Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.



After showing you so many burnt trees in a recent post, I thought I should show the positive side of things too.

Driving past these trees, a blur of yellow and a smattering of snow in the firs reminded me that autumn was nearly finished. It was just a matter of days before the poplar (?) leaves came down.

In the higher elevations, wind, weather, and possibly some road work crew meant the dormancy or death of some trees.

Trees [5]

Trees [1]

Some of the white-barked trees were clinging to the last leaves. Birch, poplars, aspen? I’m not sure, but these are all trees with whitish bark.

Trees [4]

Back in Montana, this stand of trees reminded me of when I’ve spilled the pack of lettuce seeds and a whole clump of them grew in a bunch, crowding each other so none can do well. It also looks like a football team in a huddle.

Trees [6]

The horses don’t mind it. The thick stand of trees probably acts as a good windbreak.

Trees [7]

In southern BC, along the Hope-Princeton Highway, a tree has taken the shape of a bear – a grizzly by the look of his dished skull and the hump on his back. I believe the park was closed when we drove by (in October), but it would be a wonderful place to hike (if you aren’t afraid of bears … which I am).

Manning Park



Kladrubers and Other Horses

Kladrubers have been  bred on the national horse breeding farm, Kladruby nad Laben, in the Czech Republic, for nearly 400 years. Originally bred as carriage horses for the German/Austrian royal House of Habsburg, this breeding line of  horses  was founded in 1579 by Rudolf II. Considered rare, the breed has survived with new blood being added from other fine lines from Spain and Italy.

The horses come in white (grays) and black and share some bloodlines with the famous Lipizzaner horses.

One of the main uses for the Kladruber was as a carriage horse for royalty. The white ones were preferred for happy occasions while the black were used for sombre occasions such as funerals.

The Kladrubers are put outside every day for their health and exercise.

At  Pardubice (which is not too far from the Kladruby breeding farm), a steeplechase event  was first held in 1874. The course has been changed several times  over the past 144 years with improvements in mind each time.  The Kladrubers, being bred for use as carriage horses, are not racing in the steeplechase, but in the photo below, they are making a drive-by appearance as a sideshow for the main race.


Digital Camera

Some facts about Kladrubers:

They have been bred for over 400 years.

A fire in 1757 destroyed about 200 years’ worth of breeding records.

Much of the breed was destroyed in the 1930s when they were killed for food. (What a horror that is.)

Since then the breeding program has brought the numbers of Kladrubers up again.

They are still used by royalty for their carriages, and public ceremonies.

The Swedish police has used them for special occasions.

Kladrubers are used by the Danish royalty.

The Czechs sent a breeding pair of Kladrubers  to Britain’s William and Kate as a wedding gift.

The white Kladrubers are only seen at the breeding farm at Kladruby, while the blacks are bred at Slatinany.


And now for the steeplechase, a variety of horse breeds, not Kladrubers, are running this race.

Digital Camera

You can see in the photo below, that the horse on the right is having second thoughts about jumping the obstacle in front of him. I don’t blame him! A broken leg could end it all.

Digital Camera

And off they go for another round.

Digital Camera

The photos were taken by friends who live within driving distance of this area, using a small camera, not with a blog post in mind. I appreciated the photos and information about their trips to the Kladruber farm and the steeplechase in nearby Pardubice.

While searching for more info about the Kladruber horses, I came across a blog that has amazing closeups of Kladrubers. If you are interested, please visit.  http://www.tresbohemes.com/2017/02/kladruber-czech-horses-of-emperors-and-kings/

Their post is wonderful.



American Paint Takes a Nap

“Is that a rock or a horse lying down out there?” the Captain asked.

I zoomed in with my camera for a better look. “I think it’s a horse.”

“Get your camera ready and I’ll whistle. If it’s a rock, it won’t move.”

Up came the head just enough for me to know it wasn’t a rock.

“What’re YOU looking at?” it seemed to say.


“What’s up? I was having such a good nap.”dscn6956

“Oh bother. Now I have to get up and make sure I don’t miss anything. It could be people with carrots.”dscn6957

“Stretch those legs. First to the back….”dscn6958“Then to the front….”
dscn6959“Oh phooey! No carrots. Just another tourist with a camera.”dscn6960

“Guess I’ll just have to eat ‘wee-heehee-heeds,'”dscn6975


Dust Unto Prairie Dust

Today, I let my imagination run wild over some of the photos I took in beautiful Montana. Bear with me while I make up the silliest story possible to go with my photos.

Dust Unto Prairie Dust

A man and his wife and their adult son lived way out in the prairies. And I mean WAY out. The lonely house stood sheltered by Russian olive trees which acted as windbreaks to slow down the constantly blowing prairie wind and eased the blast of the winter blizzards.


The farmer and his son went out to work the land one day. To take the boredom out of the job, they made a bet as to who would last the longest without stopping.

The son wanted nothing more than to show his father that he was tough and could outlast his old man.

The father wanted nothing more than to show the young whippersnapper who still wore the pants in the family (which was odd because they were both wearing pants).

They each hitched up a horse to their two-wheeled ploughs and sat on the metal seat. The blades underneath turned over the soil while they urged the horses on to drag the contraptions around the fields. The early morning chill soon steamed off them as the sun rose higher in the sky. The young man had ploughed faster than his father but not as deeply. Perhaps it was the extra weight of the father’s beer belly that caused the blade to sink deeper into the ground.Whatever the reason, both horses were sweating: one with having to go so fast and the other with having to pull harder through the soil.

Under the noonday sun, the father’s face become redder. Beads of sweat collected on his forehead and soaked into the collar of his shirt. The young man had hardly broken out in a sweat. The only sign of him tiring was when he wiped his hands on his jeans now and then before gripping the reins tighter.

When they were nearly getting heatstroke and the horses were puffing and blowing, the father was about to give in. After all, he had proven himself over the years and he was tired of this juvenile game. He’d like to go home and have a cool beer and a slice of homemade bread with butter.

“Okay, you win,” he called to his son.

“I know,” the little snot called back. “I’ll race you back to the house.”

They snapped the reins on the horses’ backs and took off with the blades raised up. Heading back towards the house, the horses were dying for a drink of water and, given free rein, naturally, they took off “like a horse to the barn.” Did they care that they had a plough hitched to them as they stepped down into a drainage ditch and back up the other side? No, they did not. Father and son flew off the plough seats and landed in a heap of rocks. The horses had a drink of water from the ditch by the side of the road and then munched grass all the way home.

Seeing the horses in the yard, the wife came out to the fields looking for her two fools. When she found them dead, she pulled out a gently used hankie and dabbed a few tears away. She stopped short and sniffed as a revelation came to her. She was free! She piled the stones over their dead bodies and ran home to pack her suitcase. She coaxed one of the tired horses to take her to the train station. Then she boarded the train and got the hell out of Dodge.


The grass grew high around the gateposts but nobody cared because there was no one to care for miles around. No one lived there anymore, no one came to visit, and no one had a car or truck anyway. And certainly no one had a lawnmower.


Years later, the postlady still comes to deliver the mail. Way in the distance comes her car, but she always drives past the yellow house and its weird mailbox leaving the same thing every time – just a cloud of lonely prairie dust.



Dreams in the Mist

Yesterday was Emma’s first time to visit the beach. The fog and mist hovered over the water and close to shore, but that’s typical on BC’s West Coast.


Emma looks so funny with her ear flopped backwards over her head, but I thought how sweet and innocent she is, that she’s not at all aware of how she looks. The word “guileless” comes to mind.


And because she is not one to sit still very long, she asks, “What are we going to do now?”


Just then two girls come strolling up the beach towards us. They must be investigated.But first let’s watch and wait to make sure they won’t harm us.


We wander down to the other end of the beach where the grasses try to grow. They are continually washed over when the tide comes in. It must be a type of grass or seaweed that is used to living in salt water.

037I love the look of this kind of picture. Would love to paint it if I had the talent.


We are about to leave when a lady and her horse arrive at the far end of the beach. It’s foggy and I’m using my zoom, so the photo comes out exactly how it looks in real life – foggy and unclear – but I can’t resist posting the horse pictures anyway.


Seeing the horse and rider put the finishing touch of magic on our trip to the beach. Reminds me of a song by Heart, “These Dreams,” where she sings about a wood full of princes, and dreams in the mist.


Perhaps she’s riding into the woods to look for her prince. (She may find a frog. It would be a start….)