Weekend Coffee Share

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I can’t believe it’s already the weekend. This week have gone by faster than fast. How was yours? Please have some coffee with me, and tell me all about it!

I started out Monday being slightly tired, after a fun, action filled weekend at the rodeo. I took it a  little easy (for me,) on Monday (my friend E tells me that my life is always like boot camp, compared to hers.) I had to spend quiet some time to clean up space on my computer, to be able to download all the photos I took at the rodeo. I believe this is my favorite.

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I’m not done editing the photos from the rodeo yet. I’ll do a little at a time, and share them here as I go.

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My daughter was mesmerized by the events most of the time, but still, I think this jumping thing she did after everything was over, was her absolute favorite.

On Tuesday afternoon I went to see a friend of mine that lives a couple hours north of me, in Weed (CA.) I really enjoyed the drive. I drove over Shasta Lake, passed by Castle Crags, and Mt.Shasta to get to her. Seeing all that beauty up close makes me think of Tim McGrath’s song Humble and kind. Natures beauty does something to my soul, every time. It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen a beautiful place, it’s almost likes it grows a little every time, even if it took my breath away the first time. There is still some snow on Mt.Shasta, but the surroundings are green. 

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We’ve been making our new place a little more ours this week, both on the inside and the outside. I pretty much been dividing my time this week between my daughter’s school work, the horses, and the new place. It’s been a great week, with pleasant weather in the 75-85’s, a little hotter a couple afternoons. We’re supposed to have rain for three days now, which I welcome with open arms. I bet my garden are going to LOVE that. 

This is the humble beginning of my annual garden.

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Squash

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Cherry Tomatoes

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Spinach

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Garlic

My daughter have shown an interest in growing corn, for a couple years. It’s something she mentions on, and off. When I planned my garden this year, I hadn’t heard it for a while, so I did not make any plans for it. This week she’s been talking about it every day. Maybe because we’ve been working in the garden more. So we decided upon a place where she could grow a couple rows of corn. I prepared the spot yesterday. It’s an extension of the garden we’ve already made. I watered the ground there to make it softer, dug it out, filled it with a layer of old horse manure, another layer of tree shavings mixed with goat/sheep manure, and a top layer with soil from my compost, before planting the corn. I hope it will do the trick. It’s the firs time I attempt to grown corn, so that’s a little exciting. I admit that I could of done more research. I am usually better at researching everything I plan to grow, before planting. I didn’t this time. I wanted to get it in the ground before the rain. Rain will be unusual for us from now on, and I wanted to take maximum advantage of it.

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Our tiny corn field. I also planted some cucumbers right next to the fence. 

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The tiny cornfield, in front of the fenced in garden area. In the back of the garden is my container garden, currently consisting of; 4 pomegranate trees, lavender, cilantro, oregano, and basil. I just planted the kitchen herbs from seeds. I’m planning on adding both more fruit trees, and more herbs, to my container garden throughout the season. My container gardens have a tendency to get HUGE. I sold my whole container garden by the end of last season. I’m a little bit wiser, and know a little more about what I want in my garden now. It’s exciting to build it up again. I believe that container gardening, is something that’s just going to get bigger and bigger, as more people see the advantage of growing their own food, and how simple it can be.

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FTB Fancy Tradition

Ghost and Fancy, are enjoying their days in the new pasture. They are both looking great right now, and are in good spirits, showing more energy and Joie De Vivre than before. I work with each of them a couple times a day, about 15-30 min at a time. Depending on what we do.

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Ghost is in a period of processing things, and have asked me to slow down a little with introducing new things. I try to listen. He needs more time to feel completely comfortable with ropes, that’s a thing we’ve been working on a lot, with good progress, but he still needs time. He have no problem having my hands (he loves being touched and often begs me to just stand with him,) or my weight anywhere on him, but man made materials are scary. He had a little episode yesterday morning. I had just finished grooming him, and was going to play with him at liberty (without any equipment on.) He loves playing at liberty, and is very tuned in to me. Sometimes I think he tells me that he would love to be a trick horse. Anyways, before taking the halter off, I purposely let the lead rope slide over his back. He knows that I’m about to take the halter off, and knows that he have the lead rope attached to him. No surprises. He is usually cool with the rope sliding over his body. I’ve done it a lot, to desensitize him to this most scary object, that certainly could eat him..but yesterday he completely fell apart, and jumped up in the air, crashed into the round-pen, and started to run around like crazy. He is a very sensitive horse, and have days like this. He had very minimum interaction with people for the first (almost) 4 years of his life. Until January this year, when I bought him. Even though I feel terrible when he have episodes like this, it clearly tells me that his mind is not ready to proceed our training. We need to stay in the stage we are longer. That is OK. I’m in no rush, as long as we move in the right direction. If I feel that I can’t connect with him, it would be different, I would look for someone who could, but I feel that we do connect.

He ran around with the rope hanging over his back, dragging on the ground. He is responsive to my directions, even though he was freaked out, he respectfully changes direction when asked. Taking control over a horse’s hooves, by frequently changing direction is the easiest way to gain control over a situation. When this happens, I start to exaggerate breathing deep and slow, until he follows my lead. After he calmed down yesterday, we took a break, doing nothing together. He responds very well to this form of reward. Initially when he starts to relax, after a scary episode, he isn’t ready to be touched yet. After doing nothing together for a few minutes, I left him alone in the round-pen. To give him an opportunity to digest things. I came back ten minutes later, took the halter of, and caressed his whole body, inside his mouth, in his ears, on his legs, everywhere. It’s to make him feel my love, and also to tell him that it is OK, that I will always take care of things in a safe way, and listen to him, but he has to trust me. After that I opened the gate to the round-pen, and took him for a walk on the property, without a halter. He follows me with his head on my shoulder. When I stop after a few minutes, and sit down on the ground, he licks my right cheek. That horse has the biggest heart. Just being with him teaches me a lot. 

Fancy on the other hand is getting really comfortable with her new life. She is thriving. I’ve cleaned her up, and given her a job. My daughter rides her 15 min every day. Fancy still need to gain more weight, and get stronger, but light exercise (that will increase with her getting stronger,) is helping her to get stronger faster. She is so proud to have a job, and she takes excellent care of my daughter. My daughter have never ridden a horse as big as Fancy, and is not 100% comfortable with her height yet. My daughter knows how to ride by herself, but for now, she wants to be lead around. That’s OK. She insists that Fancy is her horse, and that she is going to ride her every day. My daughter is proud of herself for riding a big horse, despite her fear of height. I love seeing her conquer her fears, and grow in the process. It is a win/win for everyone. Fancy feels important, and is gaining health by the day. Ghost watches us with huge eyes from the other side of the fence. It’s very obvious that Fancy enjoys having my daughter on her back (photo here,) and I believe he understands that. I feel at peace, and very grateful.

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Thank you for having coffee with me. I really enjoyed your company. How is spring in your area? Is everything green? Are you enjoying having coffee on the porch this weekend? Tell me about it in a comment!

Love,

Ms Zen

 

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Story 2 – A Snow Saga

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A few months ago, I search for new hiking trails to explore. I found Castle Lake Trail, near Dunsmuir (CA.) It looked very interested. I hiked it, and a nearby adjoining trail up to another lake, Heart Lake. I found the nature to be extraordinary beautiful, and I’ve been returning at least once a month to this amazing trail. I’ve seen some snow on the trail before, but nothing like last weekend!

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It’s a couple miles uphill to get to Heart Lake, from the parking lot at Castle Lake. The hike is very rocky, when it’s not snow on the trail. This weekend however the snow reached my thighs most of the time. On some places the snow was hard, and I could walk on top of it, but on many places I had to walk through the snow. It was slightly exhausting, but well worth it! My daughter was light enough to not sink, and she had a blast. We still had to stop a few times on the way up. The hike is rated as moderate, and it is a little strenuous for a five year old to hike up. Totally doable though. We took the time we needed, and enjoyed ourselves, and the view.

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Just before reaching Heart Lake, there’s a big rock formation to your right. The local calls it Castle Rock. As we climbed up on it, this was the view that greeted us. The white snow-covered mountain in the background is our volcano, Mt Shasta. Isn’t it gorgeous? I LOVE all the untouched snow.

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This is the view from the top of Castle Rock, with a frozen Castle Lake down to the left, and Mt Shasta in the clouds to the right. Below is the exact same view, taken during a hike in November last year. (Both are available as prints in my gallery.)

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I can’t decide which scenery I find the most beautiful, with, or without the snow. I recently read a poll in an online outdoor magazine, that Siskiyou County, where this amazing hike is located, is rated top ten among the most desirable places to live for outdoor enthusiasts. Which is kind of interesting, since the county isn’t very populated. It has many remote places that rarely see people, and the towns are small towns. Maybe it’s  on peoples wish lists, but to actually live there isn’t doable for most people (jobs etc.) ? I don’t live there, but would definitely consider it, if I could make a living there year round. It doesn’t get too hot in the summers, and not too cold in the winters.

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My dog loves this hike. On the upper part of the trail the visibility is good, above the tree line, and I can usually let her off leash, which she loves. Near the trail head I always have her on leash.

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Another shot of her enjoying some off leash time. Heart Lake is on the left side in this photo, but unless you know it is a lake there, you couldn’t see it. The lake is completely frozen, and covered with a thick layer of snow. Heart Lake is located in a little “mini valley”. The snow builds up fast there, in between Castle Rock, and the ridge on the other side. The two previous times I did this hike, people were ice skating on Heart Lake. It would not of been possible to ice skate there now.

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I very much prefer snow in the winter, compared to the endless rain in the valley. It’s a great blessing to be able to enjoy the mountains around us in the weekends. The fresh mountain air, and the light does so much to revitalize my spirit. It also feels like I share a piece of my home with my daughter, even though “my home” was a mountain very far away from this one. Strangely enough, when you grew up in the mountains, all mountains sort of feels like home.

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I think this photo, and the one in black and white of my daughter, is my two favorites from last weekend. Ooo, I almost forgot! One of the most memorable thing was sliding our way down the mountain, on the way back. My daughter and I “belly-slide” (my daughter’s expression,) down. We didn’t have a sled with us, but our winter clothes did the trick. I hope you enjoyed my Winter-Saga-Story. I enjoyed sharing it with you!

 

Love,

Ms Zen

 

A Face in the Crowd 2 – McCloud River

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Yesterday we took a hike along McCloud River, just outside McCloud (CA.) This is a well maintained hike, of an amazing waterway. It’s often challenging to photograph the river, and the three waterfalls along the trail, without accidentally catching a A Face in the Crowd (this week’s photo challenge. Here’s my first entry to the challenge.)

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We did see around 20 people, during the 3-4 hours we spent along the river yesterday, not too bad, for this kind of place.

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My daughter suggested that we built a house next to the lower waterfall! Why not? LOL.

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As always when there’s water included, Gretchen, my dog, had a blast!

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We had hoped for lots of snow, but there was only some patches here and there. The temperature was comfortable, in the upper 30s, and the sun felt warm on our cheeks.

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We started at the lower fall, and hiked out, and back, viewing all three falls. It’s not a very long hike, 3.8 miles all together. It’s perfect for a Sunday stroll with a 5 year old. We stopped many times looking at rocks along the river, crashing some ice, throwing sticks to our dog, comparing different kinds of moss on the trees, and we climbed some bigger boulders on the side of Middle Fall (where we had our picnic lunch.)

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The perfect picnic spot!

We had a fantastic day. I love combining; fresh air, exercise, play, education, exploring, photography, quality family time, and meditation in one outing. That’s the kind of multitasking I like!
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To the right, from where we had our lunch, the pine trees covered the river, making part of it in full shade. The shady patches, like the one on the photo above was really cold.

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This is also Middle Fall, seen from above, further up the trail. We had our lunch on the boulders, in the center, of the bottom of the photo. If you look closely, you can see some people trying to get to that spot. I love how the trail follows the river. It’s a peaceful hike. I believe I’ve done it in all seasons now. They are all wonderful in this magical place.

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This is the Upper Fall, the last one on our trail. We started at the Lower Fall, walked up to Middle Fall, and saw the Upper Fall last. Then we turned around, and walked the same trail back. You can park at any of the falls, and connect to the trail there. You don’t have to do it in a specific order. There’s plenty of parking spots, and clean restrooms at every trail head. This is a hike, or outing for everyone that enjoys beautiful nature. You don’t have to hike if you’re unable to, you can choose to drive to each trailhead and just enjoy the waterfalls.

The easiest way to get there is by taking 1-5 towards McCloud (CA,) and then take Highway 89 for 15 miles, east of the I-5/89 junction, and 5 miles east of McCloud and turn south on Road 40N44. Look for a Fowlers Camp/McCloud Falls sign. It’s easy to find. If you have access to a smartphone, google maps will take you right there.

If you want to stay longer, there’s simple campgrounds next to the falls, but I can highly recommend the RV Park in McCloud, if you’re an RV;er looking for a cool place to spend some time. McCloud also have several B&B with good reputation, but I haven’t personally tried any of them. McCloud is an old logging town, with many beautiful houses, and interesting things to see. There’s an abundance of hiking trail, and Mt Shasta is close by.

I actually shared a post about McCloud Falls in June last year, when this blog was a newborn. Have you seen McCloud River Falls? If so, tell me about your experience! I would love to hear about it!

I hope that your week got off to an awesome start 🙂

Love,

Ms Zen