Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Riding Buddy found a new horse.  Actually, this horse shopping experience ended up being the easiest  I've ever seen.  I'm still kind of waiting for the other shoe to drop, but little Bailey has been here over a week now with only minimal drama the first few days and all of that because her old mare got herself worked into a hormone induced hysteria.  The new girl has been quite good.

She is a four year old QH/mustang cross.  A bit of an accident whose owner didn't know quite what to do with.  When they finally realized they were out of their depth, they sold her this spring to a trainer who has worked with her all summer.  The trainer also owns a horse-campground up at Brookfield and hosts numerous clinics.  In addition to lots of trail miles, Bailey has gotten to be in all of the clinics including police-horse obstacle training and cowboy-mounted-shooting.  That last is a rather new bit of crazy equestrian gaming where people race around on horseback shooting balloons with a pistol at a gallop.  I don't think they are actually trying to shoot the mounted cowboys, despite the unfortunate nomenclature.  I'm told they use blanks.  Not quite my cup of tea, but sure is great experience for a young horse.

One of the things that RB fell in love with right off are her tough, rock-crunching bare feet.  They are self trimming and tough as nails right now.  We are both going to be VERY interested to see if they maintain in our environment.

We had a lovely trail ride yesterday afternoon.  We were out for about two hours, we crossed a stony creek, bulldozed through brush, ducked under branches and climbed over logs.  Bailey didn't put a foot wrong.  She still needs work and a lot of maturity, but this little mare is sweet as can be and has a good brain.  I think she'll do just fine.  Welcome Bailey Girl.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Spa Day

A week ago, we had the hottest day of the year.  Tonight, we have frost warnings.  I am so not ready for that.  I think I'll stick with summer just a bit longer.  Since it was so hot, I gave Tessa a bath

She does like a nice cool shower on a hot day.

Of course, she had bath attendants making sure that everything got done just right.

Everything had to pass both inspectors

Something tells me we won't be playing with the hose again this year - it's time to go put another log in the woodstove.  I am just not ready. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Driving Lessons

I've been trying to do some driving lessons with Emma again.  We hadn't been making much progress due to a combination of lack of time and Emma being convinced that driving is a waste of time.  The big difference in driving horses and driving donkeys that I see is that horses will always move forward.  As long as you have forward motion, it can eventually be directed.  

Emma is pretty darned sure she doesn't need any direction.  She is also quite convinced that forward motion should be used to go from one bit of yumminess to another.  I can see why all the donkey driving advice I have seen starts out with, "start in an arena where there are no distractions".  We were both getting a bit frustrated so I set it aside for a while to ponder the situation.  

I decided that my two biggest issues were food distraction and lack of forward motion and finally came up with a plan to address both.  To address the issue of forward motion, I took the donkeys for a walk in the woods which is their favorite activity. Once we were out on the trail, I attached my lines to Emma's halter and "drove" her down the trail.  She loves being out in the woods and is always eager to head out so I had plenty of forward to work with.  At first, I just followed along and tried to anticipate her direction.  I would then "ask" her to turn that way.  Eventually, I started asking for real and she finally got the idea. 

My second solution is a bit of "terrible awfulness" according to Emma....

I took her out ground driving with a grazing muzzle on. 

"Please, somebody help!  Call the Humane Society, this just isn't right!!!"

We still have a long way to go, but we are making progress and Emma is still taking to me despite the injustice.
By the way, for those of you who were impressed with my "sunflowers" and my superwoman gardening ability.....I do hate to disillusion you, but, um, those aren't sunflowers and I am so not superwoman.  In fact, most days I am SO not superwoman that I feel like I might actually be made out of kryptonite.  (Did I spell that right?) 

The goldenrod and Asters are in full bloom at the moment.  Around here they completely take over every bit of poor soil and or untended ground and are considered a semi-noxious weed.  When i bought this 20 acres of land, the only portion not completely covered in goldenrod was the 3 acres of woods.  I've been trying to kill it off ever since.  The stuff is great for honey bees and generally means the difference between life and death for them so I do appreciate it and it is pretty for a while....

...but I would dearly love to mow it all down.  The stuff Emma is wading through was mowed down twice this year.  The shear abundance of the stuff all around me is the byproduct of continued tractor issues and lack of weed-eating.  Definitely not superwoman, but thanks for the thought:)

"Don't listen to Ma bloggy peoples, I rather like a nice fresh goldenrod blossom now and then."

Monday, September 8, 2014

I think I'm winning....

...the camera battle anyway.  I finally managed to take some bright-sun shots with the new camera that I like. 

I've always been interested in photography, but was also always turned off by the technical jargon and seemingly endless rules that went with it.  Not to mention the expense, inconvenience and delayed gratification of film cameras. 

A friend gave me my first digital camera four or five years ago.  It was this blog though that actually got me out taking pictures.  Before that, I kept the camera in its case and only took it out for "special" occasions.  I was VERY bad at taking pictures. 

It was liberating when I finally decided that there was no point in having a camera that I wouldn't use and keeping it safe and clean defeated the purpose.  It's a bit like getting that first ding in a new car or finally starting that dirty job you've been putting off.  The best thing is to just plunge in, get dirty and the job is easy after that.  Photography is like that.  You have to accept that, yes, the camera will suffer for being carted around in a pocket every day and used extensively, but pictures don't take themselves.

I still don't understand the technical stuff.  I don't think I could tell you the definition of an F-stop except to say that when you get to the point that you're using the F-bomb too much, you should stop and put the camera away for a little while. 

I think it's just the way my brain works, I won't understand the jargon until it has context.  My hands need to learn it before my mind can.  Having worn out three cameras in the last few years, I can usually tell when a picture is going to work or not and that is enough for me for now.  I still find myself annoyed and baffled by all the technical gobbledygook of camera speak, but I think it will come on it's own in time.

My previous cameras were all given to me and I simply accepted them as-is and learned to work with what I had.  I think I have learned more from their limitations than their abilities.  Learning to work around them has shown me the key to photography:  get a camera, any camera, and go out and use it. A LOT.

As for "Rules of Photography"...I don't really know what the rules are or what works for other people so I've come up with my own set of "rules":
  1. The number one rule according to me is: ignore all the rules.  
If you want to shoot directly into the sun, go for it.  You might like what happens.  

I have come up with some of my own guidelines for taking photos:

Take pictures of things you love.

Take pictures of ordinary, everyday things.  Take pictures of boring things you wouldn't normally think twice of.  I think it's the best way to develop an "eye" for photography.

 Take pictures of big things....

and tiny things.

Take pictures of things you don't think you can take pictures of.

Play with the buttons and dials on your camera.  It doesn't matter if you know what they mean, just pay attention to what happens. 

Carry your camera with you.  Take A LOT of pictures.

I want to thank everybody for your camera input.  I can't say I am in love with my new camera, but it has taught me some new things already.  I doubt I could return it now regardless, but at least it isn't making me feel stupid anymore.  Given that I do carry it around in my pocket all the time, I doubt it will be too terribly long before I am looking for a new one.  I think I'll check in with you guys first next time:)

PS - I am off from work this week for a desperately needed "vacation".  I probably won't be posting much either.  Have a good week!

Friday, September 5, 2014

It a challenge...

I'm still playing with the new camera.  If anyone is looking for a camera that can take nice pictures indoors in really bad light, then you'd probably love this one.  This was an accidental picture I took last weekend while fiddling with the camera after dinner with some friends.

On the other hand, I'm still struggling with outdoor photos, which is 99% of what I do.  As a couple of you suggested, I tried changing the color and white balance settings.  This was in "vivid" mode and it is, um, vivid.

The colors certainly are, uh, interesting.

I changed the white balance, or perhaps I should say unbalanced?  Poor Tanner.

I have to confess, it's got my dander up just a bit.  I just can't stand it when machines get the better of me, but I'm not done yet.  I AM going to make this thing take a decent picture in the daylight.  So there!


"Yo Ma?"

Ahem. "Yes Em?"

"Why don't you step away from that thing and do something usefull, like scratch my ears?"

Sigh.  Donkeys do always know best.