Kansas

4/29/14 Lyndon, Kansas. Blackhawk Horse Camp; State # 18
Today is Tommy’s birthday, he is now 21 altho its hard to believe its been that long since I had my 10 lb baby in Evanston, IL. I still haven’t found a place to mail his birthday card so I texted him. I’m embarrassed about that but at least he knows I am thinking about him today. I think about him every day actually.

I hauled to Blackhawk Horse Camp in Lyndon, KS yesterday. My back didn’t do too good on this haul for some reason. Last night was bad so I took some Alleve and put tiger balm on it and went to sleep, its better this morning. The drive was supposed to be 4 hours but it took me over 5. It was very windy and I drove pretty slow. I tried not to get tense but my back tells me I failed. I really don’t like to go fast with the wind but I’m not sure if that really makes any difference as far as control and safety goes. Most of the traffic kept up the speed limit of 75 on the interstate which was most of the trip. I was around 55. I got here at 4 which is what I had told the campground anyway. The owner greeted me and said she had been worried because she had heard a horse trailer had a wreck in Kansas. I hope they are alright. My mares are fine. The last part of the drive was on a gravel road and I think the vibration in the trailer actually feels good to their legs. It wasn’t so good on my full bladder tho.

This is a small campground and I am the only one here, but it is midweek and that is usually the case during the work week. It is windy, 45 degrees and rain for today, but I have electric hook up and the trailer is warm. At 10 the vet comes here to do my horses’ health certificates which have to be done every 30 days. The owner is splitting the house call because she has a litter of puppies the vet will see as well. I love puppies. But Tommy’s puppy behavior drives me crazy at times so don’t worry, I won’t be taking one.

Yesterday after I got settled in a Facebook friend who helped me with forecast info during the storm, came here to meet me and bring me some of her own hay. I can’t believe she drove over an hour to do that. It was so flattering and we talked for a couple of hours and then she drove back. Tommy drove me crazy chewing on my boots (on my feet) while I tried to have a conversation. Its hard to think straight when he acts like this, its like having a toddler around that can’t stand not being the center of attention. Ethel (not her real name) is a caretaker on someone’s farm. In exchange for caring for the animals and property she gets 2 bedrooms and a kitchen in the house, the owner is a truck driver and often away. It sounds like a good thing, and I could do something like that I guess if I need to…its just not exactly what I had in mind for me, but I need to keep an open mind to possibilities. She doesn’t have children and I do. I really want to have my own home for them to come to if they want to see me.

On the “home” front I have a few problems going on. My dad is now back home after a blood transfusion was necessary. Seems his ablation of the liver spot took a lot out of him and the plan to do another one has been cancelled. He says he feels better now and has confidence in his doctors which makes me feel good. His caretaker has been good about keeping me informed too. My mom has been troubled lately by back pain and confusion according to my sister who is nearby and trying to care for her. She is going to move to an assisted living place to get more attention which is good but we are worried about the cost. My daughter is coming home (her home, back in CA) for the summer and doesn’t want to live with my ex in his apartment, so I am trying to find an alternative place at a friend’s house. My middle son has left college, which is sad but probably the best thing for him right now. He is living with his dad in his new apartment, and is planning on working at his company. I pray this works out for them both. My oldest seems to have his plans under control thank God. He is still in college in Spain but may returning to the USA this summer for an IT bootcamp. I really would like for him to finish college but so much of my kids’ lives is out of my control now.

It is hard to let go. I have to work on myself right now, I need to remember that. I can’t help anyone until I am stronger. I’m getting there but when faced with really serious stuff I realize I am not there yet. I say to myself “let go and let God”, but I am still riddled with guilt that I am not being responsible. I wish I had the strength that I used to have. I hope I will again someday. Last night I felt just awful. I was tired and my back hurt. I had no patience for the dog, the wind, myself. I began questioning what the heck I was doing this journey for. It is a stupid idea and so hard on me and my animals and my kids. I feel a bit more optimistic this morning about it all, but I still question everything. Will it work for me? How will this journey heal me, will it? But I started it and I am going to finish it. Its the only option right now that makes any sense to me. It has to work. So I have to SHLEP on. Find my soul, home and liberation with my equines and praising God for everything he has given me. My breath, my beating heart, my health, my children, my animals, my vastly confusing intricate life…

While walking Tommy for a much needed romp, I couldn’t help but notice that the footing (whether on the mud pack, rocky or wet slippery path or the rough, where grass held the ground in place), my choice of boots (paddock boots with little grippiness and not waterproof) and my focus (down to where I was placing my feet or up at the trees, lake or Tommy) equated to life, my life. Coming back the mud was sticking to the heels of my boots, and it was like wearing high heels. I couldn’t get it off on rocks, or gravel or walking in the grass. And I didn’t want to dunk my feet in the lake cuz it is so cold. All methods helped but it was always uneven under my foot. When I got back to the camp I used a toilet brush and hose. I’m not sure what this all means but I get parts of it.

I can see the corrals from the kitchen window. WF is eating the old and the new hay. Dreamy is staring at the trailer as if to say, let me out of here so I can get at the grass. She is resting her left front regularly. It makes me feel terrible.

Tommy definately has ticks even tho he got sprayed with the tick spray a week or so ago. Its so cold here I hope they all die but I don’t know if that happens once they have hosted. Why do ticks bother me so much? All bugs bother me. I heard if you dream about bugs it means something is bugging you. Is it because ticks are parasites that I am so annoyed? Didn’t we all live with parasites before modern chemicals and medicines? They don’t actually kill you, right? Well some carry Lyme disease I guess that can kill you. But that’s not the part that bugs me the most. Being in the woods all the time I don’t think ticks are controllable.

When in Oklahoma I couldn’t find my DeLorme in Reach (a gps trail device). I got an email from DiLorme that someone had found it. I called her. She is a youngish girl who works at the fish hatchery, (whatever that is, they work on hatching fish?), in Jasper Texas. She found it on the lake beach when on a walk on her day off. Now I need to figure out how to get it back. How long should I figure the mail will take? And what camp in the future will have a mailable address to use? And she works during the post office hours but can maybe get a roommate to run the errand for her “this week”. So is that by Friday? Its Tuesday now. I hate this kind of stuff but at least she reported it, it was a big expense for me to buy that thing. Even tho it hasn’t really helped me much. Its more a security blanket that I can call search and rescue if I needed to. The map navigation is not helpful to me at all.

I am waiting on the vet. I am getting too introspective I know. I should paint today in the trailer WITH THE HEAT ON. I just re-read the daily inspirational in Jesus Calling. The last sentence is “My Word is a lamp to your feet and a light for your path”. Is that why I was thinking about the path and mud and focus in my life on my walk this morning?

Dr Smith did my vet papers for $10. As much as I like my vet in CA, I like Dr Smith’s rates better! He was so nice too. I asked him about ticks too. Turns out they NEVER die. Even in this weather. He suggested 2 products but I didn’t write them down and now I’ve forgotten them. I am such an airhead. I sprayed Tommy with the product I have and set off the co2 alarm again, so what. I sprayed my bed and the kitchen seats. I have a cup of alcohol to put the ones I pull off us into just in case they survived my fingernails, which I doubt, I am vicious about it.

I spent the day painting and did 2 that I am fairly happy with. All of these are really just studies that I hope to do in my normal huge format eventually, 4’x4’ most likely since Idaho is that size already. I have 17 paintings done so far. That’s kind of cool. I’ve never done such an extensive series before. I can’t wait to see all 48 all together.

And I spent way too much time on Facebook. Put me in a box and I can’t stop looking at FB. Its addictive. I took a several breaks to see why Dreamy just stands there staring at my in my trailer. At the coldest windiest time I discovered her shivering horribly, it scared me. I rearranged the trailer quickly and loaded her with alfalfa cubes, but she didn’t want to stay in there. I tried chasing her in the round pen to warm her up but she got belligerent which is not like her. So I let her eat grass and she inhaled it. I walked her around to the longest grass I could find. It is abundant here. After about 20 minutes she stopped shivering. Jack Challis is soooo right on this one! Horses heat them selves from the inside out. I moved their pens to ones that had less wind, behind some thick evergreen trees and put so much hay in there they must think I am crazy here. I keep going out and adding more. I’ll probably do it again in the middle of the night. Poor babies, this cold is too quick a transition for them, they haven’t had time to grow a thick coat, they just shed it in FL when it started getting hot. The low tonight is going to be 39, ditto tomorrow night. We were in 90 degrees just a few days ago. I am worried about heading north even further next weekend. I need to check the weather, if they have a shelter and if not maybe I should buy some blankets? I surely need more hay than I have planned on if it is cold. And they don’t like the last batch of hay, luckily there is only 1 bale left. They love the two kinds I got here. But maybe I’m freaking about nothing. I think this weather is just the backside of what is in Mississippi now, they are getting hammered by the storm that passed thru OK when I was there. I still haven’t heard back from the farrier and his wife in Arkansas. God I hope they are all ok.

I did heard back from Rose and letting Rachel stay with them for the summer. I love you so much Rose. I had been so worried about this situation and felt powerless about getting it “fixed” like I always felt I should be able to do, but in reality could never really do. Thank you God for helping us out on this one.

The owners here offered to go for a ride with me tomorrow which is great! They can’t go the next day because they are taking their granddaughter down to Kansas City for removal of a cast that is trying to help her leg I think. She was premature and has cerebal palsy. He said when she was born she fit in his hand. Her and her mom live in the house and the owners moved into a trailer here. Whenever I idealize people I am shook to the core by their real lives. And it makes me feel like such a cry baby. I am a cry baby. I have such a low tolerance for pain, cold, heat, humidity, conflict, stress, snafus. I didn’t used to be like this, but I am now and I want it to go away!!

On my way into the shower a song came on the radio that I have been moved by before. I don’t know the name of it. Its about how he remembers where he was when he fell in love on her first date, then again when his son is born he remembers where he was when he fell in love with her and then again he remembers when she dies. It is about a life long love, of cherishing her. And I started sobbing. Wow, its strange how the rain can depress me so much. Its ok, I needed to cry, its been a long time.

5/2/14
It has been a nice stay here in Kansas. The owners have been very friendly. The husband rode with me my first ride day and told me about the area and pointed out an owl’s nest and and eagles’ nest, names of trees (the red bud trees are so pretty) and plants and we talked about our lives and marriage, divorce, children, and the anti-government fanatic stories he knew of in Idaho. He told me about Purina compressed hay bricks (I checked it out later but it is way too expensive). I was ponying Dreamy who pulled back a couple of times and he showed me a better way to pony on the trail. I put the rope under my thigh then do one turn on the horn. I use a very heavy cotton rope and its pretty long. It had gotten wet and heavy when she pulled back at a stream. This worked quite well and safely. It is hard to hold the rope up and out on single track trails for a few hours. When I pony off Dreamy I won’t have a horn to use so I need to figure out how under the leg can help me with that. WF gets into mischief when she is ponied behind on a single track. The rope got under Dreamy’s tail recently which was ok cuz Dreamy is so good, but I had to get off to correct it.

Later that day they took me to their bible study class. This is an honest to God rural church, which I had never been to before. I assume mostly farmers and ranchers, about 20 all together. People are people. He talked about Revelation. And we talked a little afterwards about being raised Catholic (he was too) and how I had been recently baptized. It was a very positive experience. Back at camp they made a fire and we had hot dogs and marshmallows. I tried to make chicken on a marshmallow stake thing, but it looked too much like the skunk inards we had seen on the trail earlier, so I gave it to Tommy who loved it. That is if he even tasted it, I think he swallowed it whole. We talked about the bible and I felt comfortable enough to ask some elementary questions. Like babies and purgatory, Jewish history and what they study, the difference between the old and the new testament, who follows which, tithing, talking in tongues (I was relieved to hear the truth on the history and true meaning of this one, since I never could accept this). I liked what they had to say. How cool to be married to someone that you read and discuss the bible with. And I used to think that was weird. I have changed so much.

The next day I prepped for leaving today, turned out the horses in the round pen and hand grazed, got groceries, cash, hay, paid the camp then rode in the afternoon when it was a little warmer. I rode Dreamy to 110 mile park on the blue trail. It was really beautiful, tall grass, trees, single track, few rocks and she was awesome. The footing was good enough to run much of the time, but there were a lot of curves and she had no trouble at all with them. I had been told it was a 3-1/2 hour ride but we were back in 1-1/2 hours so either we were flying or I didn’t actually make it to the end of the turn around point. Any way, it was plenty of exercise for us both. I was again thrilled at how well she is and how well she makes me feel. I had been dragging my ass around all day since I hadn’t gotten enough sleep and it was not sunny still, but felt great afterwards. I know if I feel like that a ride will fix it, I just sometimes don’t have the energy to saddle up and do it for some reason. Once I do it always works for me.

Wildflower called for her the whole time we were gone I was told. Typical. I had supper with the owners and their daughter, her husband and little Emma whom I had met earlier before they left for Kansas City in the morning. They were going down to have her cast changed on her right leg. Its part of her physical therapy trying to stretch the muscles that are tense from the cerebral palsy. She is a very sweet little girl. She had been in the hospital for over a year when she was born at 25 weeks. That must of been so hard on everyone. Poor mom, how can you bond with a baby like that? They said she was never alone, they all took turns being there. Amazing loving family.

Off Topic: I am coming to accept ticks as part of my new life and not to get creeped out by them. But I did buy a bottle of alchohol and am using it in the trailer as my “ticks” jar. Tommy won’t sit still long enough to let me get them off him. I need another set of hands.

Well its 7:45, we have all eaten and I am hitched up and I am pretty much ready to go. Just need to get dressed and load the horses. I don’t usually pull out till 9 or 10 but if I am ready to I’ll leave earlier today. I have an overnight in Nebraska then move on to the north east corner at Turkey Creek Horsecamp where I will spend my 60th birthday. 2 day hauls are tiring and time consuming but my back is better off that way than a longer one day haul so I’ll keep with the rule I have of no more than 300 miles a day.

Facebook friend visits me and brings me sunflower hay

Facebook friend visits me and brings me sunflower hay

Thick tree now protects shivering horses from the winds

Thick tree now protects shivering horses from the winds

trails

trails

sunset over the lake

sunset over the lake

amazing skies here

amazing skies here

Dreamy on the trail

Dreamy on the trail

abandoned house in the middle of no where

abandoned house in the middle of no where

great trails for a run

great trails for a run

IMG_6752

riding down by the water

riding down by the water

red bud trees

red bud trees

woods along the lake

woods along the lake

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