Archive for July 2012

Summer Cold?   1 comment

I think I’ve got a summer cold starting — sore throat and stiff neck — so will just post an old picture today.

It’s one of my favorites; an African daisy the ground squirrels did in.

I plan to do better tomorrow.


Posted July 30, 2012 by stablewoman in Flowers

Petunias   Leave a comment

The ground sqauirrels seem to be thinning out.  Maybe that’s because of the presence of a very large red-tailed hawk, who regards them as a delectable lunch; or maybe it’s because Xena’s home, and she chases them.  Good ol’ Cider has been known to sleep peacefully while the squirrels play tag around her prostrate body.  In either case, it’s been good for my flowers.  They were not only eating the above-ground parts, but digging the roots out of the pot and eating them, too.

This was a nearly empty pot a couple of months ago, without anything visible above the rim of the pot.  Now look at it.

I had planned for a blue and yellow color scheme, but the petunias have come back much faster than the lobelias.

There’s not much else in flower right now, which caused my plans for a Floral Friday every week to fizzle out.  Maybe next spring.

Meanwhile, the first of the year’s hay is coming in.  We got a fairly good price on it, if a little higher than we hoped for.  It’s a nice secure feeling to see it stacking up.

We’ve been getting in more horses, from Porterville, Tehachapi, and locally.  That’s a good feeling, too.  Getting a new boarder is a lot like getting a new kid in class back in my teaching days.  You welcome them, but keep a wary eye on them for a few days.  We’ve been lucky over the years; very few Peculiar People have ended up here.

But you never know . . .

Posted July 29, 2012 by stablewoman in Flowers

Watching the Olympics?   Leave a comment

The trees are dying back even faster, now.  A walk that was through a green tunnel of willows finds them rapidly yellowing.

The little trails are lined with browning leaves, and choked with cottonwood and willow fluff.

Still, there is a little water coming down.  It’s shallow and slow-moving, but clear.

The stands of cattails are hanging on.  I like the light in this shot, and the varied textures.

I had a little fun with it, playing with the kaleidoscope effect in Paint Shop Pro.  It made a verdant mandala.

We spent yesterday evening as half the world must have — watching the opening ceremonies for the Olympics.  At least I did; Billy dozed through most of them.  Even I dropped off, just before they lit the torch.  Darn it.  The torch-lighting has been shown several times since, but it’s not like seeing it as it happens.

Today we watched the equestrian events, though they showed very little of them.  They never do.  It was the dressage for the three-day eventers today, and I have to admit that it’s not thrilling to watch.  It’s hard for the commentators, too, as someone who understands what’s going on ends up explaining too much or not enough.  They don’t know what the audience doesn’t know, if that makes since.  Explaining that a double bridle has both a snaffle and a curb, for example, doesn’t help much.  Generally, if you know what a snaffle and curb are, you also know what a double bridle is.  And people who don’t know that the trot is a two-beat diagonal gait probably aren’t watching dressage.  At least, not for long.

One of the great things about the Olympics, though; there’s something for everyone to enjoy!

Posted July 28, 2012 by stablewoman in Kern River

Riders   Leave a comment

It was a beautiful morning, and there were lots of people enjoying it.  I met Marion and Donna . . . Marion’s horse EZ sure looks handsome in this shot.

Then the twins were out with their dogs . . .

Then Donna and Marion again . . . Donna was ponying Barbara’s mare Olivia.

Notice Xena’s stick in the foreground.  She had just dropped it for me to throw.  She’s feeling much better.  Now maybe I’ll be able to get back to the ponies.  I’m sure they’re feeling neglected.  Or not . . .

Posted July 27, 2012 by stablewoman in Horses

Poor Xena — Again   Leave a comment

I didn’t blog yesterday, because I was comforting poor little Xena.  She had that foxtail surgery a couple of weeks ago, and it hadn’t healed up properly.  She was perfectly happy and active, but the site was still swollen and draining pus.

So yesterday I hauled her over to Dr. Paul, and he opened her up again.  We all expected another foxtail, but there was nothing there except an enormous drainage area, and some scar tissue partially blocking the drainage hole.  The best he could figure was that a second abcess site hadn’t totally drained, and was slowly leaking through the hole left by the first surgery.  He opened it all up and stitched her up again, and removed a sneaky foxtail from one ear while he had her asleep.

She recovered quickly from the anesthetic, but I spent the rest of the day with an unhappy little dog who wanted to sit on my feet; or better yet, in my lap.

She’s feeling more secure today, and wanting to chase a stick.  I felt she might begin to think that she got in the car only to go to the vet, so we spent some time this morning driving around the ranch together.

Meanwhile, I get to flush the incision site with an antiseptic solution and a syringe with a long tube which must be inserted under the stitches, deep into the abscess area.  She had her first treatment this morning, and was very good.  One helper cold hold her still and sponge away the drainage at the same time.

I think she’s beginning to read my mind, though.  Before the first time I did it this morning, I was looking at the bottle of antiseptic and thinking about the best way to do the procedure.  She came in the doggie door just then, and all I did was turn around and look at her thoughtfully, and she clapped her tail between her legs, spun around, and fled back through the door.  Something in my body language must have spelled trouble.

When the time came for the real thing, though, she was no trouble, as I said.  She’s even forgiven me for the whole thing and is busily licking the back of my leg right now.  I just hope it’s just as easy tomorrow.  It didn’t seem to be painful, at least.

But I’d better go hunt up some sticks to throw for her. She deserves it.


Posted July 26, 2012 by stablewoman in Dogs, Pets

Dawn   2 comments

You miss a lot when you don’t get up at sunrise.  I was impressed by the beautiful dawn picture featured on a local weather forecast, but I think Marion’s is even better.

She was here very early to get in a ride before the day warmed up, so she had a beautiful experience.  I usually get up about 6:30, so this time of year I miss the sunrise.  Maybe I should try for a little earlier . . . nah.

I’ve gotten some nice sunrise pictures at different times of the year, though, like these.

So I guess I’m not jealous.  At least not very jealous.



Posted July 24, 2012 by stablewoman in Weather

Heat Stressed   Leave a comment

The dry riverbed, along with the heat wave, means that the trees are already beginning to show signs of stress.  This yellowing cottonwood is not far from our front door.

The willows don’t show the dramatic change of the cottonwoods, but go brown a little at a time.

Trees aren’t the only things dying.  This stagnant puddle is all that’s left for dozens of polliwogs.  There were bubbles popping on its surface, as the desperate survivors gulped air and then drifted slowly down to the bottom.

Farther upriver, there was still a bit of flowing water.

But just by turning around, you could find more dying cottonwoods.

They make a pretty picture against the blue sky.

The cottonwoods seem more sensitive than the willows, and it seems that the largest ones — those that I would think were most deeply rooted — are going first.  Perhaps it depends on where the underground flow is going.

It’s all part of the natural process, I guess.  There would have been drought years even before the Isabella dam was built.  And many of the doomed trees had grown up in the river bed itself, where Mother Nature never intended them to be.  We’ve seen the cycle of drought and fire, followed by regeneration, often over the years.

But it’s not pleasant to watch.  We’ll hope for El Nino’s return — though he brings another set of problemns.

Posted July 23, 2012 by stablewoman in Kern River, Nature