Quote

Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Butch's Going Away Party~

After twenty-four years with Sea Con LLC, the company hosted Butch's going away party at what became his signature project - the Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville.   Another absolutely perfect day - first of Fall in the Pacific Northwest.  I think the state is trying to woo us into staying :-)
Here's to Butch!
Many have said over the years that the Sea Con dynamic resembled a large dysfunctional family during a holiday :-)  From the first, when Brian lured Butch away from our steady employment at multi-family properties, into commercial construction, the projects have come & gone.  Red Hook - though - was the one that always stood out.  It was the best place to gather & honor the career of their top Superintendent.
Butch & Dave
Butch & Dave go all the way back to the start & as the years went by - they became the company's senior Superintendents.  Butch's skill on a variety of projects, gained him the job of training the partner's sons as they completed their education & entered the company.   To see these men now handling their own projects & thanking Butch for his mentoring was great!
All hands on deck~
It was a night for story-telling - most at my husbands expense!  :-)  These guys even had stories that were new to me!  :-)  We laughed hard & long.
Cards & gift~
Rob gave a short speech, crediting Butch with his years of service.  Expressions of how much he would be missed & wishing us well with our upcoming move.  It was really hard to say good-bye to these people - years of shared history here - friends all~

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bear at Bracken!

Farah needed a ride, I did too!  Bracken is the shortest drive - so that's where we went.  It's hard - when I have so much to get done - to take the time to ride.  The whole while I was thinking about what I should have been doing at home.
Our rig back at the parking area~
 Farah was threatening to spook at about anything...  Getting ridden once a week is not her thing!  I circled her, then had her back up - which is how we took this photo.  We have our somewhat standard loop now, through what is usually the muddy trails.  Even with all the rain - the trails had held up well.
Dogwood Blooms!
At the shelter, I was surprised to see the dogwood blooming!  Either it's a late blooming variety - or the wonderful late summer weather we've been having fooled it into a second bloom.
Mr. Bear~
Distracted...  As we headed down the hill toward the river - something big & black caught my eye - moving down the lane about 150ft. ahead of us.  For only one second, I thought it was a big dog, but as it ambled along, there was No doubt it was a bear!  I pulled Farah up - got out my camera & took the photo.  The wind was blowing right at us - I was surprised that Farah had very little reaction?  What to do?  He was between us & where I wanted to go!  As he moved forward - we followed - I started singing & by the time we were going past the fence - he had disappeared into the bush.

Such a truly gorgeous day - we headed over Tin Bridge.   Now, there was a bitter sweet quality to it, knowing that it would probably be one of our last times across.
No more bales~
This year, the field of my Green Valley was cut & put into the round bales - a change from last year.
Looking at the new section of trail~
The trees that were taken out are still waiting to be hauled away - but the ecology blocks are off to the side, which opens a short section of the trail.  As I regretfully resigned my position as the Centennial Trail Coalition Chairman - at the last meeting - I heard of the success of the History on the Centennial Trail event.  The most common question asked; was when the Whitehorse would be paved...  I had wanted to attend this event - I could have maybe changed some minds - but life got in the way.
Compaction~
Recently Parks released this information on the trail usage.  "Over 12,000 people annually are already enjoying the trail, but when it is fully ready for use the projections expect almost 15 time as many visitors per year.   Part of the future of the Whitehorse Trail builds on the expectation that Snohomish County needs to be ready for a 25% growth by 2035. As noted above, the most consistent question from people is about the surfacing plan.  The proposal plans to put down a compacted surface adequate for ADA use."  
 
As you can tell from the photo above, compaction for ADA use is hard - very hard - but certainly not as hard as paving.
Soft~
 The softer, somewhat sandy surface that was of course my preference - won't happen.  We are in desperate need of a BCH person willing to take over as Equestrian Representative for the Coalition.  There are also upcoming changes proposed for Lord Hill - & there too Joan is in need of help & support.  If no one steps up to help - the rolling stone - already covered with moss - will be rolling on paving - as more & more of the area's once designated for horses will be lost.
Current surface~
The leaves are already starting to fall & the smell was incredible.  The most optimistic plans now are for the Whitehorse to open about this time next year.  One of the things I'd hoped to do - was to ride it point-to-point :-(
Farah~
Farah picked up on my melancholy mood... She's watched as we've been cleaning out the barn, all the people who've been visiting - strangers, friends & family.  A big change is in the wind for us...
Dripping sap~
We headed back, we got in Farah's little run - but thinking of that Bear - I didn't let her hit her higher speeds.  I know I've been bored - if I dare say that!  Having ridden these trails for so many years, as riding partners came & went...  Looking so forward to seeing fresh areas, riding new places & having new friends to ride with! 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

& The Beat Goes On~

The daily rhythm here on the Homestead has remained the same - yet has been inextricably changed forever - in just a few weeks...
Hotel Greenfield
 Four-years ago - when Dad passed & we traveled to Iowa - the seed of an idea was born.  We both felt so at home.  From when we crossed over the Missouri - I asked Butch to pull over - I couldn't wait to get out & breathe in the feel of home!  We both commented on how much we loved the country.  From the time we checked into Hotel Greenfield - everyone we met made us feel like we were long-lost relatives - which I soon found out - I was!  :-)  Word got out that we were in town & soon we were meeting those shirt-tail relatives that remembered me, better than I remembered them!  :-)
Our house in town~
I started school in Greenfield & my favorite early memories of childhood were made here.  When my parents decided to relocate to Boulder - I was devastated - but each Summer either Mom or Dad would drive us out to visit our Grandparents.   I spent as much time as I could on Grandma's farm.  Of course having my mare there was a huge motivator.  :-)  Every Summer too, at one point or another - Grandma would look at me & say;  "You'll be the one to come back."
The Farm~
 A few times over the years, Grandma would write about a farm coming on the market - she thought that 80-acres would be the minimum we'd need :-)  It never happened - the timing was never right.  But now - things have changed - the appeal of living in the mid-west has only increased as we've grown older.

We took the plunge - Butch has been ready for a while now - to back off the hectic pace of the jobs he's been on & a commute that takes a huge chunk out of his life.  Today - he gives notice to his employer (24-years October 11th) & our transition will be rolling!

As we gave up our positions with the local BCH Chapters - news started trickling out :-)  I've already been asked to help with a new State BCHIA!  I also let the AERC know of our change & Monica plans to put me to work!  I've already been invited to a ride :-)

I'll continue posts here - until the day the Homestead is no longer~  Our new blog is up!  A continuation of our life & times.  You can find it at;  http://hogehomeplace.blogspot.com/~
We hope you'll visit us there! 

Monday, September 12, 2016

Feel of the Forest~

Today - it was time for Farah & I to move out...  We're both so used to being out on our own - that I think the mare craves it as much as I do.
Whitehorse~
It was just a stunning day - clear, bright, blue & with that incredible on-shore flow that kept the leaves of the trees dancing all day long.  I'd had a bunch of calls to make this morning - so it was noon by the time we arrived at Victoria's parking.  Several trailers there & as many cars parked along side the road.
Sunbeams~
Leigh & Kathy left a little while ahead of us - but we came up on them just a mile or so out - spooking Leigh's mare a little :-)  We chatted - Leigh told the story of her encounter with a Bear & bees too - on the same ride! I was pretty cautious going up where I'd heard the bears cross the road.
Even the weeds are pretty~
Farah was on her A-game - we were making time all the way to the monument.  There - we ran into two of our Trailduster friends & again enjoyed visiting.  As busy as I've been - it felt so good to be out on such a gorgeous day.
Farah~
 We crossed over to the Lake McMurray overlook - Farah took advantage of a phone call I had to answer to continue her lunch break :-)  I could hear the roar of ATV's coming all the way across the valley from the Morgan Horse side of the tree farm.  Farah even stopped once to listen.
Whitehorse & Three Fingers
The little trees that were planted in the clear-cut are growing so fast that I can see this view disappearing in just a few years :-(
The slip & slide~
I walked down from the top on foot, then re-mounted just before entering this trail.  Such a pretty section, Farah's hind feet slid several times.  It's almost like a slip & slide - the dirt is so compacted.  Once it rains - it will definitely be slippery.  I couldn't even see a print from Farah's shoes.
Heading down again~
I wanted to go all the way to the bottom, but we ran out of time, so I took the other trail down to the old road that's mid-way on the mountain.  There were a few blackberries ripe just as we went in.  There's always been something about the feel of the forest on this mountain - even as clear-cut as it's been - it still retains something of the character that it must have had - when it was covered with old-growth.

When we started back up - Farah had the assent timed perfectly!  She leaped into a full gallop & we flew!  I did yell;  "horse coming!" as we blasted up :-)  She's never better than when she's at a full run!  I yell "Yippee" & she turns on the afterburners :-)
Mt. Rainier
We took the main old road back, again running into Leigh & Kathy.  They had the same idea & wondered if the blow-down had been cleared.  We went ahead - I told them if they didn't see us coming back their direction - it was clear :-)  It was & I was rewarded with this view of Mt. Rainier!  Stunning end to a fun ride~

Friday, September 9, 2016

Lord Hill Learning Experience~

Joan & I had been planning to meet here for weeks.  Today, we were so lucky to have such a beautiful day!  Jennifer rode Cody - who was thrilled to have Farah for his companion - while Joan hiked & pointed us in the direction of the trails she wanted me to see :-)
Farah & Cody
One portion of a new trail - 2.7-miles was as beautiful as any I've seen here. There were several trailers in the parking area & we ran into quite a few riders - one group honing their Search & Rescue skills.
By one of the wetlands~
It's so nice to see an Equestrian park that gets so much use by Equestrians!  As the only one in Snohomish County - we hope that our numbers support the continued use of these trails as bike groups lobby for expanded space.
Jenn on Cody~
This park loved by so many for so long, is a gem into & of itself.  With such an incredible diversity of the native plant communities - that manage to hold their own - even against the ever increasing invasive species.
Erratic Rock!
Riding this trail - it's hard to miss this incredible boulder!  Joan told us that it is an erratic rock - transported by a Glacier & left behind as the Glacier melted.  To think of the size of an ice sheet capable of moving a rock this large, is truly beyond the imagination!
Other side of the rock~
Farah was very good today, especially since she hadn't been out for over a week!  Just one big buck on a steep downhill with a nice drop off the side!  I know I'll have to get her out again & let her open up a little to burn off some steam :-)
Beautiful little bowl~
This park hosts so many Equestrian events;  with room for over 70 rigs, it's one place where large events can be held.  The new trail I rode today - designated LH2 adds distance & is for horses only.  Even if only 2.7-miles - it's a very pleasant ride - so nice to not have to be watching for the next bike to fly around a corner.
The old Quarry~
Already the bike lobby has increased their footprint here - with bike only trails.  Originally bikes were allowed in on a trial basis - continued use would depend on whether conflicts between the user groups occurred.  Another concern was possible degradation to the sensitive/natural areas.  As most of us who ride the Victoria trails know - mountain bikes have compacted the trails to the point where the horses slip on the downhill sections.  Now, bikes have trails in the central & north pipeline areas here.

If you do search some of the bike sites - you'll be shocked at the bad publicity that's out there regarding horses on trails.  Environmental impact studies are relatively new - since the numbers of mountain bikes on the trails have increased exponentially the last few years - at least in our region.  If you read too much - it might scare you as to what the future may hold...
Our route~
Again - it takes participation - Equestrian participation at planning meetings, trail-clearing parties, charity events, wherever we can keep our right-to-ride in the public eye...