Archive for the ‘Old Times’ Category

A Great Story   2 comments

To start with, here’s a river sunset from a few days ago.  What a peaceful scene . . .


The death of Muhammad Ali has reminded me of a very old story.  It’s a second-hand story, and I may not get all of the details right, but it’s worth a try.

Many years ago, one of my fellow teachers at Virginia Avenue school received an invitation for his sixth-grade class to attend the presidential inauguration.  (It was President Carter’s, so that tells you just how long ago this was.)  I don’t think it was ever intended that they actually attend; it was more of a courtesy thing.  Teacher Jim C., however, became a man with a mission.  He was going to get the whole class to Washington.

The community came through for him.  It was by no means a wealthy district, but they managed to scrape together enough money to send those kids to Washington D. C..  It was amazing.

It was a great opportunity for those children, and they enjoyed it very much.  For many of them, though, the greatest (in more ways than one) thing that happened on that trip was when they encountered Muhammad Ali at the airport.

Now, Ali was at the height of his fame.  He was one of the most famous men in the world.  But he took time to talk with those youngsters.  One little girl even sat on his knee.  There were no reporters present, nothing to gain in publicity; he just wanted to talk to them.

I’m not sure how much of the inauguration the kids would remember, but I guarantee they’d remember Muhammad Ali.  He was truly The Greatest.


Posted June 11, 2016 by stablewoman in Old Times, Stories

End of the Trail . . . er   2 comments

The crew is getting ready to break up the old trailer that Billy’s mother, Irma, once lived in.  They’ve already salvaged the aluminum from the outside, and are getting it ready for its final journey.  It’s looked better . . .

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It’s a 1951 model; Billy remembers buying it in 1955.  Irma lived in it until he bought her a mobile home; then it moved behind the other mobile home for his sons to live in.  Over the years, it’s been home to feed, tack, and drop calves.  It was a nice little trailer at one time, though.  It had some nice cabinetry . . .

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A tiny little bathroom . . .

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And even a typewriter.

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It’s headed on that last journey soon . . .

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Although parts of it will live on.  Someone who was restoring one like it came by and salvaged the window frames and other parts.  The frame and wheels went under a flatbed trailer that is currently loaded with pipe.  It’s had a long and useful life . . . I hope I’ll be able to say the same.

But I really hope I’ll look a little better.

Posted December 7, 2015 by stablewoman in Around the Ranch, Old Times

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Been Busy   1 comment

It’s been one of those weeks when it seems like there’s something that has to be done every day — but none of it’s interesting.  Banking, grocery shopping, check-up at the doctor’s (I’m healthy again) . . . nothing to blog about.  I’ve looked around at some old photos to use as placeholders . . . there are some interesting ones in the Critters category.

Here’s what happens when a winter coat comes in at different rates for different colors.



This Appy’s white hair grew faster than the brown, making for 3d spots.  Very interesting, if weird.

Here’s a really fleabitten grey . . .


Here’s Marion’s good mare Minka scratching in her own unique way . . .

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I hope something interesting (but not too interesting) happens soon, so I can post some new pictures!  This post is just to show that I’m still here.




Posted October 9, 2015 by stablewoman in Old Times, Uncategorized

Days Gone By   Leave a comment

I’ve used these photos before, but when I changed computers I lost a few; so I’ve been laboriously finding them in my old files and re-editing them.  These two are of the ranch in the 1950s.

Here are a group of Girl Scouts and ponies.  Billy’s mother Irma worked with the Scouts a lot, including mountain camps, and kept a string of horses and ponies to use.  It looks like these girls were a handful — note the one sitting backwards on her pony.  I have no doubt, though, that Irma coped.

Notice, too, no uniforms.  The uniforms in those days had skirts — no exceptions!  No helmets, either; and I’ll bet, no insurance.  Lawsuits were unheard of in those days, and no one except English riders wore helmets.


Here are a group of slightly older girls at horse show practice.  These would be boarders, not scouts.  I believe the horse on the end is Sonkey, who was remembered fondly by everyone who rode in those days.


This might have been taken at the same time; I can see ponies in the background.

There’ll be more old photos from time to time, as I find them and re-edit.  They should look better than before, anyway.


Posted June 19, 2015 by stablewoman in Old Times

Quiet Weekend   Leave a comment

At least it’s been a quiet weekend from my point of view.  Much of Saturday was spent watching the Kentucky Derby.  It was a good race, though not with the drama of last year’s running.  American Pharaoh is a handsome horse, but lacking the flash and charisma — and backstory — of California Chrome.

Today was mostly spent shopping.  So here are a couple of pictures that Marion took on our ride last week.  Maybe they’ll get me inspired to ride more this coming week.  And it’s going to be cooler!

Here we are meeting another rider on the trail.

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And here, I am admiring the yellow blooms of a Palo Verde.  It’s beautiful, drought resistant, and thorny.

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The Californian recently published an insert to the paper about the origins of Bakersfield, with reproductions of front pages through the years.  I was especially interested in the story about the deadly explosion that blew up an Oildale refinery in 1936, because I’ve heard Billy talk about it.  He doesn’t remember the blast itself — he would have been three — but the aftermath.  He says that many barrels of tar melted in the fire following the blast.  The pools of tar remained there for years.  When they softened in the summer heat, Billy and his friends would run through them to make themselves tar “shoes”, then stick their feet in the water and peel them off.  Kids must have been really tough in those days — and a lot less supervised.

It must have been some explosion.  There were four fatalities, including two ladies who were there for the grand re-opening that followed the conversion of the refinery for gasoline production.  According to the Californian, one two-ton chunk of metal shattered a telephone pole 150 yards away.

So — environmental disasters happened then as well as now.  The rescue crews had to fight their way through throngs of thrilled spectators.  That hasn’t changed, either.

Posted May 3, 2015 by stablewoman in Old Times, Riding

The Inseparables   Leave a comment

I was telling Sarah about her mother and her pony Priscilla the other day, and that got me looking through old photos again.

When Suzanne was ten or eleven, she and Priscilla were pretty much inseparable.  She rode her, showed her, decorated her for Halloween, swam with her . . . everything a little girl and a good pony could do together, they did.

They cleaned up pretty good . . .


But this was a more typical shot.

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Priscilla was a tiny little thing, for a Welsh; under 11 hands.  When she could put her feet down and let Priscilla walk out from under her, Suzanne went on to Drake and Megan; full-sized horses.  They were great, too.  But the little buckskin mare was the pony that refuted all the stories about bad-tempered ponies.  She was the best.


Posted March 16, 2014 by stablewoman in Horses, Old Times

More Relatives   Leave a comment

Brother Jim sent me another old picture of our relatives.  This one turned up during a housecleaning . . . I’ll let him tell about it.


I love these old photos, with all they tell . . . and all they don’t tell.  I keep wanting to go back in time and talk to these people.  It’s too bad that when we’re little kids, and actually meet our elderly relations, we don’t know what questions to ask them.  I know Grandma Gregory, whose brothers these are, would have had some great stories; but all I remember her talking about is dead people, and how they died.

Now I’m the elderly relative.  What a strange feeling . . .

Posted September 7, 2013 by stablewoman in Old Times, People