Saturday, June 28, 2008

A Favorite Place, Quartz Creek!

I love Cooper Landing. It is not too far away, less than two hours, (not too many potty stops, and just enough coffee wagons!) and its absolutely stunning there. We have a favorite place, a campground right on Kenai Lake called Quartz Creek.

We decided to take a day trip there, and meet some friends who drove down from Anchorage to spend the day with us. Lucky us, my Mom went along too!

Me and my mom, a terrific team!

I could not believe what a gorgeous day it turned out to be! We have not had the best of luck with our summer weather so far, so we enjoyed this one immensely. The children even went swimming!

Here is little Caleb, a bit cold but still daring!

Chena goes splashing right in!

Happy happy girl!

She needs nothing. Just laying on the beach and reading her book tickles her pink.

View across Kenai Lake.

Cutie pie Penelope in her too-short bathrobe as a swim cover-up. Works great! Dries fast!

The children had fun playing with Dandelion. We put her pen near the shore, so she could be safe but could bark at the waves and dig in the sand, and get nice and wet and dirty. She loved it!Yep Mom, keep working on that crossword puzzle. I am sure the kids, puppy, and my constant interrupting to visit with you won't slow you down one bit! And besides, who cares what a five letter word for "chaos" is?

Is it even possible to drive through Soldotna at dinner time and not stop by Taco Bell? My car turns in there as if on auto-pilot! Mom and Chena Danae:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Dandelion is a basket case

This little dog is so much FUN! We have been enjoying her so very much, she fits in so well with our eight other pets. She and Pluto have been keeping it real with some sibling love and a bit of wild chasing and competition for toys too.

This is Dandelion after a nap. So sleepy I can stick her in a basket and get mostly cooperation. She won't fit in this much longer! She is quite a bold little thing, and when she wants to play..look out. No time for snuggles, there is adventure out there!Photobucket

She kind of wanted to bite the basket a bit
Is there any action over there?Photobucket

Hmmm, how did I get in here again?
Well, maybe just a quick nap before I jump out. Its kind of cozy......

Photobucket Penelope, you are my hero. If you get me out of here you will get more kisses like this one!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Lots of Babies!

Moose babies, that is.

We had a fantastic and exciting Father's Day, and one we shall never forget, at the Moose Research Pens.

We drove two hours, one of them on a bumpy gravel road, but it was well worth it. After a long road trip, we passed through four steel gates and were inside the moose pens! We had been invited by a friend who works for Fish and Wildlife, to come and meet some special friends of his.

Here are four of these little guys:


div>When we arrived, we met all six orphans; Nugget (she was from Nome), Volga, Beverly, Jose, Uri, and Minneapolis "Minnie". We were amazed by their instant snuggling up to us, bold kisses, and absolute lack of fear. In fact, I have never been mauled more by a litter of puppies! They were just that, a pack of leggy fuzzy puppies who just happen to be the largest members of the deer family, and who just happen to be wild animals. But don't tell them that, because they certainly would reject the notion, or just be too busy licking our ears to notice any logic directed their way. They sat on our laps, chased us around the pen in a merry game of tag (who needs Spain and the running of the bulls?) nibbled on our coats, sucked on our fingers, gave "kisses" and lay contentedly in one big pile of furry softness as the girls nestled in with them. Yep, an unforgettable experience. For all of us.

I was one happy girl, with all of that baby sweetness around me! Here I am, trying to make them take turns with kisses and wild affection!


Michael got his share of moosey lovin too...........


Penelope and Minnie, taking a snooze in the moss.

Chena and Beverly!

Penelope loves Jose!


Little Nugget, from Nome:

Hey, those are EMPTY bottles, and that one isn't even YOURS!

The girls teach the babies how to eat browse.They are learning how to pull leaves off of the branches. They mostly wanted to pull at the girls' sleeves......


What a fun day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We talked all the way home about the babies, their individual personalities, and how much we enjoyed our time with them. I am pretty sure we will return soon, to see how they are growing and changing.

And of course, speaking of cute babies....our Dandelion went with us today. Here she is in a rare moment of holding still, after chasing leaves in the woods

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Chena's Horse Camp

So for the third summer, it was off to horse camp for Chena. This time, however, she had been given permission to attend the older girls' advanced camp. It was exciting, and yet scary for mom! She was the second youngest camper, with most girls ages 13-17.
To make it even more of an adventure, she was taking her new horse, our Thoroughbred mare, Winter's Whisper. Every other year she had taken our Quarab gelding, Summer. And...she had always ridden Western..but this year decided to ride English. That meant different tack, different instructor, different riding style. Well, as you can see, different everything! But we were up to the challenge!
Here she is, ready to go! See her horsey stationary, tucked into her duffle bag? I just thought that was cute. (hope she does not read this..heh heh)
Loving up on her horse...or just plain tuckered out! They rode between 30-35 hrs while at camp. And with 33 campers, it was pretty busy and crazy!

She had a great riding instructor, who taught her how to work with Whisper to bring out her full potential. Chena had never ridden English on Whisper before, and had never jumped on her. But she listened intently and applied all that she was taught, and her focus never wavered. And here she goes!


Photobucket Photobucket
pardon the horse head from nowhere...needed to resize the picture! :)

She learned to trust her horse to carry her up and over the jumps. It was a leap (pun intended) for both of them! It was very exciting to watch, but as a careful mom, my heart seemed to stop until she was landing safely on the other side of teh barrier. But beautiful!

Photobucket Here she is with a blue ribbon for her jumping!

The campers learned to show their horses, go on tough trail rides, (crossing rivers..eek) do basic vet care, run barrels and poles, work cows, do the quartering system for showmanship, braid rope reins, evaluate registered breeds, play games on horseback, ride bareback, do ground work, and oh much more!

Mom learned how to sleep in a bunk house with 33 girls (at one point somebody was talking in their sleep, then I heard them say Penelope's was MY Chena doing the talking!) give up on that idea and move into a tent, freeze in said tent, listen to the cows start bellowing at 6 am, listen to the crazed mule tied close to said tent, (and wake up to its big hairy face staring in my tent window when I unzipped it) find the closest coffee wagon and become their best customer, live in dusty clothes, get used to dirt in my teeth, and so much more. I grew to love (ok tolerate) Ninilchik. And I have not even started to tell you about how I stayed for Penelope's camp too! Next
The week ended with a horse show. Here is the Showmanship class. Chena earned a blue ribbon in this.

At the end of the show, I was surprised to hear Chena's name called, as she was asked back into the arena on Whisper. Three riders were chosen to do an exhibition round of jumping, with the jumps raised! She was jumping up and down and saying "Mom! Did you hear my name called???" Mostly, she was jazzed to get back out there and go higher.

When she was finished, I again thought it was over. In fact I was inside the tent, rolling up sleeping bags and stuffing pillows when I heard her name called again. I figured this time she must have forgotten to pay her show fees, or something! But turns out, she earned Reserve Grand Champion English High Point. Which in plain terms means she was the second highest overall for English. She was jumping up and down and so amazed. We had just wanted for she and Whisper to learn to work as a team, and learn to jump together. But they did so much more. It was a proud day for this horse-nutty mama, that is for sure!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Meet Dandelion!

Its been a long time but she was worth the wait! This little Pembroke Welsh Corgi has been a bright spot on our horizon ever since she was just a tiny blur on an ultrasound..and yes, they DO that. The breeder has faithfully been sending us pictures all along, as they grew, where born, grew some more, and were finally ready to come home.

We named her Mavrik's Dandy Little Lion, or "Dandelion".
How cute does cute get? I cannot tell you how fast you can fall in love with a face like that, but pretty darn fast. She is silly, spunky, and all sweetness at the same time. If low-to-the-ground equals adorable, she has that wrapped up too. Her legs are so short she nearly wobbles rather than walks. And when she runs, sometimes her hind end gets there first.
We named her Dandelion, even before we knew how much she loved to pounce on them and wrestle them down with her teeth and fat paws. When we brought her home, we didn't have a single dandelion in our yard. But, lo and behold, overnight they sprang up as if to welcome her home.