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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.



Sunday, September 12, 2021

Just Moosed Me

My heart is still pounding.

Earlier this afternoon I had told one of our guests that moose are more dangerous than bears or mountain lions, and 4 or 5 people have been injured in moose attacks this year.  The victims had been walking their dogs, and the moose (mooses?) had taken offence.

This evening I was crawling backwards out of the chicken coop after checking to make sure they were in for the night, and had my little pocket flashlight in hand.  I closed and latched the coop door and was still on my hands and knees when I heard something behind me.  I turned and lit up a moose kneecap about 15 inches from my face on the other side of a chicken wire fence.  I made some sort of growling/shrieking sound and the moose ran off, followed by another moose a pace or two behind it.


I know moose are big, but when you are on your hands and knees right beside two of them, it gives you a whole 'nother perspective.




Since they both left, I guess chickens don't offend them as much as a dog would have.

(And surprisingly, I didn't even crush the egg I was holding in my hand...)

Bill

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Horse Time

Soooooo .... we have actually done some really fun stuff this summer with the horses, the last of which was an obstacles clinic with our favorite Mustang trainer, Jessica Dabkowski at Two Spruce Farm

The owner, Jody Marken is also very knowledgeable and was a huge help teaching me to slow down and learn how to move your horse 'one step at a time'. It's a lot harder than it sounds.  It's much easier to ask your horse to move in any given direction and have them move three, four or more steps, than it is to have them just move one foot, one step.  Try it.

Here Washoe and I finally did the gate correctly, by doing it in one step segments.
 

Bill sat this one out due to a migraine, then ended up being the photographer, getting some pretty great shots.  GunDiva daughter, Miss LE, and I all had a great time challenging ourselves.  As Jessica and Jody kept telling us, it wasn't about the obstacle, it was about the communication between you and your horse.  

Since my horse is pretty great with true trail obstacles, once he understood these were just funky items to play with, we first practiced 'sending' our horses through on their own, then having them stop in the middle of one, or even trying to have them do something on 'just a thought'.   Later I rode Washoe through this particular obstacle, and asked him to stop in the middle.  He did .. then reached down and pulled the yellow noodle off with his teeth and spit it on the ground.  Challenging our communication with them on a large scale - in both directions.

 

 

Another fun one.  Washoe couldn't decide if he was supposed to step between the tires - or on them.  After this he totally ignored them and just walked all over them, stepping wherever, and even just standing on them.

 

 

 

 

Turned out GunDiva and I wore the same shirt that day, making us 'twinsies' according to her.  The horses standing together remind me of the Beatles' song Ebony & Ivory. Dating myself big time here.

 

Right now, plans are to haul our horses over to Estes Park at the end of September to a Mustang challenge there, happening after one of the TIP auctions.  So we brought our daughter's horse up here until then, so we could practice together on some maneuvers, such as side-passing over a log, backing through poles, and opening gates.  Today, I decided to ride her horse just for fun; Washoe's nose was definitely out of joint, until I put Skeeter away and climbed on him.  Both horses did very well, although they are worlds apart in their training. 

 

Bill and Alloy had a great day today, too, making it about 17 rides or so this summer with NO BUCKING!!!  They seem to have had a great breakthrough in the communication department, mostly Al deciding he could discuss things with Bill without yelling (bucking).

 

The lodge is running as well as can be expected with all the virus confusion and variants, so we are happily enjoying any spare time we can get with the horses.



Until next ride,

Bionic Cowgirl


Friday, June 18, 2021

Spring Pollen

 Juanita and I have been riding 2 or 3 times a week for the last month.   Her horse Washoe has been behaving himself (for the most part.  Just occasional snacking on the trail.) And Alloy hasn't dumped me on the ground so far. 

Ten rides now.  

I really hope I didn't just jinx it...

This spring has had it's normal pollen season that seems to be just about over.  Riding down the trails, if you bump a tree limb the yellow cloud poofs down around you.   It kind of cool looking.  But the pollen does settle down all over everything.


One of our guests came in and told me about some prints on the back of her car.  The pollen was acting like fingerprint powder and showed everyplace the car had been touched.  



For reasons I do not fully understand, I decided to "roll" my face across the back window.  The next morning, THIS showed up.



I find it to be equal parts cool and terrifying.... 


Bill

Friday, November 13, 2020

Continuing to Stay Safe

 

In keeping with our practice of staying socially responsible we have temporarily shut down the Lodge for the remainder of November, 2020, to help quell any new uptick in COVID-19 cases for our guests.  This is only temporary; we have major plans to reopen with some exciting new winter packages that we think will help get people through the harshness of our cold winter weather with a bit of fun and quiet peace – and do our share to help stop this pandemic.  We will, of course, reassess the situation for December, but let us all do our part to get our nation healthy and keep our people safe.

As a good example, Estes Park has announced they will still hold the Catch the Glow parade’s Festival of Lights – but safely.   You will be able to drive through the town’s events complex (rodeo grounds) and “watch” the parade displayed from the safety of your car.  Use this link  https://www.estesparkeventscomplex.com/catch-the-glow-parade.html?fbclid=IwAR2b6uUyr4USPKcQ-nrXOX99kt9e71VGxeGesAfuEQXobkl2lGE0-U-Uz-U for the formal announcement. 

On the plus side of things like the pandemic, it so easy to 'social distance' while riding.  We had many, many good rides with friends and neighbors.  A new neighbor for the summer.


A new found friend and neighbor.

We actually were able to enjoy so many things this summer that are not our norm.  We met many of the neighbors on long walks; those who are normally here and those who moved here from their town locations, now able to 'work from home' up here.

We had time to teach our youngest grandchild the basics of riding.


Time to visit with friends from out of town.

Time to lay flagstone at our daughter's new house.

Expanding our chicken herd flock.

Time to visit grandkids at local campsites - who fed Alloy his first grapes.

Time for hiking with family in RMNP.


Growing my first garden in 23 years - even if the veggies were on the small side.


The best of all - the bond that Bill built with his horse Alloy!

All in-between serving guests at the Lodge.  Looking back - it was a mighty busy summer.

Watch our Facebook page for the newest specials – coming soon!

Many, many thanks to all our guests for all they did to help keep us and future guests safe this past season.

Bionic Cowgirl

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

New Cat

One month ago, we lost our old cat, Kitten Caboodle.She went peacefully during her afternoon nap.

Our other cat, Pounce de Lion, misses her.  A LOT. 

When you have 2 cats, it's like only having one cat, because they spend most of their time bugging each other.  If you only have 1 cat, it's like having 10 cats, because it really thinks it needs a lot of attention.  Poor Reba the lodge dog spent every night getting rubbed against, head butted and generally annoyed by the lonely remaining cat.

So we started looking for another cat.  Preferably a feral kitten.  Preferably a female.  Preferably a "grayish" short hair.

One of our daughter's friend's daughter's husband's grandmother's kittens was just such an animal.  In Nebraska.  Eastern Nebraska.  We met them halfway, in Ogallala Nebraska.  Yes, we drove 4 hours each way for a free cat.

Meet Demi (Demi is short for Pandemicat)


The drive back from Nebraska


Hanging out in the lodge's spare quarters.


.



She is really cute, and very sweet, But she has a sneeze, so she is in quarantine.

Welcome to 2020 Pandemicat.

Bill

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Speechless

Our vet called today and asked if he could come by and give Alloy his shots.  (He was in the neighborhood.)

He apologized for not getting back to us sooner to set up an appointment saying that he has been swamped  with work since the pandemic went into full swing.

He figured people have a lot more time on their hands to worry about their animals, and he told us about several of his calls.  The one that really stuck out in my mind was a call he got because someone's goat had laryngitis.



Really?



This old goat doesn't know what to say, either.



Bill

(Alloy stood nicely for his shot, by the way)

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Timeout for Alloy

Sometimes, Alloy the horse loses his mind.  And I lose my seat.

No damn fun being bucked off. 

So sometimes he just has to stand in timeout for a bit, saddled and at the hitch rail.  As he was standing, I noticed some "rolls" on his hip and accused him of being overweight.


I'm not above fat shameing a horse that just tried to kill me.

Jerk.


Bill

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Up and Running!

It's been a good week so far.

We have done a "soft opening" to see how our Covid-19 plan of operation will work.  I think we have got this.  Mostly.

We had a single guest in the other day (a hiker), and just a couple minutes before the food was going to hit the table, we got a call from a neighbor.  "My horse is STUCK!  She can't move her front feet!  Can one of you come and help?  We may need to call a veterinarian!"  Juanita stayed to eat with our guest, and I drove over to the neighbors place a couple miles down the road.

There were 3 people standing by the horse, looking worried.  The horse was standing on the hillside, weaving back and forth.  It's flanks were drawn in, and it was quivering slightly with its' lips slightly pursed and a distant look in its' eyes.

"We just can't get her to move!"



I looked under the animal, and there was a small aspen sapling rubbing the horses' belly.  Apparently in JUST the right spot.  I could almost hear the horse saying "Feels! So! Good!"

I showed the horse a halter and asked "Boots, do you need to work a little?"  And the horse took off like a shot and galloped UP and DOWN the pasture.  WHEEE!!!

"Your horse is fine,   Just had an itch."  I got back in time to eat breakfast.

***

I fenced in the wood shed and installed a screen door on it so the young chickens can get out of the livestock tank that has been their home for the last couple weeks, and they can look out at the two BIG chickens running around it the chicken yard.  Everyone seems to be happily ignoring one another.



***

We also fenced in the back yard with a hot wire so the horses can go out and mow for us for a half hour each day.  They seem to like it, and I do not like mowing, so it's a win/win.



***

Our youngest son (The 40 year old.  Jeeze.) came up the mountain on his motorcycle and helped us take down a couple standing dead trees out back.  He got some training at that back in the day when he was a wild-fire fighter.  No building or power lines were damaged during the process.  Another win.

We left one dead tree up that had some holes in it that the birds might be nesting in.  The kid told me "You might want to take it down anyway, it's on it's way out...". but I didn't want to bug the tenants.

It fell over the next day in a wind storm.

I had to cut it up without the kid's help.  Rats.  But Juanita was around so I chainsawed it up and she hauled off the logs.

"Bill." she says "You need to come look at this."  She pointed down at one of the holes in the sawed up tree.  It was stuffed with Oreo Cookies.  It was probably 15 feet up when the tree was standing  Must have been one TALL Keebler elf to fill that hollow tree.



***

Juanita and I were inside doing chores when Reba the Lodge Dog barked.  Again?!?  That's the second time this week!  What is it this time, dog?  A homeless guy?  A bear?  Uh, no.  Remember when I talked about the horses mowing for us?  Well, Washoe the horse had wandered onto the back porch,  Reba was incensed.  It's her porch, don't you know.

***

So, we are back up and running now, on a limited basis.  Full social distancing and masked like bandits in the common areas.  You should come and visit!

                                 We have cookies.




Bill

Friday, June 5, 2020

Rural Terrorists

Yesterday morning I walked outside and was attacked.

Several angry hummingbirds flew at my face and eyes.  "What in the...!" I shouted. I looked up on the second floor deck and sure enough, the feeders were empty.  "Sorry guys.  I'll be right up there." and I took the jug of home-made nectar up to fill the feeders.  When I stepped out on the porch, there was someone already out there.  Oops.  Wait...  We didn't have any guests the previous night.

"Excuse me.  Can I help you?" I asked the sleeping form on the couch.

The still very groggy homeless gentleman said "I climbed up the wall to sleep up here last night." "That's nice" I told him. "You need to leave now.  Why don't you come inside and go down the  stairs to leave, rather than climbing down the side of the building."

He packed up his pack, and headed down and left through the front door.

Very strange.  We've been here for over 22 years now, and that's a first.
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
This morning I woke up just before 4:am.  I lay in bed for a bit and got up to get a drink of water.  I was just snuggling back in to go back to sleep when the dog barked.

The dog barked.  One "Woof".  In the 5 years we have had this dog, she has NEVER barked in the bedroom.  Ever.

"Crap" I thought. "The homeless guy is back."  Only the dog was facing the other way.  She was looking at the bathroom with it's open window.

And then I heard the bear.

Sort of a long low moaning and huffing... I've heard it before  I reached for the half open bathroom window and SHOUTED!!!

Actually, I screamed like a little girl, because just as I opened the window, a clawed ball of fur hit me in my bare chest, HARD!  Damn cat was watching the bear out the fricken window.

When I caught my breath I shouted out the window again, pulled on pants, boots and, at Juanita's suggestion, a sweatshirt, and headed out with my shotgun. (When we first moved up here, the Colorado Dept. of Wildlife recommended people keep a shotgun handy loaded with rubber buckshot for this sort of thing.)

Juanita and I wandered around for a while, making noise and shining the flashlights around and we saw nothing.   We went back inside, and I replaced the batteries in the shotgun's barrel mounted flashlight/laser pointer sight, and then we went back out again.  Still nothing.  I was just getting ready to head back in when I heard him again.  That low moaning and huffing.  Behind me.  Up high.  In the dark.  In a big tree.

I shown the flashlight into the big ponderosa pine tree, and could just make out the eyes of a black bear reflecting down at me.



Okay, now what..  Shoot the bear in the face?  That just doesn't seem polite.  Juanita found a better angle. Only butt showing.

BOOM!

Okay, let's clear out so he can leave.  Make it easy for him to do the right thing.

We went up on the back deck and listened to him.  He moaned pretty loudly for about 15 minutes or so, and then we heard it shuffle down the tree, and he was gone.  I felt terrible, but it's important that bears are afraid of town and the people in it.  If they become a nuisance, the DOW will put them down.   And I don't mean by telling them that they smell bad, or that their mother dresses them funny.

And speaking of unpleasant smelling and odd clothes...

As I am finishing this story, I realized something about myself.  I am guilty of "Species Privilege".

It never even occurred to me to shoot the homeless guy in the butt.

(But, in my defense, the guy wasn't after my chickens...)


Bill