Endurance develops strength of character in us~ Romans 5:4 NLT

Tuesday, June 6, 2017


  There's something about Iowa, a richness you can almost taste...   An earthiness that feels so totally different from the logged wastelands of the foothills I was so familiar with in Western, WA.  You can smell it of an evening - when the heat is lifting off the land.  Even under cultivation forever - it has somehow retained it's soul~

Today was forecast to be the coolest of the week, I couldn't let that pass me by, after the last days that soared into the 90's.  Farah very happy to see me.  She had a nasty, crusty thing the size of a dime under her jaw & the fly's are now out in full force.
On the lush green trail~
After a quick grooming & lots of bug spray we were on our way to what has become our usual hangout - Waubonsie.  It was a surprise to see one couple there, sitting in the shade & getting ready to leave.  Another gentleman pulled in & they all spoke of the heat, so I didn't feel like such a wimp.
Pawpaw Trees~
We were quickly on the trail & into the most welcome shade.  Farah seems to enjoy our time together, as much as I do.  I think we both appreciate the other more - now that we don't see each other every day.  That has been one of the many things we've both had to adapt to.  Just the out & back to the stable is a 15-mile round-trip & I'm lucky she's that close.  Add the 25-mile trip south, once I'm out on Hwy 29 to Waubonsie & riding has become an expensive hobby.
Small slide along a Waubonsie Trail
Looking at this little slide today - it reminded me of the area on the Whitehorse Trail.  The Loess Hills being comprised of wind-blown silt from the glaciers.  The Western, WA soils, volcanic.  Each of different composition, but both unstable when the rains come.   Here, the trails become so slick as to be unridable.
Slide on the Whitehorse Trail, Jan. 19, 2015
We did our first set of loops - what's become our usual direction, it was so beautiful & cool in the woods.  I saw a very large Wild Grape vine, that had wrapped itself up this very tall tree.  I'm so glad I got them all cut away from our trees & shrubs along the creek.
Grape Vine~
After going back to camp for our lunch break, I decided that we'd do the loops in the reverse.  This was the first way I'd ridden the trails here & soon realized that it's the way the signage directs & most riders go.  You do have plenty of hill work either direction, but going with the signage gives more downhill.  I had a new acquaintance tell me the other day, that she felt the hills here are too difficult for a lot of the horses.
Warning sign~
It is steep, no doubt about it, the short ups & downs so different from the very long downs & very long up's of our old favorite place to ride, Victoria.  There, in just two-more miles, we only had 1,482 in elevation gain, compared with 1,717 today.  It seems a lot more fun with more change in the topography & Farah loves it.
In the greens~
Here, most people call the woodlands, Timber.  The same term used in Western, WA by logging companies to describe an area that they plan to clear-cut.  Cedars, Douglas Fir, Hemlock etc.  The Iowa DNR- uses the word for the same purpose.  A description of what they harvest to; "Meet forest management objectives."  I have to wonder what the objectives are to bring back even a portion of our native forest lands that been lost nation wide.
Maidenhair Ferns~
Forget what I said about the ferns not being up!  This hillside covered with Maidenhair ferns was just stunningly beautiful - my camera didn't want to focus on them for whatever reason.  I'll have to try again!
Shell Bark Hickory~
Neither of us thought the loops were as fun this direction, but our pace was faster than our last visit & it was very warm.  By the time we were back at the trailer & as I started to unsaddle, Farah's belly was dripping sweat.  She again hadn't drank during our lunch break, but emptied two small buckets on our return!
Tail on the move~

Another bath - for us both!  The fly's are horrible now, they swarm the trailer the minute we pull in.  Even spraying inside the trailer didn't deter them.  I've probably spent a fortune on fly spray now & have three different brands. 

Once back at the stable, I used Equi-spot this time & asked how to turn the fan on in Farah's stall.  I'd also bought Shoofly horse leggings long before we left WA.  I got them out - they were supposed to have been smalls - but no - they were large & she walked out of them...  I don't even remember where I ordered them.  A trip to Council Bluffs to buy more - soon!  Yes, we had annoying pests in WA - but not like here.   Farah - who has never liked bugs & been a prima-donna up to now - is learning to adapt too...

Butch & I decided to bring Farah & go through a year - before making any further decisions.  She's my horse-of-a-lifetime, but here, horses stand more than they're used & I now see why.  Riding as much as I was used to - has not happened.  (Most horse people here, take summer horse camping trips to other nearby states.)  With Butch working & the projects we have at home, our priorities have changed.  Realistically - riding in cooking hot summer temperatures & freezing cold winter ones - even if there is any place open within 50-miles to ride - isn't something that I enjoy...  I wonder now what further adaptations we may have ahead... 

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