Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Wildlife--This one's for BJ's Carol

I went into the barn the other day to find these two barn owls perched above the doorway.
I knew they were around: they've swooped down over my head a couple of times, but they seem to be getting used to my comings and goings, and don't necessarily leave when I enter now, though I often see only one at a time.
They're not quite as intimidating as the great-horned owl we had move in a few years ago.I'd like to think they are a mating pair, and today I saw one (I think the one with the lighter marking around it's face) climb into a nest in the eaves (but not the one above their heads in these photos). If that's the mama owl, she must not be brooding yet, as she spends an awful lot of time outside the nest. But maybe soon.
Oh, excuse me, I didn't mean to stare.

I noticed that the swallows are back again this year!
I'm so glad that their colony is growing.
Swallows consume A LOT of bugs, and their aerobatics are super fun to watch. I actually tried to get shots of them coming and going into the nests, but not one of my shots caught the speedy little guys in flight!
I don't think there are babies yet, still some nest building going on. Lots of horse hair and mud available lately!
This unit is a duplex.

Al started putting out seed for the wild birds a couple of winters ago, and hasn't had the heart to stop since. We have a very diverse flock that visits.

I believe these are mourning doves.
A red wing blackbird--very pretty, and he knows it!
Don't know what these little guys are.
I do know that these are magpies (at least I think so).
Again, not sure what they are...some sort of finch?
A little squabble shows off his striking wing pattern.
Very plump quail.
We also have some birds of prey, as well, though I've never seen them attack the feeding birds.
A hawk surveying the pasture...
...then taking flight when he became aware of the photographer.
(I saw the shadow of a hawk hovering over my tractor in the hayfield yesterday, waiting for me to chase out some tasty field mice.)

These two bald eagles (one immature) visited last fall.
We get a few elk in the neighborhood occasionally, but these were actually across the valley when I was out at the trainer guy's place.
And some not so wild life.

Whatca cookin laydee?
Uuum. Smellz gud.
Bar bee q beef!?!
Leave da poor kid alone, laydee!

Monday, June 28, 2010

We Done Did It!

Brioso (aka "Beth")
2006 APHA Solid Paint Bred mareQuick post to announce that, after stalling now for a month, waiting for the right day, hoping to have someone here to pick up the proverbial pieces, I finally just went ahead and got on Beth this morning!
We've been doing lots of ground work since she's been home from the trainer's, but my energy has been so low from the pneumonia (just finished another round of antibiotics), and there were always chores and projects that needed doing that sapped that limited energy, that I just didn't ever feel it was the right time to climb on.
Today felt right!
She had thrown one of her front shoes, so first thing, while it was still cool, I pulled the other one and trimmed them both up. Then I decided she needed to get to know the Simple boots, so maybe I can pony her along on a ride one of these days, to see how she'll do in the great outdoors. So on went the boots. And, golly gee, if I'm going to lunge her, I might as well saddle her up, and maybe even weight the stirrups.
So that's what we started with: lunging under saddle with the boots on.
And Beth did fine.
It's the kind of hot muggy morning that slows us all down, and she was very mellow and compliant. So let's put on the helmet and just try standing her at the mounting block and weighting the stirrups a bit.
Okay. No big deal. So why don't I just go ahead and climb on?
Well, 'cause I still have my clunky rubber chore boots on.
Beth, stay here a minute while I run in the house for my [safer] paddock boots. She noses at me curiously while I sit on "her" mounting block and change boots.
Okay, sweetheart. Let's do this thing!
And up I go.
Stand and flex each way a few times, then ask her to walk out. Wander a bit, then ask her to turn each direction. Play ring around the mounting block. Then figure eights around the stump and the piled up lunge line across the arena. The trainer guy did not ride with nearly as much contact as I generally do, so Beth and I are working on a compromise there, but otherwise she did very well for her first ride at home and the first time outside the confines of a round pen (mine is still flooded--another stalling point in her training). We did that for about ten minutes and then I climbed off, loosened her cinch and called it good.
Tomorrow, I'll set up some barrels and poles for her to think about--she's a mare that needs to do more than just wander around. She needs a job.
Of course, having no one here to pick up the pieces meant I also had no one here to take any photos. You'll have to take my word on it that there were no pieces to pick up!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Jackson's New Girl

Today is the first day of my summer vacation.
Time to get to work!
Horse duties, of course.

It just so happened that last night was D's second night (of three) working in town, so when she got moving this morning, she high-tailed it out to spend time with her new baby horsie.
It didn't take long for them to get re-acquainted.
Once they did, I just stepped back and let them play together
(while documenting the whole time for her).
D does really well with Jackson.
He got lots of luvs.
And scritches.
She didn't let him get away with anything, though
(including trying to nibble at her back pocket).
More scritches.
And more luvs.
Don't they make a cute couple?(D says fiance R is not jealous....yet.)

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Frolics: A Pictoral Essay

Hey! Werz my buddeze?
"The closer you get..."
(Anybody out there old enough to remember that Clairol commercial?)
(Anybody out there old enough to remember Clairol shampoo??)
The roll back...
...and back the other way.
Look out, Beth! Kate's comin!
Next round in three...
one...Letz go!
You wan me to tak care of dis silliness, Mom?
Look out, kidz. Big Sis iz coming!
Lissen up, you gyz. Enuf iz enuf!
Got things under control here, Mom.
Now, settle down and get busy with the important things in life.
[This probably would have been a good video, but all I had in the barn was the Nikon. But after thinning 45 photos down to these 19, I think you get the idea.]