No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill

Friday, April 27, 2012

LBL Weekender Camping Trip

YeeeeHaaaaawwww fellow riders!  Spring is just getting started and this is our THIRD...yes I said third camping trip this year!

We had several beautiful rides this weekend!  It is amazing how quickly the foliage blossoms out in the spring.  Spring was in full swing when we got to LBL.  The camp ground was over flowing with endurance riders for the weekend ERIC event, so we almost didn't get an electric site.  One of the ladies at the check station was very gracious and called a friend that had a permanent site and asked if we could stay in his spot for the weekend.  We were very fortunate and grateful for her kind act.  Again there just aren't people like horse people!  We settled into camp after searching for our spot in the dark...something that does NOT make Mr. Simmons a "happy camper"  HA pun intended and then settled in the horses and tucked them in for the night on their high line. It was actually my fault that we got to camp so late because I had to work until 5:30. We cooked pork chops on the grill and had a really late supper, but we were hungry at that point!  Then it was straight to bed for us, for a new day of riding would dawn before we knew it!

We started out riding by ourselves, but as usual Mr. meet someone today started talking to a woman and her two daughters at the Blue Hole.  He was really impressed at how well the youngest girl had trained her horse to be so responsive with the bit and under saddle.  He even had to try her horse out.  But as we know this meeting could not come with out a little professional aggravation from the expert himself.  Not sure what this group of women thought of Keith, but I think they questioned it!  We followed them in to camp on the trail but we lost Keith brush popping on the way, therefor I returned to camp alone.  Now this is not my ideal situation...I begin questioning he alright?  Do I need to go looking for him?  How long do I wait?  Men!  They just sometimes don't know what they do to us!  He returned safe and sound and we got to enjoy a very nice supper by campfire while listening to the coyotes howl in sweet unison through the hills of Wrangler's camp.  There must have been hundreds of them, for the sounds of their beautiful songs encircled our camp.  Harley didn't appreciate it as much as us and let us and the wile ole coyotes know that this was his turf and camp and that they better not dare to come near.  He woofed out his warnings to them repeatedly while he bounced on his front paws and held his head back loud and proud to see just how vicious he really was!  What a chuckle we got from him!  Bad dog Harley, that's my name!

On this camping trip we camped among the pine grove and the smell of the pines and campfires mingling together are a treat to the senses.  Our second night in camp Keith again makes friends with the neighbors and they invite us to supper more than once with their group up the hill.  We don't partake but it was a very nice gesture.  Later they ask to join us around our campfire and we sit staring at the fire and talk the night away.  It was very late when we went to bed, but remember my motto is "no clocks on vacation".  

The next morning, our last morning to ride we decide to ride some uncharted territory.  Keith and I were planning on going to see the buffalo, but decide that it is too long of a ride for this time.  We chose to see the old tobacco barn.  On the way we pass trails lined with flowering bushes a great act of God's handy work. We stir up millions of butterflys that kiss our faces and bodies engulfing our horses and us as we pass.  What an awesome experience!  As we round the bend and break through the forest, in the clearing can be seen a relic of history, standing still in time, lending a story from our past.  I can almost visualize the farm, and the family working there with their horses and hear the sounds of complete sustainability that farms and families once had.  I sit on my horse in awe. looking up into the rafters and imagining what that life must have been like.  Harder but satisfyingly simpler...I savor this day as if it were that cell phones, automobiles, city noise, or pollution...just me, Keith, horses, and nature.

On our way back to camp I tell Keith of an old cabin or corn crib that I would like to photograph.  I found it when I was waiting for him to return to camp the day before.  Again I am amazed at the craftsmanship of our forefathers and let my mind drift to what kind of history was made in this spot so many years ago.  Were there little children running around in overalls and calico dresses?  Chickens pecking in the yard?  The old milk cow chewing her cud in the meadow.  A team of mules harnessed and waiting to plow...I picture a true scene from Where the Red Fern Grows.

As all good stories do this one ends another chapter.  For my story will not end until I do.  My next chapter starts with my next adventure.  I hope you will join me to see what that next chapter brings.  Happy trails my friends....see you on the back of a horse, the best place to be!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Benefit Ride Logan County Saddle Club

One thing I have noticed since Keith and I have been together is that you can never have too many friends!  Of course I already knew that, but Kieth takes it to a level most just don't.  He never sees a stranger he won't talk to and this outgoing part of his nature has lead us to a lot of new acquaintances.

One evening in April was no different.  Keith had been talking to a coworker about a horse his brother had that he might want to look at to buy.  After checking out the horse he stopped to talk to his coworker about motorcycles.  He told Keith of one a neighbor had just down the road.  This led us to a man's house we will forever refer to as "Carpie" which is what all his friend's call him.  Now he is not the man who had the motorcycle, however because of his magnetic personality all of his neighbors end up at his place including the motorcycle belonging to the neighbor.  Before we left the whole neighborhood was in "Carpie's" garage having a wonderful visit.  We find horse people in the most unlikely places and here was no different.  After Keith and "Carpie" discussed who they each knew and where they liked to ride we received an open invitation to ride with "Carpie" sometime and it wasn't long before we got the chance. 

On April 21st the Logan County Saddle Club organized and had a benefit ride for Debbie Stamps a cancer survivor.  The day was very chilly but every one's spirits were high with generosity.  We started the afternoon with a ride through the hills of Mike Johnson's farm and ended back at the saddle club for an amazing pork BBQ sandwich meal and auction.  People were so generous with their bidding that they weren't even sure what they had bought.  We left with a few halters, girths, and some black berry bushes, which Keith is patiently waiting to produce it's first bounty.  Every part of my body was numb with cold but my heart was warmed with the spirit benevolence.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

High Knob-Max and Mary Style

No matter how many times we pull into a camp ground to set up camp and plan a riding trip I am just as excited about the ride as the first time I ever got to take my horse out camping.  It was a dream I had as long as I can remember in my childhood days at home with my beloved Gypsi pony.  My parents didn't have a fancy trailer and we weren't a family that based our weekends around trail rides or horse shows, but they sometimes fueled my dreams by taking me into our small home town for the county parade each year.

Rounding the corner into and past the High Knob camp ground we were greeted with the witty camaraderie of Ms. Jojo Moomey camp ground owner.  I anticipate the humor and fun that will be had by all in the company of these wonderfully enjoyable horse people.  As usual she demands that we make ourselves at home and set up camp where we like.  We had planned to meet up with a couple we met here back in October for a nice weekend ride.  Our first day Keith and I enjoyed some time alone while we awaited the arrival of our new found friends.  I knew once they arrived I was in for a side splitting time! 

After getting set up Keith and I took a nice short ride deep in the Shawnee forest and enjoyed the scenery of the huge rock formations that cover the forest.  That evening I built my famous campfire and we enjoyed each others company as we listened to the serene distant call of the first spring message of the unforgettable whippoorwills.  A lone coyote howls in unison.  We reminisce about our first meeting with Max and Mary.  The nights and days were cool but not unpleasant.  The nights proved to be just what a fire calls for.

Day 2 we meet up with Max and Mary at the spring.  Max leads up through The Lower Hurricane and the Snow Cone.  He tells us the story of a professor and his wife who tried to live here in the hills and rocks away from civilization.  It was deemed The Snow Cone because he thought he could set up a drink and snow cone booth to sell to passers by.  As we pass The Snow Cone and enter The Lower Hurricane Max tells the story of the mountain man who lived in the cave at the bottom of the canyon.  We get off and explore and still see tell tale signs of his existence.  We come across the infamous gator that has been humorously placed in the Forest for finders to move when found.  The men decide to oblige.  The humor projected by Max and Keith is unrelenting and merciless.  That evening we meet Max and Mary at their cabin for a nice fire and some more comedic relief.

Day 3 Keith decides that we need to ride to H Canyon.  Max and Mary decide to sit this one out since their ponies haven't gotten in many rides yet this year and H Canyon is a longer ride.  We meet up with Grady a High Knob resident and his friend Barbra.  H Canyon was breath taking!  The canyon was deep and lush.  Fresh spring water was flowing and it was a picture right out of a wild west movie.  We had lunch at the bottom where someone has positioned rocks for a campfire and stones to make reclining seats. 

Day 4 we take one last long ride for the weekend.  We ride to the ti pee and through dead horse canyon.  It was a long ride but the day seemed to pass as if it were only minutes.  We arrived back at camp tired from playing hard, but happy.  We decided that since it was getting late our best option for supper was the steak dinner at M and M camp ground.  Boy were we right!  A medium well cooked sirloin with a baked potato loaded with the works complimented with a side salad and a tall glass of southern sweet tea!

Before we knew it we were packing up to go home and planning our next back of a horse adventure!  Times like these always pass in the blink of an eye!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Packing Essentials for Trail Riding

You and your trail riding buddies head down the trail. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and you are anticipating a great ride. As the day wears on, seemingly out of nowhere you hear a clap of thunder, and quickly cover your eyes from the blinding light. You know that the Storm is closing in very quickly, however you are 5 long rugged miles from civilization. You have noticed your friend's horse has a slight limp and suddenly a whole myriad of thoughts cloud your mind..."Do we all have rain gear? Should we continue with the limping horse? Can we make it back without harming the horse or getting struck by lightning? What is the best option?"

Many experienced seasoned trail riders will tell you, that being prepared out on the trail is very important. Those who have spent hours in the saddle out in mother nature know all to well that circumstance doesn't always come in the form we plan. More often they come completely unplanned. There are many obstacles that can come about while away from camp. Weather can change in the blink of an eye, your horse's health can change at any given moment, you can become lost, and even you or one of your parties health can be compromised. None of us like to think about these incidents, but we should always come as the tried and true boyscout vows; prepared for anything. The following is a list of things I deem very important and helpful in packing in your saddle bags:

1. Water-it is very important to stay hydrated, and though we sometimes don't plan on being out long, we sometimes find we are there longer. Water can also be used to clean a wound. It's not very wise to clean a wound with dirty water.
2. Snacks-again comfort is the main reason, but also for unplanned long outings. Granola bars, nuts, cheese, chips or pretzels, boiled eggs, Uncrustables, jerky, and crackers are a few of my favorites.
3. Mace-I know this sounds a bit strange, but you just never know what you might come across when you are out. Wild animals and dogs are usually what have been encountered on my rides, however I have had people pop up beside me unbeknown to me without warning. We all know that you can never be too safe.
4. Sunscreen-it is very wise to grease up. Even while in the woods you can receive a nasty smack from Mr. Sun! If you have a horse with pink skin it can help him as well.
5. Insect repellent-Ticks and mosquitoes are prevalent out on the trail and make your ride miserable if you can not abate them.
6. Shoe strings and hair ties-these can be used for many reasons. Repair a faulty piece of tack, tie back hair, or even tie something to a saddle or make a temporary bandage adhesive.
7. Old fashioned handkerchief-there is a great reason why all cowboys wore them back in western times. They can be used for a washcloth, Kleenex, to cool your neck, bandage, and even to package something up.
8. Matches or a lighter-you never know when you might want or need to build a fire! I prefer a lighter or waterproof matches. A small piece of fire starter isn't necessary, but loved in a pinch.
9. Rain gear-be sure to purchase a good set. Nothing is more miserable than being in a sudden down pour and getting wet even after putting on your gear. The long trail blazers are nice, but having rain pants too is very helpful. I recommend a set made of rubber, not the usual trail blazer jackets you see most with. They look cool, but they get wet in a real down pour!
10. Safety pins-never know what might be fixed with just a pin.
11. Band aids and small first aid kit.
12. lip balm. Preferably with SPF.
13.Whistle-in case you need to call for help or ward off a wild animal.
14. Flash light.
15. Duct tape-it can fix a lot of things! Even tape on a loose horseshoe.

I am sure there are other things that might be fitting to take, but these are a few of the items I pack often in my saddlebags while out for the day on the trail. Plus one of my musts is always my handy dandy camera. You just never know what sites you will see that you might want to record for later memory!

Happy Trails!

He leadeth me beside the still waters.Psalms 23

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Camping Trip Menu

One of my favorite things to do is plan the menu for our camping trips! I love trying to come up with delicious, yet inexpensive, and convenient recipes that I can make in a jiffy so that I am not spending all of my time in the camper. There is nothing better then the aroma of your dinner already cooked and waiting for you after a long, enjoyable ride on the trail. We play hard (I know my husband along with his best friend Dave is literally laughing out loud on this one...hint we stop on the trail about as much as we ride!) and I am nothing but ready to sit and relax after returning to camp. The hardest thing I have to do is fight off all the other campers that can smell our cuisine drifting to their campsites! After much contemplation about variety, tastiness, time, as well as affordability this is what I have decided on for our suppers:
(I hope it's fitting for Keith...I haven't run it past him yet...HA!
Day 1

Crock pot Chicken Teriyaki

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
16 ounces pineapple chunks in light syrup, partially drained
6 ounces teriyaki sauce

Place chicken breasts in crock pot. Add the pineapple and teriyaki sauce, cover. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours. Serve over rice.

Day 2
Like I said, I like quick and easy!

McCormick Crock pot BBQ Ribs
1 pkg. McCormick Seasoning Mix

4 lbs. bone-in pork ribs, cut into 2-rib sections*
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup honey

1. PLACE ribs in slow cooker. Mix Seasoning Mix, ketchup and honey until well blended. Pour over ribs. Cover.

2. COOK 8 hours on LOW or 4 hours on HIGH.

3. REMOVE ribs and place on serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from sauce. Serve sauce over ribs.

*For country-style ribs, cut into 1-rib sections. Cook 8 hours on LOW.

For thicker sauce: Pour sauce mixture into medium saucepan. Skim fat. Bring to boil on high heat. Cook 10 minutes or until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

Slow Cooker Tip:
For best results, do not remove cover during cooking.
Serve with fried potatoes and onions straight from the iron skillet

Day 3

Dutch Oven Mexican Stew
1lb. hamburger
1/4C chopped onion
1 24oz. can V-8 juice
1 can corn
1pkg. taco season mix
1 small can sliced black olives
3/4C uncooked rice
1 15oz. can red kidney beans

Brown hamburger in dutch oven and drain grease. Add all ingredients and simmer 2 hrs. (try about 6 briquettes under the dutch oven and 4 on top.) Add taco chips when served.

Day 4
Left over day trail smorgasbord! :)