Weekend Coffee Share

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How was your week? We’ve had a cold snap here in northern California. The nights have been below freezing, and the days have been colder than usual. I don’t mind the cold. (Even though I have been daydreaming about road trips to Arizona.) Is it cold where you are? Or can you smell the sweet scents of spring in the air? I’ve had many cups of coffee, and tea, every day this week. Would you like to share a cup with me? Coffee? Or tea? I have a strong pot of freshly brewed coffee, and the tea could be ready in a couple minutes. What do you prefer? If you’re feeling hungry it’s lunch in about 30 min, but we still have plenty of time for a hot drink first 🙂 What are we having for lunch today?  We’re having a southern style black bean soup, with lots of garlic, chili, and leek. There’s some (still warm) homemade flaxseed ciabattas to go with the soup as well. I felt that soup was perfect today. It was 27 degrees when I was out to my horse, Ghost, this morning. Probably even colder when I walked my dog, first thing when I woke up, but I didn’t look at the temperature then.

Is the coffee alright? Would you like sugar? Or cream? I prefer mine black, but I’d be more than happy to get some for you.

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This week I’ve come to a realization. The kind that makes me incredibly happy. My new horse, he wants to be with me. Yes, it’s true that he sometimes show fear about things that I ask him to do, but he really wants to be with me. How do I know this? I’ve owned Ghost for seven weeks today. (If there is such a thing as owning a horse, maybe they own us, but you know what I mean.) For a while he’s been sporadically greeting me with a long neigh when he sees me. Now he does it every time. I always acknowledge his greeting with my body language. If somebody strikes a conversation with me, before I physically can get to him, he does different things to get my attention; his focus is 100 % on me, he often walks, or trots along the fence line closest to me. When I do open the gate to his pasture, or enter his stall in the stable, he stands at the gate/door waiting for me. Without being asked he lowers his head towards the hand that carry the halter, to make it easier for me to put it on. When I finished tying the halter (I like rope halters,) he often lets out a sigh. I think he’s saying that he is in his safe place now. Which has always been my goal, for him to know that it is most comfortable with me. It has never been very difficult to get his attention, but he is becoming wonderful in keeping his attention with me. He does sometimes have opinions, and ideas about what we’re going to do. Sometimes I listen, sometimes I convince him that my idea is better this time. We’re still in the very beginning of our journey, but coming to the realization that my horse prefers my company, even with things going on around him, makes my world a better place. I feel very good about having this as a foundation to build on. In many aspects Ghost lacks experience, and is very much like a baby. Yes, that means lots of work ahead of us, but it also mean that he is very soft, and are looking for someone to show the way. That softness in his eyes isn’t something that you can buy for money, that has to come from inside. You have to deposit lots of love to keep the spirit intact, and nurture that softness, while shaping it carefully into the partner you know is in there.

I’ve been boarding Ghost at a training facility, and that have helped me in my initial work with Ghost. He was not halter broke when I bought him. Meaning he wasn’t used to have anything on his head, or move when feeling pressure of a rope. I’ve done all the work with him myself, but boarding him at a facility with a good arena (actually two,) and a round-pen, definitely made our first weeks easier. It is much easier to connect with a horse in a smaller/confined space, compared to being out on several hundred acres.

Our bond came to a test another time this week as well. The indoor riding arena was not being used. (I try to only use it when I know there isn’t going to be any activity there for at least 30 min, it’s so frustrating to have to stop in the middle of an exercise for a lesson. It’s important to me to always stop when things are going good.) I put up some orange traffic cones, and barrels, making a little obstacles course for Ghost. We’ve done it before,  but I try to make it a little different every time. This time there was still several people doing things in the stable around the arena. (The arena is in the middle of a horse shoe shaped stable.) There was loud music on, and horses being taken in from their pasture. Different kind of activities. Considering this I was amazed of Ghost’s focus. He really enjoyed this! I took the halter of, so he could of galloped away doing his own thing, the arena is quiet big, but he choose to walk with me through the obstacle course. We did this several times. I even started to bounce a big yoga ball ahead of me, in and out through the course, and back and forth with my daughter. In the beginning he did take a couple steps of course, more out of surprise, but he quickly came back, accepting the new element. It was a blast. An elderly lady that I often talk to at the stable watched us, and said I like this! I really like this! She came back from doing little things in the stable, and said this several times.

Now when Ghost and I have the connection I’ve been striving for, I am hoping that one day I will live in a place where he can live with our family. The photos of Ghost in this post is from yesterday morning. I like to come out to the stable when it’s quiet, early in the morning, to get some one-and-one time with my horse. It’s very valuable to me. I miss having a ranch of my own, having horses of my own living with me. It’s a very special thing, to be able to see them several times every day, just sharing a few minutes here and there. To more be a part of their life, than just an occasional visitor. I am grateful (extremely grateful) for what I have today, but that doesn’t mean that I’m settling for this!

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Are you reading something interesting? I tend to read more in the winter time. My goal this year is to read 52 books (more than 300 pages each.) My daughter and I read a lot together, both in English, and Swedish. It’s important to me that she sees how I treasure books, and with that learning new things. I believe that she will remember what she sees, and experience, more than what I tell her. Tell me more about your week? Did you come to any new realizations? I hope you’re having an awesome week, I’ll say my week is pretty good. This post is part of the #WeekendCoffeeShare, feel free to join us!

Love,

Ms Zen

A Face in the Crowd

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I love photographing horse events. Especially really good horsemanship, and/or action. Most riders like having their photos taken, especially if you offer them a copy. In many cases however, it’s impossible to ask before taking the photo. When doable I try to figure out who the rider is, sending them a digital copy of the best (1-2 pictures) I have of them, while asking them for permission to publish the photo. Often, not even that is doable. If the photo is very flattering for the rider, I sometimes go ahead and post it anyways. Other times I try a more artsy approach, like with this black and white photo. I don’t know who this rider is, I snapped the photo at a rodeo a few years back. I hardly think that the rider would be offended if she saw this photo, her face facing the other direction. I’d like to believe that this is a happy and exciting moment for her. With the rodeo season fast approaching I’ve been given this some thoughts. How would you handle this situation? What would you do?

I hope your week is awesome! Looking forward to see the other entries in this week’ photo challenge; A Face in the Crowd.

 

Love,

Ms Zen

Crystal Creek Falls

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On Sunday evening I craved a nature experience. Whiskeytown National Recreation Area was close by, so I suggested a spur off the moment visit. It’s a gorgeous 39 000 acres wilderness area, with over 70 miles of well maintained trails. I love hiking there, and enjoy this area quiet often.

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It has four amazing waterfalls. Neither are that challenging to get too. However, Crystal Creek Falls, the one we visited on Sunday, is by far the easiest. You can drive almost the whole way there. The “hike” is 1/4 mile one way. It was perfect for an unplanned visit, with limited time left off the day.

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That said, with a place that is so easy to get too, you can’t expect to have the place to yourself. We did have to wait a while, before the two families that got there before us, decided to move on. When there were no-one there I let Gretchen off leash for a few minutes, she was dying to get into the water. To her it doesn’t matter if it’s cold, she needs to jump in. She is usually a very quiet dog, (she only barks on command, or if attacked.) While waiting for our turn to enjoy the falls she sat next to me, longingly looked at the water and whined…and whined.. She was SO happy when I finally set her free, and told her to play.

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After visiting this waterfall last weekend (February 2018,) I was inspired to dig out a photo from last spring. To compare the water levels. This last photo was taken in April 2017.

This is the perfect place to visit if you’re just driving through, have a disabled, or elderly person in your party. Everyone can enjoy this beautiful waterfall. There’s picnic tables, plenty of parking, and clean restrooms. You do need a park permit. You can get that at the visitor center (daily/weekly/yearly permits available.) During our hot summers, this is still a good place to visit, the thick surrounding forest provides plenty of shade. If you want more solitude there’s plenty of other hikes nearby, that provides that. Further up the same road, there’s Whiskeytown Falls, that is a bigger 220ft waterfall, that also requires a little more effort to get there. It’s a 2.8 mile out and back hike, the way there is almost all uphill. It’s not too bad, my daughter have done that hikes many times, the first time she walked the whole way by herself she was 2,5 years old. It’s rated as a moderate hike in most hiking apps.

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Whiskeytown National Recreation Area Visitor Center

If you’re interested in visiting these waterfalls, or just enjoying the magnificent lake that this area is named after, I suggest visiting the visitor center first. It is a real nice visitor center, with knowledgeable friendly staff, and you need to get a permit anyways.

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Last Years Annual Park Pass

They usually have free maps off the area, and are more than willing to direct you to any place you may desire to see. This is the address to the visitor center:

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area
14412 Kennedy Memorial Drive
Whiskeytown, CA 96095

 

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Whiskeytown Lake seen from the visitor centers parking lot. The waterfalls in this post is on the other side of the lake, only a short scenic drive away.

I truly hope you get to enjoy this area in person ❤

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

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