Saturday, September 23, 2017

Assorted Photos

1898 Mardi Gras Court, St. Martinville, Louisiana

Black Prince, riverboat, on Bayou Teche, 1900

The Castille House, built in 1866, Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Spanish galleon Andalucia at Ocean City, Maryland

Killdeer nest, Assateague Island

Jester, stallion on Maryland end of Assateague

Assateague Island cottontail rabbit

Bits And Pieces

The orange-painted dyed-blond idiot residing in the White House is keeping me upset...  I'm afraid that recently my most coherent thoughts are about how he is such a bizarre individual and how much damage he is doing to our country.   ...   But I'm trying to stay away from that.

   Luckily, all of my friends and family have ridden through all of the hurricanes, so far, with very minor water damage to their yards, and little, if any, damage to their homes.  All people and critters are safe and sound.  -  And that is a huge load off my mind.   Chincoteague may get swiped Wednesday, but I really hope it doesn't happen.  Fall and winter nor'easters are bad enough, without a tropical storm lashing the beaches, too.
   Beatrice and I visited a friend's Meet and Greet City Council candidates party Thursday evening.  Five candidates for the Boulder seats were there; they each gave a 3-minute talk and then we had two hours to mingle and chat with them.  I've signed up to help and support two of the women candidates - Mary Young and Cindy Carlisle.  I liked the other three people, but I didn't really feel totally supportive regarding their stands on a few issues.
   I've been in contact with a few of Beatrice's cousins, whom have never met, and I'm getting her family tree woven together a bit more.  The problem is trying to find the pasts of people who were enslaved.  I've looked at the Freedman's Bureau - and I have some Census records.  I also have plantation records, but very few slaves were listed by name.  I would really love to be able to find more information regarding Bea's great-great-grandfather, a slave named Priest Tickles, who was born in South Carolina in 1820, along with his wife, Charlotte (also listed as Sharlot), who was born in 1835 in Louisiana.  
   And, of course, I'd love to have more information regarding her great-great-grandfather, Luc DeClouette, and his management of his half-sister's plantation at Breaux Bridge.  It is so very difficult for me to image (especially since I'm white) belonging, as a slave, to another person - especially when that person is your white half-sister (with a shared father).  To run her plantation after the death of her husband, and to protect her from US Federal troops during the Civil War's intrusion into the Teche Valley...   I wish photos existed of Luc and his family - both sides.   I'm just a nosy old lady, I guess.  There are so many fascinating things to discover in the past...
   We had a dachshund staying with us for a few days; she's 8 years old, named Emma, has one brown and one blue eye, and has always been a purse-puppy and/or lap dog.  She hasn't been socialized with other dogs, and didn't know what to do the first time I removed her leash in a fenced-in yard.  Finally she started running in huge circles - her happiness was rather contagious.  In the past few weeks, I've been getting her to meet other dogs, and explore new places.  She climbed a tree with low-lying branches while chasing a squirrel; she was so intent upon the scent of a cottontail rabbit that it ran behind her, within 12 inches of her tail, and she didn't see or hear it; and she found a bird's nest hidden in a wood pile, and came out with feathers stuck to her eye lashes.  She's never caught anything, but she's having a good time looking and scenting....  She will chase a squirrel on sight, but is unsure about cats - which is a good thing, because Lovey would have eaten her alive, otherwise.
   I will try to get back into the rhythm of writing again - I need to express myself - and I need to stay away from the stupid man in Washington, DC....    I think I'm back among the living again.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Disasters & Volunteers - Photos

Hurricane Harvey volunteers

Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey evacuees

St Maarten after Hurricane Irma

Canadian aid workers heading for St Maarten

My best friend's back yard in Fort Pierce, FL this morning

Key Largo after Irma

Key Largo after Irma

Jacksonville, FL before Irma

Jacksonville, FL during Irma

University of Florida in Gainesville

Fort Lauderdale hotel parking lot

Thank You To All Disaster Relief Workers And Volunteers!

I've been quiet because all of the news recently has been about disasters - hurricanes, fires, floods, earthquakes, landslides, tornadoes...  There is so much misery and loss all around the world.  It's terribly depressing.

  The brightest stars, however, are those people who have been helping others affected by these disasters.  Some people are salaried, but most are freely giving their time, experience, expertise, and money to help find people, to reunite families, to look at properties, to help with damages, to help people who have nothing to very little left.

  My heart-felt thanks to each and every person around the world who is assisting, in any way, with these natural disasters!!!!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Riding Crosier Mountain

Mounted on King

Looking down upon northeast Estes Park

The faint white lines at the bottom of the valley is the Big Thompson River

Hat tree - a blasted pine

Beyond the hat tree

Mountain meadow with snow-pocked Rocky Mountains in background

Near the top of Crosier  - smoke from wildfires in distance

Looking up at Crosier Mountain


I had not realized how much mental stress I was under until Thursday, 31 August.  I knew that I was unhappy with the current elected administration, and that I have had to increase my anti-depression medication accordingly.  I knew that I was missing Rosie, the Irish Setter, whom I cared for for 10 years, until her death.  I knew that I missed returning to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands this summer.  I knew that I was sleeping more than normal, just to "escape" the usual day-to-day living events.  Thursday was my eye-opener.
    Beatrice, my room mate, gave me a Christmas gift - a certificate for two riders to take a hour trail ride together.  Beatrice doesn't ride.  My sister has been in poor health for the last year, and, so, I had no one to ride with.  I called the company, explained I was an experienced rider, and was told I could have a three-hour trail ride as a single rider, instead of two one-hour rides.  I went riding Thursday morning, having walked a dog, fed fish, fed two sets of cats, and having released hens and cleaned their coop and roost.
   It was a 45 minute drive, and I was asked to arrive 30 minutes before we were scheduled to leave.  Upon arrival, I was told that another group of four people were expected to join the wrangler, or guide, and me.  I signed my release form, opted to not wear a riding helmet, and grabbed a saddle horn bag to put my drinking water and camera into.  Then I settled down to wait.
   When I pulled up, there was a large sorrel tied up to the railing.  He looked like a guy who could easily carry my weight, and he had a saddle with short stirrups on.  I thought he might be my ride.  Then the wrangler came out, and saddled up a bay Appaloosa - roaning and black spots on his butt, with roaning also along his sides and neck.  Then several folks started bringing out other mounts - multiple pintos, a bay, and a palomino.  The people who were supposed to ride with me changed their minds at the last minute, so Richard, the wrangler, and I set out alone.
   Richard was riding Outlaw, the bay Appaloosa.  I was mounted on a 16 hand bay pinto gelding named King.  King's legs had twice the bone of Outlaw's - and Outlaw was about 15 hands with a light, but strong, build.  Outlaw also has a convex face; much more so than King's.
   The stable complex is right beside highway 34, to the east of Estes Park.  The three-hour trail ride took us to the very top of Crosier Mountain and back down (of course).  Richard was pretty quiet, once he ascertained that I did, really, know how to ride...  In several places, he launched into his guide spiel, what the elevation was, and what we were looking at; and he kept warning me about the closeness of tree trunks and rocky outcrops - that's his job.  He also tried to point out the different types of trees, brush, flowers and wildlife we encountered - but, after telling him I could recognize them, and nicely asking him to only speak when needed, we both just enjoyed the ride.
   We did see the tracks of two different mountain lions; one much larger than the other.  We saw bear droppings (scat).  There were hoof prints of elk and mule deer, too.  The horses both shied at one point, and snorted, with their concentration on one distinct point, but neither Richard nor I could see what was bothering them, so we moved on quietly.  About three-quarters of the way through the ride, we did hear the squall of a mountain lion, but it seemed to be more than a mile away.  What else did we hear?  The wind in the pines, birds singing, grasshoppers buzzing, insects ticking, the chatter of squirrels, the calls of hawks.  We saw a bald eagle on the wing, and three red tail hawks; there were numerous chipmunks and squirrels, and an Abert's squirrel; there were meadow larks, nuthatches, sparrows, jays, a Stellar's jay, a few swallows, and a whole host of smaller birds on branches.  Once, there was the sound of a distant airplane.  But there were no sounds of any other vehicles - no cars, no trucks, no buses, no motorcycles, no ATVs.  No telephones rang.  Once, their was a quiet voice from Richard's radio - but that was the only non-organic sounds during those three delightful hours.
    We traveled mostly up- and down-hill, so we were leaning forward in the saddle, or leaning back, and letting the horses have their heads over rocky, sometimes sliding ground.  I was in heaven!   I was able to stretch forward and stroke King's ears, and to reach back and pat the base of his tail.  We trotted occasionally across an open meadow, and cantered across a beautiful stretch of glade openings among the pines.   We looked down, from 8500 feet, to see highway 34 and the Big Thompson River.  We had partly cloudy skies that morning, and we were all a little sweaty when we returned to the stable area - it was all of 73 degrees, but very dry...
    I felt so relaxed and refreshed and just generally - replenished - after that ride. I had no idea how taut my nerves were...   I highly recommend getting away for several hours - and doing whatever it is that makes you feel good.   There is nothing better in life.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Photos - 2

Flooding and devastation - people were helped;
some pets were taken along, some left to fend for themselves...

I hope the orange tiger cat made it to safety....