Guest Schenanigans

Okay okay, so I’m two weeks late…and every day that I don’t press upload on a new post I get more and more late!  Terrible.  On the plus side, I had thought I was three weeks late, so hell, I’m doing better than I’d previously thought.  You all know I have a perfectly valid excuse: house guests absorb a surprising amount of time!  So the summary for this past fortnight is: House sitting the menagerie; quick trip to Minneapolis; exploring shops; ‘hiking’ a canyon; a grave; golden; silks; lions and tigers and bears (oh my); waterfalls; and a ride.  Phew – that is so much that I’ll cut it all off there and will think about this week later…I guess I also managed to get quite a lot of work done with a couple of submissions made, so work wasn’t exactly cruisey either!  Okay – to the start.

So fancy.

Week-before-last I had a whirlwind trip to Minneapolis for the P3 bid.  We were in Minneapolis for all of 26 hours, flew in Monday afternoon and left again on Tuesday evening.  The whole of Tuesday we had a great time reviewing the document for the P3.  It needed quite a lot of work done.  It was all noted, writing assignments were handed about then Mark and I sprinted for the airport.  I was somewhat glad for the whirlwind trip as it meant that I got a night in my bed before I headed over to Michelle’s to house-and menagerie-sit for her while she went off to Alaska for a week.

I got to Michelle’s on Wednesday and was greeted by a desperate-to-pee puppy and a ‘my throat is cut’ horse.  I ran inside, picked up Yankee and threw him outside to pee.  Five minutes of peeing later (poor lad had been inside since something like 0600) we headed out to let Little Miss Chloe out.  Then I started to read all the instructions.  So many instructions for one horse, three chickens, and a dog J  I think I got through them all okay.  Pity there were a couple of missing instructions…like the dog only goes to sleep if you close the bedroom door.  That first night Mr Yankee was not at all wanting to sleep, I guess he’d been inside for a long time and was all out of sorts with this stranger in his house, and then I left the door open as well…every toy made its way into the bedroom and I didn’t get a whole heap pf sleep.  Its okay, I worked out the door closing thing and he sleeps pretty well then.

 Little Yankee with squeaky fox; Little Miss Chloe; and Yankee loving his rawhide bone.

When I went to get Chloe in just before sundown I was walking through the paddock singing to myself (and maybe also to Yankee):

We’re going on a horse hunt, we’re going to catch a big one, I’m not scared, what a beautiful day.
Oh oh, some grass.  We can’t go over it, we can’t go under it, we’ll have to go through it! *swish swish swish swish*

It was simply what came to mind when I was walking through the grass and watching Yankee doing a deer-type jump through it as its all taller than him!  The funniest part – Little Miss Chloe is a miniature horse, really – miniature!  The only way in which we caught a ‘big’ horse is in a rotund manner!  Hehe, she’s a little fatty.


The morning came around and I made a terrible discovery.  As I was waking up the rooster across the way was crowing, so I figured it was time to get up and let out the chickens (and Chloe for a brief munch).  While letting Chloe out I heard a rooster crow, from what seemed like Michelle’s coop.  I hoped it wasn’t but warned Michelle.  The next morning – more crowing.  And it was absolutely one of Michelle’s chickens this time.  Turns out that there is only one hen laying for a reason – because there is only one hen!  Michelle needs to find someone much more adept at sexing chickens whenever she goes to get more.  The one egg per day is quite a nice egg, they’re small, but yummy!  If I were to make a meal of them I’d need about six eggs, but as one to try, yummy.

Two roosters

So when Mum and Steve returned from their adventures in the south-west of Colorado and New Mexico they also came out to Michelle’s.  By then I was almost a well-oiled machine and everything was going super smoothly.  Oh, except the watering…I had managed to miss the requirement to water the sunroom plants every second day, they went three days without water.  I hope they’re all surviving – if they’re not I blame mum, that was her job to bring them back to life, magically, before we left! 😉  So many photos of Michelle’s menagerie, it was good fun looking after them and being out there.  I miss the outside life.  Though the place is in desperate need of a ridable horse.

Saturday morning mum, Steve and I did some shop type exploring.  Steve was flying out in the afternoon so we headed to a few of the local institutions.  Murdochs – where mum got distracted with all the horsey stuff and Steve and I played with the pigs ears and snouts (use your imagination, we didn’t have enough hands for a photo).  Cabellas – where Steve got distracted with all the bows-and-arrows and the guns and mum was boggled by the fish.  Freddy’s – where Steve and I had frozen custard (really just super smooth icecream).  And we popped into the Saddle shop that mum had done all sorts of research on and had decided was one of the super fancy ones that we really had to visit.  While Steve and I ate our frozen custard mum went into the shop.  When Steve and I came in Steve was looking for someone, someone escaped, and despite us being doubled over with laughter they didn’t realise it was a joke.  The funniest part was that the older manageress came over to us and asked if we needed any help, which only increased my laughter.  I told her that I probably should be nicer to my mum.  I guess you had to be there but it was freaking hilarious!  When I took mum back on Monday to have a proper look she was super lucky that none of the workers who were there Saturday were in.  Then I guess we took Steve to the airport, went back to Michelle’s, and plotted Sunday.

Sunday (plotting complete).  Sunday we took young Yankee for a walk.  We headed up to Cottonwood Canyon and only did the half loop.  Turns out the half we did was the long half (sorry mum and Yankee).  It was about four miles.  I’d thought it was more like three.  I think at three miles both mum and Yankee would have been perfectly fine.  At four miles young Yankee was tiring and mum was quite tired.  We spent the afternoon quite quietly, which was certainly well overdue, and really easy to do in that relaxed setting!

The view; the day that broke; the dog looking for mum.

Monday was labor day (note they can’t spell ‘labor’ correctly here, among other things), so I had the day off.  We started with a little walk at Lair ‘o the Bear, mum was impressed with all the parents indoctrinating their very little children to the outside and walking lifestyle.  I was less than impressed as you can imagine.  Then I thought the day was looking pretty clear so we headed to Lookout Mountain and Buffalo Bills Grave.  Good views from there but to the north was quite smoky – I guess they have fires burning up there still.  Every time I go there all I can think about is Bubbalo Bill icecreams!  I wonder if they’re linked in any way.  Then we headed into Golden for a coffee and a stroll around the town.  I haven’t really explored Golden before – note to self: get on that!  I haven’t a clue what we did Monday afternoon, so I guess it was either nothing memorable or photo-graph-able.

Golden is another city with a whole lot of bronze statues.

Tuesday I took the day off, it was mums birthday (happy birthday old girl!).  I probably shouldn’t have because the SOQ was getting close to being due and there was an awful lot of re-writing happening.  But hey, priorities!  So we spent a few hours in the morning packing up all our stuff at Michelle’s then headed home to unpack.  Mum remembered that she was going to visit a silk place so she called them up and made it happen on the fly.  So off we went.  I drove and sat and talked to the dog, I have no understanding nor appreciation of colours or these silk things.  After an hour there, and a big bill, we headed to the wildlife sanctuary in Keenesburg.  Great place that – expensive – but really good set up. They have a host of the big predatory animals – lions, tigers, bears, mountain lions, other big cats, foxes, etc.  All animals that have been pets or circus animals at some stage and there is no chance they could be released so they live in the sanctuary.  Great sort of place that.  On the way home we tried to go to Aussie Bites but it wasn’t open, boooooo.

I think she likes her neti-pot gift more now that she’s tried it some! Steve and I mayhap given her a bit of guff on this one…

The wild life sanctuary.

Wednesday through Friday I had a whole lot of work to do.  They were all long days and late nights.  Back to that I should have worked on Tuesday, serves me right.  Friday night Uma, mum, and I went to Thai for dinner.  I have to say I was super impressed.  All those Asian style meals tend to be Americanised and sweet and not at all hot etc, but this was really quite impressive for here.  Totally wins the day for me.

Saturday Jaclyn, mum, and I set off for St Marys Falls.  When I looked at it I thought it was in the same area as the walk that Michelle, Kat and I did a couple of months ago.  I guess I was distracted because it was the same walk!  Ooops, I didn’t see anything new that time.  It was a good walk for mum and Jaclyn.  Jaclyn is a little unfit after all that recovering from her stroke and all, so we went nice and slowly up the hill – she did great!  Then mum was super cautious on the way back down, bad knee and all.  So it took a fair bit longer than I’d expected but it was a good hike.  We followed it up with a burger at a place that is my new favourite in Colorado Springs, Bingo Burger.  Their schtick is that they’re all local produce etc, and it’s a pretty good burger.  The sweet potato fries left a little to be desired, they were a bit soft, but the burgers were great!

Waterfalls; Jac, me, mum; Jac and I.

Sunday I did something I haven’t for over a year.  We spent six hours on horses.  We headed up to Rocky Mountain National Park and went for a ride with Hi Country Stables up there.  That was pretty good.  I haven’t been to RMNP before, so that was pretty good.  I guess at some stage I need to brave the crowds and visit places like Estes Park and have a good old explore out there.  I wonder whether the area ever has a down time?  I suspect not.  Anyways – to the ride.  Our guide was Travis, a bloke who used to be an ironworker but is in the process of re-defining himself as a farrier and guide.  There were four of us on the ride, two girls from Europe, mum, and I.  The girls were au-pairs from Minnesota who had come camping with a tent but no sleeping bags and no transport and seemed all very disorganized.  Mum was riding a horse called Wiley and I had Olivia.  These horses were decently sized, maybe 15.2hh and rotund!  The stables apparently breeds them or selects them as quarter horses crossed with Clydesdales.  They need to be big strong beasts to clamber up that hill and back down.  We were only allowed to walk the entire way (sensible for 90% of it while going up and down big hills with some gnarly rocks), though we managed to get a little trotting in there.  I was on the end of the line so I saw a heck of a lot of horses arse.  The lake was really pretty – Fern Lake – where we ate our lunch.  If we’d had more time we could have gone into Odessa Lake where there was apparently a moose hanging out.  Alas no moose for us, but we did see an elk on the way down and a group of Turkeys on the road.  Long but good day.

The sun on a far peak; an easy part of the trail; the home base.

A waterfall along the way; a selfie of Olivia and I; Travis teaching mum to do up a cinch girth.

Kinda like the beach you can see there is a lake just over the hill; stunning; really, could it be more pretty?

And that has been my last two weeks.  I know this is a super late post, but it was also super long (sorry Ben!).  I’ll get started on this week shortly I guess or I’ll be another fortnight behind.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten some stuff, but hell, I’ll either remember and write it down or its lost forever 🙂
Happy Birthday to Leanne!

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