Garden gate

iGrow

For several years now, I have tried to grow a garden here in North Idaho or at least veggies in pots. I love my grandma’s garden and I have very fond memories of picking peas and carrots from her garden and eating them dirt and all. So my desire to have a garden must have come from there. I started out going all in and trying to grow a whole garden. Everything that first year became completely overgrown with weeds. The next year I reeled in my enthusiasm and fairly successfully grew some veggies in pots around our house. At that point I formulated the strategy that I would start small and each year gradually begin growing more and more. The next year Landon helped me build a larger raised bed in which I grew corn, beans, peas, strawberries and some radishes. All was well and I even got a large amount of Dilly Beans pickled, until the cows got in and feasted. No corn that year. The following year I decided it was time for an actual, real, full-on, in the ground garden. The first location for the garden I picked turned out to be the drain field for our septic system. Relocate. I spent hours laying paper and hauling composted manure. My plan was to create a miraculously weed free Back to Eden Garden, but when I discovered the price of woodchips/mulch that I was planning to use I skipped that and just did some good old fashioned weeding by hand. This worked for most of my 30’x30′ garden plot. The fence that I was hoping to put up didn’t get done and the deer ate well that summer. I will say that although they ate most of my garden, they did eat the weeds as well so I have to thank them for that. My corn was the last hold out since the deer didn’t seem to be very interested in that. As the time approached to harvest the corn, the calves got in and ate it.

towe of pisa

April Fools

We have officially made it through another April Fool’s day! With friends pulling elaborate jokes and fake news articles flying around it was pretty hard to not get sucked into believing someone’s April Fool’s joke along the way. I am proud to say that this year, I wasn’t fooled at all. Yep, and let me tell you that isn’t something I can say every year. So,  In honor of April Fool’s day 2015 being over, here are some of my favorite April Fool’s gags from yesterday. Did any of these fool you?

rowing-boat

How to Row a Boat

While the Northeast part of the U.S. is being covered by a massive snow fall, we here in the Northwest are beginning to wonder if its time to brush up on our nautical skills. If you feel the need to  review your boat rowing, here is an excellent link to show you how: How to Row a Boat

Yesterday was beautiful. As we were driving to Post Falls, Landon kinda reminded me of a happy lab that has been stuck in a dark house for a week straight and then gets taken out into the sunshine for a ride in the pickup with the windows down. He was that excited about the sunshine. Which brings me to this:

A Fall Ride on the Moose Mountain Trail

Blacktail Lake
On the trail to Blacktail Lake
The Moose Mountain Loop Trail is an approximately 9 mile, round trip trail that takes you past two great mountain lakes.  This is a great horseback ride or hike. I rode this trail with my parents; Roley and Janice, my brother and sister-in-law; Isaac and Libby, and my two kids; Emily (4) and Gabe (2) on August 27, 2014.  Gabe rode in front of me and Emily rode behind Libby as neither of them are ready to ride their own horse on this sort of trail.
We drove to the trail head and unloaded our crew of 5 horses and 7 people. The trail head has a large parking lot with enough room for our 4 horse, goose-neck trailer and several other cars.  We headed out and followed the trail markers to Blacktail lake. This first part of the trail is a moderate climb with several long stretches of boardwalk.  Blacktail is a smaller lake but still beautiful.  We took our lunch break here and the kids had fun catching tadpoles and baby frogs until Gabe fell in.  We started a fire to dry off his clothes and keep the half naked toddler warm.  There are a couple primitive campsites here and plenty of grazing space that would make for an excellent spot for the horses to stay overnight.
Gabe, just after going for an
unplanned swim
Our lunch spot and campfire
To continue on our loop, we followed Trail 213 to Moose Mountain.  The trail levels out after the first short climb and is a very pretty ride through the high mountain trees.  As you approach the summit of Moose Mountain the trail get steeper and rockier. With Gabe riding in front of me, it was still not too difficult. Riding the ridge up to the summit offers some great view of both Blacktail Lake and Moose Lake.  The ridge narrows as you reach the top and I have to admit that last switchback made me thank God I was riding a great horse (I have a good healthy fear of steep drop-offs).  As you come down off the summit, the ridge begins to widen and offer some beautiful eastern views. At this point in our ride, Gabe and I dismounted and mom led my horse.  First of all, riding down hill with a two year old in front of you is not so easy and second of all that awesome horse I was thanking God for, is a bit mutton-withered and I would be riding on her ears by the time I got to the bottom.
Views coming off Moose Mountain
 As you continue on the ridge begins to narrow again and you come to what looks like (from the back of the line and on foot) a dead end, but no! The trail drops off sharply to the left.  This is where it gets a little western.  Everyone dismounted here and Isaac led the way on foot leading his horse.  Here the trail is a very steep, narrow side hill with a single switchback. We all turned our horses loose to follow Isaac down the trail while we scrambled down after on foot.  After this interesting descent everyone re-mounted, except Gabe and I (remember my mutton-withered horse) and the trail continues with a moderate descent through the trees into Moose Lake. I was able to start riding again about a quarter mile from the lake.  Moose Lake is about three times bigger that Blacktail Lake and has more primitive camping and fishing opportunities.  The trail wraps around the lake and heads back out the nearly two miles to the trail head.
Little Horse looking at
Moose Lake
Dad and Pepsi on one of
the many boardwalks
About a mile out from Moose Lake, on the way back to the trail head, one of the bridges crossing a creek was broken in the middle and lay in the creek bed. It looked as if it had happened recently and my bet is that the Forest Service will have it repaired soon as this is a high traffic trail.  We were able to get around the fallen bridge easily enough.  Dad and Isaac rode and us ladies (plus Gabe) led our horses across.
The broken bridge
Almost back to the trailhead
This was a really great family ride with beautiful views, great horses, not so great fishing.  This would also make a great day hike or overnight trip.  I would not suggest taking small children on this ride unless they ride frequently and a hardy in the saddle.  I was so proud of my little ones as they never got scared or tired.  As we were leaving Moose Lake we told Gabe that we were headed back to the trailer and he started crying and said he wanted to keep riding.  Oh and he wanted me to get off his horse!
Wylie and Blacktail Lake
*As a side note, this is not a ride that we take our guests on as we do not have permits to outfit in this area.  This was just a fun ride that we went on as a family and I though you might like to hear about our adventures in North Idaho.

For more information on trail riding at Western Pleasure Guest Ranch, visit:  www.westernpleasureranch.com