Monday, December 22, 2008

December Birthdays...

I'm going to risk Hannah's wrath and announce to the whole world that Hannah turns 21 on the 31st. :-D
Happy birthday to both Hannah and Martha!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

snow snow

well 18 inches of snow over the past week or so, definately nicer weather than SK. almost warm... okay not warm. :) we're supposed to get dumped on again tonight. we're actually pretty lucky... Spokane got 25 inches in 24 hours, almost shut the city down.
We've all been keeping ourselves out of trouble. doing lots of reading for the older girls, catching up on sewing and crafts. From Jesse on down the kids have been enthralled with acting out plays that they record onto camera videos, they are completely and totally hilarious... the talents that they have are amazing. Martha's birthday is on the 25th we intend to have a treasure hunt with the presents as prize.

Friday, December 5, 2008

hey there... not a whole lot happening here at the Holter house. Dad and Mom have been praying about offering on a place, hopefully God will give clear direction on that. My back is healed up pretty much from the time that I was thrown on the ride, thanks to the chiropractor Dr Moore here in town. Naomi and Ellie are back from visiting friends in AB they were there 3 weeks helping in the cattle business.
So thats pretty much all. No snow yet here, hope that it holds off till God has us settled in our own place.
God bless.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Ok, this is Hannah, I got a couple things mixed up on the blogs, we have another address and we're selling the horses on the other blog. (I forgot to ask Naomi how to run this thing, I'm so dull when it comes to computers) anyhow... should take you to the other blog. I guess we left off the the on the new one.
We have some friends from Alberta visiting us for a few days, yesterday we took one of the girls riding with us. It was lots of fun being back in the saddle even if it was only for a couple hours. I miss riding so much.
I'll sign off for now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

The end...

October 20th, 2008

My sincere apologies for letting so much time pass before reassuring you all that we did indeed arrive home safely. Today I am going to walk to the library with my laptop and (hopefully) get a wireless connection there. :-)

Life hasn't been too exciting since we arrived home but knowing us, things could explode any moment. LOL! ;-)

I don't know when/if I'll have the time to update now that we're at home but if something exciting happens, I'll try to update for you all. Thanks for reading this blog!


It's home, home, home!!!

October 15th, 2008

We went to bed last night with the sky so clear and the moon so bright that it was like daylight. We woke up to fog everywhere and a wet tent! The fog hadn't reached the moon which was high above the tallest mountain, but it wasn't long before it did. It didn't even burn off until we were just leaving.

We are crossing the bridge for the Kootenai river right now. It's going smoothly so far. Mom has her fourways on and the horses are behaving fairly well. Martha's Kid almost spooked when a loaded logtruck went around our group but Martha got him calmed down. Dad, Hannah & Martha are leading their horses; Jesse, Lydia and Ellie are riding.

For some reason, lots of big boats are traveling down the road by semi truck. We have just met one on the road and the truck stopped in the road to let us by. Now that is one nice truck driver. :-) Some people would just fly past but not this guy. Thanks, to whoever you are. :-)

Later: We stopped for dinner right at the Idaho border (in the parking lot of a casino) and it appears that Millie is sick. It looks like she has a puncture on her front left leg and we think it's infected. It's swollen up, she's not drinking at all and she's not eating well, either. We're sitting in Bonners Ferry now at the Farm & Garden Center.... Hannah and Mom went in and are getting some penicillin. Hannah intends to administer the dose herself. Everything should go well since we've done it before. We hope to get back to the bridge before the horses get there because it's so narrow. [I posted quick while we were in at the vet's office... Hannah has given the shot to Millie and it went fine. :-)]

We're almost there!

Still later: We just met up with Ellie and Martha. They were way ahead of the others and we knew right away that something wasn't right. They said that all the horses spooked over something and began running flat out. Kid and Red went ballistic in the middle of the highway... in front of a couple of semi trucks. The semis were both carrying heavy loads and couldn't have slowed down, even if they had had time to do so. Thankfully, both were thoughtful drivers and went into the other lane... Ellie managed to get her horse behind the guard rail but Martha and Jesse couldn't get their horses stopped. They did manage to get their horses off on the side of the road. Jesse got his horse halted at last, but Ellie and Martha's horses ran wildly for close to a mile.

Other than those particular truckers, we are again experiencing inconsiderate drivers. Their attitude is, “Get out of my way. You're slowing me down.” Thankfully, some are gracious, but most are not. One minivan driver would not slow down or move into another lane even though it was evident that the horses were out of control. This country ain't horse friendly!

The riders have all come up and are ready to go... We are going to proceed them to the bridge, then go on to where we are boarding the horses.

I am praying for safety! :-) And that we will be blessed by kind motorists...

10:00 pm

“Oh! It's home, home, home!!!”

That's what Ruth said when she recognized where we were driving. She was so excited! For a long while, she went around just beaming. She got her toys out... was reacquainted with her babies, “My baby! My horsey! Another baby!” Such a happy little... ahem, big... girl! (Until she got too tired to keep her eyes open, that is!)

I am sitting in my own bedroom as I type. It's warm, my stomach is full and my bed looks wonderfully inviting! :-)

Yes, we made it. I am so thankful!

When we got to the place where we are boarding our horses (thank you!!!), the lady asked what highway we traveled on today. When Ellie told her highway #2, she said we were crazy. After our experiences today, I must say I was doubting our sanity as well. We are so thankful to have safely ended our journey.

Millie perked up after the shot of penicillin (PTL!) and Hannah is going to give her another one tomorrow. Hopefully she'll heal fine and all will be well. Al will most likely be a different story since his injury is more complicated than Millie's.

The shower is calling for me, so I bid you a goodnight. :-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Vet's office...

I'm afraid that's where we are. Millie's sick... we think it's an infected leg. She's off her water completely and not eating well, either. She's not acting normal either. :-P
I'll try to update later. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

Almost home...

October 14th, 2008

As the riders were walking through Libby yesterday some newspaper people stopped them and asked for an interview and if they could take pictures. This will be the first time (that we know of) that we're in a paper. I'm a little excited about it, I must admit. :-) They said that someone called them and told them that something interesting was going through town. Thank you to whoever did that. :-)

Also, a special thank you to Chuck and Charlotte Woods who put us up for the night. You'll never know how much your hospitality meant to us. :-) (We'd been 10 days without a shower and it rained in the night... it was so nice to be indoors for that!) And to, M., the sweet lady at City Service Valcon who helped us so much and was very supportive of us, thank you with all of our hearts. I hope we get to meet again... maybe we'll get to do a trail ride together. :-) We talked about taking time to go the route you suggested but everyone is very anxious to get home. We might do it another time to check it out.

I'm writing as I sit beside our campfire. The dancing flames lend just enough light for me to see what my pen is doing on my notepaper. :-) The fire is dying down and Jesse is stirring it up. I love campfires. The yellow-orange flames sometimes turn a blue and the sparks shoot away like miniature fireworks... even the smoke serves a good purpose, besides making my eyes water: the smell of woodsmoke pleasantly overrides ours when we haven't been able to shower for several days. As Ellie says, “It's one thing to joke about not bathing for a week; quite another to do it.” :-)

We hope tomorrow will be our last day on the trail. Today we made 26 miles, which surprised us all because the riders had to walk 7 miles through Libby and a bit beyond. Tomorrow we'll have to do 33 miles (approx.) if we wish to make it home.

And boy, does home ever look good! Cold, wet nights sure make a nice, warm bed inviting. I will miss the pure outdoors air, though, and having a campfire every night.

It's dark now. The moon is shining a path across the Kootenai river and the farmyards on the other side have their yard lights on. We're camped on a bluff overlooking the valley and river. It's lovely here. Even with the trains running at regular intervals on the track, it's very peaceful.

Monday, October 13, 2008

One more post...

Before I sign off for the night, I wanted to update quickly. A nice lady at a propane store near Libby found a place for us to stay. It's at an elderly couple's home. They have room for the horses and they are going to let us stay inside for the night. They also have a shower and bathroom for us to use. I feel ever so blessed. PTL! for His blessings. :-)
Thank you all for your prayers!


Ellie helps Martha saddle Kid yesterday.

Mom at lunchtime today. :-)

Our cool little gal. :-) Bev, is this the classic Ukrainian look?
Lydia and Alpache.
Gotta love that smile!
I finally got a picture of Jesse. :-) He was feeding Red grain.
Kila, MT
I'm running out of time... maybe more tomorrow. :-)

October 13th, 2008

Today I hope to get internet connection in Libby (I wonder who that town was named after?). We're needing groceries so we're going to try to get them there. I am assuming that since someone who lives close to Libby shops in Bonners Ferry, it must not be that big of a town. But hopefully it will supply all of our needs. :-)

Ellie was out of bed at 6 am this morning. The rest of us, although awake, lazed about, trying to will ourselves to brave the cold air. She got the oatmeal on and around 6:30, we pulled ourselves out our sleeping bags and went to work. It felt good to be out of bed 'so early'... I suppose, compared to 7 or 8 am, it is early. :-)

We're pulled off to the side of the road right now. It's almost noon and we need to make lunch. The horses should be here in a little less than an hour.

Later.. We're right outside of Libby, filling up with gas. We picked up some groceries at the first grocery store we came to... maybe it's the only one in town. :-) Anyway, it was a nice store and although prices weren't exceptionally low, I didn't find them too high either.

We'll probably spend the night around 10 miles out of town at a place that some people told us about.

Hope to post some pictures today.

heading towards Libby...

October 11th, 2008 – 20 miles

Last night near Marion was very chilly. Some folks told us it was 13* F. My sleeping bag only goes down to 15* F so it was no wonder I was cold! But none of us slept real well, and not only due to the cold. Around 2 am, Alpache got out of the pen and Dad and Mom got up to put him back in. I think the horses were cold too because they were moving around all night and making a lot of noise. :-)

The girls are talking about making our close quarters even closer tonight. Ellie and Martha spread their sleeping bags out and are sharing their blankets. Together, they have 5 blankets. Ellie said that last night, even though it was so chilly, was the the first night in a couple that she's actually been warm.

Yesterday we did 26 miles. :-) We found a spot up an old logging road that was nice... though very cold! I'm afraid that is the only thing that sticks in my mind about that particular camping spot. :-)

Today, we pulled into an abandoned campground in hopes of finding a suitable spot for setting up for the weekend. It was pretty overgrown so when the horses came up, they investigated the road on the other side of the highway. They found the prettiest place for camping yet. I wouldn't mind living in this area. We're about 30 miles from Libby and 75 miles to Bonners Ferry.

Only five days to home if we do 20 miles a day. :-) The closer we get to home, the more we talk about taking hot showers. Jesse says he's going to take one every day for two months straight. Martha says she's going to take two showers a day for a week. LOL!

We have a campfire tonight.

October 12th, 2008

Yesterday was an interesting day. First interesting incident: Martha's dress caught on fire. Dad saw it right away (PTL!) and stamped it out. But those flames ate away a 6 inch hole in her dress. Mom says she's sure it will become a new style! LOL! That's the second time Martha's caught on fire. The first time was several years ago. Jesse said that was the only time he's been able to throw dirt at his sister and get away with it. LOL!

The second interesting incident also involved Martha. Dad has been trying to desensitize his horse by kicking stuff in the ditch, like cans, that make noise. All was well until the other horses came up. Then, he kicked a white plastic thing that made a lot of noise and blew around right by the horses. Muckers and Kid spooked. Ellie rode it. Martha lost her seat. The scary thing was: when Martha hit the ground, Kid spooked even more and lashed out. He only missed her because she was flat out on the ground. Dad apologized and said it was a stupid thing to do and all was well.

I'm beginning to think we have nine lives. :-)

Hannah, Priscilla and I all took hot rocks to bed with us last night and I believe we're going to do it again tonight. It's great to finally be warm in bed. :-) :-)

We had the typical camp fire meal this afternoon: hot dogs and Dorritos. Mom and I made caramel corn for dessert and made plenty of it. :-) Fun.

Ellie says she is so glad we're stopped over for the weekend because they're all pretty raw. Someday... they all say... they'll do this again and get properly conditioned for these 20+ mile days.

Friday, October 10, 2008


Rickels, Mallerys and Holters
Thanks guys!

Marion, MT... Libby or bust!

October 10th, 2008

Not far past Kila we saw a sign that said “Ashley Lake” and stopped there to wait for the horses. When they came up, we all went up the road and found a place to camp on some state land. It was nice, although chilly. We even had a camp fire... which, to me, makes a campsite that much better. ;-) We were bemoaning the fact that we'd forgotten to pick up the supplies for a wiener and marshmallow roast. But decided that we'd try to pick up the stuff elsewhere. Anyone know of a good place to get such things? :-)

The Panhandle Roughrider's horses run away!

They had saddled the horses after dinner and had let them loose, as usual. But this time, watching them wasn't enough. Alpache must have had a flashback of how nice it was in Saskatchewan because he suddenly took off towards home. Of course, the rest of the horses (except Muckers) were only too glad to follow him. The kids reacted but not fast enough. The horses were too far ahead to do anything but follow. Unsure what to do, the rest of us watched as the riders followed their mounts on foot.

Ellie still had her horse but she thought if she galloped behind the others, they would just run faster. We were just discussing the possibility of the horses stopping at the bridge when a vehicle, coming from the direction they had gone, slowed way down on the highway and the lady driving asked if Ellie wanted a ride down to the horses. Ellie jumped at the chance and off they went.

In the end, everything worked out beautifully and for the best... Thanks to the Lord and two ladies who love horses and don't mind helping out if they have a chance.

Thank you!

One of those ladies was an ambulance driver. They had just come from helping someone when she saw these horses running down the road.

“Hey. No riders! That doesn't look right!” :-)

Urban Kalispell...

October 9th -- 5:30 pm

We stopped by the horses to tell them that we couldn't find a place to stay at and they had a couple of juicy stories. Before I tell them, I want to clarify: we do natural horsemanship, using Pat Parelli's tecniques.

Kid, being arabian, was being his normal, spooked out self. It's dangerous to have a spooked out horse right beside a highway, so Martha was trying to get him to calm down. She was hitting his side (not hard) with one of the stirrups and swinging the rope. Twice, someone driving by started screaming (really screaming) and hollering at her to stop abusing her horse... “Stop hitting the horse! You don't deserve that horse!!! It's sickening to see how you're treating that poor animal!”

If you know Martha, you would know that she would never abuse anything, let alone her horse (whom she adores and never wants to sell). One gal kept following and turning around again to see if they were still abusing Kid!

One place, they were barely on the edge of someone's lawn, staying away from traffic, and the owner stepped out of her house and was screaming (yes, literally screaming!) at them to get off her lawn “...right now!!!”

This is urban Kalispell.

This is the 5th farm we've stopped at to ask and finally, someone said that we could camp here. I am glad because it's going to be dark soon.

I am so glad we're all feeling well. :-)

October 9th, 2008

By the time our host kindly agreed to allow us to camp in his yard last night, I was realizing what Joseph and Mary felt like when there was no room in the inn.

House #1: An older lady, “I have no idea where you might camp... there's the park, though I'm thinking they close at 5pm...” (it was past that)

House #2: A younger gal, “I don't own this place so I couldn't let you do that. Go try the Rebekah farm.”

House #3: An old man, “I have no idea... I just live here....”

House #4: A young man, “Well, this is private property.”

House #5: “Sure! Why not?”

Mom had a smile on her face when she turned from the doorway to give me a thumbs up. :-) We were beginning to wonder what was going to happen. But God provided a thoughtful man, a place to camp and a pasture for the horses.

We were just getting set up when a camper van drove in. The driver of the van jumped out and came over to us. He said was the owner of house #4 and his friend was renting it from him. He was so very sorry that we had been turned away and wanted to find and tell us that it was fine if we camped there... but he was glad that we had found a place.

“He's a good man,” he said, gesturing towards the house.

He told us his name was Bill and that he was a barber by trade. “Barber Bill,” he called himself.

It made me feel better. :-) It's funny to go from feeling like people are going to call the cops on you to a man like our host last night. He kept asking if we needed anything and even offered his shower to us. After such a poor reception, this man was an incredible blessing. Thank you!

Last night, Dad decided to run back into Kalispell to get some air mattresses (we have lost a few due to wind, cold and a few good ol' puctures) and a couple of other things. I begged to go along because I had been pretty chilly the night before and figured it would be even colder this night. I bought myself a new sleeping bag. :-)

This morning, we were all very reluctant to get out of bed so got on the road a half hour later than usual. The riders were walking when we last saw them and they plan to continue to walk for awhile. We're sitting in the Schwan's parking lot beside highway #2 waiting for them to come up. It's beautiful country here and not much traffic on the road they are traveling. It's narrow so less traffic is nice.

Connecting to the internet was interesting yesterday. I got on while we were driving... then it disconnected. So I got my post ready for posting and waited for another few seconds of another connection. It came about a half an hour later. :-)

I keep wanting to mention this but I never remember when I have time to do so!

Even on the days when Ruth was feeling the worst and was crying and throwing up, there was one thing that never failed to make her smile or laugh. It was Gordon Stobbe's song “Tye Manuchuck”. If no one has ever thanked you for composing that song, I am now. There has to be something special in a song that would bring a smile to the face of a three year old who has the stomach flu. :-) Thanks, Gord!

I see horses! :-)


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Kalispell... heading out!

October 8th, 2008

Last night, we made it to Rickel's place and enjoyed a wonderful, although hurried, visit with our friends. Thank you so much for your hospitality!! They offered to put us up in the house but we declined the offer because we try to be selfish about sharing our viruses. :-) We didn't want any of them, least of all, Mr. Rickel (who is recovering from a serious illness) to get what we have. So, some of us were put up in the barn and the rest of us split between a tent and the van.

After I got my blankets arranged, I was warm and slept like a baby because the night before we were up very late getting to Great Falls. I think that night it was closer to 2 am when I got to sleep (on the night of the 6th). Anyway, I was very ready to go to sleep. :-)

Jessica and Ransom fed us breakfast of pancakes (Yummy!) and we enjoyed the company and the breakfast. :-) Thank you.

Today is looking up and not only because of the hospitality of our dear friends but because everyone seems to be feeling better. Martha was not eating yesterday but today, she's smiling again and she's eating. Ruth is laughing and smiling... Jesse seems to be doing fine...

The only one who is not fine is Al. He's limping pretty badly. A guy came to look at him while we were in Raymond and he said that it will always be a problem. He'll have good days and bad. I hope we can sell him for what we paid for him at least... but I'm not real worried about it. If God wants us to get that price for him, He'll provide a buyer that needs/wants him.

So that's the only problem, for the time being. :-)

We're sitting right in front of Rocky Mountain Baptist church waiting for the horses to come up. Mom wanted to pull of the road sooner but she didn't find a place before now. They have their gates shut and locked but there is room enough for us to be parked here and I'm glad for that. :-) Mom is looking in her mirror watching them come up.

We hope to go to Costco to pick up some lunch and to get some groceries as we're low on supplies.

In Great Falls, we went to Smiths to get breakfast and they had an entire organic section of stuff. I couldn't believe my eyes. :-) It was like being in a candy store! LOL! I bought some organic pasta and I'm anxious to try it out. :-)

4:20 pm

We picked up pizza at Costco and a few other things, then went back and met the riders. It was at the perfect spot... we couldn't have done it any better. It's neat how God provides for details like that! As we started setting up for lunch, they told us that as they were passing a casino, a woman started her car... and that means, the really loud way. Kid jerked and leaped... unseating Martha and smashing into three other horses. One of those was Muckers and between the car noise and Kid slamming into her, she spooked and jumped from the side of the road into the middle of it. When she landed, all four of her feet slid... almost like Bambi on the ice... but Ellie managed to ride through it... and Martha's ok. I am so thankful!

They think that the gal starting the car was intoxicated from the way she drove out of the parking lot. :-P Kalispell drivers... watch out!

So, they aren't riding the horses very much... they're walking. When you think about it... that's a lot of walking. :-)

I'm not crazy about big city horse walking (:-)) but people have been very considerate, I must say. Twice today, when the riders were trying to cross the highway, someone has stopped and told them to go. That's nice to see... especially since life here is busy and folks are in a hurry.

We're trying to find a place to camp now. But it seems that no one is willing to put up a family of twelve and seven horses... even just in their yard. Even though it was windy, I kinda wish we were still in SK or eastern MT. It seems like there are so many gates on driveways. It gives one a cold feeling... like outsiders aren't welcome. Mom has stopped at three places so far but they all said... 'no'. But God will provide. He always has. And always will. :-)


Tuesday, October 7, 2008

We miss you all and love you dearly!
Bev, I didn't have time to post a picture of you! Sorry!

Great Falls...

The past few days haven't been the most pleasant, I'm afraid. Ruth seems to be getting better but she still tosses her cookies on occasion... Hannah is better (PTL!) but Martha & Jesse are still not feeling well.

It rained all day Sunday so we moved into an empty grain bin that Mr. R. has on the place. It was so nice to get in out of that constant wind! We laughed when eight of us kids were camping out there night before last. It was eight kids in a bin. :-) (Thank you to Dave and Helen R. for letting us use their property... it was a huge blessing!)
A nice lady named Marcy came day before yesterday with apple butter and hot rolls (Mmmm!) and a couple of other things. It really brightened our day and upped our morale! Thank you!!!

I'm not sure when Dad decided this but he decided to save us a long time of travel by getting someone to trailer us to Great Falls, MT. Yesterday, he got ahold of Dale. A. who, with his lovely family, trailered us 420 miles to that location.

It seems a pity to trailer so much but with sick kids... a lame horse (yes, Al is limping again...) and cold weather on the way, I believe it is the wisest option. Maybe someday we'll be able to do something like this again... properly. ;-)

Now Mr. A. has kindly offered to trailer us home. Dad just came in and told us. He's not sure what to do but we're praying for wisdom. It looks like we're going to get trailered clear to Kalispell. We'll have to stay away from our friends there because we're sick.
So, that's that... I don't know when I'll be able to update this blog again but if I don't get to it for awhile, it was lots of fun writing here. :-) Thank you for reading it and commenting!


Friday, October 3, 2008


Playing frisbee with Nasbys. Lots of fun!!!
Miss you guys!

We had to put tags on the horses' rumps to get across the border.

This is Coyote.

The Holter Family with Dr. Lee, the border vetrinarian.

What a blessing from the Lord that man is! :-)

Thank you, Dr. Lee!

Plentywood, MT!

Here we are, across the border. :-) I am going to post more of my journal and some pictures. We were driving down the street and I connected! You get the internet in the oddest places.

September 30th, 2008 – day 8 – 10:00 am – 26 miles – 138 miles total

Hurrah! I got a connection in Weyburn. We were in the Co-op parking lot getting propane when I found an unsecured network. After some frustration of going to the library and finding out that they don't have wireless and losing the one I had... we finally ended up in the parking lot again with my laptop sitting on the dash, where the connection worked beautifully. It didn't work so well with the laptop in my lap. I find that highly amusing. Well, as the saying goes, function above form. ;-D

I hope to go back tomorrow and post this update, but we'll see. It might be a week before we reach any good sized towns. Anyway.

Yesterday evening was another example of how nice people can be. We drove into a yard right outside of Francis and asked the lady who came to the door if she knew of any farms within a mile that we could camp at. She talked to her husband on the phone and they both generously agreed to us staying in their yard. It was a very nice place and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. In the morning, we were eating breakfast when their young son and her sister came over to meet us and the horses. Then, through the course of events, we found out that the sister is a believer and she felt like the Lord would have her give us a gift. We were not expecting it at all and it was a big blessing to receive it.

Our surprise was furthered when the sister came over again... this time with a bag of food from the lady of the house. Every little bit helps, believe me! It was such a blessing. Once again, it was a complete surprise. :-)

After 9.5 miles, the support vehicle (and everyone in it ;-)) pulled into a field and proceeded to fix lunch and wait for the riders to arrive. When they did, we ate and rested and had a good time. The kids just unsaddle the horses and let them graze while keeping an eye on them. It works well because the horses seem to hang out together and don't wander off. Plus, they seem to be attached to their humans.

At lunch, everything was going smoothly until Jesse got his bowl of beans out. Then he noticed that Red was eating some wheat on the ground so he pulled him out of it. While he was doing that, Red got a sniff of the beans and thought they smelled good. When Jesse let go of his halter, Red kept following Jesse around, trying to eat his beans. It was getting to be rather amusing because Red was so persistent about it. Jesse would dodge one way and then the other but Red was right there, following. Finally, Zeke said, “Hey! I'll give him a bite of my sandwich.”

Red went for it eagerly but as soon as the jam & peanut butter sandwich touched his tongue, he was spitting, coughing and waggling his tongue out of his mouth. He couldn't seem to get it off his taste buds fast enough! Apparently, people food isn't this horse's cup of tea. ;-)

Mom and the rest of the relief crew went into town and we got a huge amount of food because we thought we'd not be around a large town for a week. Our shopping cart was piled high with food and we kept running out of places to put stuff. It's amazing how fast everything piles up. We bought a huge amount of bread... I think we bought the most of that one thing. :-)

On our way home, we made the mistake of turning right at the hospital instead of left and ended up 20 miles in the wrong direction. Mom was frantic because she felt that the riders would be worrying about us and they hadn't had water for awhile. When we finally made it back, Dad was walking because he was too sore to ride (he hasn't developed calluses yet... LOL!) (family joke... if you're around us enough, you'll get it. ;-)) and everyone was very thirsty. But they weren't too upset at us when they heard that had done at least 25 miles (we later found out it was one mile more).

But when we were eating our supper (perogies, cabbage and garlic sausage... Mmmm!) Dad made the proposition. Trailer the horses 70 – 75 miles to Minton, SK and save three days of riding. He kept giving us all these good reasons to do it (we're behind schedule because we're only doing 20 miles a day; give the horses a rest; we'd get to the border on a weekend; we're all tired; if we save time now, we might still reach our destination on horseback...) but the main reason came out in the end (ha ha), Dad is just too sore to ride. We all understand although some of us feel like we're cheating or something. But it will be nice to rest awhile. Because tomorrow we're not going to be riding at all.

October 1st, 2008 – day 9 – trailering

Well, four of us are on our way to Minton, SK. It's about 11 miles from the border and we already know of a place we might be able to camp at tonight.

Dad, Jesse, Lydia and myself were driving into Weyburn when Dad said, “I don't have a manifest.” Bad news for us because we could get stopped and then what? So we started looking for the stock yards and spotted them right off of our highway, along with the vet clinic. :-) There was an old grandfather working with a watering trough right inside the fence and Dad stopped to ask if he knew where we might find a manifest.

“Yes, but wait a minute,” the man said, going to his mini-van. He came back carrying a manifest book. Dad hopped out of our van and said, “That was too easy!” They talked awhile about our trip and how many children they each had (he has 13 :-)) and what each other did for a living. Then, he asked where we were headed for today. When Dad told him, the grandfather said he knew someone from that area that he thought would let us camp and put up our horses.

I was once again amazed at God's provision. He had the grandfather working on the watering trough with a manifest book in his car, a friend in Minton and big heart to back the friendly smile.
Lydia and Jesse's horses are the first ones to go... I'm merely going along because I'm over 21 and if a officer of the law happens to come along when Dad's gone, it won't look like we're running away. That would be interesting. ;-)

If you all could pray for Hannah, I'd sure appreciate it. She's been having some stomach trouble lately... she often feels sick to her stomach and can't eat much. She's not enjoying herself and although she doesn't complain much at all, you can tell she's feeling rotten. :-( It might be from stress because there has been other times when she's been under a lot of pressure that she's had the same symptoms. She's taking tummy tuneup and colostrum transfer from but it only helps for a little while.

Unless I get an internet connection where we're going, it might be awhile before I get to post these updates but I know God has everything under control and that if He wants me to get a connection I will

We have reached Minton. I need to turn off my computer.

October 2nd, 2008

I keep forgetting to mention that we decided to not trailer Al any longer. We trailered him on Monday (the 29th) but he was pounding away so much and so worked up, no one could see how trailering him was doing him any good. So they decided that they would try riding him and if he swelled up bad, we would sell him at Weyburn. But he seems to be healing up fine so that's a relief. It also makes for more room in the trailer. :-)

Yesterday afternoon was interesting. We were dropped off at L's place at noon and spent the next five a half hours waiting for dinner. We hadn't counted on it taking so long to make each trip so we hadn't packed any lunch. Jesse and Lydia ate a couple of handfuls of rolled oats but that got to be really dry. So we waited. I finally got Lydia to walk into town with me to ask if there was a store we could buy food at but the only place to get food was at the Saloon. I was almost hungry enough to go in there (it is a saloon in name only... it's really a hotel and restaurant) but Lydia wouldn't let me. (Later on, when everyone else finally did arrive, our parents told us it would have been fine. ;-)) So we went back and waited...

When the hunger pangs got to be too bad, we started talking about food, because that's all we could think about. Amazingly, it turns out we three love pizza, hot or cold. And, sitting in the sun, we decided that three large, ice cold root beers sounded really good, too! ;-) A gallon of ice cream wouldn't have been out of place, either. After we wore out ourselves talking about food, we started making up songs about it. Finally, I gave up and we broke open the cold cereal. ;-) Cheerios and Chex never tasted so good!

Over all, it was a very interesting day. ;-) The folks arrived around 5:30 pm bearing our lunch and believe me, it was gone in seconds!!

The place where we were staying at was an old feedlot that hasn't been used for the past few years. It was a nice place, for a feedlot, and the people were generous enough to allow us to stay there. Mr. L wanted to buy Coyote. That black is getting flashy and he catches people's eye. The more weight he loses the better he looks. :-)

Mr. L is an interesting character. When Dad said that he was leaving three of the kids behind, Mr. L was concerned...

“How old are they?” he asked.

“22, 16 & 14... they're pretty self sufficient,” I heard Dad say.

Lydia and I were far enough away to not worry about being overheard... “Nah,” I said, “they're ages 2, 4 & 6 and all wet their diapers regularly.”

Dad hadn't been gone two minutes when Mr. and Mrs. L came to check us out.

Mr. L rolled his window down. “Kinda hot to be sitting in the sun, isn't it?”

“Yes,” I replied (being the oldest has it's advantages and disadvantages... being made chief speaker without even getting a chance to vote on it is one of the disadvantages.)

His next question floored me.

“You aren't smoking, are you?”

I think I stared at him for about 20 seconds with a stupid expression on my face.

It made me angry for two reasons. #1: We don't look like smoking sort of kids. #2: He assumed that we would pull the cigarettes as soon as Dad was out of sight.

But as time wore on, I cooled off and it became a family joke. Someone would be sitting there and we'd say, “Hey, Jess, better stop that smoking!”

It was rather amusing. :-)

This morning Dad managed to get ahold of the vet and we have an appointment at the border for 1 pm. It's 11 am right now and we're about 6 miles away....

3:46 pm

We just left the border vet's office. Dr. Lee is truly a gift from God and I am so thankful he's the border vet! He loves horses and kids and is just a very special person. We hope to see him again on Saturday when we travel through his part of the country.

We arrived at the border at 12:30 pm so we spent 4 hours there. It went very smoothly considering that 6 cattle liners came in just before us and the computers/system wasn't working well. They were all nice even though they were stressed out. One of the ladies was taking pictures of us and the horses with some border guards. One of the guards was concerned about scaring the horses but when Al tossed his head, the man leaped away and the lady laughed.

You're the one who is scared!” she said.

Tonight, we hope to travel to Raymond, MT, which is approx. 5 miles away from the border crossing. I am looking forward to my bed tonight. Last night, Cilla had trouble sleeping and kept a lot of us up. She kept kicking off her blankets and crying out... no one was too terribly happy with her this morning. I think I only got a few hours sleep so my eyelids are feeling heavy. :-)

October 3rd, 2008 – day 10 – sick day

We camped in Raymond, MT last night. When we drove into town last night, we couldn't find the park so Mom stopped at a house and asked where we might find it. The old gentleman who answered the door said he had something better. :-) People are so nice.

This morning, Hannah was too sick to ride. We're in Plentywood right now trying to get a chiropractor for her. She feels like throwing up a lot and her stomach hurts. We're hoping that a visit to the chiropractor will help.

We also discovered that most of the riders have diarrhea from riding so we're taking it easy today because of that. Ruth threw up twice this morning as well. We're not sure what her problem is. She seems to be feeling better than she was so that's good. :-) I pray that it's a quickly fixed problem and not a virus. Those can turn into a small epidemic with a large family!

We are getting medication for the diarrhea.

Ellie and I decided to wash our hair today because it was looking pretty greasy... then the rest of the girls decided to get their hair washed, too (except Hannah). So I ended up washing 4 heads of hair. By the time I'd finished I was getting pretty proficient at it. :-) It was fun and the girls said that it felt really good to finally get their hair cleaned. After I did all of theirs, Ellie washed my hair and it did feel good. :-) I am sitting here enjoying the feeling of clean hair. :-)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Finally, I get to see that Dolores did indeed put my journal on! Thank you!!!! I hope this rerun isn't too annoying.

Weyburn... 130 miles (approx)

our camp for saturday, sunday and monday morning
Hannah & Millie

hey ya'll! We're in Weyburn and we're sitting in the Co-op parking lot. I decided to upload my entire journal instead of seeing if Dolores has been able to upload what I gave her. Hope it's not a rerun but my connection is pretty shaky here.

Blessings to you all!

September 24th, 2008 – day 2 – 16 miles

Good morning from the totally chilled out Holter clan. It was frosty this morning! When I woke up, it was to the squeals of my sisters as they were trying to gather courage to don on their cold clothing. We have decided it might be smart to sleep with our clothes whenever we think it's going to be a cold night. :-)

Speaking of cold, our colds are progressing along our ranks. We have several with the sniffles and some with coughs. I woke up without a cough or runny nose this morning... I was a little worried that it might be settling into my chest. But after hot cup of Celestial Seasonings tea, a breakfast of granola & cheerios and a visit to Mrs. Murphy, I am feeling much better. :-) Prayers for our health are greatly appreciated.

Everything is nearly packed up and ready to go. Mom is doing the girls' hair and some just took the horse fence down. Lydia is going to get her hair done so she tied Alpache beside me on the horse trailer. He doesn't seem to be too concerned because he keeps grazing around my feet. Ever since we got that horse, he never seems to stop eating. He's gained a good 100 lbs! I'm glad I don't gain weight like that. LOL!

Mom said every time they woke up last night (Ruth was restless), they could hear the horses munching. It's a comforting sound.

We traveled approx. 21 miles yesterday... ending 7-8 miles from Lorlie, SK. We started out using the grid roads and liked them so much, we decided to stick with them instead of using the highway, as we originally planned. There's lots less traffic and those that are here respect the riders and horses by slowing down. Highway traffic isn't all bad, but what is makes up for what isn't. This is much safer.

I must apologize to those we told we were going to be using the highway... and came looking for us. :-(

It went smoothly yesterday. No real accidents, although there was one incident involving Jesse and Red. They were playing in a field and Red kicked at Millie. Then he took off, running out of control. (All this was in fun.) The only problem was that when he kicked, the saddle slid way down on his side so Jesse was riding sidesaddle, literally. ;-) He landed safely on his feet with the reins still in his hands, so Red swung in a circle and stopped. They were all laughing about it, but the general consensus was that they needed to be a little more careful.

That was the only excitement for the day. It was enough. :-)

Yesterday, I wrote in my personal diary about Hannah's horse, Millie and the transformation in her attitude. Well, I wrote a little too soon. Yesterday, Millie was a little angel. She and Hannah had a wonderful day (as did everyone else!). This morning was a completely different story, though. She started her day by bucking right after Hannah had mounted her for the first time this morning. Hannah held on although she did land hard right below the saddle horn and hurt her legs. But she put emu oil on them and it was okay but sore.

The real fireworks started right after all the horses had crossed the road. There, Millie began bucking without a warning and Hannah went flying. She landed on her left side but her arm took most of the impact. Nothing seems to be broken, but she is very sore.

After we decided she wouldn't be riding the rest of the morning, they tried to get the rest of the horses calmed down and ready to go on. Suddenly, Alpache started bucking and Lydia landed on her back, hitting her head pretty hard on the road. No one actually saw it happen because everyone was preoccupied with other things. But we all looked up and saw her on the road. She says that her tail bone is the worst but she put liniment on it and it's feeling better.

Oh, and last but of course, not least, Uriah's little toe was stepped on by a horse and he also had to be doctored with emu oil. We're thankful that particular horse wasn't shod because it could have been worse than it was. He's now grinning again and acting like it doesn't hurt at all. The young are resilient.

So that was our exciting morning. I can't say I enjoyed it or wish it to be repeated but I am thankful it was 'only' these things and nothing else.

3:50 pm

We're right on the outside of Lemberg, SK right now, parked alongside the road, waiting for the horses. Mom and Dolores found a place for us to spend the night (thank the Lord for Dolores! We'd be lost without you :-)). I think it's about a mile and a half away from where we're parked.

September 25th, 2008 – day 3 – 18.2 miles

It was warmer this morning though very wet from the dew. Our tent is sopping! But I must say I enjoyed doing the dishes this morning because my hands weren't freezing. :-) Cooking outside is fun, especially when you have homemade perogies on the menu. Yes, that's what we had for breakfast, along with oatmeal and cold cereal. Sound yummy? It is. :-)

Lydia is feeling pretty crummy. She thinks it's because she got hurt yesterday and it put a lot of stress on her system. She has little voice, stuffy nose and a nasty headache. :-P The bruise on her leg is the coolest bruise I ever saw! She thinks she got it when she was thrown off Alpache.

Right now, Mom is walking Uriah, who is riding Coyote, out to the road where the other riders are. Bev just arrived and her timing was about perfect. :-) We're ready to hit the road!

We're trying to stay off of grid #617 because it's supposed to be busier but Bev says that in order to cross the valley, we'll need to get on it. I think it's still safer than the highway, though.

3:00 pm

We are about to cross through a section of the Au' Quapelle valley, near Wolseley. There's a wee little town called Ellisboro right in the bottom of the valley. There's two little churches right across the road from each other. Very Saskatchewan. I love it! Today is absolutely beautiful. The sun is shining, it's warm out, the wind is blowing, keeping all the bugs at bay... very nice Indian Summer weather.

Cilla rode for a while after we ate lunch and when she and Zeke traded places right before we went into the valley, she said one driver honked at them. I haven't verified or gotten further details on that from the other riders (I forgot ;-P) but we are on the 617 with more traffic so that's probably exactly what happened. No one else has mentioned or complained about it though and I think we've been blessed with understanding drivers. :-)

4:15 pm

The valley has been crossed with no accidents. PTL! Mom drove behind the horses on the way down (with her flashers on) and on the way up, she drove in front of them. We found another place to camp about 5 miles out of Ellisboro. It's nice... though the mosquitoes have come out and are biting us. Hopefully the wind will come up and chase them all away.

Dad and Mom need to go for water this evening. Our big tank lasted us for two days and they used the last of it for the horses this evening.

No accidents today! We took precautions, though.

September 26th, 2008 – day 4 – 10:30 am – 18 miles (approx)

Yesterday evening, Jesse and Zeke made themselves a tent out of a tarp because Dad and Mom were gone with the trailer and they wanted to go to bed (and because they thought it would be fun to sleep in a homemade tent! :-)). When Ellie saw that, she decided to make one too, so she and Martha (Ellie's shadow) also slept in a homemade tent. :-) They said they slept as snug as two bugs in a rug and both parties thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Our tent was not as wet as it was yesterday and the floor wasn't wet at all. I was happy about that. We left it up until just now (we're about ready to take off) because the sun is out and the wind is blowing. A good friend of ours warned us about the hazards of not drying out a tent... and I really would be happy if we still had a whole tent when we reach our destination. :-)

We used the last of our drinking water this morning so Jesse brought a pan of slough water for washing the dishes. It had green stuff floating in it. I was going to strain is through a towel (after it boiled) but Mom said we would just rinse the dishes now and wash them later. We wouldn't bother doing anything with them except for the fact that dried granola and jam are a real pain to wash off. :-) So I rinsed the dishes and nothing bit me. :-) We plan to pick up drinking water in Wolseley this morning... and I'm hoping while we're at it to get an internet connection and post some stuff on the blog.

It will be different to not start the day out with Bev. Yesterday was her last day with us... she rode all day and had supper with us in the evening. It was tons of fun. We miss you dear!

Martha and Uriah have coughs.. Lydia, Cilla, Zeke and Ruth have stuffy noses. No one seems too terribly miserable, though. Lydia seems a lot better than she was yesterday... and I feel 75% better. PTL! :-) :-) Hannah is feeling a lot better, too.



September 27th, 2008 – day 5 – 10 am – 16 miles – hospitality

Our first lame horse. What a way to start this post. :-) Al has two green front legs from the wraps the girls just put on him. He tripped in a hole this morning but he started limping not long ago. The girls finally determined that he has some heat in at least one front leg where the tendons are. I'm fairly illiterate about horse anatomy but that's pretty close to the explanation we got from Martha. She also said that since they caught it early enough, he should be ok after some rest.

The past two days we have been discovering how friendly people can be. Yesterday, our dear friend, Dolores Pilipow met us on the outskirts of Wolseley, SK with a dinner of chili, rolls, and doughnuts. (She said that she had to sugar us up one more time before saying goodbye.) After we went down a few miles on what the locals call “Moffat Road” we pulled off onto a very nice place and ate our dinner. It was a very good meal and one we ate with great relish. Thank you, Dolores!

After eating, we took several family photos, then Dolores took Zeke & me back into Wolseley to get some disks for copying photos and my journal onto. This is so she can update our blog (thank you again, Dolores!!). While we were burning a CD, she took us back and we went to see how much further Montmartre, SK was from where the horses were. We were running out of time and we couldn't quite figure out where we were (though I'm sure Dolores could have figured it out, given time :-)) so she pulled into a yard and went to the house to see if anyone was home. There was and when Dolores came back, she said that the lady of the house had invited us to camp for the night in their yard. It was just the right distance and time and everything. I am always amazed at how God works all these 'little' details out. :-)

Dolores dropped us off at the van and went home... and about an hour later, we were driving into the big, very immaculate yard. Those of us in the van arrived about five minutes before the horses so we drove over by the barn (the lady had mentioned we could put the barn to use) and waited. Mom had tried knocking on the door but no one seemed to be home. But just as the horses were coming into the yard, a grain truck arrived through the other entrance and a man and little boy climbed out of it.

I looked at Mom and she looked at me. We both laughed a little.

“I feel a little funny about this...” I said.

“Mmhmm. Me too.” Mom said. We both hoped that he had been notified about our impending arrival.

As it turned out, he hadn't been. But as soon as he got over his surprise and got his second wind back, he was just as welcoming as his wife had been. Mrs. arrived shortly afterwards and while we were trying to get everything situated, they insisted we sleep in their basement. And if that wasn't enough, when we offered to share our supper (leftover chili), Mr. said that he would order pizza for everyone and to save our food. Then, they said we could take (hot!!!) showers and wash our clothing. By that time, I was feeling teary-eyed. Just having a yard to camp in and a place to put the horses would have been plenty... but here was everything else added to that.

The horses & riders left around 10 am but Mom and the rest of us finished the laundry around noon and took off then. While we were waiting for the last loads to be finished, Dad phoned and said someone had met them on the road and had invited them in for lunch.

It takes some awfully generous hearts to invite twelve people in for dinner. Twelve people with big appetites! They also invited several of their friends whom they knew would be interested in what we were doing. Mrs. Kotylak kept opening a bag of this and another can of that and she would keep asking us if we'd had enough or, “Do you want some more of...?”

After the horses left and we were feeding Ruth her lunch (she took a nap while we were all eating and cleaning up), the three grandchildren (Logan, Georgia and Jayden) were entertaining us by telling stories about their exciting summer and how big of fish they had caught (and had to put back). Logan told us about how he caught two clams on the his fishing line. He thought he had a monster of a fish but all it was was a clam... dead weight. Georgia told how she got a fish on her line and although it was pulling hard, she thought it was a stick or something of the sort. Until it jumped out of the water and scared her causing her to drop her line. But her mom saved the day by catching the rod as she dropped it. :-)

Mrs. Kotylak not only fed us dinner, she gave us some chocolate for the road. :-) What a lady!

A few hours later, after going through Montmartre, we stopped alongside the road to wait for the horses to come up. They had gone cross country to save miles. When they did come up, they said they needed to trailer Al because he can't trot. Zeke's quite disappointed but it's a lot better than it could be. Hopefully everything will work out (I'm know it's all for the best... Romans 8:28) and we'll soon be back to... normal... (What is that exactly?)

September 28th, 2008 – day 6 – day of rest

We're now in what appears to be ranch country. It has steep, brown hills, a high water table, little bush and lots of fences. We were getting concerned that we wouldn't find a good place to camp. This camp was especially important because we camp over until Monday. Anyway, I finally saw some trees with no fences around them and after looking for another place, we decided they were our best bet. Our only bet, actually! Anyway, it turned out to be a nice place.

One thing I will say about this part of the country... they know how to grow burrs. There are so many plants just loaded. They must have had a bumper crop this year. Since we wear mostly denim, our dresses and pants don't seems to pick up the burrs too terribly bad. But my socks were a different story... mine were a mottled brown (burrs) and black (color of my socks). I spent a good ten minutes last night working the burrs out of them. But there's a blessing in everything. In this it was the time of reflection and prayer... picking burrs out of socks doesn't require many brain cells. :-)

Last night was so pleasant. I fell asleep listening to the boys sing cowboy songs from their tent. It wasn't too cold, the wind had died down a bit and everyone was in bed.

Shortly after breakfast, the owner of the land we're camping on drove in to put some stuff on his junk pile. He said we could stay as long as we wanted. Thank you!! We were all laughing when he drove up because those of us who didn't have our hair done were desperately trying to stay out of sight.

Around noon, the wind was blowing so bad, Dad decided that we should move from one end of the meadow to the other. We did that (it took about an hour) and shortly afterwards, the wind changed directions. LOL! :-) It's rather like moving around a campfire to get away from the smoke, only, this takes more effort.

Over all, we had a very pleasant day. It was nice just to lay around (in between chores, of course :-)) and enjoy the sunshine. Around 3 – 4 pm, our tent was toasty warm...

September 29th, 2008 – day 7 – 10 am – 23 miles — total 112.2 miles (approx.)

The horses are full of energy this morning. Mom heard Martha comment, “And we didn't even feed them oats yesterday!” They are trotting along, all happy and cheerful. I think the riders are finding it contagious. ;-)

They want us to stay back far enough so they can't hear Al calling out and banging in the trailer. His buddy Coyote goes crazy when he hears it. Al still has heat on his leg and when he trots, he limps, so we are trailering him again. The girls are treating him with liniment and Icey Gel.

It is very still this morning. Very still and very cold. We had a heavy frost last night and we all felt it. This morning we were all gathered around the campfire talking about the $140 sleeping bags at Cabela's and how we all wished we had gotten one for each of us. But when the sun came up and the fire was hot, we forgot about last night's chill and enjoyed our Cinnamon Spice Tea. :-) Mmmmm. We all got plenty of sleep last night, though everyone woke up at least once cold. It's not supposed to get as cold for awhile, according to the weather man.

There was never a time I wished more that he be accurate...! There is a blessing in this, too, though. This morning, I wasn't so reluctant to get out of bed. :-) When Lydia's alarm clock rang at 6 am, I was scrambling for my clothes. :-)

We plan to get a thermometer so we can keep a record of the temperature.

The riders are playing tag again. ;-) Jesse's after Hannah. Hey, Bev, don't you wish you were here so you could be 'it'? :-)

Today we hope to go drive into Francis and do some grocery shopping and get a few other things (which an ear warmer and a pair of wool socks). The post office and library (internet connection... hopefully!) are also on that list.

1:31 pm

We just got back on the road after stopping for some lunch. Al's leg is swelled up because he keeps banging it on the floor of the trailer. : - / Silly horse. But you can't reason with him. I don't know what we're going to do. The girls treated him again before they reloaded him.

Mom calculated that we have 10 miles before we get to highway 35, then another 4 miles south to Francis. We have to find a farm to get water from before we hit town.

We're not very far from the highway, waiting for the horses to come up. We got some water from a nice lady who lives not very far down the road. Their sign at the end of their driveway is neat... it says that Jesus is their Light. They didn't have drinking water but we got our big tank filled up.

Francis is very small. We weren't able to get drinking water there either. It looks like we'll have to wait until we hit Weyburn to get that.

There wasn't any internet connection, either. Hopefully Weyburn will have that, too! ;-)

I'm signing off for the day, I think. It all depends on how far the horses want to go today.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008