Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Disclaimer: Don't attempt this yourself. Really, this is everything that they tell you NOT to do. But no animals or people were harmed in the making of this blogpost, and in fact, the human was much improved. So read at your own caution...

I've been resting since hurting myself, no, not on the horse. If I had a nickle for everyone at work, etc who asked me that question...well, I'd have about 45 cents, but still, it was annoying! No, I got hurt kayaking because lower river=new dangerous rapids. Live and learn luckily!

But it has been boring. I only strained my hamstring, (or something) but damn was walking, bending and even sitting made all the more difficult. Forget riding or hiking with the horse! Major was fine, he got walked by my SO, fed carrots and had the tough life of a pastured horse.

But I would drive up and he kept waiting at the gate to go out. I know that feeling. I was finally better enough to take him for a short walk in the forest. He practically dragged me down the road! Nope, I can't walk quite that fast yet!

We walked (slower) into the forest, feeling pretty good. So good that it sure would be nice to be out a bit farther. Plus, I should test if I can ride, right? With no helmet, bareback, on a horse that hasn't been ridden in two weeks, on a lovely, cool autumn evening…

Sure, why not! The forest had placed a convenient tall rock (because I swear Major gets taller on the trail, and he is hard enough to get on). He didn't bat and eye, and we headed off. Then he stopped dead, and his head went up a bit. Oh no, did I just make the poor decision I thought I did?

our speed did not make this blurry, it was my uncertainty!

Nope, he had just heard some voices. We walked up the moon rock trail and around, he was just happy to be out, and I was too. A little twinge in my leg, but I declare myself improved! Maybe a mile all told. Turning for home he tried a couple trot steps, and I was sure the silliness would commence and I'd be walking home...

my sensible pony!

I circled him with with the leadrope, told him to knock it off, and I think he knew: walk home nicely or walk home behind slow me. OK, so I am certainly not saying my horse is a perfect citizen (far from it) but yes, this is just me being proud that he was so good!

bareback, halter, leadrope: don't try this at home

We made it back to the main trail, and I gt off and walked from there. Major grazed on grass and rock moss on the way home. It was amazing was 20 minutes of horse-time could do. Now, I'm not advocating that others try my ill-advised advice on their less-than-dead-head horses…but if you do, have a great time!

If I am so good why are we stopping here? Dinner is very soon!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

chance of clouds

The cloudless days of summer are behind us. Northern California just got the first rainfall of the season, and the clouds are moving in.

cloudless view

As it gets darker every day (arghh, yuck) at least I take some solace and find a silver lining in the much more interesting skies we've encountered in the last couple of weeks.

really sky? You need to decide!

clouds reflecting on lake

windy and cloudy, oh boy, hold on!

Will we get rained on? Will Major act like an idiot in the wind? Just how silly CAN he be on these first cooler days?

poser blue heron

stacking clouds

Major thinks he can find the silver lining by trying to open the feed bin. Given enough time, I bet he can!

just another minute, I've almost got it…

Thursday, October 4, 2018

detour: angel island

While Mark Twain may not have actually said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco," it is not wrong! Which is why the best San Francisco trips happen in the Fall!

leaving Tiburon on the ferry

I enjoy being a tourist in my home state, and clear blue skies greeted our ferry as we crossed the San Francisco bay from Tiburon to Angel Island. You have to get there by ferry or personal boat, but kayaking in San Francisco bay is far beyond my abilities! The last time I was here I was when I was a kid, and all I remember was riding my bike around. Discovering places as an adult is much more interesting.

not a bad view

Angel Island is the largest island in the bay, and it is a weird combination of nature and historical buildings, but all with amazing views. I wanted to explore the trails first, and headed up the hill. It isn't much of a hill, only 788 feet tall, but from zero sea level it was a pretty good hike. The trails switchbacked up the hill, different views at each turn. There were some deer and birds, but that was it. (I later saw on an informational panel that there are no squirrels, rabbits, opossums, skunks or predators on the island. How strange! It did not tell me if they had all been hunted or why that was the situation).

the fog just offshore

vulture with a view

At the top of the hill was a radio tower, then down, down, down to the old Cold War Nike missile site. Nothing to see any longer, just a sign describing how it was decommissioned in the 1960s, and the island given to the state. But further on the old army barracks stand deserted, grass growing through cracks of giant structures, and no one else around. It was great (It seems like most people stay in the easy-to-access places, get a little off path and empty streets surrounded us).

abandoned barracks

last one out, please turn off the lights
there was a whole military town

sadly, no horses now, but look at all these!

Walking more around the perimeter road we get to the immigration station, with an ugly history of interrogating detained Chinese immigrants. Some buildings still exist, but now there is an effort to create an awareness with signage and memorials. This area seems so removed, again the odd island juxtaposition of immigration/military/nature.

immigration memorial

also called "Ellis Island of the West"
massive oak

If you're on an island you have to find a beach. In gusting wind the sharp sand blew into my sandwich, (mmm, crunchy) but it was worth it. A city view, boats on the water, warm sand: an interesting island.

sand, water, blue skies and distant bridges

Monday, September 24, 2018

monday moment: cereal

One of the best things about being an adult: buying disgusting sugar cereal that you would have begged for as a child.

jumped a rainbow into my cart

The unicorn was calling me from across the grocery aisle. Finally I'd discover what a unicorn tastes like! (I suspected chicken...)

should taste like Fruit Loops, but it does not!

Damn, it says "Magic Cupcake" flavored…oh, it is AWFUL! Like bad frosting on cheap grocery store cake. Blech!

Will Major eat it?

He liked loved it! Is that animal abuse? I think he believes he will turn into a unicorn.

But I learned something important from buying unnecessary cereal: my unicorn name! (oh, you thought it would be don't give in to consumerism, blah, blah, blah? yeah, right). I am Emerald Cloud Jumper, who are you?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

two speeds

We have had a couple interesting rides lately, but without much variety…in speed. Major is loving the coming fall weather, so "trot all the places!" has become his plan. I'm loathe to stop him because damn, it's fun (and he is behaving himself)! We have no endurance rides coming up, and are not "conditioning" but Major sure keeps himself in the mix!

A simple evening ride was along the lake. Major with one goal, trot! But I really did not like that plan (I was hoping for a mellow ride), so it became a game of trot and our other speed…eat. Major is still pretty incompetent at eating and walking, and with nowhere to go, stopping to eat the green tastiness is fine.

snack one: grass is good

snack two: grass is great!
this was a cougar snack: deer skeleton is all that remains

The best part was the musical accompaniment! I never ride with any music (I like the sound of nature and Major). But along the lake we often hear the boats, and this time a ski boat was moving along the lake, playing their loud music. The skier was obviously not very good, as they kept stopping to retrieve him! But unlike most times, this was actually some good music. It started with Disturbed's cover of "The Sounds of Silence" (oh, the irony), then I heard the opening notes of one of my favorite bands, Midnight Oil, and "Beds Are Burning." As I rode away, another 80s hit, "Down Under" by Men at Work played out as we trotted/danced away.

button bush: smells lovely and covered in bees and butterflies

snack three: moss is good too
Our next trotting adventure was a day exploring Empire Mine. I hadn't been there in a couple years. The trail are mostly wide with great footing, hardly a rock in sight! Very few people, a few courteous bike riders, Major was game to explore. Maybe because our home trails are so twisty and stop-and-go, he started out trotting in contained excitement and didn't stop. For 13 miles.

Prescott Mine structure, right when we started off

eager ears: oh boy!

Seriously, I would slow him, ask for a walk (not because he was tired, but because it was just a casual ride I thought) but Major had other plans. And he was so pleasant about it, just asking to trot again and stepping into a lovely, but quick, 7mph. Then 9mph, then a few canters in long, clear sections, and he was just eating up the trail, truly seeming to enjoy himself. We both had a great time (though I was tired as I didn't expect Major to be doing a solo endurance ride!), and we'll have to go back sooner than later.

contain yourself Major: walk across the raised culvert area

the trails were a blur: literally, so much trotting!

I may hate the fall, with darkness descending and the long dreary winter ahead, but these cooler days are appreciated, and I better get out there and enjoy every moment of daylight while I can…at whatever speed I get!

Thursday, September 13, 2018

d.i.y.: customized helmet

Time for another super difficult and time consuming D.I.Y.…or not! This was simple and fun, and I didn't take many progress photos (and no completely final photos, oops!)

I had some cool orange reflective tape from fixing up my horse trailer, and it was just sitting there, bored! But you could do this with any outdoor vinyl from the craft store (just cut it into the strip width first.)

needed tools: helmet, colored tape/vinyl, scrap paper template, exacto knife, pencil

I took my helmet and then some scrap paper strips, and fitted them to the grooves/lines on the helmet. Each helmet will be different. I removed the visor for simplicity. One long strip will not work well, with the helmet curve I think you would get bubbles, etc. By cutting it into pieces it is easier to manage, and looks cool too.

Once I had my scrap paper template, I cut my reflective strips to match. I kept the paper backing on the tape for now. I made a couple small pencil marks on the helmet itself so I'd know where to line the tape up. Or wing it, whatever you're up for!

final colored pieces ready to stick

For the smaller pieces, I peeled off the whole backing and gently smoothed the tape to the helmet. The longer strip was a tiny bit harder, but I partially removed the paper backing to get it started, then pulled the paper out as I went along.

finished, shiny, orange!

Success! I got one small bubble that I really don't care about. I also spray-painted the tiny visor (orange of course) but forget to take that picture.

It is just for fun, though the reflective isn't a bad idea. It will probably peel off if needed, though I haven't tried it. Now what else can I stick some of that tape onto…?

Friday, August 31, 2018

final friday

I am lucky enough to not work Fridays in the summer. The 4-10 hour schedule allows for many more days of adventuring, and three days weekends are always the best. Sadly, it must come to an end this week. Even with the too hot, then smoky, days left out, there was plenty of time for exploring:

standard lake view is never boring

but the kayaking view is much cooler

and the view from below of the suspension bridge is dizzying

seeing all the Seabiscuit memorabilia at the State Fair

A cloudy, and welcome, road trip

camping adventures, with many marshmellows

Truckee hiking the abandoned train tunnels
Riding was first, but there were so many things to do: hiking, camping, kayaking all about. It was a very full summer.
neat rocky exploring


my favorite ocean spot (Salt Point)

And a different perspective on the Foresthill bridge

Oh boy, these are wanting-to-be naughty (and run in the sand) ears
Cooler (yeah!) and shorter (boo) days are coming. I don't plan much ahead, but I know there are new adventures awaiting…