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

running a successful business and riding as often as possible.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Know How (No How?)

 Our lodge was built in the early '30s, so there is always something to be done around here.  We could never afford to hire people to come in and do all of the repair work, so I get to do most of it, and Juanita gets to do most of the bookkeeping.  I think I got the best part of that deal.  I am NOT an accountant.  I am a technician.  It makes me happy to fix broken stuff.

 I have worked as a "tech" my whole adult life, and learned a few rules that make the job easier...

Try to work alone. An audience is rarely any help.

If what you've done is stupid, but it worked, then it wasn't stupid.

Work in the kitchen whenever you can...many fine tools are there, its warm and dry, and you are close to the refrigerator.

If you can't find a screwdriver, use a knife. If you break off the tip, it's an improved screwdriver.

If it's electronic, get a new one...or consult a twelve year old.

Learn the terminology.  It's like magic.  People think you know what you are doing if you know the words.

Keep it simple. Plug it in.  Get a new battery.  Replace the bulb or fuse.  See if the tank is empty.  Try turning the switch on.  Or just paint over it.

Always take credit for miracles. If you dropped the alarm clock while taking it apart and it suddenly starts working, you have healed it.

Regardless of what people say, kicking, pounding, and throwing sometimes DOES help.  It's called "percussive maintenance".

If something looks level, it is level.

If at first you don't succeed, redefine success.

But most importantly, If it ain't broke, don't fix it.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Finder's Keepers?

When Jesse was little young, I taught her some fun stuff with a clicker.  Our My favorite was picking stuff up, which led to playing frisbee, among other things.  She was a real help on the trail rides I took out, because 'guests' tend to drop things when riding.  She used to virtually pick up anything, until she picked up an item or two with terrible taste.  Now I can barely get her to pick up my hat, but - she notices everything that gets dropped!  On last week's trail ride, a glove dropped out of my vest pocket and landed in a bush.  I didn't notice but Jesse noticed and came to a dead stop.  Fortunately GunDiva saw 'something' fall and sure enough pointed to the spot Jesse was pointing to.  OK, you have the background for yesterday's happenings ....

I was cleaning in the pen (yep, scoopin' poop) and had just dumped a wheelbarrel full on the pile.  About number six, as I am still cleaning up from winter.  Jesse had been at the feeder the whole time and ignoring me, I thought.  I decided to do one last pickup, but when I grabbed the fork and turned around to dump into the wheelbarrel, Jesse was standing between it and me.  I patted her and told her, "It's nice that you decided to help, finally, but you really need to move.  You are sort of in the way!"  She stared at me very pointedly, then looked at the poop pile.  We had a stare-down for a minute, then I looked where she was looking ... and there lay my cordless phone at the edge of the pile!  I had it hanging on my back pocket; it must have dropped off when I dumped the barrel.  She noticed and came to tell me.  I'm not surprised she didn't pick it up and bring it to me, 'cause she used to get in lots of trouble for picking one off of the barn boss's pocket  when she was young.   Now and then she does the right thing.

Bionic Cowgirl

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Poke in the Eye With a Sharp Stick.


I spilled the cup of coffee down the front of my shirt and onto my lap.  The slab of liver attached to the side of my face was not equipped with working lips, so nothing went into my mouth.  My jaw felt like a python's jaw must feel after it unhinges it to swallow a pig.

I was leaving the dentist's office.

Getting me to the dentist is like, well, pulling teeth.  I can ignore something as mild as a tooth ache for a long time.  "It's only wildly searing pain.  No problem!"  So by the time I DO get to the dentist, there is usually "Work.To.Be.Done".

I'm sitting in the chair and the Dr. says "Now, this is going to pinch..."


"Open your eyes, Bill"

Oh.  Yeah.  Huh.

It reminded me of my horse, Ranger, and his first experience with a dentist.  The equine dentist was standing at Rangers neck, in the "safe zone", when he gave the shot.  My little mustangs eye's bugged out and he said "YOU JERK!" and kicked the dentist in the tush with his left rear foot.  The dentist said "YOU JERK!" and kicked the horse in the ribs with his tennis shoe.  They looked daggers at each other until the meds kicked in, and Ranger stood quietly with a dreamy expression on his face until the work was done.  He's a cheap drunk.

So I'm now sitting in the chair with no kicking, but NO dreamy expression, when the grinding began. (As a footnote, I am going to make a million dollars by selling the sound of a dental drill as a ring tone.  No one would EVER let it ring more than once.)

As the dentist and his assistant were working on my mouth, I could hear him asking for various tools to jam into my pie-hole, along with all four of their hands.


"Small spoon"


"Large spoon"

"Now I'm going to need the hatchet and hoe..."

It took all four hands, still in my mouth, to pull me back down onto the chair.

"I didn't name the instruments, Bill.  That's just what they are called."

A hundred years or so later, the work was finally done and they let me out of the chair.

"Now Bill, I'm going to need to see you back here soon to check on that molar.  It's more filling than tooth, and may need a crown and root canal."

I replied "Nang meh neff ing drogeth."  Which roughly translates to "Not in THIS lifetime, you fiend".

He smiled and sent me on my way.

Walking around the grocery store on the way home, I noticed I was frightening small children and health-care professionals. I caught a glimpse of  my reflection.  Half of my face was sagging.  I was speaking with a slur (who was the comedian that put an "s" in the word lisp?) and had wet stains all down my shirt front and lap (I knew it was coffee...).  I looked like I was suffering a stroke.

I went home.

I'll go out later to talk with my horse.

"Hey Ranger!  How about going into town for a couple of beers and get our teeth floated?"

Yeah.  Right.


Monday, April 23, 2012

When I Say...

 Play video.

Substitute "Bill" for "Sam"

Substitute "Washoe" for  "Camel"

And you have today's ride.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Escape from Paradise

A group had rented the whole lodge for the weekend.  A scrapbooking group.  We love these groups, 'cause most of them have been here before and know the drill.  And the groups bring their own "mommy".

When the last of the gals had packed up and gone home this morning, Juanita and I looked at each other and said "RUN AWAY!".  And we did.

We went down to our youngest daughter's (Nebalee's) house where she and the oldest daughter (GunDiva) were going to make technicolor cupcakes.

Creating Cupcakes

Cooking Cupcakes
Cooling Cupcakes

Consuming Cupcakes

We also met Nebalee's newest family member, Dante, a one year old Great Dane mix.

  And we went to the park with the youngest grandkids.
Wow!  Cool!
Umm, so what is it we're looking for again?

And we had soup for lunch.

With pumpkin pie when you finish.

By the time we got home, it was 20 minutes after dinner time for the gang.

They almost starved to death.



Friday, April 20, 2012

Fear Comes in Many Forms

Whoever said "The problem with kittens is they turn into cats", never slept in the same room with a kitten.

I have always had cats at home.  It's been sort of a tolerate/hate relationship.  I find them a necessary evil for rodent control, rather like a barn cat, and they do require a lot less "face time" as compared to, say, a dog.

Last Valentine's day we lost our 18 year old cat.  That left us with only our eight year old female.

Having two cats is like having one cat, because they will play with, clean, sleep with and generally annoy each other and leave me the heck alone.  This is important, because here at the lodge, they are required to stay ONLY in our bedroom because so many people are allergic to cats.  Having only one cat means she needs input from people for socialization.   Since I am one of those people with cat allergies (or "contact sensitivity"), this is a bad thing.  Having one cat is like having ten cats.

Enter our oldest daughter.

"Hey, guys!  Since you lost Voodoo, and my cat just had a litter..."

Now we have an eight week old female kitten our daughter called Scout, because she was the first to do everything.  She is fearless.

Upon introduction to our dog, she marched up and touched the dog's nose.  Dog was puzzled, but she is a good dog, so she wandered off.

Upon introduction to the adult cat in our room, Kaboodle, the old cat, marched up to the kitten and HISSED and HISSED and HISSED within about 2 inches of the kitten's face.  The kitten stared at the older, MUCH larger cat in fascination.  Then the kitten looked over at me as if to say "She's crazy, isn't she.  I've heard about these..." and then calmly looked back at the older cat.

The older cat was completely unnerved. She said "Oh no!  She isn't afraid!  She must have some sort of super powers!"

And the MUCH bigger cat ran under the bed and hid there, growling, for two days.

At night, the kitten sleeps some of the time, but often wakes up and looks for something to play with.

"Ha! Fingers!"  Bite/bite/wrestle/bite/wrestle...

"Ha! Foot!"  Pounce/jump/pounce/bite...

At "Ha! Nose!" the kitten hit the floor.

"Ha! Dog!"

And in the dark, I heard the poor, old dog, jump up out of her bed and walk around the room, groaning as she was being pursued by 12 ounces of fearless play.

After a while, I took pity on the old dog, climbed out of bed and grabbed the kitten again, pinning it to the mattress until it fell asleep.

So now, with the allergies, my nose is running and my eyes are red and watering.  It looks like Old Yeller just died.

Benadryl works well for me, but it makes me sleepy, and that is already a problem.

Now there's a thought!

What do you suppose the dosage is for a 12 ounce cat?


Foot Note...  The cat is definitely a  fearless explorer, so she has been renamed "Pounce deLion".

I REALLY hope she does not stay forever young...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cookies, Sunshine & Riding

The title says it all - can it get much better than that?  GunDiva came up today for her second week's visit of equine therapy, but she also brought up a new cookie recipe, so before we could head out on horses, we had to mix up the batter which needed to be refrigerated for a bit.

We decided to go check a different set of trails, the ones down around the beaver ponds.  Again, sadness at the lack of moisture, but also joyous at being able to ride so early in the season.  Alas, GunDiva did not have as great a ride this time; Washoe was being his old Wonder-Idiot self today - everything from trying to steal grass to not listening to cues.  The ride started out pretty exasperating - but ended on a good note.  He started behaving himself about the last quarter of the ride.  Obviously the newness has worn off for him and he has to push the limits to see where those boundaries are,but he found them and settled in.

Today started out as a 'towel' ride, in an effort to keep our jeans slightly clean from shedding horses.

As we headed for the trail we wanted, Washoe sort of wandered off trail without being asked, so he ended up at the end of the line.  This is a classic Washoe pout on his face!

I ended up sore from today's ride, thanks to these challenging down trails - and my own feisty horse.  Jesse is definitely feeling better, condition-wise, and was a handful herself.

Bill did get a good picture of a couple of the beaver dams, however, to get this picture we had ridden into one of the ponds that no longer existed.  We can only hope more runoff will help fill it back up.

We did find this set of trails very overgrown with tall willow spires and lots of brush.  The warmer winter temps made for very fast growth on most of the shrubs and trees.

We had lots of challenges of all kinds, including small branches across water crossings, and lots of very low limbs.  I almost slid off Jesse's side crossing Rock Creek; towel riding is not very good for balancing on the side of your horse to duck branches.  On our way back up the steep trail, GD and I both lost our towels.  The horses were sweaty enough to make things really slippery by that time, and the towels simply slid out from between us and our horses.  Fortunately, Beel has a short horse and is willing to retrieve things for us.  (Thanks, dear!)

When we got back to the corral, Beel had to practice his version of neck reining.  Look ma, no halter.

Another good day in the woods - followed by some really good cookies, right out of the oven!!!
Bionic Cowgirl

Win a Few...

A few days back, Juanita was washing our jackets to get rid of the winter grime.

Now, you need to understand.  My old Carhartt has about a million miles on it, 'cause it's my favorite.  And it shows.  It is Beat The Heck Up.  Cuffs frayed.  Collar frayed. Pockets frayed.  Bottom frayed... you get the idea.

"Bill, give me your jacket so I can wash it."

"No way! It's just getting comfortable after the last time you abused it."

"Bill, it NEEDS to be washed."

"No, it's just fine the way it is."

This went on for far too long, until Juanita gave up and just washed her own coats.

She said "Fine."  (Guys, you probably know that "fine", and it ain't.)

So, yesterday we are running errands off the mountain. And the dog gets carsick. On my Carhartt.

Guess who has two thumbs and will be washing his OWN d@mn jacket.

 This guy.


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Riding With the GunDiva - continuation

At the end of the last post, we had just crossed Fox Creek and made the decision to head for the lake (OK, more of a pond for those of you who have real lakes!).  That meant heading up quite a steep hill...
... continuing up the hill; the trail turns back on itself several times ...
Now, about 2/3rds of the way up, this trail takes a 90* turn and 'hops' up some rocks.  If you look closely, you will see that Mr. Beel almost had a 'seat fail'.  I looked up just in time to see him sliding precariously back onto Ranger's flank.
Of course, in a couple more steps, he had righted himself, but it was a snafu you don't see from Beel very often.  GunDiva was prepared and slide an inch.  A little further and we started hearing the frogs from the pond - which brought huge smiles to our faces, as we had not yet reached the top of the ridge.  And then we saw this ...
Where's the water????  All that light coloration should be covered in pretty blue water!  So, we started around the lake to see just what there was.
 The lake from the other end; some water, but you notice the aspens are not budding out yet here, so there is still hope that we will get run-off when it warms up again.  This is not NEARLY enough water.  It should look like this towards the end of July (only with leaves on the trees, of course.).
Back down the hill, continuing on another trail, to one of Ranger's favorite spots.  He just can't pass up good water, so he holds up the crossing.  Yes, Mr. Daddy, I realize you don't have to do these kinds of stops on your quad - unless it happens to die in the middle :)
Jesse has to be urged to get OUT of the water....
And GunDiva sees it as good obstacle practice ....
So, now we are headed back towards home, having done a clock check.  Darn!  We took the straightest route back to the lodge and did find a snow bank that really needed skirting.  Yeah!
We actually did just skirt the tip of this, leaving little horsey prints at the edge, and got back on the main trail.  We wanted to check the next 'water hole', which turned out to be pretty mucky.
 Now you see where the mud came from in the hoof pictures.  It was right after this ride that we took those shots.
We all got through, and headed up the hill to the 'Hangin' Tree', which we knew was down, but Ranger hadn't been with us that time and HE didn't like what he saw - so he and Beel had a little touching practice.
Oops.  Better get a move on, so with a little trot out, we high-tailed it for home.

So, here I sit, watching it snow.  One side of me very excited about the additional moisture; we had 3 inches when we got up this morning, some sunshine, and now more snow - hopefully another 3 inches.  The other side of me can hardly wait for more ride time.  Wish my GPS was working.  This is the earliest we have been able to ride in years, and I would love to be tallying up miles.  We were out for about 1 1/2 hours and  I would say we covered close to six miles.  Our guys walk about 4 mph when they are in good shape, which they are not right now, so they did well.  Not endurance speed, but a whole lot of fun!  Thanks GunDiva.
Bionic Cowgirl

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Riding With the GunDiva

A couple days ago, GunDiva, our oldest daughter, was able to break away and drive up here for a ‘real’ ride, not just a short around the block. We were all pretty excited; it’s fun to get all three horses out without someone being towed by a lead rope. She was limited on time, so we dispensed with the idea of tacking up (not sure we remember how, anyway), hopped on bareback and ‘headed for the hills’.
 GunDiva was telling a story about some guy who dressed his horse up like a motorcycle, complete with the tall handlebars, and competed in a reining competition that way. She was showing how his hands would have been and trying to imagine riding like that. I think she was just doing a “Yahoo – finally on a horse!” I know it was only Washoe, and not her beloved Estes, but he really was a pretty good boy for her that day.
 They had a mild discussion early on about "thou shalt not eat grass while I am on your back!" and he decided to listen.  On the other hand, Beel and Ranger decided it was a matching day, so if you find it difficult to see Beel in the pictures, it's because he and R are camouflaged.
Over the top and down the first slope to the known snow fields.   Uh, there was a lot of snow here a few days ago.  Just smallish drifts now, but we still had to play in them....
We finally hit the meadow, not a sign of snow, lots of dry grasses (too early to look like this!), lots of downed trees from the high winds, and finally up and over another hillock to find very small patches on the northern slopes.
"This is pretty dry.  Shall we try Pinkie's Gulch?"  OK, this used to be GD's least favorite trail - well maybe behind the goat trail - so she was less than enthusiastic.  She's never enjoyed downhill, even in a saddle, but she is a much better rider since going 'saddle-less'.  A short discussion about the possibility of encountering a bank of snow part way down, with a reminder of how well these guys can maneuver on narrow trails.
This is quite a steep trail and tight up against the trees, but Washoe says he's game!
GunDiva brings him down like a pro...
Of course, we find some icy spots and snow, mostly at the bottom, but the horses traversed them like they didn't exist.  Remember the pictures of their big feet?
The snow naturally dumped us right into the first water crossing of the day - Fox Creek.
Where to now?  Let's go to the lake!
To be continued....
Bionic Cowgirl

Friday, April 13, 2012

Should I be Worried?

Sometimes I feel concerned about my wife.  Like an hour or so ago.

I had been working around the lodge.  Fixing a window lock, fixing the vacuum cleaner, cleaning the sinks, tubs showers and such.  I had been whistling an old ditty most of the morning and it reminded me of a story.

I walked into the office behind Juanita while she was making entries on the computer.

I said "So this frog walks into a bank."

Her arms went limp to her sides, her head dropped to her chest, and I think I may have heard her moan.

Do you suppose it is some sort of neurological disorder?


Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Few Hoof Shots

I've wanted to get pictures of the Mustangs' feet for a long time; just never seemed to remember until we had already turned them loose from a ride - we are really bad, we ride right back into the corral, pull their halters and let them head to their favorite rolling places.  They seem to prefer a good roll after a sweaty ride to being brushed out; I think it is part of their wild nature.  Anyway, our farrier had suggested we give them a couple rides after their trims before taking pictures, so ... here goes (and yes, they have dirty feet; we found mud on the way home and no amount of cleaning short of washing, was going to make a difference.)   Beel was only patient enough to hold two feet per horse.
Jesse's left front:  Jesse is a mare about 14.2 hands and I would like to keep her about 1000 lbs; right now she is closer to 1200, maybe.  We are working on weight reduction right now, but she is very heavy boned and has no trouble carrying the weight - but I worry about keeping her feet good.
Jesse's left hind.  This girl can walk on anything like a mountain lion, with her broad platter feet; a definite give-away to some draft in her heritage.

Washoe's left front:  Washoe is a gelding about 15.1 hands, maybe 1000 lbs; looks like some Arab in his way back history.
Washoe's left hind.  He has the thinnest sole of the three, but he never shows any tenderness.  He has a lot of suspension in his movements.

Ranger's left front:  Ranger is the 'old man' of the bunch; a 22 yo gelding about 14 hands, 900 lbs or so of feisty wild blood with some Spanish Barb from waaaaay back in his herd, hence his cute, curly ears, dorsal stripe and zebra legs.  He is a one of a kind.
Ranger's left hind.  All of them have very thick and tough hoof walls, but his are extremely difficult to cut through, even with good nippers.  He does walk a little toe-in on the front, so we can tell his hoof prints on the trail from the tell tale flat front that develops by mid-summer.  I suspect a lot of his hoof toughness developed from his growing up on the lava flats of NW Nevada, where he roamed wild until he was 8 yo.

I think we are ready for a summer of lots of mountain miles.
Bionic Cowgirl