Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Today's Bounty From the Hens

My chickens are laying eggs like they are solely providing the entire community.   I got a dozen from them today and I haven't even checked the bushes.   It's warm and sunny and I guess they are feeling pretty good.    I gave away another 3 dozen yesterday and still have about 7-8 dozen in the refrigerator.   And now these!   I love gathering eggs!   Can you tell that 2 of these are green?   And my Wellsummers (both of them!) have started laying again.   They give me a little chocolate brown egg.  (No, not REAL chocolate, but wouldn't that be special?)   I had thought one of them had damage from an injury and wasn't going to lay.   So yay for her!!    If you want some fresh eggs, come on over.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Monday Morning

Hi Bloggers.   From reading your blogs, it sounds like you've had very nice holidays.   We were very quiet since we have no nearby family.   But it was still nice.   We kept the food simple since neither of us needs to indulge too much.   Yesterday we had a filet roast and baked potatoes.   It was very tasty.   I had promised to make fudge on Christmas Eve so that is still sitting on the counter.   Well, not all of it, but some of it.   The pecan pie is gone.   The chickens just finished a good portion of the pumpkin pie that we decided not to finish.   And there is still food in the fridge to make soup and have some leftovers.   I smell bacon in the kitchen right now, being cooked along with the three warm eggs I already got from the hens this morning.   I'm not having bacon and eggs but it sure smells good.


Our Christmas Night sunset was very nice.


And this morning.   You can see we keep decorating to a minimum but we enjoy it...it's just enough for us to feel the spirit of the holiday.   And even my monk is wearing a green Christmas ribbon.   


If you notice the empty wall behind my table?   I am wanting a decorative mirror for that spot.   I've had my eye on one at Pier One so I think I'll check their after Christmas sales.   It would look perfect!   Even my sissy likes it, and you all know how much she enjoys decorating.   



Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Past

Merry Christmas to all my friends I have met here since I've been blogging.   I know many of you feel nostalgic during this season.   I do too.   So I am sharing a few photos from long ago at our home in Iowa.   Have a wonderful holiday!







Thursday, December 22, 2011

O Holy Night

My favorite Christmas song.   There are so many versions on You Tube and I have probably listened to most of the artists who've recorded it.   But Josh Groban?   Well, you can't help but love him when he sings.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas with Clifford

Clifford is a Morgan horse.   Those of us who are steadfast Morgan lovers appreciate them for many reasons,  one of the main reasons being their engaging personalities.

Clifford

I think he secretly wanted one of those stuffed horses.   I hope his person buys him one.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Pretty Angel

Angel is learning to drive.   Part of the process is the long lining prior to hooking the horse to a cart.   I love this video of her because it shows her beauty and motion.   My last baby horse.   *sniff*   There is a second video of her learning to drive the cart.   I sure hope someone takes her home and loves her as much as I have.

Kitchen Window

A kitchen window is a Must Have for me.   My kitchen is not very big and it's important to have the extra light and just generally be able to see what's going on.   Who's driving down the road.   How many chickens are wandering down to the main road.   Watching the donkeys play.   And once I saw a fox outside that window, waaaaay too close to my chicken yard.   


I have a normal sized window with two shelves.   There have been times when I've had both shelves filled with things I like.   Plants, cut glass, just whatever looks nice and makes me smile.   The problem with that, however, is it blocks the view.   So I was always looking through things, moving things to the side, and they ended up looking haphazardly placed.   So now, as you can see, there isn't much on my shelves.   Nothing on the top shelf to obstruct the view, the taller items on the bottom shelf to one side so I have a clear view on the right.   It doesn't look so decorative right now.   And it's hard to clean on the inside because of the depth.   


If/when we are able to remodel the kitchen, we won't be able to enlarge the space.   But we've discussed eliminating one cabinet to the left of the sink and enlarging the window.   I think I might like a regular window that's set out far enough to have a nice wide sill instead of a garden window like this one.   


The little cup on the shelf is something I found recently, a piece of pottery that my son Alex made when he was young.   Of course it's a treasure.   The tiny little glass figurine is a rooster.   The orange chicken is a cookie jar that my girlfriend gave me for my birthday this year.   And the other item is a wine cooler which is not used for that.   One of those items that can be donated very soon.


The pictures on the far wall are in the hallway that goes down to the bedrooms.   They have been taken down since I'm painting that hallway to a lighter color to brighten it up and make it appear larger.  I want to frame some of my own photos and place them on that wall rather than hang those again.   And of course the usual cereal boxes on top of the fridge.   Always handy.   I don't have room in the cabinets for large cereal boxes.    And the lighting!   Ugh, it will most definitely be replaced into a higher ceiling.   


And so that's my kitchen window.   It's something I look at and consider daily.   It functions but it's not my dream window.   Maybe someday....

Monday, December 19, 2011

Those Darn Peckers

The best I can tell, we have a Ladderback Woodpecker, a Red or Yellow Breasted Sapsucker, and one other rather elusive pecker.   I get very poor photos of them, either through the window or from a distance outside with them constantly moving around.   This is a close-up of what they are doing to my Crabapple tree.   


Isn't that crazy?   Those are huge holes!   


Here's the Ladderback (I'm pretty sure I've identified it) through the kitchen window, working on one of our Redwood trees.   It's a great hiding place for their treasures.


More damage, pretty major.


I don't know which type of Sapsucker this is.   All I know is he's very busy and I wish he'd move away.




Sunday, December 18, 2011

Papa, Come Home

Harry and Gunny love to help with the chores, specifically anything having to do with the cart.   Their papa has been gone to Portland for the graduation so the manure hasn't been picked up.   Somebody has their work cut out for them when they get back....and these guys can't wait to help out.

Friday, December 16, 2011

O Dark Thirty

I woke up at 3:30 this morning.   I do not like getting up in the middle of the night.   Toby has been crowing at odd hours because I have a heat lamp in the coop right now.   And then my mind starts going.   I thought it was Saturday, but it's not.   You know how the mind gets wandering when you are awake when you should be sleeping.    My horse(s), painting the bedroom, one more Christmas gift, what kind of warmer coat do I want, I need to buy chicken feed, I have to pick up a few things at the store.....and so on it goes.   So I'm drinking my morning coffee and thinking I will need a nap today.


I took a few photos yesterday and this one was my favorite.   This calf's mama was staring at me (because cows stare a lot).   When she reached her calf, they both took off running toward their friends.   It's been fun watching the calves play in the pasture.   They only have 2 right now and they grow up very fast.   Harry and Gunny are amazed that a truck drives through and drops massive amounts of hay for the cattle.   They stand at the fence and stare in awe, wondering why they don't get truckloads of hay for their own enjoyment.   Poor little starvin' donkeys.


Enjoy your Friday, however you are spending it.   zzzzzzzz

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Fluffed

This little Sparrow was all fluffed up to stay warm this morning.   There is such a loud chorus in the morning hours, it's nice to find one just sitting quietly.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Ain't No Sunshine

Wow, we are having heavy fog again.   It's that time of year in California.   It's hard to warm up when there is no sunshine.   Yesterday it lifted around 11:30 so I went out to the barn.   Beau hadn't been ridden in about 5 days so it was my trainer's day to work him.   I tacked him up and got my camera while I watched. He was so good.   Today is my day to ride, but the fog is even heavier out there.   So we'll see what time it lifts and whether I want to ride if/when it does.   


Here's my handsome Beau with his trainer.


And here's her Jack-Rat soaking up the sunshine on his cute little face.   I LOVE this little dog of hers.   He is cute and smart and fun.


And his belly is just full of spots.   He sits like this a lot so his parents refer to him as Bubba when he does. I think he just needs a little can of beer and a remote control.    Hey, someone bring me the remote so I can change the channel.   Who was watching "Say Yes to the Dress" anyway?    (I should add, his name isn't really Bubba, it's Kodi)


It's always fun at the barn.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Oh No, The Meatloaf!

Whew, got to it in the nick of time.   I went outside to check on the chickens, making sure they were heading inside a few at a time.   Of course the donkeys were starving, as always, so I gave them a little hay to keep their bellies warm through the night.  The sky looked like it would be pretty after our kinda rainy day so I had to go back in to get the camera.   Click click click click.....and so on.   All of a sudden, Oh No The Meatloaf! I ran back in, got it from the oven and left it there while I went outside and finished.   


I couldn't decide about this photo so I gave it a different look in Lightroom.   I'm still fussing around with it, but I think I like it.   You can only take so many shots without ruining dinner, so I try to choose a few for editing out of the small number.   Life is just so complicated sometimes.   *wink*

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Branches

I love branches as a subject for photos.   Something about their randomness and stark silhouettes against the sky appeals to my eye.   And that's a good thing this time of year when the branches are all nekkid.   Well, except for the sparrow adornments.   Kind of like a Charlie Brown tree with just a few ornaments.


All that smoke in the sky was good for something, I guess.

La Nina

We are in the pattern called La Nina.   No rain and very cold.   We need rain in the Winter months.   Not only because of concern about drought, but because people like me want to take pretty photos:-)   With everyone cranking up their fireplaces on these cold days, the air is filled with smoke.   I wanted to take photos yesterday but our usual blue sky is white.   So I got nothing.


C'mon rain.   Help me out here.


If not for me, do it for the chickens.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Fancy and the Chicken

Someone on Google+ asked about our favorite photos.   It got me thinking about my favorites.   This is certainly high on my list.   I took this at least 4 years ago, maybe 5.   This is my mare, Fancy.   She used to be my riding horse and is now retired, keeping company with her friend of several years, Goldie.   I love and cherish Fancy.


Some of my horses could not stand sharing food with the chickens I had at that time.   Fancy didn't mind at all, and so they shared the grain in peace and quiet.   The photo was taken at dusk so it's a little dark.   


What a great coupla gals:-)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Life's Treasures

The big news in our family is that the older of my honey's daughters is about to graduate with a degree in fashion design from one of the Art Institutes.   I've seen a couple of very cool photos from her Senior Collection.   I hope I can share some with you soon.   She hired a photographer so I will have to make sure I have the rights to share.   We're very proud of her for this big accomplishment.    She has worked very hard and she's such a sweetheart.   She and her sister are two of life's treasures.





Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chicken Little

She is the last of my original Buff Orpingtons.   She is such a pretty girl, smaller than most Buffs.   I was trying to take bird photos this morning and none of the wild birds wanted to cooperate the past couple days.   The chickens are busy and chatty this morning, maybe because it's been so cold.   I watched them for a while.   Then I turned to go in and saw Chicken Little resting on this table, perfectly framing herself in the mister which had been placed into the umbrella hole.   So finally, a willing and cooperative subject!


This is my better side


Did you get the shot, Chicken Mama?

Yes, Chicken Little.   Thanks for being such a good hen.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Up or Down, In or Out

I couldn't decide what I wanted to do with this day.   I spent the morning practicing with my camera and the 28-300mm lens.   I had really hoped that would be more of a walk-around lens, but it's pretty heavy along with the camera.   I have a difficult time holding it steady enough with the weight.   So I bought a monopod and now I'm not sure if I have the one I want.   *sigh*   Should I return the monopod and order another or just keep it and work with it?   I love the lens and am delighted in the results when I have it steady.   But what is my walk-around lens?   My 55-200mm?   It's not as good a lens but maybe it's good enough.   I can't decide.


I put a big organic chicken from Trader Joe's in the crockpot and now I can't decide what I want to make with the meat.   The chickens (mine, the live ones) made short order of the scraps after I took it off the bone.   Carnivores, each and every one.   They had no trouble deciding.


I am still wearing the sweatshirt and pants I put on when I crawled out of bed this morning.   I never left the ranch and nobody seemed to care what I was wearing.   I finally washed my face just in case I decided to go somewhere.   


I thought I might go out to the barn today but never got around to that either.   I wonder if the heavy frost last night froze my brain somehow.   Up or down, in or out, I have days where I just can't decide.



Sunday, December 4, 2011

Cold Mornings

After last week's high winds, we are in a weather pattern which is colder.   The nights are getting into the 20's which is cold by our standards.   The days are sunny and in the 50's to low 60's.   This means frost on the ground when we go out in the morning to take care of the critters.   Yesterday I put on my fingerless gloves and took a few photos before I had to come back in.   I'm not quite ready for cold toes and fingers.


We have one small tree getting ready to lose the last of its leaves.  


My sister wanted to see these little calves in the daylight.   It's not easy to get good photos of black calves in the distance.   This one stood and stared at me the entire time I was staring at him.   Cattle are kind of like that, aren't they?   Staring a lot.


And the Magpies were lined up plotting their strategy for eating the chicken feed.   Not that it takes much of a strategy.   They are quite successful in getting as much as they want:-(


I am going to wait a little longer to take photos this morning.   It's colder than yesterday and the frost is a little thicker.   I need insulated muck boots if I'm going to stay out a while.   


The dogs are going to the groomer today, the Forty-Niners are playing (a big deal in our house), I have to go to the feed store, I am making meatloaf for Sunday dinner, and we have pie!    What are you doing today?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Evening

It was a very good day.   The winds died down last night, thankfully.   We didn't get the 100mph winds they had down south of here, but 50-60mph gusts are more than enough, thank you very much.   The nights have turned cold, into the upper 20's.   But we had bright sunshine all day and it was perfect for a ride on my horse, Beau.   I had been struggling with him for a while.   He had been too strong and it wasn't feeling like fun.   So my trainer suggested we change his feed about 10 days ago.   And that has made all the difference.   Horses are very sensitive to certain grains.   Some can tolerate a particular mix and the one next to it cannot.   So when a horse gets that "too hot" or "too strong" feel when you're riding, the first place to turn is their feed.   Beau is back on alfalfa pellets in addition to his regular hay and alfalfa.   This week he was so much easier to ride, listening and more focused on me.   And I end the ride with a smile on my face instead of frustration.   And that's how it's supposed to me, just me and my Beau having an enjoyable time together.


Our neighbors have Black Angus cattle.   They breed twice a year, I think.  These are two of the latest babies.   I have always enjoyed the end of the day when I can see the cattle down by the oak trees on their property, with the sun setting in the distance.   I wish there were not two fences in that way that always make it into the foreground of my photos.   But I am NOT climbing over barbed wire to get the shot.   So here's my Friday evening view.


I hope you had a nice day too.   It's the weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Everyone Knows It's Windy

I really liked that song when I was young.   If you're still young, you won't know it.   

The Association

You probably all know that California is having very high winds the past 2 days.   We've had up to 60mph wind gusts,  and for some reason wind makes me very tired.   But the chickens are tucked in, the donkeys have their shelter, the dogs are watching football to see how Seattle looks since they are going to play the Niners this weekend.   LOL!   Maybe they're not actually watching, but their papa is.


I thought of a photo that has to do with the wind, keeping with the theme here.   This hawk was circling around overhead last weekend and I had my camera outside.   I was able to get a fairly clear photo with the sun shining through his red tail.   Think calm skies tomorrow.