Monday, September 1, 2014

Just A Normal Sunday?

When I got home from the barn yesterday, late morning, I saw a very large red tailed hawk sitting on the fence next to the chicken coop.   I rushed over to wave my arms and chase it away, noticing that it dropped something on the ground as it flew away.   I carefully walked over, hoping it wasn't one of my chickens, and found that it was a dastardly ground squirrel.   Whew!   I got a scoop of scratch and hurried all the chickens into their yard, grabbing one off her nest in the horse trailer, and counting heads when I was finished.   In their yard, they can get under the large coop and also hunker down inside the smaller coop if they need protection.   Mission accomplished.

The hawk returned a while later to claim its meal and took its time eating all it wanted.   After departing for distant trees, the vultures were next in line for lunch.   It's amazing to me how quickly they know something is dead, and they show up in full force to finish off the meal.   Harry and Gunny were out and claimed the space under the eucalyptus tree, but the vultures were not concerned about the chubby equines and went about their business.   I thought the donkeys might chase after them, but they also seemed not to care.   Well, the odor might have been a bit unsettling.






Just another Sunday here.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

A Bucket List Item

I have lived in California 24 years.   I have been taking photos here on the Central Coast for some time.   I have never seen whales.   If I'm in Cayucos, someone sees whales in Avila.   If I'm in San Simeon, the whales are off Morro Bay.   Today I drove to the coast because the forecast called for big waves.   I was heading down Highway 1 to stop at Cayucos when I decided to pull over at Estero Bluffs and walk a little ways.   I had never stopped here before.   Ever.   

A few surfers were coming up the path, saw me with my camera, and commented on all the whales putting on a show.   Oh boy, I picked up the pace and found a good spot to stand with my camera at the ready.   It was a beautiful blue sky, big waves rolling in against the rocks, and the wind blowing in my face.   I saw the whales.   I saw them.   With a 300mm, you can't capture the detail, but you can sure try.   And I did.   You know what's hard about photographing whales?   You don't know where they are going to breach.   



There is a man who photographs the area from a boat.   I don't know what type of boat, maybe a whale watching tour boat.   He commented on Facebook that he and his captain have a combined 55 years working off the coast and have never seen so many humpbacks as they've seen the past couple days.   

I can't explain how happy I am to have seen these magnificent creatures.   To see them up close off a boat must be the thrill of a lifetime.  

If I go back tomorrow, will they still be there?   

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sign on the Dotted Line

I may have made the final decision today regarding our kitchen design details.   It's been quite a process as I have so many design styles that seem to suit me well.   The layout itself was easy because we aren't able to change the basic footprint of the existing kitchen.   More cabinets, raising the ceiling, a larger window, taking out a small closet for more cabinet and counter space...those are the easy choices.   Specific cabinets, countertop material (Holy cow!), backsplash tiles, flooring....well, they have caused me to spend hours and hours on Houzz.com, and forced me to nearly go blind walking through Lowe's and the tile/stone shop.   

The cabinets will be natural cherry, Shaker style.   

http://www.houzz.com/natural-cherry-cabinets    Here are a few hundred photos you can browse :-)

I've gone back and forth numerous times between granite and quartz.   The granites I like all seem to be at the high end of the price range, so at this moment in time it seems quartz is winning.   Even though quartz can be as expensive as granite, there are lower cost options which make a huge difference.   I am still waiting for a bid so there is still time to make the final choice.

The glass subway tile for the backsplash is crazy expensive, but it makes a huge difference in the overall design.   I'd rather save dollars elsewhere and go with something that makes the whole design really stand out.   No fancy sink, no fancy faucet, no expensive tile for the floor.   I don't want a busy, overdone kitchen.   I just want a more simple, elegant, organic look.   And I think we're getting close.  

This is the first time I've ever written a post without a photo.   What's up with that?   I think that's just wrong somehow, don't you?   So here's a photo from my files that makes no sense in the context of this post, but hopefully it makes you smile.   My little hummers are still here after all these months.



Sometimes less is more.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Horse Updates

Some of you have been so kind over the months, asking about my Beau and how he's doing.   The answer is, he's doing well!   He's not completely recovered from his founder episode so he's not yet rideable.   His feet are growing nicely and we have been letting him recover by living in a sand paddock that is smaller than usual.   When a horse has foundered and there's some rotation of the coffin bone, you need to avoid any concussion on the hoof.   And so....we don't want him running around being a goofball and doing further damage.   The sand provides a cushion to the foot and because it's summer, the dry sand also toughens the foot.   

However....because the sand gets wet from urine, it also has given him a cool place to stand.   Horses will always seek out comfort, right?   So he stands in the cool spot and that has made his feet soften.   Soft feet = sore feet.   It's a cycle that we had to break.   Last week I bought SoftRide boots for horses.   They are like sneakers for equines and have thick gel soles along with an orthotic that is removable.   They velcro onto the foot so it's way way way easier than taping on a wedge pad.   He loves his new shoes and now he's able to spend the nights back in his stall.   We're taking it all a step at a time in the hopes that I'll be riding him before too many more months pass.

In the meantime....I haven't been riding since April.   I sit on the sidelines at the barn and watch everyone else.   If you're not a horse person, I understand that it's not your passion and you may think I should just find something else to do.   If you are a horse person, or have a passion about something else, you probably get it.   So I've been trying horses.   Looking for horses, looking at horses, riding a few horses, bringing a couple horses home on trial.   It's been quite a process.   And finally, I have a new horse.


For now, we are calling him Buddy.   That's Beau in the background taking a look at our new little Buddy.   He's a very pretty Quarterhorse, 6 years old, well trained, sweet, and fun to ride.   He needs about 75 pounds and some muscle over his hindquarters, but my friend is awesome about taking care of the horses and their nutritional needs.   Everyone has different standards about horse fitness and some of the trainers out in the world just don't pay enough attention to making sure they stay at the correct weight.   Anyway....that's another subject altogether.

I'm back in the saddle again!!!

Next up:   The kitchen remodel....Oh boy oh boy.


Saturday, August 23, 2014

Browsing the Files

Recently I saw on a Facebook ad that a Canvas print company has a special for 2 large prints.   It was a great opportunity to go back through my photo files and choose a couple of favorites.   And it was an even better opportunity to delete as many files as possible, knowing I had so many "almost duplicates" from shooting sunsets, etc.   

It's all about the changing light and it changes every second, as you know if you've ever picked up a camera and tried to capture it.    So far, I have chosen this one.   It's from this past January in Cayucos.   I love capturing the clouds and beautiful light on stormy winter days.   I think this one will go very nicely on the bedroom wall.


Autumn is right around the corner.   I feel it in the air when I go out in the mornings, and I can't wait for the light to change and new photo opportunities to present themselves.   Meanwhile, I have to choose another photo for my second canvas.   

Have a great weekend!!


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Just a Few Photos

Hi everyone.   I've been hibernating too much this week as we've had a heat wave.   This has been a heat wave with monsoon conditions, like Arizona has in the late summer.   It's not normal for us and we don't like it one bit.   Looking forward to Autumn, my favorite season.

Besides the new header photo, taken mid-week from behind our house, I took a few at the coast when I drove over to spend a couple hours breathing healthy air.   Tomorrow is supposed to be cooler and we're heading to the coast again for a nice walk at Moonstone Beach in Cambria.

This is what my friend got when she didn't pick all her artichokes.



A resident of the San Simeon Pier


Looking off the San Simeon Pier


The males are still on the beach at Piedras Blancas, molting and making less of a fuss now that the females are gone.   


Like I said, they're molting.


I'm making progress on the kitchen remodel, working with a designer and finally nailing down choices on cabinets and countertops.   Now I wait for the bids to come in and then we'll see if it's all feasible.   I hope so because I think it will be beautiful if it all comes together like this.   

Anyway, just dropped by for a few minutes to say Hi and share a few visuals of life here on the Central Coast.   Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's Wednesday Again?

Where did the past week go?   I've taken lots of photos and was planning to share them.   I've been spending a lot of time at the barn taking care of horses.   My mare, Fancy, has been working through a bad bout of colic since Saturday morning.   When it rains....you know the rest.   She seems to have turned the corner toward recovery and yesterday was a better day.   

With Erik home over the weekend, I was able to take him to Lowes and a couple of granite companies to gather our ideas for the kitchen remodel.   It's nice when we think alike on the ideas.   Makes it much much easier to move ahead to finalize the design and hopefully make those decisions that we want to live with forever.

Our strange, cool, cloudy, more humid weather continued through yesterday.   It's going to get windy and heat up today and we just need to get through a couple more months until Autumn.   Ahhhh yes, lovely Autumn.   The clouds have brought gorgeous skies and you can be sure I added hundreds more files to my already bursting Lightroom library.

Can you spot the little guys watching the sunset with me?


And a pole sitter in the distance?




I haven't made a decision about a new lens but I'm definitely going to get something.   Wide angle or macro?   Oh boy, hard to decide.

Have a great Wednesday and if you're in the area, check out the local California Mid-State Fair.