Archive for June 2011
Everyone was out and about today, enjoying the beautiful weather before the predicted heat wave. (They’re talking 108 on the Fourth.) It was only 59 when we got up this morning. Out the door I went.
Marion and Kathy were just coming in from their ride.
Kathy’s new horse Beau (or is it Bo?) is a big success. He looks very well with Minka; two spotted horses always seem to go together, though they are very different.
Later Bella and I were out for our walk, and Marion took some pictures. Here Bella’s enjoying a scratch on the neck . . .
And here is proof — I really can jog now! (I want a larger version of this shot!)
So . . . everyone’s enjoying the calm before the storm; or, to be accurate, the cool before the HEAT!
If Bella looks a little startled . . .
. . . it’s probably because I just told her that it’s time for her to become a Working Pony.
I’ve been in contact with Trish Demers, at Carpe Diem Farm, and she says she can take Bella during the month of July — if she’s completely over the flu. I think she is; but that little dry cough upon starting exercise is hanging on. She coughed several times yesterday in the round pen; but as she was also flying around the pen at full speed, I don’t think she’s feeling too bad.
We went for a walk afterward, and jogged together a couple of times. No coughing after that first burst of speed. If there was any panting and gasping for breath, it was mine.
We need to get her vaccinations up to date. It was time for them when she got sick, so it’s more than time now. That’s only a matter of a few minutes, though.
We won’t even think about getting her over to Lancaster until after this next heat wave. Everyone’s predicting 106 or 107 for Monday, the hottest day of the five days predicted to be over 100. That’s not too bad; we can tough it out — except that we may also get a humid monsoonal flow. That’s when everyone, human, equine, and canine, is really miserable. Swamp coolers just don’t cut it.
It sounds like it’s going to be a miserable Fourth of July.
The mosquito abatement people were out in force today. There were five Little White Trucks out buzzing around, plotting eradication tactics. Cider (who hates Little White Trucks) barked all morning. She wore her barker out, and has spent the afternoon asleep under the fan.
Gena, on the other hand, greeted them with rapture. She ran from person to person as they stood down by the river, dropping her ball in front of them and nudging it meaningfully towards their feet. At last someone threw the ball for her, and she spent a joyful twenty minutes retrieving. When I left, they were discussing whether she could be trained to sniff out mosquito larvae.
It’s hard to get a picture of the river without at least one dog in it.
Notice the difference between the backgrounds in these two shots. It’s been hard to get a good shot of the ripples in the river; if the ripples are good, the willows in the background are washed out. I fiddled with this second picture for some time, but could never get the richness of color and detail that I actually saw.
The “dusk” setting on the camera, though, seems to do the job pretty well. It was a help with the bunnies from yesterday, too. I’m using the old camera, a Nikon Coolpix, as my Panasonic finally gave up the ghost, months after its drowning. The Coolpix is bigger and heavier, but it does have some advantages. I’ll have to think hard when it’s time to buy a new one.
The bunnies have really proliferated this year. We’ve got little cottontails hopping everywhere. The other morning I looked out of the door and counted nine contentedly grazing on the lawn. They barely even looked up.
Walking in the evenings, I practically have to kick them out of the way — unless the dogs are along. Last night, they weren’t, so I got to snap a few bunny portraits. All of the pictures look like they are of the same rabbit, but they aren’t.
They love to clean up the hay that the horses scatter, but they don’t really eat enough to do any damage. In fact, they’re pretty harmless, and fun to watch.
And the hawks, owls, bobcats, and so on . . . just love them.
. . . quiet Sundays. I haven’t got much to report, so here’s a couple of pretty pictures. First, the river, tinged with gold in the late afternoon . . .
And here’s the latest bloom of daylily “Frequent Comment”. Peach, rose, gold, lemon, chartreuse . . . how many colors can you count?
Have a golden Sunday!
Since the weather really started to heat up, all of the dogs — ours and Andrew’s — have discovered the coolest spot around; our house. They love the doggie door. Sometimes there are five of them scattered around the house. The only reason they’re not all in front of the big fan is there’s just not enough room.
Xena snuck onto the sofa this morning. She was very comfy . . .
Luckily, it’s a sofa that cleans very easily, so I didn’t boot her right off. Now, the bed, that’s another matter.
Someday I expect to find a perfect stranger asleep on our floor. Canine variety, that is.
Or maybe not.
Sally sent a picture of Kitty and me together. I’m looking down, as though I couldn’t quite believe there was actually a horse down there.
I have to admit — it felt really good.
Then Marion sent me a montage of pictures from an early morning ride. She might have called it “The Many Moods of the Kern River”.
I need to be back out there . . . but even in the short time that I rode, I could tell my balance was off. It’s been over a year. Horseback riding is like bicycle riding; you never forget how. But my shape is completely different, and my center of gravity has shifted. Maybe responsive little Kitty is the best way to get back in the saddle.
The EHV-1 outbreak is officially over. Thank goodness. Now hay prices are the biggest problem facing the horse industry. According to the latest USDA reports, they are being forced up even more, due to the demand for alfalfa seed taking many fields out of hay production. This is good news, as well as bad. Bad news, for obvious reasons; good news, because it means a lot of farmers are planning to plant alfalfa next year. That should bring prices down.
This year, though — that’s still going to be a Problem.