like the light.  And the ears.

The way the sun was shining through the windblown grass was pretty freaking amazing.  I wish I could share it with you in a way that captured it a little better.  

This photo could do a good job of it, once edited, but I'm too hungover from my fun weekend.  (NO alcohol, all fun!)

Buster the Endurance Donkey, pulling a difficult hill.

End of the ride.  Buster cannot be made to smile.

This reminds me of a song lyric, "May you ride as long as the day is light."

Alright, so every time we go out there we go down to the creek at night and listen to the water and look at the sky, take some pictures with the Night Sight setting on our phones (Google Pixel).  I thought I might see what a full moon selfie looks like.  And suddenly this ghoul appeared.  There were several other outtakes, all quite hilarious.

Slightly less hideous.  But full moon selfies maybe are not the best.

I do like the water under the moon though, and that bluff in the background demands to be admired.

Here we have a sample of some of the serious conversation that goes on around here.  Written quite seriously on my new handmade paper.  If I had the time to write down all the things...  I could write a book.  (Click to enlarge and you should be able to read it.)

The ticks are taking over the ranch, so I'll be looking for other places to ride.  I'm going to start making my beasties' training and conditioning more of a priority.  I have (hopefully) a couple people to ride with this week.  I can ride Buster out alone but I wouldn't be safe doing that with Scout.

Oh, I forgot to explain the name Big Pyro.  I have a tendency to put too much wood on the fire.  Not because I like a big fire, but because I like to add wood to the fire.  I exploded some rocks.  And I have had to be told to sit my ass down a few times.  I just can't help myself.  If there's wood and there's fire, and they're intended for each other...  Well...  I just gotta fulfil that destiny.  And study where would be the best place for this stick, for that log?  Yeah.  I like fire.