Archives for December 2021

Friday, Dec. 31, 2021 – Happy New Year!

Hello, my love!
Another year, come and one, time just keeps flying by! Got up this morning in time to bid Pistol good-bye as she headed of to her brother’s and to visit with our friend Maggie. I had a frustrating morning after that, when I started looking around for hay, could only find some in a local feed store, drove thirty minutes to get there when I realized I had taken my purse out of the truck, so I had no credit card or money to buy it. Spend fifteen minutes on the phone begging my credit card company to let me have the card number, and no matter how much I tried, they wouldn’t give it to me, so that was a waste of time. Got back to camp and was trying to clean up some apps on my phone, apparently my credit card company wants to update my app, but there’s not enough room on my phone for it, go figure. Don’t know if that worked or not, haven’t tried to download it yet. Had my leftover turkey leg for dinner, then tried to watch more Expanse, but for some reason, I can get Netflix just fine but Amazon just keeps buffering every minute, very annoying. So I’m not in the best of moods tonight, trying to change my cell phone booster antenna around, hoping for a better signal, then having the phone die on me because the plug wasn’t working right, yada yada yada. Finally did manage to watch one episode using screen sharing before it became time to wrap up the evening. Lots of people came into camp today, a bunch of day riders and a few overnighters. Guess there are some partyers here, too, hoping there aren’t too many fireworks to bother Lola and the horses. Anyway, I have no intention of staying up late, I didn’t even buy a bottle of bubbly this year, though I did crack open an airline bourbon and drank half of that. Much as I enjoy have company occasionally, it’s always nice to be back on my own. I’m sure a nice long ride on Flash tomorrow will put me in a better mood for the new year. Reminds me of that one New Year we were riding along the beach on Padre Island in Texas, getting our horses’ feet wet in the Gulf of Mexico, our third stop after the Atlantic and the Pacific. A beautiful memory, but this is no time to get nostalgic or maudlin, since I have a brand new year in front of me to explore. About time for shower and bed now. Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Thursday, Dec. 30, 2021 – Busy “Rest” Day

Hi Sweetie!
Well, today was supposed to be a rest day, and while it was a day of rest from riding, it didn’t really end up as a day of rest! I did four loads of laundry, did a little housekeeping, did some clipping on Apollo, as his fur is so thick he sweats just standing still, so I trimmed all around the areas that were the worst. That included his chest down to his girth line, up his neck on the bottom, and under his mane. Hopefully that will be enough for now. He was so good, he stood there and didn’t move an inch! And this was only the second time I’ve ever clipped him, makes me so proud! There’s a cool front coming in in a few days, I didn’t want to take too much off, but I can if I need to. Spent some time working on OTL stuff, posting it on a few more Facebook groups, and Anita got three more registrations in the mail, so we’re keeping up a good pace. Not much else to report, it took me until after 3:00 to get all the laundry done and dried, perfect sunny, windy day for it, though! Watched a star-studded Netflix movie called Don’t Look Up, which was both a comedy and a sad commentary on the state of things in our technology and money driven world. Now I’m ready for a shower, which I most certainly need after all my time outside in the heat today, and looking forward to my nice clean sheets on the bed! Good night, babe! Love you!

Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2021 – Second Ride Day at Picayune, About 10 Miles

Hi Babe!
I couldn’t get to sleep last night for anything, have no idea why! Thought I’d be exhausted after our long ride yesterday, but it was nearly 3:00 before I finally got to sleep. Oh, well! Was up at 8:00, and we were out on the trail by just after 10:00, doing just ten miles, with me on Apollo, trying to hit the bits we missed yesterday. Pistol was really sore from all her bouncing around, her horse Tommy had to do a lot of jogging to keep up with Flash’s walk, and she’s evidently not used to that much speed, so her ribs and chest were sore today. She’s not even sure she can ride again tomorrow. Guess this old gal outrode the young whippersnapper this week! I had to keep jogging on Apollo to keep up with Tommy today, though, but of course, that doesn’t bother me, since I do so much riding. It was warm again today, but with a decent breeze, apparently it’s unseasonably warm this week but cooling down for next week. Found a few more painted seashells on the new trails today, too, very fun to find those! Gave Apollo a nice rinse off, spent a few minutes digging prickly weeds out of the two paddocks, then another hour mending Lola’s big bed, she’s been going on a real bender and digging out all the stuffing, so I had four different places I had to sew up after I restuffed it. Tweezed off a bunch of burrs out of Apollo’s saddle, that took me almost another hour. Had a couple of hikers come by and chat for a bit, from California, got into a chat as discussed the entertainment business, as he claimed to be an actor and she a line producer for a reality show. After they left I fed the horses, a bit earlier because I didn’t want to get caught outside with the mosquitoes like we did last night, then shared dinner, finishing up just in time. Watched a movie on Netflix, since I’m having trouble with Prime, it seems to require more bandwidth or something because Prime keeps getting stuck every minute or two whereas I had no problems with Netflix. Now I’m having my Sleepytime and mint tea blend, ready to take my shower, and looking forward to getting a much needed better night sleep tonight! Good night, my darlin’! Love you!

Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021 – First Ride Day at Picayune, Over 19 Miles!

Hi Sweetie!
I slept great, though I had to put in earplugs. Alligator Alley is only about a mile away, and though it wasn’t too bad, I always like super quiet nights, and that’s what I get with my earplugs! Got up around 8:00, and once I fed the horses, I immediately got busy fulfilling a book order that I forgot yesterday, and Pistol was nice enough to take it into town and mail it, since she wanted to fill up with fuel anyway. She got back and we got out on the trail by about 10:30. I remembered some of these long straight stretches, as well as the more jungle-like areas near the center. There must be some Michiganders nearby, because we spotted some painted, bedazzled seashells stuck in the trees, just like I saw painted rocks and gems up in Michigan this past summer! How cool is that? Nicely done. We reached a small campground with a water trough a few miles out of camp, and Lola had worked up such a sweat she jumped into the trough to cool off. The horses had a drink, too, as it was a pretty warm day, over 80, but not humid, fortunately. I was hoping that the further west we got the more jungle-like it would get, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. It really got more barren, with a lot less trees, and a lot of them seemed dead or almost dead. It was supposed to be Cypress swamp, but I guess it’s been so dry a lot of them are stressed. We did see a lot of animal tracks, I need to start learning a bit more so I can identify them better, but I know we saw deer, and something that could have been a small bear, a large canine or feline, not sure which, but this is panther country, as well as bear, so who knows? It was very dry on the trail until we finally hit a few big puddles, and by then the horses and Lola were really thirsty. We went all the way to the far west part of the park, to a day parking area across from a boarding stable. We didn’t run into the puddles until we were on our way back. We stopped at the camping area again and ate a snack, someone was kind enough to leave a container in the water trough to water dogs, and Lola certainly took advantage of that! We finally got back to camp after nineteen plus miles! Got our workout today! Rinsed down the horses, then answered a few emails and got the generator started so I could charge everything up, then it wasn’t long before we were moving hay that Pistol had brought for me, then finally making dinner, and shortly after, calling it a night! Watched an episode of The Expanse, now I’m ready to hit the showers and be in bed very soon! A long, tiring day, but a great ride! And we’ve already got 15 people signed up for the OTL, after only three days since I got the registration link online! Very happy with that! Anyway, calling it a night! Good night, my love!

Monday, Dec. 27, 2021 – Travel Day to Picayune Strand, Shopping

Hi Darlin’!
Was up by 8:00 this morning, took us no time at all to get packed and moving, were on the road by 9:00. A straightforward drive, mostly on I-75, with only one very short slowdown, the rest was easy. Was surprised when I looked back and saw it was way back in 2013 the last time we were here. I seem to remember it was a shakedown cruise for the new Open Range travel trailer we had just bought. Arrived well before 1:00, and was in the process of putting up my portable corral when the camphost came by and said we could use the paddocks at no extra charge, so we parked them in there instead! Didn’t take long to get set up, then we ran out to do some shopping, mostly down to Tractor Supply for propane, so now I’m full up on propane for awhile. Managed to park mostly in the shade but with enough room at the front to get a lot of really good solar energy, so I made sure that panel was out before we left. Unfortunately, they didn’t have Perform for Flash, and neither did the Rural King 30 miles in the opposite direction, so I’ll have to share some of Apollo’s feed with him until I can get some more. Weird, because Rural King usually carries the full line of Nutrena, but not this branch! Anyway, got back, fed the horses, made dinner which we shared at the picnic table again. We were a bit late to the mosquitoes were starting to eat us alive at the very end of our meal, so we weren’t long before saying good night! Had a bunch of money come in for the OTL today, which makes me very happy, looks like all my efforts are panning out! Stock market did well today, too, so I’m an all around happy camper! One thing I forgot to do, though, was to fulfill a book order, so I’m going to have to do that in the morning, or have Pistol mail it since she wants to take her truck in to fill it with fuel while she’s disconnected. Meanwhile, I’m full from dinner, planning on watching an episode of The Expanse, take my shower and head to bed! Feeling a bit tired, you know how traveling always does that. Anyway, good night, babe! Love you!

Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021 – A Frustrating Computer Day

Hey Babe,
Another good night sleep, then after chores I started working on trying to match up email addresses with real people on my OTL list. What a nightmare! I was very glad that I had sent a hard copy of the list to Anita last week, so after trying unsuccessfully to rearrange the names is some fashion that might realign them, I finally decided to do it manually, so I spent about four hours realigning them all manually. Just when I thought I was finished, I discovered that I had failed to print one of the pages, so I started to try to do that, and had a glitch which made me have to reboot my laptop, and when I tried to open up the database again, it said the entire file was corrupted and wouldn’t open! Talk about frustrating! I was nearly in tears, but once my mind cleared, I remembered that everything backs up on Carbonite, so I quickly stopped all backups and went into the Carbonite file and discovered that I still had yesterday’s copy, yay! At least I hadn’t lost anything, and I figured I would have to redo all the work I had just completed, but then, when I opened it up, all the addresses were back where they belonged! Sure wish I had thought of that sooner!! Would have saved me all that trouble doing it manually. It’s not 100 percent, but what little is left is nothing compared to what I would have had to do. Whew! A wasted day, but at least I’m back where I started, which is a huge improvement! Since that took most of the day, I then took some time to start putting stuff away since we’re moving on tomorrow, then we had a nice steak on the grill again, then settled down for the evening. It’s early yet, but I’m planning on getting to bed early after my shower, so I can read for awhile. Glad to see the back end of this day! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Saturday, Dec. 25, 2021 – Christmas Day Ride

Hi Sweetie,
Despite being only a half mile from a busy road, it hasn’t done anything to bother my sleep, I got another great night in last night. Read a bit before finally getting up. My horses are mostly used to my late schedule, but Pistol’s Tommy was nickering from daybreak, though not enough to keep me awake! Finally got up and fed my guys, then got involved with sending an email for OTL, then made the shocking discovery that somehow my database, which I’ve worked hard to update and put together, somehow mismatched all the names from their email addresses! Not sure how that happened, and will take some doing to straighten out, but decided that today wasn’t the day to figure it all out. Once I gave up, I saddled up Flash, while Doc, who arrived this morning, saddled up Apollo and Pistol readied Tommy, and we soon were out on our Christmas Day ride, a nice five mile trip around both ends of the park, at least as far as we could reach. Once we got back, it wasn’t long before we fed the critters, then I made a nice dinner for us all with ham and yams and salad, finishing off the beautiful starry evening with a bonfire and a few shots of honey bourbon (I’m moderating!) before calling it a night. An episode or two of The Expanse, now I’m ready for my shower and bed. Another great day on the road! Love you, darlin’! Good night!

Friday, Dec. 24, 2021 – Christmas Eve Ride Day

Hi Darlin’,
Had another great night sleep, woke up and read a bit until Pistol turned her generator on and I figured it was time to get up. Did chores and had breakfast, then got involved with trying to straighten out a way for payments for the OTL to get directly into their account, and finally got that resolved later in the day. Meanwhile, after messing with that for a couple of hours, Pistol and I saddled up and took about a five mile slow ride on Apollo and Tommy. Some beautiful trails in here, I just wish there were more of them, or that there was a way to get to the south end of the park! Tried to send out an email blast but had some problems and only managed to get a few out, will have to work on that tomorrow. Finished the day with a nice dinner and sitting around the campfire for a bit before heading back to the trailer for an episode of Expanse, and an early night, which I’m getting used to. Not supposed to be as cold tonight, looking forward to more normal temps over the weekend. Hard to believe it’s Christmas Eve, not that that ever meant that much to us since we never really paid much attention to holidays, but I do miss having you here with me, no matter what day it is! Anyway, heading for a shower and bed shortly, need to find a new book to read. Good night, babe! Love you!

Thursday, Dec. 23, 2021 – Pistol Arrives, Second Ride at Oak Ridge

Hey Babe,
Another good night sleep, another morning of chores and a little computer work, then Pistol arrived just after 11:00 this morning. Once she got settled in, we saddled up and took a little about a 5.6 mile ride around. I was looking for a way to get down to the south end of the park, since half the 16 miles of trails they claim are down there, but discovered you can’t get there unless you cross a deep creek with a steep hill on the other side. Not sure I’m up for that kind of risky stuff any more! No bridge and barely any markings to let you know you’re actually on the trail. Their map is very misleading because it shows the trails as dotted lines, and doesn’t mark where you hit a river or a creek, so it looks like it goes right through, but it doesn’t. So I guess we’ll be staying on the eight miles of trail on this side, unless we trailer to another trailhead, and frankly, I don’t think it’s work it. Disappointing, too, because some of the trails here are absolutely gorgeous! Old Florida at it’s best! Some of the trees in here are the largest I’ve ever seen this side of the redwoods in California, I’d guess they’re at least 400-500 years old, seriously big! We even saw a beautiful owl today, too. Another problem with the map is that while trails have intersection numbers, they’re not on the map. Who makes these maps these days? Ridiculous! Anyway, we got back and took a quick run to the Publix for ice for her cooler and salad makings for our next few dinners, which I started to fix as soon as we got back. Steaks on the grill, baked potato and a fresh salad hit the spot, and a little pumpkin pie with eggnog ice cream, with a little sip of Jim Beam Honey Bourbon (just one!!), before saying good night and heading our separate ways. Watch a couple of episodes of The Expanse again, ready for my shower and bed! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2021 – First Ride at Oak Ridge

Hi Sweetie,
Well, I certainly got my rest last night! Was in bed around 9:30 last night, and didn’t get out of bed until 9:30 this morning! Read some, but mostly it was sleeping, so I woke up refreshed and raring to go this morning! Got all my chores done, did some computer work, like re-writing the OTL Mail-in registration form, while I waited it for it warm up, because frankly, it was too cold to ride this morning, but the sun finally broke through the gray clouds and that did the trick! Saddled up Flash and headed out on a GPS-planned route, that started out absolutely lovely. Then we ran into a Cypress swamp and couldn’t figure out where to go, so we backtracked a bit and took another route. Some trails were gorgeous, and then I’d run into difficulties, like too much water, a barb-wire fence, downed trees and not matching up with my GPS. We didn’t get anywhere near as far south as I wanted because I couldn’t find an opening in a barb-wire fence, so I went back up north and did some more exploring up there. A lot of wide open spaces that really got Flash’s juices going, he was galloping for all he was worth across some fields. Managed to find the other side of the cypress swamp, though, and saw which way we should have gone, just missed it, but it was over a lot of dark water, and couldn’t see the trail on the other side. Got over it though, that’s the important thing. We ended up doing about 8.75 miles, less than we wanted, but it’s a start. We’ll try again tomorrow when it’s warmer, to see what we can find. Once I sponged Flash down and put him away, I did a few chores, like repaired the hose that runs out of the water tank, it had such a bad kink it wouldn’t flow, so I cut that section out and put a connector on it. Put the propane tanks away, filled the horses’ water tanks, just puttered for a bit. Finally reached dinner time, so I fed the horses and myself, put their light blankets on since it’s going down into the low 40’s tonight, and settled down for the evening to a couple of episodes of The Expanse. Got a message from your niece that your sister has been transferred to a home, she’s been having trouble getting out of bed, so they’re working on helping her do that. She had knee surgery awhile back and is having trouble with her recovery. I’ve called her a few times these last few weeks, I’ll do so again over the holidays. Anyway, I’m ready to hit the showers and to get to bed early again, I do like these long, leisurely nights in my warm comfy bed! Good night, darlin’! Love you!