Dunrovin Lifestyle Magazine
First Hatched Chick in 2017, Honk Takes Flight Against a Clear Blue Sky . Photo by John Schoen
September/October 2017: Flying Away And Welcoming Fall
This fall has been both totally welcomed and totally unplanned. The horrendous Lolo Peak fire turned our late summer and early fall upside down. Much of our Dunrovin Ranch business was canceled as people fled from the smoke and heat. This opened up other opportunities; but it did put me behind on this magazine - hence the combined September/October issue.
Hobie Hare reminds us that for many wildlife species, autumn is a time to prepare, store food, and put on fat for the rigors and deprivations of winter. Montana's whitebark pine cones are high in fat and nutrition, which makes them a food of choice for animals and birds both large and small - from massive grizzly bears to tiny chickadees.
Kelli Kozak has earned the title of Goddess Kelli from our D@D viewers who have noted her complete dedication to all of our animals. No animal receives more TLC from Goddess Kelli than does her off track thoroughbred, Doc. He's big, he's beautiful, he's bold, and he's something of a closet softy. But most of all, he's high maintenance. Luckily, Goddess Kelli loves every minute of it.
Recently Dunrovin Ranch hosted a Fire Medicine retreat in collaboration with Spirit Dance Equine Assisted Coaching to acknowledge the emotions, fears, and disruptions that Montana's horrific fire season has brought to all who live here. Something of a skeptic with respect to ceremonies and group sessions, I found myself reaping benefits that I did not anticipate.
For years it has been my habit to carefully watch the shoulders of Lolo Peak to see the first hints of gold as the larch turn color. Riding to Carlton Ridge has been an autumn treat; and while the smoke filled our valley I worried and worried about it. Did the fire destroy that ancient unique forest? And the answer is yes (in part) and no (the best survived).
Moon blindness is the layman's term for equine recurrent uveitis (ERU). It is the leading cause of blindness in horses. Our beautiful little pony, Bonnie, has been blind for years from it. Chinook has just been diagnosed with it, and faces a very different future because of it. Our hopes for him are guarded. Our commitment to him is unwavering.
A recent viewer's comment saying that she was appalled by our inflicting the pain of hot branding on our horses caught me by surprise because that's not what we do. We use the pain-free method of freeze branding; and I am happy to explain the process and the reasons I believe it to be in our horses' best interest.
The Osprey Season Ends
It's the same story each year. Those of us who are addicted to life at the osprey nest are filled with both joy and sadness as we watch the fledglings depart on their first migration journey. We want to go with them. We want to follow their adventures across the continent as they make their way to their winter homes, most likely somewhere along the Gulf of Mexico.
Thanks to a photo taken by Cheri Lynn Soileau in Louisiana in mid October, 2017, we have proof positive that Honk is thriving along the Gulf of Mexico!
One of our ardent viewers, Terry Kiley, has written a lovely stoem - or story/poem - in honor of the Dunrovin ospreys' 2017 summer.
Os-Days at Dunrovin
When the season began
Hope was carried for three
Called Honk, Hero, and Hoot
We prayed all would fly free
These words are the story
Of the wonder of you
Of a little one lost
And the blessing of two
Out and About Western Montana
Longtime friends who have been at my side for the rigors of graduate school and the isolation of living in a far-away, harsh, and at times dangerous place like Alaska, hold a very special place in my life and heart. What a great pleasure to have them gather for a long weekend at a Forest Service cabin and ride the mountain trails - in spite of the smoke that altered, but did not destroy, our fun.
Spotlight on Living with Challenges
As the saying goes about life, "no one gets out alive." Challenges are an inevitable part of every living creature's time on earth. Aging, whether we are a dog, a horse, or a person, seems to invite new aches and pains and limitations that can seriously challenge our quality of life - or NOT! One of the best parts of aging is perspective. Life experiences have taught us that it is not so much the specifics of each new challenge that pops up in front of us that counts, it is how we choose to address it. Animals seem to understand this all along. They seem to think less about it and simply get on with the business of adapting.
Some years ago an older woman who was once a rider came to Dunrovin hoping to get back in the saddle. She worked hard to retrain her muscles and increase her endurance. Then she joined us on a back-country trip. Several times she fell trying to get on her horse. Each time I offered her a hand, she would say with a twinkle in her eyes, "I just need a higher stool." My dog, Jewel, and I now need higher stools. May we use them with twinkles in our eyes.
Our lovely little Shetland pony, Bonnie, has been totally blind for years. Her left eye hurt so much, we had it removed. She and her son, Clyde, were given to us by a kind and generous family lacking the resources to care for her moon blindness. As she lost her sight, Clyde became her eyes, guiding her to water and hay. Now that Chinook has also been diagnosed with moon blindness, I hope to teach him to let my voice be his eyes so that we can continue to ride the trails together should he, too, go blind.
Getting to Know Danica
Danica Winters is a bestselling romance and mystery author for Harlequin who came to Dunrovin via the Montana Festival of the Book. She loved Dunrovin's story and decided to incorporate elements of it into a series of four books called the Mystery Christmas Series which are set at Dunrovin. Her first book in the series was released this past August, with an additional book coming out each month thereafter. Many of our D@D members have already begun to read the first one, Ms. Calculation, in the series and are eagerly anticipating the next ones.
All of this has brought Danica to Dunrovin Ranch for various events to promote her books and their relationship to Dunrovin. She has been a pure delight. As we have gotten to know her, we have come to recognize her dedication to empowering women - and with her it is personal. Her own life history has deeply embedded in her the desire to ensure that women find and use their own voices.