Saturday, August 17, 2013

Around the Town

Darling had to run into town to get a photo of herself holding a....well, I can't say until after the scavenger hunt.  While we were there I snapped a few photos of our town.

City of Subdued Excitement

The old Burlington Northern terminal, no longer in use

This chain was an anchor of sorts, wrapped around a log and tumbling into the lake.

Fire Escape leading out of the old Parberry Building

The original City Hall, now housing the Whatcom Museum of History and Art

Darling strolling down the waterfront.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

She's got LEGS....

Today's word prompt on the photo challenge was Feet & Legs.

I started out thinking I'd do something fun with Joe's legs.  He's always wanting to play out in the pasture.  Tonight, however, he just trotted right back to the round pen.  And did he even cooperate there?  Nope, not really.  Just stuck his nose in my lens.

Well, really, how original are horse legs, anyway?  Over half the photographers there spend their time with horses, so maybe I needed to go a different direction.  

Which direction?  Miss Henny's direction!

Miss Henny was not entirely sure why I was messing with her.  What was the attraction with her legs, anyway?  Was she pigeon toed?  Had she been walking like a duck?  

Miss Henny climbed down to take a closer look at my chicken legs.  She pointed out that I was obviously deformed.  I only had one toe!

She marched back and forth across my legs.  Where were my feathers?  Why was I taking her picture,when obviously I was the odd duck, here?  Featherless and one toed.

She pointed out (rather rudely, I might add) that my thighs were rather plump and maybe she needed to call the Colonel.  

Unimpressed with me, Miss Henny fluttered back up to what she has claimed as her perch...the barbecue.

So I used this for my photo of Feet and Legs.  It didn't stick it's nose in my camera lens or mock my chicken legs (or lack of feathered physique!)  Rather, it posed patiently and let me photograph it to my heart's content!

PS...if anyone knows who may have sculpted this?  It is called ' The Mustang', and signed B Kay.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Three E's

The daily photo challenge is certainly a challenge...partly because we seem to be busy around here.  But I'm forcing myself to take those shots whenever it's possible.  Today's prompt was Eyes.

Now, when I think of lovely eyes, I think of Tika.  She's got the MOST beautiful eyes.  But as I wandered about early this morning, snapping this and that, I spotted all my chicks lined up in a row on a little log.

I got down low and snapped and clicked and then got up and walked away to visit the horses.

The horses were having one of the 'pretty pony eye shots', however.  Instead, they were racing about like a couple of wild horses.  Which, of course, is what they are.  Or were.  Snap, snap, snap.

By the end of the afternoon it didn't seem like I'd gotten much, but I sat down to the computer and uploaded my day's work.  One photo of the chicks was pretty cute, but this assignment was Eyes.  Blowing it up, I closed in on my two almost looks like a blurry, double exposure!  I don't know why, but I like it.

Yesterday we shot for Expression...and I couldn't resist this young barn swallow.  The day before he was tucked safely behind the wall of his muddy nest, but not on this morning!  By now I'm certain he's flown out on his own.

Also a good candidate for expression yesterday was Tika!  But then, when doesn't the Diva express herself?

The day before we lost our Rocket, we learned that the Cowboy was sending three horses to Wyoming to Ken McNabb.  Ken will use them on the ranch, then put them in his sale this summer.  Darling took this particularly hard, as the gelding she's been riding this past year was among those slated to go.  She'd thought, hoped, dreamed that he'd never least not until she was in a position to buy him for herself.

Darling and River, or River Monster as she called him, were quite a team.  He wasn't a horse to trust just anyone, but he trusted her, and she loved him.  Saturday was her last day with him, and it was wrought with emotion.  Saying goodbye, two days in a row...not an easy thing to do.  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A Difficult Weekend

It's not unusual for Rocket and Rufus, our two mighty warriors, to run out into the night, through the trees, in search of coyotes or raccoons or whatever else they perceive as a threat to their domain.  Over the years, they've killed plenty of vermin, and it wasn't until 2 months ago that either of them came back injured.  Rufus managed to tangle with a coyote and had a puncture to his groin.  Once he was stitched up and healed, he was back in business.

The other evening, just past dusk, the boys sounded the alarm and off they ran back towards the creek.  I have learned over the years that when they decide there's danger, calling them back is simply impossible, and this night was no different.  An hour or so later they came running back into the yard, panting and smiling at a job well done.

I had the door to the rec room open and Rufus bounded up the stairs happily.  Rocket, however, looked at me sheepishly and slipped beneath the steps where he laid down.  This wasn't always unusual...he spent a lot of time beneath the stairs, so I didn't give it any thought at all, and closed the door with Rufus inside.  Rufus, after all, was the trouble maker of the two, so locking him indoors would mean the neighborhood would sleep in peace, rather than listen to my boys as they chased four legged criminals through the trees all night.

Come morning, it was obvious that Rocket was in pain.  I needed to go to the farmer's market that day, so we gave him a little asprin, thinking and hoping that would help with the pain that he was obviously feeling.  He didn't want to use his hind end much at all, putting his weight mainly on his front end.  Asprin should help with possible inflammation, too, and I was hopeful that he'd be a little better when I returned that evening.

No such luck.  Rocket was still tender and not wanting to use his back legs.  He was, however, very happy and smiling as usual, and running our hands along his body was showing nothing out of the ordinary.  And when food was carried out?  He managed to  hustle just a little more in order to get to it.  His appetite wasn't lacking...a good sign, right?  Two more asprin...and a hope and a prayer for a better Rocket come morning.

But he wasn't better.

I called the vet, and City Boy carried him to my truck.  He laid on the floor at Darling's feet as we made the 30 minute drive.  When we arrived, they got us into a room and went to find a vet.  Any vet...they were booked full, but had squeezed us in hoping that someone would have a few minutes to have a look.  A young woman came in and took Rocket to the back where she took X-rays.  She came back to tell us that there was good and bad news.  Good news?  No broken bones.  There was arthritis in his back, but it was something he'd been dealing with for years.  Bad news?  He had no feeling in his tail, and while the area of his anus had feeling, he had no muscle control.

Rocket's bladder was full, and from the Xrays she could see that he'd not defecated in awhile, either.  She could, if we wanted, give him a catheter and either keep him there overnight (recommended) or send him home.  He'd need to be carried in and out, as walking was obviously out of the question.  We should keep him in a bathroom, preferably, for easy clean up.  

Ultimately, though was the fact that Rocket had nerve damage, and there was no way to know if he'd ever recover.  

Darling and I took a few minutes alone, and came to the difficult decision that Rocket, at age 12, certainly did not deserve to suffer.

And so it was that we arrived with our loyal Rocket, and left with only our memories of that little red dog with the heart of a warrior.  He will be greatly missed.  Rest in Peace, dear, sweet Rocket, until we meet again.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

So, Joe, Whaddya Know?

 Back in 2008, when I was fresh out of the first makeover with Sandy, Darling and I made a trip to Molalla Oregon where I picked up three geldings for TIP (trainer incentive program.)  One of those was a gelding that became known as Joe.

Joe was a pretty little bay with a sweet disposition.  He was easily gentled and enjoyed attention.

For some odd reason, Joe was the last of the three geldings to find a home, despite being the one we felt was going to make the easiest transition.  You can just never tell about people and what they want to adopt.  Joe was here for three months before a woman came along who fell in love and wanted him.

Joe was sent to a trainer and started under saddle.  His adopter loved him, but there was a little accident that set them back a few months.  Joe went to another trainer and again did well, and the adopter still loved him and rode a little in her yard and round pen at home.

Then the adopter had an accident, and Joe has been sitting for the past ten months.  She'd really like to get him out on the trails, like she's done with her halflinger, but she's not sure Joe has the confidence out there just yet.  So Joe is here with Darling and I, and we'll be getting him going so his adopter can enjoy him even more.

Isn't Joe a pretty boy?  We sure think so!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Lights! Camera! Action!

Doxee's first shoes

I've been taking part, halfheartedly, in a Facebook group called Daily Horse Shots for the past couple of years.  Mostly, I look at other people's images, feeling like I'm way out of my league most days.  When the admin of the group announced she was planning an August Challenge, I wished longingly for the confidence to participate.  Sure, it was meant to be a learning experience for all skill levels, but still...I just didn't think I had it in me.  

When the deadline came I didn't give it another thought.  Went about my day, puttering around the house, a trip to the Cowboy's place, and the general daily drivel.  I checked into Facebook halfway through the afternoon and was somewhat surprised to see I was getting notifications from the private August Challenge group.  What?  How'd that happen?

I continued to read the rest of the notifications and found the one where a friend had added me to the list of participants.  

Well...why not?  If I was stumped for a photo, I could skip a day, right?  But the object of course was to I may as well play along.

Each day there is a new word that we are to shoot for.  It need not be horse related, but of course many of us are around horses day in and day out, so that is the main focus for many.


The first day the word was Abstract.  I'm not real comfortable with abstract.  I was afraid I'd get it wrong.  Darling assured me that it's art, and there is no wrong art.  Darling is wrong.  But I shot abstract anyway.  Or what I hoped was something similar.

Second day? Action!  I much prefer action.  I went out into the pasture and requested the help of two of my friends, Tika and Chase.  The results?  Much more fun than abstract!

Tika in action!

Of course, we all know that Tika is incredibly photogenic.  They simply don't come any prettier.  I thought I'd work a bit on cropping skills with my entry for the action challenge, showing a bit of flying mane and of course her lovely eye and smooth muscle.

The photos of Chase were less than appealing, however.  He simply is not an attractive horse to photograph.  He has got one amazing feature, however.

His mane.

It's thick and curly, with red at the base and blond highlights at the bottom.  I began messing around a bit with one of the photos, and suddenly found myself with what I thought was a rather attractive image.  Just enough of a hint of his face, some muscling on his shoulder, and that glorious mane.  Yes, I liked it.

Because I'd cropped it down, I wondered just how big it would print and still look good, so I went to the company where I order my canvas prints and uploaded Chase's photo.  I changed canvas sizes a couple of times, then on a whim, I switched it from landscape (which is above), to portrait.

Oh, my...the only thing that was in the canvas was Chase's mane.  Look at it!  So bright and splendid and artsy and...ABSTRACT!  Really?  Look, I'm an abstract photographer!

I was having so much fun with this new style that I did Tika as well.  I'm not quite as happy with how she turned out as Chase.  Isn't it funny that she is so remarkable to look at as well as photograph, and yet this particular style really suits the rather homely Chase much better?  

Sunday, August 4, 2013

What Would it Hurt To Look?

It's been 3 months now since the fall.  I've hit the trail a few times, carried carefully by the wonderful Sandy.  Up and down hills, through rivers and over bridges.  It was wonderful therapy for both my body and my mind.  

In late June, Darling and I made a trip to Oregon to look at horses.  This time, however, they weren't mustangs.  Instead, we stopped at a couple of farms to look at cutting/reining prospects.  The first place we stopped was Airlie Farm in Monmouth, a little southwest of Salem.  There was a lovey bed and breakfast run by the farm owner, Nancy Petterson.  She had three 2 year olds saddled and ready for me to ride when we got there.  All three were nice, but there just wasn't that special something that makes my heart race.

There was a young gal named Dani who worked there.  While Nancy was busy tending things in the house, Dani showed me not only the 2 year olds in the arena, but offered to show me around the farm.  There'd been a lovely buckskin filly I'd seen online that I'd wanted to see.  Dani warned me she only had 10 or so rides on her.  Darling was fussing, making sure I understood that this was a mission to find a horse that was already going well enough for me not to go getting myself hurt again.  Sure, sure...but what would it hurt to look?

The filly was cute, to be sure, but I was heeding Darling's strong warning.  

Dani continued out back with us, showing us the broodmares and a few other horses.  Up at the end there was a large paddock with a couple of horses, a red yearling colt and a bay 2 year old gelding.  Dani explained that this 2 year old was really catty at the end of a lunge line, but he was also a somewhat hard to catch boy.  Of course, just then the two of them came running right up to the fence to see us.   So much for hard to catch.  The bay began sniffing my face and blowing in my ear.  I began to melt.

Can we see him on the lunge line?, I asked.  Darling began to steam next to me.  Dani smiled and said he really hadn't been ridden more than a handful of times.   That was okay, I said...let's just see him move.

Darling went to the car, angry with me.  This, she repeatedly whispered in a hot tempered sort of way, was not why we were here.  But what could it hurt just to look, I asked?

Sure enough, the bay tried pretty hard to scratch his belly when stopping and turning at the end of that lunge line, and I was smitten.

CD's High Five, aka Fiver, is the sire of the youngsters at Airlie Farm

We still had another farm to visit, this one a few hours south in Roseburg.  We drove down and met up with our friend (and fellow wild horse photographer) John Wheland for dinner.  Early the next morning we headed to another farm where I tried out a couple of three year olds.  The filly worked really well for me, enough so that I could drop my hand while working the flag.  She was nice...really nice.  No sparks, but hey, she was nice.  Plus, she was strong enough under saddle that I wouldn't need to worry about getting myself hurt.

What to do?

I knew the family would want me on a well grounded horse, so I made an offer with the trainer on the filly.  Instantly, I regretted it.  What if the owner accepted?  I went to bed completely stressed, finally putting it in God's hands.  Who would know better what would work for me?  So God...if they take the offer, then the filly it is.  But if I'm meant to get the gelding, the one who blew in my ear?  Then the offer will be turned down.

The next morning I got my answer.

Meet Toby, also known as One Tuff CD

Nancy gave me a great deal on this young gelding, enough so I could hire a trainer to get him started.  She'd asked me who I rode with, and when I told her the Cowboy, she smiled and said she knew him.  She felt confident that Toby would be going to a good home who would promote him, and that surely is what I'm going to try to do.  Right now he's with Roger Saur for a couple of months so that he'll have a solid foundation by the time he comes home to me.

Five rides!

The past few months I've taken myself almost completely out of the mustang circle, but now that some time has gone by, I find myself still feeling the tug.  Tika, of course, is still here, as is Chase.  

While I wait for Toby to come home, I'm going to work on my photography skills.  This blog will likely be taken over by photos for awhile.  I hope you don't mind.  This one is Chase (in broad daylight, I might add.)

Where am I heading?  I'm not entirely sure.  But hopefully we'll have fun getting there!