Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Friday's Ride...Part Two

Okay, where were we??? Ah yes...heading towards the basin....
Notice how Waska still has one ear cocked towards the river and one ear on me and Amber?? Smart boy, I tell you! Just so you all know, we are not as close to the edge as we may look, and we are in fact about 10-15 feet (and sometimes more) away from it.
So as I mentioned in the last post, this area is known as the basin, and it is used to hold back excess water from the dam when there is large amounts of rainfall. Needless to say, it often floods, and is left with a rich mixture of sand, clay, and mud that contains lots of yummy nutrients; thus making an ideal feeding area for large herds of elk. (No we didn't see any, but their tracks and poo were all over the place)...And apparently, you may also find horses out grazing in this rich grass!!!! The trail winds alongside the river for about one mile, and the horses just couldn't help themselves. Even Waska, who normally never eats while he is being ridden, couldn't resist.

We finally stopped and let them graze for a few minutes, because I told Amber that this was akin to walking through a large room filled with your favorite food and not being able to take just one!!!

See the whitish/gray pile of dead trees (I know you can't tell what those are yet, but trust me, they are dead trees) that are to the left in the middle of the picture below? There were a couple of these areas down in the basin, and they are areas that trees/log jams were held back from the dam with large buoys. Here you can see them a little bit better, and the darker tree-looking things are the buoys ( picture below). So I wonder, what do they do with all of the dead trees??? I know it doesn't flood every year (like it did this past winter) but I have never thought about what they do with them. Hmmmm.....

Moving right along, we headed into the trees, and even in here you can see all of the debris. And in case you are wondering, there is actually a trail through all of this mess, we weren't just blindly picking our way through.

Also, while you have to be extremely careful of what a flood may have left behind in more urban or rural areas-think metal, glass and other sharp objects-it is pretty benign down here, because there are only a few cabins upstream on the river; otherwise there is nothing but forests and foothills.Still, we watched where we were going. Now we had both heard that this trail washed out the year before, so we weren't too optimistic about being able to get through, but we decided that we would go as far as we could, and as far as the others who had gone before us. (Like I said, there was a well-worn path)
Have you ever wondered how high water can get when it floods? I must admit that I have never particularly wondered this, and I assumed that the river had flooded up to the basin only, which is about 20-30 feet above the normal water level.

What I am trying to say is that we were riding 20-30 feet above the river, and we never suspected that it got any higher than that, until we looked up and saw this....
Yes, that is a small, uprooted tree, hanging from the limbs of a much larger tree. Amber and I looked at each other completely shocked, and then we started to look around at the other trees and noticed the same thing.
There were literally giant logs up there (up there being about 20-30 feet over our heads) and that means that the river was even higher than we imagined. It was really kind of creepy to think that this whole area was under water a few months ago. We kind of got the heebie-jeebies for a minute, but we kept on going.
Anyway, we made it about another 3/4 mile, and then we came to the area where the trail just vanished before our eyes in a sea of dead wood. So we turned around and headed back towards the trailer, which was a little over an hour away.

On our way back, we ran into a hiker, who also happens to be a horseback rider, and she said that she came down here to check the trail out, because she had been out here with a group of friends about three weeks ago, and the horses were sinking up to their bellies in mud. Good thing the sun has been shining, eh???
(Oh looky!!! A picture of me looking fab in my!!!!!)
All in all we had a great day, even though we only spent about three hours on horseback. I think that Amber and I will definitely wait a few weeks before we head back up to Buck Creek, and hopefully some of the trails will be cleared by then. We also feel kind of guilty, like we should help out with the trail clearing, so we may contact the local riding clubs and see when they are heading back up too.
Have a great day guys!!! I am going to do a bit of research now, as I have to meet with one of my professors tomorrow to discuss a class that I helping them design. :)
Also..Eric's baseball team is in the middle of their league playoffs, and he has been picked to try out for the All Stars team. Way to go Eric!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Friday's Ride... Part One

So here I am, out of school, and I am still not behaving like a good blogger!!!! We have all been really busy and to top things off, the weather around here has been in the seventies for over a week-not normal for around here at all. That being said, the entire population of Western WA has been outside, soaking up as much sunshine as possible, and not in their houses blogging.

And speaking of soaking up sunshine, what better way to do it than on horseback??? I must share mine and Amber's latest riding adventure with you, and those of you who know snickering!!!!! Last Friday, we decided to trailer up to a recreational area that borders Mount Rainier National Park, and check out the trails. This specific place (known as Buck Creek to locals) is about 40 minutes away, and on a unmarked forest service road, but Amber and I thought we had a pretty good idea about where it was.

To make a long story short, we misjudged how far up the highway Buck Creek was, and we mistakenly took the wrong forest service road (known as Huckleberry Creek). Luckily we didn't drive too far down it before I realized that it looked wrong, and we pulled over and asked some mountain bikers where Buck Creek was. As it turned out, we needed to get back on the highway and drive about another 10 minutes.
Well, we finally made it to our destination (an hour later!!!) but we still weren't sure where the riding trails were. Thankfully, a nice man pointed us in the right direction, but he warned us that there were a lot of blow downs on all of the trail systems, and that they had not been cleared yet.

Not to be deterred, Amber and I took off and rode for about one hour, most of which was spent trying to maneuver around giant areas where massive trees had blown down (see above pictures). There wasn't a lot of underbrush, so we were able to get around a lot of the damage, but we eventually came to an area that had over 10 ginormous trees, with no easy way around them.
On our way out, we stopped and chatted with some people who were camping with their horses, and they told us that they belonged to a local riding club, and that every Memorial Day weekend, about 60 of them camp out with their panonies and clear the trails. They also said that this year was one of the worst years they had seen in over 30 years (as far as blow downs go). Amber and I were like "Seriously??? We just drove all the way up here to find out that we came up one week too early???" LOL!!!!
So we cowgirled up, loaded the panonies back in the trailer, and headed back down towards civilization. We figured that we would stop at one of the many designated horseback riding areas on the way back down, and we pulled over at a place called Mud Mtn. Dam (knowing full well that the trail was washed out in certain areas due to flooding).
Surprisingly, the boys seemed happy to be heading back out, and away we went. The above picture is just as we were heading down into the basin, which is an area that is used to hold excess water back from the dam when it floods. You can just make out two excavators that had recently cleared a major wash-out/mudslide, and see the grassy area towards the left of the river? That is where we were headed.
(It was kind of bittersweet riding out there too, because we used to trailer out there and ride when I was younger, and the last time I had been down to the basin, I was on my bucking bronc, Shadest)
We carefully rode out towards the edge of the river, and you can see Waska looking back at me like "Are you sure you want to go over there???"
So onwards we went, and I am going to write about the rest of ride later, as this post is getting too long!
I hope you all had wonderful weekends, and I look forward to catching up (yet again!!) on your blogs. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Wanna see what we do about five nights per week??? Baseball!!! Eric has really excelled this year, and has gone from being a closing pitcher to a starting pitcher. And when he is not pitching, he is playing third base. He can also crush the ball, and he either strikes out or hits RBI's.
Because he is not the fastest kidlet on the block, he often brings other kids home, but only makes it to third base himself. You should hear me yelling...I mean encouraging him to!!!
Now of course, every mom thinks their son is the best baseball player out there, but Eric is pretty darn good. And it's not like he doesn't have big shoes to fill either.
Thankfully, he isn't really old enough to get the scope of the amount of pressure that other people place on him (due to his dad). And it's kind of creepy to hear coaches talk about my baby like he is a cow...excuse me, I mean a livestock auction. ...Because even if he weren't that good of a player, I would still love and watch him, but they wouldn't.

PS-Can you tell he gets his athletic ability from me???? LOL!!!!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Anatomy Of A Bull

Hey there! I am almost done with this semester, having just have three finals to study for and take this week. Yeah!!!! There is still another 25-35 page lit review that I have to do for a syllabus design, but that is due by August, so I don't have to totally freak out about it...yet!
I just had to blog about something that bugs me every morning, and that is about a kid's television show called "Back At the Barnyard." Have any of you ever watched it, or heard about it before?

One of the main characters is a Holstein bull named Otis, and while he may appear bull-like on the top (see above picture) he sure as heck does not appear bull-like on the bottom, and the shows anatomically incorrect misrepresentation of gender drives me nuts.
Maybe it's because I grew up on a farm, worked for a veterinarian, and have had lot's of biology/anatomy and physiology courses, or maybe it's because I am practical or that I breastfed my two children (sorry guys!) but I cannot stand the fact that this bull has an udder!!!!! Why not just leave it off?? The female cows in the show have them too, and it just looks ridiculous.
They even refer to Otis as a "cow" and a "milk machine," and I don't know about you, but the last time that I looked, male cattle were called bulls, not cows!!!! Just look at how ridiculous they all look in the above picture!
Anywho...sorry for the little rant, but this has been bugging me for a long time. Maybe I should get out more??? LOL!!!!! I promise to do some horsey posts soon, but for now I will leave you with one last picture of Otis, the lactating bull/cow...teeheehee!!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

More Awards...Thanks Gals!

While I was away doing crazy and insane amounts of homework (aren't I too old for that???) I was given a couple of different awards by some very nice bloggers. First, Paint Girl passed on the "Attitude of Gratitude" award.....Thank you so much, Paint Girl!!!! I am supposed to nominate other blogs for this award, but seeing as how I have had this one before, I think I will break the rules and "pass." Just know that if you read my blog, I am grateful to you-and you too Paint Girl!!! :)
Next, Kacy decided that I qualified as an Intrepid Rider (Hmmmm...I wonder why??? LOL!!!) and so she invited me to join her and a few other bloggers as an official Intrepid Rider. This is a cool award in that Kacy designed it herself. Isn't she clever??? Here is a link to her post about what an Intrepid Rider is: Intrepid Riders Faction. is some more info about what Intrepid Riders are/do(In Kacy's words, not mine).....

"This Award is dedicated to those Horse lovers and riders that inspire others to go deeper in ability, knowledge and understanding of the Equine(s) they have been entrusted to.The good of the horse is the ultimate goal apart from pressures to achieve ribbons and fit into lesson schedules.
~Some of These riders are fearless, when it comes to weather conditions and the forecasting of them...being with their horses, fills these folks' soul and takes the cares out of daily routines.
~They are unconditionally loving to the horse and may have rescued it from known ailment or living condition.
~Others have researched and purchased/ acquired their horse, to find a difficulty in temperament or a physical burden within the animal. Yet, Being dedicated , they have persevered to proudly be in partnership with their horse, lovingly striving for deeper awareness's between them.
~Some horse lovers may have been riding for years and suddenly, had an accident that takes them away from the great joy and freedom they have, being aboard such a magnificent animal. ~They have allowed the healing horse to rise in their hearts once again, and beckon them back!"

Now, this award asks that I pass it on to one other person, and because it is a homemade award (and it was made by someone who I think is special) I will.

I am going to give it to Lytha over at A Horse Crazy American In Germany. She is an amazing horsewoman who recently moved from Washington to Germany with her 23 year old Arab. She has had him since he was a yearling (I believe) and this is the first time in both of their lives that they get to live together, as she and her hubby recently bought a farm. Lytha and Baasha have been competitive trail/endurance riders, and continue to explore the German countryside together. Way to go guys!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tori Amos...Or Not!!!

Some of you may be familiar with Tori Amos (singer, song writer, producer) and some of you may not. Some of you may find her voice and music hauntingly beautiful, and some of you may not. Some of you may find her lyrics quirky and fitting, and some of you may find them to be absolute nonsense.

Do you get where I am going with this yet??? That basically people either love Tori Amos, or they do not.
I, for one, think she is wonderfully talented (she plays musical instruments too) and I cannot wait to buy her latest CD: Abnormally Attracted to Sin (release date 5/19). And thanks to YouTube, I have even been able to listen to some of the tracks off of it. Bad, I know!

Because I do not know how to upload videos from YouTube yet(I know that Stephanie gave Chelsi a great tutorial on it, and I may have to try and find it! ) I will just post a link to some of her songs. That way, if you have never heard of her, you can listen and decide for yourself.
"Virgina" live performance you/did you like Tori???? If you have never heard her, I suggest listening at least half way through her songs.
Again, people either love her or they hate her. Let me know what you think.
To each his own, eh??? (wink, wink!!!)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

School Schmool

Hi guys!!!

I just wanted to pop in and say that I am still alive. The bulk of my let's-give-our-students-end-of-the-semester-hell is now behind me, and if I were not blonde, I would swear I have a few gray hairs...and maybe a new wrinkle or!!!

I only have the remainder of this week and then three finals next week. There is still another 25 page paper to write, but I have until about July to get that done (independent study).
We have all been really busy, but we have somehow manged to stay on top of boring and mundane things like housework (which is really nice and really helpful!).
And of course I have made plenty of time in my chaotic life to get a little bit of riding in, and as you can see, the boys still have had time for a little bit of "tied to the horse trailer, quick no one is looking, shenanigans!"
My plan is to try and catch up on blogs this weekend, so watch I!!!! (Not today though, because I will be in class all day)
PS-I see that I picked up a few awards while I was missing. I promise to come over and grab them for you, Paint Girl and Kacy!!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

While I was Away in Hawaii....

...Just kidding!!! Did you all miss me??? I have been in the last month of classes, and I only have two weeks to go. I just wanted to get on and say that things are fine...we are just REALLY busy, and I am going to need another week (at least) to get this semester done.
(Above is Katie fishing last weekend)

So...I promise to come back in about 1-2 weeks, but for now, I have papers to write, class presentations to prepare, statistical data to analyze, baseball games to go to, and horses that need!!!
(Above is Eric-the kid bent down to catch the ball-at third base. He plays third base and he is one of his team's pitchers)

(Above is me riding Bo the other day. Amber took the camera and got shots of me for once. Doesn't he look happy?)

Well, I am off to class. I will see you all in another week or so! :)