Archives for December 2013

Friday, Dec. 13, 2013 – Rainy Day

Rain moved in overnight, so we woke up to the sound of thunder and rain on our roof. Had a quiet day, which helped me finish the preliminary work on my new writing project, several days ahead of schedule.

Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013 – Short Ride at Reynolds Creek

After a great night sleep, (no nearby traffic and no trains! Though the airport is just across the lake, so we did hear a few early morning takeoffs), we had a leisurely morning, getting some work done, before deciding it was warm enough (around 46) to saddle up for a short ride, just to do some exploring. What a pleasant surprise! Once we crossed the field to the concrete bridge across what I assume is Reynolds Creek, we were enveloped into a forest of mostly cedar trees about 25-40 feet tall, and the trail started to weave through them, in many places almost like a tunnel. The footing was perfect, a medium packed dirt with only a few sections of rounded rock that seemed to be put in deliberately, and one or two areas that looked like it could get muddy with rain, though there’s been such a drought here in recent years, chances are it would soak right in anyway. We turned west and followed the creek, and though we didn’t see any blazes on the trail (which worried me at first), at every intersection it is very well-marked with both clearly painted wooden signs, and a You Are Here placard. We had no trouble staying on track with the trail map, though in reality, compared to the actual GPS trail, the map is significantly off. As long as you follow the trail map, though, you have no problems. Plus, it’s a pretty small area, and all trails on the west side eventually lead back to the bridge, so it’s pretty hard to get lost. We only went out for about an hour, less than 3 miles, just to stretch the horses’ legs and get us back in the saddle after 8 days. Apollo had energy, but not even close to the oat-driven madness he had earlier. This new feeding regime seems to be working, he’s calmer and Clio’s starting to put on some weight, really starting to look good again! We put their winter blankets on again, as it’s supposed to get below freezing overnight again. Had plenty of time to have a relaxing evening, having only taken an uncharacteristically short ride today! Looking forward to the next one, though, I sure wish the weather would warm up some, at least to their seasonal norms!

Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013 – Travel Day to Reynolds Creek

Got up just a bit earlier than usual, got packed up, headed out to the dump, which was in a separate campground, but they had given us the code for that when we first checked in, so no worries. Had stops at Tractor Supply, Walmart and Bar None for horse feed, finally arriving at camp at 3:00. No one was manning the booth, so we headed straight to the horse camp, thinking there was an iron ranger there, but there wasn’t. I guess someone will come around and collect at some point, or I’ll just run up and pay when the time comes. This isn’t much of a campground, more like a gravel parking lot with water and electric hookups at the end of each parking spot, and a fairly large field just to the south. The pavilion was empty, as all of the picnic tables had been moved out under the trees for some reason, and a very large fire ring with a concrete sitting circle around it, so obviously this is meant to be a group camp. One nice surprise, though, was that even though the picture on Google Earth shows open corrals at the back of each parking spot, they have since had a roof put along the entire row, so that both the corrals and the spaces in between are now under cover. Glad of that, as there’s some chilly rain in the forecast later in the week. Got settled in quickly, as there’s not much of a challenge to finding a satellite dish over an open field, and were soon home again, home again, jiggety jig!

Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 – Work Day

Spent the day working on my project and doing some logistics for the next few weeks, with Hubby watching TV and reading his Kindle. Did a little prep work, but since the next horse camp is just 40 miles away, we’re not too worried about getting out at the crack of dawn tomorrow. Just another regular, non-riding, non-traveling day!

Monday, Dec. 9, 2013 – Still Too Darn Cold!

After looking at the forecast, we decided to stay here through Wednesday, so we took a side trip out to the office and paid for a couple more days. We had hoped they’d have a phone we could use to send in Hubby’s quarterly heart monitor report, but no such luck, so we ran out to a nearby grocery store, and they let us use their phone. We also bought some milk, as that was the only grocery item that we were running low on, and didn’t want to drive all the way into town just for that. The day was still cool, but at least it was sunny, so the trip out was a nice diversion.

Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013 – Slight Warm Up Today

Temps got above freezing today, so by the end of the day, much of the snow and ice had melted, though we had to start out the day thawing the horses’ spigot with hot water again, as well as the RV’s spigot, as I had laundry to do today and neede to fill up the water tank. Spent the day making considerable progress on my latest book project, with Hubby watching football all afternoon. He had to thaw out the drain as well, just in case we start to hit the high mark when we’re showering later this evening. Otherwise, and uneventful day, except that we made the decision to stay here at least another day or two until the ice is completely gone and our travel day is rain-free. Right now there’s a slight chance of rain and a high of 37 tomorrow, not getting excited about that yet…

Saturday, Dec. 7, 2013 – Pearl Harbor Day

Woke up to temps trying to crawl out of the teens! Needless to say, the water spigot by the corral was frozen, so I took out a kettle of hot water, which did the trick nicely. Horses got extra hay last night and today to keep them warm, and moving them to dryer stalls and moving the tarps over made a big difference. They seemed comfortable enough, nice and warm under their winter blankets. Spent the day working on my project while Hubby watched college football. Days are seeming to run together now, short daylight, plus living in a virtual cave, though the fireplace does make it quite cozy. Apparently there’s good insulation in our Open Range, as the gas furnace didn’t come on at all overnight, and we only had the fireplace and one small space heater on! Living in long underwear these days! Suppose to be marginally warmer, at least above freezing, tomorrow, and in the 50’s by Wednesday! Can’t wait!

Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 – Thunder Snow and Ice Day

So, one of the reasons we decided to spend the late Fall and early winter in Texas (besides visiting family in Austin during the upcoming holidays) was that the average temperatures for December here supposed to be around 63 during the day and lows of 40’s overnight. Last night, it got down in the 20s, and we had rain, sleet, ice, and by this morning, snow on the ground! We were stunned to wake up several times during the night to the sound of thunder! Can’t remember ever hearing thunder when the temperatures are so cold. Have you every experiences thundersnow?? Weird. Everything was covered with a layer of ice, couldn’t get the truck door open, Hubby had trouble getting the tack room door open, he needed a tool to do it. The tarps we had put up on the corral had become a solid sheet of ice, and unfortunately, the wind had blown a lot of rain into Clio’s stall, so we moved here and Apollo over to drier stalls. We’re not too worried about anyone else coming in to ride today… We’re a bit worried about one tree that hangs directly over us that looks pretty dead, and if it gets a lot of weight on it, might come crashing down, but we’re keeping our fingers crosses that doesn’t happen! Highs today to stay around freezing, and more cold all weekend, with, what the NOAA calls, a “wintry mix.” Not quite what we signed up for, but then again, we’ve been pretty fortunate with the weather mostly this year. Gotta say, though, Florida’s looking mighty fine right now… : -). Too bad we decided to winter in Arizona starting in January, even there it’s extra cold so far this year. Hope things improve as the winter goes on!

Thursday, Dec. 5, 2013 – Hunker Down Day

The temps, did, in fact, plummet overnight, and from the short sleeves I was wearing yesterday, today I had to bundle up in my parka to feed the horses. Brrrr! Spent the day hunkered down, mostly working on all the work that’s been piling up since before Thanksgiving. Lots of computer work to do! Hubby spent the day with a heating pad on his back, and felt much better by the feeding time. The wind was quite bitter, so we took two tarps out and wrapped them over the bars on the north side of the corrals to create a windbreak, which would make it much more comfortable for the horses. Enjoyed a quiet evening in front of the fireplace, which has been going non-stop since last night.

Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013 – Another Great Ride at McCown Valley

With temps even warmer, going up into the upper 70’s, short sleeves were in order for our second ride. This time we headed south, then east, essentially skirting a peninsula of private property that juts south into the park and must be circumnavigated to get to the eastern side of the park. We weaved through trees almost the entire day, with just a few stretches in the open. The northern-most trail on the east side had a few wet and muddy spots, but nothing compared to some places we’ve been. We ran into Wayne again, this time riding a pretty dapple gray (yesterdays was a chestnut or bay, can’t remember now), had another short chat, saw another couple riding from afar, but otherwise a nice quiet day, even when we ran into another bunch of cows! This time the horses didn’t pay any attention to them at all, thank goodness. Hubby strained his back on the home stretch, and unfortunately, was in a lot of pain the last 45 minutes or so. I took the shortest route I could find, which included the one Wayne had showed us yesterday, but it took longer than we expected because we couldn’t go faster than a walk or it hurt him too much. Got back to camp about 4:15, another 4+ hour, 10.5 mile trip, probably the two longest rides we’ve taken in a LONG time, much less back to back. I had Hubby go in side and put ice on his back while I tended to the horses. The weather forecast has changed for the worse, calling for temps dropping dramatically tonight, so no ride tomorrow anyway! Felt kind of guilty putting the winter blankets on the horses when it was still in the 60’s, but I knew the temps would be in the 30’s by morning, so I figured they’d forgive me. Settled down for the evening, last chance to enjoy having the windows open for a while!