Thursday, June 30, 2016

Our Big Canoe Trip ~ Kickapoo River Review

I'd say that canoeing the Kickapoo is pretty easy, yet by the time you've gone nearly 9 miles on the river, your skills will be brushed up quite a bit.

We chose to use Titanic Canoe Rentals because the website said specifically that they were dog friendly. We thought Morris would like to do an adventure with us.

The owner of Titanic was pleasant and thought it was great that we were taking Morris. We soon pushed off and 'went with the flow' as Bill told us to.

Morris kept an eye on the other canoers and kayakers. Having a cute little dog made us very popular. One girl especially kept asking to pet him and of course Morris was accommodating.

 Morris Navigates!

 Morris Naps

Morris is Captain!
The river was very low and slow and in places of course the current was swift and went around sharp bends. 

When we started Ariel had no idea how to hold a paddle. Soon though she began to figure things out.

For the first 4 bridges, the river was crowded and as the owner of Titanic told us, the river would have some idiots on it.
We were not surprise to round the bend and hear a dad yelling at his son NOT to stand in the canoe EVER again!

We floated past as then righted their canoe and when the dad tried to get back in he went ... ker-splash! We went on as they had a ton of people helping and we never saw them again.

We continued on and found a quiet place to eat our sandwiches. We stopped in other places to let Morris explore the 'beach' and Ariel wanted to wade.

The water wasn't too cold as the Kickapoo is muddy and stays a bit warm. Our stops were pleasant.
When we neared the Wildcat area near the canoe launch there, we realized that we might be running a bit late on our time.

With this scenery, we couldn't just paddle on by.

It is not recommended to take a 'good' expensive camera on this trip. I can see why. But I think renting a Kayak this fall would be an awesome way to see some fall colors.

I would recommend also that if you were to canoe the Kickapoo, do it during the week. Weekends can get crazy.

If you can spare the time canoe to Bridge 7, 10 or 12. Once you get past 5 most of the party folks are left behind.

Bring water, lots of water. Bring a lunch. Make sure everything that is valuable is in a zip lock bag with air in it. [Helps things float if you capsize.] 
And ... well you would have to try and capsize your canoe.

If you have a good pet you want to bring, Titanic advertises that they are pet friendly. And the owner and Shuttle Bus driver were exactly that. Everyone that we met, even the fellow from Drifty's was polite and friendly.

Of course this is their summer business.

My grand daughter is 12 and will be 13 in August. How did she like it? She did! 
She never complained, she never whined, she was a trooper. She learned to paddle and even learned to read the current ahead of her.

Morris? I think he was happy to get back on land when we finished. He was tired, after all, he is 12 yrs old now too.

I am thinking that a kayak adventure is in store for me this fall.
I've always wanted to try it.

This whole day cost us $30. Was it worth it? Yes. Yes.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Riding progression

We waited until the afternoon cooled off a bit before getting Fred out for ride number two.

Ariel and I cleaned Fred up and just talked about mules and equine safety. Something I usually do with kids near these large animals.

Ariel has ridden on and off since she was pretty small.
We started working on riding in 2008 with my mule Badger.

Badger left our world in 2012 and we sort of let things go by the wayside. 

We didn't have extended periods of time with the kids and so we really didn't have enough time to really get into riding.

At Grandma & Grandpa Camp in 2014 everyone got a ride on Fred.

And Fred seemed to take to being with kids very well.

Fast forward to the present.
We worked hours on balanced and calm riding with quiet hands and gentle hands. Towards the end of this ride Ariel started to hold the reins.

"Ride like you are a ballerina, with poise and confidence at all times." I told her. "You are a dancer on top of a very powerful animal who is willing to take his cues from you. If you are relaxed, he will relax."

In a round pen or small paddock, I've gotten Fred to 'heel' me off a lead rope. I showed this to Ariel yesterday. I walked along and made serpentines as he heeled at my shoulder. Fred stopped when I stopped, he stepped out when I stepped out. He backed up when I backed up. 
Again I made a reference to working with animals and dancing. "It is a dance between partners. Fred is my partner," I told her, "He knows to mimic my movements."

Ariel watched for a bit and then said, "Siera does this for you too!"
Indeed Siera does.

Then we started working on light hands and reining. Ariel is extremely calm with animals. It shows in this shot where Fred decides to cry out and bray for his mule buddies.
She waits it out unfazed and continues riding.

We move outside as Fred gets bored with the round pen. Mules do get bored and need a challenge.

We practice mounting/dismounting and emergency stops and dismounts. 

Ariel nails all of it quite well and we move to riding in the larger winter paddock. 

The next step after another warm up and review will be fun. I will get Siera and we will ride the paddock together.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Miss Ariel and Fred

What is it about an equine that gets into your soul and calms you? I read an feature article yesterday at work about an Equine Therapy place that is local. The reporter did a really fine job of relating how horses are so good for the inner soul of a person.

Ariel is visiting and had her first real riding lesson on Fred the Mule.
Fred is probably in mule years beyond ancient, and at approximately 32 yrs old, he still looks great. This is probably because he is a pony mule and yes, they do live longer than the big ones!

My husband had Fred all clipped up and just about ready to go by the time I got home from my long shift.
Of course Fred was going to be a bit dancy and prancy [ok probably not spelled correctly] at first. And,

But Ariel stepped into the stirrup and swung her leg up like an old pro. We started by just working on finding her balance and seat. It is something that is hard to 'teach' so it is more of a thing where the person has to feel it themselves.

I have taught a few kids in the 4H Horseless Horse program in years passed and enjoyed the experience. I love a good animal and an attentive young person. 
Ariel and Fred made a great combination.

I actually incorporated some Tai Chi methods while Ariel was in the saddle. I used the breathing method and inner calm I felt from Tai Chi while leading and talking with Ariel.
Fred calmed down and got very sensible incredibly fast.

It didn't take Ariel long to find her seat and her center of balance. And soon she was riding in a relaxed manner with her hands and shoulders relaxed, she would drop her feet from the stirrups and ride just with her seat only.
That is impressive.

"When I ride I feel like the rest of the world has dropped away and I am transported to another place that is peaceful and calming. I feel like I am in a magical wonderful place." This I told to Ariel.
Oh will she understand this yet? I don't know.

I recall the summer nights I spent at my Uncle's place learning to ride and fall off from his pony, Thunder. I wasn't finding inner peace and tranquility at that time, I was just a young girl loving her every moment on an ornery old pony. He was hard to catch, hated to ride, didn't want to follow directions and...well.
He was the perfect mount for me to learn on.

I learned young.  This undated photo is one my father took when I first started to ride...and fall off.

This was Sugar Babe, my Uncle's horse that he acquired while he was a soldier in the cavalry in WWII.  At least that is what I think he had said.

Here I am at that awkward age of 16. My sister is on Charlie Brown, the tall horse.
I am on Thunder.

Little did I realize how much my relationship with horses would effect my later life. I thought I'd never own one after I grew up or could own one of my own.

Both my sister and I are equine enthusiasts.  
Horses/mules have a special way of entering your heart and spirit.

I hope to pass some of that magic on to my Grandchildren as well.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lots of thoughts, little time!

I think I am in a state of discombobulation. I have scattered thoughts, no surprise.
I'm thinking about life, priorities, and all those things that come with those thoughts.

I like order. My house is in dis-ORDER. Which means I am in disorder too. I am getting anxious to start to live normally again.
To not live out of buckets and tubs with lids.

So this project is sort of front and center in my mind and life at the moment.
I do have these incredible mornings to ease that discombobulation!

 Merry Meadow at Dawn
Moments later while having coffee on the porch

I wondered what would happen if I turned the camera west and took a shot with the Infrared Filter on.

I was pleasantly surprised.
I edited this with the Orton Method as it was pretty grainy.
The IR brought out a very surreal shot from what was actually there.

Here is the shot in color ... no filter.
It isn't a perfect match, but you get the idea.

Wild isn't it?

Monday, June 20, 2016

How much stuff can you....?

....Pack into a Crosstek Subaru?
Well, I should have taken photos but I didn't. It was so HOT and humid that all I could think of was to get home and unload my 'stuff'.

Items purchased.
Kitchen sink. [Heavy Granite ~ Champagne color]
This is not the faucet going in though.
Lights. 2 Lights for the porch, or as Rich calls it, the Veranda.
One light for the North entrance.

I will give a nod to Menard's  as I had used their very easy website the night before to preview what I wanted to get and checked stock at the store I was going to.
I also had all of their SKU numbers written down.
When I went to lighting all I had to do was hand over my list and check the items I wanted.
It took me longer to drive to their store than the time it took to make my purchases off my list!

Well, let's just say I had a load of items and was able to get some groceries on the way home. The only place left to put things was in the front passenger seat.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing on the porch and doing some gardening. 

Ariel is coming to visit for nearly a week! I can't wait! Sounds like we may do some fun things that she has planned for us.

I have a surprise adventure for her too. Hopefully most of the mess of interior work will be done but if not, we'll just do as we've been doing.
Work around it.

I had some down time to play with items I've found and do some still life.

Account book from Elliott's Welding, Richland Center circa 1930's.

And ... Made in USA

Well, I can't wait until Miss Ariel arrives, it looks like we will have some fun.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Mostly House Stuff

Right now our lives are being taken over by the finishing work in the Tiny House.
Walls of plastic are everywhere, the scent of drying drywall mud has permeated the house.

During the day the house is a literal dust bowl. Sheets of plastic cover some rooms and linen sheets cover as much of our belongings as possible.

Yesterday though I took some time 'out' and had a side trip to Tainter Hollow for some photography. 
It seemed to be a perfect day to practice with the infrared filter.

I could have spent the day doing photography but alas, Rich had run out of clean jeans and our laundry situation was desperate.
So sadly I left Tainter Land and traveled home.

Then I went to my neighbor's and did 3 huge loads of laundry.

Can't wait to have a washer and dryer at home again!

More on the remodel at:
The Little House Remodel

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Rockin' It.

Well there we go.  Another day on the farm.

Rich was in a big hurry after the contractors got to the house.  He decided to run his errands in town and I was to stay at home for the plumbers and the construction crew.

Well I did.  I found two more beat up buckets for my marigolds and petunias.  I figured this summer that I'd make my flowers movable so when the construction was done, I could move the planters around the porch.

The porch is now the place to hang out. It is quieter than inside the house during the day.
Just ask Morris.

Morning views from the porch are exceptional.  I can see that we will be spending a ton of time on said porch.

Morning View from the Porch

 Our relaxing spot

Yesterday he finished re-stringing the gelding mule pasture in the woods and let them out.  Today he was going to finish re-stringing fence and let the Dexter cattle out on their summer pasture.

I'd offered to do this a few weeks ago but he'd told me that he needed to do it.
I'd reminded him that last year I made electric fence all by myself and moved all of our animals onto our summer pastures too.

He told me no, that he'd do it. He sort of indicated that I wasn't capable. 
Well that kind of steamed me so I decided to sit back and let him do it in his own good time. 
[Which of course is different than my own good time...]

When he returned he backed his pickup as close to the shed as he could get.  The plumbers and the contractor's truck were parked close in as they had supplies in their trucks.

So Mr. I am In a Hurry, came out of the shed and made tried to hustle over to his truck across the gravel. In that section of our 'dooryard' there are large breaker run gravel that still poke up out of the driveway.

And Mr. I am In a Hurry, stepped on one and went down in a heap.
I believe that I am married to the man with the worst ankles on the face of the earth.

He sat a long while.
"You okay?" I asked.
He grunted.
Well I took that to mean 'Not really.'

I waited, he sighed and then finally got up.  In our 20 years of marriage, I think he has been on crutches for a twisted, broken, or sprained ankle at least once every two years.

He gimped over to the truck and limped back with dog food. I offered to help but he got Grumpy. When he is Grumpy Gus, I simply let him be.

I went back to my buckets and my dirt. 

I found a cool old crate in the little red shed and cleaned it up.  While it dried I took out some scraps of lumber and sanded them.
I thought I'd try something I'd looked up on a DIY site. I'd put some numbers on the kids' blocks for Elena and Sterling.

They didn't turn out too badly.  I choose the blocks at random, but after setting them on the spool table together I thought they might fit together like a puzzle.

I still have to put a finish on them, but that was fun. I guess I have to make numbers including 0 and 4 through 9 now.

Meanwhile ol' Grumpy supervised the workers putting up drywall and the plumbers who finished installing the shower/tub.

Of course his ankle was getting more sore by the minute. I suggested he take a load off and ice it.

I shook my head.  Men.

When the guys left at 4:30, ol' Grumpy had me wrap his ankle and he went to lay down.
By the time he got up, he was really gimping and limping.

He sat on the porch where I showed him my blocks and the crate.  Then he spoke up. 

He needed to get back to the Dexter's summer pasture and put those lines back up right now.  

Since he was so bullheaded about his ankle and my abilities... I shrugged and said, "Okay, go ahead."

I didn't offer to move off the porch.  He sat there.

By golly he wasn't going to pull the wool over my eyes. And since he was Mr. Stubborn, I wasn't going to offer him help. When the other men were around, he was Tough Guy.
Now? Not so much it seemed.

I waited. I arranged some flowers inside the old crate and snapped a shot of them.

I intended to take several more shot while I waited.

I knew he needed help. But he was going to be too stubborn to ask for it. 

He looked out at the winter pasture and sighed. "I really need to get out there, maybe I'll take the 4 wheeler."

"Good idea," I replied.

After another long pause in conversation I gave up. 
"Why don't you take me back there and I can help you, then it will be done in a jiffy."

I sort of hated myself for giving him an out. 
Mr. Stubborn looked pleased and got up out of his chair, he limped across the new porch and I reluctantly followed.

Wasn't that mean of me? 
Before we went to bed he thanked me for my help. I shrugged.

Isn't it an interesting way we interact with our spouses sometimes? 

I'm sure ol' Grumpy Gus knew that if he waited me out long enough that I'd help. I'm sure he really knows that I am very capable of the work but likes things done his way.

And so it goes.
I'm going to keep an eye out for those ankle busting rocks.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Morris: On Remodeling

I don't understand this thing called a house remodel. It doesn't make any sense to me at all.
Every day strange guys come and park all over the place with their trucks.
They make noise.

Hammer, slam, bang, bang, hammer, laugh, talk, hammer some more.

The only part of the day I enjoy is when they are all gone and I go hunting around to where they eat lunch at the picnic table and find little scraps of what they dropped.

I am getting most excellent at doing this.  NOW, if she would let me be loose during the day, I could run around to all these guys and give them the Morris Look.  They would hand me treats and stop work.
She says I'd be in their way and since they are using hammers, saws, and other dangerous type stuff...I must not bother them.

I have found the most comfortable place to be is away from the noise and on the new porch in my crate.  

I can warn everyone when another vehicle arrives and I can take little cat naps.

Even my place where I went out to pee and do my other business every day is ... Gone!
I guess I shouldn't feel so bad.  It is even worse for her and Grumpy Gus.
They don't even have a toilet.

Grumpy can go outside like me and pee on a tree, but She has to go to the outhouse.
Sometimes it does pay to be a dog!

Grumpy Gus has disconnected the heater to the house. 

This morning it is downright chilly in the house.  She put on an extra sweatshirt and I was kind enough to crawl into her lap and keep it warm.

That is, until I decided the couch was a better option. I could cuddle with my red blanket and the microwave oven.

Yes, I said the microwave oven.

She has NO kitchen at all right now.  They tore everything out yesterday.

That means She doesn't have to cook. I think She likes that part. 
But maybe not.... last night She sounded like she was already tired of eating pizza and burgers.

She says I will not recognize the house when I can go through the plastic.

I wonder.

So I lay on the living room floor and wonder for a moment. I can't think about things too long, it wears me out.

But if only SHE would remember where She put the dog treats.

I would be much happier you know.

Well, time to wait for the guys with lunch stuff to show up.
I hope they bring ham sandwiches and drop on the ground under the picnic table.