Monday, December 14, 2009

I Ride

Sharing from my in-box -

Below from an 87-yr old very active horseback riding mother I thought an
expression of a horse lover's thanks and feeling of empowerment--and
worthy of sharing in this season.

Subject: I Ride

I ride. That seems like such a simple statement. However as many women
who ride know it is really a complicated matter. It has to do with power
and empowerment. Being able to do things you might have once considered
out of reach or ability. I have considered this as I shovel manure, fill
water barrels in the cold rain, wait for the
vet/farrier/electrician/hay delivery, change a tire on a horse trailer by
the side of the freeway, or cool a gelding out before getting down to the
business of drinking a cold beer after a long ride.

The time, the money, the effort it takes to ride calls for dedication. At
least I call it dedication. Both my ex-husbands call it 'the sickness'.
It's a sickness I've had since I was a small girl bouncing my model
horses and dreaming of the day I would ride a real horse. Most of the
women I ride with understand the meaning of 'the sickness'. It's not a
sport. It's not a hobby. It's what we do and, in some ways, who we are as
women and human beings.

I ride. I hook up my trailer and load my gelding. I haul to some
trailhead somewhere, unload, saddle, whistle up my dog and I ride. I
breathe in the air, watch the sunlight filter through the trees and savor
the movement of my horse. My shoulders relax. A smile rides my sunscreen
smeared face. I pull my ball cap down and let the real world fade into
the tracks my horse leaves in the dust.

Time slows. Flying insects buzz loudly, looking like fairies. My gelding
flicks his ears and moves down the trail. I can smell his sweat and it is
perfume to my senses. Time slows. The rhythm of the walk and the movement
of the leaves become my focus. My saddle creaks and the leather rein in
my hand softens with the warmth.

I consider the simple statement; I ride. I think of all I do because I
ride. Climb granite slabs, wade into a freezing lake, race a friend
through the Manzanita all the while laughing and feeling my heart in my
chest. Other days just the act of mounting and dismounting can be a real
accomplishment. Still I ride, no matter how tired or how
much my seat bones or any of the numerous horse related injuries hurt. I
ride. And I feel better for doing so.

The beauty I've seen because I ride amazes me. I've ridden out to find
lakes that remain for the most part, unseen. Caves, dark and cold beside
rivers full and rolling are the scenes I see in my dreams The Granite
Stairway at Echo Summit; bald eagles on the wing and bobcats on the prowl
add to the empowerment and joy in my heart.

I think of the people, mostly women, I've met. I consider how competent
they all are. Not a weenie amongst the bunch.. We haul 40 ft rigs, we
back into tight spaces without clipping a tree. We set up camp. Tend the
horses. We cook and keep safe. We understand and love our companions, the
horse. We respect each other and those we encounter on the trail. We know
that if you are out there riding, you also shovel, fill, wait and doctor.
Your hands are a little rough and you travel without makeup or hair gel.
You do without to afford the 'sickness' and probably, when you were a
small girl, you bounced a model horse while you dreamed of riding a real

"My treasures do not chink or glitter, they gleam in the sun and neigh in
the night"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Weather Cafe

I want to share a resource that I have been enjoying for a bit now.

It is a twice weekly weather report from the weathercafe yahoo group. It is written by *Rufus* and he seems to have a really good handle on long range weather forecasts. The group description - "The Weather Cafe provides informative long-range forecasts for specific patrons from the PNW". He has an eye out for agriculture folks.

Rufus sends out emails on Mondays and Fridays but occasionally will send out mid-week updates if there is something important to share. I got one of those today so I am passing it on....

Wednesday December 2


ARCTIC AIR MASS is poised to drop in for a visit this weekend. Western valleys may see a few snow showers as the cold front passes late Friday, with another colder shot of air due in Sunday/Monday.

A VERY COLD high pressure 'dome' of air, with surface readings around 1050 mb, will move out of the Yukon into western Canada, then nudge southeast into the U.S. heartland over the weekend. This type of pattern typically results in some of our coldest winter weather across the PNW. The heavy air mass will push rapidly out of the Fraser Valley and Columbia River Gorge into west side locations. WINDY - with wind chill factors for some patrons on the east side in the single digits. Bundle up.

This morning's lows in the mid-to-upper 20s west of Cascades (first 'hard frost' of the fall for many) is only the teaser for temps in the mid-teens probable in west side locations Monday and Tuesday mornings. Eastern basins will not get above freezing for three or four days; lows approaching zero for some.

-> Business and residential plumbing should be prepped for sub-freezing temperatures. Ranchers plan water availability for livestock.

Now, the transition. Long time residents of the PNW know that heavy, cold air 'bottles up' on the east side of the Cascades and pushes through to the west to set up some of our classic snow conditions as a warm front approaches from the west / southwest. It takes decent southerly winds to move aside the cold air mass. Come mid-week, a strong storm (remnants of T.S. NIDA) is modeled to aim primarily at California (heavy rain likely there). As the system approaches, it is very likely for SNOW at all west side locations - at least until the system stirs in warmer surface air. Could be a significant amount of snow beforehand if the center of the storm tracks in a more southern pattern.

Snow should transition to RAIN for western valleys and even some lower elevations of eastern OR / WA by sometime Thursday. This will be a WINDY storm, esp for southern OR / northern CA. Possibility for a second and third low to form moving warmer air and moderate RAIN to many PNW locations as next weekend approaches. FLOOD issues could be in play for northern CA. -> NOTE: the last of the series of fronts is likely to pull down COLD AIR on the back side, as another shot of Arctic air moves close to the WA / B.C. border next weekend. Some model runs indicate VERY LOW snow levels probable in the Dec 11 - 12 time frame, maybe even to the surface. Mountain passes will get hammered.

Your WxCafe (TM) will update this ever adjusting scenario on Friday. In the mean time, take the time to prepare for significant winter weather.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Horse’s Christmas Wish

This isn't particularly funny like the stuff I like to share but it is food for thought.

A different take on this favorite poem ---

T’was the night before Christmas, but my manger was bare,

My coat was still matted, with manure in my hair.

My thirst showed no mercy on this day of the Lord.

My stall was so filthy, manure covering the floor.

The night’s stars were brilliant, in the clear sky they shined.

Peace and love filled the world, almost all, but not mine.

Here it was bitter cold and hunger the rule.

The season’s sweet blessings weren’t shared by the cruel.

My owner was comfortable, snug in his bed.

He didn’t care that I still hadn’t been fed.

When out in the pasture, what should I hear?

But the sound of a sleigh and the hoofs of reindeer!

As I peered out the stall there arose quite a clatter.

As Santa strode in to see what was the matter.

“I heard of your suffering, even from afar.

Your owner doesn’t deserve you, the great horse that you are!”

The scowl on his face didn’t fit the old elf.

His anger had gotten him quite beside himself.

He threw open the stall door and then in a flash,

Had my rack filled with hay and my feeder with mash!

“You enjoy this,” he said as he strode to the house,

“I’m going to stir up much more than a mouse!”

As I munched I looked out to see what would occur.

Santa entered the house and he caused quite a stir!

He grabbed my owner by the back of his shirt

And pulled him to the barn, where he stopped with a jerk.

“This horse is God’s creature; he’s been placed in your care!”

Santa fairly shouted, his wrath filled the air.

“You have used and abused him, for far too long.

And what’s worse, you don’t even think that it’s wrong!”

“I’ve got your long wish list right here in my coat,”

“You want toys and gizmos, a new car and a boat!”

“But your gift from me this year is better by far

Than any new toys, or a shiny new car!”

My owner’s eyes grew wide and filled up with fear.

He seemed quite afraid of what next he would hear.

Santa took a deep breath, then said with a sigh,

“You shall switch lives with this sweet little guy!”

Then laying his finger aside of his nose

He winked at me, smiling, and then switched our roles.

I was no longer a horse, all battered and thin.

But stood on two feet, wearing a grin!

The horse in the stall neighed loudly in protest.

Santa just laughed and shook his head as he left.

I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

So I watered my horse, and cleaned out his stall,

Amazed that there are season’s blessings after all!

Author Unknown