Friday, April 29, 2016

Thank You To My Friends

Two years ago today I woke up homeless. April 28, 2014 was the day my house burned to the ground. There was pretty much nothing left and what was left was mostly damaged by smoke, water or the fire. It’s an eerie feeling to wake up and know you don’t get a choice in what to wear because you only have the clothes on your back. But I’ve learned that it’s okay.

Two years ago today, I woke up on a cot in my sister’s den. At least I was still alive. At least Keith was still with me. I still had my dog, and my horses, and the chickens. We owned the land, so in the truest sense we weren’t truly homeless. We just didn’t have the building to live in. I may not have had a lot of possessions, but I did have something better: friends and family.

While Keith and I were still dealing with the fire inspector and the sheriff’s report, my sister Chanda rushed out to Wal-Mart and bought us some replacement items. I could at least put on a clean set of clothes because of her. And we invaded her life for a month while we crashed in her den until we could find another place to live.

The fire took out our electric pole and the power company shut off the electric until we could get it fixed. My friends Robert and Tia let me bring the horses to their house and fed and took care of them until we could get the pole replaced and the power to operate our well back. 

My friend Linda offered us her little cabin by the lake as a place to stay so that Keith would have a shorter drive to work. We stayed there for another month until my mom and her partner Bill, were finally able to bring up a smaller camper trailer for us to live in. 

We now have a new home and new possessions, but I’ve learned something along the way. You can live without stuff/possessions, but don’t throw away your friends. If you have good friends, you have one of the most valuable possessions in the world. 

Today I want to thank all my friends and family again for all their help over the years. Everyone, including the anonymous donations to our fund and anyone who offered a place to stay (even if we didn’t take you up on it). One kind gesture is sometimes all it takes to make someone’s day. Thanks for being there. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Horse That Haunts Dreams--Kindle Giveway


I'm having a giveaway for five (5) copies of the Kindle version of my book The Horse That Haunts Dreams. Every one in the USA is eligible to participate in this Amazon giveaway, unless you've already purchased the Kindle version from Amazon. 
Please click this link to participate. Good Luck, and I hope you all enjoy the book.  

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Friends of Bluewater Lake--Second Meeting

I went to the second meeting of the Friends of Bluewater Lake last night and ended up being voted in as the secretary for the newly formed association. 

I’ll keep you all informed of the developments of the “association” but for now, I did also talk with the Park Superintendent Andrew Armendariz for a few minutes as to going riding at the lake.

Andrew informed me that if you come into the Prewitt side (AKA North Side AKA Stoneridge Recreational Area) main entrance. For now you will have to park in the vacant lot just outside the main entrance right across from Trish’s Bluewater Lake Lodge and Horse Motel. From there you can unload and ride in through the gates next to the cattle guard. The $5.00 day use fee will apply. Or you can purchase an annual Day use pass good at every single state park (except Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Carlsbad) for $40.00, which is a good deal if you go to different parks regularly or if you go to the lake more than eight times per year.

Andrew and his District Supervisor stated they are looking at the legalities and locations to use for a permanent equestrian unloading inside the park on that side. They stated that by spring or sooner, they should have an equestrian day use site available. On that side of the lake.
On the Thoreau Side (AKA the South side AKA Las Tusas Recreation area) you can pull into the park anywhere and unload at any location as long as you don’t unload right on the newly paved black top.

The Friends of the Lake will be developing by-laws and a Cooperative agreement with the state park very soon. Once we get approved, then we will be holding a membership drive if anyone is interested. 

I'll be creating a separate blog for the Friends Association you can find the link here

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Friends of Bluewater Lake

I attended the initial meeting of the Friends of Bluewater Lake. This was an information meeting on how to get an association started and to advocate for and raise money for the “friends” to assist the lake in developing more opportunities at the lake. Everyone interested in the Lake’s success is welcome, not just fishermen, and boaters. As I also had to attend the other meeting, I bounced back and forth between this meeting and the Cibola County Commission meeting, so I may have missed a few things, but a summary of the “equestrian” portion is below. Jackie Weeks may be able to provide more specific info on certain items if necessary.
We did get into a minor discussion of the previous exclusion of equestrian from the lake. That was a past administration, and any animosity toward equestrian was not found among the current administration. Those of you who were asked to leave in the past, let it be known that they won’t run you out again. There currently is not a camping site available for horses so don’t expect to drive in and camp at the main parking area. For safety reasons, the Park won’t let you camp there. However they are completely open to development of an equestrian friendly campsite. Equestrian are welcome to ride the park and assist in trails development as well. 

The Park personnel are also in discussions with our Zuni Mountain Trail Partnership to work on developing a trail from the south end of the park to connect into the proposed Zuni Mountain Trails in the USFS just a mile away.

Right now the biggest concern the park staff has is the interactions of the feral horses coming in from the section of Navajo Tribal land that may harass and or attack the riders and their horses. When we rode the park years ago, we never really had a problem with this, but it is still of some concern. 

When asked about the rules of Equestrian in the park. Several questions were brought up.

1.    Trish from the Bluewater Lake Lodge and horse motel (great place to go visit) had said that she had been told that a person couldn’t drive INTO the lake lands with a horse trailer and unload. They would have to ride in on the main road across a cattle guard. The park staff said that was incorrect and they would allow horse trailers into the park. (Note: The staff was unprepared for some of these questions as they weren’t aware it had been in issue in the past, so we (probably me) will have another meeting direct with the park staff to discuss locations and safety etc.

2.     Jackie asked what the restrictions on horses/equestrian use in the park was. The only significant thing was not to have the horses drink or be in the lake, but that it was mainly an “At your own risk” issue. If your horse gets bogged down in the lake, then it’s your fault not the lake’s problem. Again we may need to have some discussions on safety and use and help create a set of rules.

3.     Trail use: We discussed the trail use and the park staff indicated that the trails development would be non-motorized multi-use. And we are welcomed to assist in developing trails and providing input to the park.

So what does this all mean for us? Well, the development of a “Friends” group outside of the state financial control means that we as a group can fund the projects that are important. We as a “group” can help develop trails, the camping areas, bring in events to the park as fund raisers etc. So if you like to ride and your spouse likes to fish or hike, you can help the park develop both resources. 

We can do this in a couple of ways.

1.    We can join the “Friends of Bluewater Lake” and have direct input as the project priorities and development of equine inclusive facilities.

2.    We can assist as the Back Country Horsemen Chapter, and have indirect input and aid to developing the trails. 

3.     Or we can do a little of both. 

I’m not saying that everyone has to join either association, but if we have at least one equestrian representative in the “Friends” group working from the inside and a few working from the BCH side, we could help develop an awesome camp site and equestrian friendly facility. 

I don’t know how many of you have ever been to the El Caballo Lake State Park down in T or C, but they have an awesome campsite that is multi-use and equestrian friendly. It’s mainly used for large groups with a pavilion in the center and the campsites circling like spokes from a wagon wheel. It had water and electric hook ups at each site as well as room for the large trailers and horses. I’d love to see something like that developed at Bluewater Lake.

There will be another meeting set up in November (around the 17th or 18th) (date not set in stone yet) to organize the “Friends” association and to elect board members. It will be held they believe again at the Cibola County main office and hopefully in the large conference room as it won’t be competing for space with the commission meeting. 

More details as they come.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

It's fall on the farm and other stuff

Halloween is coming up soon and fall is here. Ladybug has just come back from the vet and she's doing well. She had a uterine infection and needed an infusion of antibiotics. The vet suspects that's the reason she didn't become in foal earlier this year. This is also a little bit of a lesson in vets. A vet might be good as several things, but maybe not every thing. In this particular case, I had Ladybug checked at the beginning of the breeding season this year. I had requested a culture on her even though she'd never had a foal before. The culture came back negative. Then I had her bred and she was ultra sounded three more times over the course of the summer. The first vet didn't know why she might not have gotten pregnant.

When I took her to the equine reproduction specialist, he knew almost immediately from the ultra sound that she had fluid in her uterus. I'm not saying the first vet did a bad job, but it just goes to show that experience in a particular aspect is important.

So Ladybug is now hopefully cleared up. She's gotten her antibiotics and hopefully she'll be ready to breed in the spring.

Dream is still lame and I've been riding Topper instead. Topper is coming along well despite being pretty green. Hopefully the miles on her will help settle her down.

And as a special treat I've created a 50% off coupon for a copy of the e book for The Horse That Haunts Dreams over at smashwords

Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: AT29K
Expires: November 30, 2015

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Continental Divide Trail Ride

2015 Continental Divide Ride

Come join us for a beautiful fall ride at Continental Divide on Nov. 7th, 2015.
We will ride out at 10:30 am and ride for about 2 hours.  We will have lunch in camp, so bring your lunch and something to share with the group.  There is no water up there, so bring water for your horse.

There is plenty of room at the trail head to park trailers, and an easy turn-around.  There is also plenty of room to camp, so you may want to come early and camp Friday night or stay Saturday night too.

It is high (about 7500 ft.) so it will be chilly.  Dress accordingly.  Also wear bright colors, as there may be hunters out there.

Directions to the trail head are as follows:
Follow I -40 towards Gallup.  Take exit 47 at Continental Divide.  Turn South from the exit and then turn right.  You will pass a building with a blue roof ( used to be a Stuckey’s) on the left.  Go  0.2 miles and turn left onto FR 464.  You will go over a cattle guard and onto a one lane paved road.  Follow this road for 3.8 miles.  At 3.3 miles you will go through a gate into USFS land.  There are some corrals on the left.  Turn left here to the parking area.  There are flat areas on the right that are good for camping.
There is a gas station and a shop at Continental Divide where you turn off I-40.

If you have questions, or you need a weather report on the morning of the ride, call
Jackie @ 870-4671  or  Ken @ 870-4670

This ride is hosted by the Zuni Mountain Trail Riders and the Back Country Horsemen of NM – Northwest chapter.  We welcome interested trail riders who want to join us.

Continental Divide Equestrian Trails
1.     Radar Hill Lookout Loop. This loop starts on the southeast side of the hill near the camping area and follows the old paved road to the top of the hill. There is an open area at the top were you can take photos of the valley below. Then you can follow the road back around the northwest side of the hill back down to one of two connector roads.  0.6 miles
2.     Connector to Rim Road- An old dirt road that connects to the Road 1 or to Rim Road. 0.4 miles
3.     Rim Road- An old two track road. 0.4 miles to the Rim Loop road.
4.     Rim Loop- Follows the edge of the cliff and dead ends at a private property fenceline. 0.3 miles round trip.
Rim Road and Rim loop total mileage 0.7miles
5.     Off the Rim- Trail is unmarked and undeveloped. We just followed the edge of the rim back to a safe place to descend into the valley. 0.5 miles
6.      Road 1 Currently existing USFS road leaving the west end of the parking areas down the hill and into the valley. 1.2 miles to junction with Easy Loop
7.     Shortcut- Additional two track trail connector between Road 1 and Easy Loop 0.4 miles
8.     Easy Loop- Follows designated USFS road to junction with East Road. 2.2 miles
9.     Hill Climb- Follows old logging/two track trail until it fades out near the south end. Junction with East Road is not developed and difficult to locate. Does climb in elevation and has rocky climbs. 1.6 miles
10.  East Road- Junctions with Road 1 at the bottom of the hill and heads east past the stock tank. Follows a designated USFS road past the junction with Easy Loop. Near the junction with Hill Climb, the road fades and the trail becomes undeveloped. Difficult to locate a junction with Hill Climb. 3.2 miles one way.
11.  Lost Shoe Turnaround- Difficult rocky area. We didn’t ride much in this area after one of the horses lost a shoe 0.6 miles both ways.
12.  Corral Trail- Two track trail with a small portion through private land around a livestock corral and joins with East Road. 0.6 miles
13.  Homestead Road- Two track trail continues west from the junction of Easy Loop and Road 1. It zig-zags around some pretty rock formations and then follows an old railroad spur. You will see old rail road ties along the way. When you come to the gate/fence at the spring, you cross into State of NM land and then a short while later it cuts back into USFS land. You will see the remains of several cabins and or corrals along both sides of the road. 1.2 miles one way. So far I haven’t worked out a loop back from there.

Trail loops from parking area to down Road 1 to Easy Loop and back around to East Road then back up Corral Trail – 4.4 miles.
From parking area down either East Road or Road 1 to Hill Climb and back to Easy Loop then back to parking area – 7.2 miles. Keep in mind that the junction between Hill
Climb and East Road has not been marked or developed.