Bill and Juanita, owners of Allenspark Lodge B&B, are living their dream...

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Friday, November 27, 2015

All That Glitters...

Thanksgiving is over.  And Black Friday has a different meaning for me.  I avoid the stores, so my angst comes from a different source.  Christmas decorations.  In particular, glitter.
Glitter.  It's the single most powerful weapon used in the War Against Christmas.

The stuff is loosely attached to nearly every Christmas decoration you can buy, and will fall off at the slightest breath of wind or touch.  Then it spreads throughout the room, spread by air currents or small demons, and placed in the carpeting, never to come out.  You can vacuum the carpet a dozen times, and that stuff will still blink at you from the recesses of the pile.  If you enjoy clean carpets, it will kill the joy in the season for you.

I can't help but think that most other religions don't have this problem, so maybe...

"Honey, Can we be Buddhists just for December?  We have that old mantle statue of Buddha with a clock in his belly, and the gold paint is hardly flaking off at all!"


"Dear, let's become Wiccans for a couple months.  We could leave the Halloween decorations up til winter solstice.  I like black cats!"

Or maybe

"Say now, let's go Hindu!  They have THOUSANDS of gods.  It will always be someones birthday.  We'll just leave the decorations up year round and never need to move them!"

Naw...I guess I'll just make a conscious effort to NOT BUY any decorations with glitter on them from now on.  But that's really going to limit the number of ornaments this year.

Glitter.  It's the devils dandruff.


Monday, October 19, 2015

Repairs Can Be...Difficult

Stuff breaks down here at the lodge.  I fix it.  I enjoy fixing stuff.  It didn't work, and now it does.  That makes me very happy.

This morning I replaced the dishwasher.  After about 15 years of service, it was time.  I pulled the old one out, put in its replacement and ran a couple loads through it.  It worked fine.  So I hauled the old one out to the garage/hay barn to store it until the next trip to the landfill.

As I was getting ready to open the door and put the leaky old dishwasher into the garage, I heard a sound next to me.  I glanced over my shoulder to see TWO HUGE FRICKING MOOSE coming around the corner about 2 feet from me.  Yeah, yeah.  I know.  They were "long yearlings", just babies really.  But they are still bigger than my horse (not that that takes much).

We all left the area in a HellOfAHurry.  I went back into the lodge and told Juanita about the TWO HUGE FRICKING MOOSE and we went up on the roof to take pictures.  They had already gotten over their fright and the "THREE" of them were eating our trees.
The mother was just out of camera sight, behind some trees.

Some of you may wonder why I tend to flee when I see a moose.  It's because they are the North American equivalent of a rhinoceros.  Poor vision and cranky.  I'd rather face a bear.  At least our little black bears.  I'm just glad we don't have grizz.

As for the dishwasher, it's still outside tonight.

Maybe next spring I'll put it away...


Thursday, October 15, 2015

A Good Week

B-  Nice ride today, Ranger.  You did very well, with no limping at all.

R-  I feel good Beel.

B-  We've gone out, what, four times this week?

R-  Many walks Beel.

B-  That's right.  More than two, is "many".

R-  Sometimes one is two many Beel.

B-  Yeah, yeah.  But you act like you're feeling good again.  We went out for three hours today, counting the picnic, and you were still trotting to get home.

R-  Home is good Beel.  Food is at home.  Water is at home. Standing in the shade is at home.  Not walking up the mountain is at home.

B-  Well, you haven't seemed to mind going out lately.  You don't run away (too much) when I show up with the halter.  That reminds me.  Why have you started walking away from me, rolling in the manure pile, and then coming back to me to get haltered before we go out?  It's really kind of annoying.

R-  Rolling feels good.

B-  But then I have to brush you, a  LOT, before I can saddle you.

R-  Brushing feels good.

B-  Well, just stop it.  Maybe I need to send you to a trainer like our daughter is doing with her horse.  It's learning lots of new things.  Like lowering her head to be haltered and walking nicely behind the person leading her.  You know.  Manners.

R-  Nope.  I do not need man-ers.  I am a horse.  I have good horsers.  That other mare must not know she is a horse.

B-  She knows she's a horse all right.  She's just a polite horse now.  She doesn't go out and roll in the dung when we walk up to catch her.

R-  That is sad.  Not a horse.

B-  SHE'S not sad.  She's happy that she knows what's expected of her.

B-  Maybe we should send you to a trainer.  For say, one lesson?

R-  Like I sayed earlier  Sometimes one is two many Beel.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


B-  Howdy, Ranger!  You're looking pretty perky today.  Let's go around the neighborhood.

R-  Okay Beel.  First I must poop.             
R-  Good. 
R-  Now you can put my head rope on my head.

B-  Wow, buddy.  You are being very cooperative today.

B-  Let's go bareback this afternoon.  This is great!  You're walking very smoothly today.  No limping at all.

R-  It is a very good day Beel.

B-  Say, we have some guests in the back yard that I bet would like to meet you.  Let's cut through the lodge and...

R-  No.

B-  Aww, come on buddy.  We've gone through the lodge before and you were fine.  Why not this time?

R-  On the before time you were walking in front of me.  Now you are sitting on my back.

B-  What difference could that possibly make?

R-  When you are in front of me the monsters will get you because you are slow and not strong.  I can get away.  If you are sitting on me I will be slow.  It is all about monsters Beel.

B-  There ain't no monsters, Ranger.  Ah well,  It's not worth the battle.  We'll just go around the back through the side yard...


B-  GAH!!  Whew.  No Ranger.  They are crates.  Wooden boxes.  You know that when you jump away from stuff like that you have to go up to it and touch it with your nose.  Let's do it.

R-  Okay Beel.   *touch*     But the krate monsters were not there in the before times.

B-  Nope, they're new.  Now let's go talk with the guests.

B-  Very good, Ranger.  You were a perfect example of a good mustang.  Now, let's go around...


B-  You moron!  That is the same set of crates that were there 10 minutes ago.  Touch 'em.

R-   *touch*

B-  Allrighty.  Now let's go around the... Oops some new guests just pulled up in the parking lot out front and are looking for the folks sitting out back.  Let's just walk with them back to meet the folks we were just talking with...



R-  *touch*

B-  Okay, introductions are made, let's go out front and around the block.  Wait...Ranger...where...what are you doing...

R-  *touch*   You make me touch the krate monsters every time we go by so I just did.

B-  I only make you touch it because you jump and snort and...  never mind.  Let's go for a walk.

R-  Okay Beel.  It is a very good day.

B-  You're right buddy.  I couldn't agree more.  Let's ride!

Monday, September 14, 2015


It was about 16 years ago.  A semi load of hay had driven across our leach field and someone reported it to Boulder County.  Damn.  We have to replace our septic system.  Water table VERY high.  Must bring in many truckloads of sand to bring the ground level up. Remove all of the old dirt (hazardous waste, now).  Major undertaking.  Lodge only open on weekends during the construction.  Guy working the back hoe during the work... "Say, are you Bill, the guy that owns the lodge?  I just found a badly leaking city water pipe that runs under your leach field, and seems to have caused all of your high-water table problems."

I had just met Dan.

Since that time, Dan has become a major fixture in Allenspark. 

Dan had sold his family dairy farm, and was hit by HUGE bills from the IRS for his capital gains.  He started working for a local company to help pay off those bills.   Then he started his own excavation company shortly after our septic system was put in, and never really took a day off since.

Dan had a big 'ol German Shepard that would sit on the deck of his backhoe.  The pup would just sit there and duck whenever the bucket would pass over his head.  No big deal.  The dog would ride on the back of Dan's motorcycle whenever he went through town, sitting on his custom built platform on the back of the bike. I laughed every time I saw them, leaning into the turns.  That dog finally got too old to make the trips with Dan, and none of his later dogs seemed to have that skill.

Most of the folks here in Allenspark know Dan.  He was likely to come by in the winter and push the snow out of your driveway.  "I'll bill you later", he'd say.  And later would never come.  If you needed help, you could just ask him and he would do what ever he could to help.

I talked to Dan two or three days ago about a project we need done.  "No problem" he said.  "Pay me whenever you can."  That  was going to save us a HUGE amount of time and money and red tape in getting it done.  So great to have Dan in town.

Years ago, when Juanita and I didn't have a place to keep our mustangs, (Ranger and Shadow), he let us keep them on his property for a winter until we found another place to keep them.

When Juanita had to put Shadow down a year later, Dan was there to help move the body and get it to a resting place.

When our daughter had to put her horse Estes down, Dan was right there to load the horse's body (with compassion and great care) onto our truck's flatbed to get it to its' final destination.

During the flood of '13, he was driving around with his equipment rescuing people and horses and putting in long hours repairing roads and driveways.

Dan was everywhere.
 This morning, we found out Dan died.  Last night.   Motorcycle accident. Going for pizza.  Riding alone.  No witnesses.  He didn't come home in time, so his wife went looking for him and found him.

I just can not tell you how much it hurts.  Me.  Juanita.  Our children.  His family. The whole community.

Rest in peace, Dan.  I hope you knew how much you were loved.


Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dinnertime Excitement

Yesterday we took the horses out for a picnic ride.  Ranger did quite well the whole way (whew).

As we were coming back and crossed the road by the horses' corral, we noticed that the choke cherries were fully ripe, and discussed coming back and picking some to make jam.  We marveled that nothing had eaten them yet...

Feeding last night was going along normally.  The horses had their feed; the hay bag was out.  It was quiet and I was enjoying listening to contented chomping sounds.  Then I noticed another sound; the llamas were clacking.  They quack kind of like ducks when something excites them.  I started walking over toward their pen at the opposite side of our corral, thinking they had spotted coyotes on the trail across the road.  That was holding their attention.  Standing there staring at the trail a motion caught my eye - much closer than the trail.  A bear was stripping the choke cherries off our bushes maybe 20 yards from the llama pen!

Washoe had quit eating and followed me over to the fence.  I pointed at the bear to show him and he was so excited he was running up and down the fence trying to get closer.  I think he thought it was a big dog that did not belong and had plans to run it off.  (He's my dog chaser.)

I finally went back up the hill to get Bill, hoping the bear would still be there when we got back.  We watched it until it was almost too dark to see it.  After Bill came over, Ranger stood near the feeder and snorted; Jesse wouldn't even raise her head out of the food.  Gotta love living in the mountains.
The llamas spent almost all of their time running back and forth at the fence line closest to the bear.   Quacking.

Bionic Cowgirl

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Great Day to be Outdoors

It's been a while since I have felt I had the time to blog; lots of blog worthy stuff but just no time to put it in the computer (maybe this winter).  Right now I have some great memories.

Today I grabbed one of our granddaughters to head out for a ride.  Autobot has been 'working' at the Livery next door on weekends this summer as a junior wrangler, so she has gotten to ride, but not with grandma.  Well, this weekend the kids got to stay longer to help out and being a Monday holiday thing, they were here on a Sunday (Livery closed on Sundays this year), so I took advantage of the situation to grab her for a ride.

We didn't waste any time on saddling; just grabbed the grays and headed up the mountain.
This is what it looked like on the mountain on August 9 when I rode with our neighbor.  We had a lot of rain this summer and you could hardly see the trails for all the trees and tall grasses.  Compass and I did get up higher and locate the Rocky Mt. Sheep herd that frequents this area.
I was hoping to get some good shots of the aspens starting to turn gold.  What we found were several that had their leaves blown off while still green.  We did have a freeze on the 19th of Aug., but I didn't think it was hard enough to cause that.
This is what it looks like so far on Sept. 6; just tinges of yellow.
This is Autobot informing Washoe that he CAN walk through grass without eating it!  She is becoming quite the horsewoman.  It was a lovely day in the forest.

Bionic Cowgirl

Saturday, August 29, 2015

The Old Man

My horse is getting old.

The last few times I've been out on Ranger this summer, he has lagged behind even more than usual.  He has never been what you might call a "high energy" animal.  But now he's doing a little limping on his rear, not much, but noticeable.  Even when he was being ridden by a much smaller friend or our granddaughter, it seems to be a lot of work for him to walk up the mountain.  On one trip around the block, I ended up getting off of him and walking, as he was "forging" (front and back hoofs colliding at each step) at a trot, and sometimes at a walk.  We called the vet in to take a look at him.

It took a couple days to get the vet up here, and by then he was walking fine, just slow.  We figured he may have gotten into a scuffle with one of the greys and gotten kicked.

So while the vet was up, we had his teeth "floated". It had been 7 or 8 years since the sharp edges had been ground off. Occasionally he had been choking on long strands of hay and he was dribbling a little grain, so it was time.

Now, the old guy has always been a cheap drunk.  One shot, and he's out of it.  The vet gave him his shot, ground the points down and found a tooth that was aimed sideways into his cheek.  He ground off the edges of it, too and we discussed getting an equine dentist up here for its removal.

The vet left and Ranger stood, sort of, trying to get it together enough to walk the 15 feet back into his pen with the other horses.

B-  Hey Ranger.  You doing okay?

R-  Mrrmff Beel.

B-  You're sort of swaying there.  How in the world can you stay up with your back legs crossed, and stretched out THAT FAR behind you?

R-  Rmmffted Beel.

After an hour or so, he perked up and headed back with the other two horses, who had been standing by the fence and staring at the old guy with great interest and concern.  He spent the next 8 hours licking and feeling his teeth.

This afternoon, I went out to catch the horses and put them in our back yard to "mow".  As I came after Ranger with his halter, he decided he wanted NO PART of it this time.  There just might be a vet involved again.

I have long been able to stop him by grabbing his tail and pulling.  He will stop, but... then what do you do?  He walks off if you let go of his tail, and he is short coupled, but I still can't reach his head to halter him while holding his tail.  This time, however, I noticed as I pulled his tail to the right, he would turn to the left.  And if I pulled his tail to the left, he would go to the right.

So I walked along behind him, tugging one way and then the other until I head "steered" him into the runout shed and into a corner. He looked over his shoulder at me seeming somewhat surprised, and I haltered him.

He was okay with going to mow.  No vet involved.  He spent an hour at it with the others, and then went home, still moving slow.

He is still losing a little weight.  His ribs and his hip bones are showing a little more than usual.  His face has almost as much gray hair as mine.  And walking is more of a chore than it used to be.

I think I may have to retire him soon.

That kinda hurts.


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bunch of Sheet

B-  Hey Ranger.  I've got something new for you to try.

R-  I do not like new Beel.

B-  Juanita thought the flies were "bugging" you.  Ha!  Get it buddy?  Bugging?

R-  I am trying to eat here Beel.

B-  No, come on.  We are going to put a fly sheet on you.

R-  I do not like this dress Beel.


R-  I will wear it but I do not like it.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

A Mini Vacation - Julie Goodnight - HorseMaster

We had scheduled two days off this month - very important for us this time of year - so we could get some stuff done, have a night without guests and NOT fix breakfast for a couple of mornings.  We set this up months ago.

Fast forward a couple of months to when the request came in from GunDiva to transport her horse to a TV shoot for the HorseMaster RFD series.  It turned out to be right over our two days off - which by the way, turned into ONE day off because we had inadvertently booked two rooms in for the second night.  Yipes!  It sounded like fun to us: transporting horses to a beautiful ranch in the southern mountains of Colorado could actually be relaxing - to us.  We love to travel with horses, although we would rather it had been our own horses.  But hey, horses are horses and GunDiva's horse is family, too.  We arranged for our other daughter, Nebalee, to 'Lodge sit' for us, meaning come up and hang out to wait for the guests to come in that had gotten booked and stay the night to answer the phone.  We promised we would be back before breakfast so she wouldn't have to do that too.  (This turned into a great deal of work for her, too, as the phone never quit ringing, and I had left her with all the beds to remake.)  She may never volunteer to help us out again.

So Monday finally got here, we got everyone out of the Lodge on time (11:00 a.m.) and set about getting as much done as we could before leaving.  Had hoped to pull out at 11:00 ourselves;  Bill had taken the dog to the kennel in Estes Park, I stripped all the beds in the lodge, sorted laundry, gotten all the dishes done and the kitchen cleaned up, and we set about getting our stuff in the truck.  We did manage to finally get underway at 12:10.

We needed to head north 1 1/2 hours to GunDiva's to pick up her horse and our horse trailer, which had been left there when Bill dropped off Ranger.  Bill hooked up the trailer while I haltered Skeeter, and she loaded like a champ.  We then needed to pick up another horse in Longmont that was also hopping a ride to the shoot.  We even found our way there without any problems, met the two people who were going to follow us, loaded that horse and we were on our way.  Our only problem was that it was now 3:45 p.m. and traffic was picking up quickly; we were between two busy cities - Boulder and Denver - and had to decide just how to get on the road we wanted.  Thanks to the help of the girls following us, and their texting me directions as we went, we managed to get onto C470 ... but what a traffic jam!  Once we got onto Hwy 285, it was much better, but now 6:00 p.m.  After going over Kenosha Pass in horrible rain, and stopping for dinner at a cute little bar in Fairplay, we pulled into Julie Goodnight's place near Salida at 8:30 p.m.  Suffice it to say, we were all a tad tired, but happy.  The horses had traveled well.

Skeeter unloaded and was amazed to find five other horses in pens right there!  She behaved like a jewel in her new pen - while the two neighbor horses got all rowdy and nasty.  I don't think she ever figured out what the big deal was with them.  This was the first trip - other than being delivered to GunDiva's in a stock trailer - that she had ever taken, and she was handling it like a champ: no hollering, no fussing, no fighting.

Julie was gracious enough to let us park our rig overnight near their 'bunkhouse', so we could sleep in the trailer.  It was heaven:  we were sound asleep before 10:00 p.m. - and when we woke at 5:30 and realized we didn't have to get up, it was even better.  We finally crawled out about 6:00 to a gorgeous sight of fog rainbows.  The fog had settled in the valley at the base of mountains and two rainbows peaked their heads out.  What a start to the day!  We settled ourselves into a couple of chairs on the patio of the bunkhouse to wait for other living beings, watch the day start, and wait for GunDiva.
GunDiva in her job as crew.

Suddenly there were many people around: all the crew and cast members for the day.  Horses being brushed and shuffled from one spot to another.  It's busy times getting a TV show - or in this case, many shows - taped.  The weather cooperated for the most part and we spent our day watching the goings-on and lounging with Skeeter, who was taking it all in.  Whenever an episode finished up, a cheer would go up with lots of clapping of hands.  I swear that horse thought it was all for her.  She paid attention to every little detail.

We used the time to best advantage by hanging out at the hitchrail, otherwise known as the patience post.  Skeeter doesn't have one at home and has never had to stand tied to anything for any length of time.  One time we tried tying her to her horse trailer but discovered the tie bar was not nearly strong enough; just one pull bent it.  Not good.  She did stand tied to our truck for about an hour with a saddle on one time, but that's just not the same as having to patiently stay put for long periods of time (an important tool for every horse).
Notice the brush - labeled "horse brush"

When it was getting close to time for Skeeter's turn, GunDiva had gone off to get her 'show clothes' on and I brushed Skeeter 'til she shone.  Bill helped get the dreads out of her tail while I did her mane; I was even able to spray fly spray on her legs (even though GunDiva said she hated fly spray).  She was quiet and calm the whole time we worked on her, resting her chin on my shoulder as we watched the final prep for her.  Julie had talked to GunDiva about how they would do the shoot:  show some of the ground work that they normally did, introduce her to a bit for the first time, hop on her back bareback, and maybe even saddle her up for a quick shot.  Now remember, we had done all of that at home - except the bit part - and it seemed a dream to get it all on tape.
Being a good horse.

Waiting to enter the round pen - good horse.

It was decided to use Julie's newly refurbished round pen - just in case.
Watching the camera crew.
The clapper board comes in - and things start getting exciting.

Imagine everyone's surprise when GunDiva led her quiet, sedate horse in - and she went ballistic!  She couldn't stand still, didn't listen to direction, was just basically obnoxious.  When GunDiva leaned across her back, you would have thought she had never felt weight there before.  It was pretty quickly decided that Julie would take over.  In came the flag and the master.  We had a pretty exciting 20 minutes or so...and the cameras never quit rolling.  One of Julie's most common comments is not being able to actually get pictures of a horse being, well a horse that had problems.  Not so that day!!!  Skeeter did a great show of what a wild Mustang can do when it doesn't find any comfort in what's happening - but she was beautiful; all the majestic motion you see in the movies, happening right before our eyes.  Skeeter did finally calm down and 'get her brains back' as GunDiva put it.  She turned into her normal sweet self for the bit part, letting Dale Myler slip the headstall over her head and placing the bit in her mouth for the first time, then teaching how to use the reins at the withers to teach the horse to 'give to the bit'.  We weren't allowed to take pictures during the actual shoot because the big cameras pick up the shutter clicks.  You will have to wait for the episodes.

We are all still laughing at Bill (and Julie) getting drug around the corral by a horse not wanting haltered, or Skeeter trying to chase the dog away from the gate, or any number of other stunts she pulled in a short period of time.  We can hardly wait for the episodes to appear on RFD-TV; the footage was fantastic!
It all ended on a good note, with a hug from Julie and a calm horse!

Skeeter walked quietly back to her pen and spent the rest of the afternoon eating her hay.  We watched the last of the filming for the day, a horse getting adjusted by a chiropractor, and decided to head for home.  Skeeter did give us a bit of attitude about loading in the trailer; she was just DONE.  It's amazing what a granola bar will do, though.  As soon as GunDiva walked off, I showed Skeeter the bar and on the trailer she went.  Pam loaded her horse up and we started down the road.  We stopped and ate at a cute little bar in Buena Vista and felt quite content.

That contentment ended rather abruptly, though, when Bill commented on the brakes acting 'mushy' on one of the long downhills.  He decided we had better stop at the next station on the way to check it out.  Oops - no brakes!  Fortunately the trailer brakes held and we got stopped safely.  Turns out we had a blown brake cyclinder on the truck and all the brake fluid had leaked out.  Bill was able to do a temporary fix and we were back on the road.  We pulled into GunDiva's place at 12:30 a.m.  Skeeter was pretty excited to get out of that trailer, but she still unloaded like a lady.  Ranger hopped on the trailer about as fast as Skeeter exited.  He was ready to go home.  We pulled into the Lodge at 2:30 a.m. to the hollering of all three of our horses greeting each other.

We had traveled over 600 miles towing horses.

And at 5:30 a.m. we were cooking breakfast for our guests.  Back to business as usual.  Our 24 hours went fast and we had a great time!
Bionic Cowgirl