Archive for May 2016

Blackbird   2 comments

If you look very closely at the center of this picture, you will see a little black dot.

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It’s a red-winged blackbird.  Now, that’s not a rare bird.  It’s pretty, with its shining black body and brilliant scarlet shoulders, but not anything to write about . . . except that there haven’t been any around for several years.  Like my friend Marion, I followed its song to the source.  It’s hard to get a close-up, with three riotous dogs along — well, two riotous dogs and one who is elderly but game.  But even the distant view was worth preserving, just to show hows the river life is returning.

This morning, I looked out and counted fourteen snow-white egrets flying in circles, working slowly downstream.  There are little toads everywhere.  A whole ecosystem is reviving — at least as long as there’s water in the river.  I heard the flow was going to continue until August.  I hope so.

Incidentally, there are three dogs in the picture.  Can you spot the third one?

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Posted May 29, 2016 by stablewoman in Birds, Kern River, Nature

Solo   2 comments

I did manage to get in a ride yesterday, and it was thoroughly enjoyable.  My boon companion Marion is down with a wrenched knee (I hope you’re better soon, Marion).  This was probably the last reasonably cool day for a long, time, so I wanted to get out there.  I knew that one of Kitty’s many virtues is that she behaves just as well when she is alone as she does with companions.  If you are a trail rider, you know how nice it is to have a horse who will walk home on a loose rein.

First, I passed a neighboring garden, which was looking really good.  I liked the sign.

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We stuck close to the riverside, as Peaches was along.  She took every opportunity to have a dip.

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Here’s the obligatory shot through Kitty’s ears.

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Help, Mom!  The swamp monster has us!

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Actually, they were standing in the water, as you can see by the plume of black sediment streaming away.  The water is quite green upstream, but not so much by us.  Maybe that’s because there’s been water there long enough for it to grow algae; maybe because it’s moving much less than it is downstream.

This was very likely Peaches’ last chance to go along on a ride until fall.  She does not take the heat well, even with frequent dips.  I’m glad that she had a good time!

Posted May 27, 2016 by stablewoman in Horses, Kern River, Riding

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Munchin’   Leave a comment

I noticed I had not posted very many pictures with actual horses in them.  So, on my walk last night, I went down the rows and got pictures of some happily munching horses.  This is the east side of the line of pens that runs along the driveway.  Most of our feeders are old tractor tires.  It’s really hard for a horse to hurt himself on them; I would say it never happens except somewhere, there’s a horse that will find a way.  They have to be fastened to the fence, though, or they will play with them and move them around.

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Here’s the west side . . .

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This line of pens runs east and west.  They have a downhill slope; the far end of this line was once an arm of the river.

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Study in black and white . . .

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This is a smaller line . . . only six pens.  Notice little Kody waiting for his carrot.

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It’s been beautiful weather; breezy, with days in the seventies.  Maybe I can get a ride in tomorrow, before the temperatures start soaring.  There’s a prediction for our first hundred-degree day at the end of the ten-day forecast.

Ugh.

Posted May 26, 2016 by stablewoman in Around the Ranch

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More Daylilies   Leave a comment

This is the time of year that I run out and get pictures of my daylilies before they’re gone.  There’s a reason they call them daylilies.

This morning, the miniature daylily bloomed.  It’s a little beauty.

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It is pretty small, though, compared to its cousins.

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All of my few remaining lilies are gorgeous — though there aren’t many after the squirrel plague of a couple of years ago.  The ground squirrels were killing full-grown trees, let alone delicious lilies.  So the ones that are left are appreciated.  You can see why . . .

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We had an interesting night, a couple of days ago.  About one o’clock in the morning, the dogs hit the dog door, yelling their heads off.  When I looked out, I could see a single taillight at the end of the lane, where it drops off into the river.  Pretty soon I could see flashlights bobbing around, and hear voices.  Sure enough, someone had tried to drive down into the sand, and not made it very far.  I could hear the engine revving, but they were stuck fast.  We listened for a while, but it was pretty obvious they weren’t getting out on their own.  Nor did they come up to the house for help — probably because of the dogs.  They wouldn’t have gotten an enthusiastic reception anyway, at that time of night.  Billy, though, being a merciful person, got on the phone and routed poor Scott out to come and help.  He drove the backhoe over, and popped them out in short order.  Scott has rescued people in that way quite a lot.  It seems there’s always someone who thinks their pickup can handle the sand; especially of they’re full of . . . cheer.

Posted May 20, 2016 by stablewoman in Flowers

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River in Bloom   Leave a comment

The yellow-flowered mustard I think is called yellow rocket has taken over the riverbanks.  It’s making quite a show, whether you look upriver . . .

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Downriver . . .

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Or straight across . . .

rocket 1It’s quite a show.

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The deadwood from fire and drought is being overshadowed by a sea of yellow.  The recent thunderstorms have helped a lot.  It’s made walking difficult, though, as it covers the irregularities in the sand and half-buried windfall.  Every once in a while, when there’s a bit of wind, you’ll hear a rending crack and thump as yet another dead willow goes down.  Every time I walk down to the water, I have to find a new path.  It’s going to be interesting to see what the summer brings.

Posted May 14, 2016 by stablewoman in Kern River

On the Trail   Leave a comment

Marion and I were back out on the trail today, and it was beautiful.  The recent rains have brought on an explosion of plant growth and blossoms.  Here’s a wild rose in bloom.

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This is a young mesquite, against a background of what I think is yellow rocket.  There used to be quite a few mesquites along the river, but they have been gone for years.  The rocket, a variety of mustard, is everywhere since the thunderstorms gave it a boost.

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This palo verde is in full and glorious bloom.

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Close up, it looks like an explosion of yellow.

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It was a glorious day, and a great ride.

In other news, grandson Andrew has taken up leatherworking again.  He just hasn’t had time for it until lately, but now he’s managing to work it in.  Here’s a pair of chaps he made for a friend.  I like the scalloped edge; curves are hard!

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I’m going to try to post more often; I’ve got a lot of pictures I just haven’t had time to upload and edit.  It’s been a great spring!

Posted May 11, 2016 by stablewoman in Around the Ranch, Kern River, Nature, Riding

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This and That   Leave a comment

I’ve been busy, and not getting much blogging done.  Most of the busy has been running errands — nothing interesting.

The weather has been interesting, though.  Last night, we got the latest in a series of thunderstorms, which gave us over an inch of rain.  The thunderstorms have made a big difference in our surroundings.  For example, we’ve had a lot of little toadyfrogs passing through.

When I say little, I mean little.  The hole this tiny guy is hiding in is about dime-size.  The toadyfrog himself (I think he’s actually a toad) could sit on a dime with room to spare.

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One of the nicer byproducts of a thunderstorm is a rainbow.  This partial double from a couple of days ago is a good example.

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And . . . the first daylily of the year has bloomed, and it’s a beauty.

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I don’t have many left, due to a plague of squirrels, so each one is much appreciated.

Billy’s off to check the horses, so I’m headed out to walk the dogs.  It’s beautiful out there!

Posted May 8, 2016 by stablewoman in Uncategorized