Saturday, March 31, 2012

Giveaway Winners!!

The two winners have been chosen from the middle of my cross-country journey home; we are currently in South Dakota.

Traveling with two engineers means we have graphing calculators, the only way to do a random number generator!

Without further ado, the winners are:
Stacey from RideEveryStride
Mare from SimplyHorseCrazy

Congratulations ladies!  Make sure to get me your information so I can get out the gift cards to you!

And a big thank you to everyone who entered!! I promise more giveaways in the future.

PS - Internet via phone is pretty good in SD lol

Friday, March 30, 2012


Just a quick reminder about the GIVEAWAY.  It ends March 31st and I will announce the winners (chosen at random) that evening or on the 1st depending on my travels. 

TWO people will win $50 gift cards to spend on clothing/accessories from Mountain Khakis.

MK makes the burliest pants I've ever worn.  Thorns are nothing to them.  Japanese barberry and other really tiny thorns have gotten me every now and again, but any thing else just scrapes on by without injurying me or the integrity of the pants.  Honestly, they do better than Carhartt.   AND the women's stuff has a functional and attractive fit.  Seriously, how much time have we ladies spent looking for a great hardy, work pant that always tends to end up making us look like a man?  As well, their Granite Creek line are phenomenal quick-drying pants and shirts that are GREAT summer wear if you're in and around streams.

You can enter the GIVEAWAY by commenting on THIS POST.  You can enter up to four times by commenting.

Good luck to everyone. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


**I promise more and better photos upon my return to home and my better computer/software**

Seriously, could this trip be ANY better?!?!?!

We took a break from skiing today (thank the good lord above) and headed to Yellowstone.  Originally we were going to hit up Yellowstone yesterday, but we got a fair dosage of powder and decided to ski instead.  So off we went to Yellowstone today.

Let me say now, I'm kickin' myself for not having my zoom lens.  I have NEVER really used it to any justice and due to that didn't even contemplate bringing it on the trip.  Mistake - or maybe karma because I"m sure if I'd had it we wouldn't have had the day we did.

We entered through the north entrance.  Our ultimate destination was Lamar Valley.  This trek would take us through the territories of the Blacktail, Agate, and Lamar Canyon packs.  Our hopes were minimal if existent at ALL to see wolves.  Lo and behold, the first place we come along we see ravens and a bald eagle on what we hoped was a kill.  We stop, get out to investigate with a TON of folks with spotting scopes etc.  This should have been our clue that something big was going down.  One of our group wanders over to one of the spotting scope groups, chats briefly, looks through the scope, and beckons me over.  He knew that my biggest goal for this Yellowstone trip was to see a wolf. 

Kill at center with bald eagle and ravens.

I look through the scope.

I see not one, but FIVE wolves lounging in the grass with full bellies - seemingly not a care in the world.  Two black and three greys/browns.  I nearly cried.  Seriously - tears came to my eyes because I could not believe this was happening.  I wanted to see ONE wolf.  Maybe from a distance of 2 - 3 miles, and here were FIVE less than a mile off. 

These were the Blacktail pack.  We ended up seeing eight of them.  And the kill?  A drowned bison that two grizzlies had drug out of the lake a few days prior.  Ridiculous!

Growing tired - and cold - of standing and watching these wolves (only after witnessing multiple socializations among pack members including the stereotypical submissive gesture from betas & below to the alphas [the female was a beautifully marked brown/grey]) we headed down the road to the Agate territory with promising news of a kill in both their territory and the Lamar's.

Coyote along road on the way to the Agate pack territory

We enter the Agate's to see a single truck with a spotting scope out (we learned quick) on a pull-out.  We stop.  We inquire.  Its NPS watching the Agate pack at a recent kill.  SERIOUSLY?!  We bum off of their spotting scopes and our own.  We watch one of them chase a coyote, two of them eating at the kill (a cow bison from a day or two ago - they hadn't had a kill for 2 weeks before this), and we watch the alphas lounging with other members on the hill.  The alpha female was a beautiful white, the male, black.  Beautiful, healthy individuals.  (Mange and distemper are really hurting the population here in the park.)

We chat with the rangers for awhile learning the history of this pack and others.  The black that was chasing the coyote and the two that were eating return to the alphas.  They rally (this is the proper term per the park ranger, for when a pack gets together to celebrate something).  They all stand for a few minutes, greeting and socializing with one another and break into excited yips, barks, and howls.  Too. Freaking. Phenomenal. 

At this point I'm happier than a pig in shit. 

We move on - yet again.

We arrive in the Lamar Canyon pack territory where we were told the recent kill was.  We were the only car.  Within a minute we spot a black wolf < 100 yards away.  We spot two more greys, as well.  One of the greys takes off upon the arrival of more people who let their appearance be distinguished from their car silhouettes (which the wolves are habituated to).  Chatting with a photographer and others we decide to head down the road to see if we can intersect or meet back up with the grey who'd taken off.

Less than a mile down the road it crosses in front of us.  We score amazing shots.  Uncertain whether this was the original splitter from the pack or a different wolf as this one seemed to have mange and was rather skinny.  We watch it for several minutes nonetheless. 

Losing site of this one, we head back the way we came only to see ANOTHER grey crossing the road from the opposite side.  A wolf project gentlemen is on scene by this point and instructs us to please park and stay put until the wolf moves on.  We oblige.

The big female (<100 yards) crossed the road ahead of us (only after defecating in the middle of it).  She then borders us closely for awhile and we score several shots.  After a time the biologist allows us to proceed down the road (opposite direction) provided we do not stop.  We drive at an absurd 1 mph.  We score more photos of this female, watch her relieve herself a second time, and finally decide to proceed onward.

Doing some buisness during her road crossing.  Yes, not super magestic, but SO COOL.

Same female post-road crossing.

Business again further down the roadside.

This brings us to a sum total of 19 wolves from 3 packs (Blacktail, Agate, Lamar Canyon (formerly the Druids)).  UNHEARD OF!  Absolutely ridiculous and beyond phenomenal.  My day has been made.  My trip has been made.  And my patience for viewing wildlife may be forever ruined because of this brilliant experience - haha.  Oh, and safe to say this 30 before 30 challenge has been accomplished!!!

Other animals we saw:  bald and golden eagles, pronghorn antelope, bison, elk, big horn sheep, coyotes, sandhill cranes, numerous waterfowl, bluebirds.

**All photos by Liz Stout, please DO NOT COPY WITHOUT PERMISSION, seriously, I'm trying to share with y'all in the heat o the excitement, don't be a dick and take my photos because I haven't had time to watermark them yet.**

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pre-trip & Badlands

Back of my 4Runner pre-transfer to the Honda Fit.  Not a bad looking mix of all my favorite things: skiing, riding, hiking.
Yes, we did all cram in this tiny little car for 32.5 total hours across the country

Saturday, March 24, 2012


I don't know how you flat landers do it. Ohio thru now (half way across South Dakota) is just too flat for me. I need mountains, not the earth's curvature. Oi. Almost to Wyoming though!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Griffin updates

Super crappy phone photo - but you can see how his belly has picked up and he's gained weight!

His coat is absolutely awful and fully representative of his poor health prior to our beginnings together at the very end of January.  But the rest of him speaks volumes that photos can't yet capture, and I'm optimistic that with the shedding of this nappy coat his transformation will really begin to show.  But, for now, these photos serve as a representation of where he was, where he is, and what to compare him to in the future.

On top of the big hill that overlooks the farm
Loose-lipped, nappy-haired fool. 

He got his daily feed and then instead of round pen work we went on a walk.  Off to the creek to play and drink and cleanse the mud from his legs, and then up a steep hill, back down and across a different crossing of the same creek.

He looks beyond awkward due to the slope of the stream bed, but he was having SO much fun!

He loves water!  So encouraging.  As well, we worked on the beginnings of his potential endurance career by doing fun things that were unstructured, yet still served a purpose in the bigger picture of things:
  • Creek crossings.  Not leaving until he had a drink.
  • Stopping and "eat something!" and not moving on until he'd done just that (so not hard to encourage lol).
  • Moving on past our stops with a *cluck cluck* noise.
  • Trotting in hand.  Kid loves trotting downhill anything.  
After we returned to the barnyard, I sent him away from me in some trotting circles.  He decided these should be loping circles!  That is THE FIRST TIME he's done that.  It usually takes a ton of motivation to get him to go (i.e. me cracking the carrot-stick-whip-thing on the ground).  As well, today was THE FIRST TIME he's ever moved out and LISTENED to me lunging anywhere OUTSIDE of the round pen.

He's clearly feeling SO much better than he has.  His weight is beginning to sky-rocket.  His belly is picking up.  He's getting taller.  He's developing fat-pockets.  He's developing muscle.  So much positive!

I was beyond thrilled with our little lunge session today.  He was halting quicker than he ever has and moving out better than ever before.  I'm really excited and optimistic about how he's going to grow and feel while he has 12 days off while I'm in Montana.  Such a great little guy!

 : : :

I'm off in Montana until April 1st.  Don't forget to enter the MK GIVEAWAY!  How can you not want a chance at a $50 gift card?!  Enter by commenting on THIS POST.  Winners will be chosen at random when I return from Big Sky country!  Have a GREAT week y'all, and I will try to post some photos of the journey!

Wordless Wed.: Name these birds!

Monday, March 19, 2012

I miss climbing

So very much:

First lead, a 5.7 at Summersville Lake
Sending Moby's Dick, a V3 at Coopers Rock
A 5.10a at Summersville Lake...can't remember the name
Seneca Rocks

Hopefully I will have the time this summer to get out and climb on weekends.  The lack of a gym - or any facility for that matter - around here has ruined the potential for all climbing activities.  Seneca Rocks is the closest to me.  Perhaps I can wrangle folks into that this summer.

In better news, my LONG FREAKING DAY is OVER.  A beer has been drunk (drank? drunken?) and I have begun to decompress.  Most excellent.  Days that begin with sitting bolt upright in bed screaming an expletive are not my most favorite!  ...granted they make me chuckle afterwards. 

Guess it was a case of the Mondays.  Ah well, bring on the rest of the week, for by the end of it I will be in Big Sky country skiing my heart out.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


Spring has sprung.  Or is it summer?

75°F+ temperatures over the past several days and predicted for most of this week.  Thunderstorms in the forecast.  Flowers bursting EVERYWHERE with gusto.  Everything seems to be 3 weeks ahead of schedule as far as growing goes.  The fields are reallllllyyy greening up.  A bit alarming as far as the horses are concerned.  We have to be careful they don't develop any of the slew of issues new, plentiful, sugary grass causes due to it!

Its likely I will be scarce in the blogosphere in upcoming days/weeks.  Friday I leave for MONTANA!  Whoop whoop!  Skiing and Yellowstoning for me!

However, before I go, I have to do the following:

- Pack
- Catch up on my OSU lectures, review, and take the final exam in my winter quarter course
- Train Griffin each night, little snot will thoroughly love his 8 days off I'm certain
- Prep Kenai + anything/everything he needs for his sitter

Not a lot, but daunting nonetheless.

Bathed Griffin today.  Not a super bath, but enough for him to realize, "Oh hey, baths aren't the end of the world, okay."  I soaped up his three socks and his blaze and got them pretty white...which he promptly walked through some deep mud to ruin his white socks.  I missed out on getting photos, too.  But I do have a pre-bath video of Griffin and Oliver.  They were nibbling on each other, but quit when the camera came out.  Of course.

Don't forget to sign up (by commenting either 1 or 4 times) for the give-away HERE!  MK has something for everyone, and a $50 gift card will take you far!  Two winners will be chosen when I return from MT!

WHAT YOU'LL WIN!  (Shocked expression not included.)
The two giftcards, stickers behind (unseen), and magazines!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Ponying & Weight Gain

Griffin experienced ponying and his first 15-20 minute trail experience yesterday.  He was a very good boy.  Mayer on the other hand was a royal you-know-what.  Mares, seriously.  Ugh.

Tell me Kenai isn't the happiest damn dog you ever did see!

As you can see, I've finally figured out how to make my own watermark; I am currently playing around with three - probably more as time goes on.  I've come up with a new system for uploading photos so that I'm forced to edit a wee bit, even if it is just putting on the watermark and nothing else.  This way I can fulfill my goal to learn more about photoshop since I'm forced to work within it each time I want to upload photos.

Griffin has gained ~50lbs since the end of January when I got him.  Not quite two months.  Not too shabby!  Jeanna showed me all the areas his fat pockets are forming.  Others have pointed out how his belly has "picked up" and he's gained some height.  I'm around him a little too often to notice these changes.  I reckon I'll see a difference (I hope I will) after I get back from my week in Montana.

If a single one of you steals my sweet little compass rose w/ Arab I will find you and kick you in the shins.
That little logo took me a VERY long time to assemble.  The horse I had to hand draw in photoshop.  I love the way it turned out.  One day when Griffin is big I plan to make that our little logo for when we attend rides.

I snagged some shots of D's horse Bill finally.  I LOVE him.  He's deaf and blind in one eye, but he's wonderful and smart and an excellent pack horse - oh, and he's gaited.  Mostly I LOVE the way he's built!

And here are some more shots of Duke, that Hollywood Jack line horse.

Pretty boys.  All of them.