Monday, October 31, 2011

Barn Charm?

I'll have to say right here that I don't know how to do links and I don't have time to learn right now.   But I will, just not this morning.


I love photos of barns.   I think everyone does, at least those of us who grew up in an area where we have seen and appreciated their own kind of beauty dotting the landscape.


In this area of California, the history is more ranching than farming.   I don't see many traditional type barns while out driving the rural roads.   Once in a while a building has the appearance of a barn, of sorts.   At least it has the charm and therefore draws me to the side of the road for a photo.   


This is from a vineyard in our area.   Not a cattle barn, not a dairy barn, maybe a wine barn?    

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sky Sunday

I shared this photo on Google+ for Sky Sunday.   Mother Nature had painted her sky in beautiful shades of yellow which is a color that makes me happy.   I didn't adjust the colors in this photo, they were perfect in every way.    Have a very good Sunday.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Driving For Fun

My sweet Morgan filly, Angel, is 3 years old.   She is broke to ride but needs a different job for several reasons.   So yesterday my friend and I took her up north of here about 2-1/2 hours for "boarding school" with a Morgan trainer I've known for several years.   She is going to teach Angel to drive a cart.   There are different types of driving within the Morgan breed - Park, Pleasure, and Carriage.   Angel seems best suited for Carriage, but we shall see.   Park Harness is shown in a 4-wheel cart.   Pleasure Driving is shown in a 2-wheel cart, as shown below.   Carriage driving is an old fashioned carriage of which there are many styles.   The people in the carriage dress in garments traditional for the time so it's really rather charming.


Beau (my riding horse) learned how to drive as a youngster, either 2 or 3.   He was shown in Pleasure Driving before he was trained to saddle.   This is Beau driving in a show at Santa Barbara about 5 years ago.   


From what I understand, he really enjoyed the driving.   His focus now is Dressage and I don't know a local driving trainer, so he hasn't done this in 2 years since I got him.   


Even though one of my other horses, Phoebe, also did Pleasure Driving, I had never driven the cart because she was shown by my then-trainer.   Yesterday, Angel's new trainer had her stallion, Rick, hooked to the cart for training while we were there.   She offered to let us drive him.   So I said Yes!   I had seen her horse win the recent Morgan World Championship under saddle.   He is a big mover so I hesitated a little.   But she told me he was a "very good boy" with the cart, so off I went.   It was such fun!   No one took a photo of me, but I am pretty sure I will do it again next time I drive up to visit Angel.   


This is "Rick" winning under saddle.   Isn't he gorgeous?



Morgan horses are very versatile in their abilities which is only one of the reasons we love and enjoy them so much.   If you ever get a chance to see a Morgan show in your area, it's a lot of fun to watch all the disciplines being shown.     Next time I visit Angel, I promise photos.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mmmmhmmmmm

I love TLC's shows, "Say Yes to the Dress" and "Say Yes to the Dress Atlanta" so of course I've seen every episode many times.   My girlfriend and I were talking about them on our day trip today and just laughing about so many lines from the show.    This is one of my favorites.   I just love these Southern women and their expressions.   This is one of those lines that I love, toward the end when the mom says, "We gunna pray about it."    Cracks me up!   I love this show.   I think it might be on tonight so I better run.   New posts will be coming this weekend.   I hope you had a fun Friday.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Day Trip

I will be away on Friday.   I am leaving you with one of my favorite "stuck in my head and won't leave" songs.    Enjoy:-)



Early Morning

Some mornings I want to quickly feed the animals and stay in the house with my coffee until it's light and the fog has lifted.   Other mornings I feel drawn to be out there a little longer while the dogs take their time out on the property.   I usually don't take my camera outside unless there's a pretty sunrise.   Yesterday, after the dogs went back into the yard and I let the donkeys out for the day, I went in to get my camera.   Early morning can be very interesting if you pay attention.   


In the mist, you can see these webs all around.



Here's a closer look.



Aren't these nice?   So much work going on here during the night.   So I was curious and of course Google'd Tarantula webs.   We have Tarantulas here, they live in the ground, and they are nocturnal.   These look very much like the Tarantula webs I found on the Internet.   Apparently they build these either to protect their burrow from invaders and/or to use as a type of hammock above ground.   


Fascinating how much activity is going on out on our property during the night!   I'm going to look into this further but that's the best explanation I can come up with for now.


And what sort of beast left this out on the property????


Aha, I think I'm on to something.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Not Always Blue Skies

Because we are so close to the coast, we get fog that rolls in on us.   In the summer, when it's very hot, it acts like a natural air conditioner.   That's when we love the fog.   It lasts a while in the morning and then burns off.   This time of year, when the mornings are dark anyway, it blankets us and creates a drizzly mist.   It makes the mornings seem very slow moving.   And it's hard to get my motor running.


This is a quick shot of THIS morning taken with my phone about 7AM when I let the dogs out back.   One of my neighbors is actually walking her dog over there.   I can't see her but the dogs ran up to visit.   



When the sun starts to rise over the hills, it sometimes makes for pretty photos.



I'm moving slowly this morning.   S L O W L Y.   The donkeys are fed, the dogs are fed, but the chickens have to stay in and complain for a while.   Predators can lurk in the fog and I try not to take those chances.   Let them complain until I just can't listen anymore.   B'gawk!


Have a good day.   

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I Would Rather

I had a busy day.   The first half was pretty good because I was with the horses.   The second half was spent going to the tile store and then spending way too much time at Home Depot returning product and making decisions.   I would much rather have been over at Morro Bay taking pictures like this.



I hope there's something good on TV tonight to go along with the glass of wine I'm going to drink.



Monday, October 24, 2011

Don't Freak Out

It's moulting season and it's not pretty.   Only a few of my hens are going through it.   It's hard on them and requires a lot of their resources to grow the new feathers.   While they always love dirt baths, they especially like them when their feathers are falling out.   I think this is such a funny photo of Chicken Little last year when she was still raising Clarabelle.   She looks like she's dead but she's just luxuriating in her dirt bath.   It's something you should be prepared for if you decide to get chickens.   They sometimes look like they are dead or their legs are broken or some such serious thing:-)


Seriously, she's fine here.   So don't freak out or wonder why I'm posting photos of a dead chicken.   Anyway, it's almost Halloween and this is as scary as it gets around here.

Whew, That Was Close

We woke up this morning at 5:15 and about 5 minutes later, the power went out.   Not a good start to a Monday when the contractor is supposed to come over.   And it happened right before we had coffee started.  Nooooooo!!!!!    But it came back on and the day has begun.


I don't have a photo of the finished donkey shelter, but this is the "in progress" view.   It now has a slanted shingled roof.   So that's checked off the list.   And the inspectors (chickens) are laying eggs behind one of those straw bales.   I guess they approve.


The Corian-type shower surround is off the wall.   Wow, that was stuck on to last forever.   Pretty colors behind that, don't you think?    LOL.


I've selected tile for the shower and bathroom floor.   It's a small space with no window so I didn't want to go bold.   I like this.   The small tiles are for the shower floor.



Once this is complete, we will replace the kitchen sink, faucet and disposal.   We cannot do a full kitchen remodel right now, but the sink is in bad shape.   No photos of that because I won't show it to anyone.   


Smaller projects like these make such a difference in a house that's 30 years old.   Three years ago I replaced all the plumbing, the septic line, and the heating/ac.   Then last year we did a remodel on the front of the house.   And in February we put in a new laundry room/half bath.   There are always projects on the list so we just tackle them as we can and it's less stressful that way.   


And so another week begins.   I just know it's going to be good.



Sunday, October 23, 2011

I Can't Focus

We have a little shower in one bathroom.   It's quite old so it's going to be replaced this week.   In an effort to save a little money on these projects, I told the contractor we would do the demo.   I always think a demo won't be too difficult.   I've been wrong before and I am wrong again.    So I can't focus today because of the hammering, pounding, and prying sounds ringing in my ears.   I spent time on it yesterday and now Sweetie is doing his part today.   I don't know if it was such a good idea.   I can't focus.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Insert Photo

It's Saturday and we have things to do.   So I am going to insert a photo here for your enjoyment



and get on with the business of doing some Saturday chores.   Or maybe I'll just sit outside and watch the chickens preen their feathers while I drink some more coffee.   Yep, sounds more like it.





Even if you have a busy Saturday, take some time to relax.   It's good for you.   (This is not a new chick, but an old photo.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Floral Friday

I have an account on Google+ and there are photography theme days.   It's hard to keep up.   Did you know there is a Frog Friday?   I don't have any photos of frogs, so I posted this one for Floral Friday.   



I like taking photos with morning dew on the leaves and flowers.   If not dew, then give me some light after a rain.   There's just something so lovely about the drops of water on the plants.   We are supposed to be in our rainy season but it's delayed this year.   Fingers are crossed that we will get at least normal amounts.    We all look forward to some rainy days.   It makes for good bug hunting.   Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

It's Way Past Time

I need to drive over to Morro Bay and take some photos.   It's only a 20-minute drive.   What's the matter with me?   Could it be that I just get busy with life "stuff" and the animals and riding my horse and more life "stuff" that I don't take time?   Well, it's WAY past time!!





Have a very nice Thursday!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Incorrigible

Do you see this property?    It's very nice.   It's not ours.   It belongs to the neighbors and sometimes their cattle.   



Oh yes, and various birds including the buzzards.


We have five acres.   You would think it would be enough room for 17 chickens to roam around and find bugs and seeds.   But no, they must wander and make their chicken mama worry about their safety.   Every morning now, since it has cooled (a little) and we have denser morning fog, the chickens run for this field.   They go out to find the bugs that live under the cow pies.   At least I think that's what they're doing.   And there are rules about free ranging.   Rules that they refuse to follow.   Rules that are in place to keep them safe from hungry foxes and perhaps that bobcat I showed you yesterday.


This is the road.



I'm sorry, but I just have to say it.   I have to.   WHY do the chickens have to cross the road?


It's not safe over there.   And before long they start wandering down the road toward the main road.   And that's when I have to go down there to guide them home.   They just won't follow the rules .   And so I worry.   What's a chicken mama to do?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Moving Up

One of the signs of seasonal change here on the Central Coast is seeing tarantulas on the move.   Because they live in the ground, these hairy beasts could drown during the Winter rains if they don't move uphill.   So in the Fall, it's common to see them walking on the roads in order to reach higher ground.   Then again in the Spring, down they come to their Summer homes.   


As most people, I didn't know much about tarantulas before I moved here.   Of course I knew they were big, hairy, scary looking, and I thought deadly.   The deadly part is not true.   Their bite will hurt, but their venom is weaker than a honey bee.   I've actually come to enjoy seeing them around our property when they're making their move.   Normally they are nocturnal, but their seasonal moves mean they are out in the daytime.   


I saw one today while driving home.   I hope that means our weather will soon cool off and we'll see some rain.   We're stuck in an Indian Summer.   Get moving, tarantulas!   Time to move into Autumn for real.


I've heard other people talk about furry caterpillars and other regional signs of seasonal change.   I'm curious if there are any creatures you watch that give you an indication of weather predictions.


I am not going to post a photo of tarantulas here in case they give you the creeps.   So I needed a photo that had something to do with our regional creatures.   Here's a visiting bobcat, maybe looking for tarantulas?   




I hope you had a good Tuesday!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Who Has the Answers?

I know how I make decisions when it comes to something very important.   I take my time, I gather information, I weigh the options, and usually end up with a decision I can live with.   When it comes to animals though, I find it so much more of an internal struggle.  It's not just about the cost.    I feel so responsible for them, their well being and happiness.   Even with my chickens, I want them all to live in harmony and be comfortable fulfilling their chicken life.     We just put up a nice shelter for the donkeys because they spent the past winters with something insufficient.   It was good enough, but they looked miserable when it rained really hard and the wind blew for hours on end.   We put up a better house for the chickens so they have a warm dry place on really bad days.   And there is plenty of room for all of them to roost.   We have more dust and dirt in our lives because of the dogs.   They don't get to come in all of the house, but I don't want dogs that have to live outside.   


So we just put up with things and do what we can to make our animals happy.   I believe that some of us are "keepers of the animals" here on Earth.   We take that responsibility and it's important to do it right.   


I sometimes watch TV shows that depict horrible abuse and inhumane treatment of animals.   I read on Karen's blog (I don't know how to do links yet) about the little puppy named Chip who is in scary terrible shape and struggling to survive.   Who are these people?   Are they ignorant or inherently mean?    I just don't understand.    Maybe I put too much thought into it, but I really think about it and just can't figure it out.   I suppose I never will.   


I could ask the wise hen, the Buddha, or the sleeping gnome.   But they don't know either.  

The Race is On

Donkeys have a certain way of playing.   From what I've seen on other blogs, they all have the same games.   One of the many reasons it is VERY important to have more than one donkey.   They pair off and become very attached to one another.   Every day we watch Harry and Gunny go through their play routine and we never grow tired of their antics.   A lot of it is about the chase.



Harry's in front.    Then Gunny.   There is usually a "rear up and smash together" movement.   Also a "bite the knee and tackle" tactic.    Over and over and over.   Every day.   






For some reason,  this song always plays in my head during their running.   Maybe it will stick in your head for the day too:-))




Sunday, October 16, 2011

No Grandchildren

Nope, we don't have any.   But you all know that my sister does.   So sometimes I just pretend they are mine.   Like when I see a photo of this one.   I just had to post it.   Just had to.   



Enjoy your Sunday.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Saturday Morning WOW

This is what I saw when I went out to release the hens this morning.   This is SOOC.   We are waiting for the contractor to come and work on the donkey shelter today.   The forecast shows the week after next filled with rainy days.   We'll be ready.



Everyone is showing their beautiful Autumn colors.   We don't do much in the way of changing colors here on the Central Coast.   This is our only tree that tells us the seasons are changing.   Our little crabapple tree.   Soon it will be naked and that's the end of our falling leaves.


Thank you to everyone who is visiting and following my new blog.   I really appreciate it.   Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Harry and Gunny Get New Digs

It's Friday and I have several things on my list for the day.   Hard to say what will actually get done but at least it's a list, right?   It's been a hot Indian Summer during September and October.   I was hoping for cooler Autumn temperatures but yesterday was 95 degrees here.   Ack!   We "should" be having more rainy cool days by now, but not so far.   In preparation for the Winter rains/winds, we have decided that Harry and Gunny are going to have a sturdier shelter that won't need constant attention from us.   So our contractor will be here this morning to start the project.   The boys like to help whenever there is work involving their domain, but they are going to have to sit this one out.   Don't need them walking off with the tools for donkey fun and games.    It's okay, they have another 3 acres to run around.   And as long as they have food....well, an eating donkey is a happy donkey.


I have to also share these.   Remember the Magpies?   They do have one job around here.   That's to keep the donkeys free of seeds stuck deep into their donkey hair.     So I guess someone on the ranch appreciates them.      Have a good Friday and I'll write more soon.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Wild Birds

One thing I enjoy about this time of year...there are many things, of course....is the return of some of the birds.   I am starting to hear them singing in the mornings and late afternoon.   Their songs are so sweet.  Sometimes I look them up online to find out specifically what they are.   Most of the time I have a general idea and just enjoy their presence.   Well, most of them.   There are others that become a nuisance.


Look at these pretty little birds enjoying a small bowl of water for their daily baths.



And others sitting in the branches of the lilac bush.   They all love the lilac bush.







Then there are others who live here year round and are not appreciated.    Clarabelle is at the window.   "Chicken Mama, the Magpies are here and they are eating all our food.   Come out here and do something about it."


The Magpies are so handsome and sassy, but the truth is they are gang bangers.   They come in groups, wearing their colors, and I'm positive have switchblades strapped to their legs.   And they'll cut any other bird who gets in their way.   They don't let me take good photos because they don't want to be identified.   But I caught this one on the fence one day thinking about the next turf war against the blackbirds.

And lastly, we have the road crew.   They are also here year round and they do a very important job.   I caught this couple discussing the lunch menu.



We try to live in harmony here on our little ranch.   Nobody has actually been injured so I guess we'll just let Mother Nature rule for one more season.