Trail rides are a great way to enjoy horseback riding. Especially if you don’t have time, money or facilities to own your own horse. Well kept grounds and large paddocks characterize Jackson Stables. Uniquely located in the YMCA camp complex in Estes Park, CO and right outside Rocky Mountain National Park, it is an ideal spot to begin a trail ride. Confident, well-trained guides pair visitors with well groomed, stout and healthy looking horses. Each with a unique personality and good temperament.
Our guide, Liz, was a friend of my daughter from college, who was working at the stables for the summer. Guests can ride, rain or shine. As a matter of fact, guides are trained to deal with the frequent summer storms. Additionally, horses carry rain slickers for guests. Moreover, several areas are earmarked for waiting out inclement weather. Apparently, the horses are used to such situations. Liz told us that they rarely have a problem during the storms.
My daughter’s ride was Otis, a stunning black and white paint, for the more experienced rider. Not only do horses pick up on nervousness and inexperience but some will also see how much they can get away with. Of course, Otis picked up on her confidence and performed flawlessly.
Likewise, Yak drew Dallas, a slow, deliberate buckskin. His only mischief was grabbing mouthfuls of the tall grass growing alongside the trail.
In contrast, my mount was John. John was in much more of a hurry than anyone else. Apparently, our trail ride interrupted his break. While the first half of the trail was fine, John seemed to sense when I got tired. As a result, he decided to have a little fun with me. Almost before my legs got tired of holding on, seems like his trot became more like a bouncy room. With no padding. After a few trots, John and I came to a compromise and I was able to survive the rest of the ride. I definitely need to ride more often.
For the most part we enjoyed partial cloud cover and temps in the mid-seventies. The trail through Rocky Mountain National Park winds through pine and aspen groves, past streams and waterfalls and along some spectacular view points.
Although Jackson Stables is located in the YMCA camp, YMCA membership is not necessary to use the facilities. The 2-hour ride is $55 per person. They accept credit cards. Tip the guide with cash.
Jackson Stables, Inc.
YMCA of the Rockies Livery
Allen and Julie Jackson, Owners
PO Box 20549
Estes Park, CO 80511
Could you live off-grid without a refrigerator? Susan Gregersen has for over 30 years. She wrote Life Without Refrigeration to share her experiences and tips for preserving food without benefit of a fridge. She explains how bacterial growth and spoilage occur, and why some foods need to be kept cold.
To start with, several chapters address places to keep food cool –
basements and crawl spaces.
She then devotes a chapter to alternative means of preserving food –
With each method of storage or preservation, Ms. Gregersen offers examples of which foods are best suited for that method. I was particularly interested in the dairy and meat suggestions and found some new ideas for dehydrating that I plan to try. Especially cottage cheese and sour cream. Apparently it is possible. As another alternative, she gives information on commercial dried and canned meat, dairy and eggs, and alternatives. Raising meat and dairy animals is also an option.
I have stored food in my unheated workshop for many years with great success. Mostly canned, dehydrated, or dry goods, but also citrus and root veggies, wrapped in newspaper and put in boxes. It is very important to pay attention to signs of spoilage and know what kinds of storage or preservation are safe for the foods you are storing. Also how soon to use them.
Although Susan does not give detailed instructions for the projects offered, they serve as a springboard for ideas to further research.
To sum up, this book is a handy reference guide to all of the above, for the beginner. If you are looking for more advanced storage and preservation methods, such as for meat and dairy, it is a good jumping off point.
I bought Life Without Refrigeration from Amazon, Kindle Version. I did not receive any compensation for this review.
Money Secrets of the Amish, by Lorilee Craker is jam-packed with practical, down-to-earth wisdom from the Plain People. Probably most of us want to stop being slaves to money and start living the good life. The Amish have a reputation for living well on less, consequently, it might help to find out how they do it.
A “worldly” woman with a Mennonite background, Lorilee Craker is in a unique position to connect with the Amish. She introduces us to Amish farmers, housewives and church leaders, coaxing their secrets from them while sharing homemade artisan cheese and fresh garden veggies. As a result, she is able to provide insight for us into how this group of people thrives without credit cards, enormous mortgages, or six-figure incomes.
With amusing anecdotes and real-life stories, the author and her friends go from over-extended to simple and satisfied, all while making it look like common sense.
My grandma and mom endured the Great Depression, so my childhood abounded in these tried and true methods of acheiving abundance with very little. These suggestions have also helped me get back on track when I have foolishly overextended myself.
de-spoiling the kids
how the best things in life really are free
Amish style gift giving
what to and not to buy in bulk
the next best thing to growing your own food
how to barter
Lorilee ends each chapter with her own Amish Money Makeover tips, especially relevant for practical application in a non-Amish life. Money Secrets of the Amish is a great resource, first for rebooting your attitude and outlook on money and possessions. In addition, it provides simple, sensible instructions for putting that reboot into practice. A useful reference for every home library, with links to helpful websites, also.
I bought the Kindle version from Amazon. No compensation was received for this review.
What do you do when water doesn’t run through the pipes? We’re getting lots of practice with that one right now. Most people on city water just turn on the faucet and are rewarded with a pressurized flow. Out in the country and on the road, however, things get a little bit different.
At the Arizona homestead, we haul water and pump it into a 2500 gallon storage tank. From there, it runs through pipes to the water pump, then the pressure tank, and ultimately, the house. Unless a pipe breaks. Or the main valve breaks. Luckily, the main valve broke in the closed position. Unfortunately, the tank was full at the time. Consequently, I have not yet replaced the valve, mainly because that would involve draining all the water. Therefore, at the moment, we are filling jugs from the tank, for use in the house. This begets a whole new, yet old, definition of running water.
Kitchen sink supply:
We have even splurged on a down-home swimming pool:
Still, the tank remains half-full. We’ll get there. Makes for good water conservation practices.
In the mobile homestead when water doesn’t run, due to a dead battery or converter, as is currently the case, we do pretty much the same thing. We just refill our water jugs from the drain valve on the fresh water tank.
Kitchen sink supply:
So all this has me thinking about what we would do at the urban homestead when water doesn’t run. First we would need a water supply. Probably 55 gallon drums. Then the rest would be just as above. We would simply have to train our city family to reuse the gray water for flushing and such. But probably, if it came to it, they would do just fine.
Homestead Blessings is the website of The West Ladies. They also have put together a series of videos by the same name. These gals live a simple life. They are currently building a little cabin and growing most of their own food. They love to share their homesteading skills and expertise and their videos are very educational and entertaining.
These are just a few of the titles in the Homestead Blessings Collection. These DVDs will inspire you and your children to find new joy in homemaking skills and arts. The West Ladies use simple tools and easily obtained supplies for all their projects. Many include printable instruction sheets.
The blog chronicles their life on the homestead. This includes having to relocate last year, and their trials and successes in raising the money to build a tiny cabin on their new place.
In addition to their DVD collection, The West Ladies offer books, music, and artwork.
In the Homestead Blessings Cookbook, the ladies share some of their favorite recipes.
Cecilia has written a children’s book, Bella the Blue Cow Dog.
Vicki invites children of all ages to color in her sketches in her coloring book.
The ladies offer 2 CD’s with traditional, Appalachian songs and original tunes. Their family harmonies are uplifting and soothing.
Vicki also offers her unique sketches as note cards.
In addition to their DVD collection, a number of learning videos can be viewed on the website and YouTube channel. See the West girls in action:
Vicki, Cecilia, Jasmine and Hannah are talented, inspiring women. They are preserving and passing on timeless skills, and living a simple, beautiful life. Check out all the free tips on their website, then get their DVDs for some in-depth how-to for homesteading!