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.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Big lonely day


This is the face of someone who got up early, went for a walk with a friend, changed the sheets and washed bedding, took pics of my buck skull, burned a bunch of stuff, got ready to go ride, ride got canceled, took a nap, cut down a bunch of trees and bucked logs, took another nap, went grocery shopping, then hiking, groomed, bonded with, and worked with her donkey, cut down a stubborn tree, cleaned up a bunch of dead wood, did some writing, and burned stuff.  Oh, and made dinner.  Yeah, my hair has seen better days.  So has my back.  It hurts so bad.

Me Bucko

A rotten, black heart

A snowy trail, and Orion.  It was so hard to walk, I didn't have the right boots.  We only made it out a quarter mile and turned back.  Heart rate 127 after a leasurely stroll.  Of course it's 113 when I'm just sitting here.

The beautiful Potlatch River.  Life is like a river.  Loud, exciting, scary, dark, bright, slow, quiet, getting stuck in circles, rushing on, slowing down, laughing, falling, leaping.  

It was so beautiful and sunny, which is what drove me away from the house, but this trail was dark this time of day.  More a summer trail, I think.

The end of the day.  I've been enjoying my evening fires, and there is a neverending supply of dead trees and branches out back, it seems like.

 Burning the dead, ridding myself of the unwanted, in the dark.  Waiting for Spring.

God, I've been so lonely lately.  I don't like being by myself.  That's really not normal for me.  (Heck, I've even been visiting with complete strangers in stores and out camping and hiking.)  I don't really want to talk on the phone as much as I want to SEE PEOPLE. I really need to reconnect with my friends.  Some have been avoiding going out because of Covid, but I think at least 3 of them should be fully vaccinated very soon.  I'm gonna start making more of an effort to cultivate my friend garden.  Like that? :)  I don't know if I made it up or I heard it somewhere else.  I made a couple calls to my local family today, looking for a hiking buddy, but of course they work.  One was getting a load of hay ready on the semi to take across the state and the other had a long 10 hour day on her feet.  No hikey.  I also would really like to go back to work, get out of my house and out of my head a bit, but I really don't think I can with all my health issues.

Ahhh, life.  It's probably a mix of this stupid pandemic and spring fever.  Once I can get out on the trails and deeper into the woods, I'll probably disappear.  Although even that sounds kinda lonely.

Monday, March 15, 2021

My Heart On Fire


Burning Bad Poetry in the Rain

I write a lot sometimes, when my emotions are working, which they haven't been for many years.  Even before my concussion in 2016, which is when they put me on the antidepressant (because serotonin helps the brain heal) I had quit feeling much.  Maybe after Tonka died.  Maybe when I settled down and sat still with the kids for too long.  I don't know.  I quit my antidepressant and the words are flowing again.  But sometimes the words suck!  I composed a pretty good poem while riding, but then I got off my donkey and drank a whole bottle of champagne, and it didn't look so good the next day.  Flames are good.  Cleansing.  Erasing evidence of mental crap. (I'm not a drinker, that was a special occasion.  Alcohol gives me headaches.)

I finally went to the doctor yesterday, a kind of rural urgent care that I thought gave better care than it does.  They had advised me to go to their "Ready Care" since there were no appointments available all week.  Turns out Ready Care can't do anything much.  My resting heart rate has been over 100, more like 115 and up, for a couple months, with short spurts of what is probably a-fib.  I have an appointment in April so I was waiting it out but it's getting pretty bad.  I spin and reel sometimes, and almost passed out twice Friday morning.  My quick EKG yesterday was ok but the doctor, if she was a doctor, was super concerned.  I go back in on Thursday, if I don't end up in the ER before then, and they'll probably run some bloodwork and put me on a 2 day monitor.  I'm sure it'll catch the a-fib.  There's a risk of throwing a clot and having a stroke.  I wouldn't mind dying too much, although I'd rather not, but I don't want to be mentally or physically limited any more than I already am.  I texted my ex-boss about it because my doctor's appointment interferes with our plans later this week, and she said, "What?  That can't be right, your heart?  You already have enough other health stuff going on!"  I know, right? But she's had this exact same thing and it was no big deal once they got her on beta blockers.  Apparently it's pretty common. Her daughter is an ER nurse and sees it a lot. So it was good to talk to her.

Also, I have not mentioned my biggest news of the decade!  My niece is pregnant!  I'm gonna be a grandma!  I'm so excited!  Ariel was my first baby.  My sister and I lived next door to each other when she was a baby, and I loved to spend as much time as I could with her.  She was always so much fun. Nine months after she was born, I had MY daughter, Katia.  Perfect timing.  Wonderful life.  But now, with my sister gone, I feel like Ariel's baby will by my grandbaby.  Especially since my kids may not have kids.  Ariel lives 2 hours away now but I can go stay up there on their farm for a bit, and drive up there whenever I want.  She's due in early September.  I inadvertently bought the baby its first toy.  Her husband's mom thinks she did, but I bought mine before baby was conceived.  We
let her keep thinking she bought the first one. Heck, I bought her kids a handmade rocking horse a couple years ago.  :)  She's always planned on having a bunch of kids, and fostering more once her kids are grown enough.  Their big farmhouse can handle it once they get it all renovated.  Farms are good for troubled kids.

Both of "my girls" came over for the day Saturday.  My nieces.  We went for a hike, John and I and the girls, and 3 dogs.  I left the road for a bit to follow a game trail, parallel to them, just far away that I couldn't make out their words but I could hear their easy laughter, all talking comfortably and giggling about something.  It was so peaceful, being in the company of family.

My day has gone on since I wrote that last, and a farrier visit has gone by.  We talked and had a bit of show and tell, and now I want a rifle like his.  Turns out they're hard to find, and expensive.  One day, maybe.  With his scabbard, it fits comfortably either behind or in front of his leg, and he says he's accurate at 100 yards without a special sight or scope.

I showed him the skull of my buck, all cleaned up and white, with its funny antlers, and he liked to think he was an old buck, still going strong and fighting off the younger bucks, with part of his funky antlers broken off.  I'll have to get a picture of it to post one day.  He's a hunter too, and well, anyway, we share a lot of interests.  Turns out we're both planning on making tapaderos soon, and shopping for leather.  His brother-in-law makes saddles (I'll have to get a pic of his saddle one day.  It's gorgeous - a using saddle) and suggested the best quality leather is from some place in the midwest.  I'll have to get the info. He liked my new holster and said he could make a couple silver conchos for me, with my initials.  His silversmith work is phenomenal.  I may have to take him up on it, even if the price of silver is high now.

I loaded Buster in the trailer tonight, and he was difficult again.  I think it's not fear, maybe he's trying to tell me I'm a crappy driver or he hasn't liked where he went the last couple times. Or maybe the trailer floor was slick again?  I cleaned really well and put down new shavings today. He will get in for food, which tells me whatever the problem is, it's not that bad.  We'll work through it.

I got interrupted a couple times and my computer decided to be a turd and insist on an update, so now it's late and I need to be done, for now.  Going riding with a new person I haven't met tomorrow!  I can't wait!

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Dentistry Marathon Day

Holy cow, I was at the vet for four hours!  Partially because they're slow but also because Scout wouldn't drop for his sheath cleaning, which added some time, and then Buster wouldn't load into the dentistry trailer.  I guess he remembered having his four wolf teeth pulled last time he was in there. And again, when it was time to go home, he didn't want to load up.  We got through it.  I also thought I might want her to flush Buster's nasolacrimal ducts, but she just couldn't do it.  She hasn't done it on a donkey or mule before.  Donkeys have the little opening at the bottom in a different spot, and apparently his nostrils are really small, so she couldn't get the flush in there.  She said she'd do some research.  I said yeah, let's just call it interesting and leave it for a different day.  I don't think he really needed it done anyway, he just has slightly boogery eyes, not runny eyes.

I like working with Shari, she cracks me up.  I kept throwing out all these weird little facts about donkeys, just because I find them interesting, and there she is later squatting down with her hands up his nose, saying, "Yeah, apparently Andrea's right, and donkeys aren't horses."

Here's a good example of the difference between a canine tooth (red) and a wolf tooth (blue).  Some people sometimes think they want the canine tooth extracted.  See that root?  Not gonna extract that unless it's totally necessary, and it's gonna be really difficult.  Usually only the males have canines, as fighting teeth, but some mares have them.  My first little mustang mare had them.  The wolf teeth, if they're there, are another matter.  They can be on the top or bottom, and are in front of the molars.  They can be bigger or smaller, well rooted or loose, and can lay sideways or all kinds of weird ways.  A lot of people leave them, a lot of people have them taken out.  I have them extracted in case they're even the littlest bit loose and might cause discomfort with the bit.  If they're small and loose it's easy, but I've had some that were really hard to get out.  Buster had at least one that was laying parallel to the jaw, under the gums.

Scout was surprisingly good all day.  Photos, exam, and blood draw for his health certificate, and then his dental and his super grody sheath cleaning.  It had been two years since his teeth were done, and at 13 years old they're not erupting as fast as they used to be.  They needed done but weren't razor sharp and had no problems.  I think I'll wait 2 years on him again.  Hey, his birthday is coming up!  Shoot, he'll be a teen now.  I'm not sure I like that.

Buster, well, I was disappointed in his feet glued to the ground, but he was really good other than that.  He had also been 2 years since his last dental and he shouldn't have waited so long.  He's the same age but maybe he chews harder, or maybe since he hadn't had consistent dental care before, his teeth fell back into a bad pattern.  A hook on top in the front of his molars, which wore down the bottom front molar, and sharper points.  That hook will keep his jaw from moving freely front to back, as it should when he moves his chin to his chest or vice versa.

When it came time to load up to go home, I had to tie his rope in the trailer and leave him standing at the back, outside the trailer, and take a break.  I was stumped. I figured he'd get in eventually, but when?  I went in to the LQ and found an orange.  He loves oranges.  Also, an ag plane started spraying the field behind him, flying low and loud.  That might have helped.  I gave him a bite of orange, climbed in the trailer and squatted down as far away from him as I could get. (He has 2 stalls to himself, so lots of room).  He thought about it for a couple minutes and walked in.  We shared the rest of the orange and talked about it.  I don't know what got into him but I hope he forgets about it next time.

In about 10 days when the Coggins results get back we'll be legal to travel to several western states.  But I won't be going far for a couple months.  I need to take it easy for a while.  If I can figure out how to do that!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

A Nice Day

Buster and I went for a ride at a friend's place yesterday, then went out to the farm where he was working to help try to figure out some plugged drain tile below some culverts. Sundance doesn't like to ride anymore so I was going to ride the butte behind his house and then we were going to drive out together and work, but he decided to get to work early, so I drove out and Buster stood tied while we worked.  It was good for him.  He was very patient and even stood calmly and visited with another friend while a road grader went by about two feet away.  Huckleberry got to come too, but he didn't go along for the ride, he just hung out at the house and chewed on bones, then slept in the truck.  He wasn't feeling very well.

When we first headed out, Buster was nervous and really wanted to keep an eye on everything.  He'd seen PIGS at the house and that kinda broke his brain for a while.

The water overflow intake at the pond made noise and made him nervous, so we walked across this part.

See him all bunched up and ready for action?  We rode across on the way back and it went well, but of course a plane flew low over us right at that moment, making it a little more of a challenge for him mentally.  He was a champ.

Buster really loves to take in the view, especially big views like this one, so we spent a lot of time stopping and staring.  I let him choose the route for the most part, to keep him interested, but I couldn't let him go into the farm field he really wanted to walk in.  I think he thought it looked easier.  It sure wouldn't have been.  So much mud!

We found an old car.  I don't think it's going to start right up on the first try.

I really enjoy going riding by myself.  Now that I have an animal I don't have to be afraid is going to kill me.  It's peaceful.  I can talk to Buster all I want, which isn't a ton but still, I don't have to explain myself. :)  And he and I can stop and take our time with no pressure and go wherever we want, whether it makes sense or not.  He's pretty good at finding the right path, but sometimes, if it's not too dangerous, I let him choose a hard path if he insists, just to let him experience it.  I couldn't let him choose a path where he'd have to jump a creek and then climb a steep bank with deep snow yesterday, but I let him take that route on the way back, kind of sidewise rather than straight down, and he had to really work through that deep snow.  He did it no problem, but it was work.  Then he chose to take my way by the creek, up around the difficult part, which meant going through a wider wet part instead of through the brushier, narrower, steeper part he'd wanted to go through earlier, but it was at least level.  Smart boy learned that my way really was actually easier.

Later I sat on the backhoe and tried to help spot the pipe as Sundance dug.  I'm not that great at using the backhoe yet, myself.  I did spot both ends of the pipe first though!  So I was some help.  We got through the plugged section and got it draining again and then the backhoe got stuck in the mud.  I tried to take a pic of buster standing at the trailer but he's so teeny he's hard to see.

I wasn't too sad that I got to sit in the comfy chair while he climbed in the cold water.  I don't have hip waders.  I imagine I would have slipped and gone for a swim, anyway.

We moved on to the next one and did some digging by hand, then when he went home for more tools I went home with Buster to spend some time with John.  Actually, I took a good nap since I'd been up since 3am.  Then we spent some quality time.  Oh!  John and I went for a late hike the day before and I think I got a nice sunset picture.  Let me find it.

Actually I got a couple pictures.  We saw some deer and poor Winston, who was on a leash, really wanted to go after them.  We didn't find any shed antlers, but that's no surprise.  I never have much luck with that.

Last night we were watching a movie and Orion stole my comfy spot on the couch.  He was so cute I couldn't help taking his picture.  

Today I'm hoping to see a friend who's in town that I haven't seen for a few years, and of course the boys have their dentals.  I may have to hope I can see my friend tomorrrow.  We'll see. 

Ugh, I hate the waiting time at this vet.  It's always something.  This time I have camp chairs in the back of the truck!  I might just drag one out!