Friday, March 30, 2018


Now Las Vegas is not a place I normally choose as a destination, but a work trip put me there. And while I marveled (and squinted) at bright lights and crowds, I kept thinking of all the juxtapositions between where I was, and back home.

I'm always up to explore, no matter where I am, especially after sitting in conferences all day (plus, they close the pools at 5pm!)!

dry desert, snowy Sierras
The basic differences are easy to point out, but then it got interesting.

local pool (Folsom Lake, Hi Major!)

water feature
There was lots of walking all over, as I'm not a gambler, though I did lose a bundle ($3) on some epic skee-ball (my absolute favorite). I did come out a winner: I gave my game tickets to a little boy who was just so excited to have them, win for all.

bright colors abound

royal felines

monuments to achievement (rock pile at the top of a big hiking hill)

When I couldn't take the crowds any more, I did find a quiet, dark place to just chill: an aquarium inside a hotel! You can't go wrong with that kind-of shark (not the gambling card kind), and the lionfish giving me a hard stare was epic.

creature feature: lionfish stare, salamander side-eye


But there is beauty to be found everywhere. My parting vista of fluffy clouds over the desert was lovely, but I still think I prefer the furry view between Major's ears.

Vegas Vista
Major view (and hair problems, nice forelock?)

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

cool stuff

While Major hid under his shelter for the last two weeks of rain (now a week of summer is upon us, love the strange spring), I was stir crazy and had to get out. Luckily, it wasn't too cold (well, except for the hike that included snow, hail, rain and sun, truly 4 seasons in one day), the flowers were out, and there is just cool stuff around here!

Cool stuff: like our wooden bridge! They are finally fixing this so the public can walk across it again (it has been years) but it is still fun to go explore. The original toll for a horseman: 50 cents!

Bridgeport Covered Bridge

amazing oak canopy
sunny portion of our 4-season day

The river runs clear one day, and muddy the next, depending on how much rain the region is getting. But the flowers are happy either way.

plain iris, still pretty.

brilliant shooting star wildflowers

I think this is Forget me Not
now for crazy: California Pipevine flower! I see a rooster.

And the green! While the groundcover hasn't caught up yet, the ferns are happily soaking up the rain.

green tree fingers reaching
happy tiny tree ferns

There is always something to find when exploring, from the largest to smallest. I honestly never get tired of crawling in the dirt taking a photo of a flower, or listening to the river rushing by. Or just finding something cool and unusual along the trail. Find anything good lately?

eyeball rock is watching you

Friday, March 16, 2018


The weather is being standard springtime crazy…as is my horse! Rides have been a bit all over the place: adventuring here and there, tshirt or raincoat, no one on trail or a horde of runners, keeping me on my toes for sure!

An incredible blue sky lake afternoon, tshirt and sunscreen, I saw no one in 8 miles.

so sunny and lovely, not for long

The next ride was gray, threatening overcast, and with a 50k race using all the local trails, we ventured out anyway. Major got very good at stepping to the side, or having runners pass (I know runners are supposed to yield, but in a race situation with a well-behaved horse, I certainly don't mind sharing, and conceding, the trail). Finally we split ways with the race, and Avery Pond was serene, the river still and silent.

a moody Avery Pond

yeah, this was epic

Then the sun was out. It was lovely in Auburn, and down across No Hands bridge, where the wind picked up. In the confines of the canyon all was peaceful, but once back on top in the open, the wind almost blew us away! That was the excuse Major (and his buddy Friday) used to try and canter through a slick mud puddle, right after a 1000 foot climb we were sure would tire them out. Guess not! But there was green grass to eat, and posing to be done, so Major was happy.

windy bridge crossing

looking for better grass

nice windy hairdo Major!

a little sun, a little wind, back across No Hands

I fit in a ride as the latest storm rolled in. It was 72 degrees outside, and darker clouds encroached on our trails. Did Major sense that incoming storm, or was he just acting like a normal idiot? I'll go with normal idiot…but it stayed so warm Major actually got hosed off after the ride, first bath in months!

looking towards the dam, a few miles away

having a hard time standing still on lookout/graffiti rock

And now there has been four days of rain, with more to come. But we'll take any water we can, and a rainbow over Major's pasture just reminds me: it's all good.

Friday, March 2, 2018

oh, bananas (treats!)

Major hates bananas. Green, yellow or brown, he takes a sniff and turns away.

I like bananas. But only barely yellow. A little brown = to banana-ey (yes, not a word. A word for me though!)

I throw the too-old bananas in the freezer, to languish until I make banana bread or throw them out. I don’t really want to make banana bread, but there's too much guilt if I throw them away!

So I decided to experiment with a banana horse treat. If Major wouldn’t eat the treat, I know other horses will try it (luckily the ranch has many greedy eaters).

I modified/simplified my other flax treat recipe. (I’m sure you could substitute oats and flour, but I really love what flax does for Major’s feet and fur.)

Easy Banana Treats
3 old bananas (I freeze until I have 3, or more. They get really sweet and squishy when defrosted)
1 cup flax seeds
1.5 cup ground flax (I use a coffee grinder, but you can buy ground flax in the grocery store bins)
2 T salt

Squish bananas until they look like banana snot, lumps are okay. Mix all the ingredients together. Put tablespoons of mixture into a cookie sheet (I’m partial to parchment paper, but whatever works.)

see, I told you, banana snot

mmm, said no one, not appealing! (see what I did there? A-peeling)

making treats the easy way (cookie scoop = best kitchen invention ever)

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, then turn off the oven, leave the treats until cool.

baking cookies (cropped to not show dirty oven!)

don't forget to put into your fancy container

Makes 50 treats. Five cookies = .25 cups flax. (Major recommends a larger serving size, five is not a good round number, 10 is better.)

These were a huge hit! With Major and every other horse. Yeah! Tasty, easy, healthy treats with less banana guilt for me, win-win. So have some brown bananas, flax and a little time this weekend? It's raining here, I'll be making more cookies!

with 30+ years experience, Blazer approved!

give me a cookie and no one gets hurt

P.S. Of course, if you’d rather make banana bread, I have an awesome recipe for that too:

Banana Bread

3 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
4 T butter, melted and cooled
1.5 cups all purpose flour
1 t salt
1 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon, 1/4 t clove, 1/4 t ginger
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. Lightly grease a 9 x 5 loaf pan, set aside.

In a bowl mash bananas. Beat in sugar, then egg and butter. In another bowl stir together flour, salt and baking soda, add to banana mixture. Add walnuts (if desired), and stir just until all flour is moistened. Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, makes one loaf. Tastes even better the next day!