5/3/14 Nebraska, Turkey Creek Ranch
Well, Wildflower flat out refused to load so the early start I thought I was just talking about was 11am. The owners patiently and quietly watched me which I really appreciated. I tried bribing her with feed and carrots, sending her in, loading Dreamy first, using a dressage stick, worked her against the rail in the round pen… I even put her in the round pen, loaded Dreamy and started to drive off (she went nuts but still refused). What worked this time? I pulled out a leather halter and ran a chain over her nose. She walked right on. Arghh…
I got to Miracle Ranch after 4. When I was very close my gps sent me the wrong way and I had to make a tight u-turn on the country road at T intersection (couldn’t) and found a t intersection which did work. I barely made it up a steep loose gravel climb. But I arrived well before dark.
While the horses were in the round pen to stretch out their legs, I went over their bodies and picked of scabs and ticks. I think WF has been difficult with working on her feet and loading because all the ticks are driving her crazy. In the trailer, she is tied and can’t chew at herself. I put Fureson on all the sores which are numerous. Then of course all the dirt has stuck to it and they look filthy but are much calmer now.
I met the owners and walked around, its a lovely spot at the top of a rise. We saw a herd of cows with one bull. Brenda told me they had just arrived today. Tommy barked at them and they ran, but they wandered back to watch us. I think they were interested in Tommy’s cow bell. This was suggested back at my last camp as a way to keep track of him on the trail (we lost him for a spell and had to backtrack a bit). I’ve gotten used to the constant jangle and when I don’t hear it I use my whistle and he returns. Its a good system. She has a huge barn, at least 30 stalls and an indoor arena. Most of her horses are “geriatric” as she put it and have older horse issues. She will not put a horse down unless it won’t get up for 24 hours. We talked about that kind of stuff, and she introduced me to most of the horses, 2 minis and the goat. After we went to bed the goat started calling maaaa maaaa, which got Tommy all worked up and kept waking me up. Silly dog.
They had a compressor and I got to finally fill my trailer tires to 110 psi cold. Its been something I have been trying to do for a while now. I’d check them in the morning (cold) and they were 100, by the time I’d get to a truck stop they were warm and 110. The guys always refused to add air. So now I’m good to go.
It was a very short haul to Turkey Creek, and WF loaded immediately (I had the chain on and only had to jerk it once when she planted her feet). On the way I stopped for gas and used the def pump for the first time. It’s half the price (compared to using the stuff I’ve been getting in bottles). And I don’t have to lug around the big jugs! So another good reason only to stop at truck stops.
Turkey Creek is lovely and the owners, Brenda & John are too. They greeted me when I arrived and rearranged the pens so they both have nice sized ones. They want to celebrate my birthday with me, I turn 60 in a couple of days. God that sounds OLD. I am the only camper here. There are some turkey hunters in one of the cabins. Brenda said no one is in the other cabin and to feel free to use the shower or the cabin, and she showed me where the key was. It is adorable inside, 3 beds in the loft and a bedroom, bath, kitchen and living room downstairs. No dogs tho so I probably won’t but it was a nice offer. If it had a tub I would. The sun has come out after the drizzle stopped and its very pleasant weather. Some of the trees have new spring leaves on them and the grass is green. There is a creek nearby, Tommy showed up wet. He has found a friend here, Buddy, who belongs to the owners. He is 15 and part dalmation and part beagle. Very cute. And Tommy is behaving himself with him which is a first I think.
I hobbled the mares and let them graze for an hour, they really love doing this and Wildflower was well behaved. I sat on the swing on the cabin porch and watched them mozey up the hill towards me and Tommy & Buddy romping about. It was time to fantasize about living someplace like this. Brenda came back for Buddy in the evening and we talked a lot, mostly about all her horses. She has grandkids, works as a nurse, the campground, 16 horses (3 babies)… I have no idea how she does all this. I’m going to church with them in the morning, my first time to a Lutheran church, and we are going to ride in the afternoon.
Off Topic: I am being interviews on a internet radio show 5/8/14 at noon. I’ll try to post a link on Facebook if I can figure out how to do it myself, lol. I haven’t had wi-fi since McDonald’s in Texas so I haven’t published anything to the blog in a long time. I’m going to ask Brenda to use her’s at her house to get this on. My cell and 4G is spotty here, I’ve posted to Facebook earlier, but no signal whatsoever tonight. I’m supposed to talk with the radio host tomorrow, but not sure if I will be able to get the call.
It was pretty cold last night and it rained some, the patter on the roof woke me up at one point. And it made me realize that I have been sleeping all the way thru the night recently. This is very new to me. I used to wake up several times, thinking I have to pee or having bad dreams or the slightest noise. Many years ago I used to sleep all thru the night and just assumed it was getting old and becoming a light sleeper. The past few years, I would wake up and think, oh shit, I’m still alive. That has gone away too. I now wake up with the lyrics of a christian rock song in my mind. A different one every day, repeating itself until I notice it and think about it. The music that my daughter introduced me to on a cd she made for me for Christmas a couple of years ago has made such a difference in my life. For one it makes me dance instead of being frozen with fear. Movement is very healing for my old body and broken mind. Like riding.
I ran out of propane last night so I didn’t have hot water until I switched the tank over and was then too tired to shower. So I had my first morning shower today. I hope my hair dries before they pick me up for church, my blow dryer is broken so I tossed it out. I was thinking of even putting on a dress and some makeup. But I don’t have any decent footwear. I do have a pair of black pumps but that seems overkill here.
The mares didn’t drink any water overnight so I need to check on that. Plenty of manure and they are eating their feed and hay tho.
I went thru the Kansas pictures for a painting. Unfortunately I forgot my camera on my first ride. I don’t have any really good shots with the horses in it. I ended up choosing one that shows them in their wind blocked pens. Its a kind of tribute to the nice thick evergreen that shielded them. I’ll work on it today.
Well I didn’t work on the KS painting today.
We went to church (Lutheran, my first time at one, previous knowledge limited to Prairie Home Companion) which was similar to the Presbyterian service but more singing. Nice newish church which had a really cool cross built into the front wall with glass block at the points and intersection. We then went to lunch at a very nice coffee shop, eaterie, wine & beer bar. It was in a college town in SD. I love college towns. We are at a 3 state corner; SD, NE, IA. Brenda and John are super nice people. They have lived in this area their whole lives and have been married 30+ years. Their kids and grandchildren all live nearby too. How awesome is that. And they have 500 acres, 16 horses and a horse camp. Dream life to me.
When they dropped me back at camp I saw that the mares had still not drunk any water and I started to get really worried. I dumped their buckets and filled them with water from my trailer’s horse water which would be a combo of the last few states. Still not thirsty. So I pulled out their tongues and poured salt in. Still not drinking. I thought of canceling our ride date and texted Brenda, but she never got the text and showed up ponying her saddled gorgeous horse from her 4 wheeler utility vehicle. John also came over to drop off the two kinds of hay they have to see if my horses like it. One is an alfalfa mix, no doubt they will like that. Maybe I should use that to get WF on the trailer?? Brenda lent me her phone so I could call Gary Holt, the radio host, since I had no service at all. While I talked to Gary about the details of doing the interview, she went off with her horse to do some obstacles she has.
Gary decided to prerecord the interview since my cell service is so unreliable. Brenda will let me use her land line phone and we will do it Tuesday, it will air Thursday at noon and be about 1/2 hour long.
By then they had drunk a little bit. And, well the teeter totter bridge was too cool to not try with my horses after watching Snowy dancing around on it. Dreamy just walked right over it, barely hesitated. WF would not go past the tipping point. I am horrible at sending her. Or she is not easily sendable. Or a combination of both. Sending would help me load her when she refuses to be led on. Something to work on.
I saddled up WF, ponied Dreamy and Tommy joined us for a gorgeous view ride thru trees, ravines and a prairie. One trail was like a roller coaster. I was really surprised at the great hills. My horses were spunky and it was a good work out for them. They had become flat landers the last few months. The trails have been bulldozed and the footing was good old perfect dirt. I’m glad I had not put boots on, they were not needed just as Brenda had told me. At the top of the climbs the view was stunning, it was a classic rolling landscape. We came back thru a prairie. Brenda talked freely about a lot of things and is very upbeat. She is fun to be around.
When we came into camp, we tried the teeter tooter bridge mounted. I was not successful on WF and eventually quit trying. Brenda kept at it quietly and patiently and eventually got it. Again Dreamy just walked over it, lol. I hobble grazed the mares and she did the same. Snowy had not been hobbled before, it was so funny. Just like kids, horses are so different. WF had baby stepped, bunny hopped, cantered to the top of the big hill. Dreamy carefully baby stepped along. And Snowy never moved. She ate a semi circle around herself. Brenda tried to show her how to move her feet, but she just wouldn’t.
I made a burger, fed everyone and am now physically super tired. It was a great day. Last day in my 50’s.
5/5/14 I am now 60 years old.
Makes me want to think about the very long story of my life. It has been quite a ride. I have lived in so many places, gotten into so many things, someday I need to do a timeline snapshot. I am just now understanding the lessons that were given to me along the way. Wisdom does come with age but I wish I had had it a long time ago. It was just like a random bunch of events then. I missed so much meaning.
Dreamy has not drunk overnight again so I added a big bottle of gatorade to her bucket. I have run out of ideas to make her drink and it is very worrisome. She had colic surgery right after I bought her 10 years ago. We have had no problems since then. She has been grazing on fresh grass for over an hour a day so I hope that this will keep everything moving, so far it is. I can not afford colic surgery any more. And I can not loose her.
I have no cell service still, it does come in occasionally tho. 4G is working, I don’t understand that at all. So I can get texts via WhatsApp and got a birthday message from Billy who is in Spain. He is my oldest child, 23 years old and such a cool young man. I also have gotten a bunch of birthday wishes via Facebook.
Its pretty cold here in the mornings, but the sun is bright and when it hits the campers area it will warm up. I plan on riding today and painting. Yesterday’s ride was short but because they aren’t used to the hills I think they got a little tired. And they didn’t really get their rest-after-haul day. WF was laying down after dinner, so adorable to see her curled up like that. She is such a piece of work as I used to say about my daughter when she was little.
Bedtime on my birthday…
I had a great day. I walked Tommy up on a ridge in the bright morning light. My phone dinged and I had cell service. I checked my voice mail and there was a message from my dad singing Happy Birthday to me. He does this with all of us kids and grandkids every year. Its a tradition and I loved hearing it. I also got a message from Billy with birthday wishes and love. He uses WhatsApp and I get those messages when I have 4G even without cell. I don’t understand how this all works but I asked my other kids to use WhatsApp too so I can stay in better touch with them. I got texts from Tommy too. I got a bunch of FB birthday wishes and later even got a text from my ex husband. But nothing from my mother. She is very confused according to my sister. This saddens me a great deal.
I spent the morning painting the Kansas painting. It turned out pretty good I think. I then saddled Dreamy (who I am also celebrating today, 10 years ago I bought her for my 50th birthday, she was my first horse) and ponied the Wild child. Tommy reluctantly followed. He is still working on getting in shape I guess. We rode out with a plan but it fell apart, I couldn’t follow the map and signage, but it was beautiful. Very diverse, ridges, deep ravines, prairie, in the trees, views. And everything was superb footing, no boots required what so ever. I hobbled for a 1/2 hour break at the prairie and got a lot of good shots of the mares there. Tommy ran around in the chest high grasses gathering ticks I suppose. We found a safe stream access and Dreamy finally took a long drink. Big sigh of relief. We rode around for another hour or so then came back. They were blowing a lot on the hills yet still wanted to run up them which was fine because I had put the chain on WF’s halter. If I just use the rope halter and we run it turns into a head to head galloping race. Which is ok sometimes and other times its turned bad, they might kick at each other or try to push one off the edge of the trail which is sometimes a cliff.
Around 2 I got super sleepy and laid down. I awoke to Brenda’s truck or rather Tommy barking at it. I showed her my states paintings and we planned our birthday dinner. We were going to go Mexican but the place was packed so we went to another place. I had a real nice time and got back here at 10ish. Dreamy still hadn’t drunk anything so I hobble grazed them in the dark with flashlights clipped to their halters. They were very excited to do this. When I put them up for the night they both drank about 1/3 of their buckets (2-3 gallon buckets, not the muck buckets size). I’ve never had this drinking issue before and have only heard about it from other people. I drank the water and it tastes fine to me. There is less manure than usual too, but it looks normal.
It’s 11:15 and I forgot to turn on the hot water again, so no shower tonight. I was leaving it on 24/7 but I would like to conserve the propane tank, I need to exchange one and I’d hate to run out. But that’s more a concern for the refrigerator which I just realized doesn’t matter, I have electricity so it doesn’t need it now. I’ll get this whole routine down pat by the time I am finished with this trip maybe.
My DeLorme InReach gps device arrived! I love it that I am not loosing stuff like I used to, or rather that I am finding lost stuff better than I used to. I also found my electronic cigarette that I lost the first day here today. It was in the shavings in the trailer. I used to loose stuff and just write it off immediately. But replacing stuff on the road is very difficult and expensive which is a bigger concern now than it used to be. So now I try harder to find wayward items. And its so exciting when I do! Thanks to Laruen Iles in Jasper Texas for returning my InReach!!!
Mares resting and I’m doing laundry where they have wi-fi finally!! So posting last 4 stops now, sorry for the delay, that’s life on the road I guess.