Monthly Archives: September 2011

Boys of Fall

 

Not the first boys of fall you may think of, and we have some of the others at our houses as well, but at this time of year with the fabulous foliage I had to share some of these pictures. 

Skeeter

 Fall has got to be my favorite time of year. It also makes me truly happy to live in a place that has four distinct seasons.  The temperature is usually perfect, not too hot (except yesterday) , not too cold. With any luck, gentle warm breezes. And fabulous fall colors.

Checkers - the wonder horse!

The colorful foliage marks the end of the growing season, harvest in one form or another for those of us in agriculture.  The days are noticably shorter and nights are cooler.

Bud

Many of you are already working outside, but for those of you who aren’t take the opportunity (or make the opportunity) to go for a walk and enjoy the season. After all it won’t be long before the next one comes.

– Kelly

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower – Albert Camus

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Cowgirl Yoga – Day 3

Let me start this post with a little side note.

When Kelly and I look at the dashboard of our blog, it gives us various information.  Some of the information includes who was directed to our blog, and how they came to find us.

It turns out that yesterday someone was directed to our blog by typing the words “ladies”, “shower”, “naked”, and “yoga” into their search engine.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t tell us who you are. 

If you have come to read about us again today we want to send you a most sincere welcome and hello from the cowgirl yogis of Turtle Lake.  However, we also wish to apologize because I’m sure the content of our story isn’t quite what you were originally looking for….at least the pictures are probably a bit disappointing.  Having said that, if you were hooked on the story and were drawn back here today to read how it all ends, welcome!!  We are excited to have you – not naked or in the shower, but excited all the same.  Love it!  Now we’re porn stars girls!  Uh oh…I just typed porn…twice.  I wonder who that’s going to attract today.

Day three began with a visit from Kelly and I to the cowgirls’ cabins.  We knocked on their doors bearing apple blueberry muffins, coffee or tea and freshly picked apples from my orchard at home.  We considered the merits of bran muffins for a light breakfast, but thinking about where we would be spending our day…bouncing on horse back in the bushes…it was decided that apple blueberry with white flour would be just fine.  We probably should have thrown in a little cheese for good measure, but didn’t think of that til just now.

After a little freshening up, we 7 cowgirls loaded up into the 5 available seats of Kelly’s truck to head out to our morning yoga session.  The yoga was definitely working well for us as we channeled our inner contortionists and squeezed into the cab.  There were no groans or squeals of pain as we wedged ourselves – left leg over someone else’s right shoulder into the truck and bounced over the gravel road to Blueberry Hill Golf Course.

Nancy was there waiting for us at Blueberry Hill.  She is an amazing woman.  Her physique is just what you would imagine it should be for someone who has been teaching yoga for close to 20 years.   She has also done a lot of travelling to attend seminars and classes.  She is super flexible, strong and fit.  She would often demonstrate the pose we were about to try, telling us ‘it will look something like this’….and believe me it never looked anything like what she was showing us. Some of us have trouble crossing our legs for heaven’s sake.  Nancy told me that she had just turned 63 this summer.  Wow!  I wanted to look like her when I was 18, now I have a new goal.  I want to look like Nancy when I’m 63. 

This morning’s session was restorative yoga, meant to encourage deep breathing in an attempt to increase one’s energy level.  Increasing the energy of 7 tired cowgirls on a Sunday before noon is a lofty goal, but I think she got the job done.

Laughing and limbered up again, we walked to the restaurant at Blueberry Hill Golf Course.   This morning Brad had outdone himself once again by preparing cinnamon buns, bacon, biscuits, hash brown casserole, and fruit for us.  Even the coffee was great!

We over ate just enough to feel slightly uncomfortable, and then once again wedged our newly flexible selves into Kelly’s truck for the drive to the Kopp ranch.  I really wish I had taken a picture of the inside of the truck as we drove.  Next year!

While we were mounting our trusty steeds, (note to our book club friends…this means horses), we started to notice that what had been looking like another beautiful sunny day was starting to turn a bit grey.  Of course being the forward planners that we are, we had checked the forecast which was beautiful…with a slight chance of showers for Sunday evening.  We would be done riding by mid afternoon, so most of us didn’t bother with rain gear.

Murray to the rescue!  Our fabulous trail guide Murray looked around his porch and was able to outfit all of us with some form of rain gear in an effort to keep us dry – if the weather turned – and it turned!

The weather went from 30 C on Saturday to windy, rainy, toque and mitten weather on Sunday.  Welcome to the prairies!  I think that our true spirit shined through however, when I heard one cowgirl say through dripping hair as she rode along “there’s no place that I’d rather be”. 

The story of the cowgirl roaming the campground in her jammies meeting guys who wanted to join us on our trail ride turned out to be true.  We had a newcomer to our ride this morning.  Murray had invited him, probably in an effort to raise the testosterone level of the group, and I’m sure that after meeting one of us in our p.j.’s he couldn’t resist. 

Our new friend happened to own the cabins and campground that we were staying in.  His name is Darcy, which Kelly has now changed to Runaway Darcy.  Darcy was offered one of Murray’s quiet horses that ‘anyone can ride’. 

Well, the first time the horse ran away with Darcy on his back was just as we had started out.  It was a bit frightening because we could hear whoa! whoa! coming up from behind us along with the thundering of hooves.  I think that the horse might be hard of hearing and thought that Darcy was saying ‘Go! Go!’ because he ran like the wind…blasting past all of us, until he realized that no one was coming with him so he stopped.  Good riding Darcy!  He was still on top.

The second and third times that the horse ran away with Darcy were less frightening.  Possibly because Murray was bent over the horn of his saddle laughing the second time, and by the third time it was predictable and I even remember saying “Oh oh, here he goes again” just before the horse took off. 

It was probably frightening for Darcy every time the horse ran away with him, but here’s a nod to Darcy’s riding skills because he rode him out every time.  I would have stepped off after the first run away and walked home.  Not too sure of what was setting that horse off to make him run, but he was very likely encouraged to keep running by the flapping yellow and green rain poncho that Darcy was wearing.  From the back of the group we could see Darcy riding that horse like the wind, rain poncho flapping and chasing the horse all the way until he once again realized that no one was joining him on his runaway and stopped.

For this trail ride we went a different direction, turning south and riding along a trail and over a creek to meet a guy named Luke Ferrari.  Cool name hey?  Luke rents some pasture near Turtle Lake and has it stocked with heavy steers.  Luke led us through some great bush trails, and over some hills to a beautiful spot overlooking a little lake.  Even through the rain it was gorgeous.

There was yet another old abandoned homestead here.  It’s easy to see why people would have wanted to live in this beautiful landscape surrounded by nature and all kinds of wildlife.

The ride back to the Kopp ranch was a bit faster this time.  The horses could sense that they were going home, they were definitely not too hot to trot, and the cold weather encouraged us all to step a little faster on our way back to Murray’s.  (I just noticed that I typed hot to trot…..shameless dirty phrase used in an effort to increase our readership of teenaged boys looking at sketchy things on the internet …. go do your homework!)

Arriving back at the ranch, Murray stopped ahead of the group because he had something he wanted to share.  He told us that in all of his years of leading and being involved in various trail rides, (and he goes to lots of different trail rides), he has never been on one where he could hear talking and laughing behind him constantly – until now.  He said he chuckled to himself because all he could hear for the past two days was our steady stream of conversation and laughter.  I hadn’t noticed it because I had moments of quiet and serenity with my horse. But when I thought about it, someone was definitely always talking and someone else would have been enjoying the peace and quiet.  We took turns.  It was fun.

Sadly, we made the last turn into Murray and Linda’s yard and it was time to go home.  Climbing off of our horses one last time, having rode a total of approximately 8 1/2 hours over two days, there were a few body parts that were noticeable sore.  For myself, I can report that thanks to our 3 hours of yoga, my knees and shoulders were completely fine….the only sore spot was those ‘sit bones’ and they are pretty difficult to stretch.  One of the ladies reported that her “cheeks were sore from grinning” which is fabulous.  I love that kind of pain.

As we peeled off wet wranglers and fished around for our dry yoga pants to travel home in, the sun came out again to warm us up.   Murray was still there to be our guide when it came to backing our trailers out of his yard.  There were no problems at all of course because we are all very competent cowgirls who are more than capable of backing up our own trailers and checking our own balls.  One cowgirl commented that she will do just fine as long as no one yells “what the f*ck are you doing?”  I wonder if that has ever happened….

Our first Cowgirl Yoga Retreat was such fun we didn’t want to see it end.  While is was wonderful to return home to my family, a busy home and a dog with a newly whelped litter of puppies, I missed my cowgirl friends and the constant chatter and laughter we shared.  

We cannot thank Murray and Linda enough for being such fantastic hosts to us during our retreat.  Murray was so kind to us, guiding us along, keeping our horses, commenting on how nice our horses were – even as they sometimes tried to kick his, and generally being amused by our chatter.  Linda was great to welcome us to her home and share with us her wonderful cement patio which she won by betting with Murray – who lost – and as a result had to build her a cement patio.  What would Murray have received from Linda if he won?  You’ll have to go visit and ask them yourself because that story is too dirty for our blog!

Linda and Murray enjoying their patio

The cabins at Turtle River and the Blueberry Hill Golf Course must be mentioned one last time.  The hospitality of both was just fabulous and we are looking forward to bringing more people to visit these places and experience the atmosphere and amazing people who live and work near Turtle Lake Saskatchewan.

Big thanks also to Nancy Steiger.  Her yoga classes are held in various small towns in Saskatchewan, including Glaslyn, Turtleford and others.  She is very skilled and passionate about yoga, which is infectious and makes others want to try it.  I have heard a report that at least one of our cowgirls has now signed herself up for regular yoga classes.  Yay!  I only wish that she hadn’t traded her acid washed, pastel green 1980’s parachute pants for the less interesting yoga pants of the 2000’s.

And finally, thanks to the girls who were brave enough to join us on our inaugural Cowgirl Yoga Retreat.  We – like you – were a bit unsure of exactly what to expect, and in the end it was great and we had so much fun with all of you.  Kelly is still giggling when she remembers the stories.  I’m still telling the stories to whoever will listen. 

We can’t wait until next year when we cowgirls come visit Turtle Lake again to yoga and ride, and to make new stories and memories.  Yeehaw!

The barn at Blueberry Hill

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back” -Arthur Rubinstein

“Whoever said ‘laughter is the best medicine’ never had gonorrhea.”  – Kat Likkel

<Terra>

Cowgirl Yoga Day 3 teaser…

Oh no…

I’m just finishing my story about day 3, and my husband has called to say he has repaired my baler already!  Darn him and his efficient ways…I thought I had broken it better than that…

Stay tuned, I will post it later.  Oooohhh….the suspense!

Bye for now!  Terra

Cowgirl Yoga Day Two

– Grab life by the reins –

As my Grandpa used to say – “We woke with the squirrels” at 7:30 AM.  I’m not sure that I know what Grandpa really meant when he said that he woke with the squirrels, but I like to think it meant that he got up early. 

Kelly and I had each brought food and other ingredients that we would use to feed our cowgirls lunch before we left on our first trail ride.  Being that we are both ‘foodies’ and avid and enthusiastic eaters, you can imagine the level of organization and forethought that went into planning this menu.  I love to cook and the thought of a picnic lunch that would be hearty and different was fun to plan.  Kelly was (as always), the voice of reason when our preparing started to go a little overboard, keeping us from turning our picnic for 10 into a feast for 50.

For our lunch we had locally grown vegetables with a hummus and sour cream dressing, as well as home-made banana chocolate chip muffins.  For dessert we had cherry cheesecake in little individual mason jars.  For the main course we had big fat Kaiser buns filled with lettuce, cheese, and some amazing slow roasted locally grown chicken that Kelly…..oh wait…..just a minute, Kelly forgot something….what did you forget Kelly??  Oh, no big deal – just the chicken.  That’s right, no need to panic we simply forgot the main ingredient of our main course for our first ever picnic at our first ever Cowgirl Yoga Retreat.

Good thing we are so resourceful.  Kelly had thrown in some cans of freshly caught Pacific Salmon.  This was salmon that her husband had just recently caught and had canned on his fishing trip with Langara Fishing Adventures on the West coast.  I have no idea why she put these in her cooler, but what a good thing that she did!  The salmon, along with some left over roast beef that my mother in law had made the night before set us up well to provide an alternative main course for our picnic.  The beautiful slow roasted chicken was left cooling in the fridge at Kelly’s house. 

Finally, the preparing was over and our fellow cowgirls arrived at TurtleLake.

 

We enjoyed our picnic on the lovely cement patio that Murray had built for his wife a few years ago, and then we mounted up and headed out.  Our trail ride started off with a blast – of flatulence – when Murray’s horse let one rip right at the trail head and spooked the horses behind him.  The laughing started then, and it didn’t end for two full days.

The day was hot!  29 to 30 C makes it easy to work up lather and settle any nervous energy into a slow and easy temperament….and the heat made the horses sweaty and well-behaved too!

 

Our trail guide Murray took us on a ride that was approximately 11 miles long.  We travelled through fields, back roads, ditches and little trails until we came to an old abandoned homestead in the bushes West of Turtle Lake.

To the left is the barn, to the right is the house, and around back is the ladies' room.

Here we found a picnic table to enjoy a quick drink of water and Kelly’s home made granola bars. Murray happened to find an extra cold beer in his saddle bag, which was enough to send one of our cowgirls running and crashing through the bush, spooking the other horses, to snatch it from his hand.  It was really hot out….but she may have done that in a blizzard too.  I hope she would.  That’s one of my favorite memories of the day. 

Notice the toilet paper on the table….we’re a classy bunch!

 On the way back to the Kopp ranch we were fortunate enough to see a mother bear with her three cubs.  The fortunate part is that they were approximately ¼ mile away from us and were running the other direction across a field.  Also, there was a guy riding his bike down the road near us, and I felt pretty sure that we would be able to outrun him on our horses.  Some of the horses noticed the bears, but by this time they were all well seasoned trail horses with far too much experience to freak out about something as simple as four bears…..and it was really hot.  This was in stark contrast to the three or four horses who were frightened by a fart at the beginning of the ride.

With such a beautifully hot day, the lake was too inviting to pass by without dipping our toes a little.  It took little to no encouragement to get the horses to cool off in the water. 

I can see myself…and I am beautiful!!

After the 4 hour trail ride we had just enough time to go to our cabins and change out of our wranglers for our first yoga class.  I ran to my room and changed into my yoga gear.  When I reappeared all decked out in the clothing that I had carefully chosen, Kelly asked “What are you going to change into?”  I took this to mean that the skin-tight leotard that I had chosen was perhaps somewhat inappropriate and changed once again into some boring old sweats and a t-shirt.  This time Kelly seemed to approve.  I realized that I had some stiff competition in the wardrobe department when I saw the 1980’s parachute pants that one of our fellow cowgirls had pulled out of the mothballs for her first foray into yoga.

The yoga class, led by Nancy Steiger was fabulous.  We were introduced to moves that most of us had never even considered trying, stretching parts of our bodies that had rarely been stretched before.  Nancy taught us that ‘with every breath there is the chance for change’.  When she told us this, she was referring to using our breathing as a way to encourage our bodies to stretch a bit more into a pose.  I hear it as a good lesson and something to keep in mind as we go about our lives – with every breath there is the chance for change. 

It was difficult to focus in the beginning.  After so many hours spent together laughing it was problematic to try to block out some of the distractions that were evident while doing yoga on a golf course.  The most obvious distraction is of course the golfers, but this was late in the day and there weren’t many of those.  Thankfully, no one yelled ‘fore!’  There was also a fountain in this beautiful park-like setting.  The fountain didn’t make me have to pee, but it made me want to tell everyone that it did so that they would laugh….which made me want to laugh….which made me have to pee.  There was also a donkey who became very vocal when we were receiving instructions from Nancy, along with a cat who would come and wind his way around your head when you were in a compromised position.  None of these distractions were as bad, however, as hearing my cowgirl friends giggling and whispering “look at Terra” while I was trying to perfect the Happy Baby position.  That was distracting….and funny.

Distractions aside, we left the yoga class feeling very relaxed.  It should be noted that during the evening, as well as the following morning, we noticed that we felt less sore than we would have expected after trail riding for as long as we had.

We were now welcomed into the newly developed restaurant and home of Brad Gitzel at Blueberry Hill Golf Course.  Blueberry Hill Golf Course is a recently renovated and upgraded facility on the West side of TurtleLake.  The grounds there are beautiful and the food is fabulous!

We started with a tomato garlic loaf that Brad had baked for us that morning, paired with our choice of red or white wine. 

 

The home-made bread was followed by home-made jalapeno poppers.  Amazing.

 

The main course was a platter of steak, served with chicken skewers, garlic toast, stuffed potatoes, vegetable kabobs, Caesar salad, and fruit. 

 

The food, atmosphere and service at Blueberry Hill were better than we could have ever expected.  We can’t wait to go back and spend another day with Brad and Brenda.

 

After having such a relaxing and delicious evening we waddled back to our cabins to settle in for the night.

Some of us decided to shower, but were concerned and confused by this sign in the public shower facility…..

This was HILARIOUS that night....too much wine perhaps??

Did this mean we had to go undress in the office and walk naked across the road to the shower building??   We decided to risk breaking the rules and simply changed in the shower stalls rather than in the office.

A restful sleep was no problem this night.  The dog had finished having her puppies, and after such an eventful day we were all ready for some shut-eye.  All of us except for one cowgirl who chose to prowl the campground in her pajamas.  She came back to our cabin with news that she had met some guy out there in the darkness who was going to join us on our trail ride the next day….it doesn’t matter how many times I re-write that last sentence, it still sounds wrong and bad, which it wasnt – but also funny, which it was.

“With every breath there’s the chance for change.”   – Nancy Steiger

<Terra>

Cowgirl Yoga Retreat

Kelly and I had been reading about cowgirl yoga events in areas like Idaho and other far away locales.  We so badly wanted to participate, but the concept of driving and hauling horses for days to take the opportunity to relax just doesn’t fit into our lifestyle right now.

We decided that someone should have that here.  We looked around, and quickly realized that we were someone who could have that here.  After all, when you develop an event yourself it will be done exactly the way you want it to be.  Add to that the fact that when we create an event here rather than going to one in Idaho, we have the opportunity to generate wealth for our own region.   We created a name ‘KT and Company’, and set about organizing a cowgirl yoga retreat right here in Saskatchewan.

We put the word out, and 6 wonderful cowgirls were brave enough to step forward and join us on our inaugural Cowgirl Yoga Retreat.  It was too good not to write about, so what will follow is a few days of stories from our time away…..and by time away I don’t mean that we went to jail or anything.

Day 1 – Are your balls big enough??

One might think that I’m referring to a person’s nerve when setting out on a journey like ours, but I’m not.

I’m actually referring to the physical size of one’s balls…..in relation to your trailer hitch.

It was decided that Kelly would use the truck that her brother usually drives to pull our horses in my horse trailer.  We are very competent cowgirls, so it was no surprise that we hooked her truck to my trailer with the greatest of ease.  No problems whatsoever.  In fact, I noticed that it was even easier than usual to hook this truck to our trailer…which should have been my first clue that something wasn’t right.

We parked in front of the house and were finishing loading the last of our supplies when my hubby pulled up to say goodbye…..and to covertly give our truck and trailer one last look and make sure we had done everything correctly.  Which we hadn’t.

It turns out that Kelly’s brother’s ball was small.  I would never tell him this to his face, but I feel pretty brave typing it here in the relative safety and comfort of my home, knowing that he doesn’t generally read our blog.  That’ll teach him!  My husband took care of it for us though.  He swapped his larger ball for Kelly’s brother’s teeny tiny one and we were off on our adventure. 

Good thing that we found this out before we travelled the bumpy pothole filled road that is the highway to Turtle Lake Saskatchewan.  Left hand turn lights were a problem as well, but a little fix up with a pocket knife and we were highway ready.

Our first stop was the home of Murray and Linda Kopp. Murray was our trail guide for the cowgirl part of cowgirl yoga.  His yard is also where our horses were stabled for the weekend.

Horses enjoying a little down time.

Murray and Linda are wonderfully gracious and welcoming people.  They have open pens and a barn that were set up and ready to receive our 8 horses.  Murray was quick to offer hay and oats to anyone who needed it, and we helped him set up a big water trough to make it easy for us to water our horses when we returned from a big ride.  He seemed as excited about our retreat as we were!  Murray had just celebrated his 65th birthday on the day we arrived.  I mistook him for 40 years old.  Hopefully my mistake will ensure our being welcome to return next year.

After settling our horses for the night, we travelled the short distance to the Turtle River cabins on South Bay at Turtle Lake.  These cabins and the adjoining campground are owned by Marge and Darcy Dewar.  Marge and Darcy let us set up our cabins a day early so that all would be ready for the rest of the cowgirl yogis to arrive.

The cabins were perfect.  They were just the right size for two or three women, quaint and neat as a pin.  They are perfectly situated away from the hustle and bustle of the busy road, but only a very short walk from the public beach on South Bay at Turtle Lake.  If you are looking for a cabin to rent or for a campground to park your camper you can call Darcy or Marge at 306-845-2272

Here is where I would love to post one of the many pictures that I took of our cabins.  They had two bedrooms, a living room and a kitchen.  Kelly and I had decorated them a bit with some sweet peas from my garden and some bottles of wine that a friend had made.  However, due to my complete lack of computer savvy, it seems that I have lost those pictures.  If any resurface I will post them later.

So, with our cabins prepared and our own horses stabled, Kelly and I settled in for the night.  Well we tried to settle in, but like kids waiting for Santa we were excited for the days ahead which made sleep difficult….the midnight calls from my kids at home asking for help with a dog that was having puppies didn’t help either!  That bitch had great timing….I only say bitch in the most loving female dog sense.

With visions and dreams of sunny days riding through beautiful fall colored trails we drifted to sleep, excited to share our plans with our friends who would arrive in the morning.

“Well”, said Pooh, “What I like best”, and then he had to stop and think.  Because although eating honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn’t know what it was called.      – A. A. Milne   from the story of Winnie the Pooh

<Terra>

Texas

I finally finished it, 1322 pages of small type. Yes I did have to wear reading glasses. When we took the train to Big Valley a month or so ago, I picked up the book,    Texas by James A. Michener at a used book store. Michener crafted a great historic novel. If high school history text books had been written the same way, I think I would have done better in that class. I also feel this way about the Phillipa Gregory novels about Henry the Eighth.  Texas is filled with colorful characters along with the political and social circumstances that shaped the Lone star state.  We travelled there a couple of years ago and now I wish I would have read the book first. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and learned many things. I think I may have to check out more of Michener’s work.

P.S. I am sorry but I cannot get my italics to work for the name of the book.

– Kelly