Simply Maarvelous!

After last weekend’s heat and humidity and then several days of rain, the weather today was absolutely stunning and I spent pretty much the whole day out enjoying it.

oak tree

This morning I took Java for a walk at the Rum River. I bought new tennies, cross-trainers, last weekend to replace my worn out walking shoes but ended up wearing the old shoes today because it was still wet and muddy out. Java and I took the grass and dirt route so I could do some alternate walking and jogging. It makes things a little more challenging and interesting. I’ll keep giving the jogging a try as long as my knees don’t start bothering me too much.

The river level came up quite a bit with the rain. These areas had been dry and sandy last time I walked through here.

Rum River
Rum River

The air was loudly buzzing with bee activity as Java and I stood among the flowers. I couldn’t get a good close up photo because my camera appears to be having some issues.

flowers along river

Java and I passed by people jogging and biking. We’re working on her “I want to play” lunge factor with hot dogs as a distraction tool. She lunged at the first few people we passed but seemed to get the message after that. I just need to be more consistent working on this with her.

dog training

The oak trees were throwing acorns at us, which was very confusing to Java. She thought we were being attacked by mutant squirrels.

There was only one horse trailer at the Rum River park. I like their setup with the water carrier and hay rack on top of the trailer. I’m still hoping to fulfill that big horse camping trip dream I’ve always had, even if I have to go all by myself. I’m not letting lack of a partner in crime hold me back. Life is too short to wait for someone to want to join me in my adventures.

horse trailer

Here’s my Mini, trying to hang out with the big boys.

Mini Cooper

When Java and I got home from our walk, I had lunch and then got ready to take Luke to the state forest nearby. By the time I got my camera, water, water for Luke, a couple apples all packed up, and then got Luke groomed, on the trailer, and drove to the park, it was about 1:30 and the trailer parking area was full of trailers. I couldn’t pull in but had to back in instead. It took a couple tries, but I finally got the trailer into a spot.

But as soon as I got parked, unloaded Luke, and was almost done saddling him up, two more trailers arrived and parked on both sides of me. One was a HUGE trailer with a sign that said “Careful. Show horses on board.” Well la dee dah. Those darn show horses were kicking and screaming as they pulled in. Luke did not like the sounds of that.

I hurried to finish getting Luke ready and get out of there before the show girls started unloading their monsters. Plus, the second trailer load (from the same stable), was waiting for me to move Luke so they could back in.

We vamoosed.

I wasn’t on a time table today, so I didn’t worry so much about getting lost or what time I got back to the trailer. As it turned out, all trails seemed to eventually lead back to the parking lot so no need to worry.

trail riding

This trail looked a little ominous — like we were going into a cave.

trail riding

But it opened up on the other side of the trees.

trail riding

Luke was hearing a lot of noises as we rode, mainly it was those darn acorns falling again.

trail riding

I don’t know what these pods are but they were sure pretty, pinkish with green. The photo doesn’t do the colors justice.

tree at seed

But then there is this black stuff on some of the trees. Whatever it is, it’s not good as the trees that have it are dead or in the process of dying.

diseased tree

I rode Luke for two hours and then went back to the trailer to hit the bathroom, stretch my legs, give Luke some water, and eat our apples (one of the apples was off our tree).

However, I discovered that the trailers on both sides of me were so close, there wasn’t even room to tie Luke to the trailer. Plus the show horse group came back at the same time I did and was starting to get ready to go, so it was pretty chaotic again.

I grabbed the two apples, put them in my saddle bag, and headed out again without getting a bathroom break. Luke and I shared the two apples as we rode on the trail. Although, Luke doesn’t quite get the concept of sharing and tended to slobber with his bite so I’d end up giving him the rest of the apple.

trail riding

I’ve gotten pretty good at juggling things on my ride — the camera, my water, food — I even managed to hold onto my water container as Luke decided to run up a hill while I was trying to drink. Didn’t spill a drop.

The flies seemed to get worse past 4:00 for some reason. Luke and I did a full-out gallop trying to escape them. I’m wondering if I can gallop and capture some cool effects shooting the ground as I go…

When we returned to the trailer a second time, I spent some time talking to three other women about trucks and trailers and the wild and wacky show ponies. One lady was really fun to talk to and probably to ride with. I should get some cards made up to hand out to people to give me a call if they need a riding partner.

When I got home, after I cleaned out the trailer, fed Luke and Murphy, Java, and Shy, I grilled burgers on the outdoor gas grill. It took me awhile to get the “automatic” starter to actually light, but eventually I got one side of it going. The hamburgers turned out excellent, seasoned to perfection, if I do say so myself.

Tomorrow I’m going to try and hook up with cousin A and her husband at the Nowthen Threshing Show. Hoping to catch the “Parade of Power” at 2:00 PM.


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  1. I use hot dogs as treats for Sadie, since she is very socially anxious, I reward her with “high value” treats and my dog behaviorist says hot dogs are very high value to a dog! The dogs love them!
    I hear you on the parking too close to the trailer! We can park at our trailhead, there is only 1 or 2 trailers at the entire trailhead, we get back and someone just has to park soooo close to one side of the trailer, where my sister can’t tie her horse! And the parking lot was EMPTY! Hello people! I can understand if the parking lot is full, but seriously, when it’s empty, leave room between trailers! I am actually surprised someone took show horses out on trail rides. When my horses were in training, the reining trainer that was at the barn would NOT let his horses out on the trails, even if his clients wanted to take them out. Trail riding is such a good break from training.
    I am so happy you had a good day!!

  2. I have to say that the whole horse trailer thing sounds scary to me. Backing up with one attached! I’m way impressed.

    It sounds like you took advantage of every moment of a gorgeous day. I’m with Paint Girl about the high value treats to get Java to focus on you instead of other dogs. With a lab, another trick is to bring their fave toy or even just a stick, and hand it to them to carry at that time. But, don’t do that if Java has any toy-possessiveness issues.

  3. I’m just proud of myself that I was able to back up the trailer and get it where I wanted to in a short amount of time. It was tough because there were people and horses wandering around behind me and I couldn’t always see where they were. It was a good training day for all of us – Java, Luke, and me!

  4. Hey! Sounds like a great day! I flunked backing up with a trailer a long time I am very impressed! The seeds that are very pretty this time of year are some kind of a may be Acer ginnala but I am not sure. The Black stuff which I think looks like poop is Black Knot.. and we have lots of it here in Minnesota. I notice it in the Aspens and in the scrub brush the most. 🙂

  5. Thanks for the info on the maple seeds and the black knot, which from what I can gather on it, is a fungus. As for the trailer backing, I’m actually hoping I have to do it more because it’s one of those things you just need to do to get the hang of it, since the way your turn goes just the opposite of what your instincts tell you to do. I’d just prefer not to do it when someone is waiting for me to get into my spot because that makes me nervous.

  6. Mary…another great adventure. You are one independent chick! As for Alice in Wonderland…I hope you don’t give in to pills. You are the one who will get you through this …getting stronger and stronger. You are considering a move to California? Maybe being closer to your sister is a good idea. Hang in there Miss Kick Ass Coffee Maker.

  7. Lori – California is also where my son is so California is the goal with the deciding factor being whether I can get a comparable job there at my past-my-prime age. My husband and I work at the same company right now, which is not pleasant. I’d like to get away from the memories here and start over somewhere completely different.

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