Thursday, July 30, 2009

Guilty as charged

My husband says I'd rather ride than do anything else.

Well this is not exactly true you know.
I did some 'outdoor' work yesterday morning.
I HAD to saddle Badger and have him help.
He carried the essentials, like:
Hand Nippers

...and Morris.
Well Morris simply supervised and found disgusting things to roll in.

I was clearing burdock off the trail that we ride through on the neighbor's property. There is one stretch that is so bad you will have a Burdock-Mule if you don't cut them down.
I mean it was work right?

I could vacuum the house on any rainy day. I could hem his pants and do my sewing jobs when the weather was nasty right?

His shirt didn't need a button RIGHT now, after all he has other shirts.

But you know, if it envolves riding in any way shape or form...
or if I could ride and vacuum the house....
hang out laundry while on a mule...
[wow maybe I could tie sheets to the saddle and gallop up on the ridge to air dry them?]
dust with a mule tail...

Well I think you all are getting my drift.

I'm guilty as charged, I will do anything to ride.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A perfect day

Our perfect day started when 'run around' Sue came home. [she was found on a neighbor's porch eating catfood...some hounds have NO discriminating tastes!]

Sunshine was standing in the rain softened pasture on ALL 4 legs...I think as it dries she'll be sore again. [she still is going to the vet's on Friday]

We did a trip to town, had lunch out, and spent the afternoon working with mules. I worked with Siera and Rich worked with Dyna. [no pics of Dyna, as she was inside the shed and I was outside with Siera][this is Siera practicing patience]

After supper, we saddled up [Opal and Badger] and went for an evening ride. My goal of course besides riding was to get some fantastic shots of the sunset.
We stopped at our favorite berry patch and to our amazement something VERY large had been through it.
We wondered if it was the local bear.

We rode down through the back valley and did some bush whacking. Then out onto the ridge top to watch Mother Nature put on a show for us.
I wanted a silhoutte shot of my hubby and we did that.

Then it was down into the 'first' valley and up through the dense brush and undergrowth towards home.

I think I was glad that I couldn't see some of what we were going through! It was getting very dark and I was more concerned about dodging branches than anything else.
Ruts? Washouts? Rocky ravines?
All in a night's ride of course.

Neither mule spooked when 3 turkeys 'rained' down on us from their night roosts!
True to our mule's good sense of what is going on around them...the turkeys didn't even warrant as much as a flick of the ear.

Not even when two bedding bucks jumped and ran in front of us ... did the mules react.

What can I say, it was one of those perfect days.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Update! Found Sue!

We just got a call from a neighbor and Sue is sitting on his back porch eating catfood!

Good things can happen.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


You ever just been flummoxed?
You have so many things going on that you just have no idea where to start and what to do?

You feel like you are going in several directions at once ...
the hurried~er you go...
the behind~er you get?

Yep that's where I am at today.
I'm chasing my proverbial tail and not getting anywhere at all.

Although today I did use a scythe to 'down' weeds under the electric fence, placed a dozen phone calls to put a look out for Sue.
The sheriff's department thought they had a good 'lead' but the hound was the wrong color.

I helped repair fences that were torn down during Friday night's gosh awful storm.
So I got things done, but not the things on my to do list.

Well there is tomorrow.
But somehow I have the feeling that I'll probably end up going through the same thing.

Tomorrow we are calling a specialist veterinarian for Sunshine. I think she'll end up having to get x-rays of her leg.
She has not improved dramatically and the opinion that she had an abscess doesn't seem to be coming true?
Hopefully I'm wrong and it is something simple.

Life is never exactly simple though is it?

Look how these little things have gotten me going 'round and 'round.

Well, off to work. I have Mon and Tues off and then go into a 7 day 4-midnight shift. I'm doing vacation duty for someone.


Saturday, July 25, 2009


Pounding storms, lightening, winds, hail, darkness...

These were things I drove through to work last night. The car's radio kept interrupting with 'National Weather Service Warnings".
Mud and trees slide onto Highway 35 closing it from the Lansing Bridge to Prairie Du Chien.

During this storm, one of our black and tan hounds slipped her collar and bolted from home. We tracked her into the donkey's pasture.
We discovered a broken electric gate and donkeys on the loose.
Did the hound frighten them or they chase the hound?

We don't know.
After putting out several phone calls this morning, I'm headed down through our woods to call for Sue.
I'm taking Morris as she and he are best of buddies.
My honey is driving the countryside scouring the land for his lost dog.

My heart is sad, because Sue slipped her collar, the one thing that had identification on her along with our names and phone number [address also].

Sometimes I just hate storms.
They can wreak such havoc.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


I've been working every day with some very odd hours.
Not much to say about it except I've had some very nice opportunities with my camera during my commute.

Interesting ad:

Beautiful sunrises:

and pretty prairie flowers:

Saturday, July 18, 2009


Pre dawn is a special time. The robins are just begining to sing their songs. I am sleepy eyed and stumbling around the house trying to pull on my polertec riding pants as it is 48 degrees outside.

I put on a regular sweatshirt and then a thermal sweatshirt, zap a cup of old coffee in the microwave and stir in some 'goop' to make it taste better.

I can see the sliver of the moon peeking between the clouds.
This is insane.
Getting up this early before I go to work, just for a short ride to watch the sunrise. isn't, not in my mind.
I love sunrises [some days I am asleep before sundown].

I slide out the back door and give a stern HUSH to the hound dogs who stir lazily in their dog houses...they are but black shadows.

I call softly:

Out of the pre-dawn darkness comes the bay gelding who is one of the loves of my life.
He makes some sort of mulish knickering noise.

I open the gate and slide a bridle on him. I lead him to an overturned bucket in the driveway ~~ and scramble on his 15 hand body. He is warm, which is nice, because I can see my breath in the semi darkness.

I nudge him with my dew wet 'endurance' lace up boots and we head up out of our valley 'pocket' towards the ridge.
Badger knows what is expected of him.
We've done this before.

I have a need to ride... a need to see and photograph the sunrise.
I'm willing to sacrifice an hour of rest for it.

And Badger?
He doesn't mind.

We get to the ridge top and stop. He is happy standing still [and he is keeping me warm].
We wait...and wait.
At 5:40AM the sun is supposed to break the horizon.
I know, I've checked the weather site for our area.

Two white tail deer walk lazily across the darkened gravel road in front of us.
The robins are singing their good morning song.
A Wood Thrush trills in the timber.

All is peaceful.
All is well.

And I get several photos.

I pat Badger's neck and we head back down the steep driveway.

I can't think of a better way to start the day.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Wednesday....just this...

This was taken on my drive to work yesterday morning at 5:28am.
I parked on the side of the road and had to step out.
I wish I'd have been able to stand there and watch Mother Nature display her bag of was a beautiful show that I could only glance at once in a while on my drive....

Some days I just love my drive to work.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Mule Withdrawals

Mule withdrawal is an ugly thing.

It creeps up on you slowly. It sneaks up on you when you are not looking.

It is silent...

It can be quick to come on and BAM ~~~

hits you right where it hurts.

And suddenly for no reason at all, you are craving for it...
For the smell of mule hair and dust to fill your nostrils...the feel of dirt on your hands, and the odor of a damp sweaty blanket.

Your co-workers give you an odd look. They don't understand, of course they couldn't.
They don't ride a mule.

I think my mule is having withdrawals also.
He stood at the gate when I pulled in tonight and started braying.

Dang, I love my mule!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Berry Pickin'

Imagine my surprise when I said I'd like to go pick wild black caps and black berries...and my husband said that he'd go with.

I gave him a look and said...
'What, you'll come and watch?.. and keep and eye out for the Bear?'

He shook his head. 'Nope, I like picking berries.'

I was floored.
Totally. I didn't think berry pickin' was a man thing. But hey I shouldn't complain right? This was a second pair of hands.

So at noon we left with a thermos of ice water, the dog [Morris] and some pickin' pails that were actually plastic coffee cans rigged to hang off our shoulders.
And picking is what we did.

[Even Morris who eats them right off the briar]
We did discover an incredible berry patch though.

Wild yellow raspberries!

They were so tall that we couldn't reach the top of the canes to pick, but had to carefully pull them down to us to get the delicious fruit.

The berry patch was surrounded by a fallen cherry tree, wild grapes, horse nettles, and some black berries on one side.

The patch was thick as could be.
My old long sleeved shirt suffered many small tears from the muti flora rose and the old berry canes.

Our take? 2 1/2 gallons of black berries.
1 1/2 gallons of yellow berries.

I cleaned them and crushed them into portions when I got home and froze them.
Today's work will yield me 4 lucious batches of black and yellow berry jam, two pies, and several bowls of tasty berries to eat.

I'm so glad that berry pickin' is a Man Thing too.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mini Vacation

I'm about to embark on my trip back towards home.

At the momment I'm sitting in my son's living room and typing on his laptop...[nice laptop Ed, I like it!]

Believe it or not, this 'old country' gal came to the city for a weekend get-away. Well, I also love watching my son run the Lake Michigan Half Marathon~~and photographing it.

I'm not going bore anyone with my weekend details except to say that I got to go shopping, did a movie with other gals, and generally enjoyed a relaxing time.
In short,I had a blast.

At some point today, I load up the truck and head back across the state towards home.

There are black berries to pick and a lonely husband waiting at home.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009


Adjective - Any language that contains quips or comments containing sarcastic or satirical witticisms intended as blunt irony. Usually delivered in a manner that is somewhat abrupt and out of context and intended to stun and amuse. Origin: Snark="snide remark".

So today I was 'snarky'. I think.

Hubby and I went to town to get some 'supplies' and decided to stop and eat at Culver's which is something we don't do often.
We rarely eat out at fast food joints, but let's just say that 'Butter Burgers' can conjure up visions of artery choking food.

My goodness don't people look in the mirror any more these days before they venture out in to the public?

What is with the hip hugging -faded -dirty -look jeans on teenagers that are at least 50 lbs or more overweight?
Combine that with a hot pink t-shirt that is skin tight so as to show all the jiggling cellulite and leave not one shape under the shirt to the imagination. Ouch.
Where were the fashion cops?
This girl had a major violations that should have been written.

The bad hair dye job that was meant to be red~~but it was some reddish color from hell that combined with an awful tinted purple-ey color. Her hair wasn't even washed, but hung in stringy strands.
And the poor thing must have fallen into a fishing tackle box before she went out. She had metal protruding from her eyebrows, lips, nose, and oh
she had one of those tongue things too.
Not to mention something sticking out from her belly button ~ it was visible ~ more than we needed to know ~ inside that hot pink shirt.

The rhinestone high heeled sandals really set the outfit off.

I wished then that I hadn't had lunch.

Behind her came a grandma with her flowered house dress and plaid flannel shirt. When the wind gusted I got a glimpse of grannie's undies.

I'm not going to town ever again.
not ever.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Sunshine of my heart

This is Sunshine, daughter to Cheyenne who just had 'Sundance' on June 5th.

As you can see, she is a pretty special little mule. Both my husband and I ride her and she has 'earned' the right to carry our Grandson Dennis. She is short, about 56" or a tad bit less. But that makes her easy to get on and easy to get off.
Plus you can duck under tree branches.

So imagine my horror last night as I walked out to watch the hose fill the water tank in the meadow and I saw Sunshine desperately trying to walk.
It looked at first like she'd

I screeched out my husband's name [I am not a screecher by nature].
I kept hollering.

He went out to her and we quickly decided that she needed to come in out of the pasture and get up by the buildings so we could look her over.

Something strange and even more horrible happened. Three mares that are her pasture mates came charging at Sunshine, teeth bared and ears back. Sunshine tried to run from them and crashed face first into the ground ...and rolled.

If I'd had my pistol, I'd have been shooting at some horses. Her molly pasture mates stood by and watched curiously.

I was sure she had a broken leg. After talking to the vet and the farrier, they think she probably has an abscess in her hoof.

We were not able to find evidence of one, but did find a tender spot.
Sunshine is now inside in a large stall.
You'd think she'd be happier getting no hassle and nice bedding.

Typical mule.
She loves having her people around and absolutely puts up a fuss when we leave.

Epsom salt soaks are on the list right now with some bute for pain.

She's feeling good enough to paw at the stall door lightly with her 'lame' foot when she feels that she ought to be fed.

We are in the wait and see mode right now.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

4th of July Parade in Folsom

My wonderful daughter Stepanie decided to join me on my 4th of July Parade through Folsom Township.

I cannot tell you how much fun we had. This would be a 'girl' thing, I guess...we had so many giggles and laughs as we walked and trotted the back roads of Folsom.

We passed 8 residences in 6 miles.

We waved at 43 people in vehicles and yards [yes we counted!]

We encountered 9 dogs.

Welcome to the second annual Folsom Parade
which by the way
doubled in popularity since last year...

I just may have something going here!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Bugs~Bugs and July

This morning my hubby said we should catch up a couple of molly mules and take a morning tour to check out the wild berry status.

OH, yeah, I jumped on that one!

I finished my morning coffee and sped out the door to assist with chores, then headed to the 'Molly Meadow'...also known as the girls' pasture.

I whistled and banged on the gate.
Mica and Sunshine showed up first and I caught them.

With my heart doing a little happy dance, I led the mules over to our horse~mule trailer and tied them up.

[by the way Sunshine is the new foal's half sister...same mom, different Jack...she is also Badger's half sister!]

I brushed Mica's silvery grey coat and then did Sunshine 'the good little red mule'.

Then I ran inside and mixed up my super secret homemade potion of fly spray.

Generic brown listerine
Witch Hazel
Noxzema ~~ the kind that comes out in a squirt bottle
Apple Cider Vinegar
Oil Essentials of:
Lemon Grass
A dab of Dawn liquid dish soap [blue]
...and a few drops of Premetherin [for quick knock down of the flies]

I must say this concoction works pretty darned good on the mules and it is cheaper than buying any brand of horse fly spray. It works just as good as the costly stuff.

I also rub Mentholatum ointment on the ears when the deer flies are bad ... you have to re~apply, but it does work!

Well after a spray down we headed out in the deep woods. Riding Sunshine~~ who is just a hair under 14 hands is a delight, but we stirred up the skeeters big time going through the dew damp brush and weeds. Some of the burdocks were taller than Sunshine and I!!!

Finally we got out in the valley and met up with some 4 wheelers where we sat and talked.
After heading up the old ridge road, we scoped out the berry patches ohhhhhh, they were bountiful!

We made it back home just in time for the Grand kids to show up.
After playing with the kids all day I had to take a nap so I can go on duty at midnight.

Tomorrow I invited my stepdaughter to join me on my parade.
Gosh, before I knew it, my solo parade has doubled in one year...from one person to two!

Maybe next year I can bribe another rider to go along with us!
Happy 4th.

Night Rider

There is nothing quite like a 'night' ride.
The scent of the woods while the evening dew is falling.

The sounds of birds as they call out to each other before going to 'bed' at night.
The clear and beautiful calls of the wood thrush which if you are really interested you can listen to it here:

Badger and I crossed several steep ravines and enjoyed the gathering dusk in the valley. A low fog was begining to creep across the creek.
I pointed him towards the 'camp' road which leads up and out of PeeWee's Valley.

He did a 'freeze' and popped his head up.
The head of a small buck rose out of the tall grass next to the creek. I could see his velvety antlers.
[darn too dark in the valley to take a photo!]

We sat until the buck wandered away and then proceeded up the old hill road.
I pointed out all the black berry bushes to Badger, I don't think he was as excited as I was to see the abundance of berries.

Although, he does accompany me on my berry excursions. I can move about PeeWee's timber much faster with a mule...and hey, any excuse to ride right???

Half way up the hill road we disturbed some turkeys that were getting ready to roost.
Dang! Talk about it raining turkeys!
[good boy Badger for taking this in stride...]

At the top of the ridge we paused to watch the sunset. The valley was already in darkness, so we decided to get on the old gravel road and head towards home.To my wonderful mules, I owe so much.
Thank you Badger for this wonderful night ride...

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Driving to work...

I drive 30 miles to work and everyone says to me...'gosh, isn't that far?'
'isn't that such a horrible drive?'

I look back on the past 9 months of going to work and think.
Nope ~~ it isn't always horrible.
Sometimes it gets tricky and the roads are not too great [winter!].

But there is always an adventure.
The scenery I drive through is stunning.

Back roads, black tops, hills, ridges, valleys, and fogs.

Deer, racoon, coyote, dogs, loose cattle, cats, 'possum, and the occasional fox.

Farm machinery, buses, and Amish buggies.

So, I feel sorry for all those folks who have to take the ho-hum way to work, where the ride is not adventuresome nor compelling like it can be to me.
It gives me time to think...and unless I am running late, it gives me time to relax and enjoy the drive.

On this note...I hope you all enjoy your day.
I am on my way to work soon and will enjoy mine!