Archive for March 2013
I don’t think Mother Nature wants me to be a gardener. The ground squirrels, laughing under their breath at our feeble attempts at a fence, have eaten almost every leaf of my newly planted squash. It’s a massacre.
The tomatoes, in their tractor tires up on the sidewalk, are faring a little better. Some of them even have flowers, though others have been eaten back to the nub. And my baby chards, in the third tire, are now well protected — until they grow up through the wire.
What I can’t understand is why the flowers on the patio, some of which are eminently edible, are untouched. The dogs don’t spend any time there, and we have no cats. (Well, maybe one; but that’s another story.) If I can figure something out, maybe we can replant. I’m eyeing Andrew’s dog panels.
Meanwhile, the promised rain has so far been a sprinkle, which saved itself until I went out on my walk. Even so, it was a warm and gentle shower, which was really kind of nice to walk in.
The clouds look threatening, but it was all a bluff — at least so far.
It’s been a quiet Easter Sunday. I suppose most people are at church or Easter parties.
Happy Easter, everyone!
I mentioned how good Fiona, the little Welsh Cob, was looking yesterday. Her rider, Donna, sent me a couple of pictures that prove the point. Here is Fiona at the trot.
And at the canter.
For comparison, here is Fiona’s sire, Northfork’s Cardi.
You can see the resemblance. Cardi is showing at Grand Prix level, against full-sized horses. You have to be a very, very good pony to do that.
It seems odd to call Fiona “little” when she is a full two hands (eight inches) taller than Bella. Compared to the usual seventeen-hand horses (five foot eight at the top of the shoulder) Fiona is tiny. But in the world of cutting horses, for example, Fiona would be about average. In their discipline, little means quick. Yet they are considered horses; no one ever calls a cutting horse a pony. Not without a fight, that is. Technically, though, anything under fourteen-two (four feet ten) is considered a pony.
It’s all in your point of view.
I haven’t recorded a morning walk in a while, so here’s some of the things the dogs and I saw today.
The willows are budding everywhere. This is a bit hard on the hay fever.
Yet a willow in full bloom — can you call it bloom? — is a very pleasant sight.
The mulberries, too, are beginning to leaf out in earnest. They’re not native, but they have made themselves thoroughly at home.
In here, I should have a shot of the dogs reclining in the river. I forgot to turn off the flower setting, though, and they turned out blurry. There’ll be plenty of chances for them.
On the way back, I passed Donna and Jill having a pleasant morning chat.
Little Fiona the Welsh Cob is doing very well.
Back at the house, I found a first — an apricot miniature rose.
It’s not as pretty out there as it would be in a wet year. There’s almost no grass; the rabbits and squirrels get it as fast as it comes up. They’re even eating my tomato plants. Still, there’s always something to be enjoyed along the river.
Lori B. and I went to a citrus tasting at White Forest Nursery this weekend, and I was much taken with an item from Four Winds Nursery, which was sponsoring the event. It wasn’t the citrus that got me, though.
It was this truck.
Isn’t it a beauty? When I showed this picture to Billy, he said he thought it was a ’36 Dodge, but he couldn’t be sure without seeing the grill.
I already knew it was a Dodge. I could tell by the charging ram hood ornament, not by the grill.
The trailer wasn’t half bad, either.
It’s always nice to see someone having fun with their business. After tasting the fruit, though, I didn’t buy anything. Not because it wasn’t good; it was delicious. But I really liked the Meihi (I think it was) variety of kumquat, which tasted good and would have been perfect by the back door. They didn’t have any trees of that variety, so I decided to wait. I did buy a few things for the garden, so the trip wasn’t wasted.
Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) I didn’t have enough money to make a bid on the truck and trailer.
Marion made a trip to Arvin recently, and despite the drought, found wildflowers.
She found fiddleneck . . .
And more fiddleneck . . .
There were poppies . . .
And lupines . . .
And more . . .
The hills around the little town of Arvin were once, before the great dust storm, known for the abundance and variety of wildflowers to be seen there. Ever since the dust storm pretty much removed the topsoil, and the wildflowers with it, they’ve been reseeding and trying to recover. It’s not what it once was, but it’s getting there.
Beautiful pictures, Marion!
Bella had quite an educational experience yesterday. Melissa ponied her out. They went in the river and on down the trail.
Ponying, let me remind everyone, has nothing to do (usually) with an actual pony. It’s a term for leading one horse from another; and, with a competent lead horse and rider, it’s a great way to give a young horse a taste of the outer world. They have the reassuring presence of the more experienced horse as their world-view broadens.
The river went very well. In fact, Melissa was able to get some pictures. I’m translating for Bella again.
“Hmm . . . there’s an awful lot of water here. Wonder if it’s good for anything?”
“Hey, look! You can blow bubbles in it!”
“Well, that was fun. What’s next?”
Crossing water is something frightening to many horses; so much so that you often see ads reassuring prospective buyers that the horse will cross water. We have almost never had a horse that couldn’t learn to cross the river, unless the rider was also fearful. We’re lucky to have a safe place to practice. Except on the rare occasions when it gets too deep and swift, our crossing is great for building confidence. I’ll bet most of the horses that have problems never see water for most of their lives.
You have to use common sense, of course, even here. I’ve seen a drowned horse float past. It’s not anything I ever want to see again.
Sister Sally sent me some snow shots from St. Louis. (I enjoyed writing that.) It’s been snowing there for some time, and it’s gotten pretty deep. This is absolutely astonishing to someone in Bakersfield. I mean, it’s March 23!
But the pictures are beautiful. Here’s their back yard.
Such heavy snow must be hard on the tree branches.
Niece Rebecca made a snow angel.
The snow looks pretty deep!
Here’s niece Emily playing with
a small bear their Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, Tilly.
Every time she sends me pictures like this, I wonder what it would be like to live there. I have a feeling I wouldn’t handle it very well. But it’d sure be fun to try!