Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Across the street is a mountain, and on the mountain there are the TRAILS

It's kind of hard to describe the terrain surrounding our new home so that it sounds plausible.

I grew up in this region, and I'm used to two kinds of landscape: mostly flat farmland, and steep hills and mountains.

What I'm NOT used to is having a steep mountain located right across the street from mostly-flat farmland, but that's exactly the kind of terrain we have on Jim Creek Road: the elevation of the house is about 330 feet above sea level. Less than 3/4 mile
away is the peak of Ebey Mountain...1650 feet above sea level.

The google terrain map shows it best: Aross the street from our house is a mountain!

The reason that having a mountain nearby is such a thrill for me: on that mountain there are some old logging roads that will make SPLENDID riding! I can hardly wait to start exploring.

But waiting is something I will have to do for a while. Let me fritter away some of the time by posting pictures of the trails!

This photo shows the top of Ebey Mountain, including Ebey Lake (called "Little Lake" on old maps) in quadrant 28-32-06. The lake is stocked with trout, and cannot be accessed by motorized vehicles. Obviously, Hana will be learning to carry Jim's fishing pole along with all her other gear! All the little squiggles visible on these photos are logging roads. Cool, huh?

This is a closer view of Ebey Lake. There used to be a fire-road that went all the way to the lake, but apparently there was a huge problem with vandalism and garbage at the lake, so the road was closed. Trails still go there, and folks can hike, bike, or ride horses to the lake. I'm curious to see if this is a deep tarn, or just a shallow sandy puddle with fish in it. The maps don't give that kind of information!

Further out Jim Creek Road is access to Lake Riley, which is owned (along with all the land around it) by the local Sons of Norway. They will only sell to members of the SON. Hmmm. Will they make me eat lutefisk to prove my heritage? That might be a problem.

Anyhow, there's a parking lot just before the entrance to Lake Riley Road, and logging roads up to the powerlines going over the east side of Ebey Mountain.

It looks like a canny rider with a decent sense of direction could ride these roads all the way out to Highway 530, over to Lake Riley, and back to my house. I just have to figure out HOW....

The alternative to veering off towards Lake Riley is to continue south-eastish on Jim Creek Road, which eventually dead-ends at the Jim Creek Recreation Center, a facility open ONLY to military personnel, active and retired.

Fortunately, Jim was clever enough to retire from the armed services, so he can go there to explore THEIR lakes and trails, and I can go with him. The largest quadrant in this photo shows the rec facility, approximately 3 miles from our house.

Pretty nifty, huh?

If I'm ever dying I'll buy a house: it makes time go dang slow!

Here's the weekly update from the title company.   

It means, basically, that the banks are busily doing whatever it is that banks do.  


But...we are still on schedule!

1/2/2009  Open Escrow
by Nicole Minnick at 12:00:00 AM
1/2/2009  Order Title
by Nicole Minnick at 12:00:00 AM
1/5/2009  Request Payoff Information From Seller
by Nicole Minnick at 12:00:00 AM
1/7/2009  Send Title To Buyer/Seller
by Nicole Minnick at 12:00:00 AM
1/20/2009  Request Commission Disbursement Form Listing
by Nicole Minnick at 10:43:23 AM
1/20/2009  Confirm Listing Broker CDF is In
by Nicole Minnick at 11:15:24 AM
1/23/2009  Confirm Selling Broker CDF is In
by Nicole Minnick at 12:00:00 AM
2/17/2009  Order Payoffs
2/20/2009  Confirm All Payoff Demands are in
2/20/2009  Contact Lender For Status Of Loan Documents
2/23/2009  Receive Loan Documents
2/25/2009  Send Estimated HUD To Listing Agent
2/25/2009  Send Estimated HUD To Selling Agent
2/26/2009  Make Seller Appointment
2/26/2009  Make Buyer Appointment
2/26/2009  Send Loan Package Back To Lender
2/27/2009  Release For Recording
2/27/2009  Close And Disburse
3/2/2009  Send Final HUD to Listing and Selling Broker

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

saddle cleaning for the extremely meticulous: a lot of work!

Jim was as good as his word regarding the cleaning of the New/Old Saddle: he took it completely apart, and cleaned and conditioned every last inch of the leather!
Truthfully, I'd be afraid to take my saddle apart to such an extreme degree, mostly because I'm not sure I could put it all back together again.

However, by disassembling it so completely, he can be sure that there isn't any rotting leather hidden underneath that could be dangerous to the horse or rider. He also needs to replace a lot of the screws, because many of them have been stripped.

He used glycerin soap for the initial cleaning--oooooh, the suds were filthy. It took several times over the leather before the soap stayed white. I like Dr. Bronner's soap for this stage, partly because it smells nice, and partly because of the weird writing on the label, which can keep me amused for at least an hour while I'm washing tack.

We discovered that the velcro fitting pads on the "horse side" of the saddle are backwards from my saddle! On newer saddles, the saddle has the "hook" side and the fitting pads have the
"loop" side, and this saddle has it set up the other way 'round. I wonder how old this saddle really is?

Last night the whole house smelled like leather conditioner-- a pleasant smell, especially to those of us who associate the odor with horses and their saddles.

I discovered years ago (the hard way, of course) that mink oil, which is the traditional leather oil and conditioner, not only rots the stitching on saddles, it also drives my dogs insane. It makes sense: no self-respecting dog wants anything that smells like a mink hanging around the house. Fortunately, the mink-oil-treated saddle was just on trial, and I decided not to buy it, partly because it didn't fit my horse and partly because my little dog would circle it and growl for hours.

Early in our endurance riding adventure, Jim discovered Obenauf's leather care products, made from animal oils (but NOT mink!) and beeswax. Because we live in the swamp ("where the weather is always damp") we not only condition our leather saddles, boots, and other gear, we waterproof the heck out of it.

Obenauf's was originally formulated for use on firefighters' boots, which are frequently immersed in water and then taken into very hot buildings, so it suits our purposes very nicely.

Also, it works best when applied and worked in by hand--and it softens and moisturizes hands really nicely too!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Sing-Along Time: "Inch by inch, row by row....gonna make my fenceline grow"

Prior to leaving for the annual Pacific Northwest Endurance Rides conference this weekend, we emailed our PNER friends and asked them to bring us any fencing supplies that they had hanging around unused at their barns. Our good friend Paul came through with an electric fence charger, a spool of fence wire, and a bunch of fencing insulators, which he hauled to convention for us. What a nice guy!

The PNER convention this year was crammed full of educational seminars about horse health and fitness presented by an equine researcher from University of Guelph . Really good stuff.

But mostly, we go there for the parties, the dancing, and the shopping.

But the true oh-my-gawd bargain of the freakin' year was this:

a Very-Old-But-Perfectly-Usable Specialized Saddle, which we picked up at the used tack sale for Almost Nothing.

I kept checking the tag, because I was sure it was a typo. Jim and I have been trying to figure out how we could afford a mortgage for the farm AND a saddle that actually fits Hana. A Specialized saddle--new or used--usually sells for around the same cost as a mortgage payment. Sigh.

And there was this saddle at the tack sale for (gasp!):

Cost of the saddle:
Cost of soap to clean the mold off the leather:
about 15 cents
Cost of velcro and some little nails:
about 10 bucks or so
Having a saddle that fits Hana and doesn't hurt her back:
absolutely priceless