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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last Official Ride of the Season - long

It isn't, really, for Bill and I, but we decided to do a regular 'end of season' ride with Gundiva before delivering Estes to fat pasture.  (Estes is doing very well since her bout with sand colic, but I just didn't want her to lose ground weight this winter.)  So ....

We have a special place we like to ride before dropping the horses off, and today was the perfect day for a ride there.  It's across the road from where our horses used to go for the winter.  Sunny, sunny, in the 40's, slight breeze - it just doesn't get better for us at this time of year.
Washoe, Estes, Jesse, Beel - yes, I opted for a saddle; elbow still isn't up to hauling myself up bareback.

Welcome to Hall Ranch, home of the mountain lion - and we think we spotted a track.  We headed off on the horse portion on the trails, with a gentle climb over rock.
... down into the gully with it's natural earth bridge ...

Shortly after this picture, Beel's camera decided to quit working.  While he was playing with it, Washoe decided to have a quick bite, and while trying to correct that Beel accidentally popped the battery compartment open, sending his camera batteries flying to the ground .  Oops!  Needless to say, Beel and Washoe had to have a bit of a discussion ...
Honest, Beel, I didn't steal any grass!  You should have seen the wad Beel pulled out of his mouth! 
In the background of this next picture, you can see the horses' old hangout.
OK, here's proof ... the hand holding the camera is attached to the 'formerly' broken elbow.  I don't have full strength (Bill had to heft my 45 lb. saddle) and not quite full range of motion, but pretty darn close.
By this time, Jesse had decided it was hot and started her shaking routine.  That horse starts at the nose and shakes all the way through her tail!!!  
... and then you stroll off like nothing happened.  You just gotta laugh.

All too soon, we had to head back...
Overlooking the bluffs we had come up ...
Low hanging branch, even for short horses and riders.  LOL
Stairs!  Well, not quite as impressive as the ones we did at HCR 2 ... but still considered a trail obstacle.
Ranger got the day off, mostly because we can only haul three at a time, and he is the only one that will stay home alone without causing trouble - like hollering for the other horses the WHOLE time they're gone.  And believe me, Beel did his share of complaining about having to ride a taller horse.  Notice his feet aren't dragging the ground..
We were even nice enough to share the trail.  We noticed two 'riders' coming up toward us, so we found a wide spot and pulled over to wait.  No one showed, so in a few minutes we called to them that it was OK to pass.  They called back that they had gotten off to wait, also, only they really got off.  Actually only one was riding; the second horse was bareback and was being led.  We didn't tease them too hard about the walking part after they noticed Beel and GD were bareback.  Later we passed a hiker sitting on the trail and as we approached the trail head, we waited on a mountain biker to pass.  It was just such a beautiful day to be out.
Coming back down towards the old ranch again.
Back at the vehicle ... the victory stretch.
Proper way to get off ? or just hanging out with your horse?
Now we had to load up and go a few more miles down the road to drop off Estes.  She was sure excited to see her herd.
From L-R:  Meeker (Estes' 1st daughter), Brownie in back, Digger (Meeker's daughter), Peanut, Baby Meeker (Meeker's last year foal), Audobon (Estes's second daughter), Doc, Andromeda (black in back, the full Friesien), and Dakota (Audobon's daughter)
This next picture is GunDiva's lotto winnings, should it ever happen.
Estes' grand-daughter, Dakota.
And Baby Meeker is already sold.  She has the cutest reverse star; it's black instead of white.  She's just a yearling and already taller than her mom, beside her.  Her Friesien dad is showing in those legs.  She gets to stay with the herd until April, when her new owner is in hopes of her being a good polo pony.  Watching her move today, I don't think there's much doubt she will do well.

It was a wonderful end-of-season ride.
Bionic Cowgirl, signing off.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Blog Blurb

Last night we only had 6 guests, so it was a one table breakfast this morning.  Time to experiment!

Juanita is calling it a  "peach/pear/cranberry crostada".  This one was made with phillo dough.
When she gets the kinks worked out of it, maybe we will post the recipe.  Tasted wonderful!

After all of the guests left, we grabbed Ranger and Jesse and went for a quick bareback ride.  It was cool, but not too bad... mid to lower 40's, but the wind was blowing pretty well, and they were concerned.  Jesse was all set to go around the block here in town, but balked a little at going up the mountain into the national forest.

I have a mustang that trusts me.  He would follow me through the fires of hell.

Ranger took one look at the snow covered parking lot at the livery, and said "No way, Beel"  I spent a couple minutes flailing ineffectually at his ribs with my heels, and finally gave it up and jumped off and led him across the parking lot.  No problem.  I remounted at the base of the hill, and rode him down to the little stream that crosses the trail.  You know, the same little stream that all of our horses drink out of, EVERY DAY, about 8 feet upstream from where we were standing.  Balking.  Not crossing the stream we have crossed maybe 500 times before.

"It has ICE Beel.  I might break through and drown!"

"Ranger, it is 8 inches wide, 3 inches deep, with a quarter inch of ice covering the edge.  You drink out of every day.  DON'T BE A MORON!"

He bent down and touched his nose to the mud.

"Nope, it ain't worth the risk Beel."

I pulled the belt out of my pants (riding in a halter and lead rope, I got no reins to "whack" him with) and tapped him with the belt (And no, I didn't hit him hard.  As a horse he's bigger than I am and as a mustang, he knows it).  Nothing.


I dismounted, led him across (and back and forth another half dozen times).  No problem.  Followed me like I was the boss.

We rode up the mountainside and got to a snowy north slope.  I stopped before Ranger could balk and make me dismount again.

We turned back and went home.

Yes, I have a horse that would follow me through the fires of hell.

"You first, Beel."


Thursday, November 24, 2011

. . . and Let the Feasting Begin

GunDiva and RCC ran the local turkey race today as a starter; we got up and put the turkey on and shoved all the casseroles in the oven that we prepped last night.  The day was much warmer and sunnier than expected, so we spent some time with the horses.  We'd saved some bread treats for them ... waiting for enough snow to be off the ground so we could toss them all over.  OK, so Ranger and Jesse got handouts from Beel; Estes and Washoe prefer the hunt and search method on the ground.  Even the neighbor dog got in on the act, but Thanksgiving is for everyone so she was allowed.
Bill carving the turkey.  Would you believe EVERYBODY forgot the camera!!!!
We packed up all the food and headed to my Mom's, to be joined by all but the youngest of our children (who is trying the trade-off routine with significant other's family).  It was a joy to see everyone together and we hope all of you had as wonderful a day.
Juanita and Bill

Monday, November 21, 2011

Novembers' Recpie, Chocolate Covered Cherries

  Yesterday Juanita and I were in the kitchen with a couple friends.  They were helping Juanita make chocolate covered cherries.  As the dippin' and rollin' were going full steam, the lights went out.

"OOO! OOO! YES!  I get to try my new generat..." and the lights came back on.


Maybe I'll get to use my new generator another day.

Chocolate Covered Cherries


2 and 1/2 cups of powered sugar
1/4 cup softened butter (unsalted is best, salted will be good, too)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
16 ozs maraschino cherries, with stems, drained
2 tablespoons shortening
2 cups (16 ozs) semisweet chocolate chips


Combine butter, sugar, milk and vanilla in a small bowl, knead until mold-able.  Shape into about 3/4 inch balls, then flatten into 2 inch disks.

Wrap each disk around a cherry and gently roll in hands.  Place the wrapped cherries stem up on a sheet of waxed paper on a cookie sheet and chill the bunch.  Half an hour in the freezer, or four hours in the refrigerator.

Microwave the chocolate chips and shortening until melted, stir until smooth.  Dip the chilled cherries, holding by the stem, into the chocolate.  Let the extra drip off and place on waxed paper until the chocolate has set.  Place chocolate covered cherries in a covered container and refrigerate for a week or two before eating.

Cherries can be soaked in Bourbon before wrapping for a more adult-type treat.

 Will make about 36 covered cherries.

Here is to future power failures.


Saturday, November 19, 2011

Bionic Cowgirl: Very Much Alive and Doing Quite Well, Thank You

Yeah, it's me, the bionic cowgirl.  We've been receiving quite a few email inquiries about my current physical conditioning, so I thought it prudent to 'get over' my current malaise with my computer.  Many years ago we left the computer industry and I swore I would never again become addicted to the creature!!!!  So every now and then, this particular malaise hits me and I refuse to be drawn into the electronics world (except of course, the normal, everyday entering of company data, bookkeeping, and quarterly reports, etc that I can't get away from).  Besides, Beel is so much more fun to read!  Onward ...
Jesse playing peek-a-boo with me.

Again woke up to a good four inches of new snow - now 5 hours later and still coming down - but had this amazing feeling that it's now RIGHT.  It's beautiful and I love watching the horses be at peace with the weather, even like this.
Love Jesse's snowy eyelashes!

Estes, next to 'the shed'.  She sure blends in.
 We've had three weekends full of guests, and only a couple rooms this weekend, so maybe that's why I feel like maybe a blog would be good.  The physical therapist says my arm is on the fast track, healing wise, and should be fully functional within the next 4 - 6 weeks; as soon as we can get my strength back.  MY goal is to be riding next week - at the 6 wk mark.  Yesterday, before the snow, would have been a perfect ride day: dry road, no wind, sunny, mid-40's, so I brushed the horses instead.  They weren't too appreciative because they had worked very hard over the last few weeks getting their mud-coat just right and I messed it up right before a storm.
Yesterday, these two had black backs.  Now they just have sad faces. LOL

Did I mention there is a pallet load of pellets sitting on the back of our truck?  Hmmmm, good thing they shrink wrap those babies pretty well!  Right now I'm not much help unloading things like that (they weigh slightly more than my coffee cup weight limit), although yesterday, I did help bring in wood.  I'm only allowed to carry 'baby' sticks, but it's better than nothing.  Beel keeps a really close eye on me.
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I've always said that lodge work was the best kind of physical therapy.  I tell my PT that all the time.  Imagine the stretching that takes place folding sheets for 19 beds at a time (after each full weekend!), and did I mention the making of those beds?  Of course, that's just the start ... but I still enjoy my life.  How many people get to live in such elegance as the Rocky Mountains?

Although sometimes, I am envious of Mikey in AZ, having the weather to tan her own cow hide.  That is so cool.  The desert is a way neat place to live if you can take the heat.  In fact, most of you bloggers live in really cool regions.  I would love to visit everyone of you; I think I will make that a goal - or a NY's resolution, since that's the only kind of resolutions I make (fun ones!).

Due to all our lifestyle changes this year, what with my bionic-ness and the decision to keep the horses home, we have decided to forgo the WNFR (Wrangler National Finals Rodeo) this year.  Instead we will travel through AZ in a couple weeks to see a friend who lives near the Mexico border and catch up there.  I'm actually looking forward to the trip, even though certain kids have tried to threaten me to stay off any horses while away.  What fun is that?

So, you see, I am alive and well, but very, very slow.  The arm gets tired before the work gets done (typing is still a strain) and blogging has fallen by the wayside.  I promise to do better soon.

Yours truly,
The Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, November 18, 2011

My Latest Weekend Story

Last weekend we had a "scrapbooking" group in that had rented the whole lodge for 3 days.  These gals have been here every year for the last 11 or so years, so they knew the drill.  Dinner in the evening, wine or beer after dinner, crop all night, breakfast in the morning, crop all day, dinner in the evening, wine or beer after dinner...

Things were going normally until the last night, about halfway between "wine or beer" and "crop all night", when the lights all flickered.  The wind was howling, so it wasn't completely unexpected, but I lit some candles and ground a bunch of coffee, just in case the power blinkages turned into power outages.

Then, "LET THERE BE DARK" and there was.  Boy, was there.

We handed the gals that were still up watching movies and cropping their pictures an assortment of flashlights, and they all went to bed, giggling like it was a slumber party.  Not too much different than usual, just a little earlier.  Juanita and I stoked the fires, set up a bunch of battery operated lanterns, pulled out the frozen stuff we would need the next morning (just in case the microwave still wasn't working in the morning) and then we read for an hour or two by lamplight.  And went to bed.

When we woke up the next morning, it was still dark.  We re-stoked the fires and cooked breakfast.  We have a gas oven/range/griddle just for this sort of thing, so breakfast was wonderful and on time.  Several of the gals said when they woke up and the power was still off, they were sure it was going to be cold cereal in Styrofoam bowls.  HA!  NEVER!

We fed them and as it was their last day, they packed up and headed home after breakfast.  They went home to their houses with electricity.  We stayed at the lodge in the dark.  After a while, I started to worry about the food in the refrigerator.  The temperature in the ice box was up to 52 degrees, and climbing.  So I closed the door to the kitchen, opened the kitchen window (outside temp was in the 20's), and WAH-LAH! The temperature in the kitchen was 40 degrees.  I opened the fridge door and WAH-LAH!  Cold food.

We spent the rest of the day wandering around and wishing we could do laundry, vacuum the floors, run the dishwasher... You know, all of those chores that need power.  We finally drove down to Fort Collins to bake our oldest son's birthday cake at his house 'cause, well, he had power.

After the party at his house, we drove back home, lit some more candles (fortunately we had no guests in THAT night), re-stoked the fires and went to bed early and read by flashlight until bedtime.

We woke up the next morning, re-stoked the fires, lit some more lanterns, swept the floors, answered phone calls about a neighboring lodge that was burning to the ground, and pretty much hung out in the dark.  It was becoming more of a chore than an adventure at this point.

When the lights came on a little before noon, I closed the kitchen window and started vacuuming the floors, while Juanita started laundry and the dishwasher.

If this had happened in the summer, we could have lost hundreds of dollars in groceries in the fridge and freezer, 'cause I wouldn't be able to cool the stuff down by opening the window.  The fires in the fireplace and wood burning stove kept it a toasty 65 degrees in here.  It could have been a whole lot worse.

I bought a generator yesterday.  It won't run the whole lodge, but by gum, our ice cream ain't gunna melt.

Priorities, you know.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

My Weekend Story

Last weekend (November 4th and 5th) I went to Sedona Arizona to watch my kid sister get married.
Love the Desert.

My Little Sister, Beth
The Cute Sibling

We interrupt this blog for a two day  power failure.  Now that the lights/heat/refrigeration are back on, we will continue with our regularly scheduled blog, at the point at which we left off. 


The bride, groom and mountain were all in white.

After the ceremony,  the bride and groom made there escape.
And yes, the bride is wearing hiking boots.

Which is just as well, with all the crypto-dirt and all.

Congratulations Beth and David!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Transporting Horses

This time of year we help a friend transport her horses to their winter location.  Between snow storms, Bill hooked up the trailer and off we went.  The ranch where the other horses are kept is about a half hour's drive up a steep, dirt road; best to do when it's NOT snowy!
Boots, the pony, was an easy catch.
Blaze, on the other hand, decided to play hard to get ... for about 30 seconds, until he found himself cornered.
So off we go to the trailer.  Wait, let me see what's in here.  OK, I'm ready.
For the first time ever, Blaze loaded himself on command.  So quickly I missed it on camera.  This is a HUGE improvement for this horse.  Having his buddy in first helped, but he used to still be tough to load.  Then he unloaded just as easily.  He's finally learning that this travel thing isn't so bad.
We're there and the horses are certainly excited.  The day is perfect to turn them loose.
OK, guys, there you go . . .
As soon as they spot the snow, it's tails in the air and off at a trot . . .
for a good roll in the snow!  They soon took off with tails in the air to join the other horses in the pastures on the other side of this gorgeous old barn.  They will be out all winter, hidden in the trees on some really nice, rich pasture.  Alas, it's too rich for our guys.  I tried to get pictures of them running out, but it was too far for the camera to catch clearly.  See ya next spring!