JAN 16 2022 PDF BLOG

JAN 16 2022   PDF BLOG

American Cowboy Picture

Baby Jim
Photo courtesy of The Old Cowboy Archives

I just opened my blog and realized that I have yet to move into 2022 even though I wrote about it not starting in an auspicious manner.

Todays edition is more appropriately dated, as I sit here waiting for the next great snowmageddon event.   As they say every day on our local channel 12…….its a first alert weather day.   We are forecast to get from 3 to 78 inches of a mixture of rain sleet and snow and power will be out for millions for days.

Fear sells in todays news.

First some good news……

I mentioned in my last blog that I was looking for a replacement tractor.  One of my friends read the blog and  texted me about a tractor for sale.  I went and looked at it yesterday and agreed with the owner on a price late yesterday afternoon.  We will consummate the deal in the coming week.

It was cold here this morning…..17 degrees outside at 6:00 am….not the coldest day of the year so far as we have been as low as 10 degrees already this year….I am ready for summer, but I guess I have to slog thru the rest of the winter to get there.  As another old friend use to say every year……”February can be a B___h”.  One of the memorable snow storms I recall was the first week in March.  It was back in the late seventies and I had about a hundred first calf heifers scheduled to start calving the first week in March.

We had about two feet of snow and I don’t remember how many calves we lost in that storm…..there were some that I did not know had been born at all until the snow melted and I found tiny carcasses.  We did not have enough barn to house all of them…..but I had about 40 heifers in a barn….these were ones I had due dates on and real heavy springers.  I would go over at night and check on these.  

One night I went over and eased in the door.  The barn did not have lights so I carried a big old fashioned battery lantern….the kind where the lantern just bolted onto the battery.  This was an old type barn with a livestock area at ground level and a pretty good hay loft above.  The interior of the ground level had support posts about eight inches square spaced every ten or twelve feet to carry the load above .

I stood just inside the door shining my light to see what was happening.  There were a couple of new mothers tending their calves.  On the far end of the barn was a heifer with the newest calf…I eased around the barn checking to see if there were any others.  I was about mid way thru the barn when I saw another charbray angus heifer was trying to claim the calf of the new mama…..this gal was in the early stages of her own labor.  I decided to try to separate them a bit so she could concentrate on her own business.  

As I approached she spied me and decided that she must protect the babies and she charged me with malice on her mind.  I ran…trying to avoid calves and other new mamas.  Then the misfortune got me….at a dead run I connected with one of the support poles.  I have no idea what happened after that…..I woke up about an hour later with a nearly dead lantern providing a faint glow…I had a good sized goose egg on my head….this dispelled my Daddies position that I was the hardest headed he had ever seen.  The evil heifer was mothering her own calf and when I began to stir she resumed growling at me.  But she did not charge again.  I crawled to the door and managed to crawl through it and into the snow.  

That March reaffirmed my commitment to fall calving….all you had to worry about in the fall is hurricanes.  



American Cowboy Picture

Baby Jim
Photo courtesy of The Old Cowboy Archives

I had a phone call yesterday from an old friend.  We attended college together back in the late sixties and the early seventies.  

We attended together our freshman and sophomore years.  Then I ran out of money and went to work for my uncle Sam for a couple of years.   God was looking out for me and even though I volunteered for OCS and Airborne and Ranger School, I ended up fighting the war at Fort Carson Colorado….but that is all fodder for other stories.

When I went back to college I managed to cram a four year course of instruction into eight short years.  I enrolled and managed to get a third year taken care of but again had to drop out and  get a job to support the expected addition to the family.  That took a couple of years.  when I finally got back to finish my degree, a mutual friend told me that my friend was back as well.

Turns out he had done some time with uncle Sam as well and had survived the bungle in the jungle.  We were both married and living in Roanoke and we commuted to Tech together quite often.  This was during the gas shortage of the early seventies. 

After graduation I again lost track of my friend for several years as I was cowboying in Ohio and Virginia and he was a chemical engineer travelling the united states.

Somehow we reconnected a few years ago….I don’t even remember how….but we tried to maintain at least an electronic connection.

Some of you are aware that I used to write a little and published a blog for a good while.  This is a habit that has eluded me pretty much the last couple of years.

My friend called me mostly to see if I was still extant because he had not heard from me for so long…..lots of excuses for this but none that justified leaving old friends in the lurch.  

jogs my memory that I never had a lot of friends…..mostly because my friends wives almost unanimously thought I was a bad influence.  Heck even my first wife ended up with that opinion.

A little rough around the edges and while not a tall man, I could be a little tough to deal with….and for many years, what I thought had a way of falling out of my mouth, which always managed to upset others.

In my later years I softened somewhat….to the point that Marie used to get mad at me because she thought I let people take advantage of me.  Little did she realize that I was merely trying to control my worsening temper and stay out of jail.  I had become like my dad….a strong man with a hot temper….except he was mostly quiet and I was loud.

But I digress immensely……I have been fortunate to have some good friends in my life.  Like some who call just to see if I am still breathing.  Then we ended up talking for an hour and seven minutes.

Got to thinking about how I communicate and what I could do better…..in recent years I have used social media more and more….for a while I was a regular on a couple of cattle boards….have not visited one in about a year and a half now…..I have hundreds of facebook friends many of which I have never met….

I decided to go back to my roots and communicate in a longer form which suits me better….going back to the blog format and will let people know of the post with short notices.

So far 2022 has not been much of an improvement on 2021.  Started January with a barn fire where I lost the barn and the tractor and a substantial amount of tools and equipment.

Thank god there were no animal injuries…..I only had a couple of cows left and my sons Jessee and Matt came and got them the afternoon of the fire as I had no feed or any way to feed them….so for the first time since 1986 there is not a bovine in residence at Pipe Dream Farm…..I do miss them and every time I step out the door I still look for the cows.  Now I have begun to say to myself as I glance around…”dumbass ….they are not here…”

The equines are still present and tolerating me.

Still in cleanup mode at the site of the fire….but the snowstorm last week created a slight delay.  the 1 to 3 inches predicted turned in to 10 to 12 inches of heavy wet snow and the power went out everywhere about 9:30 am last week and lasted about five days here….some people were out for ten days…..it was the biggest damage since hurricane Isabell in 2003

I was not too worried…I had a generator…..dual fuel and would run on gasoline or propane….lost all my gas cans in the fire….learned the lesson that propane will freeze up in cold weather….the generator will run about an hour and a half and then it freezes up and the generator quits.

Trying to find a replacement for the old tractor….went all the way to Staunton this morning to look at one….still negotiating a few issues.

A neighbor brought me a skid steer loader to feed the horses round bales.

Still have not figured out what I want to do about the barn….I need storage space for feed and hay and the tractor…but without the cows I do not need as much barn…..got to finish cleaning up the debris from the old barn….I have already sent off a 40 cubic yard dumpster of scrap metal and am in the process of filling a 30 yard one now.  slow work because I have to sort wood debris from the metal debris which means deconstruction of everything.


As i sit here on the eve of the day of completion of my 73rd trip around the sun, I wax somewhat philosophical.  It is hard to believe that tomorrow is the 34th anniversary of my 39th birthday.

It will be followed on Sunday by my grandsons 18th birthday.  Happy Birthday Fisher.

I was contacted earlier in the week by my former boss and she invited me to join her and my previous coworkers and the new folks for lunch this afternoon.  It was great to see them all and to catch up on everyone’s adventures and challenges.  We had a nice lunch as well.

This has been the most unusual year of my life.  I thought 2020 was unusual….2021 seems to have said hold my beer and I will show you unusual.

For those who may not know….I finally retired with the change of calendars in January.  I had some significant leave time and so I actually stopped working on December 8th of 2020.

Right on cue on the 21st of January I had my heart attack….Dr. Rohatgi did a catheterization procedure and opened the blockage and put in a stent and pulled me through….bad news is he found three more blockages and had to go in a few weeks later and put in a couple of more stents.

On follow up testing he found signs that my right aorta had problems and sent me to a vascular surgeon who in March cut my throat and removed the blockage…..He said he could not explain why I had not had a stroke.  The vascular surgery cut a few nerves and so a lot of mornings I wake up feeling like I have been in a fight.  It is finally starting to ease up some.

But I survived that as well and on further followup with Dr. Rohatgi said my heart was normal.  That is in large part due to my new pass time….walking….I now endeavor to walk at least three miles every other day.  It has also helped me lose some weight…..but fear not I still tip the scales at about 11 stone….that is British for 220 lbs.   But now my pants are all too big for me and I look like a clown with a poor makeup job…..

I figured while I was on the downhill slide that I better ride all I could while I was still able….

Naw that has not worked out so well either…..All spring it was so rainy that most parks stayed closed and would not allow riding.  When it stopped raining it got so blamed hot that neither Dr. Condi nor i wanted to venture out.  So instead of riding twice a week we managed to get  out about once a month.  Here lately we have done a little better.  But lately I discovered that The Coggins on the equines had expired and had to have them retested.  Results came back today and we are legal again to be out in public.

And viola……it is mid October…. Inflation is sky rocketing…. Energy prices are doubled so far this year…..We wrapped up a twenty year war by surrendering and giving the enemy 89 billion dollars worth of equipment……the economy is crashing……the border is being overrun by people not subject to the covid mandates or anything else…..the government is into mandating every aspect of our lives….covid is the gift that keeps on giving…..shortages of everything are on the horizon…..you can see the ships sitting in the harbors…..jobs everywhere and no one wants to work…and why should they because the government is paying them not to work….not sure I want to work because i don’t think I can afford the taxes any more….they taxed me a lot of  dollars on social security last year  and I had to dig deep to pay it because there was no withholding….…….no one speaks english anymore as they rely on profanity and double talk….most fast food is now drive thru where there are no menu boards except at the order point so people wait in line to sit at the order point and say uuuhhh….

The Covid seems to have installed mass insanity as a side effect.

I don’t know why I am still here while so many that I have known and cared about are no longer here.  There must be a purpose….There must be something I have got to do.  But apparently I have not gotten it done yet…

I wish I had a clue

I think often about my mortality…

I have had my final arrangements made ever since losing Marie.

I am more careful now in my daily life

I think often of what becomes of my animals if I suddenly disappear.  This worries me…

I wish I had a clue.  

I hope to be able to keep riding.  It is what is keeping me sane…If I am….  


TODAY was a walking day. So I decided that I would go back to Washington Lacy Park and go back to the new trails I found a few days ago. This time I took a bag full of hand tools and some flagging tape. I did not walk but 2.97 miles but had a decent workout with carrying and using the tools.

My ambition was to mark and do a little trail work on the two new to me trails. ……. this we accomplished.

I was pleased to notice that several folks have ridden these trails since my original post. There were numerous hoof prints and other signs of equestrian activity along the trails

below is an aerial photo of one of the trails marked. This trail is actually a branch off of an existing trail that seems to be used significantly. I did not walk the existing trail today so it does not show up on the GPS generated route. I have attempted to draw in the existing trail in yellow….the location is not exact. The trail I worked on and marked with pink ribbons is indicated in red. It is not quite as disjointed as it looks on the photo….I did a good bit of walking back and forth in an effort to make sure the pink ribbons were visible from both directions. Both of these woodland paths run from the powerline to one of the crush and run roads that run across the southern portion of the park. the entrance to both is where the tire and bicycle tube hang in the tree near the powerline….there are also pink ribbons there as well. a little ways in the new pink ribbon trail branches off from the old trail…..

the net result is now there are three possible loops in this area.

farther south is the road that only needs a little bit of work to create a nice loop. There is a section of six or eight pine trees down and I need to get my chain saw and equipment back there to open the circuit. I can open it in an hour or so if I can get the equipment back there. either side is rideable now but those trees and some swamp prevent a circuit until altered…..this trail is marked with white flagging tape…..one side is right down the power line and the other is thru the woods.

WLP 9 30 2021 DR. CONDI

Had a wonderful ride today with my therapist, Dr. Condi.

We rode at Washington Lacy Park and surrounds. We covered 10.55 miles. That was because it was dry enough to ride along the powerline which is alongside the park.. When it is wet season it is normally too wet to ride much of the power line. In fact the entire south side of the park can be very damp and muddy. But right now it is dry and rideable. We rode most of the park trails and we rode the powerline south as far as the swampy area along side route 54 .

But we did find an easy way to create a loop adjoining the power line to the new path we found when walking earlier in the week. In fact the loop exists….but mother nature has pretty well blocked it with some down pine trees. I can probably open the trail in an hour or so if I can figure a way to get my chain saw and fuel and supplies back to the area needing work. the short section needing work is marked by a green dot on the map below. some of the trees are about a foot in diameter so without a chain saw it would take a while to make the cuts needed.

then we made our way back to the parking lot and happened upon a couple of ladies fixing to ride. We chatted briefly and then Dr. Condi and I embarked upon riding the north side of the park. We soon found ourselves on the power line again and rode it all the way out to Taylorsville road. The power company or the gas company or the hunt club had bush hogged some paths on the far north side and we rode those as well….never saw a soul until almost back to the park when we saw the ladies again. Dr. Condi and I then rode the loops in the north side of the park and then back to the parking lot. The ladies were back in the parking lot when we got there. Other than them we only encountered one hiker with a dog and Condi spotted him long before I did.

Got to brag on my little horse. She was an absolute joy to ride all day. Dr. Condi is not a young horse. But she did not have a lot of miles on her before coming to us. She had spent some time as a brood mare and I have seen one of her daughters as a grown horse and if I were wealthy she would be living at Pipe Dream Farm and would have come here with her mother. Condi also spent considerable time as a pasture ornament. the lady who had her for three or four years before me, took sick shortly after buying Condi and never rode her much. She sold Condi back to Jim Blanks and my friend Stewart coerced me into buying her . I told her today that she was some of the best money I ever spent. She is high on my list of all time favorite horses…..and I have had opportunities in my life to ride some really good ones.

Dr. Condi is by no means a deadhead….in fact when she first came here she could be a handful. But she is kind and gentle and really smart and now that we are riding again she is getting better with every ride. Today she was learning how to behave when I was clipping branches along the trail…I had never done that before with Condi and after the first one fell on her neck she learned to accept it as part of the job. We are working on side passing to get closer to the brush while clipping. A clumsy old man can only lean and reach so far.

today was our second ride with the center fire rigging. I am starting to like it….after ten miles no sign of any galling or irritation on the horse. one thing I have already noticed is that the saddle definitely stays on the horse better. I noticed it the last time we rode that when I dismounted the saddle did not slip at all. While I am not as big as I used to be….i still tip the scales above 220. All that weight in the left stirrup usually makes a saddle slip a little. today when I dismounted twice, I intentionally let my weight hang on the saddle for a bit and it did not slip

Below is a map image from the gps of todays ride. On the north side of the powerline there are a couple of pretty steep hills. but they do not show up on the aerial maps. In one place today Dr. Condi had to step up a five or six foot bank. she saw that the trail went over it and I think I heard her say “hang on old man….I got this…”

horse pasture maintenance

To see any photo larger click on the photo and use your browser back button to return to the blog

this is just a days update on my efforts at horse pasture maintenance…..these photos were taken on 6 28 2021

just some background for anyone who stumbles across this blog and is not familiar with the history. I have horses, cattle donkeys and goats. the equines and goats all pasture together…..the cows pasture separately as the equines enjoy chasing cows. for both groups I have multiple small paddocks and graze the small paddocks for two to three days and then rotate them to the next paddock and do what ever maintenance is needed in the recently grazed paddock. This time of year that means mowing the recently grazed paddock, often broadcasting some seed and then dragging the pasture to try to get the seed to the soil.

At this time of the year I am broadcasting a mix of seed which is my norm as I strive for plant diversity. my paddocks average about a tenth of an acre. the mix i am currently using is

Pearl millet 2.5 #…..sun hemp 2.5# Festolium 2.5 #……chicory 1/3 cup……buckwheat 1/2 #…..a legume blend 1/3 cup…..ashland summer cover crop mix 3 # this amount about fills my seeder.

I broadcast it with a shoulder seeder pictured below…..I like this broadcaster….I have used many types and this is the best I have found….it is a little more expensive but it is in its second year and still going strong….others have lasted about six months and they were worn out.

I should state here……I quit buying chemical amendments probably ten years ago…..that means lime and fertilizer. I want the soil biology to work for me. I will use herbicides to deal with things the goats wont eat but i try to limit it and only use it when the livestock are excluded. For example the fence line between me and the crop farmer neighbor…..the fence has electric on my side so the stock won’t challenge it. that means I have to combat the cedars and thistle and poke weed and multiflora rose.

five principles of improving soil

  1. keep the soil covered
  2. minimize soil disturbance
  3. keep a living root in the soil
  4. plant diversity…..mother nature does not deal in monocultures
  5. integrate livestock

Each of these principles is a subject for learning and discussion on its own but they are the keys to building soil health.

I would add a sixth principle…..plants need rest and lot of it…..only weeds survive continuous grazing

this paddock has rested about 80 or 90 days…..it was grazed in the spring and at that time did not need mowing…..the cools season grasses regenerated and put out seed heads and secondary growth…..this is the next paddock for the equines and goats. there is a lot of grass here.

they will pick thru it and graze the green stuff and some of the mature seed heads but they will leave the mature stalky brown stuff

after they have gotten the good stuff I move them to the next paddock and mow sow and drag the just grazed one

the photos above and below demonstrate the return of the residue to the soil. this provides protection to the soild from the elements and food for the biology in the soil and organic matter to build the soil…..there is also the armor of the living plant cover that will regenerate as long as we get rain. the photo below shows that there was so much residue after grazing that I had to mow it twice to distribute the residue. then I dragged it with my high tech drag…..an old rear tractor tire. the below photo also shows the just grazed paddock along side the next paddock to graze and gives and indication of the forage volume

and below is the high tech fence…….horses honor it fine…..in fact when Pete goes into a new paddock he walks around the perimeter to find the fence which is a single hot poly wire or poly tape or poly rope…..I use them all…..I have over 42 paddocks and experiment with fence…..as long as it has 4500 volts on it horses and cows will honor it…..the goats will walk under the division fences but they wont get far from the equines…..they feel safe with the horses and the mule

Interesting day today 6 8 2021

When I woke up this morning for the first time since my neck surgery, my jaw did not feel like someone had slugged me. It is phantom pain. The doctor told me that some nerve damage was likely.
In my case I feel pain where I have no injury. It is not debilitating in any way and is not severe….just a pain in the jaw. It has lightened up the last couple of weeks which tellt me the nerves are healing. It was quite nice to wake up and it was not sore.
During the day the nuisance has come back, but at least it is improving.

Took a couple of photos of my wild flowers garden….I never imagined I would enjoy it so much. It is a little different every day

I have zuchini that are about ready for harvest, but alas we are still a few weeks from a tomato sammich

Stated the day by moving the equines to a new paddock and mowing the one they were in the last couple of days. Those who know me know that I have a lot of small paddocks and rotate the stock thru them fairly frequently. This time of year I am mowing paddocks after grazing and then closing them off to rest and recover.

Below is a shot of today’s paddock after mowing.

I am also still cleaning up damage from the ice storm this winter….right after the storm I spent several days cutting limbs and trees off the fences. Now as I graze them I am cleaning up the bigger pieces and burning them in my concrete fire ring, the smaller stuff just gets chopped up with the Bush hog. Still have a couple of paddocks yet to graze for the equines before we start the second round

Below Is a picture of the debris from a paddock that is about a tenth of an acre. It has already been burned today.

Then Apache and I went for a walk. We went to North anna battlefield park. Our goal was to walk three miles on the gray trail…but we did not quite make it..the gray trail is not quiet a mile and a half from end to end so to get three miles I have to walk some of the loops twice….Apache did not see the sense in walking circles…we came to one intersection and when I turned to do the loop, …..well he just stopped and turned to face the path to the parking lot…I told him he was right and followed him to the truck. We did 2.79 miles. He promptly stuck his nose in the air conditioning vent and went to sleep. While it was not too awful hot when we started, it was pretty warm when we finished…I am still marinating in my own ambiance….Apache is asleep under a fan.

Took a photo of Dixies brand and sent it to my friend Anthony Macalister. He is a big player in the mule world and I am hoping he can help me find Dixies origins. Maybe he will recognize the brand or know someone who will.

Still feeling good from another great ride with Dr. Condi yesterday,. I even sent Jim Blanks a note thanking him for the opportunity to own Condi. She is rapidly moving up my list of all time favorite horses….as an older unit, I have had the opportunity to ride a good many horses of all types and descriptions…some were mine and many were somone elses…some went on to big things, some I made into better horses at their job, some were broncs that learned a trade and made good horses…….at least one was an outright outlaw who in my younger days wrecked several people after she wrecked me. I learned a little from all of them…now Dr. Condi and I are learning together and I am having a ball. She sometimes now seems to be so tuned in to me that she knows what I am thinking. I have had horses before who were as responsive but they were horses that I rode every day or in a regular rotation. With Condi I am lucky to ride once or maybe twice a week. Thinking of all the horses I have learned from has dredged up a lot of good memories as well.



Dr. Condi and I were invited to ride with three ladies at York River State Park this morning. Always in need of a therapy session I promptly accepted on behalf of Dr. Condi and myself.
I had ridden with one of these ladies at the last Poor Peoples riding club ride at Washington Lacy Park and our horses were well suited in pace and temperament and we had a nice ride.
she and her friends were riding and asked me if i would care to join them.

Condi and I had not been to York River but once with the Poor Peoples riding club and that was quite a few years ago.

photo park sign

I had little memory of the trails but remembered how to get to the park….I had no recollection of how long it would take to get there….

I allowed time to stop at Hardees for a biscuit and a drink….wanna guess who was still a bit early….I had no idea how long it would take me to get there and I allowed plenty of time…
bugs were pretty fierce in the parking lot but it gave me time to give Condi a good grooming. The stable flies were pretty bad in the parking lot so I slathered her up pretty good
with both some ultra boss and some regular horse fly spray. Bugs out on the trail were not too bad at all. But I had my trusty fly bat and did swat a few.
The bug dope seemed to make her less appealing to the pests. Bugs out on the trail were not too bad at all.
while I was at it I slathered myself as well with some Repel and high percentage DEET. I was aiming to deter ticks…
I picked up a bunch on my last couple of walking forays.
all kinds….some lone star…some brown dog ticks….and a number of seed ticks so small they are hard to find until they start itching

Apache had quite a few as well so I got a can of sevin yesterday and dusted him pretty good and that helped him immensely…thinking about dusting me.

The ladies got there early as well and intros of horses and humans were made all around and everyone tacked up and we headed out.

Condi and I started out in the back and for a little while she was comfortable with that, but before long she had managed to sneak her way to the front.
The ladies did not seem to mind and if they did were too polite to criticize. They were all on gaited horses so keeping up with Condi was not a hardship on them.
We mostly just ambled along due to the heat and humidity. It was warm but under the shade in the woods there was a little breeze blowing and it was not uncomfortable at all.

I had two cell phones with me but I never took either one of them out of the holster to take any photos…I had on gloves and did not want to drop either of the phones and when i am riding
Condi I am enjoying life too much to worry with taking pictures. When we rode out onto a small beach along the river i thought about photos but I didn’t take any…there were
warning signs about steep drop offs and swift currents so I did not venture into the water. Condi was sinking in the dry sand up to her fetlocks so we did not hang
around in the sun and got back into the woods. a little bit later i ventured up into the woods on a bit of a hill and there was a beautiful vista of the river.

this photo is very close to what I saw….

I gpsed the trail we road and downloaded it to google earth pro and printed the route. it was basicly a ride out and back and we did 7.31 miles

Looking at the PARK trail map on the web site there are horse trails and there are pedestrian and bike trails. I saw a couple of signs for no horses allowed.
the majority of the trails we rode were nice sandy well graded trails suitable for side by side riding. the trails were soft enough that shoes or boots are not necessary….
mostly sandy footing. the forest was beautiful and a good bit more open than here in central virginia where thick underbrush is more the norm.

I had a wonderful time and travel time to the park is no worse than a trip from here to Petersburg or Five Forks which are both nice places to ride..
as long as the traffic on the interstate cooperates…today it was pretty good.

When I got home I saw a message on facebook that my friend Jim Leahey is plannning to celebrate his 80th birthday with a ride at Lake Anna on the 16th…..
I immediately signed up for the ride

Walking with Apache 6 1 2021


Apache and I had missed a few days of walking. We needed to get back in the groove. We decided that we would go first thing this morning and we did although we dawdled a bit before leaving. I was pretty sure that we needed gas in the van so we decided to go to Washington Lacy park and we could get fuel in Ashland.

Our goal was to walk over three miles at a decent pace. we got that done

We walked 4.38 miles this morning including the hills on the power line.

Washington Lacy is a pretty park to walk in….the wooded trails especially on the northeast side are very pretty and being wooded are normally pretty comfortable temperature wise……One of us did work up a pretty good sweat this morning though

below is a picture snapped on one of the wooded trails on the northeast side.

always pretty and inviting. the trails within the park have some small hills but generally they are pretty easy to navigate. On the southwest side of the park the trails can be damp when there is a lot of moisture. Today they were pretty good even with the nice rain over the weekend.

to challenge our indurance we normally walk a section of the power line on the north side. There are three hills that will make your heart pump a little faster. I have tried several times to get a good photo of the two big hills but I don’t carry a good enough camera to capture them. Below is todays failed effort at a photo. Apache and I normally climb to the top of both hills and try to not stop in the ascents.

After our walk we stopped and filled the van with Gas and then toddled on home and had some lunch.

when we were coming down the driveway I looked in the stable and saw that the two new friends were sharing a stall again…so I snapped a quick photo…..they were standing there side by side and Pete was in his stall two stalls over.

As I approached Dixie stuck her head over the gate to see if I had any treats. She was disappointed that time…..she is a little spoiled….

After lunch I fired up the push mower and mowed under the electric fences where the cattle are currently…the grass has gotten taller than the fences and I usually mow either a paddock or some fence lines every day.

I have finally been able to put Diva, my cow, back with the three calves. Divas calf took a while to wean but she is finally leaving mama alone….so now that it has rained I will probably have to resume cutting the lawn again before long……

Or maybe Diva will teach the calves to follow her and if I can get them to come to call like she does then I can use them all to mow the lawn….might be worth a couple of tries….



The last couple of days have been rainy…..we needed the rain badly as we have not had any significant rain in about sixty days.
Satueday and Sunday brought us about 1.7 inches total here in the aridzona Virginia.

so Friday was the last day I got anything meaningful done here on the farm and Apache and I have been neglectful about walking….

We did try to go on Sunday and decided to try Washington Lacy park because it has the shortest loops and we could only get caught in a downpour so far from the vehicle.
About half way to ashland we drove into rain….it was light rain but fairly steady….we stopped at a couple of places in Ashland but it continued to rain.
so we headed on back home without walking….about half way home we drove out of the rain. We could have walked around here but the only place to walk is the roads
and I am not brave enough to walk the roads here especially with my walking companion along.

The lay off has demonstrated to me that the walking has been the key to my maintaining my weight loss. I have gained three or four pounds over the three days I have not walked.

Anyhow Memorial day was forecast to be a nice day…I decided I was not going to waste a nice day and hooked the trailer up Sunday afternoon…

I love to ride…but lately it is easy for other things to get in the way….Part of it is old age….I know I am not the rider I once was…
Walking I have to be careful not to fall off of my feet…bifocals and a declining sense of balance contribute to that was well as previously torn up ankles
Many folks are suprised to see a senior citizen riding alone….but too many times it is ride alone or stay the hell home…I am tired of stayin home and I have
a great deal of Confidence in Dr. Condi. She is becoming an excellent trail horse…not a dead head by any means but a steady and reliable mount. She confidently moves out alone
and if she sees something unusual she just stops and looks at it. Today at one point, we both heard something crashing thru the fairly thick brush on a hill side above and in front of us.
Neither one of us saw it and it made too much noise to be a deer. I suspect it was a bear…but it went the other way…people ask me why Dr. Condi always wears a bell.
The reason is unlike most people, I do not want to see a bear on the trail….

the trails at Trevillians opened this weekend and we had not been there since the last fourth of july.
There were a couple of trails we did not ride there that day so we thought we would do some scouting.

The day downed pretty as forecast and even a little cool. Had breakfast and fed Dixie and gave a handout to the others and shut the gate to Condis stall.

Gathered all my parphenalia while Dixie was eating. Once she was finished I turned her out with Pete and Condi stePped up in the trailer and we were on the road to Trevillians
just a little before eight. When we got there there was one other trailer in the lot but those riders were already on the trail. We never saw them but we did
see there tracks just about every where we went.

Condi and I were on the trail about nine am. We had not been out since the last Poor Peoples ride which was several weeks ago.
Dr. Condi was in professional mode and was as calm as if we had ridden yesterday… pretty quickly she had the stress falling off of me in chunks. I wrapped the
reins around the saddle horn while I familarized myself with the trail map. Dr. Condi had engaged her auto pilot and handled the navigation while I studied the map.

I remebered that there was one trail that was sort of damp the last time we rode there and wanted to avoid that one knowing that it would be difficult today.
We were sucessful in that endeavor and avoided that trail.

Below is a screen shot from Google Earth of the route we rode today…Best I can make out we rode the Red Trail, The Purple Trail and the Green Trail



Trevillians has a nice blend of lovely wooded trails that should be cool enough to ride even on hot days

photo wooded trail

and some more open trails that are vehicle wide.
Many of the trails had been freshly bush hogged
The green loop is one of those wide trails.
apparently the hunters and their four wheel drives really tore up the green trail this past wet fall….I recognize it because the logging roads I used to ride around here
are just about impassable on horseback now from the steady stream of trucks in the winter. I got a horse stuck in mud once in my life…not something I want to ever do again.
One side of the green loop had been regraded with a bull dozer. with the rain It was fairly sticky but not too deep. I just Gave Dr. Condi her head and let her pick her way through it


we were following the tracks of whomever had ridden out before us

photo muddy tracks

We did have one little bit of excitement. We were near the end of the green loop when we came to a sort of Tee intersection and I missed seeing the trail marker.
I took a right when I should have taken a left….we had not gone too far when I realized we were approaching a home. I turned around to back track when a dog discovered us and
came running and barking. When he came into sight, I realized it was a pitt bull and He was not happy.
I let Dr. Condi into a slow gait to put some distance between us. Did not want to run and cause a chase reflex.
He did not back off. we turned to face him and I yelled and he did stop but he had his hackles up. and he bluff charged us a time or two.

I knew he was not going to bite my horse even if I had to kill him…but I could not figure out how I was going to kill him without turning her aloose. I did not want to turn her loose.
I had no idea how I would catch her if she were to be scared by a fight.

fortunately I managed to buffalo the dog several times until we had put some distance away from his home and he finally gave up the game. Dr. Condi handled it beautifully…
she put her trust in me that time…

When we were about a mile out from getting back to the parking lot we saw the first riders we saw all day….three folks heading out. another quarter of a mile and we met
three more outbound riders. When we got back to the parking lot there were three riders about to go out and there were seven trucks and trailers besides mine.

We did a total of 8.38 miles and had a wonderful time.

I had such an enjoyable day that after I did the chores and Apache and I were discussing supper…..I told him I was goiing to celebrate and go to El Azteca for a Texas Fajitao and a
frozen Margarita….I did and I really enjoyed it….nice ending to the best memorial day I have had in several years….