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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Debugging the Herd

Well, we finally got to see (and touch) our horses.

Ida and her boyfriend had gathered them.  The horses had wandered down into one of the sets of corrals Sunday to lick a salt lick, which made rounding them up somewhat easier.  Ranger got backed into a stall, and realized he was caught.  All of the others would just as soon go for a trailer ride, so the spring roundup was something of a non-event.  Ida's boyfriend did question Ranger's training ("Are you SURE this guy is broke?") as it took a little while to get him into the trailer...

They took them and transported them  to one of the fields they "hay" during the summer.  So Monday we got to catch and de-burr and de-tick them.


"GunDiva" and I cut Jesse, Washoe, Estes and Eli from the rest of the herd, had them deburred, tick oiled and released in about fifteen minutes.  Ranger took an HOUR and fifteen minutes.  Dork.  He has never much cared for the smell of the citronella based tick oil, and I think when he smelled it on the others, he made his decision.


 "No way, Bill".

The pasture they were on was only about twenty or so acres, but damn.  I mean DAMN.  That horse had been running free for months with NO human contact, and Ranger was back to "mustang mode".  Run away, stop and stare, SNORT, run away again. 

Pressure and release does not work very well with Ranger.  When you stop advancing he says

"Good, now just leave me alone"

and when you retreat, he says

"Even better.  Just keep going.  Write if you get work." 

The best way to catch this guy is just to keep after him till he gets tired.  It can take a heck of a long time to tire out a horse.  GunDiva and I spent our time walking to him, halter in hand, and he would run away from us to the other side of the herd.  Mostly he ran to the left, around the herd.  I commented to GunDiva that he must have some Off Track Thoroughbred in him, as he was "running the race track".  Realistically, as a fourteen hand Roman nosed grulla from Nevada, his ancestors were more likely to have played the slots than to have run on a track.

By the time he was done with his run, he was dripping rivers of sweat, and breathing a little harder than he had been when we started.  Me too.  He stood nicely while I dropped the rope over his neck, and he was caught.   We led him back to the fence to the grooming stuff.  Tick oiled, deburred and done.  Five minutes, tops.



Sunday, February 20, 2011

Pictures! We Have Pictures!

On Friday, when I was taking Monster up to work at the Lodge, we saw the horses down at the Homestead.  We pulled in and they all came to join us at the fence.  One would think they've missed us as much as we've missed them.

These pictures aren't the best, because they were taken with my cell phone, and you can't see a lot of detail, but you'll get the sense that they just kept coming and coming.  Fourteen total, including Ida's herd.

Washoe's a little thin and covered in cockleburrs.

Here they come!  They look like ants coming out of the hills.

Doc's pretty excited to see humans.

Look at those fillies!  I still want one something fierce.

They're coming two this year and are just gorgeous.

Well, hello Mr. Eli.

Jesse's on the left in the back and Mr. Ranger Danger is hanging back, checking it out.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Stampede! (4 yrs ago)

There they are! I wave frantically, trying to get their attention. They must be a good half mile away, on the next ridge over. Suddenly a gray head comes up, then another, then a red and finally, the whole herd. Watching, watching, analyzing. Soon the gray heads my way, picking up speed and the rest of the herd follows suit. My heart skips a beat as I watch, mesmerized, while my mare heads down that long hill, moving like a dancer over the rough terrain, the shrubs and boulders that jut up from nowhere. As she hits the bottom land, she goes to full speed and soon the whole herd of 13 is galloping my way.

Bill and I had spent a considerable amount of time trying to locate the horses. The day before we had hiked three hours, searching all their normal locations and had ended up going home without seeing them…a first. We were determined to not leave it that way, so that night, while soaking in the hot-tub, my subconscious kept working on where the horses could be. I had been sitting there with my head leaned back, eyes closed, when suddenly, it was like a picture flashing across my sightless eyes, Jesse saying, “We’re here, we’re here!” and I could just picture them grazing in a pasture we had never seen. “I know where they are,” I yelled, causing Bill to jump since he was only three feet from me.

We had already decided to go back the next day, so when we did, I would stop and look out over the ridges in different directions, looking for the ‘scene’ that had popped into my head. After hiking in about an hour, I saw the ‘scene’, looking across to a pasture we had never been to. Sure enough, when we got out the binoculars we spotted what appeared to be animals scattered on a hillside. Hoping it was horses, and not cows, we backtracked down the mountain we were on, crossed a creek and trudged up the next hillside. That took a good hour, only to lose sight of them. We split up and each went a different way around the hilltop in front of us, hoping to not let them slip by us on their way to water. A half hour later, that’s how I ended up in the middle of the mountain pasture. Bill came around his side of the hill, higher than me, in time to see the horses barreling down on me. I don’t think he had quite the same perspective I had…and I couldn’t explain it to him.

Panic!!! They are stampeding directly toward me and I look around, realizing there is not a single “safe” place I can get to in the amount of time before they get to me. Suddenly, reality hits. So Hollywood! Horses don’t ‘run down’ people when they have plenty of space to choose from! My heart is still racing as I stand my ground and they suddenly slide to a stop, as one, about ten feet in front of me. Then my two grays calmly walk forward for their lovin’ and treats …leaving the others wondering why the rush to get here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Feeding Hay?

I called Ida a few days ago, wondering where the horses were.  I left her a VM with an update about  my recent surgery, and a request about horse location.  Last night, the call came in from her.  I had to fess up that the call was precipitated by the sight of truck tracks down where the horses occasionally greet us, and tracks leading back onto the mountain.  We were driving by at a clip too fast to discern type of tracks...human or horse or cow.  I was in hopes she had located the lost wanderers behind their ranch buildings and relocated them to their proper mountain site.  No such luck.  She had, indeed, put her two precious fillies and Paint there, in  hopes of them locating the rest of the herd, but after she had to deliver hay to them during the last snow, she decided to pick them up and take them back to the ranch site.  Mind you, there was plenty of pasture, but no Mustangs to make them go look.  So....we still don't know for sure where the guys are, but it's getting narrowed down and beginning to look like we will be bringing them home around April 1.  That's early, but they will just have to tough out the last of our spring snow storms!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

February Recipe of the Month: Jambalaya Casserole

I made this for dinner tonight.  I eat WAY to much of this one.  It would be a good "Fat Tuesday" dish, today is Tuesday, right?

Jambalaya Casserole
375* 45 – 60 minutes 9” x 13” (or 3—qt. casserole)
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup butter
Saute all above ingredients in large skillet; transfer to very large bowl and stir in the remaining ingredients:
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups uncooked long grain rice (we use Jasmine rice)
1 cup tomato chopped (1 can chopped tomato, drained)
½ cup chopped green onion
3 Tbls. Minced fresh parsley
1 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbls. Hot pepper sauce
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Pepper
Transfer to baking dish; cover and bake until rice is tender, stirring twice.

Juanita claims you can double this recipe, but I'm not so sure.  Our oven doesn't go up to 750 degrees.

(Taste of Home)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Back to Work

OK, I've lazyed around long enough.  We had our first guests in this week, since my hip surgery.  It has been great fun.  This place is made for people and it just seems a bit lonesome when we go too long without.

Great news:  yesterday I had an appointment with my surgeon and physical therapist.  Both agreed that everything is in great shape and I can start navigating....W I T H O U T.... walker, cane or anything else.  Super news, and just 15 days post-op!  I still haul the cane around for 'soft' support, as I have been given great warnings of pushing the healing too hard and ending up slowing things down.  So I am building my strength back up bits at a time.  The PT says he is starting me on a stepper next week; need to get my cardio back in shape.  Who's side is he on, anyway?  Next surgery is scheduled for March 3.  Should get me back in riding shape by the time the horses come home.  Now, if someone will just go find them for me....big hint, here.

I do tire easily.  After Bill and I did breakfast, and cleanup, today, I 'died' for over two hours.  It is going to be really, really hard giving up the daily naps when summer gets here.

We are still in the low teens and lots of snow, so all you people in warmer climes, ride for us.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Chamber Pot?

When we bought the lodge a little over 13 years ago, we remodeled the old grocery store attached to it.  We now call it the "Sun Room" and use it for assorted conferences and craft groups.  Most of the time, these groups are "single sex" getaways-  scrapbooking groups, knitting groups, quilting groups (mostly women).  So with the two restrooms we had in there, quite often there would be a line to the ladies room, even with no other males on the premises.

We got cute.

                                      The signs say "Elk" and "Deer"

There are Males and females of each species, so the rest-rooms are now "unisex", right?

It's kind of fun watching people walk up to the restrooms, pause, scratch their heads, and then choose.  Oddly enough, about 90% of the time women choose "Deer", and 90% of the time, men choose "Elk".

If I flip the signs over...

                            They say "Goats" and "Sheep"

Almost 100% of women go to "Sheep" and almost 100% of the men go to "Goats".

The last couple days, we have had temperatures down to between -26 and -38, depending on which thermometer you believe. This morning the pipes in the walls of these restrooms have frozen and burst, so I had to shut the water off to them.

I think tomorrow I'll need to make up some new signs.

    "Grizzly" and "Polar", because until I get the pipes fixed, it's the woods for everyone.

I hate plumbing.


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wing Nut


One wing nut.  Maybe I am dating myself, but I used to change the air filters in my cars by removing one wing nut.

  I have been busy as a one armed paper hanger around here the last couple weeks, so I try to multi-task whenever I can.  So yesterday, when I took Juanita to her physical terrorist therapist,  I figured I would get the mini van ready for it's emissions test by changing the air filter in the parking lot.  I had the filter, and some tools and even the "Chiltons" repair manual, but why in the world would I need such a thing?  Just a wing nut, right?

HA!  Bull-loney!

 I removed the box that obviously held the air filter.  Scratch that.  I tried to remove the box that should have held the air filter.  Two bolts, so I was already peeved.  I felt around for a catch of some sort, but couldn't open the stupid box.  Okay, defeated.  Time to break out THE BOOK.

Oh, look!  This isn't the box for the air filter, it's just an empty plastic box that is glued shut!  I think it's function is to hide the ACTUAL air filter box, mounted underneath it.

I removed another bolt or two, 3 or 4 hoses, and that allowed me to remove the empty box.  Sure enough, it was glued shut.  Probably just as well, or I probably would have tried to cram the new air filter in it anyway.

Another 5 minutes was spent trying to open the catches on the actual air filter box hidden underneath. When I finally got the catches undone, and the box lid open, I found there just wasn't quite enough room to remove the filter.  The box would have to come out.  The box would not come out.

I don't know if I mentioned the air temp was 11 degrees there in the parking lot.

Things were stiff, tight, and brittle on the engine.  So were my hands at this point.  I was 20 minutes into the process and still hadn't gotten the old filter out.  I was loosing the capability of rational thought.  A good Samaritan came walking by and asked if I needed a jump.  I stared at him with a slightly crazed expression and muttered something about wanting to become emperor for a day and imprisoning all automotive engineers in a dungeon and only feeding them all the live rats they could catch and eat raw.  He backed away and disappeared while I continued my teeth gnashing rant.  

I finally wiggled the old filter out, and finessed the new one in, got the catches shut and started replacing hoses, bolts and empty plastic boxes.

Then, I dropped the wrench.

From long experience, I have learned you must find dropped things.  You don't have to get them, but it is imperative that you know where they are laying.  Sure enough, it had wedged itself in-between the electric fan blades and the radiator coils.  It would be very bad to leave there.  I was trying to make frozen my fingers pinch a small, slippery wrench in a VERY tight space when Juanita came out of the clinic.  From long experience, she has learned it is imperative that she not spend too much time talking to me when I have that look in my eyes.  She sat in the van, waiting patiently.

I spent another couple minutes at the wrench, and finally got it out.  I replaced the bolts, tightened them, put the tools away, and got into the van, and drove away.

I remember when it took 5 minutes to change an air filter, and that included the 4 and a half minutes it took to buy the filter.

Maybe the dungeon and rats would be too kind.  They should just have to work on the stupid things they design.