Monday, November 30, 2009

The End

The photo a day challenge is over as of today. It's been a good experience. I don't know that I'm really any more familiar or better with my camera than I was to begin with, but it certainly has challenged me to get out each and every day and take plenty of photos.


I found myself stretched to get an image that I liked which lent itself to the word of the day. For instance, abstract, above. I'd gotten a shot the previous day of a mowed corn field and liked the lines it created. I fiddled with it a bit on photo shop and thought I'd go back and get a similar shot on abstract day. But it didn't turn out nearly as well as the original, and then I got the spur reflected in the milk pail late at night when nothing else seemed to be working.


My original thought for circles had been to use the lariat, and I tried that in many different ways during the day. Then I went to Beanie's to feed, and there sat this old bridle with a wire wound several times to create an O ring. I hung it on a white trailer door and took a handful of shots. I like the way it turned out.


I learned what the word Bokeh meant! Do you know what it is? It's the light in the back of the photo. Don't confuse it with depth of field, because it's not the same. There should be circular light in the back on a bokeh shot. I played and played in an attempt to get what I needed. This was definitely a challenge!

Contrast, monochrome, expressions, and light were all words of the day this past month. If you enjoy photography, I'd highly suggest making a list of words, writing them on your calendar, and then trying to shoot that word on the day it's listed. You may be surprised with what you come up with.

Today, the last day of the challenge, the word was 'End'. I thought of the hind end of a horse, but was gone most of the day running errands and picking up hay, so I didn't get out to my barn for that shot. Besides...wouldn't that be too obvious? But as daylight ran out, that's what I intended to do. I snapped a pic of the hind end of a young Clydesdale on my way home from getting hay. Then, when I went to bring Beanie's horses in for her tonight, the clouds parted and I had a lovely moon above the valley, casting a glow to the fields below...a lovely ending to the day, wouldn't you agree?


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Sunday, November 29, 2009

This week brought to you by the letter T

T is for Trouble...that's good enough for me
T is for Trouble...that's good enough for me
T is for Trouble...that's good enough for me
Oh...Tracey, Tracey, Tracey starts with T!

So, today's Sunday Stills challenge was to find something with the letter T. I'm going to venture to guess there will be a few turkeys out there, but not here. Well...okay, there are days when I'm called a turkey, but more often I've been referred to as trouble, which also starts with T which rhymes with P which stands for pool...but that's another story.


Something else that starts with T? Temptation. Something I'm always being led into. You know, like having pie for breakfast instead of desert.


Please! Lead me into this sort of temptation again!

Terrible also starts with a T. I feel terrible some days, not because of temptation, but because of all the terrifically terrible things that happen...things like the gruesome shot you see below. Warning: You may want to simply skip the last photo here, and definitely hide the eyes of any small children...


Don't say I didn't warn you!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Wild Horse Antagonist

"Hey, Darling! Get over here and antagonize this horse for me, will ya?"


Not the sort of thing you generally hear as a request around here, but what can I say? The word for the day in the photo challenge was expression...and boy, let me tell you, there are some good ones out in that paddock!

My mind immediately determined that Wadatika was the way to go with this assignment. With those eyes of her's, there's no way you can avoid expression, be it anger, vulnerability, or curiosity. That girl was made to express herself!


What I was thinking, and what I wanted, was one of those ear pinning, teeth flashing attitude shots. Not hard to get...unless, it seems, you want one. Then she stands there with her ears up, looking longingly into the camera like some forlorn movie star. Nothing I did could get her to give that wonderful 'mare-itude' look I wanted this afternoon. So what choice did I have but to call in Darling and ask for her help?

"What am I supposed to do?"

I sent Darling into the paddocks with a handful of hay. Surely that would create some disturbance. Tika is a one person pony at the moment, and even that one person (me) isn't really someone she likes to have get too close. Surely I'd get that grumpy "Get out of my space!" look, right?


Hmmm...not exactly what I'd imagined. But wait...what's this? Sky Bar is jealous! Wowza... Now there's some attitude for the big screen!


I came inside, certain that I'd gotten my shot. I uploaded my photos and began to click through them. It may not have been the horse I'd planned on, but that was a ton of expression there on that boy. I was happy...and then I saw this:


Look at those nostrils! One is a full inch higher than the other! I'd been squatting down waiting for Tika to do one of her head shaking, neck snaking moves, and all she'd done was lift one side of her nose and sneered at me. Any horse can pin it's ears...but never have I met one who can sneer!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Who's Left?

A few days ago Becky asked for an inventory of who is here and who is not. At the time, Apple Pony was still here, even though we'd thought he had been sold, and I think that was confusing (he'd had a couple weeks board still paid, which is why he'd still been here.) Of course, since then y'all know that the sale fell through, and that he left this past weekend to go back to his Whidbey Island home.

So who does that leave us?


Sky Bar has someone on pins and needles, waiting for the BLM to get the paperwork and okay him moving to their home. A lovely couple who spotted his photo back in September and came to see him during National Wild Horse Adoption Day. They'd recently had their pinto gelding put down, though, and were afraid it was too soon. So they left, adoption application in hand, to give it some thought.

In the meantime, my neighbor decided she may like to adopt Sky Bar, filled out the application, was approved, and then realized the county expected her to get a building permit, even for a simple little 3 sided, 12x12 loafing shed. With the house up for sale, spending the extra money wasn't in the budget, so a couple weeks ago she told me that no, she couldn't take him after all.

Same day, I get the phone call from couple number one. Is he still here? They've decided they'd like to adopt. They spent a half hour with him here today, barely able to contain their enthusiasm, desperately waiting for the phone call letting them know Sky Bar is theirs.

So Sky Bar is here...for now. We're hoping to hear from the BLM this week saying the care agreement has been received and that they're good to go.

Also in the barn are Sandy and Steve Holt!, along with the beautiful Wadatika. So four horses...and soon to be down to three. What a comfortable number to be at! Horse keeping in winter, here in WETern Washington is less than enjoyable, so the fewer I have out there, the happier I get!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Farewell...the video

Darling's farewell video...


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I've got one skein left of the yarn on the left with the golden
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Great Christmas gifts!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Darling Says Goodbye


I lay there in bed, listening to the rain spilling out of the gutters once again, despite City Boy having cleaned them earlier in the day. The rain is relentless. But it wasn't the only reason for no sleep. I was still trying to decide which photo to use for the EPN photo of the day. Our word? Action.

Now, normally this is a word I have absolutely no problem with, but yesterday seemed to be nothing but trouble. The pasture is wet and soupy. The only horse who wants to get remotely active out there is Apple Pony, but this was his last day with us. His owner (former and still current, I might add) was coming at 10:30 to pick him up. No sense sending him into the mud pit where, with my luck, he'd undoubtedly slip and hurt himself just prior to loading.


Instead of action, I asked Darling if she'd like to come out and have her picture take with him one more time before he left. A few dozen photos later, the sweet palomino was loaded into his trailer and heading back home. (For those who are curious, his potential buyer was unable to take him in the end, so he is still for sale.)


Still on the hunt for my action shot, I drove through the rain to Curt's where I found one of his two year olds in the arena. No problem motivating the boy into submitting an action shot or two, as he sprinted in quarter horse fashion from one end of the arena to the next. But with low light, everything turned out either grainy or super blurry. Had these photos been taken on 'Blur' or 'Abstract' days, they'd have been perfect! But it wasn't what I was looking for.


I had a couple of shots on my monitor, and turned to Darling for her opinion. "The mane", was her matter of fact answer, not bothering to take her eyes from her own computer screen. "I already looked."


If it had been 'Mane' day, I'd agree. And yes, there was movement there that could be considered action. But still...I'd have to think on it.

And now here it is, just after six a.m., and I'm up, with two cups of hot chocolate downed. And have I come to a decision?, I have not. But one thing that I've always said has sprung forth into my mind.

Love is a verb.

Nothing has taught me that like working with these mustangs. Because the more effort you put into them, the more you can't help but love them. And that love doesn't need to be a big flurry of movement to produce the result you're looking to achieve, which is the horse reaching for you, and communicating with you, and trusting in you.

A verb is an action is love an action?


An easier assignment for me today was Sunday Stills, whose word was..."Horse"!

Friday, November 20, 2009

This Child Of Mine...

She never ceases to amaze or inspire me.

Riding Pepenary

I hurt from head to toe. Was it the 90 minute walk I took around the north end of town while waiting for tires to be worked on earlier this week? Or was it riding Pepenary? I tend to say the ride. But why? Makes no sense...I'm not out of riding shape. My body knows what it's doing...right?

Evidently not. I haven't ridden this pistol packing cutter since last spring, back when Sandy was down at Curt's prior to the Sacramento makeover. She's come a long way since then, and let me tell you, she's one smokin' son of a gun! Girl's got cow...way more than I've got. I thought I could ride. I've changed my mind. I was being tossed around like Raggedy Ann. I think I've got whiplash.

Beanie took the video. It looks pretty mild. I've been back on Pepenary twice since this was taken, and I think I can safely say...things have only gotten worse. Drop your reins. Ride with one hand. Use your legs. Get those stops down in the ground.



After I'm done screaming like a girl.

(Thank you, Teresa, for letting me use your music!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rain, rain, go away...?

I thought it was going to be just another dark, gloomy, rainy day. I was wrong.

It's snowing.


Either that or there are a whole bunch of ghostly orbs at my house. But if that's the case, they must be crossing over to the other side and leaving their spirit bodies behind, littered all over my patio and lawn.

The jury is still out on whether or not snow is an improvement over rain, but I'm thinking not. Except that it may afford me some better photos when it comes to my daily challenge. After all, mud can only take you so far! And tomorrow's assignment is light. Snow is far lighter than mud, so for the time being, I'll take it. But it can all go away as soon as I click the shutter.

Yesterday as I was driving home I spotted a couple horses way out in a field and decided to shoot them. With the camera, of course. My original intent was to fiddle some more with the vintage look, but once home I began playing with layers on photoshop, coming up with this look. Darling says no, but I kinda like it. What do you think?


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Monday Mosaic

Is it late enough on Sunday to be making Monday's post? The theme for today's mosaic is Pink & Gold. Lucky for me I've been sitting here all week trying to create the whole vintage look, which definitely lends itself to the look...or at least I'm hoping so, 'cuz it's all I got!


Some of the photos you're seeing in the mosaic can also be found in the new Mustang Diaries 2010 Calendar. Each calendar sold helps support the ongoing efforts here to get mustangs placed into homes, covering expenses from hay to farrier to whatever else is needed. Give the calendar as a gift and at the same time, give the gift of hay to a hungry mustang!


Fur, Feathers and Fins

Today's Sunday Stills challenge was definitely a challenge! But we were told we could pull things out of our archives, so that's exactly what I'm doing!

Fur, of course, is never a problem around here. Since yesterday's word of the day for the photo challenge was hay, I brought a bit inside for the kittens. They they seemed to believe it was catnip.


Feathers flew into my yard while I was attempting, unsuccessfully, some hay shots with the horses. We heard some horrible squawking and turned to find this woodpacker screaming at the hens. Guess he thought they were going to fly up and steal the last apple in the tree from him.


But fins? Well, there are no trout swimming along in our creek this time of year, I'm afraid, so archives it was! You like?


Friday, November 13, 2009

The Mane Event

Help Me!
I can't decide!



Today's word was Mane for the photo challenge. I spent the morning with Curt helping out, and got home in time for a lovely evening light (yes, yes! The clouds parted momentarily for me!) I let Apple Pony out to play, hoping to get a few flowing mane shots, and he was happy to oblige.


Check it out. He's having a race...can you see his race partner?



I must admit there's something a little unsettling about having a 1200 lb drafty boy heading your way with the above expression!

Something I learned today: Even though the assignment was 'mane', try not to cut off your subject's feet! If I had been more in tune to the total picture, these would have turned out much better.

Thursday, November 12, 2009



I am a LION!
Hear me roar!

Norman was helping me today. I needed to take a photo, and of course it needed to be of him. Or so he said. Who can deny such a handsome face?

Today I learned of a sad case of neglect a couple counties south of me. A well known breeder of reining horses in the northwest was discovered with roughly 50 extremely well bred horses...starving. Why? I do not know. What I do know is that the reining horse association is acting fast and trying to get the horses into homes, many free of charge, before they go another day without food. Breeding such as Topsail Whiz, Doc Tom Tucker, and even a Hollywood Dun It daughter, broodmares were there just a couple years ago. Mares, stallions and foals are needing new homes. If you've got room for an extra mouth, or if you'd like to contribute to feeding these hungry critters, let me know.

It sends me reeling to think what we humans are capable of doing to those who trust us. Makes you want to roar...maybe a little louder than Norman.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Did I Say Dirty?

Oh, it was anything but dirty today! More like...prissy! Prissy in Pink. Sounds like a movie title.

I asked Darling to come out and be my model. She's slower to jump up and help the older she gets. But let's face it, there are always little things we mother's know to do to get what we want out of our little Farm Divas. And for Darling? It was the words:

"You can wear your rubber cow boots!"


And for Sandy, of course, it was the promise of apples.

For those of you who are face book fans, time to sign up as a fan of Mustang U! As soon as we hit 250 fans, I'll be putting everyone's name into a hat (of the cowboy variety, naturally!) and draw one lucky winner to receive a set of greeting cards with photographs of the South Steens mustang that I took last winter. The South Steens HMA is being gathered this week and will be available for adoption in December!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I'll Be Your Dirty Girl!

The thing about this photo challenge many parts of the country have beautiful pastoral scenes, with rich loads of fall color, or pretty white fences, and lovely ponds for clear shots of pony reflections. And I have...



Lots of mud.

Loads of mud, piled on top of lots of mud, piled on top of more mud.

So when I take pictures of water shots, it's muddy water. When I take an eye shot, there's mud in their eye. And when the topic was behavior? Mud slinging could easily have been my shot of the day. To be honest? I was getting just a bit tired of all the dirt.


Until today. Because what was the topic? Dirt! And nowhere did it say that dirt needed to be dry!


It's been so nasty outside that I've not let the horses out to play much. The pasture, as you can see, is a regular slip and slide, and while I can turn Sandy and Steve Holt! out with relative certainty that they won't go getting stupid and get hurt sliding around out there, I hesitate to turn customer horses out. But they were getting a bit restless in their paddocks, so today Apple Pony was turned out into the mud pit (for his photo session), Tika into the round pen, and the paddocks opened up enough for Sky Bar to have a bit more space to buck and play. My boys? Well, they went into a side pasture which was newly created this summer and largely unused so far. Everyone enjoyed their free time and having the extra space. They tell me the rains are to continue. No surprise there.

Tomorrow's assignment? Human. Go ahead, think of something interesting for this dirty girl.

Monday, November 9, 2009

When Life Gives you Apples...


...Make Applesauce!

I swear I have never seen a bigger mess in all my life! I let Sandy out to nibble on some green grass while I was busy filling water tubs yesterday, but did he take even a moments notice? Nope. The boy went straight for the spoils which lay on the ground after the recent winds. And did he ever lay waste! Eat half an apple, grab a new one, take a bite, step on this one, reach for that one. He was like a kid in a candy shop, unable to stop himself, always thinking the next apple would taste better than the one in his mouth. Apple slime came drooling out of his lips (but of course, that was before I grabbed the camera!) and the ground was littered with half chewed, slobbery bits, like body parts after a bloody massacre.

After the waterering was complete, I led his plumpness back to his paddock. I swear he waddled. It's nothing short of amazing that he didn't get a tummy ache. The hens, to say the least, will be delighted to come out and gobble up the remains this morning.


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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sunday Stills

Technically? It's still Saturday night. This is the first thing I've done all week and had finished way in advance of the deadline.

This weeks project for Sunday Stills was 'Currency'. Yeah, that's what I thought, too! How many ways can you photograph an empty billfold? Or pockets? But as it turns out, there was a wee bit of cash stashed away in...yes, that's right...the laundry room!

Uh-huh. I give you Laundered Money.


See? All the color came out, too, just like when I wash clothes. Or maybe that's because of the bleach I spilled last time. Whatever...

I'd give you more than that, but honestly? I'm pooped. I need to hit the hay, so that's it for now. Visit Sunday Stills for more creative ways than mine with currency.

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Equine Termite Infestation!

There you are, one day with a lovely barn, and next thing you know...

KaPow!'s been eaten to shreds by an equine termite.


Thankfully, you know just what to do. Grab your camera and take a picture, because today's photo assignment is Behavior, and this certainly falls into that camp. I was left wondering, however, why all the behaviors at my house seemed to fall on the bad side? Sandy was chasing sheep, Sky Bar pinning his ears at Tika, Tika was clanging for her feed, and Steve Holt! has ripped his blanket. Who does that leave for our Equine Termite? None other than Apple Pony himself. You'd think my barn had been built of apple wood...

In other photography news, I decided I wanted to learn to perfect the vintage look. I'm not too sure this is the look I was going for, but heck, at least I finally figured out the rounded corners deal!


There are several different tutorials online explaining how to get the vintage look. They all offer different suggestions, and I swear they all use different versions of photoshop. And did they explain that little detail to you? Well, I don't know, they may have, I could have just skipped over that part. I did manage to figure out a second method, however, and tried it on the farm photo below. I do rather like it. Not sure if it's simply because the colors lent themselves a bit better to the antiquing process than the blues above, or if it was a matter of the method being better. We may never know, because I forgot to bookmark either site. Brilliant, I am.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

You don't know just how boring your life is until... start a blog!

Seriously! I's dark early, light late, and raining in between. What is there to do? Oh, I know...I'll start a facebook account!

Yeah...that's exactly what I needed. One more reason to let my life get sucked down into the deep abyss that is this monitor in front of me. You know your life is boring when the highlight is reading what who had for dinner.

I had tacos. Just in case you had to know.


Today's challenge in the photo a day was Texture. I struggled. Not with ideas so much as with photos that simply did not wish to comply. Tika, you see, has these lovely knots in her mane with pieces of alfalfa sticking out like Indian war feathers. Appropriate, considering she's named after a band of the Paiute Indians. Unfortunately, nothing showed up as being very interesting once it ended up here on the monitor. Not nearly as interesting as the tacos, trust me.


I drove down to Curt's to help him clean a couple of stalls. He broke his arm recently falling off his tractor. At least that's the story he's telling, and he's sticking to it. I brought my camera along and snapped a few quick pics in the tack room.


Then I went out back and got one of the white faced buffie...


I finally decided on this one, the buffie back. Nothing particularly interesting...but I guess it does show texture.


See what I mean? Boring.