Friday, October 30, 2009

The Hills were Alive...

It was dusk, 5:30ish, and I was out feeding horses. Evita, a mare who's been here for gentling, had the halter slipped over one ear again. Undoubtedly it'll be off by morning, I thought, so I tried to get close. No success. She's an elusive thing who'd prefer I fell into a hole. A very deep hole.

While out there with her, a chunk of alfalfa in one hand and my trusty pole in the other, I heard something from up in the hills. I glanced up as Vita trotted past. Was that a voice? I wasn't sure, and turned back to the mare.

It wasn't more than a half minute when I heard it again. Strange. A one syllable word. I felt uncomfortable. Not frightened, just wondered what that was. It sounded human; not an owl, not a big cat, and certainly not the wind in the trees (which there was plenty of.) No, this was deeper, and it sounded like...did it? 'help'.

And there it was again. And repeated. The first time long and drawn out, the second time not so much.

What to do? Was I hearing someone in distress? Or were my ears playing tricks on me?

Darling showed up about then. I asked her to listen. She did, and I asked if that was a person, and were they calling for help? She immediately panicked and went into fright mode. Yes, yes, it sounded like a person, run, into the house, faster, go, come on, leave the horses, get to safety! And most 911!

So I did. I called, and told them the sound wasn't too clear, but that I thought someone was calling for help up in the hills, but it was an echoing sound and I couldn't be sure. There was logging up there, but they'd be done for the day. Or hunters... But I didn't know.

Dinner was waiting inside, and Darling had the doors locked. Hearing that it may be a logger or hunter seemed to calm her nerves. Being so close to fright night, her imagination had taken hold, but now she was beginning to relax. Within ten minutes there was a knock at the door, and she jumped. Sheriff Deputy, I told her as I got up.

Naturally, the calling had stopped by then. There's no way for anyone to know what or where the noise originated from. Not now, not tonight. Maybe not ever. Unless someone is reported missing, we may never know...

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Darling: Wanna come watch my new video?

Desperate: Sure...hey, was that you and Sandy?

Darling: No, (a little pout) that was on Rose.

Desperate: Oh, for a minute I thought it was Sandy, and I was thinking...he does better for you than for me.

Darling: He does! He likes me better. Just like Curt.

Desperate: Hey...(now I'm pouting)

Darling: If it makes you feel any better, Beanie likes you better!

Desperate: (still sulking) Beanie doesn't know you.

Darling: Exactly!

Well, whatever. Here's a clip of Beanie and I at yesterday's lesson. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Apple Pony finds a home

An ad went up on Craigslist this week for Apple Pony. Within 24 hours I had a handful of emails, and one of those showed up last night to visit him. When she left, she was nearly in tears. Apple Pony so strongly resembled her childhood horse, a gelding that she'd had until he turned 34, and she felt an instant connection.

Darling, as you know, has become terribly attached to this boy. When she learned someone was coming to see him, she sulked out to the barn, curry comb in hand, to pretty him up. It was nothing short of a miracle that she didn't trip over her bottom lip as it drug the ground. But by the time the visitors left, she was happy and smiling, her arm around me as we walked back to the house.

"I like her. He can go live with her, she's nice."

I called Apple Pony's owner to tell her we had a buyer. She was thrilled. Like Darling, she'd been concerned that he go to the perfect home, one that truly deserved this sweet boy.

All is well. A happy owner and a happy Darling, and I do believe Apple Pony is happy as well, as he slobbered over sliced apples and handed out big, pink tongue kisses to his new owner. He'll stay here for a couple more weeks and finish up his training, but then he'll be off to his new life where he'll receive the love he so very much deserves.

Monday, October 26, 2009

More Fall Photos & a Video

The assignment yesterday was a lot of fun, and I managed to sneak in a bit of extra time visiting a few new blogs. When I visited Ebie, she already had her Monday work up, and it was so intriguing that I had to visit the link she provided to The Little Red House...and wasn't that a sweet treat! And you know, I simply had to sit right down and play just a wee little bit here with a few photos and give the Monday Mosaic a try. It was kind of fun, but I think I could probably do a bit better. Maybe next time, eh? With some ponies, of course!

Darling and I went to a horse show yesterday. She rode Steve Holt! in a couple of classes, and Sandy in the Sit A Buck class. She was surprised because she placed so well in both equitation and pleasure; second and fourth. He was getting a bit nervous and pulling her around, but she maintained her composure and kept it together, which I think helped her cause quite a bit.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sunday Stills...Landscapes!

This weeks assignment was landscapes...of the fall variety. And since Ed allowed for some digging into the archives, this was a walk in the park!

And speaking of walks in parks, here is the old train tressle
in Whatcom Falls Park.

They would almost appear to be waiting for Christmas,
rather than showing off their crimson color in October.

A drive out to the feed store Saturday morning yielded this old dairy barn
on a foggy fall morning.

I like this one. It's my backyard.

Of course, not all fall landscapes are beautiful. Sometimes, as is the case with the set below, they can be quite scary. A few years ago the Nooksack River spilled over it's banks and nearly took out a friends sheep farm.

The flood waters have just reached the barn. By the time we finished loading, the trucks could no longer make it and we formed a line to pass bales while the river swirled knee deep around us.

The sheep pasture is completely under water. The county had refused to take any action when the log jam began piling up earlier in the year. This photo was taken just prior to the logs breaking apart.

With the logs out of the way, everyone down river will suffer as the water rises several feet above flood level, wiping out small farms in it's path.

The bank has been cut into yet again. If you look closely, you can see (above the white patch) a house sitting on the bluff. I'll bet the view was prettier when they weren't worried about being swept over the edge...

Our rains have been crazy again this fall, but so far no flooding. Hopefully it will stay that way!

The Race List

Sniff sniff Wuz'up?
1. Practice riding bareback
2. Work on dragging objects
3. Try to stay on while carrying objects
4. Try not to close eyes to tightly next time we jump object
5. Work on flying lead changes

There it is. The list. At least the short version to keep me on track with Sandy's continued training if we want to compete in the Extreme Cowboy Race.

I've been watching the different videos online and trying to decide what needed to be done next. The bareback riding has been coming along nicely. Walk, trot and lope, stop and back up, slow spins both directions and gate opening and closing. Mounting is a bit of a problem, unless you're after the whole sumo wrestler look where the muffin top (mine) bounces off another ample tummy (Sandy's.) But I think bareback only happens if you make the finals...

I was emailing a friend The List and talking about what we needed to accomplish. Her response?

"Um, Tracey, I don't see that Craig Cameron's going to be back this year."

Huh? What? Excuse me?!!? No, that can't be. I've been practicing!

Well, this just stinks, doesn't it? Sandy and I have been belly dancing for naught. But I suppose something else will come along for us to take part in. I'd just really been looking forward to being at Expo with him. Looks like we'll need to find something else to do!

In other news, Paint Girl handed me an award last week, and I've yet to post it. It's the Intrepid Riders Faction Award! I'm very excited to receive this and am honored that Paint Girl would think of me. I had to ponder for a few days just who to pass it along who I selected here!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

I hit the 100,000 visitor mark!

I'd better set up some golden arches or something...

Or perhaps we'll just talk about the golden boy instead, eh?

Look, they've got me in jail!

Apple Pony wasn't too certain he wanted to get back into the horse trailer after his long ride here last month, but a bit of grain in a big red scoop placed strategically in front of his nose did the trick. We spent a few days climbing in and out without doing much of anything else. Then I decided it was time to let him stand tied...and he disagreed.

Apple Pony is just too big to have a disagreement with, especially when you're inside a horse trailer together. Thankfully, he's not a full blown panic sort of chap, and he backs out of a horse trailer rather than taking you out with his head as he spins towards an exit. So our disagreement didn't end tragically, but it did end with him winning, and that's not something I'm fond of.

Thinking cap in place, I hung a hay bag inside the trailer a few days later and once again began coaxing the boy inside with me. At first he wasn't sure, and would back out almost immediately, but before long he was comfortable and stood patiently munching alfalfa while I quickly tied him, shut the divider, and grabbed my camera for the photo. As you can see, he had no qualms. The doors shut and into the cab of the truck I slipped, and we were off.

Off? Off to where? Just a quick trip around the block. And the golden boy's face when we climbed out in the same place we'd taken off from held a very puzzled expression. Certainly not what he'd expected, but it's what he got. You see, before I begin hauling him to arenas next week, I want to know I can get him back into the trailer after a ride, so short and sweet trips with no expectations are in order beforehand.

Naturally, Apple Pony expected to be rewarded for a job well done.

Apple Pony is officially for sale. We'll get some video of him next week traveling under saddle so you can see how he moves. Being that I'm not a dressage person, or have many contacts in that field, you may need to help me with determining a decent price for this boy. His personality is priceless, and he smells like popcorn if that helps at all.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

1, 2, 3 Baby You & Me!

Darling keeps putting these movies in wide screen. It messes with my side bars!

City Boy is a great shopper of Craigslist. He finds things I never even see listed. Last week he spotted a shed for sale. Turns out it was one of those heavy plastic Costco sheds we find ourselves admiring each spring as we walk down the isles. It wasn't very old, I believe last year's model, but the owner was moving and his new home had covenants that stipulated no outside sheds or other such nonsense. And that sort of nonsense, of course, was good news to us, because City Boy talked them down to less than half of what it would cost new!

While it's not huge, it's preferable to using the tack room in my horse trailer all winter long. I've moved a saddle stand in with a couple of saddles. Note the window behind them; there's one on each side. I think I may need to hang curtains!

Darling and I found an old, wooden suitcase over at Greenhill when the former owners were cleaning the place up. They were more than happy to let it move to someone else's home so they didn't end up paying to haul it to the dump. City Boy wonders if at some time it had been a shoe shine box? Whatever it was, it's not sitting empty inside my new tack room, acting as a shelf upon which sits a folded up wool blanket and a radio which needs batteries if I'm ever going to use it.

I think I need a 3 tier saddle rack in here, and of course a place to hang bridles and halters and ropes. I tucked a chair into one of the corners. Perhaps I need a lantern? It'll be my own little cozy hideaway. Like a man cave, except without the man.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


I'd forgotten how pretty she was. Sure, I'd gazed into the photos that Pony Girl had posted recently, but it's not quite the same as gazing into her eyes first hand. And her muzzle...when had it become so black, with such a pretty silver lining in her nostrils?

Lib had done well since Chance's weaning. She'd gained some weight on her topline now that she wasn't producing milk like a holstein. Somehow she'd managed to get her lead rope off. Isn't that they way it is? You show up to haul a horse, only to find they've tried to outsmart you the night before. We tightened up the panels, though, and she stood there playing head games for a few minutes (as in, bobbing it first to the left, then to the right in an attempt to keep my hand and the lead rope from connecting with her halter), but eventually the lead was snapped back into place and before you could say Bob's Your Uncle, she was in the trailer.

Okay, perhaps you could say Bob's Your Uncle several times before she got in, but it was still relatively painless. Deb, who'd acted as foster mom, had done a great job in keeping up with daily visits and desensitizing while Lib had been with her. There was little fear in this eleven year old wild one yesterday, simply a desire to avoid climing into the box on wheels. Once the lead was on she allowed me to rub on her face, both her cheek and forehead, and eventually she was inside the trailer and the doors closed behind her.

And now she's home, safely behind a pretty board fence, nestled in beneath the fall foliage of the Mt. Baker foothills, several hundred miles away from the deserts she once called home. And from the looks of things, she's ready to start her new basket ball?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

This Week sponsored by the letter C

The Sunday Stills Challenge this week is the letter 'C'.

Big C, little C, what begins with C?

Cat, Cute, Calico
C c C

Norman is a Cat
Also known as "That little red headed boy."

Norman's little brother is Scut.
Scut is a cute kitten.
Big brother Norman likes to chew on little brother Scut.

Norman's little sister is Princess.
Princess is a calico kitten.
Princess is also tough.

Princess chews on Norman's ears.

Norman chews on Princess's foot.
"Yeow!" yells Princess.
"You're not supposed to bite my foot!
I'm telling mom!"

"Hey, wait, I'm only joking.
Get back here, you crazy red headed brother!"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stick Horses

For National Adoption Day, Darling and I made some simple felt stick horses. The pom poms beneath the googly eyes and pipe cleaner manes were Darling's idea. I was going to use wool from the sheep for manes, but the pipe cleaners turned out just too adorable. I think I'll use them as a fund raiser for Mustang U. Not sure, though...should we raffle them off? Or do a sealed bid auction?

There are a couple of finishing touches that need to go on them, though. We need to put 'freeze' brands on their necks, and big ribbons on them, too, don't you think?

I need to bring one to the post office to see how much shipping would be. Wonder if there's a hitching post for me to tie one up at?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Winter, she is a coming!

Last year, Sandy began to shed his summer coat in July. That seemed early to me...and look at the winter we had! It seemed like a never ending snow fest. Darling, of course, took advantage of it and decided now was the time to practice bareback; after all, how much could it hurt to fall off into a pile of snow?

To me, snow meant not hauling Steve Holt! up to the arena to work. With temps dropping into the single digits at night and barely reaching above 10 during the day, it was certainly not conducive to horse training. The snow began falling within days of hauling him home from Burns and the roads were in no condition to pull a horse trailer.

And it just didn't seem to stop! All month long, all winter long...from December into February the snow just continued to pile up around here. And when it melted? Flooding. Flooding in places that normally do not flood, because the snow melted and ran down whatever hill was handy, into the streets and into yards and into barns. It was a mess.

So here we are, mid October, and Sandy began to shed his summer coat back in June...and frost was on the ground in September. I heard in Redmond, OR there was a decent amount of snowfall already. And while I'm looking at just a dusting up in the foothills here, all the signs are pointing towards a cold and chilly winter. Best break out the long johns. The ponies are already snuggled into their winter blankets...

How's your fall shaping up? Have you got signs of winter coming on?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Steve Holt! Eats Darling's Camera!

"Mom...I need a job!"

Darling was out working with Tika this afternoon as I chatted with friend Susan on the phone. I was walking away when I heard a frantic cry, "Mom! MOM! MOM!!!" What the heck was she hollering about? And then I saw it...well, no I didn't see it, but I could tell what was happening.

Darling was dashing towards the rail of the round pen where she'd propped her video camera, and Steve Holt! was trying to figure out why he couldn't get the Cannon Powershot digital camera to work. He had the entire blasted thing inside his mouth! Darling was in tears...there was no stopping the horse as he turned it this way and that inside his mouth, both of us dashing towards him in an effort to retain her most prized possession.

Steve Holt! tried to make a run for it. Good grief...does he think he's a dog or something? He didn't quite have a good enough grip to keep the camera in his mouth, however, and out it spilled, full of pony slobber, onto the ground. Darling scooped it up with tears in her eyes.

It was dead.

We hoped to revive it, or at least save it's card so that we could retrieve the last couple of videos, but to no avail. Even the card inside the case was broken.

Uncontrollable sobs echoed throughout the valley. Not only were today's videos lost, but yesterday's as well (on which Sandy had been doing some awesome, in the dirt stops! But now I'll never see them.) She has been grieving all day. And we haven't even got a video showing the inside of Steve Holt!'s mouth to show for it.

Sunday Stills


So, as it would turn out, last week's assignment on Sunday Stills was happiness. Somehow I managed to spot this week's assignment and thought it was for last week. Which is really okay, because photoshop makes me it's all good, right? And better than good, I get to post more photoshop today!

Darling and her cousin, Lanky Hanky, were filming a video this weekend, and of course that lent itself well to my plan as otherwise getting these two young teens to pose is a challenge. Back when they were tiny tots, dressing up was fun to do for the camera...these days I've got to strike while the iron is hot!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Someone Please Pass the Velcro

Back in the, know, when I was younger...I had a velcro butt. And that was before Velcro was even born. Or super glue, for that matter. I stuck like glue onto the back of a horse. Even went sailing over 3' plus jumps out in the trees (I knew they were, because I measured so I could have bragging rights!) But now? Today? Oh dear...where did that seat of mine go?

I am, however, determined to get it back, so after a brief ride in the arena, Sandy and I pulled off the saddle and headed for the round pen where I learned once again how to balance on a horse. Darling was, of course, on hand to offer all sorts of remarks on my skills...and she didn't hold anything back, either! "Gee, you look like Mommy Long Legs" she said with a giggle. And then went on with her instructive criticism, which I'd share with you except as a mother it is my duty to tune out my children, and I did just that. So I really have no clue what she said...shhh...don't tell her!

Along with bareback shenanigans, Sandy and I are back down at Curt's where we're continuing our lessons on the bull. Curt loaned me a new bit; a short shank, twisted wire with a dog bone in the middle doosie and I have no clue what it's called, but it worked really well. He'd been blowing past his stop at the end, but this bit gave just enough leverage and our ends looked much better. Once he had the stop down, his turns got prettier, too!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sauk Mountain

The realtor sent me a listing the other day for a piece of property..."Upriver", he said, "where property becomes stupid cheap." Mind you, City Boy would never go for stupid as it's too far a drive, but Darling and I couldn't help ourselves. Curiosity got the better of us when we read the price...less than $50,000 for 27 acres of river front property!

So we got into the truck and we drove. And we drove. And we drove. And then we drove some more. And sure enough, as the mountain road climbed hyer, we dun felt stoopider.

We drove past that there silo out in a field at the base of a mountain.

We drove 'round this mountin top what with th' snow up thar.

We drove o'er the top of this here riv'r.

Well, shoot, sure we used the bridj.
We ain't so stoopid's to drah'v the truck thru the riv'r!

Darlin' twern't to keen on th' bridj. Had holes in it, she sed.

Big uns. Sed we otter drah'v back thru the water.

We kipt drah'v'n an me, I was gittin' light headed.
The instukshins said to go to mih'l 15. Shur seems like a long drah'v.

We fahnahly made it. Sure wuz a perty site t'see. Lookie that there river! Ah betcha could catch a whole messa fish in thar. Whata perty place. Darlin' and I wuz thinkin' this wuz lookin' perty good. Why was the price so low?

Then we looked at the other side of the road...where most of the property sat. And this is what we saw:

Creepy, crazy trees!

With the funkiest moss we've ever seen! What the heck...are we in some sort of horror movie out here? Where's that banjo music coming from, anyway?

Then we looked to the top of another tree and spotted this killer spider's web. Look at the size of this thing! I do NOT want to meet the spider who made that! Darlin', let's get outta here!

No wonder that property was so cheap. It was enough to scare the stupid right out of us. We jumped into the truck before the killer spider spotted us, or before we became entangled in long tendrils of moss and trucked ourselves right back down that hill. And yes, we used the bridge. We realized on our way back down that we did not have an off road vehicle suited for crossing a river...especially the high bank variety!

I tell you, that was as close a brush with stupid as I ever want to experience. No upriver for me, folks. Besides, they probably don't even have internet up there. How would I ever survive?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Beautiful Wadatika

She simply could not be any more beautiful if she tried. Those eyes are just to die for. And you must admit, there's just something about a red head! (Might be why I'm always trying to be one, eh?)

I've not written too much about Tika here, but allow me to point out the accomplishments of this sensitive girl. First, she's sporting a different halter than before. Indeed, she allows you to handle her face, including her ears. Which is good, because that makes it much easier to bridle a horse if you can touch their head and ears without sending them into orbit. As you can see, Tika was none to thrilled with the snaffle in her mouth, but like all horses, after a bit of mouthing she rather forgot about it.

It had been a couple of weeks since I'd brought the saddle blanket out. Tika finds it an odd thing to be wearing...but then again, what haven't I dressed her in that doesn't seem odd to a wild horse?

About the only thing really wrong with this girl is the fact that she's still wearing her BLM neck tag. Why is that? Am I the only one to see the diamond in the rough?

Monday, October 5, 2009

I think Darling is Falling... love!

Apple Pony is doing very well. He's become a big softie, allowing people to walk right up to him despite halters and lead ropes being in their hands. Yesterday was the first day Darling worked at all with him, and of course she had to have a little video fun along the way.

Apple Pony's owner has indicated that, to the right home, she'd be willing to sell. Darling says the perfect home is one who would continue to board him here so she can play with him. While I am not a Parelli person, I do believe Apple Pony would adapt very quickly to all the game playing. He's super personable, and as I said before, he's got a big, dreamy trot quite suitable for dressage. If you know of someone looking, send them this way!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Sunday Stills...Photoshop!

Oh, be still, my wicked little photoshopping heart!

So many to choose little blog space! What a week to come back to Sunday Stills. I could monopolize your entire day, and night, and day, and night...well, maybe not. You may grow bored long before that.

Click to Mix and Solve

I love puzzles. I love turning photos into puzzles! Give it a go. It's timed!

Quiet Storm, our first mustang.
I used the smudge and smear function, plus a few others.

Up River near Hamilton, WA
Just a little color adjusting here...and a frame.

Spring Plowing Match
I'm so proud of me...I figured out how to do that yellow square thing with the title!

Converse in the Cemetery
Darling and her converse go everywhere together!

Fire Horse
I have no clue what I did here. Not a clue. But I kind of like it!

Click to Mix and Solve

More puzzles! Woo Hoo! Let's race...