so many skies

Last night, I sat upon my moms bench. Like I do most every day/night. A place of great reflection and appreciation of things I love.

the clouds caught my attention
(7:48 pm)

Clouds fascinate me.

I love watching them travel and morph. My favorite are the lofty powder puff kind.

The clouds are different north of the river. They are closer. I don't care what anybody says, I know what I see.

You can almost reach out and touch the clouds. Almost.

I frequently say, we are a little closer to heaven.

As the day settled into early evening, I knew I was in for a treat. 

(7:57 pm)

Don't blink. The sky is ever changing.

a slightly different photo than above
(7:57 pm)

There is a new song and artist on the radio that resonates with me. So Many Skies by Caroline Jones featuring Matthew Ramsey (Old Dominion lead singer) with Zac Brown playing some amazing guitar. SO much talent intertwined with a powerful lyric.

A love song, about destiny and appreciation.

If this is all too mushy for you, than perhaps you will enjoy the last few sunset clouds marching off to whereversville.

Don't see the curiosity?
(8:36 pm)

How about now?
(8:34 pm)

Fred Bear
(8:36 pm)

Before the end of the sunset, I went out on our deck for a wider view. Wow.

backlit clouds, facing south

My phone turned the powder puff clouds a fake orange. They were actually a brilliant glowing light yellowish white.

(8:35 pm)

I sat on our deck, and turned my thoughts back towards the West. Mesmerized by the evolving rays. Brad was watching TV inside the house, while I watched a spectacular show outside our house.

(7:58 pm)

(8:00 pm)

I wonder who was beamed up?
(8:01 pm)

(8:06 pm)

"God I'm so lucky I've seen so many skies. Turning all shades of sunset and sunrise..."


same but different

It would be nice to go on trail rides and see different scenery again. I think eventually we will get back to trailering to various parks and enjoying grand new experiences. Exploring is one of my favorite parts of trail riding! Of course if you've traveled to new trail locations, then you know not all new experiences are grand. 

Traveling takes a lot of time and planning.

I have the last version (2007?) of a WI equine trail hard copy book. I marked equine friendly parks I wanted us to ride. We rode some places and many others we have yet to explore. I never would have known about some of the fabulous trails we have ridden in the past without my book. Including the often featured Kickapoo Valley Reserve. My fav local-ish trails away from home. My book is very dated, but still a valuable resource. I wish they still published and updated a WI equine trail book.

In this digital search era, trail locations can be found scattered all over the internet. Yet unique places can be hard to find. Trail updates/conditions are even harder to come by. Facebook trail riding groups only help so much. Who wants to ride an over exposed trail system, with full parking and loud riders at every turn. Not me. I like the trails less traveled. The hidden gems.

This brings me full-circle back to riding our ranch. We don't have the gorgeous mountain views we cherished riding out West, but we do have privacy. 

There is a lot we have yet to experience and enjoy right outside our door.

Koda & Nemo

Our last plan was to repeat the exact ride we did last weekend, with a different horse combo. However, no ride is exactly the same. 

You have to ride the trail you come across today.

Similar to the horse saying that we are all familiar with, ride the horse you have today.


Brad chose to ride Nemo. He was such a good boy, especially since it has been a while. 

After a short outdoor arena warmup, we headed out across a couple smaller fields onto a larger field. One border is open, the other three are the road, neighbors back yard and the area I call "where the wild things are".

Sure enough we spotted a deer in the latter area, and stopped to watch it watch us. Meanwhile a car appeared out of the corner of my eye. Koda startled a bit at the sudden car, not sure about Nemo. They were out of my field of sight. Brad asked if I knew who the car/driver was, because they were waving like crazy. Turns out it was a good non-horsey friend of ours, who had the sense to not honk and just wave.

She tried to call me, I didn’t answer. Then sent me this text shortly after "aww you guys look so cute on your horsey ride". Somehow I doubt that, but I suppose it’s not a common sight. There are a fair amount of horses living in this general area. However, I rarely see people riding. 

We rode on and took a path through the woods by the butterfly garden.

Suddenly a large swarm of deer flies attacked both horses!! Creating panic.

Koda was shaking his head so ferociously his Fabio mane was standing on end at times. It flopped up over and all around. I tried to help swat them away and noticed Brad doing the same with Nemo. Not effective. We got the H.E.double toothpick outta there. Our ride was cut short.

It felt great to just ride back to the barn, and not be stuck on some trail dealing with the undesirable, and then have to trailer a long way home.

Every situation is a lesson in itself.

All is well that ends well.

Very thankful our horses had fly masks on. A person could have tried to outrun the deer flies, but that is not something I want to teach Koda.

Flight when things get a little rough is not a good idea IMO. Depends on the degree of danger. If we ever do take off running to escape something, it needs to be for an extreme reason and my idea/cue.

Our ranch trail rides will eventually become much like my dog walks. 

I am okay with same, but different.


starting july out right

We said no to watching a 4th of July parade from a friends house, going to a neighbors pool party and also decided to skip the big fireworks on the river.

No is a hard word to say, but I am learning.

All the above sounds fun, but our long holiday weekend plans were s
imple. We wanted to get a few more things done on our ranch, and spend time with our horses. Quiet and relaxing. 

We accomplished the latter, by doing this:

a hot hazy longer trail ride

After a short baking session warmup in the outdoor arena, we headed out for a ride. The plan was to ride the perimeter of our large field. The one that borders the road, and goes along the back of our closest neighbors house.

There was a steady warm breeze, bugs were not bad. 

Koda & Cierra were being so good and seemed interested in exploring the new views. We skipped the pine trails that need branch trimming, and continued riding around the next big field.

When we were within Nemo's sight, he began running, bucking and prancing around. Calling out to us from a distance.

It is never fun to ride near that level of ramped up energy. 

We kept our distance & rode through the lower wooded part of our property. 

enjoying shade in the enchanted forest

There are two choices to get back to the barn, turn around and re-ride the fields or ride along the pasture. The idea was to make a loop, so we headed towards the new southern path that borders the pasture. Out of Nemo's eyesight, or so we thought. We got to the middle of the pasture path, when I heard Brad say "uh oh". 

Nemo was galloping up the hill toward us. He had spotted Brad & Cierra.

Great. Nothing like being between a rock and a hard place. Or in this case, between a hot wire and trees. It was a little unsettling. Like every challenge you come upon on the trail, you have to make a decision and stick to it. I got as close to the trees as I could, and stopped. Until Nemo stopped.

Nemo was a long arm lengths away, when Koda started to pick up on his energy.

Koda was a good boy and chose to listen to me, as we picked up our walk. It helped that Nemo reeled his energy in, after we started talking to him. He walked along with us as far as the pasture allowed.

Harmony could have cared less. I am sure Nemo's separation concern will diminish the more we ride out, and next to the pastures. I found out after the ride, the wire was not hot.

Our focus quickly changed from Nemo to a big floppy branch that made it impossible to ride though. Brad dismounted and held the branch back so we could all get through.

Brad & Cierra

This gave Koda a chance to lead us down a wooded path, back to the barn.

We ended our trail ride sweaty and happy. 

We are starting July out right. 


seeing yellow

With photography, it is always a good idea to turn around. How do you know if the view is more interesting if you don't look? Sunsets are a good example. Try it some time during a colorful one, and you will see for yourself. Many times an eastern sky is just as stunning as the west, or more so. I call it "surround sound color".

Our skies have been rather blase' lately, but I got a colorful surprise when I turned around and walked our paths in reverse yesterday. I approached an area I call "cactus cove" and what do my wandering eyes see? They were seeing yellow!! A lot of yellow. How on earth did I miss this:

cacti buds close up tight overnight

Is it possible walking in reverse made that big of a difference? Maybe I am looking, but not really seeing.

wider view of cactus cove

Brad mentioned he saw some cactus blooms last week in another area, and forgot to mention it. We enjoying seeing their bright yellow for 2-3 weeks, depending on the weather. Looks like a favorable year for our native cacti. 

so many buds on one plant!

See the Japanese Beetle above? They showed up this week and are also on my sunflowers, calla lilies, and day lilies. I am back to constant bug drowning patrol, ugh!!! I see them flying around my veggie garden too. Boo hoo!

28 seconds of one of many cacti patches

the buds fascinate me

technically they are called "areoles" 

my best effort at a closeup, while swatting mosquitos