Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tagged....... about me

Hi all, it seems while I was away gallivanting with my horse and girlfriends someone tagged me for a game of 6 things you may not know about me. That someone was
The Knutson Family, and while I think I am an open book here are some things for you to know about me.

1) I am the sixth child of six, I have two sisters and three brothers. They all reside in Sunny South Florida.

2) I lost both my parents when I was in my twenties. My mom at 52 from brain cancer and my dad at 60 from melanoma.

3) I have battled depression since I was in my twenties. Some days it is non existent
and some I really struggle.

4) I used to be an avid scuba diver when I lived in Florida. I went diving almost every weekend and caught lobster and spearfished. I miss it greatly!

5) I was born on Friday the 13th. My husband is a 13th baby and Harley is my 13th horse. I use the number 13 as my show number at horse shows.

6) I collect blue delft from Holland. No particular reason other than I like the way it looks. The collection is taking over my kitchen.

Hope that enlightens you some on this complicated yet simple minded cowgirl.
Happy trails.....

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Buffalo River....the rest of the ride

Thanks for all your comments on the ride, yes I am brave or stupid for going into the cave and yes I like me some cocktails when I escape from Mommy ville. Here is a rundown on the rest of the ride.

Wednesday it was decided we would do the organized all day ride to Green River. We left camp at 9 am and headed through the woods to the river. There were about 35 riders that day with a trail boss and drag man from the camp. Harley as usual was a little jiggie with that many horses and thought he should be in the front. To teach him some manners I insisted he be the last horse except for the drag man Harvey, this proved to be a bad choice later. We traversed some pretty trails and passed a waterfall on the way, the going was steep and we had to rest the horses every so often as the humidity was soaring. About half way I really decided that I had to visit the nearest outdoor potty which presented itself in the form of a trail going the opposite direction. I informed Harvey and set off on my own, Harley was less than pleased to be going another direction. When I returned to Harvey who was patiently waiting for me Harley was in a tizzy. We started out after the group when we heard screaming up the hill that someone needed help. It seems someone was off trail and stuck in some vines or brush. Harvey told me to keep riding up the hill and find the group. This is where it got interesting folks........
First Harley did not want to leave his only horse buddy and I was concentrating hard on negotiating yet another steep, loose rock uphill climb when BAM! I felt a sharp sting on the back of my thigh. I looked back to see a swarm of ground bees attacking both Harley and I. Now folks I don't know if you have had the pleasure of getting into ground bees but boy it sucks. They are like yellow jackets that live in the ground, they are aggressive and will chase you for miles. Luckily, well I use that term very loosely I have had the displeasure of being in them before this. Let me tell you the best thing you can do is RUN and I mean Run and get off trail into the woods. You see they will follow you down the trail for miles but will not go into the bush after you, don't know why just know that. I am flying through saplings and downhills and leaves a flying while swatting and trying to stay on. (Imagine man from snowy river but with leaves no snow.) After I was sure I got away from them I approached the group with a very sore posterior and a very winded Harley.
Someone had some sauve to put on the stings, I had nine total on my backside and arms. Harley was hit about the same amount as far as I could tell, God bless him he never bucked or thought of being unruly throughout the incident. Turns out the mule in the bush was stung and that is what set it off to go off trail. Two others were stung but I got the worst of it since I was in the back.......
We rode on to the river and played a little splashing and frolicking before we had lunch. After tying Harley up securely I promptly layed down in the river, you cannot imagine how much heat and pain those little bast**ds caused. I got some funny looks and comments about riding in wet jeans but I could have cared less. We rode downstream for about two miles and I really enjoyed it, I could tell Harley was getting tired by the time we exited the river. My friend Tiffany was also along on the ride and her horse Cisco was not thrilled with people running up to him to splash him, we hung back to the rear. After exiting the river the weather started to threaten rain complete with thunder in the distance. Since we were so far back behind the group the drag man decided on a short cut home. Now folks I am no scaredy cat by any means but this was the roughest ride I every took. We traversed a hill that went straight up for 75 feet and was rocky to boot. Sorry Mrs Mom but this was one time I was thankful for Harley's shoes all the way around. I went first and he literally had to lope up the hill to make it, you could see sparks and smell the brimstone coming off his feet. Later Tiffany and I remarked we could not believe we did that hill! And sober to boot! We got back to camp around 3 and guess what? No rain after all.... We spent the rest of the day in our chairs in the river with you guessed it Margaritas!

my girls enjoying one.

Whew I am tired

Went to the dance that evening but in loose shorts as the stings were pretty sore and I could not imagine putting jeans on. Mike from Louisiana asked us if we would like to ride with him in the morning to twin falls. Sounded great to me so we forged a plan. Thursday we rode out only to discover that Cisco had a stone bruise and could not make the trail, Tiffany had to turn back which bummed us all out. Mike,Susan,Bubba and I continued on to the blue hole. We covered some beautiful trials that were easy as pie compared to yesterday's hell. We arrived at the blue hole by 10. The blue hole is a small waterfall that empties into a little pool underneath it,a very pretty ride indeed. Here are some shots of it.

Harley and I enjoying a dip.

We continued on to twin falls, Mike had a little trouble finding the trail as they had clear cut the land last fall and it made things look different. Eventually we did find it and we were on our way, here is a view of the downhill at the clear cut.

We rode a beautiful trail shaded by a canopy of trees the rest of the way, little creeks crossed at several spots and Harley had to sample each one. Despite the lack of rain in those parts everything was green and lush. I could hear the waterfall before I saw it and nothing was more beautiful to me that day than hearing and seeing those brilliant showers of water. I tied Harley to a downed log and carefully and oh so not gracefully slid my way to the bottom of the falls, about a hundred foot drop. I instantly went under and cooled off and tasted that mountain water.
Here are some shots from the bottom.

We ate lunch at the falls then headed back to camp, definitely the best ride of the week for me. I shared pictures with Tiffany and was sorry she missed it. Friday I awoke not feeling myself and opted out of the morning ride. I guess the week had caught up with me and I actually went back to sleep until lunch. Afternoon found me feeling better and I did a small ride to the opposite side of camp with Tiffany only to find Cisco still off. We attended the dance for the saddle give away and unfortunately no one from our camp won but we did dance and have fun besides.
The skies opened up at 10 pm and it rained all night, complete with thunder and lighting. Morning arrived with more rain and a big muddy mess. We decided that given the conditions and Cisco's sore foot that we would head home early. Most of the camp was pulling out it seemed. We loaded up and headed for home, two tired girls and their horses.

Final thoughts on the trip and camp. Although the camp was not as well kept as before I still found it more than adequate. The food definitely was not up to par but edible most days. The riding was great, despite those damn bees. The river , ah the river the reason I went was perfect. Hope you enjoyed the trip and go visit someday. Tell Tony I sent ya!

Happy trails......

Monday, July 28, 2008

Buffalo River Ride

On Sunday morning July 20th I headed out at 6:45 am for Tiffany's house to pick up the trailer, her and horse Cisco. I swear she almost flew off her wrap around porch exclaiming "she's here!" to say we were excited was an understatement. We quickly hooked up the trailer and loaded Cisco and scurried back to my house, just a mile away. Harley gave no issues loading despite having to negotiate a ramp, something we definitely do not have. A quick survey of the goods and a kiss goodbye to my fellas and we were off, two girls and their horses. We felt like kids again as we sailed down the road listening to the 80's station on satellite radio. Traffic was light and we breezed on down the road stopping for lunch just outside Nashville at an Arby's.
The day was hot, around 93 so we offered water to the boys but they refused. We arrived at Buffalo River around 2:30 Central time so my calculations on 7 hours was just about right. Our other friends joining us from Georgia had not arrived yet so we set about unloading horses and gear and set up camp. We had river spots and this was our view!

We decided setting up camp might be more fun if we enjoyed ourselves some more by having Mojitos! Before long we found that we had polished off a six pack and we were feeling just right! Here is Miss Tiffany modeling our empties!

OK, so maybe it was more than a six pack.......
We made our way up to the dining hall for dinner and I cannot remember what it was, (I knew I should have taken notes) I can tell you the food was nothing to write about. Friends Susan and Bubba showed up finally at 7:30 and we made fun of them setting up camp while you guessed it more cocktails! There was a get to know you and band with dance session that started at 8:30 pm we went for a bit but headed home before closing time.

Monday we awoke at 5:30 dang the time difference! I fed and watered horses and woke everyone else up for breakfast which was served between 7 and 8. There are three organized rides each day, 1)half day slow 2)half day fast 3)all day ,which was slow.
We opted on riding by ourselves that morning and set off for a half day ride. I must say the trails are not marked well but they do all eventually end up back to the main road. This did not upset me but made some in our party nervous, the map was practically useless. We meandered around the woods and enjoyed the scenery, coming upon this creek made Harley very happy!

We rode until around noon and headed back to camp for lunch. After lunch we talked Bubba into driving us up to the bridge about 5 miles from camp and we went tubing down the river with trusty cooler in hand. We underestimated the time it would take us to float down river and we ran out of supplies an hour and half before we made it home. It was 6pm when we got out and we had to hustle to get showered and make dinner. Sorry I have no evidence of the tubing as no one had a water proof camera.
They have a band and dance every night that starts at 8:30 and plays until 11:30.
Tiffany and I attended and danced our little feet off. Proud to tell you I can now two step without injuring someone. Thanks Mike from Louisiana!

Tuesday we decided to skip the organized ride again and the three girls headed out, Bubba was feeling under the weather or out numbered not sure which. We decided to try and find Bat Cave, a natural cave that you can go in and you guessed it look at bats. We headed out at 9 and the heat was building already. We tried to follow the maps and what little signage there was. We rode some flat trails and some wooded ones with steep hills that kept us on our toes. After passing it two times we did finally find it tucked back in a crevice.

This is the entrance

Tiffany at the entrance to the cave.

Inside bat cave
Being I only had a cell phone for light I only ventured in around 50 feet or so and snapped a picture. Crawling on my hands and knees to see bats did not thrill me and the other girls did not even want to go in. We headed back to camp and rode along the river most of the way home.

You can see how beautiful the river is and it is mostly shallow so walking the horses in it was fairly easy although you do have to watch for holes and logs.
We loaded up the tubes after lunch and had another booze cruise down river for the afternoon. I got caught on a log and popped my tube half way down river, luckily we had a spare that was carrying the cooler. This of course meant I had to carry the cooler the rest of the way down river but I did my best to empty it quick! The night brought more dancing and I must admit a sampling of homemade "shine" as in moonshine.
There was strawberry, apple pie and peach. I was careful and took baby sips, learned my lesson on that stuff years ago. I think I found the trailer around 2 am and had a devil of a time climbing up into bed.

I will close with that thought for today and catch you up tomorrow on the rest of the rides. Hope you enjoyed the ride.

Happy trails.......

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Back from Buffalo River

Hi All, I am back from the week long girlfriend, drinking fest and horsing around good time. I am beat....... gosh this getting old sucks! Trying to catch up with what has been happening in your lives since I was away. I promise tomorrow a blow by blow description of the way I spent my days and nights on the trail. Just a few observations from me on the trip. Despite fuel at an all time high there were around a hundred brave souls there, down from three hundred last year. The quality of the horses there were great and well cared for. The weather in south Tennessee is freaking hot and humid in July! I love sweet TEA, did not realize how much I missed it. Tubing down the river with your girlfriends and a cooler of beer for four hours gets mighty interesting. Yes I will share all the dirt and pictures on next blog. I know I have been tagged also and will share some things you may not know about me in future posts. Right now I am off to dream land and hopefully for more than three hours sleep which is what I averaged on my trip for a week straight.
Happy trails......

Thursday, July 17, 2008

New look.... same me

I guess you all will notice I have changed the look of the blog. No, I have not gone all girly on you or anything like that. Let's just say without a whole lot of drama that I had a good scare with my lovely lady humps and found out on Monday that I am in the clear. So in honor of all those ladies that are enduring or have survived or succumbed to breast cancer I am in the pink for them. My little way of carrying the pink ribbon tradition.

Onto horsey news...... I am sore, sore, sore from riding bareback! I did it again today and Harley boy was a gem I even jogged and loped a piece. I think I may have removed some precious mane from my fella during the lope. My balance was a little better today and in fact I am damn proud that at 41 I can ride bareback! The packing for the trip is going well and I delivered a load to Tiffany's house today. We are driving my husband's new truck and taking Tiffany's new trailer. Her sleeping quarters are larger and for a week that will come in handy. Not to mention it is a seven hour haul and I feel safer with a brand new trailer and all. Harley will look like a midget in there as it is warm blood size! Hot here today we hit 90 for the third time this year. I gave the boys showers and put their fan on inside and turned them out this evening, less bugs and cooler for them. No sign of the cough from Harley so I think we are good there. While I was riding I discovered my blackberries are now ripe! Yea! I can sneak some in before my trip. Going out first light to pick the delicious little devils. Also, the neighbor came over with the first sweet corn of the season, I just had to grill some up for dinner. With those tasty little visions I leave you until tomorrow.
Happy trails.....

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

remainder of the cruise

Did not want to keep you all in suspense as for the rest of the cruise events so here are the remaining details:

Day 5 : AT SEA ...... just like it sounds on the ship surrounded by water and not much else to look at. Took the kids to Camp Carnival to check it out. They love it!
The age groups fell at 2-5 and 6-11 so my boys got to stay together. It was a great program and they kept the kids busy with activities and fun projects, best of all it was included in the cruise price. With the kids at camp I relaxed poolside to people watch and pretend I was reading a book. A few drinks may have been consumed as well.
I joined in for a game of bingo and lost 10 bucks. Met the family for the first of many serious pig out lunches, they are not shy with the food on this ship. Picked up the kids and we toured the kids arcade, Carson as usual was running ( his method of choice) and tripped and fell on the tile floor HARD! Yep, you guessed it blood gushing out his nose everywhere. I managed to stop the flow and kept him up for a few hours before the nap. However, when he sat up from his nap it poured out again all over his bed sheets and a trip to the infirmary was necessary. By the time we saw the ship's doctor (some 40 minutes later) it had stopped again. He survived and no further blood loss has happened and I don't think he broke it. Maybe just maybe he will start to listen when I tell him not to run! yeah right, when pigs fly.

Day 6: We are behind scheduled arrival at St Thomas thanks to hurricane Bertha.
Although the storm went North we still got the swells and wind which slowed our progress. It turned out OK though as we got to watch the arrival into port. Let me say it is beautiful a few shots for your viewing pleasure.

This is a hotel at St Thomas

This is a sister ship I think it was the Imagination

We decided to take the sky cable cars to the top of the mountain some 700 feet up.
The first thing to happen as we disembarked was that we were swarmed by taxi drivers all shouting and basically fighting over who could get to you first. Not the atmosphere I had hoped for and certainly not for my kids. We decided to take the ten minute walk to the sky car instead. It was warm but a nice island breeze was gently blowing. We hiked up to the car and started our journey up, breathtaking views of the whole harbour and surrounding hills. Here is a shot of us in the car.

A shot of the actual cable car ride

At the top of the mountain were some island shops and we sat in on a parrot show, the kids thought a parrot riding a bike was hilarious. Of course I did partake in the traditional island cocktail a strawberry daiquiri.

There was a group of teenagers playing music at the cafe where we stopped for refreshment, they were nice enough to allow Carson to try his hand at the steel drum.
He thought that was totally cool! Back down the hill we went with souvenir stuffed parrots and necklaces and such. The ship left the dock at around 7 and it just started to rain as well set sail.

Day 7 : We sailed all night and boy was the ship rolling, surprised me as it is about six hundred feet long, we were on the 8th deck though and that is pretty high.
We arrived in Saint Marten around 7am and yes I was well awake, you see Carson is our resident rooster. The child never sleeps past 6:15 no matter how late you keep him up or tire him out. We disembarked at 8 and headed for the beach! They had cool water taxi's to take you to the beach and shopping. What struck me most was how friendly and clean this island was. We camped out on the beach and found beautiful sea shells and made sand castles . Here are some scenes from the beach.

We took the kids back to the ship and after a quick nap they were off to camp and hubby and I went back to the island to listen to music and soak up the beach and some drinks by ourselves for a change. What a wonderful island, wish we could have spent more time there.

Day 8: Back to the day at sea..... Not my favorite thing as you can probably tell.
The kids had a pirate party including treasure hunt with loot as well. Me well I read the book and paced the decks, I was missing my Harley and was getting bored.

Day 9 : Still at sea....oh joy! Really restless today and not even bingo can cheer me up. I lost some money in the casino but the smokers really drove me out of there pretty quick. On the way to lunch Stuart the youngest somehow managed to get his foot stuck in the elevator door. The part that recedes into the wall! He never said a word or cried just stood there. I basically had to shred his croc to get him free and I think that upset him the most. No damage to his foot and I think the poor family on the elevator with us took it harder than him. We watched a show in the theater after dinner but the singing was pretty bad and the boys were tired by the time it got going.

Day 10 : Disembarking the ship. It took about three hours before our deck was called and I was more than ready to abandon ship at that point. We gathered the luggage, all eight pieces and headed for the car. The poor porter had to shuttle it on foot and cart all the way to the parking garage and up an incline that should have been on those buns of steel videos. He was a good sport and loaded us up and we were off to a day in the car again. We drove to Forsyth Ga and called it a day, lots of thunderstorms all day and that slowed us down.

Day 11 : We woke up to a phone call from the front desk asking if we drove a mini van, well yes we do. It seems overnight some lovely people cut all the luggage off the tops of peoples cars and stole it. Not us, we had everything stowed inside safely. We encountered more storms and the mother of all traffic jams in Chattanooga Tn., but we made it home by 7 on Sunday and alas that is the rest of the story.

I rode Harley today, in a bareback pad. I think it has been 12 years since I have done this. I bought one on eBay to use at Buffalo River, they do a river ride one day where you actually ride in the river for 3 miles. No way am I getting my new saddle soaked so I got this little dandy for that day. Harley was good, it was around 90 today and that helped cool his jets a bit. Tomorrow starts the packing for the trip, getting so excited.
Happy trails......

Ships log

Details of the trip to the Carribean.
Day 1: travel in the car from Indiana to Calhoun Ga. Approximately a 7 hour trip and I am already losing my mind! I have listened to all the songs on my Ipod as my husband does not like music playing while he drives and the kid's DVD on Thomas the tank engine and such is driving me batty.

Day 2: more travel in the car from Calhoun, Ga to Ocala Florida. I drove mostly today. Kids are restless and if I stop at one more McDonald's with an indoor playground I will die! We arrive at hotel around 4 and go for a swim, it is 96 degrees and HOT! Have an incredible dinner at the Bone fish Grill, (oh I miss fresh seafood!) then try to catch fireworks as it is 4th of July . Alas, we get thunderstorms and no fireworks except for mother nature.

Day 3: We head out for Port Canaveral to catch the boat ship.
After several phone calls we manage to locate rest of family coming along and we meet up in parking garage. We talked Granny and Grampy into getting wheelchairs for the embarkation process and it worked out slick. We all proceeded together and were on the ship in no time at all.We sailed the Carnival Glory, here is the ship.

After locating the "Lido" deck we had lunch as a family unit, this included My in laws known as granny and grampy, my family of four, my sister in law and her two boys 16 yrs and 20 yrs. We could not get to our staterooms until an hour or so but we toured the decks and had fun watching all the activity in port. We sailed at 4 pm and headed for Nassau, Bahamas.

Day 4: We traveled all night and when we arose we were docking at Nassau. My family and the sister in law family disembarked and went to Paradise Island to view the aquarium at Atlantis. Here are my "boys" hamming it up.

We spent the day shopping in Nassau and of course stopped for Ice cream!

After that it was back on board and we set sail for St Thomas.

In the interest of not making this entry to long I will continue the rest of the trip later.

On other horsey news, Harley seems to be cough free again . Whew! I checked him last night after feeding and again this morning and he seems fine. I am going to climb up and ride him today the first time since I left, hoping it is uneventful. For Pony Girl, my upcoming trip to Buffalo river is an organized trail ride that they put on three times a year. You bring your sleeping quarters and horses and they feed you and show you a good time. They have a band every night and the camp boarders the river so we get to tube! I managed to get river spots this time so we are camping right on the river! Here is the link for their website

OK that's all for now gotta get running and get some things done while I have a babysitter today.

Happy trails....

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Back from the high seas

Hello blog friends! I survived the 7 days at sea unscathed and a little chubbier.
It was a great time and I wish I could share all the pictures I took with you, I think there were around 100 at last count. I will tease you with a few good ones so you get the general idea. I must say I missed my critters something fierce, especially Harley. I think that is a good sign. I brought them home yesterday and he was so happy to have the run of his three acre pasture again, he did laps for about 5 minutes straight. They shared a broodmare stall and a small paddock at the horse hotel while I was away. Harley has some scratches and dents probably from either pestering Tank or the mini donkey through the fence. Nothing serious and he will definitely survive. One thing I did notice this am was that he has a dry hack.
I am hoping it is just that and nothing more. I did stall him last evening as I wormed them good when I got them home. I am hoping it is from the change in hay or the shavings in his stall. I am scheduled to leave this Sunday for my week long extravaganza with the girlfriends in southern Tennessee at Buffalo River. I really need for Harley to be healthy as Tank can't make that long of a haul or climb those hills anymore. I am up to my eyeballs in laundry and grass here and the week keeps getting shorter. Got to get it all done so I can escape. Well it seems as if I cannot upload photos tonight so I will have to keep you in suspense until tomorrow with the pictures. Stay tuned .......

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Leave of absence

Hey all, just a quick note to let you know I will be missing from blogger land for the next 10 days. Seems that my in laws have seen fit to buy my family a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean. Yea! Fear not I will be back with stories of the sea real soon. Harley gets a little reprieve and it will be a good test to see if we have to start at square one again. Tank and Harley are at the horse hotel and they have a mini donkey that is braying and challenging Harley through the fence. Wish I had my camera yesterday when I dropped them off. Harley looked like a full blown Lipizzaner doing all sorts of maneuvers to show off. Take care and if I find a computer out there on the high seas I may drop you a line. (no pun intended!)

Happy trails....