Sunstone Adventure

wild rose bushes with rose hips on Hart Mountain

Two weekends ago, we (hubby and I) and another couple started out shortly after 7 am to check out Sunstones in Plush, Oregon and go on a road we’d never traveled before.

Not even an hour into our trip we saw 4 wolves alongside the highway to Frenchglen. They took off up the side of the rim when we drove by. I couldn’t get my camera out fast enough to get a photo of them.

Our first stop was Frenchglen Hotel for breakfast. Breakfast is served from 7 to 9:30 am. They have three long tables with benches where everyone sits. Whether it is guests staying at the hotel or people like ourselves who stop in for breakfast. We always visit with the people at our table. This time it happened to be a father and son who have a Christmas Tree Farm in the Willamette Valley. They were telling us how someone took Jackrabbits from our area to the valley and they now are so plentiful they have become a nuisance over there. The rabbits like to bite the tops off of small tender Christmas trees.

From there we headed to Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge. We saw a few antelope- my photos aren’t very good. While there we took a road we hadn’t been on before and discovered a nice, but primitive, camping area and a really nice hot spring. Hubby and I walked over to check out the hot spring and found 2 men in the water. One was in his birthday suit! He ducked under water when I came around the corner of the enclosure! LOL

Antelope

On our way back to the main road, we spotted a fire starting on the top of Hart Mountain. There were people at the Hart Mountain Headquarters standing outside watching the fire. We continued on to Plush but could see the fire coming over the rim of the mountain and travelling along the ridge.

Fire on Hart Mountain starting

At the Sunstone site, we parked and each went our own way with either a shovel or pick. The wind was blowing like crazy giving us a good dirt shower. I managed to get one stone about the size of the end of my thumb but mostly just little pieces. We dug around there about 2 hours after having a picnic lunch.

Sunstones

After Plush we headed to Denio on a road that is the farthest south in the state. It was a nice drive. We saw some different scenery. I was the only one who wasn’t scared when we drove on an uphill grade that didn’t have a guardrail. In fact, I was looking down the side and relaying to them the pieces of cars I saw scattered downhill.

We reached Denio to find the restaurant Hubby had planned to eat at was closed. But just down the road the Diamond Inn Bar was open. It was an old, bar with the doors all open, locals sitting at the bar talking politics, and a big mutt named Texas sprawled on a small couch. We ordered food from their minimal menu and asked the owner questions about the area. The town had at one time been in Oregon but the residents petitioned and got it moved into Nevada. Because of less taxes. We asked the owner of the bar where he shopped. He said Boise, Idaho about 3 hours away.

From Denio we headed to Fields, Oregon where they still serve real ice cream milkshakes in many flavors. But by the time we arrived they were closed.

We made it back to our house about 8 pm. We were tired but had had a fun trip. I’m hoping our next adventure is to check out some hot springs we’ve heard of.

Color to my World

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!

Evening of Inspiration by Paty Jager

Rogue Valley Chorale

Last Sunday, my friend and I attended an event at the Burns Paiute Gathering Center. It was a chorale concert and pow wow dances.

The Rogue Valley Chorale traveled to Burns to perform a piece composed by Joseph Julian Gonzalez. The composer had studied Aztec storytelling after having a rhythm and chant come to him out of the blue. While diving into centuries old transcriptions by clergymen, he discovered one story that he couldn’t get out of his mind.

Butterfly Dancers

This was the story of a woman searching for flowers. The birds and butterflies directed her to a beautiful place with radiant sunshine and the most beautiful flowers the woman had ever seen. they told her to gather them into her robe and take them back to her people. But she thought about this and left the flowers to grow as they were.

Gonzalez talk of all the different symbolism the scholars and elders came up with for the flowers and the maiden not returning to her world with them. And this story is what sparked the composer song- Origin of the Songs. Which is what the stories that were found from centuries ago were called. The reason he wished the song to be premiered in Burns with the Paiutes stems from the fact they are one of the few North American tribes that speak the language of the Aztecs.

Fancy Dancer

While I enjoyed the pre-concert talk by Gonzalez on how he came to write the piece and the powwow dancers in the middle of the program, it was the final song, the Origin of the Songs that I had waited for all night and found to be the most enchanting. Along with the Rogue Valley Chorale, there was mezzo accompanist, Shelly Cox Thornhill, who sang the part of the woman finding the flowers.

I came away from the evening with some great photos and feeling more connected to the Crow character I am writing in my current work in progress.

What Month Is It? by Paty Jager

Wallowa Mountains- where I grew up and where Gabriel Hawke series is set.

Wow! Just Wow!

I started the month watching two of my granddaughter’s while our daughter and her husband went on a much needed vacation. As their parents were leaving it started snowing and by the time it stopped we were under two feet of snow.

One of the several times my granddaughter removed snow from the patio.

The oldest and I dug paths for small dogs to potty and so I could hopefully turn around and get out the uphill driveway. There wasn’t any school for four days, then Friday I had to transport the girls around to school and events. We hunkered down over the weekend and they had school on Tuesday and I was able to come home on Wednesday when their parents returned.

I arrived home to laundry, cleaning up after a husband and three dogs, and packing for a two stop book signing trip. I was home a day and a half and headed back out on the road for the signings.

I was able to spend several hours with my dad who is in a senior living facility before my first event in the county where I grew up and where I’ve set my Gabriel Hawke series.

After a good night’s sleep there, I set off to Clarkston, WA for my signing from noon to three on Saturday. I had a beautiful drive with sunshine and snowy hills.

Rattlesnake grade: the only way in or out of the county to the north.

I met up with my brother and his wife, to see where they live now and learn more about his new job. After a night and morning with them, I headed to Pendleton, OR. I wanted to go to the Tamástslikt Cultural Center, but while everything in the Casino/motel where I stayed, that is next door, said it opened at 9 am, I arrived and found it wouldn’t open until 10. I’d already sat around for two hours waiting for 9 o’clock to roll around and decided to just head for home.

I had great roads on the drive home and stopped off at Ontario, Oregon to do some grocery shopping before arriving home around 3 pm. And that’s when I realized nearly half of March had gone by while I was watching granddaughters and traveling for book signings. My hubby was on the phone to his mother wishing her a happy birthday. I said, “It’s the twelfth already?”

I came home to sunshine and thoughts of riding my new horse, but now…it is snowing again. Not sure when winter will decided it’s over and spring can lighten everyone’s moods.

I hope you are having a safe winter and jump into spring with both feet when it finally arrives.

All Emotions are Universal by Paty Jager

As I am flowing to the end of the next Gabriel Hawke book, my mind has already started “stewing and brewing” the next book on my list. It will be another book where I write about an ethnicity not my own. It will require some reading and research. But as was said at the Diversity Conference I attended last year.

All emotions are universal. As long as I portray the correct emotions and bring the character to life as a human being, I will have done my job.

My next book is Freedom– Book 3 in the Silver Dollar Saloon series. Freedom is an African American woman who was born after the Civil War but still suffered at the hands of man who whipped his workers and withheld food if he thought they weren’t giving their all to their work.

She’d been caught visiting with her employer’s son when she was supposed to be doing the laundry. The man whipped her, leaving scars across her back, and put her on a train to North Dakota with only a few dollars. He didn’t want his son to be friendly with girl like her.

When she’d run out of money and couldn’t find anyone who would hire her, Beau Gentry came along. He told her he owned the Silver Dollar Saloon in Shady Gulch, ND and she could work for him. Unsure if she could trust another rich White man, she declined his offer.

Within an hour of declining his offer, a man of color walked up to where she stood on the street, asking the women who passed by if they needed help. He told her he was partners with Beau Gentry and if she came along with them, she wouldn’t have to beg or ward off advances from men.

And that is how she ended up working at the Silver Dollar Saloon. Her book will be about how she finds love and the life she’d been hoping for that matched the name her parents gave her- Freedom.

The research I’ll be working on is how African Americans were treated in the late 1880s and how to use a scenario I started with her in the other two books to work in her book. She is the best Shoo-fly pie maker in North Dakota which caught the eye of a trapper, but do I want him to be the man who sweeps her off her feet, or, do I want more conflict and her discovering he is a lot like the man who put her on the train?

If you have suggestion for books that would help me learn more about the life of African Americans settling the West, I’d appreciate it.

Christmas at Valentine’s by Paty Jager

Blaze

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)

Me and Blaze

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.

Blaze

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.

Waiting for Winter & a Horse

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our hill 

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.

appaloosa stallion
Appaloosa

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.

Horse
Paint

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.

Buckskin horse
Buckskin

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?