Archive for September 2011

Watching the Dogs   4 comments

Andrew’s gone for the weekend, to a wedding in Arizona.  And, since Xena’s still in season, he’s left the dogs kenneled up, and me In Charge.

Now they are well provided with food, water and shade, and have each other for company, so they’re well off, compared to most dogs.  At least that’s what I keep telling them, but they are definitely not convinced. 

I went down this morning to let them out for a run in the yard — from which they would rapidly make a jailbreak without someone right there to watch them.  They were overcome with joy, and circled the yard in a frenzy of liberation; not to mention elimination, since they really prefer to “go” outside the kennels.  Andrew’s going to have a lot of yard clean-up when he gets back.

After they had their run, I ordered them back into their kennels — and they went.  They are obedient border collies, after all.  But oh, those doleful expressions.

I’ll have to go through the whole thing again this evening.  Thank goodness their master will be back by Sunday.  I’m not sure how much of the puppy dog eyeball routine I can take.

Posted September 30, 2011 by stablewoman in Pets

Another Sign of Fall . . .   1 comment

. . . is the morning dew.  Instead of burning off almost instantly, it’s staying around.  Here’s a picture of some riverside grass, taken late in the morning.

The fair is winding down; there’s dew on the grass; and rain is in the weather forecast.

It must be fall.

Posted September 29, 2011 by stablewoman in Weather

Shorter Days   Leave a comment

The days are definitely shortening, and seem fuller than ever.  This morning, I doctored an old horse, drove Kody, helped to cover hay, and went in to sign more paperwork on that land we’re selling.  Finally Kody got some attention; maybe I’ll get to play with him again tomorrow.

It’s really hot again.  The weather forecasters are talking as if this might be the last really hot spell of the year.  There’s rain in the weekend forecat — again — so it’s a good thing that the haystacks are pretty much done. 

There’s more water in the river than there has been for a while.  The stretch below was high and dry last time I looked. 

My guess is that the powers that be are draining Lake Isabella down, in anticipation of the winter rains.  Another sign that the season’s changing.  One more hot spell . . . we hope.

Posted September 28, 2011 by stablewoman in Weather

Bella’s Progress   Leave a comment

Got an update from Trainer Trish, who’s working with little Bella . . .

Bella is progressing nicely.  She is so smart and fun to work with. Today she wore the blinders for the first time.  It’s so funny to watch horses when you take part of their vision away.  They totally forget where their feet are, or that their feet can move.  Bella didn’t panic, she really thought about what was going on.  She did fine.

She also walked and trotted witha bleach bottle dragging along behind her, bumping and bouncing and making noise.  Just like a tire or carriage will.  She did great at that, too.

She’s ground driving in the arena with the bit and doing circles, serpentines, and figure 8’s at the walk/trot.  Next I’ll have her do it with the blinders.  Then on to dragging a tire.

That’s where we’re at.

That sounds really good.  (Blinders, also called blinkers or winkers, don’t blind a horse.  That wouldn’t work well.  They’re the leather flaps that prevent a driving horse from seeing behind or too much to the sides.  This helps to keep them from spooking, and helps them to concentrate on their job.  Here they are, seen on Kody’s bridle.)

Now if I could just get back to driving Kody more often.  This morning, for example, I helped with covering the fourth haystack, then went to the bank, then the post office, then the grocery store.  By then it was time for lunch.

Well, maybe tomorrow.  There’s only one more stack to go!

Posted September 27, 2011 by stablewoman in Bella, Horses, Kody

At the Fair   1 comment

I was planning to doctor two old horses this morning, then drive Kody.  Then Andrew called; it was granddaughter Sarah’s last class at the fair — really her last class, since next year she’ll be in college.  So we went down to watch.  It was a showmanship class, when they judge the kids on how well they show their steers, not the steers themselves.

Here is Sarah coming in.  All of the kids were very, very solemn.  This is Serious Business; they’re judged on their attitude as well as how well they answer the judge’s questions and actually showing their steers.

Here’s the lineup for the finals.  All four of the finalists were from the same chapter.  Sarah’s got the arrow . . . and third place.  Her steer was restless.  He was tired of showing and ready to be out of there.  Unlike most of the others, this was not his last stop.  She’s going to show him one more time.

The shot I got of the actual judging came out blurry, unfortunately.

After we congratulated her, we thought of looking around a bit; but Andrew and I both had things to do, and hardly anything at the fair was open until noon.  The good part about that was that we didn’t have to pay for parking or entry.  The bad part?  No fair food.  I guess I didn’t need it . . . sigh.

So I got the Very Ancient Horses doctored — one sore eye, one sore back — when I got home, but Kody’s going to have to wait until tomorrow for our driving lesson.  I’m sure he won’t mind.

Posted September 26, 2011 by stablewoman in Events

Another Strange Story   Leave a comment

Dawn, after the storm. 

Friday night, Billy and I were sitting around as usual when our canine alarm (aka Cider) went off.  I stuck my head out the door.  It was pitch-black outside, and I could see nothing past the house lights, but I heard dirt bikes going by.  No lights; totally invisible.

Billy went out to see what was going on, and came back to report it was a couple of kids.  Young teenagers who had gotten lost in the dark and were trying to find their way back to the road.  He said they seemed like nice kids, and apologized for disturbing the horses.  He led them out, and other than wondering what their parents were thinking to let them out on lightless bikes, we thought no more about it.

When the eleven o’clock new came on, we were both half-drowsing, but were brought bolt upright by a news report.  They reported a dirt bike wreck on Roberts Lane, with a fifteen-year-old killed.  Oh, no; we thought.  It must have been one of those kids.

Now the odd thing is that we have heard no more reports on the crash.  Not on the TV, not in the paper — nothing, even two days later.  We were beginning to think we’d heard it wrong — but both of us?  Then we found that a couple of other people had heard it, too.

I suppose it’s possible that a dirt bike was involved in a minor wreck that got exaggerated into a fatality, but the whole thing seems very strange.

And even if there was no accident — what were those kids thinking?  I know; at that age you don’t think, much.  It’s a wonder anyone makes it through their teens.

Posted September 25, 2011 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

Storm Story   1 comment

What does Mother Nature have against Friday night football?  This is the second time a lightning storm has forced a bunch of postponements and cancellations.

We started hearing thunder muttering yesterday afternoon, but it was the golden light that brought me out of the door, camera in hand, hoping for a rainbow.

And I got it.

In fact, it was a double.  You can see the second one more clearly here.

The rainbow was followed by a dramatic sunset.

Maybe Mother Nature likes us, anyway.  Just not football.

We got a call from daughter Suzanne.  Sarah got a breed reserve championship with her steer.  I hope I can watch her in showmanship Monday.  It’s probably going to be her last year showing cattle, so it would be nice to make it.

She’s done a great job.

Posted September 24, 2011 by stablewoman in Weather