Tuesday, June 30, 2009

fun day

It started early with a round of duck-wrangling. Those little boogers are such escape artists. I think I finally figured how they were getting out and fixed it though. Time will tell.

Later in the morning my friend Heather came over with her two adorable kids to pick some apricots, and of course visit the animals! Heather and I knew each other in high school, in the sense that we went to the same high school in the same grade and probably had lots of classes together but were both afflicted with the "not talking to people" complex and despite our apparent similarities (thank you blog and facebook for helping me meet and re-meet people!) probably talked more in an hour today and we did in four years back then. That was fun. H, if the kiddos have the insatiable urge for more horse-time, I'm sure the horses would gladly indulge! :-)

Later in the day, after posting my previous entry about strange going-ons (goings-on?) around here, I was out here working on scrim, with Olin zonked out on the floor next to to the couch (btw Olin's favorite hobby is zonking out) and all of a sudden he woke up and his eyes went all big and scared and he STARED at the area by the front door. OMG I got chills all over the place, imagining some boogie-monster standing around the corner or something. Cripes. Seriously. It reminded me of one of the creepiest experiences I've ever had.

Want to hear that? Sure you do. I was about, oh, 12 years old or so. We had this dog, Gio, the best dog ever. I had to go out to the chicken house late one night, I was probably getting birds ready for show or could have been hunting mice, who knows. The chicken house was a little ways off from the house (don't ask me distances, I'm awful at estimating that). It was late, so I took Gio down there with me. The front of the chicken house had a door, the back had a window, and there were coops along each side. This thing was a mansion, with lights and everything! Anyway, so there we were, me going about my business, it's pitch black outside, Gio was just hanging around, and all of a sudden he looked at the back window, all his hair went up, and he GROWLED. Not like an annoyed little growl, more Cujo-esque. It was pitch black outside, and with the light on inside the chicken house I could only see the reflection of everything inside the chicken house. And there he was staring out the window growling at something in the darkness (egads I'm totally getting chills now). I don't think I have ever been so completely freaked out. I grabbed him, ran out the door, turned off the lights and ran as fast as I possibly could back to the house. Freaked. Me. Out! I can't tell that story without getting chills.

Anyway, sorry about the tangent. It was a good day today, and my horses made me happy by being very angelic with the kids. :-)

The microscope beckons. So does my bed. Scrimshaw or go to bed. Hmm. I think bed is going to win tonight. 10 days to deadline though!

funky stuff goin' down around here

Okay, I'm kind of creeped out.

Several times over the last couple days I've heard something fall inside the house. It just happened again, I was out here working and heard a pretty loud crash from one of the bedrooms. Loud enough that I should be able to see something amiss. But everything's exactly as it was, the chicks were going about their normal chicky business, and Olin's zonked out in my room. You might be thinking I couldn't see if anything had fallen amidst all my clutter but everything's really clean right now so that's not the case! I don't know about this...

And then last night... the gate. The whole property is fenced, all around. Nothing larger than maybe a cat could get through the gates and onto or off of the property. The horses are confined to the corrals and pasture, the dog is confined to the yard/house area, and there is a gravel driveway that separates the two, and a gate from the yard to the driveway. The gate swings outward from the yard. If you try to swing it inward it catches on the sidewalk and won't open more than a foot or so, so nobody ever opens it inward, and the gate is always closed so that the dog stays in the yard.

This morning the gate was open, pushed inward, and I say PUSHED because the latch had not been opened, it was bent around sideways so that it just slipped off the gate post. Um, WHAT?! What the heck could be big enough to do that?!?!? Jessie dog is on the inside, if she pushed the gate it would have gone outward. The horses don't have access to that gate. The cats can fit through without it being open.



Monday, June 29, 2009


The days are packed lately. Seriously. I'm blogging at midnight. It'll be tomorrow by the time I post this.

The ducks are growing like weeds. They'll soon by bigger than their chicken mommies. These two hens have done such a great job with them! They just got the run of the whole garden a couple days ago and they are so much fun to watch.

Ducks and watermelon, it's a great combination. ;-)

Homer decided it looked like a good place for a nap. Hens and ducks decided to check him out.

Homer decided to find somewhere he could nap without being pestered!

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Last call for strawberry jam! $6 per half pint, $12 shipping up to 6 jars, US only.

First and last call for APRICOT JAM!!!! This is a favorite of a lot of people. $5 per half pint, $12 shipping up to 6 jars, US only. They are quite all of a sudden ripe in the last, uh, day. Probably in a week they'll be gone. Eeek! Wish it lasted longer!

Hey local peeps, want some apricots? You-pick. Let me know....

It was 109 today. I hate summer! I spent much of the day at a Gypsy Horse open house near here with JC. She raises Gypsy horses. It was kind of a lesson in how NOT to host an open house. Lesson #1 is make sure people can find your house. The mailbox with the street address "was taken down years ago." The driveway was actually down a road other than that on which the street address is for (could they mention that perhaps?) No signs, no nothing, and the barn was tucked back over a hill so it wasn't like we could see the horses from the road. Had to call a few times before finally getting someone on the phone for directions. The host(s?) barely said a word to us, there was no pricing or info any of the horses. Thank goodness for the guy from England who was there, I really enjoyed listening to what he had to say about the horses and their history and what the differences are between the US and Europe and his opinion about a lot of the horses. That was cool.

It was so hot even the cat melted. ;-)

Friday, June 26, 2009

well that's great

I just got stung by a wasp. I think it barely got me, but it instantly turned red and blotchy, so I'm sitting here waiting for the benadryl-induced coma to hit me. Should happen in about a half hour. I guess I could do something productive until then.

Corrals are clean, coops are clean, and for some weird reason I re-arranged my bedroom furniture. We'll see how I like the new arrangement, the old one wasn't quite right.

The other morning there was a frog in the toilet.

I'm going in about a hundred different directions this week and need to get caught up on some important stuff.

It's been one of those weeks.

I'm very nostalgic lately. About Yellowstone, about Jackson Hole. And then I had to open up my high school yearbooks while I was moving stuff around, and read what people wrote. Apparently I didn't talk much. ;-) I had to laugh at all the comments where people pointed out that I'm "so nice but need to talk more!" LOL! Have I changed? Maybe a little. Thank goodness for blogging, eh?

And of course, nostalgic about staying up til the wee hours of the morning in the 5th grade watching "Thriller" at a slumber party at a friend's house. RIP.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

upcoming dance performance!

Yay, a belly dance performance! Come out and see the troupe, and hope it's not so hot that our makeup melts. ;-) This should be a great show. I'm in EIGHT dances (wow!) and guess what, you can actually see me in all of them! Wow! Be there or be square! See http://www.galtfestival.org for directions. Free parking, $5 admission.

Monday, June 22, 2009

news n stuff

I found out today that "Sunday Morning" was accepted into the State Fair Fine Art show! Yay! That rocks, I'm excited that I got a scrimshaw piece in there! I am a little bummed that they didn't accept "Thankful" but that's okay, I'll live.

I have not decided if I will be showing birds there this year, it depends if anything looks like it might be in show shape, and also if any of my usual cohorts will be there to hang out with.

The second batch of chicks hatched on the weekend. The hatch rate has been really good. I'm getting pretty low numbers of chicks though because egg production is tapering off a lot, so I'm just not setting all that many. I'm only going to set 6 batches of eggs (6 weeks worth) so whatever I get is what I get, hopefully a decent number! I don't think I can deal with more than that. This all still feels half-hearted at best, which is hard to admit and I'm still not sure what to do about it.

The belt buckle is coming along FABulously well (inside joke that three people might laugh at!). Really, it looks great, can't wait to show you. My technique is a little "heavier" on this piece so that it will hold up well to being worn. I love my AirGraver! Make no mistake, it's all still by hand, but it sure speeds up work on solid-color areas and lines. Anything other than those two areas I still do with an etching needle.

Shylah is back on a diet. Sigh. That horse...

I think the baby Barn Swallows might have hatched. It's been a rough year for them. There are two nests outside the front door, have been for years. The First Female was nesting in Nest #2 a month or so ago, until one of the Evil Henchbirds (aka House Sparrows) killed her. One of these Evil Henchbirds has killed babies and destroyed eggs before, but this shocked me, and was REALLY sad. :-( The male stuck around, always out there singing and singing. About a week later her showed up with a new lady on his wing. Second Female. She checked out the digs and picked Nest #1, did some repairs, got the place fixed up, and I think the babies are hatched. I don't know how to keep those #$%&ing Sparrows away though, so I'm worried.

There are two Kestel boxes on the property. I think the ones that were nesting in the pasture have already fledged, though I never saw it happen. But I don't see them out there any more, and now the box in the corrals has a nesting pair. Hopefully I can keep a better eye on these ones and get some photos! I know there are baby Western Bluebirds out in the pasture now, I could hear them when I was out riding the other day.

I think that's enough jabbering for today.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

why I try to always have a camera with me

This morning I drove out to the Delta to visit my friend Amber. We've known each other since junior high, though don't see each other very often (for which I have no good excuse, but will say that we really should see each other more often!). Anyway, she's having a baby next month (seriously, this is a baby year, EVERYONE is having babies, it's insane) and I was out of town for the shower so I took the gift over there, plus it was an excuse to sit around and gab for a few hours, which was fun. I enjoyed the visit, hope to do it again soon. :-)

Anyway, while heading down a remote little farm road along the way, I noticed that way up ahead of me the road was obstructed with something... It readily became apparent that a herd of Longhorns was being driven down the road. Cool! Not sure where they were going, it was an area of vineyards and orchards, but there must have been pastures back off the road somewhere. Anyway, I pulled up to the pickup truck that was on the other side of the road, fully prepared to be told to sit and wait (which would have been fine) or to turn around (also fine, but he'd have to give me some directions) but to my surprise the man said "this could take a while, go ahead and drive through them, just go real slow, they won't bother you." Okay!!! So I did. And around that time I remembered my camera was in my purse. I really should have just stopped and shot a bunch of good reference photos but I was so excited about driving my li'l car through a herd of Longhorns that it sort of didn't occur to me to do that.

I like the Delta. It's pretty, it's a little cooler (hey, it's where the Delta Breeze comes from!). The Delta is an area of several towns to the west of here, takes me about 45 minutes to get to A's house. It's a land of orchards, fields, vineyards, rivers, and bridges. I don't think I'd ever feel safe living that close to the rivers though. River, levee, house, all right next to each other. Nope, that's too close. I grew up along a river, but the house was maybe a half mile up from the river and on much higher ground (though the lower property flooded a few times.) That was close enough!

Because someone might wonder, no that's not a real scorpion. It was a gift. :-)

Tonight I watched the movie "Marley and Me". Oh those animal movies always make me CRY!!!!!!


I can't believe it's been a year since I went to Idaho/Wyoming. I can't believe how much things... and people... can change. *sigh*

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


I need to do some serious house cleaning. Human house, chicken house(s), corrals and stall. Sometimes I think I'd like to be a neat freak, but I don't think I ever could be.

I feel like a total blog slacker with not posting WIP pics. Things are going well though. Belt buckle in progress, all sketches now approved for pistol grips, image approved for pendant (and pendant shaped and sanded from a very rough piece of ivory, looks nice!)

I think I might try creating one pendant a week for sale though. Now that I'm using an inking technique that's more durable, I feel comfortable doing jewelry work and would like to get that on the market somewhere (okay I know where I want it to be sold, I'm just going to keep that to myself right now).

I got to spend some time with L (my sis in law) and baby C (my niece, two months old already!) today without extraneous grandparents hovering about, and I have to say I greatly enjoyed that. Much more relaxed. Babies are quite foreign territory to me, but hopefully I won't be totally inept as an aunt. I have to say I did catch myself eyeballing the little girly clothes at Horse Expo over the weekend and scheming to take C with me in a few years and get her all cowgirled up. Hee hee. :-)

To those of you who dared to complain about that AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL weather we've been having, curses on you!!! It's getting hot now, I don't like that. It had only been getting into the low 80s, loved it!!!! I've been riding every day, able to work outside without feeling like I might croak, etc. In my perfect world it would never be over 85 degrees.

I don't talk much about riding. There's not much to talk about. I ride. Sometimes not very often. Sometimes every day. Trail rides are exciting, I always write about those (and want to go on more!!!) but around here it's schooling, training, arena work. What the clinician said on Sunday at Horse Expo really made an impression, that we just don't canter our horses enough. That's been pretty true with me, and as you've heard me say before, Shylah has a pretty choppy canter and I've been willing to just not do it. So I'm going to try out the theory that doing it a LOT more will develop whatever needs to develop (her balance, strength, etc?) to improve it. And also just improve her stamina. In the few weeks that she has been on the [dry, dead, crappy, weedy] pasture she's totally porked up again despite lots of riding. Arg. I think I'm going to have to put her back in the corral and on a diet. Some horses are just too easy to maintain!

Okay, it's bed time, I have nothing else to ramble about today.

Monday, June 15, 2009


Well, this is normally about the time I STOP hatching for the season, but this year I've just started. The first batch hatched yesterday. There are Black, Brassy Back, and Blue Brassy Back Rosecombs in these pics. Won't be any pure BBReds this year, but the Black X BBRed crosses will start hatching next weekend.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

get your autographs now! ;-)

Ah, another year of Horse Expo has come and gone.

Actually, it seemed different in lots of ways. Less stuff, less crowded, fewer horses. JC and I watched a bit of the horse auction and prices seemed pretty low for some pretty high caliber horses. Saw some other things that bring the phrase "buyer beware" to mind. Yikes! And I really hate to see a 2 year old horse under saddle. I know there are some big differences of opinion on that, but I think that's too young, and there were sure a lot of 2 year olds fully trained under saddle up for sale.

We hit the art show first thing, and I was disappointed to see that I hadn't placed. "Thankful" had won first in its class and People's Choice at Draft Horse Classic last fall, so I'd sort of thought it might at least place. C'est la vie. Over-all, the art show pieces didn't impress me too much, with a few exceptions, and is often the case I had to scratch my head over some of the judging choices.

We shopped and ate WAY too much sugar all day, and watched some breed demos and one training clinic. I really enjoy watching the clinicians there, I think it would be kinda fun to do a whole weekend thing and see a lot of more that, and it's always interesting to see that everyone is pretty much doing the same type of training, just going about it in slightly different motions and explaining it in slightly different ways. (Ah, a topic for another day). ;-)

Anyway, about a bazillion calories later (don't ask, some things just become tradition) we waddled back through the art building and I did a double take, no, maybe even a triple take, and uttered the words "Hot Diggity!" (Yes, I'm a dork) because there was an enormous ribbon hanging by my drawing! OMG!!! People's Choice! Despite not even placing!!!! Woo hoo!!! Thank you general public for recognizing good artwork. And I didn't even have to bribe anyone to vote for it. Heck, I didn't even vote, only because I never saw any place TO vote! Hot diggity indeed.

Friday, June 12, 2009

blah blah

Today I made macaroons! Real macaroons this time. I think I might prefer the divinity! These are darn good though. I'll try to start photographing all my baked creations. If anyone wants this recipe I'll post it.

I am not sure if I have a favorite flower, but hydrangeas are right up there somewhere. I love how this one plant makes all these different colored flowers!!! It's right outside the window by my art table, so I get to look at it a lot. :-)

I miss doing the work in progress pics. So I'm actually still photographing the work (or scanning, depending what it is). And I'll just post it all when it's done and in the hands of the recipient(s).

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Coconut Divinity

Lacking much else to discuss, I will post a recipe. I made these a week or so ago. Ever since Bree made macaroons on Desperate Housewives I've had quite the hankering for macaroons. So I found a recipe in one of the books here. Well, they aren't macaroons by my definition, but if you like coconut they are little dreamy bites of bliss. They are divine, and as far as cookie/candy textures go, they are divinity. You'll need a mixer for this, don't try it by hand.

Coconut Divinity

1/2 cup egg whites (about 4 eggs)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flaked coconut

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites and salt until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 6 minutes (took me longer). Beat in vanilla. Fold in coconut. Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto lightly greased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake at 325° for 20 minutes or until firm to the tough. Remove to wire racks to cool. (fyi: You can freeze extras but they will lose their crunch if they are frozen for more than a few days).

I am still determined to make perfect macaroons though, as fantastic as these are.

In other news, I delivered "Thankful" to the Horse Expo art show today. It was predictably chaotic. I hope my art does well there. And then I picked up all my work from the 50-50 show. Yes, ALL my work. *sigh* That sucks.

Waiting to hear from State Fair and Draft Horse Classic... fingers crossed.

Monday, June 08, 2009

to Oregon and back

My mom and I went up to Oregon to visit my grandparents. It's a 350 mile drive. I did all the driving on the entire trip. I hadn't been up there for a couple years (since the reunion) and it was GREAT to see everyone.

Prepare to be inundated with photos.

Somewhere in extreme northern California:

A funky cow sculpture in northern CA that I last photographed in the wee hours of the morning (when going to a horse show in Yreka with JC):

A dragon sculpture not too far north of the cow (hmm, I actually photographed this on the return trip, oh well I'll post it here anyway):

On our second day there we drove out to some property way up in the mountains that my grandparents bought from BLM. It's a beautiful place, but pretty rough country, and more poison oak than you can imagine. I think it would be a fun place to ride a horse! This is a view from the top:

Somewhere about half way up the mountain, a pretty view of Lost Creek Reservoir:

Looking back up the road as we were driving back down (btw this was not done in the minivan, but rather in J's rugged 4-wheel drive thing):

The back yard of their house has the Rogue River running through it. Wow!

They have lots of Rufous Hummingbirds there:

On Saturday we drove up to Crater Lake, which is only about 50something miles from their house. I know I went to Crater Lake when I was a toddler. I thought I had vague memories of it but it didn't match what I thought I remembered, so clearly I'm remembering some other trip. It was AWESOME. I was amazed how much snow was still on the ground, in fact a lot of the trails were still closed due to snow.

Here's me and my grandparents at Crater Lake:

And a bunch of views of Crater Lake taken from various places:

Yeah, lots of snow! That's about 4 feet of snow I'm standing on. The temperature was pretty nice though.

On the way back from Crater Lake we stopped at the Rogue River "Natural Bridge" which is where the river actually flows underground for a short way, through what was originally a lava tube. It's pretty cool. I can't explain it my pics, but that rocky area toward the front of the photo... the water is flowing under it (and also some is going over, because the water is high enough to also flow over the top):

And this is a pretty view of the Rogue River from a bridge downstream of the "Natural Bridge":

I sat out in the back yard for a while that afternoon and photographed the wildlife. Mom was really hoping to see a Bald Eagle, but never did. Such is life.

Here's a female Oriole at the hummingbird feeder:

Unfortunately I mostly had my camera on the wrong setting when the osprey was around (oops!) but did manage to get a few good shots. I wish I'd gotten out there a few minutes sooner, he dove into the water right in front of where I was standing but I was too late to catch that.

Also saw a family of Mergansers on the river. Those little dudes are amazing, they run on the water and go upstream like you wouldn't believe!

And of course eventually it was time to leave the land of green trees and flowing rivers, and return to the flat brown Sactomato valley. I'll leave you with this pretty view of Mt. Shasta on the way home:

Back to work! :-) I've sure enjoyed my little vacations recently but feel like I'm not getting much accomplished on the art front, so I'm kind of relieved not to have anything planned for a while.

The Zebra knife

As promised, the professional photo taken at Blade Show before the knife sold:

more lightning pics

Have you missed me?! I've been up in Oregon since Thursday, visiting my grandparents. I got home yesterday evening but did not have enough functioning brain cells to blog about anything and all I could think of was how I wanted to go to bed and don't want to do any driving for a while (I did all the driving, yay for me). I'll do a whole big ole post about it, complete with an insane number of photos, but for now, a little more about the Wednesday night/Thursday morning thunderstorm! I think the last photo I posted is the best of them, but I'll throw a few more on here anyway. I went to bed around midnight (yeah, brilliant when you have to get up early and drive 350 miles the next day). But it was endless booming thunder and lightning strikes that lit up my room so I figured I wasn't going to get much sleep anyway. So I pulled out the tripod, went outside with the camera (yes, wearing my jammies, and flip flops) and decided to shoot more photos. At that point it started raining quite hard, so I had to retreat into the garage and shoot only in one direction. Seemed like the storm was moving pretty rapidly, I would have been better off shooting in the direction of the pasture, but I was not about to lug all this camera crap out there in my pajamas and get rained on. The lightning was mostly in the clouds, so I didn't get many photos of actual lightning.

For your entertainment, here's a series shot in about a minute. The shutter speed is 10 seconds, the camera was on a timer. I'd either get something or nothing! The sky sure lit up when I got something! Ah, and these are shot with the Nikon D80 if you're wondering. The wee little Canon ELPH was not high tech enough for this job.