Friday, 26 August 2016

Dear Diary: Summer is flying by. August 26

August 26

My good friend Christoph Schork is in Namibia this week, for the Walvis Bay Endurance Ride, brings back memories...

In 2006 I spent a couple weeks in Africa - going to this ride, which was the African Endurance Championship, and also the Saldana ride in South Africa. It was a fantastic trip including riding through a game reserve and being chased by a white rhino. (fast horses). Christoph's adventures are going to be equally wonderful, and it's been fun for me going back through my stories and photos and 'being there' again. For anybody wanting to read my stories, they're at

http://www.endurance.net/international/2006Saldanha/index.html - The South Africa trip, and
http://www.endurance.net/international/2006WalvisBay/ - The Namibia trip.

I look back at some of the adventures I've had thanks to the horses, and the sport of endurance riding. Hard to believe sometimes!

An excerpt from the South African 'Saldanha Ride' story- The course wound around the bay - a lovely cove with rocky outcrops, sand shallows at low tide, Southern Right Whales spouting and rolling in the water, dolphins, gulls, cormorands, other shore birds that looked just a little different to me. We crossed several flat or rolling sections of flower covered land - big granite outcrops, smooth gray and white stones thrust in every direction, piled on top of each other. and the flowers were incredible. The whole ride takes place in a Nature Conservation area. Preserving the flora - the special coastal plants and wildflowers, the kudu (large african game animal), the tortoises, the whales, - plus a variety of other mammals. Very wild and natural habitat.

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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Sunday, 19 June 2016

Dear Diary. Let it be Spring. June 19

I finally found a quiet moment this morning to write something and noticed the last post was April 8 !!! how did that happen?

I’m not sure I can even count back and figure out where the spring went.. We had some gorgeous weather in March and early April, and then it seemed the wind never stopped blowing. So the garden and ranch/yard work was spotty - I got behind on a lot of stuff there. It’s really hard to get out when it’s cold and windy…

I did a few rides with Smokey (I love this mare!) - our 50 mile Tough Sucker ride here at the ranch on April 9. We bailed at the Eagle ride April 23 - rain all night, cold and raining and windy in the morning and we found a million excuses not to saddle up and ride. So we played cards in the camper while the hearty ones rode in the weather.

We did a 55 mile ride at Owyhee River Challenge - lots of fun. Then geared up to host our epic City of Rocks ride at City of Rocks National Reserve - 200 miles west of here near the historic town of Almo. It’s a gorgeous place - stunning scenery. We do 3 days of 25 and 50 mile trails. It’s as much a big party as anything. All the friends pitch in, we work really really hard, but make sure we reward ourselves with pizza at Rock City, the local pizza/beer/sundries shop, and daily and/or nightly trips to Durfee Hot Springs - clean pools of water for every preference (I like the hot one the best).

It’s a crazy intense fun exhausting time - we got there on Saturday to set up and mark trail, the actual ride was Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and we made it home on Monday. We had 40 riders the first two days, and 60 on the last - and all the crew, family, friends, staff, Wynne's gang cooking meals for everybody. So many people, camping and riding over the same ground that the pioneers rode (or walked, or drove) in the 1840's. Historians state that during the peak of the gold rush and emigration west over 10,000 pioneers traveled through the City of Rocks.

We had 150 miles of trail to mark and unmark, tents to raise and bring back down, everybody’s stuff to sort and unsort, fencing and water for all the horses we bring so we can ride and have fun too … it’s like building a little city. We’re still unpacking stuff a week later… Why do we do this? Hard to say, but so far we’re still gung ho. I rode Smokey for two days - fun sorta-fast rides, she’s a really good horse for this sport, and it is such beautiful riding - this is my reward I guess!

Now I’m home, getting caught up on yard, ranch, garden work. The weather has been pleasant, though we did have another big wind yesterday afternoon. Today is warm and sunny and calm. I’ll ride this morning, then some yard/garden work, play music (I’m playing fiddle again after 35 years! It’s fun). Time to relax and enjoy summer for a while.
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Thursday, 28 April 2016

Dear Diary: Let it be Spring. April 8

April 6

We've had crazy weather - summer and winter are still duking it out. This week it hit 80 degrees. (last week it got up to 55). But for the most part Spring has Sprung.

Lilacs are blooming, dandelions taking over the lawn, cherry blossoms, cottonwoods shedding cotton, the trees along the creeks are green now and the hills are green with spring grass. Still a lot of snow on the mountains - this is good!

The birds are mostly back, though I haven't seen the orioles yet. We have a pair of phoebe's that have been nesting in the corner of our porch by the front door for as long as I can remember. They are used to people and dogs and the door opening and closing, even during the rides and clinics they get on with their business. This year I tore down the old nest (mud and stuff) and closed off the hole into the wall, but tradition held, and they built a new nest on top of the porch light.

I've been watering the pasture and gardens since March - it's been dry and windy this spring and I needed to start the water early. The kildeer love it when I set the sprinkler in the pasture. Their cheerful peep peeps are a sure sign of spring.

Steph


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