Tuesday (October 11) To my delight, another glorious fall day! Good/bad news as it meant no tour guide again, but how can you not enjoy a gorgeous fall day in such and spectacular setting?
Monique and I did a bit of clean up and some much-needed laundry and then decided to play tourists.
We drove down to the edge of Lac Champlain and grabbed some photos, before detouring through town to see some sights and visit an old, covered bridge.
The architecture here is almost as old as the country itself and there are so many gorgeous and interesting buildings to see.
The church in this photo was built in 1819 and at the covered bridge we saw the original post office (still standing) for the area, which was built in 1816! The church is a perfect example of many of the stone buildings I’ve seen, so much character and history every where!
We stopped for lunch at a small store in Pike River, crowding in the sunshine as the air is definitely getting colder. Then we took a scenic route (ok they’re all scenic, but a different one!) back to the farm, stopping at Ranch L on our way back.
I have mentioned that Ranch L was Normand’s father’s farm, but it is in fact a separate farm from Litjens that he maintains. Of course, the horses from “both farms” are completely mingled, not two separate breeding herds, it’s just two separate properties, that between them encompass nearly 900 acres.
We drove up to visit Galaad (Dorelie Palmer Y-Galaad), who was turned out up there. To my utter delight, Normand, who was getting his hay stored for the winter, had Monique bring Galaad in and turned out Adamo (Litjens Alex Adamo).
I have been dying to see this stud since the moment I learned of his existence! I was a huge fan of his sire, Alex (Bromont Coco Alex) and as far as I’ve been able to determine, Adamo is his only surviving son. I kid you not when I say he took my breath away! He was everything I had hoped he would be, and I will absolutely be a fan of this boy for life! I know not everyone likes the same “type” of Canadian I do, but to me, he is absolutely my unicorn!
I also got to meet Navajo (Litjens Nava Navajo) and was surprised because for some reason I had it in my head that he was a chestnut. Nope, pure black and despite being 18, he was frisky and playful. He apparently has an incredibly sweet temperament and Normand insists a child could lead him with no issues.
I have a very healthy respect for studs, or rather a respect for my lack of experience with them. However, horses like Navajo and Monique’s Yugo (Beckett’s Creek Ferarri Yugo) have such incredibly kind dispositions, that I found myself quickly relaxing around both horses (lol not relaxing my guard, just my nerves!). Not that the other horses don’t have excellent temperaments, but those boys are just so exceptionally sweet natured that its kinda hard not to fall under their spell.
After my awed visit with the big guy, we returned to the trailer and Monique turned Pluton out
into our bedside paddock. Despite his age, he rushed to make his deposit and then ran around the paddock like a colt on holiday. I sat in my lawn chair and just watched him frolic for a ridiculously long time. It was such an incredible day in such an incredible place, I just sat and took it all in.
The only thing that marred the magic of this place was the sound of gunfire in the distance. It’s hunting season. Please don’t think that I’m saying I’m anti-hunting, as one of five children raised on a welder’s salary (which trust me was considerably less lucrative 50 years ago!), deer meat was a staple of our diet. I also realize that the sound of gunfire can travel incredibly long distances in a quiet area like this. But it was just so intrusive! A grisly reminder of death in a place so dedicated to life.
As the sun began to set, I realized that this will be my last evening here. It’s very bittersweet. I hate to leave; lol I still have so many questions! But we still have more visits to look forward to. More horses to see and more breeders’ brains to pick! Time to pack up and move on, but not without the intention of absolutely visiting again! Who knows, maybe next time I visit, I’ll be picking up horses here. Hey, a girl can dream!
Tuesday evening was very quiet. We’re both sad to be leaving, and frankly a little tired. It’s been an amazing trip but, its very out of my normal routine. The days are long and we’re on the go most of the daylight hours. I think maybe we’re both feeling a little homesick too. I’ve been on the road since September 26th and Monique since the 28th.
Normand was busy with meetings for the evening and I’m sure Linda needed a break from us tromping through her house. So, we cooked a simple meal in the trailer and hung our for awhile.
Now this is the point where I must reveal my dirty little secret. I’m a smoker. I know, shame on me. But in this particular case, it afforded me an opportunity that I might otherwise have missed.
I’m very paranoid about smoking around people (technically I vape so it smells way better and no danger of fire around all this hay) so I tend to wander the fields away from people when I do. And if any of you are smokers, you know all about the pre-bed smoke.
So, pretty much every night since we’ve left, I’ve spent a not inconsiderable amount of time wandering around in the dark. I wish I had the photographic skills to show you what I’ve seen. Sadly, I do not, so I will attempt to describe with words a splendor that really should be experienced in person.
On my last night it was just 2 days past the full moon, and it was so bright that only the few stars strong enough to outshine it could be seen. It was a rather chilly 9C (35F for my American friends). There wasn’t a breath of wind and only a few wispy clouds and in the distance the shadows of the trees stood out against the not quite black sky. I stood for a long time in the absolute silence just starring up. It is so incredibly quiet here at night!
LOL I’m sure Normand and Linda must have thought I was a little bit “off” to be standing out in the middle of the field in the freezing cold (occasionally in my PJs!) just starring at the sky! But I wasn’t just star gazing and angling for frost bite!! I stare at the sky, and I write in my head. Most of what I’ve written is already done by the time I sit down to my computer.
I don’t tell you this to talk about myself, lol we’re all here for the horses! But rather to give you an idea what this trip and especially this place has meant to me. I have written my whole life, I even managed to get some stuff published and then one day, I just stopped. 13 Years ago. And despite my best attempts to force myself to sit down and write, I was largely unsuccessful.
But, as I stood there with my fingers numb and my nose half frozen, just gazing up, the words just wouldn't stop! That proverbial light when off and I finally understood. I've had writers block for over a decade because I was completely lacking inspiration!
I’m sure it sounds sappy….ok I cried the first time I saw my filly…the first one; I’m absolutely a sap, so hopefully you’ll forgive, but this place has been magical for me. Don’t ask me to tell you how, I have no idea. It’s beautiful yes, the horses are stunning, and the welcome has been warm, but it’s more than that. Perhaps it’s the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself, something of value and importance that I consider truly worthy of any effort I can put forth on its behalf. Maybe it’s all of the above.
Our gracious hosts: Linda Flamez and Normand Litjens.
Even if I return here someday, which I’m sure I will, I doubt I’ll find the same sense purpose and inspiration I found this time, it has truly been a once in a lifetime experience. But maybe I will. Wouldn’t that be grand?