Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Traumhof Trips

In late January, Johnny responded to Kevin's plea for help with various projects at Traumhof, the dressage horse boarding and training facility that they own and Jessica manages. Johnny worked up there for a week on various projects... and took photos of some of them...

He fixed a drippy sink faucet...

 ...installed a garbage disposal in Jessica's sister Sarah's new condo

...installed a closet door in Sarah's condo...

...repaired the 1985 dump truck my dad had given Kevin and Jessica many years ago... it's still running and in constant use...

...repaired a check valve  by using a carved down chopstick and a safety pin...

...and lots more.

 He also ate very well and went to a very fancy movie theater.

Meanwhile, back on the farm, I trimmed all 3 horses' hooves, clipped the milking goats' udders, and started on hoof trimming of all the goats. I also harvested the last of the carrots and onions and potatoes now that the ground had finally thawed and cleaned up flower beds. I did not take photos of any of that.

One week after Johnny's return, (after I had finished most all the hoof trimming... and my monthly column for United Caprine News and started on the "jungle room" project... more about that another time), I drove to Traumhof to watch grandson Ian play the lead in all three of his school's performances of Neil Simon's comedy, "Fools".  Ian was amazing. His school's drama teacher is amazing. The play was well staged and funny. Everyone thought Ian's performance was terrific. I told everyone who would listen that I was Ian's grandma... Ian's very proud grandma.

I took no photos of the play but stole this one off Jessica's facebook page of all of us after the opening night performance.

left to right: friend and "titular grandma" Bonnie, Jessica, Ian, friend Gary, me, Kevin, friend Susan

I also got to watch Jessica ride her schoolmaster Lily in a riding lesson. Jessica is a wonderful rider. I cannot even imagine being able to ride like that. 4th level dressage test, here they come!

Although I did not do plumbing or carpentry or electrical repairs at Traumhof, like Johnny had done, I did prune plants and cleaned up the greenhouse. I did not take photos of any of that. What I *did* take photos of, though, was the Christmas village and tree still up in their living room. I am so glad it was still up for me in February. Every night I turned on the lights. It was lovely.

I took lots of photos of the village. I love the detail with wee birds in trees, rabbits and squirrels on the ground... and horses!

On Saturday, I visited Jessica's sister Sarah in her lovely, new condo, but I did not do any work as Johnny had done. I just admired the view, the spacious condo, and her cats. Here is a photo Johnny took of the window shades (rolled up) that he installed while there. You can see the cat tree and some of her view. There were swans flying by when I was there.

I left Sunday morning anticipating meeting my cousin Sharon at her apartment in Longview on my way home, as we had planned. However, when I arrived, she was not there. I finally reached her by phone... in the hospital!  Thankfully, she is home now and getting more of the help she needs. But on Sunday, I didn't know what was going on and was pretty upset not knowing, so I decided to get off the freeway at Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge and walk out my anxiety while birdwatching.

Alas, I had never been to Ridgefield NWR before and got lost. As I hit a dead end, there in front of me, behind a messy wire fence, was Mt. St. Helens... big and beautiful. So I rolled down my car window and took a photo.

On my next attempt I took a different road out of the round-about (Washington is full of round-abouts) and arrived at the refuge in lovely warm and sunny weather. In the marshy distance were hundreds of swans... far, far away. My camera helped bring some closer.

 The nature trail that is open year round had informative signs along it. I took photos of a few. I liked this over-400-year-old oak tree.

At another point on the trail was a Red-breasted Sapsucker, busily pecking on a branch... so busy that it was tough getting a photo of his head.

Relaxed, I drove on homeward. It was good to see Johnny and my animals again. Rain and wind had kept Johnny busy while I was gone. The plastic protecting what's left of the old barn, or rather its lumber contents, had been ripped off.

And the one wall left standing was now flat on the ground.

The torrential rains of the last few weeks had eroded the dam and left gaping holes.

Gaping, deep holes...

Since I drive over the dam every morning in my EZ Go to load up the manure I clean each day out of the horse barn, Johnny put a piece of plywood over the holes. Works for now.

The day after my return, Monday, February 13, was a lovely, sunny day... so we climbed Spirit Mountain. It was our 50th wedding anniversary. That story next time.

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