Riding 29 year old Sandy in 1997

Friday, November 25, 2011

Dottie's last ride? Not quite.....

My grand-niece and nephew, Erica and Tyler, are up here for Thanksgiving this week, and of course one of the highlights of a visit to the Ranch is riding the horses.  Dottie has been gone for the past year+ so Erica was delighted to know she was back and she was the only one in the family light enough for me to be willing to let her ride.

It was cold and gloomy and we were busy stuffing ourselves yesterday so this afternoon after hitting the sale at Wal Mart (at 10 a.m. NOT 10 p.m.) we set about getting ready to ride. But Dottie wasn't looking so good; I had noticed her stance this morning when I went to feed and thought she was uncomfortable, and she was definitely limping so I warned Erica that we might not be able to ride her, but I would at least let her sit on her for a few minutes.

But after watching her be led back to the tack room I had a feeling the problem was nothing more than a rock in her hoof, and after digging out the gravel and dirt that was packed in there and putting on her Cavallo Simple Boots she was walking fine again.  So we put the bareback pad on her and Erica got to ride her.

We tacked up Dottie and Dash, and they took them out front to ride while I saddled Dawn and worked her in the round pen a bit since she hadn't been ridden for over a week and was likely to be fresher.  By the time I had her saddled and led her out front, I was informed that Dottie had trotted of her own accord, and was limping again.  Tyler was riding Dash.

I got my camera to take what I expected would be the final pictures and video of Dottie being ridden that I would ever get.  If a few minutes of walking was making her limp, this would probably be her last ride.

But after noticing that she wasn't limping any more (and I have the video to prove it) I suspected it was nothing more than a little ouchiness from the trotting and Erica rode her for about 15 more minutes at a walk.  I gave the camera to Susan and Val and got on Dawn.  The three of us played a game of "chase the sheep" with John Deere, whose idea of evading the horses was to run under their bellies.  Then Erica wanted to ride Dawn so I gave her Dawn and we tied Dottie up, thinking she was probably tired by then.  Then Tyler got tired of riding Dash so Erica took Dash and I got on Dawn again, and asked someone to bring me Dottie so I could see if I could pony her from Dawn, so she got to walk around some more.

Later Erica was tired and Susan got on Dash and Tyler took Dottie and led her around awhile, and then the kids started kicking a soccer ball around in the arena while Susan led Dottie from Dash and I followed on Dawn.

It was a fun, slightly chaotic riding session and old Dottie got quite a bit of exercise, one way or the other, even if only at a walk and was still not limping at all when we decided we'd had enough and went to unsaddle them.

After stripping them all off we left them loose in the yard while Tyler went to get the quad so he could play with the quad in the arena.

And then the rodeo began!

I've never seen Dottie move so fast!  The three horses had wandered over to the garage to see what Tyler was doing, then all of a sudden Dottie whirled around like the cowhorse she was born to be and took off at a GALLOP with her daughters chasing after her.  They raced around the house and back to the garage and I flagged them away and they kept going, slid to a stop at the fence, spun back around and took off the other direction.  Dottie was so determined to regain the lead in this bizarre race that she actually bowled the sheep over at one point. He always joins in their races, bringing up the rear, but when they all suddenly turned around he ended up in front of Dottie and couldn't get out of the way fast enough.  (No, he wasn't hurt.)  They raced around like that, back and forth around the house (there's a circular dirt driveway that goes around the house so it makes a great racetrack), with the sheep running with them, for about ten minutes while Tyler tried to get out of the garage, having to wait for them to race past before he could get the quad out.

Eventually they settled down, he made it to the arena, and the horses finally got down to the business of nibbling at leaves and weeds.

I can only guess that the gentle walking Dottie had done had limbered up her arthritic old joints and that HA injection she had about 2 weeks ago is having an effect because not only was she galloping around like a young colt, but she was doing it without the stiffness she has been showing for the past year.

I still don't think I'll have any adults riding her any more . . . but at some point I'm sure I'll climb on her back and walk around the arena one last time.  And I'm going to start ponying her out on some of the shorter evening rides.  The exercise clearly is good for her!

It made me feel really good to see that old mare still had it in her to gallop around and play with her daughters.  I just wish I'd had the camera in my hand to record it.

I have a feeling Erica will be riding Dottie for some time to come yet.  That old mare isn't ready to hang up her stirrups just yet.

And that's the latest from the Ranch.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

How do we get the "horse bug"?

I just watched a commercial on TV, something about a race car driver, they said something about nobody knew how he got hooked on racing but it started young.  Then they showed a baby in a crib looking at a mobile of race cars over his head while he kicks at a pedal to make the mobile spin faster and faster.  Message being, of course, this driver was born wanting to race.

So how do die-hard horses lovers get the bug?  Are they born with it?  Is it hereditary?  Can it be developed in later life?

I don't know the answers to those questions.  I know I got it young.  My earliest childhood memories were about horses.  The only toys I wanted as a child were horses -- stick horses, model horses, pictures of horses, coloring books with horses.  I wanted to be a cowboy.  I learned all about being a cowboy from all those Saturday morning westerns, especially the Roy Rogers show, which is currently showing on RFDTV three times a week.  He was my hero, and all I ever wanted was to be like him, riding a beautiful horse and shooting at the bad guys.  I remember Santa Claus coming to the home of a friend around the corner.  How old could I have been?  Six?  Seven?  Younger?  "And what would you like for Christmas?" he asked with the trademark "ho ho ho."  "A gun and holster," I replied, and lo and behold he pulled out a wrapped gift from his sack that turned out to contain a gun and holster set.  (Dang, why didn't I say, "A pony"?  I had my chance and missed it.)

My father had ridden horses a few times.  My mother had gone to a dude ranch when she was 18 and been bucked off and had a permanent fear of them.  My sisters enjoyed riding on our annual trips to the riding stable at Christmas, but neither of them were asking Santa for a horse, or praying to God for one in church on Sunday, or scheming to find a way to afford one so they could try to talk our parents into getting one.

No, I didn't inherit this bug.  I don't know if I caught it from those Saturday morning westerns, or if I was just born with it.  But I've got it, and I've got it bad. And that's good.

I was thinking about that today as Tessa and I rode through the woods on a cold and breezy day, trying to squeeze in one more ride before the rain moved in, possibly later today.  Tessa grew up with horses; her family raised them.  Today she mentioned that they had once imported two horses from their native Switzerland.  She may have inherited the bug from her horsey parents.  Tessa is half my age and is determined to ride as much as she can -- just like I was at her age, and still am to large extent.  I might be sitting there thinking, "I really don't feel like riding today," but all it takes is a phone call or text message from her asking "Wanna ride?" and I'm ready to saddle up.  I think in the past year and a half that I've been riding with her there have been maybe once or twice when I had to turn her down, and that was because of work.

Yes, I've got the bug and I've got it bad.  I've known a couple people who didn't get into horses until late in life and it's sad, because being able to enjoy horses when you're young and fearless and don't need to hold back for concern about how you will support yourself, your family, or even take care of your animals if you got hurt creates such powerful memories that the placid trail rides of middle age and beyond can never compare.  I have been lucky and never been seriously hurt, but I know that my high-speed barrel racing days of my young adult life are over.  They are cherished memories -- I'll never forget the thrill of galloping full speed on Sandy, or the challenge of riding horses that bucked as a matter of routine -- but they are just that -- memories.  I won't barrel race on Dash.  I know my back won't take it and I've had enough mishaps in recent years to know that I don't bounce back from a fall like I did then.  A no-speed, slide off, "oops" kind of fall that I would have dusted off and laughed off thirty years ago today results in painful bruises, a trip to the chiropractor, chugging down Motrin tablets for a week, and the sad realization that I'm no longer young.

I would have horses even if I couldn't ride.  I would live in my truck before I would give up my horses.  They'll get my horses away from me when I'm comatose and no longer able to object.  And if that happens . . . I hope I don't come out of the coma.  Because I can't imagine a life without horses.  I wouldn't want to wake up if I knew my horses would be gone.

Other people get other "bugs," probably at the same age I caught mine, and the same age that TV commercial portrays that race car driver catching his.  For some, it's the fishing bug, and they can't imagine life without being able to go fishing.  For others, hunting, or football, or collecting stamps, or building birdhouses.

For me, it's horses.  They are what has made my life happy and complete.  They are what makes my soul happy.

And they are what are waiting in the yard, ready to greet me with a nicker and come over to the fence for petting, when I go out to feed them about an hour from now.

May they never find a cure for this "bug."  I don't want to recover from it.

And that's the latest from the Ranch.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Living in a small town

I spent well over half my life in the suburbs of major cities -- first Phoenix, then various cities contiguous to Los Angeles.  I finally in 2002 moved to my first "somewhat" small town, Norco, California, but with a Home Depot, Costco, Sears, Wal Mart, Kmart, Outback Steakhouse, and all the other comforts of big cities within five miles of the town limits, it really wasn't small-town life.  But it was close.

But I left Norco in 2004, seven years ago next month, for what was at the time an unincorporated area of Gila county, about 6 miles from Payson, Arizona, which with a population of about 12,000 qualified as a small town.   There's a Home Depot and a Wal Mart, a small Sears appliance store, two grocery stores, and for the most part everything else in town is small, locally-owned, and struggling to survive ever since the Wal Mart opened up.  A year after I arrived, Star Valley incorporated and included my rural neighborhood, so I now live in a real small town with a population of only 2000 people and a large herd of elk.

The Suburban Cowgirl is in the suburbs no more.  I've graduated to a "small town" and the next stop on my way to nirvana will be when I actually move to the country, on 5 acres or more, out in the boondocks somewhere, at least 10 miles from the nearest town.  I have aspired to that all my life.  Will I make it someday?

Life in a small town is unlike life in the city or even in the suburbs or even in a quasi-small town like Norco.

City:  concrete jungle, nowhere to ride, nobody knows their neighbor.  Think rat race.  Think laws.  Think teenagers drag-racing down the street.  Think sirens in the night, helicopters spotlighting alleys, cops calling through a bullhorn to stay inside.

Suburbs: bigger lawns, can find somewhere to ride within a few miles, probably know your neighbors' names, probably are friends with a few of them.  Could borrow eggs or flour from at least three neighbors. Teenagers more restrained because someone might actually know their parents.  Sirens in the distance.  You might be able to hear a rooster crow somewhere.

Norco:  Horsetown USA.  Bridle trails alongside the streets, open, protected preserve just a few miles away where you can ride for miles.  Everyone has animals.  Neighbors look after each other's horses and loan hay instead of a cup of flour.  Teenagers are in the local barrel races.  No street lights in most areas; you can actually see stars at night.  Moonlight rides.  You probably have a rooster in your own yard; don't need to borrow eggs because they're out in the hen house.  The local Horsemen's Association meetings draw 100 members every month.

Small town:  Wow.  National forest 100 yards from my gate.  Lots of people have horses, the rest of them used to have them, wish they did, or are hoping to get one soon.  Nobody thinks anything of it if someone walks into a local store with a gun on their hip; after all, there could be rattlesnakes out there.  You know all your neighbors and will hop a fence to drag their escaped horse out of their vegetable garden while they're down in the valley.  The local Horsemen's Association might draw 15 members on a good month.

In a small town, you can hardly go anywhere in town without running into at least one person you know at the grocery store, post office, gun shop, or thrift store. The day I moved in here, I left my car at the storage yard where my stuffed-full UHaul truck had been left by my moving assistants two days earlier and drove it to my new house to await the unloading crew I had hired.  But I was stuck there because the movers were late (they actually never showed at all, and I had to hire a local moving company to unload the thing two days later) and I didn't want to drive the UHaul truck to go anywhere.  I hung around my driveway until I saw a car coming from the far end of the dead-end road I live on.  I flagged them down and asked them to give me a ride back to my car at the storage yard 2 miles down the road and they gladly did it.  I was a complete stranger to them.

So that was my introduction to small-town living.  Total strangers saying, "Sure, hop in," and helping me out of an awkward situation.

In a small town, directions are given as "Go just past the Baptist church and turn right" or "It's the place with the orange sign just east of the Circle K."  My own street is "Between the county maintenance yard and the restaurant."  The two main highways intersect "at the McDonalds."

I heard a mail clerk today tell a customer, "I can't find the parcel right now but if I find it later on I'll take it home and bring it to you." (The customer was her neighbor.)

The last few members of the now-defunct square dance club still meet on the third Thursday of the month at a local restaurant, just to keep in touch with each other.  And I just now got the phone call from the former membership chairperson, reminding me that tomorrow is the day for that.  I've gone ONCE in the past year and a half since the club folded, but she calls me every month.

When my corrals flooded in the monsoon a few years ago, the neighbor down the street came with his little bobcat front loader and spent 5 1/2 hours building up the corral with granite and wouldn't let me pay for anything but the cost of the granite itself.  I think of his generosity of spirit every summer when the rains come and my horses remain high and dry in their stalls.

People in this small town are hunters and cowboys and have that independent "I can do it myself" attitude. We have four-wheel drive trucks and SUV's. We don't wait for the county or town to send the snowplow.  Whoever has the equipment will clear the road for themselves and their neighbors.

If we can help someone, we do.

I've lived a number of places and haven't hated any of them, but this is the first place I've lived where my soul was happy.  There is a peacefulness here that I haven't felt anywhere else.  Ironically, I'm earning less money in this small town than I ever have in my life . . . and I've never been happier.

I still yearn for acres of grass for my horses, and maybe someday I'll achieve that last goal, but for now, living in this small town of Star Valley is all right with me.

And that's the latest from the Ranch.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Getting old ain't for sissies

Dottie will be 23 in April and has been suffering from arthritis for a couple of years now, which has been treated with a glucosamine/chondroitin/MSM/HA compound.  But it got worse during the year she was up in Oregon, possibly due to the cold and humidity.  She had a particularly uncomfortable winter up there as in addition to cold and damp, her corral was ankle-deep in mud pretty much all winter.  She was acting uncomfortable enough that we added a low-level of bute to help ease the pain.  It seemed to help, and once the horses could be turned out to pasture, she would run and buck and seemed to be feeling pretty good and happy with her life.

But the harsh winter was the reason I decided to bring her back.  She was left up there for a warm summer at grass, and I brought her back to Arizona about three weeks ago.  Hopefully the drier, warmer climate will help.

Yesterday I had our local equine vet, Drew Justice, come take a look at her.  Last week, I ran out of the glucosamine we brought back from Oregon and I decided to leave her off it until Drew saw her so he could better evaluate her condition without her symptoms being masked by medications.

He was here yesterday and checked out her arthritic back end.  The arthritis is worst in her left hock, and she also has a sticky stifle problem on that same side.  I told him she was retired from riding, although if a small child showed up here I wouldn't hesitate to put a kid on her back and lead her around.  But my plus-sized butt will not be riding her down a trail.  I do hope to get her pain-free enough to be able to "pony" her (lead her from the back of another horse) on some easy trail rides since exercise is good for arthritis.

We decided to try an injection of HA (hyaluronic acid) which I had heard of people injecting into arthritic joints, both on humans and equines.  He preferred to give a systemic injection, which would help all her joints, not just the hock.  So we tried that.  The shots aren't cheap -- about $100 or more -- but he said older horses often see a noticeable improvement, especially during winter.

In addition to that, I will put her back on the glucosamine solution I was using before she went to Oregon.  I'll probably blanket her more.  Normally I don't blanket unless temps are below 25, and I only blanket Dottie.  Her daughters had to endure a minus 7 night last winter without blanketing but they have a covered stall with windbreak, were able to cuddle up with each other, and they get tons of hay at night.  (Digestion of roughage creates body heat so they get most of their hay at night.)  But for Dottie, I don't want her wasting calories keeping warm so I blanket her when it gets really cold.  I think this winter I will make 32 the blanketing threshold.

Then he took a look in her mouth.  Dottie historically has needed her teeth floated about twice a year; most horses can get by with yearly floats.  She needed it again, so he rasped the points off her back teeth.  But she has a hole in one of her lower incisors and the upper above it is cracked.  We'll keep an eye on that and hope it cracks off by itself because an extraction would be a major surgery that would have to be done by an equine dentist.

Knocking out an errant baby tooth in a young horse is no big deal and routinely done by vets as part of a checkup but the permanent teeth in an adult horse are a few inches long and go deep into the bone.  Horses' teeth grow constantly throughout their lives, with the surfaces being worn down by chewing.  When they don't wear evenly, you can get points sticking up from the molars which is what the vet rasps when he "floats" the teeth.  But because those teeth generally don't wear down to gums until the horse is 30 or more, and Dottie is only 22, she still has about a third of her tooth length encased in bone.  So trying to extract that cracked tooth would mean digging out about 2 inches into her jawbone, which is no small matter.

Hopefully it will crack off on its own, and the rest of the tooth can just continue growing out, eventually wearing down the other side of the tooth (the part that will be left after half breaks off) until the tooth is level again, maybe in about ten years if she lives that long.

Anyway, we've got a plan for her care.  I've got a grass hay I bought special for her because it helps her keep her weight on better (it's called Teff and it's wonderful stuff but hard to find).  She gets four pounds of Purina Senior feed every day with a little olive oil in it to help prevent dry skin and keep her coat shiny.  Every month, all the horses get a seven-day treatment of psyllium, to remove any sand or dirt from their gut and prevent sand colic.  The vet took stool samples to test for worms, and if any of them have them (there's a good chance they don't) they will be wormed every 8 weeks.

The water buckets have heating coils in them that will keep water from icing over.  It's important during winter that horses drink plenty of water and they'll drink more if it's warmer than freezing.  Plus, I get the added bonus of not having to put my own aging back out bashing through ice with a crowbar.

I keep a salt block in each of their hay feeders so they get salt whether they want it or not while they lick the last morsels of feed out of the bins, which also encourages them to drink.

Each horse has a covered area at least 10x20 with walls positioned to block the wind from all four directions.  Usually they all have common access to the arena and each other's pens.  I've noticed they seem to congregate in Dash's stall a lot, and they keep each other warm by huddling together when it's cold.

And that's how old Dottie will get through this winter.  With a little help from me and my vet, hopefully she'll be comfortable and warm and relatively pain-free this year.
And that's the latest from the Ranch.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Memories . . . .

I published "Tails" of a Suburban Cowgirl seven years ago this month and just realized that I don't think I've read it since.   I moved here a few weeks after my first order of books arrived and was busy with moving, unpacking, getting through the first winter here, getting corrals and barn set up, learning to live with snow and cold, and then Dawn was born, and through it all I was trying to re-establish an accounting business.

Bottom line, it's been seven years since I read that book.

A funny thing happens when I write.  Once I have committed something to paper, I lose the details in my memory.  I noticed that when our little dog Rags died.  I grieved for months, then finally wrote a story about how we had acquired her and my memories of what she meant to us.  Once I had it on paper I could let go of the grief.  But when I re-read the story later on, I realized I had forgotten many of those details after I wrote it.  It was like once the memories were safely in print (or saved on a hard drive) I didn't need to leave room in my brain for them any more.

The same thing seems to have happened with the stories of my horsey youth.  When I published "Tails" in Kindle version last week, I downloaded a copy to my own Kindle, and decided to read it again.

I'd forgotten so many of those stories from my youth.  It was like I was reading a book written by someone else, except there was a sense of familiarity about it.  But I found myself laughing out loud at the chapter where we had figure out how to give a cow pills . . . and crying when Sandy died.

Sandy is the horse at the top of this blog.  I had her for 23 years (that picture was taken two years before she died) and it was a treat to re-live some of our adventures by reading my book again.

It's time now to start recording memories of Dottie, and Dutch, and Zipper, and Dash, and Dawn, and Nevada -- the horses I have owned since I got back into the horsey life a couple years after Sandy died.  In the past ten years since my arrival in Norco, I've issued many emails to friends and family that closed with "And that's the latest from the Ranch" that documented the more recent "Tails" in my life. 

The other thing that has happened since Sandy died is the proliferation of digital cameras, which has enabled me to include pictures in  my writings.  So the sequel to "Tails" of a Suburban Cowgirl can be illustrated, which was not possible with the first book.

It's going to be fun, digging out those emails and starting to edit them for publication -- another trip down memory lane.

As much as I loved Sandy, and never thought I would ever say this about any other horse, I love Dash even more.

I hope I never have to write the final farewell to Dash.

And I hope to ride Sandy again some day, in Heaven.

These horses that have shared my life have meant so much to me, and given me so much joy.  I hope to convey that to my readers so they can share in that joy. 

And once the stories are written down, I won't have to worry about losing them forever to my increasingly failing memory.  It will be fun to see what I've forgotten, and get to re-live it.

And that will become the latest from the Ranch.  Again.

Monday, November 7, 2011


First snow of the season here today.  Won't be much and won't stay long, but I'm sitting here watching it fall.

If it keeps falling at this rate we could get some significant accumulation, although the forecast is only for "trace" amounts.  About 38 out there right now, heading to hit a high of 45 around 11 a.m. and will stay 45 until sundown when it will get colder.

Don't think I'll be going anywhere today, even though I have a 4WD truck and could if I wanted to.  But I have a lot of work I need to do on the computer today so I think I'll stay in.

I will have to drag myself out there in the next hour to feed the horses.  For now I'll sit here and watch Mother Nature frost the pine trees in front of my house.

And that's the latest from the c-c-c-o-o-o-l-l-l-d-d-d Ranch!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Snow tomorrow?

Wasn't it just a week ago that I was describing a lovely ride on Dash on a 72 degree day?  Yesterday had a high of 46 following a night of cold rain and chilling winds.  Based on the accumulation in empty buckets, we got close to an inch of rain that night.

Well . . . tomorrow's forecast says "Chance of snow showers."  To be sure, if we get it at all it is likely to be a dusting that will melt within seconds to minutes of hitting the ground -- no "horses and dogs playing in the snow" photo ops.  But there is something significant about the first snowfall of the season.

Any unprotected plants will freeze.  The last apples clinging to the trees will probably drop, adding to the collection already on the ground.  Flies and most other insects will disappear until spring -- unless we get another warm spell, which often happens in Arizona just before Thanksgiving.  The remaining leaves on the deciduous trees will fall.

And given that the overnight low tomorrow night is expected to be 20 degrees . . . it's time to start blanketing old Dottie.  I don't blanket the young horses but Dottie is a hard keeper and I don't want her wasting expensive feed keeping warm when I can throw a blanket on her instead.  I hope to bring her through winter without any ribs showing.

And that's how winters at the Ranch go.

Friday, November 4, 2011

In Memoriam

Today, November 4, was the birthday of my beloved Aunt Rina.  She passed away about 8 years ago, while I was living in Norco.

Aunt Rina was one of the people in my life who understood and encouraged my love of horses, for her own daughter Lynda (my cousin) was also bitten by the horse bug at an early age.

"Auntie" would take us horseback riding when they visited our family every Christmas when I was growing up.  My own mother was afraid of horses, but Aunt Rina and my father would take the three of us and my cousin Lynda riding at Cactus Stable every year that I can remember in my early childhood.

The last time I saw my aunt, she gave me a cutting from one of her geraniums.  (She had a green thumb and her property was covered with flowers and shrubs) I stuck it in the ground as she told me, and it grew into a huge plant in the yard of my Lakewood, California, home.  Shortly after that, I took ten cuttings from that plant and stuck them in the ground when I moved to Norco.  They also thrived.

The day she died, one of those ten plants burst into bloom out of season (the others were flower-less).

Unfortunately, the cutting I took from that plant did not survive the winter when I moved to my current home in Star Valley, Arizona.

But I think of my aunt frequently, especially if I see a red geranium blooming.

Thanks for the memories, Auntie.  And happy birthday.

Suburban Cowgirl Book and Calendar now available

My writing career didn't start with this blog.  Seven years ago, I published "Tails" of a Suburban Cowgirl, which has recently been converted for Kindle, Nook, and Ipad.  See links at the bottom of this page.  I've also been creating an annual calendar, The Manure Makers of Rancho Mucho Caca, since 2003, and the 2012 edition is now available.

Links for all these items are at the bottom of the page.  Great gifts for Christmas for the horse lover in your life, especially if you're a friend or relative who actually cares about the critters who share my life.

Even if you're not a friend or relative, if you love horses, you'll love these items.

And that's the latest from the bookshelf.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It was fun while it lasted.....

Took a ride tonight with my riding buddy neighbor.  Went out about 4, took light jackets, and came back just as the sun was setting and it was starting to get chilly.  Nice ride.  Nice day.  But getting dark at 5:30 now, and dark = cold this time of year.

Today I worked outside bringing in firewood.  It was warm and sunny and wonderful.  The high today was a perfect, delicious, wonderful 72 degrees.

But all good things must end, even if they only lasted a week and a half, which is about how long our "temps in the 70's" lasted this year.

Tomorrow's high:  60.  No, that is not a typo.  I did not mean to type 69, which might be a normal high temp for the day after a 72.

But Thursday's high IS projected at 68.  Which is not bad.  Sweater weather but not cold.

And then comes Friday:  59 and rain.

And Saturday:  49 and rain.

And Sunday:  55 and rain.

And Monday:  54 and rain.

Overnight lows will get below freezing tomorrow night and stay that way.

Winter is upon us.
 Glad I got the wood box filled up today.  Time to light the woodstove.

But today's ride, and the few rides we had in the last week, were wonderful.  And I need to cherish them because from now on I'll be riding in a jacket, with a vest, and maybe thermals underneath the denim shirt that will be my normal attire until about April.

The truth is, we wouldn't appreciate the 72 degree days as much if it weren't for the 98 degree days that preceded them and the 48 degree days that follow them.

And . . . riding in snow is fun too . . . and I have that to look forward to.  So bring it on.  It's all good if you're on your favorite horse.

And that's the latest from the Ranch.