The weather has cooled, we’ve had a bit of rain, though not enough to make things wet. I enjoy wearing sweatshirts and snuggling in blankets while reading books and watching television.
With the cooler weather and more time to go horseback riding, I’ve been riding my horse more.
Since we’ve been riding on the hill, I purchased a breast collar to keep my saddle from sliding back on my barrel shaped horse. LOL I like that Jan, my gelding, doesn’t get fat, but that also means he doesn’t have a belly to keep the cinch from sliding backwards when we go up a hill.
On two of the rides, I had to stop after going up hill, get off, release the cinch, pull everything forward, and tighten the cinch back up.
On another ride, I tried the breast collar but it set too low across his chest and shoulder, buckling it to the latigo rings. My saddle is now with a friend to does leather work getting two D rings put up higher on the saddle skirt.
When I get the saddle back, I can get back to riding with my granddaughter.
It is also the time of year when we trek up to the Steens Mountain to see the aspen trees change colors. I would love to do it by horseback, but that’s not happening this year. My daughter is still struggling with finding the best horses for her and her kids. But, I’m looking forward to taking photos of Fall aspens to put on the blog.
I find the best feature on my cell phone is the camera. I usually have the phone with me every time I step outside or go on trips.
That means I always have a camera. I enjoy taking photographs of nature. A billowy cloud can have so many colors and textures in it that I want a photo. The blue of the sky can capture my attention. The way the grass is leaning in the wind. Dust swirling or hiding the hill across the valley. A lizard, snake, horse, cat, bird.
I can find many things to photograph. Buildings, rocks, hills, fence posts. If I see something unique, I want to capture it.
When I go places to research settings for my books, I take a ton of pictures hoping one will work for a cover of the book. When I am researching, I also take along the camera featured at the beginning of the post. Using the photo I pick, my cover designer then places the added elements the story needs.
I used a photo I took while in Kauai, Hawaii for the cover of Abstract Casualty. We, my cover designer and I, are currently working on the cover for Capricious Demise. I’ve scanned through all my photos and have found a couple that might work and have given her some ideas of some that can be purchased.
On the Gabriel Hawke novel covers, we add the animal that is in the title of the book. And maybe take liberty of adding a trail sign that wasn’t in the photo but adds to the “story” the cover tells. This was Murder of Ravens. The cover for Mouse Trail Ends the cover designer took a photo of mouse prints in the dirt and added a backpack and mouse. Rattlesnake Brother is produced from two photos I purchased. The steps of a courthouse and a rattlesnake. My jet boat trip on the Snake River doing research for Chattering Blue Jay gave me many photos to choose from. Once I decided which one, my cover designer add a blue jay to the photo in a realistic way. And Fox Goes Hunting, the cover photo is a photo I took while in Iceland. It is of the Krysuvik boiling pools. I purchased a photo of an Arctic Fox that my cover designer inserted in the photo.
Sometimes finding the right cover art can be as much work as writing the book. Don’t be me started on coming up with a good title!
Since moving to SE Oregon, hubby and I tend to do more Sunday drives than before. Usually our Sunday drives are because it’s a holiday and we want to get away.
Mother’s Day happened to fall two days before our anniversary this year. Hubby asked me what I wanted to do for our anniversary. I said I wanted to travel a road I hadn’t been on before.
So Mother’s Day on Sunday, we packed up a picnic lunch, water for the dogs, loaded the dogs in the pickup and headed south.
Hubby had discovered a road that runs through BLM (Bureau of Land Management) which is public land from the end of the road that passes our property all the way through some hills and tail end of Steens Mountain to the road to Fields, Oregon.
We traveled that 25 miles in three and a half hours. The road was rough in places, but dry. Except where a creek crossed the road in one spot.
The first stop was to check out a canyon and bushes that were growing along it. There were cattle and Mikey decided to roll in a cow pie. We had to use up some of the wipes we had with us to clean him up in order to stand him being in the pickup.
The road continued up at a gradual climb. The juniper trees became thicker and thicker and a small creek ran alongside the road. We stopped at two springs just feet from the road to look. Hubby is fascinated by springs and wants to try and get one started on our hill where there seems to be more moisture in the ground.
Winding through the thick trees I noticed many of the trees, bigger junipers than I’ve seen before, were growing right out of what appeared to be solid rock. The hills on both sides of the road were solid rock and rock slides. Any vegetation had to find water in the cracks and crevices to survive.
Emerging from the trees there was a fair-sized meadow which we skirted and found green grass and a creek. Backtracking we went the other direction and came out along what had once been a huge lake. It was now dry with patches of grass and weeds growing in it. You could see that when the snow melted around the rim the water settled in the basin. The dirt was cracked. I couldn’t believe how large it was and that it was so high in elevation. Was it a volcanic crater at one time? How did it become a lake here, at the top of the hills?
From the lake we headed to the top of a road that traveled down, down, down. Before heading down, we stopped and had our picnic lunch. The sun was warm, the bees were enjoying the lupines, and the dogs lay in shade of the pickup.
Starting down, the sides of the road and up and down the hill were covered in wildflowers. Various yellows and first white, then yellow, and finally purple lupine. Hubby said he could smell them. I think my nose was stuffed up from the junipers…
At the bottom we came out on the Fields road and headed to Hwy 78 and home.
Hubby laughed at me because several times as we drove toward home I said, “Best day ever!” Which it was a great day. But I remember saying the same thing when he took me up on the Steens Mountain to see the wildflowers one spring and then I believe I said it when we traveled up on the Steens for the fall colors, and when we saw some wild horses on one of our drives.
Yes, I have Best Day Ever, quite often! Do you like Sunday drives?
I’ve been home a week from a whirlwind trip to Maui. This trip hadn’t been planned when hubby and I went to Kauai in October. Nope! I returned from Kauai and my daughter said, “Want to go to Maui in March?” Her family needed to use up air miles they were going to lose.
So I booked a flight with them and saw two islands in Hawaii in 6 months!
First my daughter, her 6 kids, and I took two days to get to Oakland, CA where her husband is stationed in the Coast Guard. We drove nearly all the way across Oregon and visited the Redwoods in Northern California before ending up in Oakland.
We spent the night there and headed out on the plane early the next morning. The good news…the plane was only half full so we had plenty of room. The virus going around has stopped a lot of people from traveling. This will be my last trip for a while. I hope everything is settled down by August when I go to a conference in North Carolina.
We arrived in Maui around noon, but by the time we picked up 2 rental cars (we wouldn’t all fit in any vehicle they had), went to Costco and Safeway for groceries for the week, it was evening. My son-in-law had taken half of the kids with him. They were all down at the beach when we arrived at the rented condo.
We had only 4 days from arriving on Sunday and leaving on Friday to see things. All the kids wanted to do was play at the beach, but the adults wanted to see the island. So most mornings, we’d drive to see something, then spend the afternoon or evening at the beach.
What my daughter and I decided, we needed two more days and have a day in the middle where we do nothing but sit and relax. If there’s a next time we’ll know. She could care less if she goes back again. It was her second time to Hawaii. She returned home sick from that time too. She and three of the kids were sick by the time we arrived back in Oregon. But it wasn’t the virus going around. They were headachy and vomiting.
I had a good time but would have liked to have seen parts of the island I didn’t. Kind of like my trip to Iceland last year. I would love to go back and see the north and eastern parts of the island.
Have you been to Hawaii? Did you like it? I have to say, Maui felt less congested than Kauai did. I don’t know if it was because less people are traveling or because it is a more open island, with more than one road to get places.
After having a week of really nice weather we are back down in the 30s and low 40s during the day. But we’ve had beautiful sunny days with a bit of wind.
The sunshine tugs at me even though it is cold outside. I’ve been taking walks on the hills wishing for spring flowers to poke their leaves, stems and buds out of the frozen ground.
What I’ve also been doing is riding my new horse, Jan (yaan). He is 21 years old and with just enough get up and go that I can go if I want to but we are both happy to just plod along. LOL
My daughter and two grandkids have come over a couple of times and written with me. But Jan also doesn’t mind riding off just the two of us. That was what I was looking for. A horse I was comfortable on and who didn’t throw a fit when he was ridden by himself.
I grew up on a farm and in the summer, riding was an everyday occurrence. I’d do my chores in the morning, catch my horse and ride the ridge/mountain behind our property. Some days, my younger brother and I would make a lunch and take off, riding for most of the day, coming home in time to do our afternoon chores and for me to cook dinner.
That was back when there weren’t any cell phones. Our parents were off at work and my grandparents would see us saddle up and leave. No one ever thought about anything happening. And if it did, we knew how to deal with it.
I stabbed myself three times over my childhood, making furniture and houses for my Barbie dolls out of cardboard boxes. My parents were at work, and I didn’t want to bother my grandmother. I’d go to the house, ( I was usually out in the orchard) put on a band-aid, wrap some gauze around it, and hope a band-aid would be enough when my parents arrived home.
I’m looking forward to warmer weather and being able to ride every day and not at the whim of the cold wind. Today the wind is blowing harder and while there is beautiful sunshine, the wind chill is 7.
What is something you are looking forward to doing as the weather warms?
The horse my husband bought for me last year wasn’t working out. He’s a sweetheart, but he has some issues that won’t work for how I like to ride.
Ever since my daughter, the horse girl, moved down the road we’ve been looking for horses. One for me, one for her, and several for her kids.
Two weeks ago we took a day trip and tried out 7 or 8 horses and ended up putting money down on one for her 13 year-old son with plans to pick it up this past weekend.
While we were trying out horses, one person didn’t have quite what we were looking for but she told us about some horses her aunt and uncle were selling and thought they might work.
This past Sunday, my daughter swung by my place at 5:30 am, we drove the 3 hours to the woman’s aunt and uncle’s place and we rode 3 horses. Well, I only rode two. While I had set my mind on the mare, Patty, before I arrived, it was the gelding, John, who I renamed Jan (Yaan), that I fell for. Jan was sturdy, stood when I got on, because these days I don’t float up into the saddle like I did ten or more years ago. He had a nice calm demeanor, walked slow, but would pick it up with a click and a slight tap to his sides. He was everything I’ve been looking for in a horse. And the last time he’d been rode was July 4th. He acted as if he’d been ridden every day since. I loved that about him.
Patty has a bit more spunk. Walks out faster, but paid attention and my granddaughter liked her. I didn’t like that she doesn’t stand when you get on. Which would mean I’d need someone to hold her while I get on, but I liked everything else about her.
Which led me to purchasing both Patty and Jan. Jan for me and Patty for grandkids and visitors to ride.
After that, we headed down the road to the place where my daughter and put money on the horse my grandson had liked. My daughter is trying to find a horse for her. One with more spunk than I or the grandkids want. While there the grandkids wrote about five different horses and my daughter rode several. My granddaughter feel in love with a palomino gelding and my daughter purchased that for her along with the mare she’d secured the two weeks before for her son.
We came home with 4 horses and a lion head rabbit. The people where I bought my horses offered the kids the rabbit and the grandson jumped at the offer.
I’m excited for some of the snow to melt so conditions aren’t so slippery and I can get to riding.
Do you have horses? Or have you ever had horses? My husband doesn’t care for them but because I love them he indulges me. 😉
I have a penchant for color. I like vibrant colors. Bold purples, pinks, orange, yellow, blues, and reds make me smile. Whether they are on clothing, flowers, dishes, blankets, paintings. I love color!
I know there is a place for black, brown, gray, and tan. They make great backdrops for splashes of color. Somber tones are needed to evoke certain moods.
When there are dark gray or black clouds in the sky, they inevitably spark flashes of lightning to brighten the darkness and illicit tingles of excitement, and in some, fear.
I love flowers, but, alas, I do not have a green thumb. It is a feat when I can keep a plant alive long enough for it to produce flowers. This summer I had several that exceeded my expectations, coloring my summer with joy.
When I told a friend about how I have trouble keeping plants alive he gave me a cactus. It bloomed this spring. The color was gorgeous and I hope it will grace me with blooms again next year.
I planted sunflowers in the same bathtub as I’d planted a peony from my dad’s yard. the peony had only a couple of blooms this year. I hope it will be full next year, but the sunflowers bloomed brightening the last of summer with they yellow cheer.
I try to add color to my writing without dragging the description on and on. I’ve received several reviews that comment on how I give just enough description without overdoing it. That is something that makes my heart sing as much as vibrant colors!
Two weeks before Christmas my hubby told me my Christmas present would be a new horse. I’d sold Bud, the gelding I’d had since he was born because he wasn’t fun to ride. I know most of the problem was me, but I wanted a horse I could get on and ride, not spend the little time I had to ride, making him pay attention and do what I asked.
A wise long time cowgirl told me to get rid of Bud and find one I could go out and ride without a hassle. I took her advice and sold Bud. And the funny thing, you’d think having a horse for 18 years I would have been sad, but I was so frustrated about not being able to ride when I wanted to that it was almost a relief.
After hubby told me to start looking for a horse, I began searching the paper and Craigslist in our area and a little beyond. Of course, the horses I would have liked were out of the price range hubby was willing to go. I love paints and appaloosas.
I did go ride two paints that were at the top of his price range. The first one I’m pretty sure the people had either drugged it or had worked the tar out of it before I got on. There were four horses, two that the man and his son had rode and the two they’d brought down for me to try. (They had ridden down a hill to meet me saying my car wouldn’t make it up to where they lived)
The paint I was interested in was soaking wet with sweat. The other one they had for sale was half wet and the ones they were riding were barely sweating. The paint’s head was down, his eyes half closed and his ears weren’t perked up. They put my saddle on him and I rode for about twenty minutes up in the hill with the son. The horse stumbled a little and tried walking under trees.
The other horse I wasn’t even interested in when I saw the high withers. We already have Jammer who has high withers and is hard to blanket up to keep the saddle from rubbing her withers.
I told the man I’d talk it over with hubby, but I’d made up my mind I wasn’t interested by the time I arrived at my destination.
Then Hubby and I went to Walla Walla to try out another paint. He was cute and the right height. But he had really round withers and the saddle wouldn’t stay tight. He also liked to whirl around backwards when he was scared. Not good for this person who has inner ear crystal problems.
Then my daughter sent me a link on Craigslist to a gelding only 2 hours from where we live. He’s not a paint but he looked sweet and my size.
Hubby and I went there last Friday and I am now the proud owner of Blaze. He is an 11 year-old gelding that is the perfect height, he is friendly, and when we get some decent weather, I’ll see how well he does riding out on his own. I’ve been going down every day, brushing and messing with him with the saddle, bridle and leading him around. The weather is a mess to try and ride with snow and ice everywhere.
I’ll keep you updated on how Blaze and I get along. I’m looking forward to going on trail rides with my daughter and grandchildren.
This week I’ve been at the Oregon Coast at a week long writing retreat. I love the beach. The waves curling, foaming, and racing up onto the beach. The roar of the churning water and the shrill cries of the seagulls.
I gain energy from the water, the sand, and this week the sunshine.
When I’m at the beach writing, I set a goal of how many words I have to write before I take a walk on the beach. That prods me to get writing each morning and keep writing throughout the day. I usually get to walk twice on the beach and in the evening when I meet my goal, I can watch a movie on my kindle. LOL Yes, we writers need rewards even though just getting our stories written is a reward.
One of my favorite things to do while walking on the beach is taking photos of pretty shells or unique things I see in a shell, or the way the water made a design in the sand. This may sound like I dawdle when I walk the beach. I don’t. I actually walk fast and when something catches my eye, I take a picture.
And this trip so far, I’ve found 4 sand dollars in perfect shape! I never find a full sand dollar so that alone has made my trip something special.
I started out writing hard on my story. Mid-week I floundered, but am picking it up today, Thursday and will push through to get this book to the halfway point by the time I go home on Sunday.
I feel for all the people in the Midwest and back east getting hit by winter storms, but this week of warm- 50ish- weather and the sunshine has made the thought of us finally getting winter in SE Oregon something I’m actually looking forward to.
Enjoy the rest of your week and on the 5th, I’ll post my Rafflecopter winner!
We had about 6 inches of snow in December that stayed around until a week before Christmas. Leaving us with a brown holiday. No sledding, no building snowmen. It has been brown ever since.
Hubby was getting excited when we had several weather reports for snow. However, they didn’t happen. He is now skeptical about any talk of snow in the forecast.
We need the snow. Or warm up and rain like the dickens. In SE Oregon we are very dry. It will be a hot, fire wary summer if we don’t get more moisture soon.
My Christmas gift from hubby is a horse. The only problem is I am having trouble finding one. I need a horse that is around 15 years old or a bit older, 14-15 hands, been ridden so much that no matter if I ride once a week, once a month or every day, it will behave. I also need one that will be able to go on an all day trail ride.
The daughter who moved down the road this past summer plans to take me on trail rides once a week or at least twice a month. I love trail riding. So the horse has to be able to physically go up and down hills and spend the day walking with me on its back.
I would like a gelding. I’ve had too many issues with mares. But I’m willing to look at a mare if it has a mellow attitude. I’ve been combing the sale ads. I found a great mare, but the people never responded when I contacted them to look at her. I wish people would take down ads if the horse has sold or at least text you back with sold. Common courtesy is so hard to find these days.
My ideal horse would be Appaloosa, paint, or dun/buckskin. I like horses that have interesting color. But if it’s the right size, attitude, and health, oh, and also price, I won’t worry about the color.
Growing up I had a sorrel buckskin mare that I loved! She never had an attitude, went wherever I wanted to go, and came when I called her. She was a good 15-16 hands and beautiful. I rode her a lot bareback and I was barefoot. LOL We’d cross the Lostine River and head up on the side of the mountain. I’d lay on her back looking up at the sun shining through the cottonwood and aspen trees as she walked along. I’d spend hours out riding her in the summer. Sometimes my younger brother rode with me and we’d go all over the hills and mountain side.
I’ve never been one to like riding around in arenas. I only ran my horse when we would race in the lane. A trot was to catch up if I’d been gawking and fell behind.
If you have a horse, what color and breed is it? If you don’t what color or breed do you think is pretty?