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.
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.
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. :-)
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.
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.