Cold but so Worth it!

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?

I’m looking forward to the wildflowers!

Living in the Moment

Something I’ve discovered about myself is I live in the moment. I’m not sure why, but I am happiest wherever I’m at.

Whenever posts come up on Facebook with which would you live in, or which place would you rather be? I’m usually, pretty happy right where I am. Yes, I do like to go visit the beach. I call it my happy place, but really, I am happy wherever I am.

Growing up, I don’t remember our first move, I was too small. But I spent the rest of my childhood in one place. Then I went to college. I was happy there. Then I moved in with a friend, I was happy there.

Then I married. During my marriage we’ve lived in 5 different houses. The first two, though they were infested with mice, I was content with where I was because of who I was with–My husband and our growing family.

I disliked house #4. But I was willing to live in it because we were building our “dream” home. And the land was exactly what we wanted( at the time). I rode horses, wrote, took care of the kids, and raised pigs and cattle. It was good.

Hauling hay off the field

We built the new house, moved in, and everything was great. Then Hubby decided it was too crowded for him and we needed to move east. Since I’m happy anywhere I am, I said, “Okay, let’s see what we can find.”

After many trips to SE Oregon we finally pulled into an area that I jumped out of the car and hurried up the hill. I loved the place. It didn’t have a house, but it had the land hubby wanted to grow alfalfa.

I spent five years, as we gradually added more ground in alfalfa and more hand line and wheel line irrigation, driving the 3 hours to spend a week every two weeks irrigating the alfalfa. Then we’d spend a week putting up the hay and go back to our “dream” home for the winter, until we finally put the “dream” home up on for sale and moved to SE Oregon.

wildflowers in the SE Oregon desert

Everyone said, but you’re leaving your dream home. It was my dream home while we built it. Now my dream home will be built in SE Oregon. And that is where I am now. In my second dream home, enjoying my horses, my writing, my family, and life.

Looking back may put the present in perspective but don’t ever stay in the past. Looking forward and enjoying what you have now is the only way to live!

The Hunt is Over!

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. ­čśë

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 Tam├ístslikt 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.