Archive for March 2015

Cross-country Day   Leave a comment

It’s been a pretty quiet day around here, perhaps due to the cross-country run on the Preserve.  There have been lots of flyers and signs warning equestrians that they’re going to meet up with maybe 300 runners out there today.  That would be an interesting experience — in the Chinese sense.  I’m looking forward to seeing how it went.  There were lots of cars headed in that direction this morning.

Marion and I rode out there a couple of days ago.  As I saddled up, I stopped to wonder at the cowlicks on Kitty’s neck.  She’s got a lot of them.

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I’ll bet she’s got some curly genes.  Her mane and tail are wavy, too.

Things are drying out fast on the Preserve now.  The grass is more gold than green.  There are a few lupines left, though.

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They are small, but a very pure blue, not shading to violet like many lupines.

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On the way back, we dropped down to the river, and rode along the bank.  It is lovely — but we did encounter a problem.  The dog pack from downriver has moved upriver, following the water.  Half a dozen dogs popped out of the bushes right ahead of us.  Peaches and Xena sensibly retreated, and stayed behind us as we passed.  They gave us a hard look, but turned and trotted ahead, while we climbed up out of their way.  A little farther on, though, their trail crossed ours again.  There appeared to be six or seven of them, but it was hard to tell in the brush.  I had heard that they had been joined by a pit bull, but it looked more like a white boxer to me.  There was some kind of shepherd, and a few smaller dogs.

They didn’t bother us, but a pack is always dangerous.  I have read of a couple of cases of people being killed by roaming packs.  I can’t help but think of the gentleman we meet now and then.  He hikes the river with his little dog.  Neither of them would have much chance if the pack decided they looked like easy prey, especially since they have been joined by larger dogs.

I don’t think today’s runners will have a problem, though.  That’s a much larger human pack.



Posted March 21, 2015 by stablewoman in Kern River, Riding

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Marion’s View   1 comment

My friend and riding buddy, Marion, took some pictures as her plane came in from Texas.  Despite a cloudy day and a cloudy window, she got some good shots of the river.  That included our place.  Here’s one . . .

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There’s the big island, dominating the picture.  Except it’s not actually an island now, since it’s surrounded only by sand.  Darker and lighter areas of sand look like ghostly water, but there is none.

The burned areas, from the big fire year before last and several smaller ones since, are plain to see.  Beneath a lonely green tree, you can see what appears to be a homeless camp.  I hope they’re careful with their fires.

The ranch is on the north bank, divided in two by Manor Street.  The western half is bounded by the levee; the eastern by the Roberts Lane extension.  It’s hard to see the eastern boundary, but it’s there.  Across the river is Rancho Rio, the other large boarding stable.

It’s interesting to look down on us like that, especially since neither Billy nor I has had the chance to do so in reality.  Thank you, Marion!  I just hope that there’ll be more green in the picture next year.

Posted March 19, 2015 by stablewoman in Around the Ranch, Kern River

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Shamrocks?   Leave a comment

Happy St. Patrick’s Day.  Here are some shamrocks — or a close approximation.

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There seems to be some controversy about what a shamrock actually is.  I dug this out of the lawn, and it’s probably a sorrel; but it looks like a shamrock to me!

I made a mistake this St. Pat’s Day.  I had promised Billy corned beef and cabbage.  There are two cuts of corned beef commonly sold — flat and point.  Last year I got the wrong kind, and he didn’t like it as much.  It was too lean, and a bit dry.   When I got to the market, I couldn’t remember which one he liked.  So I went home, looked it up — it was the point, which is fattier — and planned to go back and get a nice fat piece.  I forgot.  When I got there today, there was nothing left except flat.  I’ll try a different store tomorrow, and see if someone has some point left.

I guess that most people do like point.  More fat means more flavor — and of course, it’s cheaper!

Posted March 17, 2015 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

Skies   Leave a comment

There’s been a lot to watch in the skies lately.  It’s nice to enjoy changing clouds now, before summer sets in with its weeks of blank unchanging blue.  Or grayish-blue.

For now, there are colorful sunrises and sunsets.  Here’s yesterday morning.

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These feathery clouds came along later in the day.  Most were plumes . . .

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. . . but this one looks like a bunny to me.  He has an eye, with an eyebrow, a buck tooth near the bottom, and long ears trailing off toward the top left.  At least I think so.

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There was a deep red sunset, too, but I missed it.  Still, today’s sunrise was pretty good, too.  These pictures were taken with the Canon instead of the iPhone; the colors are less garish and the trees are clearer.

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It was a bit of a sad day yesterday.  We lost one of the old, old group that have lived together in the “geriatric pen” for years now.  He was a bay Arab, about 37 or 38; well over a hundred in human years.  His owner had already decided that when he could no longer get up, it was time for him to go.  Yesterday he just lay down and gave up.   He knew it was his time, and the vet eased him out of this world.  His buddy, the old Morgan mare in the pen, called for him all afternoon.  By this morning, though, she had reconciled herself to his absence.

It’s always hard to lose one, but he had a good long run. He had hardly a sick day in his life, until the very last.


Posted March 15, 2015 by stablewoman in Horses

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Greening Up   Leave a comment

Back at home, things are greening up.  At least, as much as they can.

There are still a lot of scars from the fire, almost two years ago now.

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There would be a lot more recovery in the river bottom, if not for the drought.  Still, some of the willows are showing hints of green.

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Almost all of the dead trees have been cleared out of the lower pasture, which took the brunt of the flames.  That’ll cut down on the fuel for future, inevitable, fires.

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Young cottonwood leaves, bright as mirrors, are always a sign of hope.

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Spring is nearly here.  It must be — it’s nearly 90 degrees out!

Posted March 13, 2015 by stablewoman in Around the Ranch, Kern River

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More from Rancheria   Leave a comment

Here’s a lupine.  The colors seem much brighter in the hills.  My foot and Kitty’s shoulder don’t add much to the shot!

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Marion and I snapped pictures of each other as we rode.  Here’s one I took of Marion.

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Here are some she took of me.  In the first one, I’m taking a picture, too.

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It was a wonderful day; one to remember when we’re old.  Which of course won’t be for years yet!





Posted March 12, 2015 by stablewoman in Horses, Riding, Wildflowers

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Rancheria Road   Leave a comment

Marion and I have been hoping to trailer up to the hills for a wildflower ride all spring.  Sarah (brave girl) was willing to take us, but one thing and then another kept getting in the way.  Yesterday, we made it at last.

Rancheria is one of my favorite places to ride.  It’s not too far out of Bakersfield; the road is little traveled yet not too rough; and once you start climbing into the hills, there are usually wildflowers.  It was so sweet of Sarah to take us up there to have a wonderful short ride.

There were a few problems.  First, Sarah’s mount Pepsi and EZ did not get along in the trailer, so we wound up taking only two horses.  We were disappointed that Sarah didn’t get to ride, but she was philosphical.  Second, Xena knew what loading our horses in the trailer meant, and wanted to go too.  Peaches followed her, so boarder Ethan kindly held them until we were out of sight.  Then, when we got up there, we missed our turnout and had to turn around — right where the county was working on the road.  That wasn’t easy, but Sarah managed, and finally we got parked and the horses unloaded.  Sarah helped us saddle up, then planned to indulge in a quiet nap.

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We saddled up, and headed down the trail. The spot where we parked doesn’t have a lot to see, but we knew we didn’t have to go far.  Sure enough, only a little way down the road we hit the first oak trees, and fields of orange fiddleneck.

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There was lots of fiddleneck. It’s the most common wildflower up here.

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Even the banks of the road were spotted with flowers.  Blue dick, miner’s lettuce, red maids, and more.

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The road rises gradually, offering new views at every turn.

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Still more wildflowers . . .

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We kept on climbing, but we knew we’d have to turn back before too long.  We didn’t want to stress our horses, so we rode for less than an hour before we turned around.  We didn’t really go farther than we would on a ride at home — just hillier.  That road is sure tempting.

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More tomorrow . . .

Posted March 10, 2015 by stablewoman in Horses, Riding, Wildflowers

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