In which we have blue sky, hay, friends and traffic. And many many words.

"It's a billion degrees in Eastern Washington--let's go get hay!"*

Jim and I spent the morning driving over the pass and picking up hay.  The great thing about getting hay from friends is that we can go back to their comfortable air-conditioned living room and relax and chat a bit before heading home.  We even took showers to wash off the hay dust!  You don't get to do that when you buy hay from strangers!

The drawback to getting hay from Yakima is the drive home.  
Although it took about 2 hours to drive over (with plenty of pit stops along the way, because when you leave home early in the morning, you drink a lot of caffeine to keep moving, and then you have to stop for a potty break...and pick up more caffeine to drink...and then another stop is needed...) it took about FOUR hours to get home because of all the going-home-at-the-end-of-the-weekend traffic in the pass.
Fortunately, my friends are sympathetic to being stuck in traffic, and some are will…

In which it's finally summer in the Swampland, (but it's still quite green)

So many places are on fire right now  (notably California, Nevada and British Columbia) affecting a lot of our horse friends, but the number and size of fires here in Washington State is much lower than usual thanks to the long nearly endless wet winter.

Fiddle and I haven't had much trail time lately.

There's been logging ongoing on our usual training trails, and we try to stay out of the way of all the machines.  Fiddle isn't afraid of the tree felling or the big trucks, but it's polite not to be an obstacle while other people are working.

Late in the afternoon, most of the machines are turned off for the day, and we headed out to see if we could still find our way around after they'd moved all the furniture.

I always think that Fiddle and I will stay on the main drag...and then we see something that bears investigation, and off we wander.  That happens a lot when it's just her and me out there.

But today

Duana is returned from Italy, Patty's horse vet agree…

In which we celebrate Jim's birthday, and Monica takes the camera

Jim's birthday weekend often coincides with the local Highland Games celebration, 
and it's always fun to go hang out with dancing women, working dogs, skirt-clad men

...and that's just the spectators!

There is no "backstage" at the Skagit Valley Highland Games.  All the last-minute rehearsing

whether it was jumps and twirls or 

preparation for Throwing Big Things  or 

getting everybody on the same foot, it all happens under the wide open blue sky.

Monica had never experienced a Highland Games day before, so I handed off the camera and waved her away.  All the photos in this post were taken by her.  
(I did a huge photo dump on Facebook, so if you want to see everything, go find the album there.  These are just my favorite shots from the camera memory card.)

In which all the Renegade Rendezvous video links are right here

I don't usually post a lot of video, but since this blog has reported Renegade Rendezvous 
with photos since 2009, I decided to throw in a little variety this time.  
So, whether you want to see what you missed on the trails this year,
or you just want to re-live the fun, here ya go:

This video was filmed on Memorial Day, right after the crew finished rebuilding the plank bridge over a bog on the TM trail, about 2.5 miles from the finish line (or about .25 miles from camp if you know the shortcut...and since Fiddle knows the shortcut, she keeps trying to get me to take it!)

This is another "pre-ride" video.  Fiddle's fancy hairstyle is made of clothespins carrying trail ribbons to mark trail.  We're walking backwards on the in-trail to get to the part of the trail that needs to be marked.  Turn up the volume and listen for birdsong.

We don't just mark trails from horseback.  Sometimes quads are quicker.  Here's some video I shot while riding pillion on rid…

In which we're back from Renegade camp, so here are a few teaser pix

It's our first day back and we're still recovering (and still trying to get all the dirt off the dogs and the gear).  Here are a few pictures so you'll know what you missed.