Archive for April 2015

Xena’s Ear   Leave a comment

Much of yesterday was spent getting little Xena to the vet.  She had a foxtail.

When we rode Tuesday, she came back from swimming in the river shaking her head.  I hoped that she had just gotten water in her ear, but when she was still flattening one ear and shaking it the next day, I knew it was time for a visit to the vet.  I took her to North of the River vet hospital; they are very good.  When I caught her, that is.  When she sees the collar and leash come out, she knows Something Is Up and disappears.  She’s very good at disappearing.  I told her she could ride in the Prius, but it didn’t seem to make much impression.

Once in the car, she behaved beautifully, as she always does.  She behaved in the vet’s office, too, except for hiding behind my legs or crowding behind me on the bench.  But she did wiggle and squirm during the exam, so it was apparent she would have to be sedated.  I left her there — feeling like a traitor — to be picked up later that day.

When I did pick her up, she was quite her normal self, except for dragging me back to the car.  At least, as much as a 42 pound dog can drag a — heavier — woman.  They showed me the foxtails they had gotten out of her left ear, and they were ugly.  I’m glad I took her in.  She wasn’t.

I don’t think she’s forgiven me yet . . .



. . . but at least she’s wearing her ears nice and straight again.


I know All Will Be Forgiven when it’s time to chase the ball this evening.

Foxtails are a big problem with ranch dogs, and there are a lot of them this year.  We got just enough rain to allow the foxtail grass to head out, and little enough that they’ve dried out early.  I’ve got a nasty feeling that Peaches will be next.  The vets are going to be kept busy this year.

I wonder what the coyotes do?



Posted April 30, 2015 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

Today’s Ride   Leave a comment

Marion, her friend Janie, and I went out through Panorama Vista today.  I hadn’t ridden for several days, so it was about time.  It was a good ride, though it was pretty hot — about 80 by mid-morning.

There’s no green grass at all now, but the trees along the river almost make up for it.

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I can see cottonwood, willow, sycamore, grapevines, rushes, and much more in the picture above.  We have such a wealth of vegetation.

Here are Janie and Marion, looking at . . . something.  Janie’s beautiful black Canada persisted in looking at something behind him, though.  And there’s Kitty’s ear, as usual.  She’s such a good horse.  I’m lucky to have her.

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We stopped to look at the new plantings on the south bank of the river.  They seem to be coming along nicely.

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Marion also took several pictures.  I think her smartphone, newer than mine, takes better pictures.

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The color is much truer.  I’m still thinking about updating, but haven’t yet!

Posted April 28, 2015 by stablewoman in Horses, Kern River, Riding

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The Little Poopy Bird   Leave a comment

There’s a little bird hanging around our house that has, for some time, been known as the Little Poopy Bird.  There is good reason for this.  He just loves to sit on low perches and watch his surroundings — and poop.  A lot.  Most of his favored perches are places where we would really rather he wouldn’t.  Like the antenna of the Beetle, or Billy’s pickup — he’s even been known to fly inside and sit on the steering wheel.  He also has designs on my new Prius’ antenna.  But his favorite place in all the world is Billy’s walker.

You see, Billy uses a walker when he goes out to the pickup.  I help him get in, and then he leaves it there while he makes his rounds.  And there comes Poopy Bird, happy to see we’ve put out his favorite perch again.

Here are the results, before I washed them off — again.

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And here he is, waiting for us to leave so he can take over his post.

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When the walker is unavailable, he sometimes perches on this old wheelbarrow.  And no, he didn’t whitewash the entire inside — I don’t think.

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He is actually a Black Phoebe, a very nice little bird.  And it should be he or she; the sexes are identical, and I’ve seen them both near their nest.  It’s under the eaves, right behind him in the first shot.  You can tell by the . . . poop.  It’s astonishing how much a little bird can produce, even if there’s two of him.

Well, he’s been around long enough to be part of the family, so we’ll just have to put up with him.  And hope he doesn’t take too much of a liking to the pickup’s steering wheel.

Posted April 26, 2015 by stablewoman in Birds, Nature

Emily’s Prom   2 comments

My niece Emily sent me some pictures taken before her senior prom.  They’re pretty darned cute.  I especially like this one where she’s channeling Audrey Hepburn.


She’s certainly grown into a pretty girl.


Here’s a group shot.  Wouldn’t you know that the smallest girl would end up with the tallest guy?  He’s her friend Patrick.


Sister Sally phoned me a few weeks ago with Big News.  The good news?  Emily had been accepted into the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.  It has been ranked as the third best drama school in the world.  The bad news?  NYU is one of the most expensive universities in the country.  The other good news?  She has a full scholarship.  The other bad news?  She has to live in New York.

She has decided, after much thought, to take the chance of a lifetime.  She’s got a lot of talent, and a lot of experience already.  She’s played Scout in To Kill a Mockingbird, Jim Hawkins in Treasure Island, and Juliet in Romeo and Juliet already.  She’s a poised and mature young woman — and a lot braver than I would have been at her age!

Go for it, Emily!

Posted April 25, 2015 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

The Painter   1 comment

I’ve been off-line for a couple of days — a city truck driving down the levee caught our phone line and pulled it out.  It took us a while to realize what was the matter, but when we notified them, AT&T came right out and fixed us up.

We always have interesting things going one around here, and sometimes it’s in a good way.  There’s been a plein air painting festival going on around town, and a couple of the participants have shown up here.  After all, we’re picturesque!

Plein air painters, if you don’t know, are artists who work outdoors, directly from their subject.  They don’t use photographs; they just sit right down and paint.  I didn’t catch the gentleman who was here yesterday, but when Billy told me we had another painter, I hopped right in the car (the Beetle; the Prius doesn’t get driven through the dust) and went over to get some pictures.

The painter was a lady named Aimee Erickson, and she was very good.

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I especially liked the way she handled the reflections in the puddles.  (Too bad they weren’t rain puddles.)

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You can see how well-chosen the colors were.  I’d like to see her painting when it’s done.  They’ll have an awards ceremony Saturday, then on Sunday the 15 artists will have two hours to paint pictures which will then be auctioned off.  Sounds like fun!

I’ll bet this artist’s painting will be the most authentic.  It’s sure to have some Bakersfield dust adhered to it.





Posted April 25, 2015 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

Time for the Farrier   Leave a comment

Jennifer the farrier was here yesterday, to shoe Kitty and trim the ponies.

Here she is, working on Bella while I hold her.  Billy in his pickup, Peaches, and Xena help by kibitzing.

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Most horseshoers hate to work on ponies.  They either have to bend way over, or jack the foot up so high that the pony is uncomfortable and wiggles. Jennifer is very good and patient with them.

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It’s nice that the old mulberry tree, that the squirrels nearly killed last year, has come back enough to provide shade again.  It’s like an old friend, recovered from a long illness.  The shade was pleasant, even at nine in the morning.  I had just washed my hair, but it was nice and dry before all was done!

Posted April 21, 2015 by stablewoman in Uncategorized

Peaches the Hoarder   Leave a comment

Peaches and Xena just love to chase tennis balls.  Xena gracefully catches them on the first hop, while Peaches bumbles along and sometimes gets one by pure luck.  More often it bounces off her little fuzzy head.

I had noticed her scrabbling with her front paws when she did get one, but hadn’t quite figured out what she was trying to do.  Yesterday I finally figured it out.  She was burying the ball.

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It’s pretty hard to bury something when your ears keep flopping in your eyes.  Xena looks a bit flummoxed.  She wants to chase the ball.  Peaches wants to keep it.

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She was pretty sure that if she could get it buried under this nice stick, I couldn’t find it to take it away.

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She was wrong.  I dug it out and threw it a few more times.  But I couldn’t help wondering if I shouldn’t give her a ball of her Very Own.

Posted April 20, 2015 by stablewoman in Uncategorized