Wednesday, October 31, 2018

conversations with major: halloween

Ummm, what’s this? 
Oh fun, neighborhood Halloween decorations!

It says CAUTION. 
Now you can read?!
Ummm, no? But now I’m worried. 

It’s ok, let’s check this out over here.
Umm, can I touch this? 
No tasting!
Hmmm, this spider is not a concern.

Can I eat this big orange thing? 
No, it’s their decoration!
What about the little one? They won’t miss the little one… 
Nope, not yours! And not the straw either!

I’m done of this party, I can't eat anything.
Look, there’s a scary skull floating by your head!
Not scary, I’m over it. Halloween is dumb.
But Halloween is my favorite holiday!
Can we go get grass now?

Ackk! Now, this is scary!

Monday, October 22, 2018

monday moment: full moon

I didn't intend to do a full moon ride when Major and I set off at 5:00pm (the moon was not scheduled to rise until 8:30). Along the lake we rode, it was lovely.

Then the full moon rose ahead…a hiker with NO PANTS! (backpack, shirt, hiking shoes, hmmm, what else do I wear?)

glowing moon ahead: historical hysterical recreation of the event

That's a first. We just quickly trotted by "Have a nice day!" To each their own, enjoy the sand and star thistle and poison oak…

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