Saturday, October 31, 2009

This 'n That

Today I learned several things:

1. You cannot stretch chain link fence by yourself.

2. A new wood stove is not necessarily a good thing.

3. I love my Stihl chain saw!

4. If you don't gather the eggs soon enough they will freeze.

5. No matter how much you save it is better to get your tickets from the airline and not Orbitz!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Monday, October 26, 2009

Doing Chores the Easy Way

I have been wanting to clear the dead trees and stumps from the horse's winter pen. Finally the stars aligned (the equipment was home as well as my sweety) and the work was begun! First the trees were felled. One needed to be roped off with the MTL but since I was manning the rope I didn't get a picture.

Then the stumps were pulled from the ground. This tree had been dead for several years and was pretty rotten. Also trees in Alaska do not have a deep root system. It's more like a pancake. So the stump came out easily.

Then the stump was picked up and piled on the other stumps ready to be hauled off. I made a bonfire with the tree tops and all the little pieces that were in the pen. The logs will be cut to add to the 11 cords I already have stacked up.

Next step is to stretch chain link fencing on the spruce posts and put wire on the fence panels to create the sheep pens. Off to do that now!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Two Rides and an Update

Two Sundays ago I got my friend Renee to ride with me. The weather here has been so awesome that it seems a shame to waste it. We rode for 3 hours and by the time we were back to the barn Renee was d-o-n-e. She hasn't been riding in several years though so I guess that's a decent excuse. She rode the Mare who was good as usual. Renee is really height challenged so I had to rack the stirrups up almost as high as they would go. It still wasn't comfortable for her so she mostly rode with her right foot out of the stirrup. All through the ride she was telling me that the saddle was sorta leaning to one side but that it wasn't uncomfortable. Finally about a quarter mile from the barn I really LOOKED at the saddle. Oh my goodness. Poor Mare. The saddle was slipped to the left alot. So I stepped off Voosh and tightened the cinch. Would you believe I pulled almost 6 inches of latigo? Arrrrghhhhh. Mare is such an awesome horse she never complained, never stopped, just kept on plodding along.

I had some trouble with Voosh on the water crossings. There was ice on the surface but the leaves were moving under it. Once she stepped on the ice and broke through she was okay.

On Friday I rode with Christy (Polka), Lyssa (Handy) and Paige (MJ). Yes, we are bundled up because the temperature was about 45 degrees but the wind was blowing. Once we dropped down Dead Horse Hill into the river bottoms we were out of the wind but it was still cold. we rode for about 3 and a half hours. The last mile home was on the road but at least the wind was at our backs.

The beavers have been busy in the week since Wild Horse Annie decided to pull the dam apart. This was taken while we were standing in the river looking upstream. The girls followed me around the beaver dam headed toward the far bank. Because of the beaver damage we have to cross the river, head upstream about a hundred yards then cross back over to continue on the trail. While Lyssa and I were crossing a salmon swam out from the beaver dam, between Voosh's legs then turned and headed back. Good horse didn't even notice it.

Lyssa in the lead and Paige behind crossing back to continue on the trail.

Not much else happened on the ride. The horses each had an "issue" with something along the trail. Voosh decided that she was going to rush the ditches and water crossings. Unfortunately I let her get away with too many and now she needs to be schooled.

We did see wildlife: one salmon, one bald eagle and two moose. That's pretty good for this time of year. I told Christy that all we needed now was a bear. She said that she'd pass on that one. On the trail back we did find an interesting pile of scat. I thought possibly it could be bear but Christy said young moose. Maybe next time......

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009

Wild Horse Annie is Mad at the Beavers!

Wild Horse Annie is my neighbor who lives across the hay field that you see in the picture of the termination dust and the moon over the mountains. Her family owns several hundred acres including the river bottom where the beavers live. Our main trail crosses the beaver pond and can be quite deep at times. On the few days during the summer when it's warm enough the beaver pond is a swimming hole for horses and kids.

The beavers hadn't gone too crazy with tree cutting and building until this year. Now it seems as though they are building a home to go with their dam. They are cutting numerous trees and creating some major destruction. Last week when we rode they even had a tree leaning against the power/telephone lines.

This is a cottonwood tree that they cut about two weeks ago. Now the stump is the only thing remaining. The beavers have stripped the log of bark, cut it into manageable lengths and put it in the beaver pond.

This is the dam they have built. Two days before this picture Annie's husband had taken a large excavator to the pond and ripped out most of the dam. The beavers rebuilt it even better! You can see on the down river side of the dam they have put logs straight out from the dam. We used to have a place to drop into the river just to the left of the dam and we could ride about 10 feet from the dam. Now there's too many places to catch a foot in the logs.

Annie is usually tolerant of the critters but now the beavers are taking down her favorite trees on the side of the river. It's also becoming a hazard if the river floods again as there will be no trees to prevent the river from making a new path. I think she's going to have a cousin come trap the beavers.

Our weather is fantastic: blue skies, upper 50s for temps, no snow! We are planning to ride this weekend and as many days next week as we can.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Monday, October 12, 2009


I finally got all the components (memory card, transfer thing and daughter) all in the same place to get pictures downloaded from my phone!!! I won't slam you all at once with pictures but here's a couple.

The grey paint is my mare Vooshka. My friend Stefanie rode her up and down the powerline hill for me. This is the hill our friend Nancy was coming down when she came off her young horse and was injured pretty badly earlier this year. It's a great training hill and I have ridden Voosh up it several times myself.

The weather is incredible for October. The highs have been in the 60s and the termination dust is almost gone from our mountains. We all know that the snow is coming. We are just taking advantage of this weather and riding alot.

Sunday I rode with my friend Christy. We rode for about 4 hours. Both horses did great. We rode a trail that hasn't been ridden for at least a year. I was told that there were some impassable creek crossings but I figured we could always turn back. The only place we had trouble was where a tree had come down at a real tight ditch crossing. The horses had to drop down into this ditch, bend around between a brush pile and the tree, then clamber up a steep 3-4 foot bench. Voosh was great! She put each foot where I wanted it, bent and moved off my leg around the brush pile and waited until I told her to go up the bank. She gathered herself and took the bank in two big steps. Then she hesitated at the top and walked on. What a great feeling that my horse is actually listening to me!

This picture of my friend Christy was taken earlier this summer. The jumble of sticks behind her is the beaver dam. More on them later.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Global Warming?

"They" say there are really 4 seasons in Alaska: break-up, construction, winter and getting ready for winter. This year I think we are enjoying a real Fall. The temps are unseasonably warm at 55 degrees. The termination dust I posted the other day has been washed away by several days of rain.

I read several blogs from all over. I was surprised that Horsetrailriders in Nebraska has more snow than we do here! What's up with that? The bloggers in Canada have snow and frozen pipes but that is within reason. Crazy weather!

I am going to take advantage of it though and load my horse up for a ride this afternoon.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009