Archive for September 2013

Kleaning up Kody   Leave a comment

I finally got around to giving Kody a bath.  He was in dire need of one.  When I finished with him, he looked pretty good, if wet.


In the sun, his colors look deeper and richer.


I thought I might leave him tied up until he dried, but he’s a busy little dickens and finds ways to get into trouble no matter where you put him.  When I found him trying to pry the boards off the breezeway wall, I put him back in his pen.

Sure enough — plop!  Down he went.




Now for the other side . . .


Oh, well.  Tomorrow I’ll try to brush out all of that mud.

And Sarah ended up 8th in her class.  Not too shabby, for a show as important as the Snaffle Bit Futurity.


Posted September 30, 2013 by stablewoman in Horses, Kody

Dry River   1 comment

It’s just not as much fun walking by the river when it’s dry — except for the dogs.  They have a blast anyway, and manage to sneak into every picture.  This was going to be a dramatic shot of the burned trees.  I didn’t even see Peaches.


Xena was supposed to be in this shot of an unburnt willow, but again, I didn’t see Peaches.


I sure knew she was in this shot, though.  I keep saying I’ve got to get a bigger tub, but I’ve never had a dog that liked to lie under a running faucet before.  I can hardly wait to show her a whole running river.


That’ll be all for today.  I’ve got to go clean muddy paw prints out of the bathtub.  Wonder who did that?

Posted September 28, 2013 by stablewoman in Dogs, Kern River

Good Luck, Sarah!   1 comment

Granddaughter Sarah is at the Snaffle Bit Futurity, and doing well.  At last report, she was third out of twenty-six in her amateur class.  This is a Very Big Deal; only the elite compete in this show, which seeks to continue the traditions of the California vaquero — though it’s in Reno!  We’re crossing our fingers.

Her horse has an interesting (and we hope, lucky) name.  It’s Aggiestwelfthdivorce, by Aggies Twelfth Man and out of Horse for Divorce.

Hmmm.  I’ll bet Horse for Divorce is an appropriate name for one of these highly trained and highly expensive show horses.  Anyway — good luck, Sarah!

There’s not a lot of other news, so here’s a pretty picture.  it’s another moonflower, aka Jimsonweed, aka thornapple.


Beautiful, wild . . . and poison.

Posted September 27, 2013 by stablewoman in Horses, People, Uncategorized

Meeting Mr. Haslam   Leave a comment

Here it is, 71 at three-thirty.  That’s what I call weather!

Yesterday was a busy day, though not in any unpleasant way.  The worst thing that happened was that Mr. Coffee died.  I staggered out to the kitchen at six or so, turned on the coffee — and nothing happened.  The little light came on, so it was getting power, but it was stone cold dead.  I was in despair until Billy reminded me that we could make boiled coffee.  After all, people did drink coffee before coffeemakers.  So I did, and was reminded that it’s really better than regular coffee, except for the grounds.  I ran it through a sieve, but that doesn’t get quite all.

So now we have a new Mr.  Coffee, and the old one is going to the Great Coffeehouse in the Sky — or at least the garbage can.

At noon, Marion and I attended a very pleasant event.  It was a lunch for Gerald Haslam, the writer.  He has written about the Central Valley, and especially Oildale, throughout several excellent books.  The one about the Bakersfield Sound is perhaps the best-known, but I like his short stories.

I was reading a couple to Billy.  One was about playing Tarzan in the river bottom, in the days when the grapevines made it a very good stand-in for the African jungle.  Billy remembers having to chop trails for the horses with a machete, in the days when his mother Irma ran a rental string.  Another was about some Okies, who at one point were desperate enough to milk some cows they found grazing by the river.  Billy roused up and said, “Those were our cows!”  They would have been, too.  I don’t remember if the story was fiction or not, but Billy assured me that Irma would never have called the police, as happened in the story.  That’s if I remember correctly.  It was some years ago.

Anyway, it was fun to listen to Mr. Haslam talk about writing.  Some of the guests contributed river stories, too.  I especially enjoyed hearing Bill Cooper talk about kayaking from Bakersfield to San Francisco in the high-water year of 1983.  I remember trying to explain it to my students at that time, who resolutely refused to believe it.  No one could boat to San Francisco.  After all, everyone knew water didn’t flow uphill, and it was all uphill.  Just look at the map!  And some adults believed the same thing.

Marion and I did enjoy ourselves, whether it was the lunch, listening to Mr. Haslam, or the hospitality of our hosts the Shepherds.  They have a beautiful native plant garden.

The day before, I found a wild sunflower in full bloom downriver.  This is the best picture I took, with an attentive Xena in the background.


I kind of liked this one, though, with the disappearing puppy bottom.


This morning I was sipping (boiled) coffee, when I heard thumping and thudding from the bathroom.  I hurried in, to find Peaches thundering up and down inside the tub.  I thought she had gotten in by accident, but when I called her she hopped out — then hopped right back in.  She likes loud noises, if she makes them.  One of her favorite toys is an empty plastic flower pot, which she chases up and down the hall.  But the tub is going a little too far.  It was full of muddy paw prints.

I guess I’ll have to remember to keep the door shut.  I don’t like the way she was looking at the toilet . . .

She’s certainly a creative pup.

Posted September 26, 2013 by stablewoman in Wildflowers

Just a Couple of Months . . .   1 comment

. . . what a difference they make.  Here’s a picture Marion took of me and Peaches a couple of months ago, not long after she came to stay.


peachesnmejul16 2

And here’s one she took yesterday, of friend Peggy, Peaches, and me.


I’m even wearing the same red shirt . . . if I were holding Peaches in the same position as the first picture, her back paws would hang down to my knees.  In another month or so, it’d be pretty hard to hold her that way at all.  She weighs a ton.

Puppies, kittens, foals, or baby humans . . . they all grow way too fast!

Posted September 24, 2013 by stablewoman in Dogs

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Green Visitors   1 comment

We had some visitors this morning, chowing down on berries.  Actually, we’ve had them most mornings; I’ve just haven’t caught them recently.  They’re escapees that have taken up residence by the river, like a lot of people.  Only these aren’t human-type people.  They’re ring-necked parakeets.


There was a fair-sized flock; maybe eight or ten.  They quickly vacated the tree and peered at me from the wires.


Then they flew off, except for one who lingered to give me a “What are you looking at?” stare.


I’ve written about these little guys before.  They are true parakeets, unlike their colorful little cousins which are better called budgerigars.  The rings on the back of their necks are hard to see in these shots, as is the blue in their tails.

They’re pretty little birds, and apparently harmless, so I hope they’ve found their niche.  It’s hard to say whether they’re actually reproducing in the wild, because they are long-lived little birds, and prone to escaping.

More power to them.

Posted September 23, 2013 by stablewoman in Birds, Nature

Back to Normal   Leave a comment

Kody’s pen had lots of nice piles of manure today.  He came unplugged with a vengeance.  Helper Jerry cleaned his pen yesterday, so they’re all new.  He feels just fine, and I was going to wash his back end today, except for two things:  a) he’s not quite through passing oil, and b) it was too cold!

Yep, it was cool all day.  At three, it was only 72 degrees.  It’s supposed to get back to the eighties tomorrow, but we’re sure enjoying today.

I took Bella down to the round pen and let her play yesterday morning.  I was trying the rapid-fire setting on my camera, which for some reason I had never tried before.  I’ve taken dozens of pictures of Bella moving, trying to capture the beauty of her action.  It’s been hard to do, though, because the regular setting didn’t stop the action very well.  The new setting was a great improvement, even when she was at a run.  Helper Jerry’s in the background there, cleaning Kody’s pen.


She’s an athletic little critter; look at that stretch!


It was fairly early, and the morning sun backlit this trotting shot.


Here she’s just turned into the center, to park herself in front of me.  Even turning, she has great extension.


This setting captures action so well, I’ll have to play with it some more.  After all, it’s cool enough now to enjoy being outside!

And today’s the first day of fall — a good time to change my theme.

Posted September 22, 2013 by stablewoman in Bella, Horses