Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whirlwind Tour to E. WA and 3 Bells Ranch

Sun Dog taken near Spokane by J. Young

As I have 11 days off for the holidays I decided to go visit a friend of mine that I just don't get to visit with enough. Tara is her name, we met during training for horseback Search and Rescue.

She bought 75 acres in Oroville, an old orchard that she is working to turn into a organic sustainable ranch for herself and her animals. I was anxious to see all that she had done.

I left with clear weather and the pass was an easy drive with bare/wet roads. Stevens Pass is a beautiful area with mountains that are reminiscent of Europe. I will some day get around to doing a blog post on them....I promise. Once on the eastern side of the mountains I drove through lovely orchard lands, mostly apple, pear, peaches, and cherries. Followed along the Columbia River, and then eventually the Okanogan river. I really enjoy seeing all the horses and cattle in their winter woolies, and made note of the apple cider stands, planning on stopping at one on the way home.

Arrived at Tara's and she was making a squash pie. I met her Mother, Drue, who was visiting from Rhode Island and with who I can definitely see the resemblance (sorry Drue :)). After Tara put the pie in the oven we walked around meeting all her animals while she fed, seeing all the irrigation and fencing that she had installed over this last year. The house that came with the land was not much to begin with and she had turned it into a comfortable home. I was really impressed with all that had been done in such a short amount of time.

And then the gates of Hades opened........

When we returned to the house to check on the pie Tara had a phone call. I could tell from her voice that it was not good news. Her close friend, Betsy, had been traveling with her friend, Margaret to her cabin in Winthrop for a week of skiing and frivolity when they hit a patch of black ice and rolled Betsy's Toyota 4 Runner two and a 1/4 times. They were taken to the hospital in Brewster and needed to be picked up.

I need to mention here that Betsy and Margaret are the most amazing women you'll ever meet. They are good friends....not sure of ages, but 70+ , and they are more active than most 20 year olds. They not only maintain their own homes, Betsy's in Mercer Island, Margaret's in Issaquah, and Betsy has her "vacation" home in Winthrop that she also maintains....they manage to travel all over the US, Europe, Australia....AND they hike, downhill and cross country ski. Betsy even comes over to Tara's to put on a "Betsy's Boot Camp" to work on everything there and Tara swears she would not have gotten near the work done in as short of time without Betsy cracking the whip. To be honest with you I've been more than a little scared to show up over there when Boot Camp is in full swing.

So Tara and I, donned our previously forgotten Search and Rescue persona, loaded Kylie and a cat carrier (they were traveling with a Golden Retriever and a cat and we weren't sure if we had to pick them up too) into my Subaru and drove the 70+ miles to Brewster and the hospital. Amazingly Betsy wasn't injured at all, Margaret had a head laceration and some bruising. They were extremely lucky.

After springing them from the hospital, we went to where there vehicle had been towed to retrieve some suitcases. I must say the Toyota is a sturdy vehicle....for what it went through it looked pretty good. Betsy and Margaret went into the back seat with the empty cat carrier between them (turned out a good Samaritan had taken the dog and cat to their home to care for until Betsy and Margaret were able to pick them up) We placed the suitcases next to Kylie behind the back seat and she immediately went to work cleaning the food that had found it's way to the outside of the suitcases during the rollover.

Kylie was good with this arrangement until the suitcases fell over on top of her. At that point she felt the people in the backseat had worn out their welcome in HER normal travel location and proceeded to wrap herself around poor Margaret's neck. We stopped and untangled the dog and woman and Betsy had to hold onto Kylies collar and tell her nice things to keep her halfway in the back and draped over the seat the rest of the way.

Next day we had a lovely breakfast of homemade coffee cake, bacon and some eggs which had been frozen out in the barn that Betsy managed to revive. Then the planning began. It was decided that Betsy and Margaret needed a rental car, Tara insisted if they insisted on having a rental car it needed to be a 4 x 4. Most of the small towns had rental cars....but no 4 x 4s. The closest one was in Wenatchee.

Tara was more than willing to take them to Wenatchee but the "sensible" thing was for me to take them as it was "on my way" home.

As I had planned on this being a photo safari of sorts, I ran around quickly snapping some pics (which I later found I had left my camera on macro.....though they didn't turn out too bad) before loading up the Subaru once again. Molly, Tara's Jack Russell mix girl, felt she needed to pack herself in as well and we removed her a total of 4 times I think before I was able to make my escape without an extra dog in tow.I think what I love most about the above pics is the reflection of Tara in the window....laughing at her Mollycule's escapades. (That is a piece of Kylie's frozen dinner in Molly's mouth that she is trying to abscond with).

The "gals" before we left on Tara's front porch.....from L to R: Tara, Betsy, Margaret, & Drue.

Back on the road, it was decided that Betsy would stay at the tow yard and organize what she could salvage out of the 4 Runner. Margaret would continue on with me to Wenatchee, another 65+ miles from Brewster. It was now snowing and the driving was getting a bit more treacherous.

When we dropped Betsy off at the tow yard I went back to take a pic of their rig.
There was another 4 Runner in what I think was a bit worse condition parked right next to theirs. It had just been brought in, having flipped over a guard rail and rolled. Occupants at hospital.

Margaret and I continued on. Understandably Margaret was a bit uptight about being on the road (she was the one driving Betsy's 4 Runner at the time of the accident) but she cramped my style a bit when I couldn't drive in my normal slightly faster mode of travel. The bonus of this drive, though, was I got to see (but unfortunately didn't get to take pics of) some amazing sun dogs.

Finally made Wenatchee, a nice Tahoe was waiting for Margaret, and after I made sure that she was going to have a vehicle to leave in, I moved their luggage over to the Tahoe and then I skedaddled back to my Forester. Putting the seats down and moving Kylies travel rug to it's behind the front seats position a swear I heard the biggest sigh out of Kylie as she settled in. With a sigh probably close to the same size as Kylie's I headed the 107+ miles back to our home (sweet home).

At the very least, after this adventure, if I am reincarnated I think I have elevated myself above the worm I thought I might return as.....possibly something as good as something that can walk around on four legs? I can only hope.

Below are some of the pics I took before I left:

The view from Tara's living room
Tara's MOOs, Bruiser, Kobe and Kobe White Face

The pic above really needs a caption....don't you think?

Her bunny area.....which I christened Polygamy Flats (there is ONE happy boy bunny in there)
and some wittle baby bunnies.....

Her piggie pals, Izzy the Tamsworth pig (whom I told her that she SHOULD have named Tammy.....after all she IS a "Tams"worth pig AND has red hair!!) and Daisy, a pot-bellied pig she got to keep Izzy company.Tara has been training Izzy to do things like heel, and turn right and left....which I told her she needs to change to "go bye" and "away to me"......."that'll do pig" :) (with a big nod to the movie Babe) Izzy also needs to eat in a special pen by herself because Daisy.... well....makes a pig of herself and eats all the food. Izzy has learned to go in and out and fortunately Daisy hasn't caught on yet.

This pic reminds me for some reason of a runway model with her poodle......(maybe with a bit of a Russian flair?)
Some of Tara's herd..... she has 3 Fox Trotters, Ganny (Gandolf), Sierra (the mare that packed me into Stehekin), and Stormy, Stormy's two mule offspring, Bert and Ernestine, Ellie her elder mule, Quincy, a Tennessee Walker that was going to be put down for bad feet that she rescued and rehabbed, and Pippin the pony. Tara does a wonderful calendar every year of her horses, check it out: Horse As Horse 2010 calendar.

Tara and Stormy
The "usual" pictures I get of her herd.....something fascinating about a camera....
Bert (I think)
Bert and Ernestine
and last but not least, Pippen
Looking forward to a bit of a longer visit next time.......:)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Silent Sunday

Ok, so maybe not so silent in the beginning.....I am missing my blogging and blogging friends, and have decided I need to set aside some time each week to indulge myself. :)

I recently went down to OR to visit my Mom who is in an Alzheimer ward in Eugene and my sister who lives on the coast in Florence with my "sig other", Guerdon. It was one of the best visits I've had with my Mother, even though she hasn't recognized me in years and has stopped talking, I think we made contact. She just kept staring into my eyes and teared up two different times. I really got the impression she recognized me, and Guerdon agreed. It was heart rending in that I think she really wanted to say something.

We stayed on the coast again in Yachats (pron. YAH HOTS) at the Adobe (dog friendly) and witnessed a beautiful stormy sea. The following are a few shots of some of my favs.... in a very random order, the lighting changed so often it was hard to pick the ones I like the most. ok NOW I'll be silent....