Saturday, January 20, 2018

An Old Fashioned Sleigh Ride

While visiting with my neighbor's mother recently, she shared with  me that she had never been on a sleigh ride.  One is never too old or young to enjoy a sleigh ride, so we picked a day on the calendar that we and several other friends could go, and made plans to enjoy an old fashioned sleigh ride up in the mountains.

What we didn't realize when we planned the sleigh ride
was just how perfect the weather was going to be!  For days we have had nothing but cloud cover. 
And for days after our sleigh ride, more cloud cover and lots of rain. 
But the day that we had chosen to take the sleigh ride
dawned bright, gorgeous, and beautiful!

The sleigh rides are held at a local horse ranch that operates year round. 
Their specialty during the winter months are their sleigh rides that they offer. 
They also have log cabins that can be rented and
horseback riding during the summer months. 
The lodge has a beautiful dining area where several times a  year they have meals
catered to the public along with a live band. It is a delightful venue
to just sit and look out the windows,
or cozy up to the fireplace. 
Fresh flowers in vintage mason jars adorned the "cowgirl" bathroom.

Delightful log cabin style architecture is golden, warm and cozy. 

One could choose to sit outside, but I'm sure this is for the more balmy months of the year. 
Such a lovely view through the hand painted frosty windows. 

Various wild creatures were mounted on the walls, all of which had been hunted on the ranch property. 

After our arrival and check-in, we wandered around the lodge enjoying the lovely ambience of the lodge.

  Soon we were summoned outside and given a wool blanket to stay warm under as we began our ride in the icy sunshine.  Our two horses, Jack and Julie, we were told, were a mix of Belgian and Persian.  Julie was expecting a foal in the spring.  Jack and Julie were perfectly still as we mounted the sleigh. 
The bright blue skies were a delight to see, and we were thrilled to be outside on such a gorgeous day. 

Jack and Julie were patiently waiting for me to stop taking pictures, ha! 

A picture of the sleigh just before we boarded. 

This border collie appeared as if he wanted to follow us on the sleigh ride,
 but must have changed his mind, and decided to watch us instead. 

Soon everyone was boarded, and our wool blankets gathered warmly around us,
and it was time for the sleigh ride to begin. 
The beauty of the forest enveloped us in its embrace as we listened to the singing jingle bells of the horses,
and the rhythmic clip-clop of their feet.  

The quiet forest around us echoed with the sounds of our voices raised in praise to the Lord. 

How did a 30 minute ride pass so quickly! Before we knew it, we were rounding the corner,
and the horses picked up speed when the barn was in sight. 

A view of the lodge

One of the cabins on the property available to rent in the summer months. 

One of fields on the property. 

One of the many barns on the property. 
As we left the ranch, our bellies were in favor of a visit to a local restaurant.  On our drive down the mountain,
we saw this beautiful barn with a barn quilt on it. 
Such a lovely barn quilt, makes me want to have a red barn
so I can hang a barn quilt on it!

A wonderful way to finish up our exciting day was with sandwich and soup at a local restaurant. 

Enjoy this little video I made of some of the clips taken on our sleigh ride together. 

Indeed this sleigh ride was a highlight to our winter here, to get out on such a beautiful day and just enjoy the company of other precious ladies and soak up the serene beauty of the forest to the tune of jingle bells and clip-clops!  It was such a blessing from the Lord that we were given such a remarkable day to do this, because the rest of the week has been overcast, cloudy and rainy.  Isn't the Lord good!  We stand amazed at how He blesses us in ways we didn't even ask!  My neighbor's mother can't stop talking about how much fun she had, and we were all so thankful that we were able to have this day of fellowship together.  :)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

OH, How I love WINTER :)

I know that the title I've chosen will have many of you shaking your heads "no"... and I understand.  However, here in north Idaho, I've learned that winter is here to stay for a large part of the year, and it just helps if you learn to love what is wonderful about it, as it makes the days pass in a more lovely way!  And for me, as someone who sees the beauty around me and wants to capture it with photography, the winter season offers up some of the most beautiful pictures to be taken.

The next morning after our arrival home, the snow was beautiful to see.

My garden in the cold early morning light. 

The sun's rays muted through the heavy cloud cover. 

A walk down to the railroad tracks showed that the trains hadn't been through since the last snowfall. 

Fresh untouched snow... 

Such beautiful light.

Walking through the fresh untouched snow is a delight in itself. 

The ice along the shoreline had begun to freeze over, creating these beautiful wispy shapes.

The light shining on the ice was stunning.

Cold sunshine is beautiful! 
With the coming of the new year, my mailbox has been flooded with seed catalogs of all kinds.
It is fun beginning to prepare and think about spring, seeds, and planting again!

Since my carpal tunnel surgery was successful, I can now cross country ski again!  

The weather hasn't been very cooperative and not the best for cross-country skiing, but still, I
was glad to be out and enjoying the world around me getting just about the best exercise you can get!

The sun came out one glorious afternoon, and dressed the skies in brilliant layers of color.

The railroad tracks had seen some traffic, making walking on them much easier. 

The colors in the skies were magnificent. 

I turned down a side road to see the river, and got to witness the sunset in a beautiful way. 

This picture was so vibrantly beautiful, I sent it into our local newspaper.

It was published the next day on the front page of the newspaper. It truly was a beautiful moment to capture!

This sweet snow princess Miss Riley can't get enough of the snow! It's hard for me to find her still for just a moment to capture a picture, so I was especially pleased to get this picture of her!

Sometimes I take Miss Annie with me on walks.  It is nice walking without a dog on a leash, but we can't do that with her.  I have taught the dogs to sit on the snow berm when a car is approaching, which is what they are doing here. 

I have been walking with ice picks on my boots on these icy roads ... and the views have been spectacular around each
bend and curve of the road. 

A storm was brewing in the west, and brought about 7 inches of new snow.  The night before the storm, the skies put on this show.  The mist from the cooler air met with the brilliance of the skies in a captivating sky thriller! 

The skies down by the river were soft rosy pink when I spotted a chicken hawk up in one of the trees. 

He and I stared at each other for several moments, and I told him I was glad he was down here at the river, and
nowhere near my chickens, even though they are cooped up for the winter. 

The brilliance of the skies was beautiful to see, even as the storm clouds rose in the west, bringing their heavy dump of beautiful snow. 

The day after the snow came, it began to rain... and since it was a rather dreary day, I had an impromptu tea party, just me, myself and I.  It was rather delightful. I dressed up my table with some special goodies. 
My husband had bought a praline for me while we were in Texas, and I saved it for my rainy day, which was today! I lit my favorite candle, also a Texas delight.  This candle is called "Bird of Paradise" made by Circle E candles.  This candle has the most delightful scent of any candle I've ever had. 

I used my teapot that I had found at a thrift store last fall.  The thrift store owner told me that the teapot was very old, but there were no other markings on it to tell us what it was.  I scoured the internet looking for information about this teapot, but could find nothing all this time.  Then, just last week I tried once again, and I found a teapot in the UK which had sold that looked very similar to mine.  I took a chance, and emailed the dealer who sold it and sent pictures of mine.  She was a very kind soul who responded right away to my request and said this, "Your teapot is by Coalport mid Victorian c1860 i would say. Its not overly decorative so may not be desirable by collectors but still nice. It would be worth £40-60. Hope this helps." So it was very nice to now know what kind of teapot I am enjoying, and that it dates back to 1860!  I consider it a fine treasure and joy to own :) 

This 1-second video is just a fun thing I created on Instagram to share a moment of my impromptu tea party.  I've enjoyed being able to share snippets of my life on Instagram.  If you have Instagram, you can look for my screen name "mountaintopspice".  

This year winter has been one of constant change, sometimes rain, sometimes snow, some sun, lots of cloud, lots of ice, and beautiful colors in the skies.  I've enjoyed it all!  Yesterday we had a most beautiful day of brilliant sunshine, and it coincided with plans that we had made before we even knew the weather would be nice.  I'll share with you soon some pictures of our fun outing in the gorgeous sunshine.

Until then, I want to leave you with a special passage of scripture that has blessed me many times.  It is found in a book not often read, but filled with really beautiful imagery.  May the blessings and joy of the Lord be with you today :)

Habbakuk 3: 18-19 
"Yet I will rejoice in the Lord, 
I will joy in the God of my salvation.  
The Lord God is my strength, 
and he will make my feet like hinds feet 
and he will make me to walk upon my high places." 

Edited to add:  A dear friend and blogger shared with me in the comments below that her son who pastors in Fort Collins, CO today also shared his thoughts about this same verse!  Perhaps you would like to read it as well, you may find that post here at Not All Minds that Wander are Lost.  Thanks PomPom for coming back to share this with me!