A Place For The Future Past

These Are The Times…
January 17, 2007, 5:00 pm
Filed under: Community On The Earth

that test us, surely. Life here at Dryad’s Rest have been a series of challenges and triumphs. Freezing weather has preserved the beautiful snowscapes around us, unfortunately we also have frozen pipes. BUT we have nearby a very large swimming pool that has a full supply of fresh rainwater — just chip an access hole and dip water for washing and filling toilet tanks. We have the woodstove going, heating large enamel pots with rainwater for washing dishes as well as keeping a teakettle with hot water (bottled town water). So we are camping very comfortably as we wait for the thaw.

The day before yesterday we cleaned the barn thoroughly and installed 3/4″ recycled rubber mats in all the open area — heaven! Now a clean barn every day is possible. And the heavy mats provide a surprising amount of insulation — several degrees difference on these icy mornings.

After cleaning and floor installing we saddled both horses. I climbed aboard Chance and Em led Jennifer down the driveway and down the trail west about a hundred feet. Then I changed horses and Em climbed on Chance and we rode back, Em holding Jen’s lead rope closely, but me beginning simple commands — walk, whoa, etc. Then we ended the lesson just at the right time, with lots of praise and treats. Jennifer’s first ride! Chance was somewhat bored by it all — though happy enough to be out, and only barely tolerated her young foolishness. She will learn quickly with him helping to teach 😉

Yesterday we introduced them both to electric fencing. No more hiking across the length of the property across all manner of terrain, lead rope in hand or shaking a grain can. Chance saw it going up and knew what it was all about. Jennifer required a test — yikes! Now we can fence off areas we want them to concentrate on and stay closer. What heaven!

Today I take Mom in to nearby Pe Ell for her monthly hair appointment, then home again to my sewing machine. Too snowy to dig.


No Small Miracles
January 12, 2007, 5:40 am
Filed under: Community On The Earth, Fun on the Road

Looking back, I think my blue truck was an agent, trying to protect me. It got stuck that morning alongside my snowy driveway, at the beginning of the latest nasty weather — wind, snow, ice, etc. I felt I needed to get into town for some errands and Swash practice (upcoming demo at Rustycon) so I borrowed Em and Red’s truck. I got into town well enough, but the trip home was the adventure. Leaving Seattle at 8:30 pm and headed south, the news reports filled with tales of spinouts, collisions and abandoned cars everywhere — the storm had already passed Seattle and was headed south, with icy temps behind.

About halfway home, right about Fort Lewis, I was travelling about 50 in the far left lane, snow had stopped but the roads were wet. Just as the car in the lane next to me guns up and crosses ahead of me I hit ice, just as I was getting off the gas. I could feel the wheels leave the pavement as we started to spin. I managed to control it long enough to avoid the car in back to the right of me, but lost it soon after, going completely around. I passed back towards the center and into the concrete barrier, punching it with the front, rotating to finally rest — picture this — in the tiny single car-wide left shoulder, almost but not touching the concrete barrier along my right side (I was facing oncoming traffic) the fast lane of oncoming traffic to my immediate left.

For three frozen seconds I watched the oncoming surge of traffic that had been immediately behind me and had surely seen my drama unfolding before them — I could only pray they could avoid me — which they did. Though due to the gentle curve in the freeway the view of the second row of trucks would be blocked until almost too late — who passed without incident after moving back over into the left lane.

The next miracle was that traffic broke for almost a quarter mile (or at least it seemed to me) and I was able to realize that if I stayed where I was I would surely die — it had almost already happened but it didn’t I gunned that puppy and hoping hard I swung out and over the three briefly empty lanes and around to the right shoulder and off the road, before traffic began pouring by again.

Whew. The front lights were busted the right front tire was blown, the fender punched in and the fan blade was rattling. But it was still running, that was something.

I looked around. No one had stopped. Did they even reach for their cell phones and call it in? I went back and secured the truck and headed on foot to the next exit, Fort Lewis. Unfortunately the only exit around with no gas stations or markets.

The next miracle took the form of Sgt Steven G who stopped at the odd sight of a lone woman walking next to the freeway during an ice storm at night and gave me aide. Delivered me all the way home (sixty miles one way) safe and sound. Thank you, Steven, my friends thank you too.

It was not luck. Luck is once or twice, finding a dollar bill on the ground. I was shielded. Em thinks it’s this place, Dryad’s Rest, that has adopted us, more than that — has laid claim to us. We were reminded (and not for the first time) to next time, LISTEN to the land and not try to leave its warm folds, to go out into the treacherous world. OOOkayyy

New Arrivals
January 8, 2007, 1:54 am
Filed under: Community On The Earth

We have a new girl, Jennifer. She’s a mostly black Percheron/Quarterhorse four year old who will make a fine companion for Chance. One drawback however is that she’s completely green, never been ridden.She’s been home a week now and today got her first ride, I got on her back, a first for me too! A virgin ride for a virgin horsebreaker. I’ve had a good hand in training Chance, but someone else did the basics first. Both Jen and I did really well. I did my prep work by putting together the tack; saddle,$450, halter/bridle combo $59, 5 and a quarter inch D ring snaffle $20, stirrups $44, 34″ western girth $33, curb strap $12.

So while Red held Chance off to the side while Em and I tacked her up, Em held her and I climbed up and leaned on her back, then swung my leg over. Once I planted my seat and settled, she settled and dropped her head into place, just like that. We did some steps up and steps back, then I swung down, walked around her picking her feet up, no problems at all, what a good girl!

Next we will try riding her alongside of Chance, baby steps. So far her demeanor is soft and willing, and all the lessons are good.

Other developments — The goats have their pen! And we have our first barn side door! Such luxury to able to open the barn door (and not be knocked over by escaping livestock) open a side pen, open the door and chase them outside! We have been bringing the horses in at night, they share the center aisle. There has been some wild weather lately and we have outages.

Layout of the gardens continues to develop as sod gets dug up and replaced with plants or covered with chips — we have found a local source and have hauled several loads home. Soon the greenhouse will go up as we go in to winter. After that will be the dairy, by Easter. And in the meantime I continue to cut trails and pathways, and making discoveries.