For Me, All Is Well

I can’t speak for the rest of my family, but today’s been good. I got to do grocery shopping for sickly children and had fun with that. I got them a Mexican saint candle to protect sick people. I need to get one for Kathleen, too, to ward off future surprises.

Come set a spell. We’re open!

I guess I’ll just share my tack room improvements, which make me happy even if they are small. My favorite things are my Mexican pottery from my beloved old office. I really like the foal with a disapproving look on her face.

Vacuum more!

I also brought the burro planter that I’ll put something in one of these days. I hope spider plants.

My kids got me the wall hanging one year when they still did gifts.

One of the baskets my friend Gina sent me recently makes my ugly tissue box fit in well. It has a weird liner, but that’s fine. And people who are allergic to scents can take care of the problems the adjacent diffuser causes. How efficient! The diffuser makes it smell less like garlic and coconut in here (from feed).

And I grabbed a bird hanging thing to charm anyone who goes to the tack area to view Drew’s ribbons. I predict this area will be more colorful next year. There will be competition!

I was so busy writing about the vacation rental we’re working on that I didn’t share the pretty things I found on a walk through the lower pasture yesterday. I checked to see if there was still any water in the creek and yes, there is a trickle.

Cow says why don’t you have cubes for me?

Mostly I enjoyed early autumn seeds and flowers. And more mama cows. That never hurts!

What’s Pink and behind My House?

It’s a roseate spoonbill, that’s what!

…and three storks, one great egret and one great blue heron!

I was excited to see the storks visiting again, then I noticed one of the beaks trolling the shore was not black and looked sorta funny. Whoa. It was pink!

Look at that bill!

I’ve only had one visit from a spoonbill before so this made me smile. I remember looking at one up close at the collection at College Station but I’d rather see them live! I guess this one had just joined up with stork pals for a while.

It was beautiful to see them all fly off, too.

Bye!

What a happy ending to a day that was already fun.

Why was today fun?

No, not because I did my favorite work task, building an e-learning video. It’s because it was Dusty’s turn to star in a horse activity, and it’s fun to watch him bask in the glow of attention.

Dusty eye. He has blue swirls.

Sara needs to practice trimming hooves, and Dusty had four that needed attention. So she brought all her equipment over and worked on our old buddy.

Me? I’m the focus? Not attention hog Apache?

Sara is doing so great, too. As I expected, she is learning fast. It only took her an hour to do the trim, which is a big improvement!

Yep, it was time!

She had a lot more training to do, but she’s well on her way. Dusty did fine and was quite the gentleman. He had to rest his feet some, but that gave Sara a break, too. We were all happy with the results.

Everybody’s happy, and Fiona is also an attention hog.

It’s just so fun to watch my friend learn and hang out with my horse buddies.

Drew got his attention, too. Scratches with Sara’s gloves went over very well.

Life does not suck right now. It’s good, in fact. And it’s getting better! Woo hoo! Enjoy some more hoof fixing photos!

Hey, I skipped a blogging day. It was both busy and sorta boring. But I’m almost finished making the squares for my little macho camouflage blanket! I used my time wisely!

Horses in Heaven

It’s been a hard summer for the horses. Not much grass, much heat, not as much attention as last year. But today has been a good one! To start, I was able to get out early enough to give all the horses nice baths. I know Dusty was happy. He’s such a level-headed dude, but he liked the suds. And he ended up looking fine, considering his scratches from trying to eat on the other side of the barbed wire in the new pasture.

He even has some mane!

Mabel really needed the bath, because she was covered in salt crystals from sweating. She’s sure a lumpy thing, but I got lots of excess hair off her and cleaned her sweet face. She is now shiny, especially her tail, which almost looks normal again. She was so patient as she waited to dry off, too.

Look at my tail!

Drew is looking pretty ragged these days. He’s a busy boy. Somehow he got a big owie on his belly. I treated it so flies won’t get in it. But he enjoyed the suds and drank a lot from the hose. I used enough purple shampoo on him that I think his tail looks whiter. The parts of him that aren’t nicked up are soft and shiny.

Note my shininess.

Apache and I went for a nice ride before his bath. He still seems a little sore, so we mostly walked and practiced transitions. He’s doing so well now with riding around. It’s so fun. And of course he loved his bath. His mane looks so white now and I got all his brown dirt spots off.

Yes. I’m chunky. But pretty.

What he didn’t like was waiting while he dried. He stomped and complained. To make his point, he pooped right after I’d cleaned all the poop up from the grooming area. Message received! But I didn’t want him rolling while wet, which he loves to do.

I don’t care how much you like my blinding whiteness. I don’t like being tied when everyone else is free.

After all that pampering, they got another surprise. The hay ring got set up. I’m told Drew and Dusty ran up and immediately started chewing.

As they say on the Internet, nom nom.

Then the gate was opened! Freedom! Grass! Excitement!

Big deal. I have hay.

I hear that Apache, Mabel, and Fiona exited rapidly, but Dusty and Drew stayed with the dry old hay.

What made me laugh was that they all barely left the area. They found grass and stopped.

Eventually they found other grass and figured out how to cross the trenches for the electric lines (they will get filled in next week). These are some very happy horses. And the grass isn’t so green it will be a problem!

Of course, ya get thirsty eating all this grass. I love this one!

I hope your Sunday was as good as the one these guys enjoyed!

Hermits Visit a Zoo

Both my spouse and I like animals. I like plants. The San Diego Zoo has lots of each. It also has crowds, though, and neither of us likes crowds. Especially with good ole COVID getting worse again. But we were nearby, and that’s one of the best zoos on earth, so we went.

This guy reminded me of Lee. Plopped down and immediately started snoozing.

We survived the line for the bus tour, and after that it wasn’t too crowded. So we lived, though it wore Lee out.

Some animals were easy to see from the bus.

Lee truly endeared himself to me when he suggested we try to hit all the aviaries. That was good with me. I liked them, because they all have plants common in the areas where the birds are from. And bird spotting is so fun!

My favorite was this fancy pheasant of some sort who really wanted to get a fish!

We got to see birds eating, nesting, and building nests. Some were really entertaining.

Mr. Pigeon here did a mating display, including really impressive vocalizations.

I probably would have been fine just looking at birds and plants. Here are just a few of the dozens of interesting birds we saw. Forgive me for not knowing what they all are. There were so many! I never realized how many kinds of doves there are!

I did look at some animals. I managed to see all the apes and most bears. I didn’t get photos but got a great look at a huge anteater. Those are some interesting animals! I was too busy looking to take many photos, but here are a few.

I guess that was our big tourist activity of the trip. We are really concentrating on spending quiet time together with as little stress as possible, given the unending health challenges of the folks at home. They tell us to stay here, so we have done so! We even manage to look happy.

Sculpture! Birds! Nature Surprises! Beauty?

Today I got to have all the funs, to celebrate an actual day off, and have some emotional recharge. And of course I had to do some deep thinking. I’m on a roll with wonder and wondering.

Nature Surprise

You may remember that Lee forgot to pack any shirts for the trip. The t- shirts he got were fine. But. He got one long-sleeved shirt at Kohl’s when we stopped at one on the way, and it turned out to be weird and too big. So, he declared we would go to Tractor Supply and get more Lee-esque shirts. Why? It got chilly overnight!

Fern time. Sensitive.

Imagine my happiness when I saw that next to the store was a beautiful wooded area with a stream running through it. It was sort of like what I imagine in my mind when I think of a southern American woods. There were oaks, sweet gums, ash, and holly trees, with ferns and palmettos underneath. There were jack-in-the-pulpits and lizard’s tail. Vines included muscadine grape, poison ivy, and Virginia Creeper. I was in heaven. Plus I got to buy a windbreaker.

As if that wasn’t enough, we were actually in our way to our favorite spot, Brookgreen Gardens. It’s always great, but we lucked out this time. For one, the butterfly exhibit at the zoo has recently re-opened. We got to see some butterflies we’d never seen before. And the flowers weren’t bad, either.

A malachite butterfly.

While waiting in line, I met a fellow horse owner and traded photos, of course. But dang, look at these beauties! I don’t know what they are, though.

Of course, I had to get bird photos, too. I didn’t take many of the captive birds, but the ducks were so pretty I had to. At least I got some pretty wild birds, too.

I’ve saved the best for last. Just yesterday, a new exhibit opened. It’s sculpture by two married people, Babette Bloch and Marc Mellon.

I got the book, too.

Mellon has had his work at Texas A&M (to impress the locals) at the Bush Presidential Library. He also designed an official medal for President Obama. His main work has been statues of female athletes. He makes them look strong as well as beautiful. He also did a horse. I liked that.

My heart melted when I started looking at Bloch’s work. She started out in bronze, but then moved on to making art with laser-cut steel. It’s lots of flowers. As you know, I am fond of flowers.

Large herons, outdoors

I had two favorites. One is a phoenix. The base of the sculpture is based on Bloch’s face!

My second favorite was a wall with dozens of flowers in bowls with color behind them. Each bowl was someone’s family heirloom. It moved me to tears to see the old things become new art.

All her work was interesting and different from anything I ever saw. The burnished parts were mesmerizing. Here’s some more of her work. Lee just loved the dog, of course.

To top it all off, I went back in at the end of our visit, and I got to tell Bloch how much her work and the stories behind it moved me. That felt great. My heart is full. What a great day.

My Deep Thiughts

Being at Brookgreen and enjoying the art made me wonder something. Do humans always seek beauty? Have they always done so? Are there things that just naturally please humans?

Are sunsets thought beautiful in all cultures? If so, why?

I seem to remember that symmetry is often found beautiful, like in people’s faces. And there’s that golden ratio that’s supposedly pleasing.

Any thoughts? I’m going to do some research. I guess I shouldn’t take time off from work and chores. I start wondering.

Other Than the Wind, It’s All Good

Yet another windy day. My friend Martha says it seems like it’s windier every year. I got tired of chasing chairs and objects around.

Those chairs spent much of the day in the dirt.

Lots happened but nothing earth shattering other than Apache finally jumping obey his obstacle, which had collapsed in the wind.

Okay, I won’t say “other than” again in this post. I’ll write more coherently tomorrow, when I’m not in a food coma from Family Dinner. Martha made a good homemade hamburger helper.

We ate it all up, and she made a lot!

Let’s hope for a reasonable, uneventful week. That’s all I want right now! I’m the meantime, enjoy some nature sightings.

Who’s My Valentine?

Drew’s my Valentine! And Lee. And the relatives. And the dogs. But Drew. I didn’t know they made horses as nice as him.

Who me? I’m in love with salt. Mmm. Salt.

I built a new playground setup near the new round pen with jumps, circles, brush, and the obstacle he doesn’t like for circling.

I can’t wait! Hey, T, wanna jump?

All the horses were so sweet to me and the offspring-in-love after they dropped by for a few minutes.

We had on Valentines outfits, too.

Drew, Fiona, and the Buckskin Buddies just stood around saying hi and asking for pets. It’s hard not to smile with them around.

Buckskin love.

Once again, Drew followed me to the gate, then walked back with me, perfectly matching my steps. I think I can easily get him to do like Apache at liberty and more. It’s just so awesome.

T expreses her opinion.

Later, after feeding time, I went to let him out (I’m keeping him in to try to get him to eat more), and instead of rushing out to freedom, he hung around and sniffed me to figure out what I’d been cooking. Then he “asked” me to scratch his neck a while, gently “kissed” me, then left. Yep. He’s a good Valentine.

Three very loving guys.

Did I give my humans love? Sure! The kids got hot tub time. And I made dinner for the men. I’ll share the recipe in another post.

Eye of Remington, full of love for all humans and horses.

Bonding with the Funny Equines

It was a horsey day yesterday, which is good, because we are now quarantined other than outdoor stuff. I’m so glad the horse work is outdoors!

And donkey work. Don’t forget me!

Right. As I was saying the horse day started early. I’d asked Lee to put the bale of hay that was on the tractor out, since the horses need it and he’s the only healthy person who can drive the tractor. Well, he went in through Drew’s paddock but didn’t realize Drew was there (because no one knows my horse schedule but me).

Mmm. Forbidden grass.

Drew made his escape, but didn’t go far, since he found green grass. All I had to do is put his pretty new halter on him and lead him back. He was curious about the “this is an equine facility and you might get hurt” sign. But then he said bye and headed to the hay, where T chased him around.

I think they’re talking about T

Back to work I went until late afternoon when Trixie was due to work on Apache and his body issues. I spent quite a while grooming the filthy Apache, which took longer due to Fiona also wanting grooming.

She also had lots of those giant burs on her front legs and was trying to get them out with her teeth. I found the hoof pick was a great tool for getting those out. She now has nice, smooth, hairy legs.

Focus on me now!

Apache did great with his body work. He seemed really happy with his head and neck treatment, and made such cute faces!

Look! My neck works!

He was less thrilled with the work on his adhesions near his hips, but wow, it made a difference. I’m hoping this will make our training easier on him and help him develop good posture. Enjoy some fun faces now!

This morning I went out to let Drew back into the big pasture. It’s cool but sunny out, so I shouldn’t have been surprised to find him napping in the sun. But of course, I thought he was dead.

I’m breathing, Suna.

Of course, he’s fine and in a playful mood.

Howdy, Mama!

He happily walked with me to the gate, but not without stopping to play with Vlassic. He wanted the squeaky toy, but not enough to fight the dog over it! That just made my morning.

Let’s play!

It’s good to have these sweet animal friends to bond with while you’re confined. And writing about them gives you something to do in an endless line to get a COVID test.

My little gray friend.

Try to stay safe, friends. It’s hard, but we can get through this!

A Different Winter Wonderland

I’d planned a fun nature walk with my little group yesterday, but thanks to COVID, I ended up on a solo walk. I explored a part of the woods that’s near the house, but not often visited. It was warm and sunny, but still a winter wonderland to me.

A dream in green

The green you see is a mix of rye grass and chickweed.

And mushrooms!

I went over to the tank/pond on the other side of the woods from the one behind our house. It’s the most attractive one and is always full of life.

Cows love it, but they haven’t pooped all the life out of it.

It’s often hard to get to from our place, because there’s a fence marking a property line that ends in a place that stays damp for a long time after it floods. But, the recent tree-killing knocked it down in a spot, so I could explore the pond while it’s full.

We only have a couple of months when the trees have no leaves. You can see more!

This pond has lots of aquatic plants in it. Some are blooming. I forget what they are, but it’s pretty.

The water looks brown, but there are lots of fish.

It always smells nice and earthy around the pond when it’s wet. Admittedly, some parts smell more cattle-y. It smelled fresh today.

Looking towards the dam.

The highlight of my little walk was checking out where the water comes into the pond, which I’d never seen from this side while the stream was flowing.

Coral berry lines the little stream.

The stream had dozens of minnows in it. It was fun to watch them dart around. In the photo you see their shadows better than them! I also figured out that the stream comes out of a spring at the base of our pond. It doesn’t seem to drain our pond, or if it does, it’s slow.

I felt like an explorer in my own back yard. I found a freshly dug hole where some animal lives.

And I encountered an ant swarm on a log. Probably fire ants but still cool to watch. I didn’t stick my fingers in there to check.

Can you see the ones with wings?

It is always refreshing to hang out in nature, no matter what time of year. It’s healing and reminds you of the big picture. None of us is alone. Please enjoy more images of our small, green wonderland.

Sunset and Dining in the Rockies

I ended up spending the entire day yesterday with my patient friend, Cathy. I crammed a week’s worth of fun into that one day! I also crammed more than a week’s worth of exercise points in, but I feel absolutely fine in the leg department today, so my hiking boots must have done their job.

Fire on the mountain, but not a wildfire.

We left off in yesterday’s post after lunch. We went to check out the outlet mall, because Cathy hinted that it doesn’t suck. And that’s right, it doesn’t. The first place we went was not an outlet store, but a little jewel of a co-op gallery of art by local artisans. There was beautiful mosaic art and a lot of photographs, some by a photographer Cathy really likes.

Photo taken right near Cathy’s house. It was hard to photograph, because it’s shiny.

Imagine her happiness to find out that Stephen Johnson was working in the store that day! She found out he lives in her neighborhood, and they shared stories of seeing moose and other wildlife nearby. I enjoyed his stories very much and got some images of his photos. This is my favorite, partly because of the story of the pregnant cow moose, who he sees every year with her babies.

Look at her jump!

That was fun, as was finding a few items at the Columbia outlet that may help me ride Apache more in the winter. I got a head covering thing that would fit under my helmet, and a warm reflective shirt. We’ll see!

Then we adventured out to find some cool green hiking boots Cathy wanted to get from Facebook Marketplace. She loves Facebook marketplace. I have to say they are pretty darned cool boots.

Ignore Chalkdust, the extremely lovely husky/shepherd mix, and look at the shoes.

After heading back to my house to change and get my knitting, we went back to Cathy’s. I feel bad for how many times I caused her to drive back and forth from Dillon to Breckenridge! She baked some brownies and I knitted, then we went for a sunset walk, which she does most days. You know, I hadn’t walked enough yet. Cathy needed to, because as she admits, she is a jock.

Sunset from their house.

It got colder and colder as we walked, but it was fine. We got to see some clouds and sun and mountains, which made it worth it. And, oh yes, I got to look at all the houses in the neighborhood, which are rustic and have interesting garage doors and other exterior details. Of course, I peeked inside when I could, too. There were some fine light fixtures.

When we got back, there was a special treat! Cathy’s friend, Sarah, had invited us to have a girls’ night fajita dinner. I was happy, because I’d enjoyed talking to her earlier, plus I would get to meet two more women. So, off we went.

This is Violet, a husky. I took pictures of the dogs, not the people.

Everyone had fun getting to know each other and eating. Sara’s new neighbor across the street was really subtle in her humor, so I enjoyed her a lot. And the other guest is an artist and was making a beautiful butterfly installation for the place where she works in Breck.

I spent a great deal of time asking Sara where all her art and textiles came from. Her mother had a business selling Native American jewelry, so she had traded for some nice stuff, plus she had Peruvian tapestries, too. Drool.

It turns out Sarah teaches Pysanky eggs at the art center, so I got to see some of them. I would love to learn that technique to do with some of my eggs. Thank goodness Cathy took a picture, to prove there were people at dinner.

I’m asking endless questions about the eggs. They are so intricate.

In addition to meeting so many fascinating women today, I believe I had my biggest exercise day since back when I’d hike with my older son on holidays. I still can’t believe I feel so good…well, other than my digestion telling me I ate too much rich food. Today may be a recovery day, though I intend to get in the right amount of walking in (after football).

My exercise goal is 30 minutes, and I have a hard time getting it at home. Not here. Thanks, altitude!

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