A Bald Eagle – Good Omen!

Every year a group of friends gather their fuzzy horses for a ride on New Years Day in the Spenceville Wildlife area. And we see a bald eagle! Does that mean good luck for 2019?? I sure hope so! Take a ride with us!


FIRE on the Ranch!

Spring is my favorite time! The wild flowers are abundant and so colorful! I don’t have to feed our horses any hay, which saves us a ton of dollars! However, the season is so short and we have to get onto the mowing before the grass dies in just a few short weeks! We have wildfires all around our neighborhood every single summer! These fires are most always caused by a stupid careless human! We are getting ready!!

As a former wildland firefighter, I know how quickly a grass fire can take out an entire ranch, home barns, animals and people. Now if we can only get HUMANS to STOP throwing lit cigarettes out of their car windows, STOP mowing dry grass in 100 degree weather, and be mindful of where they park a hot vehicles on the side of the road where there IS dry grass! These are the typical fire starters!


Every Ranch Needs a Crew! Come and Meet em!

Hi All!  I live on a small ranch in Northern California. It gets extremely hot in the summer, it stops raining for 6 straight months and the land becomes dry and dusty. But for now, spring is here. The wild flowers are blooming, the pond is full and we are enjoying this very short season of GREEN!

I would like to take you on a little tour to meet the crew of our little ranch!


Fall is Falling on the Ranch!

I used to LOVE summer. But, as I get older, I can’t take the months of  100+ degree temps that we get in the Sacramento Valley. When fall finally shows her colors, I get extremely happy! I can go outside and my hair won’t immediately combust!

Last night, clouds started to roll in and with them our first real rain of the season. I thought I’d head out and capture some moments on my ranch in Northern California. Enjoy!

I just got this Panasonic Lumix g7 to ad to my camera collection. I’m just figuring things out with it and still dialing some things in. I hope to take this camera with me on the PCT next year for part 2 of “The Long Ride” which you can see here:  The Long Ride

The Long Ride

On August 7th of this year, three women decided to take a trip on their horses from Tuolomne Meadows in Yosemite to Donner Summit.  The trip was supposed to be 200 miles. However, after day 5, with equipment failures, terrain that is not horse friendly whatsoever, snow,  and the extensive time it takes to pack and unpack each day at camp, they fell behind and knew they would be ending the ride for this season sooner than they planned.

Did this discourage them?  Heck NO! They are going back next year armed with experience and lessons-learned to continue where they left off. I plan on hiking behind them filming each step of the way.

If you are debating weather to traverse this section of the pct on horseback, take a look at this film.

PCT Re-Supply a Bust, so I did this Instead!

I was supposed to meet up with some lady PCT horse riders in the Sierra for their re-supply but they are two days behind because of snow and down trees in mid August!  They are averaging about 7 miles a day. Getting over the passes is slow going for them. Hikers can get around these obstacles a lot easier than horses!  They started in Tuolonme Meadows (Yosemite National Park) Aug 7 and was supposed to be at Kennedy Meadows North on Aug 13 (today).  That’s not going to happen.   So, with my plans for a mountain weekend on hold, I did this instead!

his is a cover song called Barton Hollow by the duo The Civil Wars.



Dangling Upside Down from a Running Horse!

Suicide Drag

At 40, I decided I wanted to ride a galloping horse at full speed while hanging by one foot upside down.  This is called trick riding!

Mid life crisis?  Hells yes!   It all started when I saw a photo of a woman riding a galloping horse standing up on top of the saddle! I NEED TO LEARN TO DO THIS.  This sport was huge back in the 30s through 60s, with trick riders performing at all of the rodeos. But for some reason, it started to die out and there were only a handful of people doing this sport in the entire US! There was no one to teach me!   There were no YouTube videos, no DVDs, nothing in Google that showed me how to trick ride.  NOTHING!   The only thing that I found was a book called “Trick and Fancy Riding, 140 ways to break your neck” that was written about 50 years ago.  In this book were stunts that were done on a galloping horse with little stick figures showing the prospective lunatic how to get in and out of each trick!  NUTS!

Then one day, after searching and searching in Google about anything to do with horse stunt riding and finding zilch, I came upon a very crude personal webpage of a man named Rex Rossi about 20 pages deep in the dark reaches of Google.   Rex Rossi is in the Stunt Man Hall of Fame. His trick riding saddle is on display in the Gene Autry Museum in LA. He was a national Trick Riding Champion many times over and performed at Madison Square Garden for 19 consecutive years as a trick rider and trick roper. He had been in a zillion movies and had doubled for John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Clint Eastwood and many others. He was  also a stunt man on TV shows such as Bonanza. He was legendary. I about fainted when I clicked on his contact page and it said he lived only 45 minutes from my house!

I practically had to audition for the man in order to get lessons from him. Once I proved I was serious, he finally let me bring my horse to his ranch.  He was in his 80s at this time and I was lucky to find him when I did. He passed away a couple of years later!

I became a professional trick rider performing at fairs, rodeos and private events throughout the state. I started my own trick riding team called the radical riders. I gave lessons, filmed a trick riding documentary and started the website www.rodeotrickrider.com that had the first forum about the sport before Facebook was around. I have to say that my website brought so many people into this sport and trick riding has made huge comeback. I was also profiled in this fantastic book call Wild Women and Tricky Ladies by Jill Stanford about legendary  and present day trick riders!

In 2008, I broke my arm while trick riding at a rodeo and this led to the end of my performing because my doc said I had bone density issues and I didn’t need to be hanging upside down from a horse any longer.  However, I still gave lessons at my ranch and traveled to other states to give clinics and private lessons.

Today, my chapter in this wonderful world of trick and fancy riding has come to a complete end as I start another chapter in my life. My horse is old and I quit giving lessons at my ranch. The sand in my arena has washed away from the past two winters, and I’m selling my custom trick riding saddle that I had specially made in 2008. That was a hard decision. But, its just sitting in the barn and I need the funds to buy backpacking gear! My new chapter!

What will I do next?  Hike a few hundred miles? We shall call it my golden years crisis!


janfenderdragjan hippodromejanmendozafender2008

Put down the iPhone crack pipe and GO OUTSIDE!


Our Gadgets!  Addicting!  We can’t get away from social media and TV. Before we know it, we had wasted 4 hours watching cats being cats on Youtube.

Our phones are like crack.. or in my case a big giant dark chocolate bar (my weakness). That big blue “F” icon just screams.. CHECK ME!

The signs that you are an addict.

  • You have dirty dishes piled up next to your computer
  • You can’t  go to the bathroom without taking your phone
  • Facebook is on your home screen front and center (no searching for it)
  • At stop lights, you have to check FB, Twitter, etc.. Sitting for a minute waiting for a green light is such a LOOOONG time!  You need to fill that time!
  • You check FB while you are driving!  BIG NO NO!  You are DANGEROUS!
  • You check all of your social media accounts the second you wake in the morning
  • You check your phone in the middle of the night when you get up to go to take a pee.
  • Your butt goes numb from sitting all day (not to mention gets a little wider)
  • If your phone is only 5% charged its an all out EMERGENCY!  You are scrambling- looking for your charger like an….well…. ADDICT!

The first step in the road to recovery from internet addiction is to first admit you have an addiction!  YES!  ADMIT IT!  If that doesn’t work, see if you can put your phone in your pocket and NOT look at social media for a WHOLE DAY!  If you do, you are addicted! Straight UP ADDICT!

So how do I remedy this? By getting away from that persistent phone-crack dealer called a CELL PHONE TOWER AKA Mr. Wifi!  What?  Yes.  Get your ass out in nature and away from a tower!

If you can’t get out to nature, then pretend like its 1985 and leave your phone at home for an hour and take a walk around the block.   Look at the trees. Take notice on how people landscape their yards, watch the birds.  Its quite a show!  Try and get your mind out of your phone a few times a week for at least a couple of hours a day!

For some this is a very REAL addiction and maybe some professional help is seriously needed!  This stuff can go DEEP!

So, my remedy is to go places where there is no service.  Try it!   In the mean time, enjoy my bumpy ride into the Spenceville Wildlife area. There is NO cell service!  🙂

Just Sitting Around Artin’ and Stuff like that there…..

When I was a kid, I would paint rocks to look like bugs. I sold those little critters to friends, teachers and even at an art store!  I would glue them onto tree bark with moss and a dried flower and people loved them!  I was 12!  These days I do all sorts of art.  I just finished these two commissioned pieces for a client in North Carolina.  I love to paint trees. What is it about a tree?  They talk, I swear they do!



I also do stuff with wood, paint and feathers. People from all over the US send me feathers.  Its pretty awesome.  I have a very  small percentage of Cherokee in my blood.  My 6th Great Grandfather was Chief Redbird in Kentucky.  I’ve ALWAYS been drawn to Indian culture, art, jewelry, music, you name it even before I knew about my heritage!  I swear, I’m channeling one of my ancestors!  Here are a couple of those pieces.





And I do portraits.  I LOVE to do faces, however EARS kick my ass for some reason.. and painting blonde hair is a bitch!  I never took art lessons.. maybe I should then I wouldn’t be killing myself!  IMG_7288

LIndz and Ima small)



And yes I STILL paint Rocks!  Here are a couple from my front yard!



I do many many more types of things.. Sugar skulls, Spirit Animals, lots of stuff on wood.. you name it!  If you want to see the entire collection that grows by the second.. go here.