Archive for September 2009
This morning I decided to expand my walking route. So I headed through the tunnel to the other side of the ranch.
I passed a lot of horses, but stopped to get a shot of this Appy’s backside. Many Appaloosa horses’ spots tend to grow hair at a different rate than the rest of the coat. Here, the white winter hair has grown much longer than the dark spots, creating a 3-d effect.
It looks a little motheaten. I was taking this almost full into the morning sun, thus the sunspots. I continued on . . .
. . . and stopped to visit Boadecia the heifer. She’s gotten a lot fatter since her day of terrorizing Oildale (recorded on the old blog), but she’s just as snaky. You can see the tension in her stance. Notice the horn that she broke off in her rampage.
Then I walked down to the park . . . which is a grassy area we use for everything from weddings to wakes.
. . . and stopped to observe how the wild grapevines have overgrown the fence. In the days before the Isabella dam, the whole riverbottom was choked with vines like this. You had to cut your way with machetes; and the local kids came to play Tarzan.
Then I went down to the river and came back under the bridge. Walking in the sand ought to get you extra exercise points.
It makes a very nice walk, through all of the picture-taking kind of cut into the exercise. I wonder how long it is. I’ll try driving it soon, and find out.
Billy and I have been medicating a boarder’s horse the last few mornings. While we were down there, I noticed something I had missed on my morning walks.
Can you see him? Here’s a close-up . . .
I have no idea why this little fella (who looks as if he’s left over from someone’s autumn decor) is standing in the brush pile, but he looks as if he’s been there quite a while. He looks a little lonely, though. I wonder if I should look for a lady scarecrow to keep him company?
Maybe not . . . we wouldn’t want a bunch of little baby scarecrows standing around with nothing to do. We don’t need any crows scared.
It was 79 when I got up this morning, and I almost gave up on my walk. But I made myself get out there, and it wasn’t too bad. The pictures I took along the way helped.
I was looking at the horses’ coats as I walked, trying to choose the best to illustrate the fall thickening. Several that I looked at yesterday had had lovely rolls in the dust recently. It showed. Others had salt stains from yesterday’s heat. Finally I looked at the Big Black Horse. His coat has changed from black silk to black velvet.
In the shade, he’s simply an enormous black shadow. Other horses have darkened to amber, crimson, and even a shade that is nearly plum.
It won’t be too long until all of these velvety coats have grown to be merely hairy; but they are a sign that fall is nearly here, and winter can’t be far behind.
Even if it was 104 yesterday.
It’s continuing to be very hot, as is traditional for the fair. Despite the heat, there’s a lot of activity here. There are a couple of drill teams that practice here, and I believe both of them are supposed to perform there. There are the equestrian events to watch or participate in. And then there’s the rodeo!
Billy and I haven’t gone for years; he’s not physically able, and I don’t want to go without him. In weather like this, frankly, it’s no hardship. But we do like to keep track of what’s going on there.
The weather’s supposed to break by Tuesday; I’ve seen predictions of 75 for Wednesday! The horses know the weather’s going to break; seemingly overnight their coats have started to thicken. I’ll get some pictures to prove it.
I was on my third lap yesterday when I heard a deep-throated roar from the sky. I looked up just in time to see a rare sight. A B-17 bomber was passing low overhead.
I whipped out my camera, but it refused to cooperate, informing me snidely that I was out of memory. By that time the big plane was out of sight. The news informed us it was the Sentimental Journey, a restored bomber on its way to the dedication of a new hanger/museum at historic Minter Field. At least Wikipedia gave me a picture, below, of this very same plane.
There is a beauty about these old warbirds, made up partly of their own impressive presence, and partly from the stories that surround them. Most of us can only imagine what it would have been like to see a sky full of them, droning their warsong.
It’s easy to be sentimental, though; looking up a poem called “Death of the Ball Turret Gunner” should take care of that. It reminds us that men died horribly in these planes. Sentimental Journey and her few remaining sisters are memorials of sacrifice, too.
. . . but no coyote. At least not right at the time that one strutted across our lawn the other day. Not this one, by the way; I was caught flat-footed without my camera. Again.
I was watching it march across the lawn, then looked away for an instant and it had vanished. It took me a moment to find it again. It was crouched behind a little pile of pipe beside the arena, creeping along slowly and silently. I realized it was sneaking up on the little flock of birds noisily quarreling over the seed I throw out on the lawn every morning.
It reached the other end of the pipe and froze for a moment or two. Then it leaped into the middle of the flock, wings flapping wildly. There was an explosion of small birds in every direction. The roadrunner stood there for a moment, looking smug, and then marched away toward the river.
Now, roadrunners are predators and will eat anything they can catch. But I don’t think this bird had any chance of downing a little birdie. He looked as if he just enjoyed scaring them. I didn’t think they were smart enough to sneak up from concealment like that, but that’s just what it did.
I got this picture from the Wikipedia entry on roadrunners. The article emphasized that roadrunners do not go “Beep, beep”. They are, after all, giant cuckoos, and they go “Coo, Coo”.
Darn. Another illusion shattered.
Boarder and fellow blogger Tina had a very good photo essay about her ride on the river a day or two ago. You can see it by clicking on the link “Irish Dexter Cattle and Cheap Sheep” in the sidebar. It is now, however, called “Wilamar Farm”. (I’ve got to learn how to put a link in the body of my text.)
She was curious about the old cross-country jumps across the river. I remember when they were put in, oh, maybe twenty years ago. At that time there was a lot of local interest in three-day eventing, a very demanding discipline most often associated with the Olympics. We had clinics, and even a small course, at that time. Unfortunately, liability issues put an end to it, and we had to take our course out. It was really fascinating to watch, a complete test of horse and rider. I don’t know if anyone is still doing it in Kern County, but it is still very popular around the world.
. . . so here’s a nice picture of cool green leaves blowing in the breeze.
It’s in the high nineties at 3:00, so it may not make it to the 102 of yesterday. It’s plenty hot enough, though. I’m glad I’m not a weather person, though. You get to go out to the fair and try to look cheerful while petting a hot pig and wearing a straw hat, with the sweat gleaming on your face. At least ours did.
I just had a nice exchange of messages with my niece back in Missouri — it’s not bad there, I understand. Rain, but not the drenching floods of the deep South. We’ve got crews working on tarping the haystacks, but rain is just a distant dream here. In the not too distant future, I hope to be griping about the mud puddles!