Friday, February 24, 2017

some days

Some days the mud wins. And your horse just gets to eat grass and stand around dirty.

Some days, after five inches of rain, the trails are just too wet to venture out.

this is my apple-chewing concentration face!

And some days there is just enough time before the next storm. The fallen trees have been cleared, the mud is minimal, and the trail stretches before you like lost hope.

And the rain clouds loom. But refrain from adding to the morass, and ferns explode, and we stretch into a trot we haven't done for months.

clouds reflect on Avery Pond

ferns on moss on rocks

I hope for more of those days.

windshield ice feathers

finally a clear sunrise

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Major is not always so crafty. Trying to get across the small ditch between the arena and his pasture was first impossible, now only daunting: requiring a giant leap (wish I could get a picture of that!), after which he is so proud of himself he gallops up the hill. Every. Single. Time. Sigh.

I however love to do crafty projects, when given the time. This rainy winter there has been too much time! There is only so much rainy-day hiking I can do before I am wet and cold and want to be inside, but even then a good book isn't enough to keep me entertained.

First I made a new saddle cover. After holiday sale fleece fabric and some elastic, done. And spray painted a mash bucket, it lasts for awhile and is certainly noticeable!

saddle cover and orange bucket, everyone knows my stuff!

But what else to make...a new stall sign! Major's cheap blackboard has seen better days. I found a photo to trace and selected a bold "Major" typeface. I am lucky enough to be able to use graphics software to do this, but tracing a photocopied photo would work just as well.

pick a good photo (wild west 2015)

wood tracing

I traced the artwork onto a piece of poplar wood (from the clearance section at the home improvement store). I took some liberties with his mane and tail, reality was too sad/boring! After that I traced all the lines over again with my cheap craft-store woodburning tool. Some lines are a bit rough, where the tool burns in really quickly, but it is a craft project, not a perfect specimen! (I'm too impatient for perfect.)

beginning wood burning
practice makes imperfect!

almost done

I practiced with paint and stain, I wanted the wood to show through a bit. I used stain for his body and orange (of course) for the type. I sprayed the whole thing with a clear outdoor sealant. After a couple eye screw and zip ties, it is a worthy addition to Major's pasture shelter (even if I am a bit concerned that it may become a play toy).

hanging from Major's shelter

what's this Mom?

Now they're forecasting another week of rain, including the now infamous "atmospheric river." I have a paint-by-number and a few other project ideas. I could also clean the craft closet, which is an erupting disaster, but where's the fun in that? I'll close the door and begin a new project. Or walk my horse in between rain drops…

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

what's this?!

What's this glowing orb in the sky? This lovely color above us? Blue sky!

It was lovely to get a break in the storms that have been hitting Northern California hard this year. And while trails are still muddy, we needed to get out and explore. Major spent one evening walk as a snorting dragon on the end of my lead rope, I was anticipating a horrible ride.

trails disappears into the lake

muddy lake, but green grass

But I think the slippery trails mollified him. Even he isn't usually stupid in deep mud. There were a couple tiny trotting places, though our lake trail is completely underwater. But the green grass is a good consolation prize. Our ride was shortened by too many downed trees, and muddy trails we did not want to damage further. It was still worth getting out.

girth is evidence of a muddy ride

But the next hike I left the horse at home. My trailer is still stuck in a solid driveway of mud, but the sun was still out, and trails were ready to explore. The parking area was packed, but far above the canyon and No Hands bridge very few hikers make the trek. I explored the aptly named Flood Trail.

above No Hands and the muddy American River
I hadn't hiked this trail before. In summer it is too hot, but a sunny, winter day was perfect. Remnants of old homesteads, nature great and small, and a view that couldn't be matched. In a few places the trail was a rutted or muddy mess, but the top of a mountain drains pretty quickly!

nature large: epic oak

nature small: trapdoor spider web covered in dew

a lovely old wall
More rain is forecast. We got out while we could. I'm trying to remind myself that there is time enough when Spring arrives. Until then there is green grass and puddles to splash through. And more light at the end of each day. Spring is coming.

time to graze is time enough