PDF update 6/19/2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016 BEEN AN interesting couple of weeks.  Marie has had cataract surgery on both eyes since I last took keyboard to hand.  First one went smooth as glass…a week later the second was more difficult and she had pain in her eye for a couple of days….it is rapidly getting better now…she is not even wearing glasses and only needs a 1.50 magnifyer off the shelf store glasses to read.  Definitely cheaper than my auto tint bifocals…….                      Now after the rainest May on record it has gotten hot and dry…….     Hay making is going on at full tilt whereever you look……  My second cousin Lee, came by yesterday and I helped him pull a new wire to the outlet where the freezer is….there was a short somewhere and he had us up and going in no time.  people everywhere having experiencs with copperheads….I wear my judge when ever I am out side…but all I have seen are black snakes until yesterday….I was pulling some weeds from a bed in the garden and apache was following something…all of a sudden a good sized garter sanke appeared in front of me…and right below my hand.  Almost fell over backward.  not having any cows here the grass is taking over.  I decided I needed a few calves to eat some grass and hold the snakes a little farther from the house.  So this morning I put a bridle on Perkins and we did some cow moving…Three of the weaned calves had gotten back with the cows…so first step was to open the gate and gather the cows and sort off those calves….one of them was a steer that I am bringing home to begin feeding for freezer beef….Then I sorted off four of Courts heifers and we brought those five over to my house.  Finished around 10:30 or 11:00.  It was beginning to get hot….  Perkins is still a great old man and is beginning to like cow work…He had one moment where he apparently thought the mineral feeder was a grizzly bear…thought he was going to unseat me for a bit but we worked thru it…Then we rode up on a lame turkey dusting himself in a dust hole….may flies and small black horse flies were both pretty bad…….then after lunch I mowed and reseeded the paddock the horses have been in this week….     Our nanny goat Nellie, finally had her long awaited Kid….A single male goat born on D Day….I named him Ike…got off to a slow start with him being a little dumb and her not wanting to stand to be nursed….I milked her and fed him with a syringe the first evening…next morning he had a full tummy…I check him two or three times a day and he always has a full tummy and she normally has one teat or the other flaccid, but this afternoon was the first time I have actually seen him nurse.  She apparently is a pretty good milker and one side is all he can take at a serving.
Friday, June 17, 2016 I would have slept thru the storm if Dee Dee had not been so scared of the noise.,,,Court just came by to check on us…I said that I did not think the storm was bad here….I watched out the window as the southern sky was continuously lit up with lightening and thought to myself that Richmond must be catching hell….about that time we had a brilliant flash that hit within a mile or two and the whole house reverberated….next one was 12 to 15 miles away…Court said that Hoge Smith lost a hay barn,,,didn’t know yet what from…I just poured out and inch of rain from the gauge but the power did not even blink here…..the rain was hard enough that the direct teevee was out for about 49 minutes…it is still misting rain this morning…..turned on the news and sure enough Richmond got hammered….thousands without power…trees and power lines down ….roads blocked and the schools are closed.
Sunday, June 19, 2016 Well when I went out Friday morning all of the cows were in the ell behind my house…they were not supposed to be there…I had apparently left the electric fence off and they just helped themselves and walked thru and tore down a lot of electric fence…..so I spent Friday morning moving cows and fixing fence….when I got it back up and on it turned em okay….Friday afternoon I managed to sow one of the front paddocks and mow the grass the horses didn’t eat..   Marie had to work Saturday morning and I spent the morning cutting grass and trimming.  In the afternoon she wanted to take me out to eat for Fathers day…I told her I was not her father but she was insistent.     early afternoon I put Nelly and Ike in the garden lot so she could get some grass…she had pretty well mowed where she was….Ike was running and playing…I went to the house to get the camera and when I came back he dashed into the horse round pen and got stepped on….he was dead before I could get to him….I cried like a baby while I was burying him, and Marie is still bummed out and angry over it….when we went to eat we drove across Hewlett road to Jericho Road and saw why Hoge Smith lost a barn….both sides of the north Anna River looked like a war zone…trees down everywhere…..there was a storm cell that went thru there that must have been ferocious….       Sunday morning I took Perkins to Lake Anna and we rode with a small crowd to celebrate the 75th birthday of Jim Leahy….I hope to still be riding if and when I hit that milestone.   we rode 4.77 miles and then had some snacks and birthday cake and came on home….Perkins did well but he is not in the shape he was in….He was ready to quit when we got back to the trailer….we got back home before it got hot.

Lake Anna Ride 1 1 2016

Baby Jim
Photo courtesy of The Old Cowboy Archives

New Years Day Ride 1/1/2016

I have not written a ride report in a good while…..mostly this is because I have not ridden much in the last two years. Not because I don’t like to ride anymore but because life has gotten in the way…

I have had problems with the trailer for several years. I don’t even remember how long ago it was that one of the axles broke loose and I stripped it down to the frame and rebuilt it. I strongly suspected then that I di not get the axles welded back in perfect alignment as I did not have a jig to build it in and pretty much nothing was square any more. When I started riding with Stewart, he liked to have company on the travel to the venues and he told me that if I could get my horse to his house then we would all ride together. He only lived about five miles from me. It became habit.

Stewart and I rode everywhere together. Then Stewart had surgery on his foot and could not ride for months. But eventually he healed and we began riding again. The last tiem we rode together was new years day of 2014. I really don’t recall why we did not ride much in the first half of 2014, but .to escape the evil situation he found himself in Stewart was forced to sell his property and move to Buchannan. He found a place on Lil Mountain with thirty some acres of good grass and like all good horsemen immediately began taking in boarders to graze it down to the dirt…

And Marie has not been well…So I am hesitant to go far away and never over night. And then there is the new wood stove…cutting wood for the monster has filled the void in my life. Cut wood….split wood….haul wood…burn wood…I should be in better shape than I seem to be….

And now there is the coal stove…we have two stoves and this year we replaced the old one, which needed a good bit of work ,with a Chubby coal stove. I picked up a pallet of bagged coal yesterday…50 fifty lb bags to a pallet. 2500 lbs. I took the tractor to lift the pallet out of the trailer and while the hydraulics would lift it….what got lifted was the rear end of the tractor. I had the wood splitter on the tractor and that is almost the heaviest thing I have to put on it….so I unloaded half of the coal by hand….then the tractor would stay on the ground.

Then my trailer died again….one wheeel fell slam off and the bearing and hub were shot…I sold it to a guy to use as a chicken house…It had become too untgrust worthy to puyt my horses in.

During the intervening time, Stewart had sold his big gooseneck because it was difficult for him to get in and out of his property and he did not need all that trailer…he bought a two horse bumper pull…but after a year he found he did not like it and went back to a larger gooseneck. It helped that someone with some farm machinery accidentally knocked down the main obstruction on his driveway, making access easier. I bought the bumper pull from him sight unseen. So the trailer excuse is out the window. The tale of getting a title and a license is another story in itself…but it is licensed and inspected and street legal. Then for Christmas I got a lifetime state park riding pass. Marie mumbled something about needing an attitude adjustment. I thought she was just making more idle threats.

Anyhow, well before Christmas Stewart started talking about coming to the New Years day ride. And then the Christmas monsoon set in and it rained for a fortnight. But then Jim and Colleen posted that the ride was on and so I broke the news to Perkins that we were going and he went and rolled in a mud puddle…I swear he stuck his tongue out at me….
So we made the trip and I was hustling trying to make sure I had all my stuff together and trying not to be late…still forgot the GPS…so I had to guess at how many miles we rode. When I pulled into the lot there was not another trailer in sight…I had faith and unloaded Perkins and began to scrape away the mud…he literally was covered….About ten minutes later a rig unfamiliar to me pulled in and it was Stewart….shortly after that other trucks started arriving.

Stewart and I were the first ones mounted and we set out. While over thirty riders were in attendance we never saw any of them while we were riding…We rode the lake side loop and the little loop and half of the power line loop…We got to the big hills and decided it was too slick to go for a hill side slide on those steep hills and Perkins was about worn out by then anyway. So we doubled back and got back in time to scavenge some lunch….we were there at the appointed time but most others had come back early and a lot of folks were leaving by the time we ate. But we managed to find something to eat…We were not the last ones back and the reinforcements brough more provisions.

It was good to be back on a horse. It was good to ride with the PPRC again. It was good to enjoy the fellowship. It was good to meet some new folks. It was good to see my old riding buddy and his nice mule Dixie… Have to tell the story here…Stewart has gotten a new black Rocky Mare…Dancer. He was intending to bring her. He went out on the mountain to catch her in the dark. He could not find a black horse in the dark. She did not come to call…she did not come to the rattle of the feed bucket…Dixie, hearing the feed bucket appeared and followed Stewart all around the field in his quest to find Dancer and or Loretta…Finally with time getting tight and a long drive ahead of him, Stewart turned to Dixie and told her that since she volunteered it looked like she was elected.

As we departed it seemed to me that it started to get cold. So the weather cooperated. Perkins enjoyed the new enclosed trailer. The day was delightful and hopefully for me it was an auspicious start to a new year.






Starting 2014 out right

My people always told me to do something you liked on New Years day because you would be doing it all year….Last year I missed the new years day ride and low and behold……I only rode five or six times in all of 2013……

Determined not to repeat that pattern I was going to ride today even if was just a few laps around the house….

It was much better than that……We went to the annual PPRC New Years day ride at Lake Anna and had a ball….

I went with Stewart and in fact was priviledged to ride his nice his nice Rocky Mule, Dancehall Dixi….

Stewart and I had not ridden since mid summer….and Dixi had not been out in longer than that…But she was just like I had ridden her yesterday….well mannered and a joy to ride…

The deer were numerous and today we were riding right up to them…..must have seen a dozen and rode withing thirty feet of one….Dixi and I were both watching her and waiting for her to move, yet she stood stock still. When she did move it was so sudden that it still caused a little jump.

The weather was grand….started out cold as the devil but when the sun came out it warmed up nicely and the fierce wind of yesterday had laid down today….with all the rain of the last month the trails were a little sloppy but Stewart and I are seldom in a hurry…..We rode a total of 6.75 miles and got back in time for the nice pot luck lunch. Dixi breathed a great sigh of relief when I finally stepped down off of her….

while I did not get photos of them there were at least four other mules there today….One was David Oates on his nice mule and there were three more in a group that was not with us…..Peerkins would have enjoyed that as he always likes mules.

random photos below without narrative….
















Buckingham Appomattox Ride

Stewart and I went on a nice Ride Saturday. We were supposed to meet up with Jim Blanks and Zane Britton….We had a malfunction of the GPS and Dorothy took us into a dead end gravel road where we had a heck of a time turning Stewarts gooseneck trailer around in a small fishing trailer parking lot. The lot was access to abeautiful lake but it was steep and small….we finally got turned around and got out but all confidence in Dorthy was gone….We finally found an equestrian parking lot with a picnic shelter and corral and we stopped there….Blanks and Zane were in a different part of the park and when we talked to them all agreed to just ride out and perhaps we would meet on the trail….

Stewart took my camera and took a couple of photos of the suffering that Perkins must endure. One is a good photo of Perkins and one is a better photo of me…..


this is a shot of one of the trails….this park evidently gets less use than many we ride at….which appealed to me…Holiday Lake State Park is located within the Appomattox Buckingham State Forest….my analysis is the park has better trails but the forest has more trails….but sometimes the trails in the forest become a gravel road. In fact one ended on a paved road with no signage. Fortunately my GPS pointed the direction back to the parking lot and there were good wide grassy shoulders to ride along the road.

Perkins and Loretta always take turns leading….When Loretta leads she walks out but when Perkins leads she just ambles along behind him….Loretta still admires Perkins and nickers for him when ever he is out of sight….turn them loose and they walk around side by side….I think Perkins likes Loretta better than old bossy back home too…(Star Baby)

Another shot of the trails

In the state forest there are all kinds of tree management….these were some very tall pines we rode along beside….

Stewart and Loretta


Stewart and Loretta leading out…

my GPS map of the area we rode….11.3 miles most of it beautiful but one pretty good stretch of gravelled logging road….and we had not put the boots on so the ponies had to go slow and we tried to put them off the road as much as possible……all in all we want to go back….it is a little more than a two hour haul and a little long for a day trip. But now that we have been there we found a better way in than that lying Dorothy took us..does not seem to be any equine camping down there but we think we have a plan for that. Something like thirty miles of trails all together including one all the way around holiday lake which we have not been on yet….