It’s Fur-ee Day!

You’re probably surprised to hear from me since it’s not Fur-iday … but it’s Fur-ee Day!

Here in Canada, it’s Thanksgiving Monday and as a way to say thanks for your likes and smiley faces and comments this past year, T is giving away an autographed copy of her novel, House of the Blue Sea. If you’d like to be entered in the draw for the free book, all you need to do is go to her Facebook or Instagram page, look for today’s post that has a photo of her riding Storm, and tell her a story in the comments about something you are grateful for this holiday Monday. If you’re not inclined to storytelling, you can just post a photo that tells the story for you.

The draw will be made at noon (MDT) on October 15 and is open to all residents of Canada. (Sorry US friends, this one is for Canadians only.)

I’ll kick things off with a photo of something I’m ever so grateful for … my fur-ever family. And, in case you’re wondering, no, it isn’t quite ski season here in Alberta just yet. This photo was taken last winter.


Inside Outside

It’s that time of year again, when one day we’re sweating it out in the sun in our ever-expanding hair coats, and the next we’re hunkered down in the shelter avoiding an icy blast of wind and snow. Such is life lived outdoors. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Even Nevada, who gets cold a little easier than he used to, prefers to be outside.

At 28 years old, Nevada gets a jacket when the weather is unseasonable

The weather has to be downright vicious before any of us vote for being put in the barn. It’s dry in there, and a little warmer than outdoors, but we’re each limited to a 10’x10′ square. I can’t move Rosa or Gidget off the hay net they’re working on if I decide I want it, I can’t roll if I get a little itchy, or go for a trot if I need to stretch my legs. Horses and confinement just don’t go together.

Rosa hanging out in the sun after the September storm

Lucky for us, T’s not inclined to stall us for most weather. We have a great three-sided shelter that’s deep enough to get out of the swirling snow, and she hangs hay nets inside when a storm is coming. It’s a great place to hide out from the weather. We’ve already had two shelter-net-worthy storms this fall and we weathered them both in comfort in our run-in shed.

Ready for the weather. That slope on the front part of the roof really helps keep the snow out

We chuckle when T gets asked by a city-dwelling friend if she puts us all inside at night. Like that would happen. We’d hate it and she’d have an extra couple of hours of chores every day. On top of that, Nevada does this thing called “stocking up” when he’s kept confined and the old boy would have cankles on a daily basis!

Cold front rolling in but we’re not worried

The other thing about being indoors that’s a real drag … no grazing. Even in the worst of the storm a week ago, we headed out to the field for a little pasture time, knowing we had a cozy shed to return to if we got wet or cold. And grazing a snowy pasture is a little like enjoying an upside-down grass sundae. The human style of sundae has ice cream with the flavour on top, the equine style has the tasty stuff on the bottom with the frozen delight on top. We push some of the snow out of the way with a lip (or a hoof if it’s deep) and, voila, grass sundae. Our pasture is almost half a mile from our waterer and when there’s a little bit of moisture in every bite, a guy hardly ever has to make the trip.

Enjoying a grass sundae

This Fur-iday, the sun is shining and things are warming up. It feels great standing here soaking up some rays. I’m all for a long, warm, snow-free autumn season. Most humans are summer lovers but, for horses, the autumn that comes after a hard freeze is awesome. A warm day is like bug-free summer and it doesn’t get better than that.

A perfect day for furry horses

A Season of Lakes

I realized the other day that my season of lakes actually started in the Cypress Hills at Elkwater Lake. Does it count if the water is frozen? It’s still a lake, right?

Elkwater Lake in March

So here’s the complete 2019 list … take a deep breath and … Elkwater, Sylvan, Sturgeon, Williston, Charlie, Little, Saskatoon, Crimson, Twin, Chinook, Alces, Whiteswan, Premier, Cat’s Eye, Turtle, Canuck, Yankee, Columbia, Windermere, Two-Jack, Okanagan, Osoyoos, Christina, Nancy Greene, Erie, and Moyie. Whew! I’ve visited twenty-six different lakes since Elkwater in mid-April. I should probably check my feet for webs!

Christina Lake beach time

Crazy thing is, we even missed a few on this latest trip. One because the park was closed, another because we wanted to get a site in a campground we knew would be busy and didn’t want to make a detour, and a couple more because, well, because we were hanging out in camp and didn’t feel like making even a short trek.

A sunny morning in camp at Ellison Park

T’s always busy in the fall so we haven’t had an autumn holiday like that in a long time. She still had to work, but while she was tapping away on her computer, I was camping. And I do love camping, even when the weather is a little cool and damp like it was on this trip.

Taking a break from work for a little beach time

After we launched Nollind at Vernon on a very blustery Saturday morning, T and I set out on Highway 97 southbound for Kelowna. For a newbie driver, T did pretty good, getting us safely down the road and backed into our new spot at Bear Creek Provincial Park.

Setting sail at Vernon

It was raining but, after lunch, things cleared out enough for us to wander the beach (shhh…even the “no dogs” part of the beach). When we got to the water, I was pretty excited to be adding a new lake to my count but, even though we’d driven an hour to get there, T said it was the same lake as at Ellison. No way!

Okanagan Lake 2 at Bear Creek Provincial Park (sailboats in background)

Even crazier, the next day we drove another hour south, to Summerland, and the beach there was also on Okanagan Lake. I thought they were pulling my leg, or two or three of them, but nope, checked the map and it was indeed the same big-ass lake. I was thinking of listing them as Okanagan 1, Okanagan 2, and Okanagan 3, in my lake count, bringing the total to twenty-eight, but T said that was cheating. Fine. Twenty-six it is. Still pretty impressive, right?

On the pier at Summerland

Once we collected Nollind in Summerland at the end of his two-day race, we continued farther south, to Haynes Point Provincial Park on Osoyoos Lake. Wow, what a spot. Definitely one of the highlights of our camping season. We got a site right on the water with the lights of Osoyoos across the way and the waves lapping on the little beach below us. The weather was still a bit changeable, but we got in a bunch of walking and campfire and lake-gazing time.

Camp time at Haynes Point

Thursday it was time to head east and we wandered our way through the west Kootenays, stopping at lakes as we went. There wasn’t really a destination that night but we wound up in a little place called Salmo, where T’s Dad lived, camped in their municipal campground, and had hamburgers for dinner. T and Nollind had theirs at the pub in the hotel, her dad’s old hang out, mine came to the trailer in a go-box.

Striking a pose at Nancy Greene Lake

Friday we were on our way again, had a great lunch stop and beach walk at Moyie Lake Provincial Park, and arrived at Redstreak Campground in Kootenay National Park in the middle of the afternoon. Redstreak was our first camping destination of the summer season back in May and our first trip with the Nash trailer (aka Simon). The campground was a lot busier than it had been in May, with a big car show happening in Radium Hot Springs, but we found a nice spot in a quiet loop and settled in for a day and a half of Rocky Mountain time.

The beach at Moyie Lake

Redstreak sits on the side of a mountain up above Radium Hot Springs and on Saturday we set out on foot down the mountain to check out the afternoon market and visit the dog park by Sinclair Creek. It was a great walk but, seriously, I’m a prairie dweller and all that climbing nearly killed me. A chunk of the trail from town to the campground is stairs and I’m kind of a short-legged hound. I tried zig-zagging back and forth but it doesn’t work on stairs like it does on a slope.

Rest time on the climb up from Radium

I could have stayed at Redstreak another day or two (or seven) but Sunday we had to go home. The horse dentist was coming on Monday (I’ll let Storm share that story another week) and T had a pile of work to do for the upcoming Fall Classic Sale. Speaking of T’s work, we’ll be in Red Deer at the horse sale next Fur-iday so you won’t hear from me. Her laptop is a bit like an appendage during the event so it’s tough for me to get on and write my blog. Besides, I have a very important role at the sale … office mascot!