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
Advertisements

Shhh…It’s a Secret

We went camping this week, but I can’t tell you where. I’ve been sworn to secrecy. Usually I like to tell you where we’ve been, even provide links so that you can read about the places and maybe visit them yourselves. But, this time, if I tell you, I’ll have to kill you, and I’m a snuggler, not a killer.

Snuggling with the Earth.

The location of this latest camping adventure was discovered by G & S on a day outing back in July and they thought it was the perfect destination for our August rendezvous. And perfect it was. In fact, I think I saw tears pooling in Nollind’s eyes when we drove in, and I don’t think they were just tears of relief that we’d arrived safely with T driving. (She’s pretty new to this trailer hauling thing and I see his jaw tighten every now and then. He tries to hide it but we dogs have highly developed senses.)

Just two dogs hangin’ out in camp.

Anyway…this place. O. M. G. It’s in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, filled with spruce and aspen forest, has a beautiful river running through it, and quiet, oh so quiet. Heaven. And, since this describes many places on the eastern slopes of the Rockies, I think our secret is safe.

Did I mention yet that there were bones?

G & S and my buddy Ria arrived before us and picked, I kid you not, the best spot in the whole campground, right on the river, with a little dog beach for swimming and lots of trees for shade. Heaven. Wait, I think I said that already … but it bears repeating.

A walk in the woods.

There were twice daily walks on the quiet country road and along the south side of the river, turns around the campground in the morning and before bed, and as much swimming/wading as a dog wanted to do. Me, I’m more of a wade in when it’s hot kind of guy, Ria on the other hand is a very enthusiastic water gymnast. We were there two days and I’m not sure she was ever entirely dry.

Ria had far too much fun.

And therein lies the only down side of the outing … two days. It was only two days. (Sad dog-face emoji.)

And, after all that water fun.

You might be wondering why all the secrecy? Well, the camp attendant came around and chatted awhile, told us how you used to be able to get a spot in the campground any day, but now weekends were mostly full all season long. Turns out there was just too much of that telling two friends who tell two friends stuff going on. So, the six of us made a pact, then and there, that it would be our secret, special campground.

Apparently Nollind had fun too.

If any of you reading this blog has been to our secret campground and recognize it from the photos, maybe we’ll see you there sometime but, in the meanwhile … shhh….

Shhh…

Bluegrass and the Beach

Twice when we travelled south in the winter, we attended a festival called “Bluegrass on the Beach” in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It’s a great event and, just like the name says, right on the beach of Lake Havasu. We dogs never attended the actual show (too much sun for Logan), but there were swimming opportunities multiple times a day and we could hear the music from the camping area.

Sunset time at Bluegrass on the Beach.

This past weekend, we attended the Blueberry Bluegrass Festival in Stony Plain, Alberta. We were there once before, in 2013, but I didn’t remember it that well. I’d forgotten that they’re pretty strict about dogs in the concert area (Havasu has a dog-friendly seating area off to one side) and … :o( … there’s nowhere to swim. The exhibition park has a storm pond but the signage says to not let dogs go swimming.

So, on the downside, I spent quite a lot of trailer time while T and Nollind were off listening to music, but, on the upside, I had the bed to myself all day!

I was happy to share my space when they dropped in for a visit.

Another downside was the ferocious thunderstorm that rolled through on Friday afternoon and scared the absolute bejeezus out of me. Logan would have turned completely inside out with terror if he’d been with us in the trailer—thunder, lightning, gale-force wind, and huge hailstones that made quite a racket hitting the roof of the trailer. It was pretty scary. But, we came out of it unscathed other than a dozen or so little dents on the truck.

Despite the lack of concert-going and swimming, I did get out and about quite a lot including a walk to Tim Horton’s for Saturday morning breakfast. I love Timbits! And I was happy to assist T and Nollind with whatever portion of their breakfast wraps they were willing to part with. The bonus on this particular excursion? Across the street from Tim Horton’s was a Pet Valu store. I do enjoy a good shop and sniff … with the occasional lick thrown in when nobody is looking.

I did get to go along to this jam tent that was outside the main concert area.

The festival wrapped up on Sunday night and the next morning we were on our way south. Home I assumed, but then we turned west before we reached Red Deer and set up camp at Gull Lake. It was hot as heck on Monday, so I questioned the sanity of my peeps as we set out for an afternoon walk. But hey, we were at a lake, how far could it be to the beach?

Gull Lake campsite.

Right. Turned out, the many trails leading from the main trail to the refreshing waters of Gull Lake had one of these heartbreaking signs posted in the middle of it.

We kept walking. I was melting. My tongue was nearly on the ground. And then, at long last, we reached … the boat launch. Oh, heavenly water! I’m usually an in-and-out kind of swimmer so T and Nollind laughed at me for just standing in the water but it felt s-o-o-o-o good. (By the way, Gull brings my 2019 lake count to twenty—Sylvan, Sturgeon, Williston, Charlie, Little, Saskatoon, Crimson, Twin, Chinook, Alces, Whiteswan, Premier, Cat’s Eye, Turtle, Canuck, Yankee, Columbia, Windermere, Two-Jack, and Gull!)

Cooling my heels, etc.

I spent the rest of Monday afternoon lounging under the trailer while T and Nollind sipped on iced tea and chatted about the bluegrass festival. A little storm chased us indoors early in the evening but we were back out for some campfire time before bed.

Best spot in camp.

Tuesday’s plan was more walking and another swim before we headed home but it was raining at Gull Lake, a lot, all morning and into the early afternoon, so we took a couple of short jaunts around the campground, watched some downloaded Netflix, and packed things up.

It wasn’t quite the experience of Bluegrass on the Beach with its daily swims and general dog friendliness, but there was bluegrass, we did find a beach, and time spent camping with my peeps is time well spent.

Lake Havasu swim with my buddy Logan.

On a side note, you may have noticed that I haven’t been a very dedicated blogger this summer, and I expect I’ll miss a few more Fur-idays before this busy season is over, but I will do my best to keep you up to date on my many adventures and I’ll get Storm back at the keyboard. Until then, some wise words for all you bipeds from C.J. Frick

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.”