The Smoky Mountains

On the last day of August, as the sun had just begun to rise over the shadowy tops of the trees, my family and I departed for a two-week adventure: our second ever road trip to Florida!

Unfortunately, Day One of our adventure did not go quite as planned. We tried to get a prepaid phone plan in the US, but it was a four-hour ordeal that ended in two of our phones unable to be unlocked; we were unable to call Canada despite being told we could; and we quickly discovered that although we could text to Canada, no one from Canada could text us without being charged. The good thing was that, even though only two of our four American SIM cards could be used at a time, we did have 4GB of data to last us the duration of the trip (spent mainly on navigating and finding food and ice cream through Google Maps), so it worked out in the end. Mostly.

With our spirits still high, we managed to travel through four states that day: Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Mom and Dad fell asleep in the backseat while I drove, and Mal and I made some joke about watching out for caterpillars when we saw a sign that said “Keep your eyes on the road.” Then we started actually seeing lots of little fuzzy black and orange caterpillars crossing the highway! I tried to steer away from the little blobs inching across the road. So, then of course we had to joke around about if I were to accidentally swerve off the road into the ditch trying not to hit the caterpillars, and that when Mom and Dad woke up, the conversation would go something like this:

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My thoughts exactly! We went to the Olive Garden for supper. Their “forks” only had 3 prongs!

Them: What happened?
Mal: There was a wildlife and we swerved to avoid it.
Them: What kind of wildlife? How big was it?
Mal: Uh…not that big. It was…a caterpillar…

We didn’t swerve by the way. I’m not that dumb. But then we ended up having a 23km range left on the gas tank, with (according to the GPS) 27 km to the nearest gas station. It’s not my fault!!! My mom’s car has some sort of fancy technology that I don’t know how to use. xD We made it though.

We spent our first night in Connecticut at a lovely Holiday Inn. They had the most amazing cinnamon buns for breakfast! We drove all day on Day Two, passing through five more states–New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, West Virginia, and Virginia. We went to one of our favorite American restaurants, Denny’s, for supper, and it was attached to a little convenience store. I started talking to Mal about the taffy sitting on one of the shelves, but when I turned around it was someone else standing behind me, and he had wandered away. xD So I guess I talk to myself now, and people think I’m crazy. Oh well, I always wanted to be a fruit loop in a bowl of cheerios!

On Day Three, September 2nd, we crossed the Tennessee border for the first time ever! We drove to Gatlinburg and stopped at an information center, where I bought a Smoky Mountains postcard and decided to start a collection of postcards; I’ll get one everywhere we go and put them all in a book!

We drove along the Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail toward the Smoky Mountains. It was a beautiful road, surrounded by trees with little glimmers of sunlight flickering through the bright green leaves. We stopped at a walking trail called the Rainbow Falls trail. We contemplated whether we had enough time before dark to walk the trail, because it was 5.2 miles round trip and it was getting late, but in the end we decided to do it. We saw some lovely views of waterfalls, the mountains through the trees, and paths that went along the edges of hills. It turned out that we were actually climbing the whole way up the trail, but the waterfall at the top was beautiful and shimmered in the glow of the departing sun, and the climb was really fun and definitely worth it! We made it back to the car just as the sun was setting—I think it took us 2.5 hours total.

From there, we drove toward Nashville but stopped for the night about an hour away in Cookeville. We decided that Mom must be really tired, because we had this conversation on the way and she almost died laughing!

Mom: Shouldn’t you be in the other lane?
Mal: Well, I was passing that guy.
Mom: What guy? That guy way up there, directly in front of you?
Mal: Yeah, but then he noticed me. You have to be sneaky when you pass people, or they’re like ‘Oh no, I’m gonna lose the race! I better floor it. Then I’ll put my brakes on when I’m ahead because I don’t want to go TOO fast!’

The worst thing is, that happened way too often!! I am starting to appreciate Canadian drivers, and we all know what goes on on Canadian roads from watching Canada’s Worst Driver…right? Well, American drivers might be worse…yee. (No offense if you are a driver in either of our countries. I’m sure all you guys out there are awesome drivers who would never intentionally go faster while someone is trying to pass you, move over into the passing lane right in front of him, and then brake while staying in the passing lane, even though there are no other vehicles around for miles!)

And there ends the first chapter of our perfect trip. Road trips with family are the best—tons of road trip snacks, listening to good music, laughing about dumb stuff, and getting so tired you laugh about even more dumb stuff! What more could one ask for?

This Moment

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This Moment ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – expelling no words – capturing a moment.
Inspired by barnraised and originally inspired by SouleMama.

Black Princess

Everybody always tells me how expressive Destiny is. It’s so true. She says so much without having to say a word. The placement of her ears and her facial expressions tell a lot, in my opinion even more so than a lot of other horses. She is such a special girl. I love her more than words can say. <3 She is truly an Arabian.

Some people try to tell me “oh, she’s not an Arabian. Look at her. She doesn’t look like an Arabian, so she isn’t.” Some pictures I have of her, I agree, you can hardly see any hint of Arabian in her. I’ve even had people ask me if she’s a Quarter Horse. However, she’s a purebred Arabian, and at certain angles or when she gets excited, you can really see it. Her registered name is Aswad Ameera, which is Arabic for “black princess.” To me though, she’s more ‘golden’ than black, and I think of her more as an angel than a princess. ;) It’s probably the Polish influence in her that makes people think she isn’t an Arab; Polish Arabians tend to be slightly stockier than your typical Arabian and have larger hooves and maybe even less of a ‘dish’ in their noses.

Our 7th Anniversary

Yesterday was the day I first met Destiny 7 years ago. I can’t believe it’s been so long! Each and every one of those years has been special because of her. :)

I’ve been riding her the last few days, and she’s been so good! When she first was put with Molly, she never wanted to leave Molly’s side and would cry and prance around when I took her out riding or in the barn out of sight. She’s come a long way from that. When I bring her in the barn now, she doesn’t neigh at all and simply stands there, quiet and calm, with her head lowered (even though Molly’s always running around in the pasture calling for her). I can take her out on trails as well, and she’s fine being away from Molly. I’m so proud of my girl. :’)

She has a bit of mud fever on her right hind leg, which is surprising because it’s been so dry lately, so I’ve been tending to it every day and hopefully it’ll go away soon! She’s been such an angel about it.

Happy 7th Anniversary Des! <3

It’s getting warmer!

The last few days have been absolutely beautiful. Summer is well on its way! I love the spring when it starts getting nicer out; it’s the perfect time to go for walks and to go exploring. Friday morning was hot and sunny, and Jacob and I went to one of my favourite places in town: a little pond a short walk alongside some train tracks. It was so peaceful and quiet, a perfect start to the day before I had to go to work later in the afternoon. :)

There’s still ice on the water, but it’s melting and it was warm enough that I had to take off my sweater! We sat on the grass next to the water for a few minutes, and I was tempted to dip my feet in it, but I ran my hand through it and it was still a little chilly so I decided not to. Not yet anyway. xD Maybe in a month…

I was also driving down a dirt road recently, and I slightly bottomed out on a small lump of what I thought was melting snow.
Jacob: You shouldn’t have driven over that.
Me: I didn’t think it was solid.
Jacob: *looks at me like I’m crazy or something* It was a rock.
Me: Oh.

xD I’m looking forward to seeing what fun things I’m going to end up doing this summer. Last summer was an epic adventure. Hopefully this year will be the same. Of course, I’m looking forward to my August camping trip as always. I’m going to request time off work for that soon. This will be my 10th year in a row going! I’m hoping Mal and Jacob will be able to come with me again too. We have many plans. >:D My mom already claimed she isn’t coming along this year, but I always seem to convince her to come anyway, so we’ll see how that goes. xP

Facts About Destiny

I thought I’d share a few random facts about Destiny. I’ve spent more than 6 years getting to know this girl, and she’s something special, that’s for sure. :)

  1. She’s a purebred Arabian, with mostly Egyptian, Crabbet, and Polish influences. Her lines go back to Arabs such as Red Tape, Ansata Ibn Halima, and Nazeer.
  2. Her sire is black and her dam is chestnut. Because Destiny is bay, I was able to figure out her genetics. Basically, she’s heterozygous for black, bay, and chestnut bases; or in other words, depending on a stallion’s genetics, she could produce pretty much any colour of foal.
  3. She is allergic to oats, soy, and wheat (and borderline allergic to carrots). So, she is allergic to most horse feeds. She won’t eat beet pulp, so now she’s just on a supplement for vitamins. It’s a good thing she’s an easy keeper and keeps her weight during the winter!
  4. She loves apples, sugar cubes, molasses, and candy. But she won’t touch bananas.
  5. She has a single black ermine spot on her right hind leg, on the inside, right above the hoof.
  6. She’s been barefoot since I got her about 6 and a half years ago and has never gone lame.
  7. She has 2 whorls (swirls) on her forehead.
  8. She is very respectful and easy to work around. She’s great with the farrier and vet, takes wormer easily, picks up her feet, trailers well, etc. She’s very sensitive so it’s easy to move her. Most of the time, I just have to think about what I want her to do and she’ll do it.
  9. She likes to chew on things. I can’t leave any wood edges in the barn or she’ll have them gnawed down to nothing. She also has a tendency to gently nibble on my coat sleeve or my hat if I’m wearing one…
  10. She’s 12 years old, but her teeth suggest she’s older. I have her papers to prove her age though and my friend (who owned her before me) knew her since she was a yearling.
  11. She goes bridleless.
  12. She listens just as well to a snaffle bit as to a rope halter as to a regular halter.
  13. She doesn’t neckrein. But I can lead her from the ground by her mane or by using a rope around a neck, or I can put my hands over her head and use them as a halter.
  14. She was born in 2005, the same year I started taking riding lessons.
  15. She was neglected for the first year or so of her life; then my friend’s sister started working with her and eventually bought her.
  16. She is about 15 hands high.
  17. She has never been bred, but I have considered breeding her in the past.
  18. She trips over things I ask her to step over, yet she’s actually quite sure-footed and can hop around on 3 legs while I try to teach her to lie down on command. -__-
  19. She’s built just slightly uphill.
  20. Her sire is a reining horse.
  21. She can be spirited when she hasn’t been worked in a while, but usually she’s rather quiet and even acts a bit lazy. But she’s fairly flightly and definitely not a beginner’s horse.
  22. Her neigh sounds quite masculine.
  23. She gets lonely when she’s not with other horses, but she usually prefers to be a bit apart from the herd when she’s turned out with more than one other horse. Two horses she’s gotten along particularly well with over the years were Monte (bay Anglo-Arabian colt) and Daisy (dark bay Hanoverian filly). She likes Molly too.
  24. Some people have asked me if she was a Quarter Horse, because she has a bit of a stockier build than your typical Arabian. I think it’s the Polish influence; it makes her legs thicker, her hooves larger, etc.
  25. If I lose my balance when I’m riding her and fall forward onto her neck, she slows down and waits for me to catch my balance.
  26. She has a smooth, floating trot.
  27. She has a great “whoa.”
  28. She gets quite fluffy during the winter. <3 I try not to blanket her unless she’s cold.
  29. She’s turned out 24/7 except during bad storms. She and Molly do better outside because there’s less dust. They have access to shelter at all times though.
  30. Her nicknames are Des, Desi, Desirei, Pony, and sometimes DezziWezzie. :3