Sunday, May 1, 2011

Chock full of life

I keep meaning to sit down and update, but then I get busy with something fun or I get tired.  Sleep is my new favorite thing.  My body has finally realized that the super-high-stress month+ I just experienced is truly over and has decided its time to relax.  I got 10 hours of sleep last night, and hope to get at least that much if not more again tonight.  Sleep is glorious.

Thursday I finished all of the corrections to my thesis!  It is officially DONE.  My adviser and I will meet so she can sign the cover page sometime this week and then I will take it to the biology department to get one more signature, and then I will pass it on to be bound and kept.  Sweet!  A natural-resources-based paper will be settled in amongst a ton of paper that are health-sciences-oriented. Gooo black bears!

Friday I got to Elkins around one.  A tornado -yeah, I know, right?- went through town earlier in the week and blew some roofs (rooves? roofs? blah) off a couple buildings.  Namely the VFW.  Now, when someone tells you "The roof blew off," and then you actually see the roof blew off, well, that's two different things.  I got into town and made a point of driving by the VFW.  At first I saw nothing... and then, I exclaimed a lot of choice four letter words in my astonishment.  And kind of chuckled at the impossibility of it all.  A tornado?!  Here!?  In this tiny little town nestled amongst the Appalachian Mountains?!

Photo by Terry Siewert. & this doesn't do justice to how big
that roof is!
I had a crap-ton of stuff in my car to move in upon arrival home, so I did that at light-speed, then got a bite to eat, and then headed out to meet Carly at the barn to ride.  The plan was to do a 10 mile ride on the road (gravel).  Really started buckling down with the training beginning that day.  Lots of trotting.  Lots and lots of trotting.  The hard gravel surface proved to be too much for Orion and Skip's bare feet though.  By the end they were both gimping noticeably on their front left feet (weird that it was the same for both horses).  Lucky for us, they were over the bulk of the soreness for the next afternoon.

Saturday morning I took Chris to his first Ramp Festival.  A ramp is a kind of wild onion that grows around here.  I love them.  Slow cooking them with red potatoes, sprinkle of salt, and some olive oil - mmm, mmm, goodness!  At the festival we got to sample a lot of different ramp recipes - ramp rolls, ramp & shrimp wantons, and ramp cachapas!  My FAVORITE.

Kenai got to eat three ramp burgers as well.  The people running the burger area all had huskies and loved him.  The one chef thought it was awesome that Kenai could give high-fives.  So he kept bringing burger bite, after burger bite.  And then, right before we left he gave Keeny an entire burger.  Happy dog...who has had the runs all day today!  Haha.  After the festival we came home to do some yard work for a few hours.  Downed a BUNCH of limbs and made the burn pile really big.  There are two other areas where limbs are lying waiting to be taken to the burn pile because there was just so much!  Luckily we got to be really classy after the yard work and cool down with some Mickey's....

Saturday afternoon, Chris, Carly, Linda, Karen, and I all went on a trail ride.  Biggest ride I've been on in awhile.  Half-way, Linda and Karen split off to do an easier part while Chris, Carly and I did some hill work for training.  Orion was suuuuuper persnickety about his feet on hard surfaces (i.e. the gravel road), but as soon as he set foot on a softer, loamy soil trail he was fine.  Lucky for him most of the ride was trails.

We got back from the ride and hadn't been there 10 minutes untacking and grooming when I get a call from my mom to say Kenai had run away (deer in the woods as the trigger).  Time two - the first occurred in NC on Christmas day.  I told the other ladies to take care of our horses, I had to go - my dog ran away.  So, Chris and I barreled toward home.  I had him drop me off on the five-land that is through the woods and down the hill away from our house (probably about a half mile as the crow flies).  Dad was there driving laps between the five-lane and the little side road to make sure Kenai didn't head toward the busy high-speed traffic.  I took off running up the hill through the woods whistling and calling.  Nothing.  Reached the trails behind my house, ran into mom.  She hadn't seen him.  I set off in one direction and she in the other.  Chris arrived home and doubled behind me for awhile.  Whistling.  Calling.  Whistling.  Calling.  Nothing.  My knowledge of deer travel through the woods in my neighborhood was to my advantage.  I went up and down, over and through, whistling and calling.  Half hour mark passed.  Forty-five minute mark passed.  No Kenai.  Chris and I met up and got into his car to start scouring distances further away.  Churches, cemeteries, nearby houses.  Hour mark hits.  My phone rings.  Its mom, "Classic flooring." "What?" "Classic flooring, on the five lane, he's there with your dad, but won't let your dad touch him." Off we go.  He was wet, dirty, hot, and thirsty, but okay.  Talk about a freaking heart-attack.  Damn dog - but I love him so.

This morning I woke up bright and early.  Ran to the barn to pick up stuff I forgot yesterday in my panic, got gas, and headed out to my barefoot trimmer's house to return stuff and pick up some loaner hoof boots.  Chatted with her, got the boots, and headed back to the barn for a solo ride.  Orion was completely cool with the idea of hoof boots.  Didn't even walk funny or try to throw them off after initially putting them on.  We had a really nice woods.  Walking and trotting.  He moved a lot better with the boots on.  A lot more comfortable now that his tender feet were protected.  We found the mother-load patch of ramps, too.  Wish I'd had a spade.


After the ride I washed up and Kenai and I hopped in the car with Chris to head to the Blackwater for his friend's memorial ash spreading service.  I'd say sixty or more people showed up.  I'd never been to a service like that.  I thought it was really cool how he got to return to the river he loved most.

Hiked along the N. Fork of the Blackwater after the service to see what the boating is really like.  Scary stuff!  The waterfall in the picture is called Gluteal Mash (as in, land it and beat up your ass) and its a 30 footer!!  I can't believe people kayak that.  Absurd.  Yet it was really cool to hike along the river.  The orange color of the rocks is due to acid mine drainage - thanks mining, not.

 I think my calm-down after high-stress is going pretty well thus far.  The spring sunshine and flowers make it better.  OH!  And I got the official job offer for the Fish & Wildlife Service position!!  That is also a large relief.  Happy, happy, happy!  One more day of riding, then back up to Morgantown to relax, take one final and pack up!  Bring it.

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