Friday, July 31, 2015

Random Friday

1.  Mary Ann asked if it is still dry here.  The little bit of rain we got last month (and I mean little bit) didn't put a dent in the drought.  Southern California got hit with some rain a week or so ago; remnants of a tropical storm but we didn't see any of that.  What we need is a winter full of cold wet storms from Alaska to build the snow pack.

2.  Last week, Brett and I were like two ships passing in the night. While he was in Park City, Utah with his daughters and their kids for a baseball tournament, I held down the fort.  Mid-week, Camille flew in and we had an afternoon and evening at home before leaving for Shaver Lake.  Camille took picturess of herself with all the animals.  My favorite is this one of her with Lucy.

3.  Thursday, while Camille and I drove to Shaver Lake to meet up with my family, Brett drove back home from Utah with his daughter, Jen, and the grandkids.  You've seen all the posts this week of their time riding Pistol.  Brett also took them to a historical park in Placerville where they went into a gold mine and then learned how to pan for gold.  They filled little vials with sparkling flecks -- and didn't want to leave.

4. Meanwhile, the kids and I spent four days at Shaver Lake with my sister and her family, and my dad and his girlfriend.  The "kids" are all grown; Camille is the youngest at 21 and my oldest nephew is 27 (I think).  Kyle brought his girlfriend, Ana, and she fit right in.  We have been doing this since Camille was an infant and the cousins look forward to this vacation every year.  They are scattered now, but they all showed up for this annual family vacation.

5.  The weather the past few days has been hot, dry and breezy.  When it is in the triple digits like this, a breeze feels like a furnace blowing.  Five fires are burning in Northern California; two of them close enough to give us smokey hazy skies.  The garden is wilting, the horses stand in the shade swishing their tails, the chickens pant, Kersey plunges into her wading pool constantly, and we hide in the house.  I dislike this time of year - too hot to garden or ride.  The days are getting shorter so I no longer have time to ride before work.  I love spring and fall; I don't mind winter -- but summer... yech!

6.  Brett came off Mufasa this morning.  Brett got banged up but nothing broken, thank God.  Mufasa spooked at something while at the mounting block, Brett's shirt got caught on the horn and ripped, and the sound sent Mufasa crow-hopping away.  Brett lost his balance, slid sideways and then landed with a thud on the ground.  Mufasa jumped sideways, away from Brett, and slammed into the donkey pasture fence post.  He bucked and kicked the fence, then took off running, bucking as he went.  We retrieved him in a corner by the front gate, with the rope reins wrapped around his front leg.  While Brett worked on washing gravel out of his abrasions, I got Mufasa - who was wild eyed worried -- untangled and back to the tie rail.  Brett's very sore and, at the moment, I don't care if Brett ever rides Mufasa again.  Brett's 66.  Mufasa is unpredictable - not mean - but he spooks at any little sound or movement.  Its Brett's decision, of course, and I will support him either way.  I reacted with dread, then fear, then panic, and finally tears.  I don't trust Mufasa.  I just don't.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pistol and Harrison

Harrison rode last.

Then the kids rested in the shade while Brett took off Pistol's tack.

What a great horse Pistol is; what a great time Brett had with the grandkids.  We hope they come back next summer.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Zoe and Pistol

Zoe rode Pistol first.  Brett led them around until they were comfortable and then handed over the reins.

There was a bit of trotting too.

Do you think she had fun?

Monday, July 27, 2015

Pistol and the Kids

The kids had a great time riding Pistol last week.  Brett's daughter, Jen, took a ton of great pictures.

We'll start with getting Pistol out of the pasture.  Posts of the kids riding will follow.  There was a traffic jam at the gate -- Lucy and Jackson couldn't believe that Pistol was the chosen horse, the pony of the day, Queen of the barn.  Lucy, of course, feels that is her role and Jackson has worked hard to achieve the number two position in the herd.

Once out, Brett took Pistol to the tie rail where she was groomed from head to hoof.

Harrison worked hard on Pistol's tail.

She was stylin' when they headed to the arena.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Oh, Deer

A few weeks ago, I came down the stairs at 5:15 in the morning.  Brett was out of town and I needed to be up early to do the chores before work.  As I turned to cut through the dining room on my way to the back door, I felt eyes watching me.  I looked out the dining room window and met the eyes of a doe, looking in at me.  She was standing on the driveway, at the edge of the porch.  I watched her walk around to the front of the house and then proceed to reach her nose into my climbing rose bush and take big mouthfuls of leaves.  I stepped out the front door and asked her to move along.  She looked at me, and walked off towards the back of the property.

I went back in the house, got my shoes on, and then went out to do chores with Kersey.  I figured the deer was long gone but Kersey took off like a bat out of hell -- towards the goats.  Hmm, I thought.  The deer went the other direction.  I wonder what she saw.  A few seconds later here came the deer.  Boing boing boing.  She bounded around the mare's pasture and headed for the front gate.  Kersey gave up the chase and sat in front of the barn, watching.  The deer reached the front gate and, instead of jumping over, turned and started walking up the stream bed.

I followed it all the way to the back pasture.  She reached the fence and then turned and came across the arena.

She saw me with the camera, turned and headed to the corner of the pasture fence and the arena area.  She tried to jump out there a number of times but couldn't clear the fence.  She would get a running start, leap, and smack into the fence.

Finally, she ran to the road side of the property and jumped out there.

The donkeys watched the whole affair with great interest.

The deer have been particularly brave this year.  I think it must be related to the drought -- they are looking for food and water.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lucy Makes her Point

A week ago, on Saturday morning, Brett and I rode before going to the Farmers Market and before Brett went to Sacramento to pick up Jen and the grand-kids at the airport.  Lucy was much better at the trot and not resistant at all.  Her stamina was definitely diminished so we took it easy.  She gave me some lovely forward and trot and relaxed walk-trot transitions before the dust became too much for both she and Mufasa.  We don't have sprinklers in the arena to water down the sand so it gets very dusty, very fast.  With the drought and our low water producing well, arena sprinklers are not on the master plan.  Although Brett and I love riding together, it just doesn't work well in the dry summer months.

Sunday morning, while Brett, Jen and the kids were packing for Utah, I rode Lucy.  It was early, before sunup, and a comfortable 60F.  The cool morning air carried over the sound of coyotes yapping down the road while I was grooming Lucy, but she didn't seem bothered.  She was a little bit looky when we first rode into the dressage court so I gave her things to think about while we warmed up -- a little shoulder-in on the long side, circles, and leg yield.  She settled and we moved into trot.  She didn't resist at all and our transitions were pretty smooth.  She barely had the stamina to make it around a 20m circle though, before going back to walk.  The injections must have drained her reserves.  Her trot was so forward, willing and smooth that I decided to ask for canter.  I asked for right lead canter first and she willingly picked it up after a nano-second of hesitation.  She felt comfortable -- no high headed, choppy steps -- so we cantered a dozen strides before coming back to trot and taking a walk break.  We changed direction, picked up the trot, and I asked for left lead canter.  She threw her head in the air and refused.  I asked again, more firmly, and she continued to resist.  I asked a third time, very firmly, and she bucked.  Um, sorry Lucy.  My bad.  She was obviously still sore and not ready to canter.  I should have listened the first time.  Lucy is honest; I should have believed her.  I wasn't fair and fairness is everything when you are riding a mare.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Garden in July

 Last year, gophers ate all my lily bulbs.  I got zero lilies; zippo, nada.  This year, I planted more bulbs but this time I created troughs of wire mesh and put the bulbs inside.  It was a pain in the neck to do but I have been rewarded with lots of blooms.  In the evenings we open the windows and their heady spicy scent fills the house.

Tomatoes and pumpkins

Indigo Apple Tomato


Monday, July 20, 2015

Harrison Takes the Wheel

While the grandkids were here on the weekend, Harrison wanted to drive the tractor.  Brett gave him instructions and off he went.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Grandkids on the Ranch

Brett's daughter, Jen, and her three kids came to visit Saturday.  The kids wasted no time trying out the porch swing and the tree swing, running with Kersey and visiting the animals.

First up, they fed the chickens some scraps and collected eggs.
Brooke, Harrison and Zoe
Then they visited the goats (always popular with children)...

(Lucy had to insert herself into the conversation)

... the donkeys

and the horses.  Mufasa, who is normally very nervous around new people, threw caution to the wind and ate his share of cookies.  Maybe it is just adults that worry him, or maybe it was the cookies.

In the evening, we walked up to one of the wineries on the hill behind us for an "old time rock & roll" concert.  I'm not sure that the kids knew any of the music but I loved hearing all the music from my high school days.  Kersey made herself at home on the blanket with the kids, snuggling in with them for belly rubs.

I think everyone slept well that night.  In the morning, Brett, Jen and the kids loaded up the car and headed to Park City, Utah.  They will meet up with Brett's oldest daughter and her family there for a big baseball tournament.  They rented a condo big enough to hold all the families and Brett packed wine.  I'm sure they will have a wonderful time together.  Brett and Jen will drive back here Thursday and then Jen and her kids will fly home to Seattle on Friday.